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Podcast Ep. 9: What Parents Need to Know About Metabolic Health With Angela Poff, PhD, and Victoria Field

In this episode

Justin and Audra are joined by the founders of the Metabolic Health Summit, Angela Poff, PhD and Victoria Field, to talk all about metabolic health and what it means for families. From the in-depth discussion on the connection between metabolism and overall health to some simple tips on how to start making healthier choices today, this episode is definitely serving up some food for thought.


About our guests

Angela Poff, PhD, is a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hendrix College and completed her graduate work at the University of South Florida with a PhD in Medical Sciences. Her research focuses on the development and characterization of metabolic-based, nontoxic therapies for cancer and neurological.

Victoria Field is originally from the UK, but is California-raised. She's also a dynamo. Her professional life is just as eclectic as her roots. The first 10 years of her career included covering the news as an NBC affiliate TV anchor, competing as a professional athlete, and co-creating several fitness businesses she operated alongside her husband, Josh. Victoria’s passion for health and nutrition later led her to get involved in cancer research around ketogenic metabolic therapies.

Together, Angela and Victoria run an international health conference called the Metabolic Health Summit under an organization called the Metabolic Health Initiative. The mission of the Summit and Initiative is to “revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing attention on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance.”

Show Notes

03:25 - Quest Nutrition is a revolutionary health brand founded by Victoria and her husband Josh.

06:27 - The Charlie Foundation is an organization that focuses on using therapeutic ketosis to treat a number of diseases and disorders.

19:08 - MaxLove Project believes in bio-individuality, the idea that what works in one body (diet, medication, exercise, etc.) may not work in another. 

22:14 - Oura Rings make special devices that monitor your sleep, readiness, and activity so you can get to know your individual health needs better.

26:08 - Dominic D'Agostino, PhD’s work focuses on metabolic health and is also a host at the Metabolic Health Summit.

36:35 - MaxLove Project’s BE SUPER action plan highlights the importance of eating whole, Fierce Foods. It’s something that can help every family!

53:14 - Ultimate, or Ultimate Frisbee, is a fast-paced non-contact team sport similar in objective to football.

56:30 - Cold showers can potentially help manage stress and anxiety, and, according to a 2008 study, regular cold showers can boost the immune system.

57:50 - Research on nutritional psychiatry suggests that “the food we eat impacts how we feel emotionally. There are some individuals who seek complementary treatments such as food-mood interventions in addition to allopathic medications to boost their chances of improving mood and anxiety.”

01:17:31 - In an interview, American author Nora Roberts was asked how she balanced being a mother and having a career. She replied, “The key to juggling is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic and some are made of glass. And if you drop a plastic ball, it bounces, no harm done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters, so you have to know which balls are glass and which are plastic and prioritise catching the glass ones.” 

01:18:15 - Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist.

01:23:03 - Take a look at MHS’s amazing free content here.

Justin: Welcome to The Family Thrive Podcast. Today we're talking about metabolic health for families. Metabolic health encompasses just about every chronic health problem we deal with... obesity to diabetes to heart disease. Today's guests run a yearly scientific conference on metabolic health like nothing I've ever been to. 

As a recovering academic myself, I've been to more scientific conferences than I possibly can remember. And they're all pretty boring, to be honest. But theirs, the Metabolic Health Summit, is not only full of the top scientists researching metabolic health, it also has a bunch of practice-oriented sessions like how to actually implement dietary or other metabolic health actions into your life in a trade show of companies creating products that support metabolic health. So it's like truly the most engaging scientific conference I've ever been to. 

Angela Poff, Ph.D., is a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hendrick's college and completed her graduate work at the University of South Florida with a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences. She knows her stuff. She is super legit. Her research focuses on the development and characterization of a metabolic-based, nontoxic therapies for cancer and neurological. And in her free time, which she doesn't have much of, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Lin, three-year-old son Franklin, nine-month-old daughter Lorelai, two cats, and two dogs. 

Victoria Fields is originally from the UK, but is California-raised. She's also a dynamo. Her professional life is just as eclectic as her roots. The first 10 years of her career included covering the news as an NBC affiliate TV anchor, competing as a professional athlete, and co-creating several fitness businesses she operated alongside her husband, Josh. Victoria’s passion for health and nutrition later led her to get involved in cancer research around ketogenic metabolic therapies and then eventually co-founding the organization Metabolic Health Initiative with Angela Poff. 

The Metabolic Health Initiative is dedicated to providing cutting-edge, evidence-based education to scientists, health care professionals, and the general public through digital content and live events, including the annual international scientific conference I mentioned before, the Metabolic Health Summit. This conference has the mission of revolutionizing science and medicine by providing a platform that focuses on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance. 

Though we are going to get into all this stuff, without further ado, here is my wonderful, amazing conversation with these two, incredibly brilliant, incredibly creative and visionary women. I hope you enjoy. 

We met Victoria before Metabolic Health Summit was even a thing. Though, we met Victoria through Quest. Do you remember that, Victoria?

Victoria: Yes, I was actually looking through pictures this morning. 

Justin: Oh, no way. 

Victoria: Yeah. Where you guys came to visit. And I just remember your energy walking in that door with Max and you met, I think the first time that we met was with Callie, was there as well, the dog.

Justin: Yes. 

Victoria: Just to throw in a little random side note. But we—it was sort of this, you know, we had been working on sort of with the founders of Quest, a nonprofit. I was involved in cancer research in canines then went on to become involved with people. And it was this sort of meeting of, you guys have been doing all of your incredible work with families and obviously through Max and his journey and making a big impact there. 

I just remember meeting you guys for the first time. I was like, I have to be around these people and continue to collaborate with them because they're just such a, you guys are just such a special group. And I really felt that on the first day that we met. So, yes, I remember it.

Justin: Oh, that's awesome. And then we worked with you over a while because Quest was working on keto products at the time. And so you were helping us just tweak and fine-tune the ketogenic diet. And just on a really practical, just everyday level of how does a family, you know, just go from day to day, fixing foods, preparing foods and in a way that…

Audra: Also. Max’s cancer progressed. 

Justin: Yes. 

Audra: And you all jumped in, and I remember it was like, “Ok, we're sending you food.” We're sending you, and like we were about to do a road trip and you stocked us up with food and like helped us kickstart again. Because he had always been, you know, from the time we met. Anyway, since 2012. When did he go keto? 2013?

Justin: September of 2013. 

Audra: Yeah. So, you know, we do the kind of like variations where when he is doing good, he goes higher protein and then, you know, and so we had to get back into therapeutic ketosis. And you all jumped in like family. 

Justin: I do have to note, there will be hopefully people listening to this who have no idea what keto is. So we'll get to that later on in the podcast. Just put a pin in that. Right now, we're just taking a walk down memory lane.

Audra: But I mean, isn't it crazy to think, though, in 2013 when we were talking about what we were doing with Max and I'm sure both of you can walk on that memory lane. People would be like, “You what?” 

Victoria: Yeah. 

Audra: What are you talking about? And then now…

Justin: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Oh. Kim. Kim Kardashian. 

Audra: Yeah. Every other magazine in the store. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean that Kim's been doing forever. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that was one of the reasons why I loved meeting you, because it was like there was this family that's been just struggling and very similar to Charlie of the Charlie Foundation, that's very human and just struggling to find resources and putting the pieces together, but then also helping other families along the way. That was the crazy part to me, where you were taking your own super challenging situation and really turning it into a way of, gosh, this is a need for so many others as well. 

But it was really cool to connect because it was like here we were in our little silo and I was on the nonprofit side heading up a nonprofit that just happened to be sort of associated with the founders of Quest. And we were doing our sort of research that was, thanks to what Dr. Angela Poff was doing in the lab. And it was this sort of perfect, beautiful storm of, I feel like meeting of people that just turned into so much more. And it's a weird story because it started with canines for us and then people. 

Justin: Yeah, right. 

Victoria: And turned into a scientific conference, so you know.

Justin: Exactly. So the scientific conference I remember attending the first year of that and just being blown away because I had been in academia for a long time, and I would go to academic conferences and it was just like a little piece of my soul would die every time. 

It just was not, yeah, I remember telling a fellow grad student this early on in my first PhD program, like, “I hate these things like this.” And he looked at me so strange. Like “What? I love it.” And so I should have taken that right then like, dude, this is not for you. But I instead, I stuck around and I got two PhDs. So I don't know what I would say. 

But anyway, I'm at this conference and there's like legit scientific presentations alongside really practice-oriented presentations alongside, and this really cool outside area with all of these keto products that were brand new to me and meeting the people behind them. And it was just an amazing event. And I remember telling Audra and MaxLove Project families like this is super unique, like this... 

Audra: It's like our Coachella for our people, you know.

Justin: The Coachella, for nerds. 

Victoria: ...for science and stuff.

Justin: It's called the Metabolic Health Summit. Now, because of COVID, things have gone all wonky. We were lucky enough to have one last year right before things went crazy. 

Audra: A year ago. 

Justin: I know. Just like, right, right in. But this year, no Metabolic Health Summit next year. Yes. But for people who are wondering what the heck are they talking about, what is metabolic health? Let's just try to define this term real quick. And Angela already alluded to the fact that this is a slippery term. 

Angela: It is. Yeah, it's absolutely slippery. And, you know, and I think Victoria said also, I think just partly, you know, that it's the absence of metabolic disease, but that's almost like as specific as you can get without or as general as you can get without being really specific, you know? 

Justin: Right. You either need to go get a PhD or be happy with that. 

Angela: Yeah. But it is. And I think from, you know, a clinical perspective, it's that definition is really focused on certain factors, metabolic parameters that we know are tightly associated with links to development of diseases like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and then as we know, actually many, many more diseases that don't seem so obviously linked. 

But if you have certain risk factors, so abnormalities in, for example, your blood sugar. So if you have chronically elevated blood sugar or insulin resistance and abnormalities in cholesterol or triglycerides, these things would be indicative of metabolic disease or dysfunction. And then we know that these markers are all correlated to these specific diseases that can develop over time. So, you know, it's kind of hard to say other than, you know, really, truly like an absence of abnormalities. And these are really important factors. And I think that is what metabolic health is from a clinical perspective. 

Justin: So from a like just a regular parent perspective, if I'm trying to understand metabolism. So the way that I have thought about it and maybe this is way too simplistic, but I think about it as metabolism is taking stuff from the outside and converting it into energy and waste. Is that Ok?

Angela: Yeah. Yeah. So I would say that's one half of metabolism. So that's what we call catabolism. So catabolism is the breakdown of the things that you take in these large biomolecules. So the food you eat, for example, and then you break it down through the catabolic pathways, catabolism into energy, these small little packets of energy that then your tissues can use to run everything that it does. So your cells need these small little packets of energy called ATP, and they fuel every action that happens in our tissues. 

Anabolism is the opposite direction. So taking small molecules like amino acids that then combine to form proteins or nucleotides that combine to form DNA. That's the other direction. So you have catabolism and anabolism. 

And of course, as adults, you know, we don't have a ton of anabolism going on in, like, our kind of steady-state situation. I mean, you're hitting the gym, you know, you're building muscle protein, things like that. Right. But most of your tissues are kind of like at this homeostatic point. 

But for kids, you know, they're taking in energy and then repackaging it to grow. Right? So the anabolic side of metabolism is really important there as well. It plays a much larger role in the everyday life of an ever-growing child. I would say. But it's important for everyone. But yeah, that's metabolism is kind of those two sides of the same coin. 

Justin: Alright. So then we think about it as taking stuff from the outside to convert into energy and into like building blocks of stuff like muscle and tissues. Both are right. 

And so a parent is thinking about their own child's health. Is there any advantage for them to understand metabolic health as separate from any other aspect of their kids' health? 

Angela: Yeah, I think so. I think that metabolic health is one of the most malleable aspects of our health, most susceptible to influence by our lifestyle. And so as a parent, the habits that you instill in your children when they're growing really define for so many people the way that they're going to live their life, you know, for the rest of their life. 

And it's much harder for an adult to kind of overturn decades of maybe, you know, poor lifestyle choices when it comes to, you know, exercise or diet or whatever, rather than, you know, from the beginning trying to instill those habits that would work towards metabolic health in a child. So you think about doing everything you can to set your kid up for a long, healthy, you know, happy life. And I think metabolic health is absolutely key to that. 

Victoria: Full disclosure, I'm not a parent, so I'm just speaking from, as an outsider looking in. But I think for so many probably parents, you think about sort of genetics playing this massive role, which it does for sure. 

But our choices, the daily choices that we make, the simple, you know, how we choose to eat, how we choose to stress or not, how we sleep, how much sunlight we get, all of these different sort of lifestyle factors, as Angela suggested. What makes such a difference in how things play out, I think for the child, what things turn on or off? Right? 

So I think to put it simply and I think that's where we find things sort of very interesting because we're seeing sort of metabolism as this key feature and common thread of so many diseases these days. I mean, you look at Metabolic Health Summit and all the areas that we're covering. Right. It's really interesting to see how it impacts that. So I think it's important to consider the choices that we make as we're thinking about raising kids and as I'm thinking about them in the future. 

Audra: Yeah, Victoria, I think that's an amazing point that you bring up, that our genetics are not necessarily our destiny. Right? And with Metabolic Health Summit, you're seeing people completely change the odds, turn their lives around very often later on down the path. Right? And in that process of being a part of this for so many different diseases, so many different opportunities for change through lifestyle, you know, it does make me think that you can look down that path and say, man, if we got to this earlier, what are the opportunities, right? 

Victoria: Yeah.

Justin: Victoria, you mentioned several actions, behaviors. So you talked about diet, you talked about sleep, you talked about stress or stresses in it actually about what stress management is. 

So if I were to go to the Metabolic Health Summit, what are some of the behaviors that I would see studied? What are the things that I could learn about that I can affect in my own life? Like what does it mean to actually do metabolic health in one's life? 

Victoria: Metabolic Health Summit has really kind of grown over the years as well. I mean, ketogenic metabolic therapy has been sort of like the key focus, but in that, we've kind of expanded it. And so it was originally called the Conference on Nutritional Ketosis and Metabolic Therapeutics. Say that 12 times fast. 

Justin: The kids loved it, though. 

Victoria: But it's evolved over time into Metabolic Health Summit because there were so many sort of factors and things that we were sort of seeing in the research, that how that was kind of evolving that we needed to kind of include in the conversation. So, you know, it's not just nutrition. It's also sort of we make sure to include things like sleep, obviously exercise, human performance. Stress reduction is a huge, huge thing. And in fact, an area we actually included a meditation up on the helicopter pad last year. You want to include that more because there's a lot of really interesting research there. 

Next year, we also want to be inclusive of the gut microbiome. There's so you know, our gut health getting out into the sunshine, vitamin D, there are so many factors, right, that we've really kind of expanded what Metabolic Health Summit sort of incorporates, because over time too, that definition and what that means sort of can evolve as well. I think as we learn as we kind of sit on the cutting edge sort of cusp of science, nutrition, and health science, I think that we need to give that room to evolve. But what's very clear is that metabolic health really runs deep throughout our entire life. And so..

Justin: Yeah, every... 

Victoria: Yeah. There are so many important factors. Right. That I could give you a list. And I think as we talked about, sort of like the definition of metabolic health and sort of being the absence of metabolic disease, it's taken on this whole new life, especially now sort of given the pandemic and everything metabolic, the sort of words “metabolic health” have taken on so much more meaning and have sort of involved so much more than just what we're eating. 

Audra: That's such a great point. And it makes me think or brings up for me the concept that's alive and well in the MaxLove Project community and that of bio-individuality, which defies prescription. But when we're new to this, we're just getting into these kind of some of these lifestyle changes and many of us working to overcome the standard American lifestyle. We want to fall into a prescription. Right? We want to fall into like there's only one way to do this. And this is, you know, the one way. 

So it strikes me that as metabolic health, as the Summit is expanding, I'm seeing more of that, like, feeling of attention to bio-individuality that you need to tap into you. Right? Your own health goals, how you respond to things, what your unique needs are. And there are so many ways of going about doing this. 

So I'm really interested in how we can help foster that kind of with parents and families. That seems like it's really hard. So many of us need a book and a prescription, right? Like how do you develop that mindfulness to get to know yourself or and your kids, your family? You know, it's challenging. 

Victoria: Go down that road to find what works for you. Yeah, it is a lot of trial and error, I will say, just as being sort of a lifelong, you know, just seeker of metabolic health and taking my own health to the next level. It's so different for everybody. There's you know, everybody is so unique in how they respond to things, even sort of a ketogenic diet. 

I mean, you can see that not to get deep into that, but you can see that in sort of even the markers that people measure, cholesterol being one of them, how different an individual we are and how we respond to that, whether or not that's good or bad, it's up for another discussion. 

But it is a lot of trial and error. But it's also, you know, you guys are doing it right. And that's why I feel so passionately about what you guys are doing, because I think it's so needed in the world to be able to guide, especially families. I mean, you're not just talking about trying to figure out your own metabolic health. You're trying to also balance that with your family. I can't even imagine that. You know, I just try to balance my metabolic health and my dogs and...

Audra: You've got Josh, too. I mean, what do you two do it or in your family's in this space of your own diversity within your family units and bio-individuality and all of that, like how, what does that like for you both personally? 

Victoria: Yeah, for us. You know, it's been a learning process, I think, with as it goes in any marriage to figure out, you know, we've always valued, I think, at different points too. We've obviously always valued nutrition and exercise and have really understood what we both kind of need as individuals prior to us sort of getting into our relationship. 

But as we've gone through our time, much like you referred to, I think before we started the recording, you know, different sleep schedules and different, you know, like I could stay up really late and work throughout the night and then, you know, so we've now become very in-sync with that. But it's come to sort of like the realization and in getting different devices that have helped us kind of see how we both respond differently. I mean. 

Audra: Oh, interesting.

Victoria: ... too much here. But, you know, we both have Oura rings and, you know, we both started to talk about how important sleep is and how different of an experience each night we have. And even talking about, you know, maybe the best thing to do is sleep in different rooms so we get our individual needs met. I mean that’s a thing these days. 

Audra: Yeah. 

Victoria: So it's been a really interesting process. And we probably nerd out a little bit more on our own individual data more than most. But I think it really has been it's really important to be communicative, I think, with each other, because you're so different. And for us, that was really apparent when we both got COVID how differently we responded to that.

That was another really big eye-opener for us, that, “Wow, we're very different.” You know, I got hit hard and he had sort of cold-like symptoms. 

So and same with our dogs. I mean, we have two different dogs. One can be a little pain in the butt, but we love him. And the other has suffered from a traumatic brain injury. And so actually monitoring their stress levels and what throws one off with seizures and what the other sort of acting out. It's been interesting, but it's not been, I'm sure, as challenging as being able to balance out within a family with human children. I can only imagine. So I'd love to hear from you guys on how you guys balance that. Not to flip the script, but, you know.

Audra: Oh, no, please do. I think that’s great. But what about for you, Angela? 

Justin: Well, and can I preface yours? Angela, I just to give yours more context. I'm super interested in how parenting has changed what you thought you were going to like. Right. Mike Tyson has a saying: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” And I feel like having a baby is like getting punched in the mouth. 

Angela: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it is as much as you think you know, you're ready and you know what's going to come. You're right. It is like getting punched in the mouth. It's completely eye-opening in so many ways. 

And, you know, I think for me and my husband, we have really benefited. So we have a three-year-old. He just turned three. And then our daughter just, she's almost 10 months. So she was born right at the beginning of the pandemic, like in April. And I remember back then, like being so, so worried. It just seemed so extreme at the time, not realizing that, like, “Oh, it's going to get a lot worse.” You know? It's a great time to have a baby. 

But anyway, you know, so it was kind of under the context of all the stress. But, you know, my husband and I, my husband is an emergency physician. We met in college, so we went through graduate school and med school together. It was, you know, difficult years where we were both just studying and working and just challenging times, especially with him being in the E.R., you know, he's constantly flipping between days and nights shifts. He has really long shifts and he still does at this point in this year, obviously has been particularly challenging for many reasons because of COVID. 

But, you know, when we had our son three years ago, I think there's something about your children. You would do anything for them to give them what they need. You know, you would forego whatever you need, but then the second that they come into the picture, you would do anything. Right. So I think that having him really made me prioritize my own health. 

I wouldn’t say I had, like, a great mental perspective around my work-life balance before my son and I, even though, like, I had like an incredibly supportive boss. For example, Dr. Dominic D'Agostino is my boss. We've worked together for a decade now, and he is the kindest, most supportive boss you could ever have. There's something about the career that I chose in research, it just doesn't end. I'm sure Justin you've experienced that. 

Justin: Yup. 

Angela: You can decide to...

Justin: There is literally no end. And I mean, there's no point I was like, “Ok, I'm done.” Yeah.

Angela: Right? And then, of course, with my husband going through that, too. But when our son came to the picture and then even more when Lorelai came into the picture, our daughter in the middle of a pandemic, it just really brought to surface, you know, what is important, what is less important, and doing the things that keep us as a family unit healthy and thriving, and together and give us the best opportunity to have as much happy, healthy, happy time together. 

That was just such a motivating factor that I guess I didn't care about myself as much as I care about my children. And I think that that has just been just absolutely life-changing in that regard. So, you know, even though this year has by far been the most difficult of our lives, my husband and I have looked at each other recently and said, “Wow, this is like the best year of our life.”

Justin: Oh, my god. I love to hear that. Oh, geez. 

What has surprised you, Angela, the most like going into being a parent? I'm sure you had lots of ideals, like ideals about how you know a lot about health and metabolic health. And so it's like, “Ok, you know, I'm like, I've got it all planned out.” What have you learned about what is doable, not what's perfect, but what is achievable?

Angela: Right, exactly. And that's what immediately came to mind. I think there's a saying, “Don't let great become the enemy of good” or something. Right. You know of these ideas. You want to do everything perfectly. And then you have a three-year-old. And he doesn’t necessarily want to do everything perfectly. 

Justin: Yeah. 

Angela: And you can’t make him to. As much as you want him to 100% of the time, choose the healthy thing and the you know, all of that. But you support and you prioritize and you hope that the majority of the time we make it and we make the right decisions. But then, you know, you also accept that life is not perfect.

Justin: Angela, is there a non-negotiable for you? Like, is there one thing where you like “I know enough, like because of my research or you know, I know that this is just I can't slide on this one thing.” What would it be?

Angela: You know, I wouldn’t say for me, for my husband, it's motorcycles and fireworks. He says, no. 

Audra: He’s seen too much. 

Angela: Zero. Never in our family. He’s had too much of that in the E.R.

Justin:  Absolutely. No, that makes sense. Well, you know, if your guts are splattered all over the highway, then you can't metabolize food. 

Audra: Unless you become a zombie. But yeah.

Justin: Oh, wow. All right. So it's fireworks and motorcycles for him. Do you have one? 

Angela: You know, nothing that we've experienced so far, but they’re also very young. Right. I imagine will come into some will meet some hard lines here in the next decade or so. When they get a little older, they're more able to make some decisions on their own. 

Victoria: What about for you, Justin? 

Justin: Well, one thing I would ask you about is what do you think about fruit juice? Like, is that something…

Angela: Oh yeah, we don’t do fruit juice. Yeah. But, you know, I'm not going to knock it out of his hand. If someone you know, if you just…

Justin: Just like Shaquille O'Neal. Yeah. 

Angela: Right. Yeah. No, that's a great, great point. Yeah. Never I mean, we got those kind of things we just don't keep in the house, you know what I mean? Like we don't have fruit juice in the house. He doesn't, I don't even know they really know what juice is. 

Justin: And so for parents listening to this who are like, wait, what? Juice? What are your thoughts on juice? Why don't you have any juice in your house? 

Angela: Yeah. So because I think, you know, most fruit juices that are sold as marketed to children, have as much sugar in them as a bowl of ice cream or a couple of donuts. And they don't have the fiber, too. So I'm not like... 

Justin: It's just straight sugar. I mean, there’s nothing else in it. 

Angela: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, my kids eat fruit, you know? I'll give them an orange, but to give him a glass of orange juice that’s stripped of the fiber so it doesn't slow the absorption of that sugar. And then it's literally like the amount of sugar and how many oranges, you know, it's just it's taking something that I'm perfectly fine with and then kind of removing the best things about it and then making it even worse. So, yeah, I mean, I just think, yeah, we just pretty much drink water for the kids. It's water and he drinks whole milk. 

Justin: So one of my questions was for both of you, if you could give parents just one piece of advice on metabolic health for the kids, like one thing to start today to focus on, what would it be? I think fruit juice is an easy one. Do either of you have any other ones that are just some like first steps today, give this a try.

Victoria: I mean, not being a parent, speaking from not having experience on how challenging it might be. I would say try to stick to whole foods as much as possible. If it's packaged, you probably want to try to avoid that as much as you can. And that's sort of the first step. They talk about sort of shopping on the outside of the aisle.

Audra: Yeah, the perimeter.

Victoria: Yeah, I mean, I would say full food, you're going to be kind of moving towards sort of in the right direction and staying away from the packaged stuff that has the preservatives, that has so many different sort of additions to it than what it was in its whole state. You know, you really, not to get too deep into the weeds with ingredients. You just stick with the whole stuff, you know, and you're headed in the right direction. 

Angela: So I would say that too and then just prioritizing active fun, just getting your kid outside every day. It's so pervasive and easy now to, especially right now. I know it's complicated and people have many reasons to use like, a lot of screen time because of specific obstacles. But just making that a daily part of their routine and prioritizing that for children, I think is really critical. So I don't think it can be underestimated how important that is.

Victoria: To go off of that, I mean, one thing that I do for myself every day is just making sure I start my day with sunlight, like getting outside, even if it's for 10, 15 minutes. 

There's a pretty powerful effect for just being in the sunshine that I think, you know, maybe all of us can kind of practice just literally taking a bit of a walk outside or, you know, whatever the case may be. But trying to get it in some sunshine every day can be really powerful. It sounds so simple and so strange, but I think as humans that’s sort of an absolute need.

Audra: And without sunblock, right? 

Victoria: Yeah, there you go. I mean, yeah, we could get into a whole rabbit hole. Yeah. But, you know, I think we have underestimated the importance of getting sunshine and how I mean, every sort of form of life, you know, plants, animals, we all need sort of light. And it's so underestimated. And I mean, you're starting to hear more and more about it with vitamin D, you know, the talk around vitamin D and COVID and whatnot. But, yeah, it's an important thing.

Audra: I have a related question to the tips for parents when it comes to, you know, kind of what are the small things that we can do as we're trying to make these little changes and steps towards health from the standard American lifestyle. And so we've got some really great small, actionable things. 

Have you seen folks who dive into the health and wellness space who kind of on the opposite end of this are like, my kids are going to be carnivore, my kids are going to do, be vegan and my kids or whatever it might be. Do you have any tips when it comes to child nutrition that you know or a perspective on this anyway, of like floating to the extremes? 

Angela: I'm not a dietitian or anything related, but I don't know a lot about it. I just know in science, nothing is ever black and white. And if you get in yourself in a silo where you become so convinced, you know, that this very extreme version of one way of doing things is the only possible way, I would take a step back and assess all sides of the situation, because you will almost always find some nuance to bring to kind of give yourself a different perspective. 

And especially when it comes to children, you know, they're growing and, you know, they're growing and they have different requirements, goes back to this idea of like catabolism and anabolism. They have different needs and requirements and things—diets, for example, impacts them differently and we know that. There's also not research really in children and diets usually. So to make bold claims about like extreme kind of scenarios as it pertains to children in particular, I think is concerning in my perspective. 

Audra: I think that's so helpful. I mean, it really brings the focus back to what we call whole, Fierce Foods as the when and the approach. And I know for our family, we I mean, we went keto-crazy, you know, in a positive way when we found it. And it did so much for Max that we all went all in. 

Justin: But our son had an aggressive or a growing brain tumor. 

Audra: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And in the cool learning that has come out of it is that all four of us eat differently. We put the same dinner on the table every night. We provide, similar to Angela, we have oranges and apples and we have got, you know, a variety of things like that of, you know, we always have whole foods around. We've got our Quest products, certainly.

Justin: We need to make a note that right now, Max is not on a ketogenic diet. And so that's why we can have this. 

Audra: Yeah, Max is on a higher protein, lower carb diet right now. But still, even when he is and has been fully keto, we've taken a bio-individual approach. And it's been an evolution for us because we went from being like, what's fair for everyone in the family? And everyone's going to eat the same way, too. We all have different needs. 

And so Mommy, you know, has hypothyroidism and has a hard time with lactose. So she needs this. You know, Daddy just really loves sardines and salad. So he is fine with that approach. And Maesie, it's a similar sort of thing, like we're going to provide the more flexibility for her in the home to make those choices. And when she goes out in the world, you know, we're not restricting what she does at birthday parties at friends’ houses or anything like that. And she's ended up making some really good choices for her. So she has her little Annie's mac and cheese and does stuff like that. But she will also eat an entire double flat of raspberries in one sitting, you know, like and it's a really, it's a hard thing because there's like no book that you're going to buy that's going to show you how to do this.

And I think that's the difficult thing is like really working with your family and your kids on what feels nourishing, like what feels good to you. What are the triggers for you where, you know, maybe I'm not feeling great after eating this or maybe this isn't something that would be a good habit for me, you know? I think that's the challenging part, but also the huge opportunity. 

Justin: Well, I feel a little differently. 

Audra: Oh, do you? 

Justin: So, when I hear “Do what feels good for you,” I get concerned because we live in a food environment that if I do really what feels good to me…

Audra: No, no, I'm saying not what feels good, like mindful like what feels like…

Justin: Right, I just as in full disclosure, before Max was diagnosed, like and Audra, to her credit, you know, was not happy with this, but I would come home with like Lunchables and just like the most juice bar like the easiest, the things that kids, you know, like hey we all…

Audra: He loved to eat Smart Start every morning like I don’t know if you remember that cereal, it would like cut the roof of your mouth and he'd be like, “It said smart on it.” 

Justin: I grew up eating like, mixing-bowl-sized full of corn pops. It was just like the entire box, which would go in the…

Angela: Nice. 

Justin: So for me, I had to think, all right, I now have gone far enough down all these different paths that I know what eventually feels good to me, the like, if I eat this way, I know how I'm going to feel. 

But Angela, as you alluded to, parenting, especially when the kids are young, as young as you have, I mean, and you're juggling a career and you know, and all this. I yeah, I just know what feels good is just a little peace, you know, it just a little just like some fast peaceful. I like it. We just get this thing done. 

And so I wonder if there are some more guidelines that we could add in. So we have whole foods, you know, go and go into more whole food direction activity. But I'm wondering if there are some other little pieces of advice that we might be able to do. 

Angela: Something came to mind. You're saying that because I think your comment about a little peace is what it feels good. I completely understand that. 

I have my difficulty is if I have not planned ahead and have, you know, a healthy meal that I can make in a pretty quick amount of time when I get home, or even better, I've already made it and are just waiting to be warmed up, and I have it on-hand. And if I don't have, you know, the snacks that I want my kids to be eating when they're hungry and myself that I want to reach for when I'm hungry, avocados or berries or whatever it is, I will order food because it seems like the craziest, most easy thing in the world and then always make poor choices when I order right from a restaurant. So for me, it's like it's really a significant benefit to me and my family’s health when I just make that commitment to really thinking ahead of time and plan…

Justin: Planning, planning, yeah.

Angela: Once I'm already hungry and exhausted. Oh, my gosh. You know.

Justin: Just all bets are off. 

Angela: Yeah. I think I don't know. That's nothing very insightful. But it helps. It works for us for sure. 

Audra: No, I think it's super insightful. 

Victoria: Again, not speaking from a place of having kids, but trying but loving kids, like trying to make things fun and being and having it be an inclusive experience with them. Much like what you guys do with MaxLove so well is making it be sort of a fun thing. 

I think maybe many families sort of see it as just maybe mom or dad cooking in the kitchen. But I think you can involve the family in a way that makes it exciting for kids, too, and makes it sort of this like educational process at the same time.

Now, granted, that takes a lot of planning and a lot of time and things. So it's not maybe always possible, but where you can maybe on the weekends is making it something fun and exploring it together, because for a lot of families, I think cooking can be just in and of itself can be very daunting. And whole foods feel like so much more commitment because, you know, you really have to understand what you're doing. But I think it can be really fun and it can be really simple, too, with sort of the right approach.

Justin: Ohhh, I just have a thought about that simple thing. One of the things that going into a ketogenic diet with Max and working on getting the right foods at the right time, and it really forced us to simplify. And now I think maybe at one point in time I would have thought, well, it's not ok to just have some chicken and broccoli. Like you can't just eat that. But now it's like... 

Audra: You have to have rice.

Justin: Well, well. Yeah, but you know, but now it's like, well, we've roasted some broccoli and we had a rotisserie chicken and this is what it is. And now I'm like, totally fine with that. This is actually a fantastic dinner. 

Audra: It's a crazy mindset shift, isn't it? 

Justin: Like it can be really simple, it is. And the kids like it, like they're like, “Oh, great, we get broccoli and rotisserie chicken!”

Audra: And no, it's true. And Victoria, your point is super well taken, too. I mean, we've only seen that again and again and again. When kids have their hands on it, when they're involved with it, when they make the choices, whatever the choice might be. I mean, it could be small choices, you know, it could be like. But when they're involved with it, they're invested. And then all of a sudden the outcome is different. Right? Because they're like, “oh, I took part in that. I'm invested in it. It’s not just some random thing you put down in front of me and then asked me to eat.” 

And I think that's really powerful, along with persistence. You know, some of the tips that we've had to ah, make some of that like as you're preparing the meal and you have some of these veggies that you're preparing, make some available to them before dinner when they're really hungry, and let them come in, introduce it, pick at it, and then let them critique it. What would you do different? I mean, even as the little ones, you know, even at three, they can be like, ehhh, I don't know. I would, you know, try it in this. Well, what if you try it in that? You know, they love to be involved and it makes all the difference in the world. 

Angela: We've recently, my son and I recently, we make eggs together in the mornings now. And there's nothing better than a gooey egg, you know, for a three-year-old boy. He loves it. He cracks open the yolks. And then when we break them up, he just loves it. It's just fun. 

Audra: So cool. 

Justin: Eggs are the best. 

Audra: You just have to be willing to let the kitchen's going to be messier than you want. Things aren't as controllable. You know, you got to be willing to let go. There's going to be some like little shards of shell, you know, in your scrambled eggs or whatever. But that's ok. 

And, you know, a big thing for us, too, that we've learned along the way is persistence. One of the cool things about Max going keto was that we had kind of a palate cleanse that happened. You know, like you have a kid who would not even touch spaghetti squash before going keto. Three months into it like “There's spaghetti in the name?” “Yes.” “I'll have some.” 

Justin: It looks kind of like…

Audra: You know, melon, I remember telling them—I remember being at that stage like so many moms, like, you know, eat your melon before you can have dessert or eat your apple before you can have dessert. And now those are truly desserts and valued as such by these kids, you know? 

But it's definitely I mean, we're going on, gosh, eight years or so. And it has taken that long. You know, it has been a continual push of offering and offering and offering and offering. I don't know, especially when the odds are stacked against us with the standard American lifestyle. I don't know that there's a point where you just win. It is a constant effort, you know, and I think that that's. Yeah, it's hard. I just want to recognize that it's hard. You know, you're working. Yeah, it is. 

Victoria: I don't know how you guys do it. I mean, I tell Angela all the time, she's super woman and same with you guys. I mean, I can only imagine, you know, I sit here not being a parent, just saying, well, just involve the kids. And just that simple act is probably I can't even imagine how challenging. 

But at the same time, I can imagine that it probably provides the child with a level of confidence that they might not have had before. And they sort of start to feel empowered that I can be involved in something so significant. You know, eating is a part of everybody's life multiple times a day. And that has got to be such an incredible learning, life learning experience, I would imagine. But the point A to point B to get there, I'm sure I can't imagine how difficult and how not simple. I mean, because I would imagine that one of the biggest challenges for many families is just the outside influences like you can... 

Audra: Yes. 

Victoria: And all you can in the house. But you want social you know, social interaction is so important and not everybody's going to be on the same whole food wavelength that you are. 

Audra: Right.

Victoria: So much like what Angela said, “I'm not going to smack it out of his hand.” It's hard, though, at the same time, when you have exposure like that to other things that maybe don't fit within what you're trying to do, that throws a wrench in at that point A to point B process. 

Audra: Yeah, no, absolutely. It's hard work. And it strikes me with Metabolic Health Summit that you see a lot of this. You see a lot of people making major, major life changes and working very hard. And there is a sort of narrative, I feel like around, especially with parenting, that these things should be easier. 

And I don't know, I think it can be tough, tough as a mom. And, you know, somebody like through what we're doing at the MaxLove Project to share that the project of thriving, of health and wellbeing for your family is indeed work. And it's worth it. You know, it's worth the hard work, but I do think that there's something that's difficult about that in our kind of very convenience-striven American society. I know I wasn't raised with that way of thinking and with that way of thinking around health and wellbeing. So it can be very difficult. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, having anything kind of start to take that sort of like habit place in your life, I mean, especially when you were raised a certain way and not with that level of convenience and whatnot. It's like literally changing your entire mindset. 

I mean, one way I can kind of relate to that is just in working with a variety of cancer patients and some of the sort of pilot studies, so challenging and so difficult, but so empowering in the process if you can get through that learning curve and that struggle to feel like you actually play a really active role in your life and can make these choices that do make a big difference down the line and teach your kids that too. I think there's something so powerful to that. And I think, like you said, it's worth the struggle. So I, you know, keep on persevering through it. It makes a difference. 

Audra: Yeah, it's a powerful way to put it, you know, it's like learning how to work on your house or any other life skill, you know, it's like when you do your own plumbing to some degree. I mean, that is awesome, right? Like that is empowering. And I love that feeling that you have after. I think that's a great way to frame it for people who are thinking, “Do we get over a hump? Does it get easier?” It does get easier. 

Victoria: Yeah, I would agree. I think so. I mean, I've worked with a lot of sort of nutrition clients over the years, and it's all going a totally different way of life is always a struggle, always feels uncomfortable. But some of the most beautiful things come out of discomfort, I think, in life and are worth it at the end of the day. But it does get easier, I think. But, you know, I'm not speaking from the perspective of a parent, but somebody who's put myself through the ringer many different ways so, you know.

Justin: So one of the ways this has gotten easier for me, at least, is seeing the effect of these changes in my own life. And so when I make these nutritional changes or physical activity or more sun or sleep, the whole thing, I notice a difference in myself. And so that motivates me to do this for my kids. 

So I'm wondering for both of you, what are the metabolic health actions that you're working on right now that are kind of like new and challenging for you? Like what is really exciting in your own personal health journeys in regard to metabolic health right now? 

Angela: This whole past year, I really rededicated myself to cooking a lot more than I used to because things have slowed down, obviously. I'm working from home and stuff, and so I'm able to, which is fantastic. And that's been a huge. I also got an air fryer, which is like amazing. 

Audra: I want one! I really want one. 

Justin: What do you make with it? 

Angela: Everything. 

Audra: Everything. 

Angela: Literally make everything. I don't understand. It's literally just magic...everything's like Jamaican jerk work in there is just like the juiciest. So good. You got to get an air fryer and I’ll send you the recipe. But anyways, that's been a journey for me. But more recently, what I'm trying to do is incorporate more like fun activity and do like my exercise. So instead of just kind of doing like, you know, typical kind of workouts for workout sake. My husband and I used to play Ultimate Frisbee. 

Justin: Oh, yes. 

Angela: I bought a Frisbee and Ultimate Frisbee. And I've been making them go to the park with me. 

Justin: Oh, heck, yeah. 

Audra: That’s so cool. 

Angela: And our three-year-old will just run in between us…

Victoria: I need to see this video.

Angela: You should come out, in the afternoon and the whole place. And that's been going to return to the fun aspect.

Justin: Returning to fun. I love it. 

Victoria It's been an interesting year for me. There are some new things that have popped up COVID-related that I've kind of been working through. And so for me, exercise has always been sort of a way to sort of been like my therapy is like working through things through exercise and exerting that energy and completing the stress cycle is, has always been exercise for me. 

So not having that, I would say over the last three months has really pushed me into adapting and evolving, much like what we've done with Metabolic Health Summit into finding new ways to kind of just take in all of life's awesomeness at the moment. 

So a little bit of sarcasm there, but also things like, you know, I've always had kind of a meditation practice, but I've kind of done it sort of sporadically when I felt like I really needed today. So instead, I've been really trying to focus on making that sort of a daily thing and also incorporating just focus on my breath in the process that, you know, obviously with meditation, you can focus on breath, but making it more a little bit more on purpose and sort of doing a little bit of breathwork in between specifically too, because I did suffer some breathing problems with so that that's been really helpful to me to bring my sort of focus back to something so simple. 

That along with I have been taking some fun cold showers and I've been doing that daily, actually. And I like it from the perspective of just simply getting through a cold shower, kind of like trickles into other facets of your life where you're faced with this sort of like, oh, shocking stress response. But if you can kind of face that sort of reaction and instead go through it and not react and sort of like, this is getting a little weird, but.

Audra: No, no, no, no. 

Justin: No. I mean, so just to give any listeners context, who might be saying like, “Why in the heck would you want to do a cold shower?” This has become quite popular in the health world, I'd say over the last, what? Ten, five, ten years? Oh, yeah. And so it's supposed to have, well, I don't want to, I mean, is this supposed to be hormetic in the sense that it did, you know, provides a stress on the body and that the response to that stress is supposed to be healthy. Is that the basics that parents would need to know about taking a super cold shower? 

Victoria: There's a variety of information out there about why that might be sort of beneficial and why not. But for me, I would say I kind of enjoy doing it first thing in the morning because it kind of forces me to get into this like really solid mindset of instead of reacting to stress, I kind of like work through it first thing in the morning. 

And it brings me back to that simplicity of just focusing on my breath and being aware of what sort of is going on with my body first thing in the morning. It just wakes me up as well. I think there's obviously a lot of information out there that you could find on it. But for me, I think it's been really interesting to kind of watch how I've changed mentally. 

And I think I find I've instead of channeling a lot of the stress that sort of the world right now through physical activity, which is what I normally use to kind of get through things, I really kind of gone within myself and look to things like meditation and ways to kind of upgrade and get through these challenging times through using the power of my mind. And I think that's really interesting, because there is such a—  

I mean, if you look at one of the most interesting areas for for me within the research right now is I mean, not to go out of left field, but nutritional psychiatry, I think is really a good example of how interconnected mind, body. And so I've really been kind of focusing on that a lot because I've not had that physical activity in the side of things. It's been a really interesting, eye-opening sort of experience. It's always, you know, I've always incorporated it, but I've taken it to a new level. 

Justin: Awesome. 

Audra: So powerful, Victoria. I can just imagine, I guess, what comes up for me hearing you reflect on this, because I know from knowing you how important physical activity has been, the grief that can accompany that, you know, that the way that you've been able to work with and use your body and even enjoy that. I mean, to lose that for some time, it's got to be incredibly difficult. So I just felt that as you were sharing. Yeah. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, I've gone through periods of injury before. I used to compete professionally in the world of fitness. And so I've been through that before. But it's really interesting when you faced something like COVID that provides these weird heart- and lung-related issues that linger, that are so outside of your control. 

So, you know, coming from a background of being a professional athlete and being so in-control of that has really I think it's been a really great opportunity to continue to work on that mental side of things that I think also is very powerful. I mean, that's why I personally feel sort of the stress management and I think it's amazing that you guys include that so heavily and with MaxLove. Because, you know, being able to manage stress and being able to work through things instead of being I mean, so many of us, especially right now, are in some of this reactionary state and thinking about what that does to the body and constantly being in the state of fight or flight, not being able to manage my, you know, the stress of the world through exercise has really made it even more evident to me how important that peace is. 

And finding different ways to kind of work through it has been pretty powerful and very, I see it as sort of an upward opportunity. I guess shifting my perspective instead of obviously, yes, there's some grief going through losing exercise, but also seeing it as not what I can't, cannot do but choose where I can.

Audra: Where you can. That proactivity. 

Justin: That's yeah. Yeah, I really like your perspective. So I had only thought about cold showers in terms of like what sort of cellular processes are going on when you're freezing. And it wasn't enough. Honestly, that narrative around the, you know, cellular mechanisms was not enough for me to go through it. 

Like I tried it for about a month and I was like, this is so terrible. I don't care. If this adds six months onto my life when I'm 80, I don't care. Like I'll die. And but, what you just said was something that I have found to be so important in mindfulness meditation in my own personal, you know, emotional growth is: can I just be with this? Can I just be with what's happening right now? And so that's what I'm hearing from you is like, you know, getting into that cold shower. Can I just be with this? Like, can I just be here? Yeah, that's super powerful. 

Victoria: That's exactly what it is. I think I can't make myself feel uncomfortable in the gym right now. So I can go through a very uncomf- much like you. I mean, yeah, there's all kinds of information, all kinds of theories and things out there on cold showers in general. But for me, I found the most power in just challenging myself to be sort of ok with it and just sit in it. Much like, you know, a lot of things in life, I think.

Justin: Can I be ok with this feeling of despair that I have or grief or, you know, anger? Like, can I just be with this? Can I just be with it…

Victoria: Yeah, working through it, like head on. I think that's what 2020 taught so many of us, is that like this is going to be uncomfortable for a while. We've got to learn how to live and how to still be grateful and how to, you know, foster relationships and do all these things and just be with what's happening and still take action, of course. But not just like when I say just be not being sort of complacent, but like, you know, really challenging. 

Justin: It's like a radical engagement with it. Can I just get engagement with this? 

Victoria: Ooh, that's good. A good way to put it. I was going to say. 

Justin: Oh, yes. So I see it. We are getting close up to our time. So I want to give you guys enough time to talk real quick about the Metabolic Health Summit. So you weren't able to do it this year. COVID, you know, it just disrupted everything, but it's coming back next year. Can you just tell us briefly, what is Metabolic Health Summit at this point in its evolution and what can we expect in the future?

Victoria: I would say Metabolic Health Summit has evolved so much over the years, but it's had sort of this core like this mission at its core. I mean, we set out to really, I mean, our goal is to revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing our attention. We've drifted away on, you know, nutrition, metabolism, and sort of its common threads throughout everything from human disease to human performance, longevity. I mean, you name it, everything that we sort of touch as human beings. 

And to do that in a way that provides people with the very latest science, I think that's such a key component to Metabolic Health Summit is making sure that what we do every day is backed by what does the bleeding edge science tell us right now. 

And that's why we call it Metabolic Health Summit, because it's not called the Ketogenic Summit. It's because it extends way past that point. Right. That's obviously a big, the ketogenic diet and obviously metabolic therapy in that sense is a very strong part of the conference. 

However, the science could lead us in a completely different direction. So our goal is to bring the very top experts from around the world, the clinicians, that the academics, the people that are in the trenches, doing the work, doing the research to really show us what is the science telling us about nutrition, metabolic therapies, metabolic health in general, and giving that to both the medical professional all the way to the general public. 

I think what's really interesting about our scientific conference is that it started as sort of an academic meeting and it became very evident very quickly that we needed to include the general public to continue this mission of changing the course of how we look at lifestyle and medicine and how it all intertwined. It's so important to include the public, I think, in that process, because we were having patients come to our conference saying, “I want to try to implement this, I want to try to improve my health, I want to learn to empower myself.” 

And so it was a little bit of an evolution. It was a little risky to kind of like try to bring the two worlds together. But truly, it's become this place where keto science does meet society. It's this blending of these two worlds that somehow we managed to kind of give to the world in a very synergistic way that I think we have to, our goal is to really now educate, educate the people sort of on the front lines, the medical professionals, that there are days that and provide credit in doing that. 

So continuing medical education through watching the presentations that you might find at the conference, but also providing this experience that really allows for people to take home more than just much more like you were saying, Justin, we want to provide more than just this sort of like very black and white, “Here's the information,” we want to provide, this experience that takes the science and really shows you what it's like in the real world. 

And so you will not only get very cutting edge science from the clinicians and academics that are doing the work in research. But you'll also get to experience what a culinary ketogenic meal looks like at a gala dinner or, you know, it's down to like every single piece of food that's offered at the conference. The entertainment I mean, two years ago, we really evolved into providing a sort of entertainment at the gala dinner where a BMX, pro BMX athlete who I connected with, who had suffered from multiple brain tumors, who found ketogenic metabolic therapy and uses it to really thrive. And it's really changed him in many ways. He's found many benefits to it in alongside standard of care. He actually lost his sort of ability to ride his bike for some time. And then I connected with him after he really found in the ketogenic diet and was doing quite well. I remember us talking on the phone. It's like, well, what about I can have you perform? That sounds amazing. Can we build a ramp in the ballroom? 

Justin: It was so incredible. I will never forget that. Never. 

Victoria: Oh, good. It was one of those moments where I don't think Angela and I ate for like two days. 

Audra: Yeah, totally.

Angela: Like how we are just like everything was working up to that moment…like please let it all go smoothly. 

Victoria: You know, because here's this amazing, inspiring professional athlete who’s literally felt like he lost his heart and soul is riding his bike to like getting through it. Using ketogenic metabolic therapy is sort of like a tool. And now, like performing flips in the ballroom on a 65-foot ramp. That's the kind of thing that we want to do. It's not just an event. It's an experience that really will provide people. 

I mean, our goal at the end of the day, what we've had to really do with the pandemic is think of new ways to continue that education without live events. Obviously, we're going to continue the conference and we're going to continue to bring people together. That wasn't possible this year, but it's really opened our minds to how we can reach more people more deeply online as well. 

So I think that's the next sort of evolution of MHS is to how do we continue to educate the people that are making big changes in the world that are interacting with patients and do that from the comfort of their own home? So that's where we're headed. Angela, please add to.

Angela: No, that was beautiful. The only thing that comes to mind as it is, it may just lose a place for collaboration. And I think that was a huge impetus when we put the very first conference so many years ago, we basically were like, we need all of these people that were working on this kind of stuff individually to come together, because that's how things move forward so much more quickly and not just, you know, as a scientist, I'm thinking from all the person who studies, you know, for epilepsy and I work on cancer and this person works on metabolic disease, but not just individual academics, but clinicians speaking to scientists, speaking to industry partners, speaking to nonprofit partners, speaking to the general public. 

And I can't even tell you how many like stories I've heard of, you know, just relationships and collaborations and things that have grown out of meetings and experiences at MHS really proving that, you know, that power of human connection. You know, digital is fantastic. But getting people together and I can't wait till we can do it again. But, man, it's made like massive changes in the world already. And I think that's a huge part of what MHS is and provides as well. 

Victoria: Yeah. So really quickly, follow up on what you just said. That is one of I would say my favorite parts of it is coming together so we can talk about how to collaborate. I mean, I think working together is one of the biggest ways that we can kind of push this forward, where we can only do so much individually. But once you bring all these people who are feeling like they were working in silos, maybe working on different things, but once you bring them together and you can start to talk about some of the similar mechanisms, and I mean, we can do so much more with that. 

And then one of my most favorite parts of the conference, you know, it's four days of presentations from the very sort of in-the-weeds science all the way to application in the real world. There's also a scientific poster session, which if you've been to a scientific conference, it's researchers from around the world. And it's one of the most inspiring things ever where you walk through and literally posters for those who haven't been, posters are set up where you can learn about research that hasn't even been published yet of what's happening. I mean, that's like the bleeding edge of, I just, I find it so intensely inspiring and leave that poster session like man, makes me want to, you feel like you want to like go out and change the world after that. There's a sort of a buzz coming off of that.  

Audra: I couldn't agree more. And on the society side, I consider myself to be a society that gets introduced to this thing, to the science thanks to you all. There's really powerful education and support that happens there through having access to the science directly. 

One thing that really occurs to me, too, is that we get to learn more about science. We get to learn more about the methods. We get to learn. 

And one thing that I have learned is humility. I have learned these boundaries thanks to you all and the scientists who have shared their time with us at Metabolic Health Summit. I've learned, you know, what do we know? That's always sort of like we've learned that this suggests this one thing. It's not evangelical. I think that's one of the things that's really powerful about MHS is that this isn't just like a fan club, you know, sort of thing of a you know, a multilevel marketing conference. Right.

Victoria: ...mentality is like my worst nightmare. 

Audra: I feel like there's really powerful learning that the society side needs direct access to science for this reason. You know, they're the intermediary of the influencer, which is what we're seeing very much a lot of around health and wellness on social media especially can be really difficult. Some influencers have it down. Some do not. 

And I think that big sweeping sort of generalizations can easily be made. You know, thoughts around these interpretations of scientific evidence, you know, can be easily kind of waved around. At MHS makes you really get a reason. Like you get you can talk to the folks doing the research. You'll say, well, this is what this suggests. This is what we can say. There's good evidence here and it helps you, I know it has helped me tremendously anyway. So usually there is gatekeeping with this, normally at academic conferences, societies are not allowed in. And so I think it's a huge thing to bring us all together and to be able to facilitate these conversations. I'm incredibly grateful for what you all do. 

Victoria: Well, we're incredibly, incredibly grateful for your support. And it's been so amazing to be able to partner with you guys in some ways you know, I just we we feel inspired by what you do in the world, because we see how important and how neat it is for other families out there, which, you know, with MaxLove Project that now with The Family Thrive. I mean, you're really filling a need that has needed to be met for so long. 

And it's really exciting to see where it goes, it’s such an important component, I think, to what we're trying to do is including families in that conversation, because that's real life, that, you know, that's where our mentality is. It's like let's provide a platform of legitimate science, but let's also include the everyday person in that conversation, because we see how important that is.  

Justin: Yes. Well, I feel the synergy for sure. And before we sign off here and continue to give each other props and hugs and all that other stuff, we have three questions that we ask every podcast guest. And so now you both are on the hot seat. The first question is, if you could put a big Post-it note right on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say? 

Angela: So I was glad that you sent us off because I needed to think about it, right? 

Victoria: Yeah, I need like two more hours to think about it. 

Angela: This is something I've heard elsewhere and I can't recall where, but it really struck a chord with me. And it's “the way you speak to your child becomes their inner voice.” 

Justin: Hmm. Ooof.

Angela: And just daily reminded how important that is and building who they're going to be down the line the way that I speak to them on a daily basis. 

Audra: That's so powerful.

Victoria: Wow, that's. I don't know how to follow it. Yeah. 

Justin: All right, Victoria. 

Victoria: Bring it down even to a more fundamental level: what we speak and what we say, oftentimes not going back to sort of the reactionary thing, but to go back to that reactionary thing. Sometimes we need to take a second and a pause and a breath to create space between what we're thinking and what comes out of our mouth. 

Audra: Thank you. Yes. 

Victoria: Bring it backwards a little bit. I would just have a Post-it note that says “Breathe.” It sounds so simple. 

Justin: Just breathe, yeah. Take a breath. 

Audra: I'm going to put these up on my fridge. I absolutely love them. Well, I said I'm going to put both of these up on the fridge. I mean, I love them. Victoria. Totally. It's that space between stimulus and response. And that is exactly the space that you need when you're going to take a deep breath and consider how you speak to your child, to consider how you speak to yourself. 

Victoria: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's the difference between making good food choices and bad food choices, as well right, just taking a second. 

Justin: Yeah. Slow down. Slow down.  

Victoria: Just chill out for a second. Yeah. 

Audra: If you still make the bad food choice, you've thought about it, you're like, I want it. Own it.

Justin: And I'm going to be mindful as I do it. All right. So the second one is, what is the last quote that has changed the way you think or feel? And I know there might be some overlap here, but give it a shot. 

Angela: This is what I heard recently as an author by the name of Nora Roberts, said something along these lines. This is not direct. The key to juggling everything in life is knowing which balls you're juggling are glass and which are plastic. 

Justin: Perspective, priorities. 

Angela: Absolutely. Some things you can drop and they bounce and you can get them later and some things you drop, and they shatter. So just keeping that in mind. 

Justin: Oh, I had never heard that. Victoria, you got to bring your A-game. 

Audra: No expectations. Victoria, we embrace and accept everything. 

Victoria: There's one that there's one quote that we've tried in every single conference program that I find really inspiring. It's by Ai Weiwei. It's which is sort of like a world renowned artist of the familiar. “Creativity is the power to reject the past and to change the status quo and to seek new potential.” 

And I just feel like for for me, I mean, creativity is it's sort of the heart and soul of everything. And what we do with MHS is really thinking outside of the box and allowing for that creativity to shine, even among sort of the scientific world. I think it's obviously so critical. And so that would be one that sort of inspired me for a long time. 

But another one that's come that inspires me now that I recently sort of read. And to go back to the sort of reactionaries breath thing is “Your perception of me is a reflection of you. And my reaction to you is an awareness of me.”

Audra: Hmm. Yeah. 

Victoria: I kind of like that. I think what I've noticed more than ever over the course of the last year is just is really that just taking a second and responding and not reacting to things. And there's so much more, you know, that peace, I think that we all try to find within our lives comes from that sort of understanding and awareness and lack of reaction and more responding to things. So that would be more of my recent one, and that was two. And I totally broke the rules. 

Audra: I love it. 

Justin: Angela, I was just coming in with these deep ones that you had to add to that. 

This is the last one, as we know and Angela is right in the thick of things here that it can be really exhausting to raise children. And so a lot of parents, especially if you have a, you know, kid less than one and another at three and you, I'm sure, Angela, have talked with other parents are like, “Oh, my god, I'm so tired. I'm so exhausted, my kids. Oh, my god.” So we're all in that. We're like, we all get it. So we want to just end this by just celebrating kids and just focusing on something that we just absolutely love about kids. And so what is your favorite thing about kids?

Angela: I love that kids are just absolutely hilarious. They just, they don't know what they're supposed to say or think yet. They don't know what society thinks they should be or things that they just offer this completely unfiltered, raw view of the world. And it is hilarious. That’s one of my favorite things about kids. 

Audra: Yes. Yes. 

Victoria: Man, I would serve to go off of that, I just so often look at children and just with their ability to play so freely, and it just reminds me how it's so easy to get so caught up in all of life's stuff that we forget to play and we forget to be sort of that raw, candid you know, not sort of thinking about what you should say or should be or whatever. So much as that sort of constricts and constrains who we really are. Especially with social media, you know. 

Justin: Keeping it real. 

Audra: Yeah. Yeah.

Victoria: Keeping it real and allowing yourself some playtime.

Audra: I love that, Victoria. It reminds me of “present.” You know, the kids are so in the moment and so present that they can just be in that way and that sort of like joyful, playful self, that active of imagination, just sort of as overabundant. Right. And and vibrating like they're just vibrating with it. 

And we see that even with MaxLove Project with kids in treatment, they’re that vibrating, powerful being of presence carries everyone else because they're not you know, they're not like, oh, well, you know, weighted down, they end up walking into treatment and like, “So I want to be able to play with this toy and I want to be able to do this next thing” because they're so present. And so I love, I love that reflection. It really resonates with me. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, they're not sort of weighed down by the burden of anxiety about the future or sad about sort of what happened in the past. They’re literally right in that moment. Yeah, one million percent agree with that. And they keep us grounded. I really think. 

Justin: Awesome. Real quick before we go, so how can people find out more about Metabolic Health Summit? 

Victoria: Yeah, Metabolic Health Summit dot com is the best place. But we're also we really make an active effort to provide free content online. So @MetabolicHealthSummit on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, you can find us everywhere. We do offer a variety of free, incredible content, just launched a Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy: 2020 In-Review eBook. So if you want…

Justin: Incredible. Yeah I've seen. It's awesome. 

Victoria: Awesome. If you want sort of like a snapshot of what happened in 2020 we sort of an overview, maybe not everything, but a good portion of it with those key findings. You can find that on our website as well as our social platforms and videos with top experts sort of interviews as well. So metabolichealthsummit.com you’ll find it all there. 

Justin: Beautiful. 

Audra: Yeah. You do a stellar job of providing really phenomenal educational information in these outlets where you're meeting people where they are. And I just love it. I learn something every single day I pull up Instagram, I learn from you instead of it being like some sort of a scroll. You know, there's always something like rich going on in your social media. It's awesome.

Victoria: Aww thanks. We try to provide value however we can, beyond just the once a year event. I mean, I think that's evident. We need to reach far beyond that. 

Audra: Well, you built a community, you built a family. You know, it's like as we go to the event every year or engage on social media or the friends we've made, I mean, you just, you're, it is. It's a really, really wonderful, supportive community. It's so much more than a conference or an event. 

Victoria: Thank you. That means a lot. It comes from a big place of passion for us. We're a small but mighty team. 

Justin: Well, we can't wait for 2022. Awesome.

Victoria: Big celebration. Yeah, we’ll see you guys there. 

Justin: All right. Thank you so much for coming on the show this week. And yes, we yeah, we can't wait for really big things in the future for you guys. 

Audra: Yeah. We appreciate you so much. So much.

Victoria: And we appreciate you guys just the same. I can't wait to see where things go and the impact you guys continue to make with families. 

Justin: Hey, thanks for listening to The Family Thrive podcast. If you like what you heard, please subscribe, tell two friends, and head on over to Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts and give us a review. We're so grateful you've chosen to join us on this Family Thrive journey.  




Podcast Ep. 9: What Parents Need to Know About Metabolic Health With Angela Poff, PhD, and Victoria Field

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Podcast Ep. 9: What Parents Need to Know About Metabolic Health With Angela Poff, PhD, and Victoria Field

Angela Poff, PhD, and Victoria Field join The Family Thrive Podcast to discuss metabolic health and how it can affect our families' overall health

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In this episode

Justin and Audra are joined by the founders of the Metabolic Health Summit, Angela Poff, PhD and Victoria Field, to talk all about metabolic health and what it means for families. From the in-depth discussion on the connection between metabolism and overall health to some simple tips on how to start making healthier choices today, this episode is definitely serving up some food for thought.


About our guests

Angela Poff, PhD, is a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hendrix College and completed her graduate work at the University of South Florida with a PhD in Medical Sciences. Her research focuses on the development and characterization of metabolic-based, nontoxic therapies for cancer and neurological.

Victoria Field is originally from the UK, but is California-raised. She's also a dynamo. Her professional life is just as eclectic as her roots. The first 10 years of her career included covering the news as an NBC affiliate TV anchor, competing as a professional athlete, and co-creating several fitness businesses she operated alongside her husband, Josh. Victoria’s passion for health and nutrition later led her to get involved in cancer research around ketogenic metabolic therapies.

Together, Angela and Victoria run an international health conference called the Metabolic Health Summit under an organization called the Metabolic Health Initiative. The mission of the Summit and Initiative is to “revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing attention on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance.”

Show Notes

03:25 - Quest Nutrition is a revolutionary health brand founded by Victoria and her husband Josh.

06:27 - The Charlie Foundation is an organization that focuses on using therapeutic ketosis to treat a number of diseases and disorders.

19:08 - MaxLove Project believes in bio-individuality, the idea that what works in one body (diet, medication, exercise, etc.) may not work in another. 

22:14 - Oura Rings make special devices that monitor your sleep, readiness, and activity so you can get to know your individual health needs better.

26:08 - Dominic D'Agostino, PhD’s work focuses on metabolic health and is also a host at the Metabolic Health Summit.

36:35 - MaxLove Project’s BE SUPER action plan highlights the importance of eating whole, Fierce Foods. It’s something that can help every family!

53:14 - Ultimate, or Ultimate Frisbee, is a fast-paced non-contact team sport similar in objective to football.

56:30 - Cold showers can potentially help manage stress and anxiety, and, according to a 2008 study, regular cold showers can boost the immune system.

57:50 - Research on nutritional psychiatry suggests that “the food we eat impacts how we feel emotionally. There are some individuals who seek complementary treatments such as food-mood interventions in addition to allopathic medications to boost their chances of improving mood and anxiety.”

01:17:31 - In an interview, American author Nora Roberts was asked how she balanced being a mother and having a career. She replied, “The key to juggling is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic and some are made of glass. And if you drop a plastic ball, it bounces, no harm done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters, so you have to know which balls are glass and which are plastic and prioritise catching the glass ones.” 

01:18:15 - Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist.

01:23:03 - Take a look at MHS’s amazing free content here.

In this episode

Justin and Audra are joined by the founders of the Metabolic Health Summit, Angela Poff, PhD and Victoria Field, to talk all about metabolic health and what it means for families. From the in-depth discussion on the connection between metabolism and overall health to some simple tips on how to start making healthier choices today, this episode is definitely serving up some food for thought.


About our guests

Angela Poff, PhD, is a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hendrix College and completed her graduate work at the University of South Florida with a PhD in Medical Sciences. Her research focuses on the development and characterization of metabolic-based, nontoxic therapies for cancer and neurological.

Victoria Field is originally from the UK, but is California-raised. She's also a dynamo. Her professional life is just as eclectic as her roots. The first 10 years of her career included covering the news as an NBC affiliate TV anchor, competing as a professional athlete, and co-creating several fitness businesses she operated alongside her husband, Josh. Victoria’s passion for health and nutrition later led her to get involved in cancer research around ketogenic metabolic therapies.

Together, Angela and Victoria run an international health conference called the Metabolic Health Summit under an organization called the Metabolic Health Initiative. The mission of the Summit and Initiative is to “revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing attention on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance.”

Show Notes

03:25 - Quest Nutrition is a revolutionary health brand founded by Victoria and her husband Josh.

06:27 - The Charlie Foundation is an organization that focuses on using therapeutic ketosis to treat a number of diseases and disorders.

19:08 - MaxLove Project believes in bio-individuality, the idea that what works in one body (diet, medication, exercise, etc.) may not work in another. 

22:14 - Oura Rings make special devices that monitor your sleep, readiness, and activity so you can get to know your individual health needs better.

26:08 - Dominic D'Agostino, PhD’s work focuses on metabolic health and is also a host at the Metabolic Health Summit.

36:35 - MaxLove Project’s BE SUPER action plan highlights the importance of eating whole, Fierce Foods. It’s something that can help every family!

53:14 - Ultimate, or Ultimate Frisbee, is a fast-paced non-contact team sport similar in objective to football.

56:30 - Cold showers can potentially help manage stress and anxiety, and, according to a 2008 study, regular cold showers can boost the immune system.

57:50 - Research on nutritional psychiatry suggests that “the food we eat impacts how we feel emotionally. There are some individuals who seek complementary treatments such as food-mood interventions in addition to allopathic medications to boost their chances of improving mood and anxiety.”

01:17:31 - In an interview, American author Nora Roberts was asked how she balanced being a mother and having a career. She replied, “The key to juggling is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic and some are made of glass. And if you drop a plastic ball, it bounces, no harm done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters, so you have to know which balls are glass and which are plastic and prioritise catching the glass ones.” 

01:18:15 - Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist.

01:23:03 - Take a look at MHS’s amazing free content here.

In this episode

Justin and Audra are joined by the founders of the Metabolic Health Summit, Angela Poff, PhD and Victoria Field, to talk all about metabolic health and what it means for families. From the in-depth discussion on the connection between metabolism and overall health to some simple tips on how to start making healthier choices today, this episode is definitely serving up some food for thought.


About our guests

Angela Poff, PhD, is a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hendrix College and completed her graduate work at the University of South Florida with a PhD in Medical Sciences. Her research focuses on the development and characterization of metabolic-based, nontoxic therapies for cancer and neurological.

Victoria Field is originally from the UK, but is California-raised. She's also a dynamo. Her professional life is just as eclectic as her roots. The first 10 years of her career included covering the news as an NBC affiliate TV anchor, competing as a professional athlete, and co-creating several fitness businesses she operated alongside her husband, Josh. Victoria’s passion for health and nutrition later led her to get involved in cancer research around ketogenic metabolic therapies.

Together, Angela and Victoria run an international health conference called the Metabolic Health Summit under an organization called the Metabolic Health Initiative. The mission of the Summit and Initiative is to “revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing attention on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance.”

Show Notes

03:25 - Quest Nutrition is a revolutionary health brand founded by Victoria and her husband Josh.

06:27 - The Charlie Foundation is an organization that focuses on using therapeutic ketosis to treat a number of diseases and disorders.

19:08 - MaxLove Project believes in bio-individuality, the idea that what works in one body (diet, medication, exercise, etc.) may not work in another. 

22:14 - Oura Rings make special devices that monitor your sleep, readiness, and activity so you can get to know your individual health needs better.

26:08 - Dominic D'Agostino, PhD’s work focuses on metabolic health and is also a host at the Metabolic Health Summit.

36:35 - MaxLove Project’s BE SUPER action plan highlights the importance of eating whole, Fierce Foods. It’s something that can help every family!

53:14 - Ultimate, or Ultimate Frisbee, is a fast-paced non-contact team sport similar in objective to football.

56:30 - Cold showers can potentially help manage stress and anxiety, and, according to a 2008 study, regular cold showers can boost the immune system.

57:50 - Research on nutritional psychiatry suggests that “the food we eat impacts how we feel emotionally. There are some individuals who seek complementary treatments such as food-mood interventions in addition to allopathic medications to boost their chances of improving mood and anxiety.”

01:17:31 - In an interview, American author Nora Roberts was asked how she balanced being a mother and having a career. She replied, “The key to juggling is to know that some of the balls you have in the air are made of plastic and some are made of glass. And if you drop a plastic ball, it bounces, no harm done. If you drop a glass ball, it shatters, so you have to know which balls are glass and which are plastic and prioritise catching the glass ones.” 

01:18:15 - Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist.

01:23:03 - Take a look at MHS’s amazing free content here.

Enjoying this? Subscribe to The Family Thrive for more healthy recipes, video classes, and more.

Justin: Welcome to The Family Thrive Podcast. Today we're talking about metabolic health for families. Metabolic health encompasses just about every chronic health problem we deal with... obesity to diabetes to heart disease. Today's guests run a yearly scientific conference on metabolic health like nothing I've ever been to. 

As a recovering academic myself, I've been to more scientific conferences than I possibly can remember. And they're all pretty boring, to be honest. But theirs, the Metabolic Health Summit, is not only full of the top scientists researching metabolic health, it also has a bunch of practice-oriented sessions like how to actually implement dietary or other metabolic health actions into your life in a trade show of companies creating products that support metabolic health. So it's like truly the most engaging scientific conference I've ever been to. 

Angela Poff, Ph.D., is a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hendrick's college and completed her graduate work at the University of South Florida with a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences. She knows her stuff. She is super legit. Her research focuses on the development and characterization of a metabolic-based, nontoxic therapies for cancer and neurological. And in her free time, which she doesn't have much of, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Lin, three-year-old son Franklin, nine-month-old daughter Lorelai, two cats, and two dogs. 

Victoria Fields is originally from the UK, but is California-raised. She's also a dynamo. Her professional life is just as eclectic as her roots. The first 10 years of her career included covering the news as an NBC affiliate TV anchor, competing as a professional athlete, and co-creating several fitness businesses she operated alongside her husband, Josh. Victoria’s passion for health and nutrition later led her to get involved in cancer research around ketogenic metabolic therapies and then eventually co-founding the organization Metabolic Health Initiative with Angela Poff. 

The Metabolic Health Initiative is dedicated to providing cutting-edge, evidence-based education to scientists, health care professionals, and the general public through digital content and live events, including the annual international scientific conference I mentioned before, the Metabolic Health Summit. This conference has the mission of revolutionizing science and medicine by providing a platform that focuses on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance. 

Though we are going to get into all this stuff, without further ado, here is my wonderful, amazing conversation with these two, incredibly brilliant, incredibly creative and visionary women. I hope you enjoy. 

We met Victoria before Metabolic Health Summit was even a thing. Though, we met Victoria through Quest. Do you remember that, Victoria?

Victoria: Yes, I was actually looking through pictures this morning. 

Justin: Oh, no way. 

Victoria: Yeah. Where you guys came to visit. And I just remember your energy walking in that door with Max and you met, I think the first time that we met was with Callie, was there as well, the dog.

Justin: Yes. 

Victoria: Just to throw in a little random side note. But we—it was sort of this, you know, we had been working on sort of with the founders of Quest, a nonprofit. I was involved in cancer research in canines then went on to become involved with people. And it was this sort of meeting of, you guys have been doing all of your incredible work with families and obviously through Max and his journey and making a big impact there. 

I just remember meeting you guys for the first time. I was like, I have to be around these people and continue to collaborate with them because they're just such a, you guys are just such a special group. And I really felt that on the first day that we met. So, yes, I remember it.

Justin: Oh, that's awesome. And then we worked with you over a while because Quest was working on keto products at the time. And so you were helping us just tweak and fine-tune the ketogenic diet. And just on a really practical, just everyday level of how does a family, you know, just go from day to day, fixing foods, preparing foods and in a way that…

Audra: Also. Max’s cancer progressed. 

Justin: Yes. 

Audra: And you all jumped in, and I remember it was like, “Ok, we're sending you food.” We're sending you, and like we were about to do a road trip and you stocked us up with food and like helped us kickstart again. Because he had always been, you know, from the time we met. Anyway, since 2012. When did he go keto? 2013?

Justin: September of 2013. 

Audra: Yeah. So, you know, we do the kind of like variations where when he is doing good, he goes higher protein and then, you know, and so we had to get back into therapeutic ketosis. And you all jumped in like family. 

Justin: I do have to note, there will be hopefully people listening to this who have no idea what keto is. So we'll get to that later on in the podcast. Just put a pin in that. Right now, we're just taking a walk down memory lane.

Audra: But I mean, isn't it crazy to think, though, in 2013 when we were talking about what we were doing with Max and I'm sure both of you can walk on that memory lane. People would be like, “You what?” 

Victoria: Yeah. 

Audra: What are you talking about? And then now…

Justin: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Oh. Kim. Kim Kardashian. 

Audra: Yeah. Every other magazine in the store. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean that Kim's been doing forever. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that was one of the reasons why I loved meeting you, because it was like there was this family that's been just struggling and very similar to Charlie of the Charlie Foundation, that's very human and just struggling to find resources and putting the pieces together, but then also helping other families along the way. That was the crazy part to me, where you were taking your own super challenging situation and really turning it into a way of, gosh, this is a need for so many others as well. 

But it was really cool to connect because it was like here we were in our little silo and I was on the nonprofit side heading up a nonprofit that just happened to be sort of associated with the founders of Quest. And we were doing our sort of research that was, thanks to what Dr. Angela Poff was doing in the lab. And it was this sort of perfect, beautiful storm of, I feel like meeting of people that just turned into so much more. And it's a weird story because it started with canines for us and then people. 

Justin: Yeah, right. 

Victoria: And turned into a scientific conference, so you know.

Justin: Exactly. So the scientific conference I remember attending the first year of that and just being blown away because I had been in academia for a long time, and I would go to academic conferences and it was just like a little piece of my soul would die every time. 

It just was not, yeah, I remember telling a fellow grad student this early on in my first PhD program, like, “I hate these things like this.” And he looked at me so strange. Like “What? I love it.” And so I should have taken that right then like, dude, this is not for you. But I instead, I stuck around and I got two PhDs. So I don't know what I would say. 

But anyway, I'm at this conference and there's like legit scientific presentations alongside really practice-oriented presentations alongside, and this really cool outside area with all of these keto products that were brand new to me and meeting the people behind them. And it was just an amazing event. And I remember telling Audra and MaxLove Project families like this is super unique, like this... 

Audra: It's like our Coachella for our people, you know.

Justin: The Coachella, for nerds. 

Victoria: ...for science and stuff.

Justin: It's called the Metabolic Health Summit. Now, because of COVID, things have gone all wonky. We were lucky enough to have one last year right before things went crazy. 

Audra: A year ago. 

Justin: I know. Just like, right, right in. But this year, no Metabolic Health Summit next year. Yes. But for people who are wondering what the heck are they talking about, what is metabolic health? Let's just try to define this term real quick. And Angela already alluded to the fact that this is a slippery term. 

Angela: It is. Yeah, it's absolutely slippery. And, you know, and I think Victoria said also, I think just partly, you know, that it's the absence of metabolic disease, but that's almost like as specific as you can get without or as general as you can get without being really specific, you know? 

Justin: Right. You either need to go get a PhD or be happy with that. 

Angela: Yeah. But it is. And I think from, you know, a clinical perspective, it's that definition is really focused on certain factors, metabolic parameters that we know are tightly associated with links to development of diseases like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and then as we know, actually many, many more diseases that don't seem so obviously linked. 

But if you have certain risk factors, so abnormalities in, for example, your blood sugar. So if you have chronically elevated blood sugar or insulin resistance and abnormalities in cholesterol or triglycerides, these things would be indicative of metabolic disease or dysfunction. And then we know that these markers are all correlated to these specific diseases that can develop over time. So, you know, it's kind of hard to say other than, you know, really, truly like an absence of abnormalities. And these are really important factors. And I think that is what metabolic health is from a clinical perspective. 

Justin: So from a like just a regular parent perspective, if I'm trying to understand metabolism. So the way that I have thought about it and maybe this is way too simplistic, but I think about it as metabolism is taking stuff from the outside and converting it into energy and waste. Is that Ok?

Angela: Yeah. Yeah. So I would say that's one half of metabolism. So that's what we call catabolism. So catabolism is the breakdown of the things that you take in these large biomolecules. So the food you eat, for example, and then you break it down through the catabolic pathways, catabolism into energy, these small little packets of energy that then your tissues can use to run everything that it does. So your cells need these small little packets of energy called ATP, and they fuel every action that happens in our tissues. 

Anabolism is the opposite direction. So taking small molecules like amino acids that then combine to form proteins or nucleotides that combine to form DNA. That's the other direction. So you have catabolism and anabolism. 

And of course, as adults, you know, we don't have a ton of anabolism going on in, like, our kind of steady-state situation. I mean, you're hitting the gym, you know, you're building muscle protein, things like that. Right. But most of your tissues are kind of like at this homeostatic point. 

But for kids, you know, they're taking in energy and then repackaging it to grow. Right? So the anabolic side of metabolism is really important there as well. It plays a much larger role in the everyday life of an ever-growing child. I would say. But it's important for everyone. But yeah, that's metabolism is kind of those two sides of the same coin. 

Justin: Alright. So then we think about it as taking stuff from the outside to convert into energy and into like building blocks of stuff like muscle and tissues. Both are right. 

And so a parent is thinking about their own child's health. Is there any advantage for them to understand metabolic health as separate from any other aspect of their kids' health? 

Angela: Yeah, I think so. I think that metabolic health is one of the most malleable aspects of our health, most susceptible to influence by our lifestyle. And so as a parent, the habits that you instill in your children when they're growing really define for so many people the way that they're going to live their life, you know, for the rest of their life. 

And it's much harder for an adult to kind of overturn decades of maybe, you know, poor lifestyle choices when it comes to, you know, exercise or diet or whatever, rather than, you know, from the beginning trying to instill those habits that would work towards metabolic health in a child. So you think about doing everything you can to set your kid up for a long, healthy, you know, happy life. And I think metabolic health is absolutely key to that. 

Victoria: Full disclosure, I'm not a parent, so I'm just speaking from, as an outsider looking in. But I think for so many probably parents, you think about sort of genetics playing this massive role, which it does for sure. 

But our choices, the daily choices that we make, the simple, you know, how we choose to eat, how we choose to stress or not, how we sleep, how much sunlight we get, all of these different sort of lifestyle factors, as Angela suggested. What makes such a difference in how things play out, I think for the child, what things turn on or off? Right? 

So I think to put it simply and I think that's where we find things sort of very interesting because we're seeing sort of metabolism as this key feature and common thread of so many diseases these days. I mean, you look at Metabolic Health Summit and all the areas that we're covering. Right. It's really interesting to see how it impacts that. So I think it's important to consider the choices that we make as we're thinking about raising kids and as I'm thinking about them in the future. 

Audra: Yeah, Victoria, I think that's an amazing point that you bring up, that our genetics are not necessarily our destiny. Right? And with Metabolic Health Summit, you're seeing people completely change the odds, turn their lives around very often later on down the path. Right? And in that process of being a part of this for so many different diseases, so many different opportunities for change through lifestyle, you know, it does make me think that you can look down that path and say, man, if we got to this earlier, what are the opportunities, right? 

Victoria: Yeah.

Justin: Victoria, you mentioned several actions, behaviors. So you talked about diet, you talked about sleep, you talked about stress or stresses in it actually about what stress management is. 

So if I were to go to the Metabolic Health Summit, what are some of the behaviors that I would see studied? What are the things that I could learn about that I can affect in my own life? Like what does it mean to actually do metabolic health in one's life? 

Victoria: Metabolic Health Summit has really kind of grown over the years as well. I mean, ketogenic metabolic therapy has been sort of like the key focus, but in that, we've kind of expanded it. And so it was originally called the Conference on Nutritional Ketosis and Metabolic Therapeutics. Say that 12 times fast. 

Justin: The kids loved it, though. 

Victoria: But it's evolved over time into Metabolic Health Summit because there were so many sort of factors and things that we were sort of seeing in the research, that how that was kind of evolving that we needed to kind of include in the conversation. So, you know, it's not just nutrition. It's also sort of we make sure to include things like sleep, obviously exercise, human performance. Stress reduction is a huge, huge thing. And in fact, an area we actually included a meditation up on the helicopter pad last year. You want to include that more because there's a lot of really interesting research there. 

Next year, we also want to be inclusive of the gut microbiome. There's so you know, our gut health getting out into the sunshine, vitamin D, there are so many factors, right, that we've really kind of expanded what Metabolic Health Summit sort of incorporates, because over time too, that definition and what that means sort of can evolve as well. I think as we learn as we kind of sit on the cutting edge sort of cusp of science, nutrition, and health science, I think that we need to give that room to evolve. But what's very clear is that metabolic health really runs deep throughout our entire life. And so..

Justin: Yeah, every... 

Victoria: Yeah. There are so many important factors. Right. That I could give you a list. And I think as we talked about, sort of like the definition of metabolic health and sort of being the absence of metabolic disease, it's taken on this whole new life, especially now sort of given the pandemic and everything metabolic, the sort of words “metabolic health” have taken on so much more meaning and have sort of involved so much more than just what we're eating. 

Audra: That's such a great point. And it makes me think or brings up for me the concept that's alive and well in the MaxLove Project community and that of bio-individuality, which defies prescription. But when we're new to this, we're just getting into these kind of some of these lifestyle changes and many of us working to overcome the standard American lifestyle. We want to fall into a prescription. Right? We want to fall into like there's only one way to do this. And this is, you know, the one way. 

So it strikes me that as metabolic health, as the Summit is expanding, I'm seeing more of that, like, feeling of attention to bio-individuality that you need to tap into you. Right? Your own health goals, how you respond to things, what your unique needs are. And there are so many ways of going about doing this. 

So I'm really interested in how we can help foster that kind of with parents and families. That seems like it's really hard. So many of us need a book and a prescription, right? Like how do you develop that mindfulness to get to know yourself or and your kids, your family? You know, it's challenging. 

Victoria: Go down that road to find what works for you. Yeah, it is a lot of trial and error, I will say, just as being sort of a lifelong, you know, just seeker of metabolic health and taking my own health to the next level. It's so different for everybody. There's you know, everybody is so unique in how they respond to things, even sort of a ketogenic diet. 

I mean, you can see that not to get deep into that, but you can see that in sort of even the markers that people measure, cholesterol being one of them, how different an individual we are and how we respond to that, whether or not that's good or bad, it's up for another discussion. 

But it is a lot of trial and error. But it's also, you know, you guys are doing it right. And that's why I feel so passionately about what you guys are doing, because I think it's so needed in the world to be able to guide, especially families. I mean, you're not just talking about trying to figure out your own metabolic health. You're trying to also balance that with your family. I can't even imagine that. You know, I just try to balance my metabolic health and my dogs and...

Audra: You've got Josh, too. I mean, what do you two do it or in your family's in this space of your own diversity within your family units and bio-individuality and all of that, like how, what does that like for you both personally? 

Victoria: Yeah, for us. You know, it's been a learning process, I think, with as it goes in any marriage to figure out, you know, we've always valued, I think, at different points too. We've obviously always valued nutrition and exercise and have really understood what we both kind of need as individuals prior to us sort of getting into our relationship. 

But as we've gone through our time, much like you referred to, I think before we started the recording, you know, different sleep schedules and different, you know, like I could stay up really late and work throughout the night and then, you know, so we've now become very in-sync with that. But it's come to sort of like the realization and in getting different devices that have helped us kind of see how we both respond differently. I mean. 

Audra: Oh, interesting.

Victoria: ... too much here. But, you know, we both have Oura rings and, you know, we both started to talk about how important sleep is and how different of an experience each night we have. And even talking about, you know, maybe the best thing to do is sleep in different rooms so we get our individual needs met. I mean that’s a thing these days. 

Audra: Yeah. 

Victoria: So it's been a really interesting process. And we probably nerd out a little bit more on our own individual data more than most. But I think it really has been it's really important to be communicative, I think, with each other, because you're so different. And for us, that was really apparent when we both got COVID how differently we responded to that.

That was another really big eye-opener for us, that, “Wow, we're very different.” You know, I got hit hard and he had sort of cold-like symptoms. 

So and same with our dogs. I mean, we have two different dogs. One can be a little pain in the butt, but we love him. And the other has suffered from a traumatic brain injury. And so actually monitoring their stress levels and what throws one off with seizures and what the other sort of acting out. It's been interesting, but it's not been, I'm sure, as challenging as being able to balance out within a family with human children. I can only imagine. So I'd love to hear from you guys on how you guys balance that. Not to flip the script, but, you know.

Audra: Oh, no, please do. I think that’s great. But what about for you, Angela? 

Justin: Well, and can I preface yours? Angela, I just to give yours more context. I'm super interested in how parenting has changed what you thought you were going to like. Right. Mike Tyson has a saying: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” And I feel like having a baby is like getting punched in the mouth. 

Angela: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it is as much as you think you know, you're ready and you know what's going to come. You're right. It is like getting punched in the mouth. It's completely eye-opening in so many ways. 

And, you know, I think for me and my husband, we have really benefited. So we have a three-year-old. He just turned three. And then our daughter just, she's almost 10 months. So she was born right at the beginning of the pandemic, like in April. And I remember back then, like being so, so worried. It just seemed so extreme at the time, not realizing that, like, “Oh, it's going to get a lot worse.” You know? It's a great time to have a baby. 

But anyway, you know, so it was kind of under the context of all the stress. But, you know, my husband and I, my husband is an emergency physician. We met in college, so we went through graduate school and med school together. It was, you know, difficult years where we were both just studying and working and just challenging times, especially with him being in the E.R., you know, he's constantly flipping between days and nights shifts. He has really long shifts and he still does at this point in this year, obviously has been particularly challenging for many reasons because of COVID. 

But, you know, when we had our son three years ago, I think there's something about your children. You would do anything for them to give them what they need. You know, you would forego whatever you need, but then the second that they come into the picture, you would do anything. Right. So I think that having him really made me prioritize my own health. 

I wouldn’t say I had, like, a great mental perspective around my work-life balance before my son and I, even though, like, I had like an incredibly supportive boss. For example, Dr. Dominic D'Agostino is my boss. We've worked together for a decade now, and he is the kindest, most supportive boss you could ever have. There's something about the career that I chose in research, it just doesn't end. I'm sure Justin you've experienced that. 

Justin: Yup. 

Angela: You can decide to...

Justin: There is literally no end. And I mean, there's no point I was like, “Ok, I'm done.” Yeah.

Angela: Right? And then, of course, with my husband going through that, too. But when our son came to the picture and then even more when Lorelai came into the picture, our daughter in the middle of a pandemic, it just really brought to surface, you know, what is important, what is less important, and doing the things that keep us as a family unit healthy and thriving, and together and give us the best opportunity to have as much happy, healthy, happy time together. 

That was just such a motivating factor that I guess I didn't care about myself as much as I care about my children. And I think that that has just been just absolutely life-changing in that regard. So, you know, even though this year has by far been the most difficult of our lives, my husband and I have looked at each other recently and said, “Wow, this is like the best year of our life.”

Justin: Oh, my god. I love to hear that. Oh, geez. 

What has surprised you, Angela, the most like going into being a parent? I'm sure you had lots of ideals, like ideals about how you know a lot about health and metabolic health. And so it's like, “Ok, you know, I'm like, I've got it all planned out.” What have you learned about what is doable, not what's perfect, but what is achievable?

Angela: Right, exactly. And that's what immediately came to mind. I think there's a saying, “Don't let great become the enemy of good” or something. Right. You know of these ideas. You want to do everything perfectly. And then you have a three-year-old. And he doesn’t necessarily want to do everything perfectly. 

Justin: Yeah. 

Angela: And you can’t make him to. As much as you want him to 100% of the time, choose the healthy thing and the you know, all of that. But you support and you prioritize and you hope that the majority of the time we make it and we make the right decisions. But then, you know, you also accept that life is not perfect.

Justin: Angela, is there a non-negotiable for you? Like, is there one thing where you like “I know enough, like because of my research or you know, I know that this is just I can't slide on this one thing.” What would it be?

Angela: You know, I wouldn’t say for me, for my husband, it's motorcycles and fireworks. He says, no. 

Audra: He’s seen too much. 

Angela: Zero. Never in our family. He’s had too much of that in the E.R.

Justin:  Absolutely. No, that makes sense. Well, you know, if your guts are splattered all over the highway, then you can't metabolize food. 

Audra: Unless you become a zombie. But yeah.

Justin: Oh, wow. All right. So it's fireworks and motorcycles for him. Do you have one? 

Angela: You know, nothing that we've experienced so far, but they’re also very young. Right. I imagine will come into some will meet some hard lines here in the next decade or so. When they get a little older, they're more able to make some decisions on their own. 

Victoria: What about for you, Justin? 

Justin: Well, one thing I would ask you about is what do you think about fruit juice? Like, is that something…

Angela: Oh yeah, we don’t do fruit juice. Yeah. But, you know, I'm not going to knock it out of his hand. If someone you know, if you just…

Justin: Just like Shaquille O'Neal. Yeah. 

Angela: Right. Yeah. No, that's a great, great point. Yeah. Never I mean, we got those kind of things we just don't keep in the house, you know what I mean? Like we don't have fruit juice in the house. He doesn't, I don't even know they really know what juice is. 

Justin: And so for parents listening to this who are like, wait, what? Juice? What are your thoughts on juice? Why don't you have any juice in your house? 

Angela: Yeah. So because I think, you know, most fruit juices that are sold as marketed to children, have as much sugar in them as a bowl of ice cream or a couple of donuts. And they don't have the fiber, too. So I'm not like... 

Justin: It's just straight sugar. I mean, there’s nothing else in it. 

Angela: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, my kids eat fruit, you know? I'll give them an orange, but to give him a glass of orange juice that’s stripped of the fiber so it doesn't slow the absorption of that sugar. And then it's literally like the amount of sugar and how many oranges, you know, it's just it's taking something that I'm perfectly fine with and then kind of removing the best things about it and then making it even worse. So, yeah, I mean, I just think, yeah, we just pretty much drink water for the kids. It's water and he drinks whole milk. 

Justin: So one of my questions was for both of you, if you could give parents just one piece of advice on metabolic health for the kids, like one thing to start today to focus on, what would it be? I think fruit juice is an easy one. Do either of you have any other ones that are just some like first steps today, give this a try.

Victoria: I mean, not being a parent, speaking from not having experience on how challenging it might be. I would say try to stick to whole foods as much as possible. If it's packaged, you probably want to try to avoid that as much as you can. And that's sort of the first step. They talk about sort of shopping on the outside of the aisle.

Audra: Yeah, the perimeter.

Victoria: Yeah, I mean, I would say full food, you're going to be kind of moving towards sort of in the right direction and staying away from the packaged stuff that has the preservatives, that has so many different sort of additions to it than what it was in its whole state. You know, you really, not to get too deep into the weeds with ingredients. You just stick with the whole stuff, you know, and you're headed in the right direction. 

Angela: So I would say that too and then just prioritizing active fun, just getting your kid outside every day. It's so pervasive and easy now to, especially right now. I know it's complicated and people have many reasons to use like, a lot of screen time because of specific obstacles. But just making that a daily part of their routine and prioritizing that for children, I think is really critical. So I don't think it can be underestimated how important that is.

Victoria: To go off of that, I mean, one thing that I do for myself every day is just making sure I start my day with sunlight, like getting outside, even if it's for 10, 15 minutes. 

There's a pretty powerful effect for just being in the sunshine that I think, you know, maybe all of us can kind of practice just literally taking a bit of a walk outside or, you know, whatever the case may be. But trying to get it in some sunshine every day can be really powerful. It sounds so simple and so strange, but I think as humans that’s sort of an absolute need.

Audra: And without sunblock, right? 

Victoria: Yeah, there you go. I mean, yeah, we could get into a whole rabbit hole. Yeah. But, you know, I think we have underestimated the importance of getting sunshine and how I mean, every sort of form of life, you know, plants, animals, we all need sort of light. And it's so underestimated. And I mean, you're starting to hear more and more about it with vitamin D, you know, the talk around vitamin D and COVID and whatnot. But, yeah, it's an important thing.

Audra: I have a related question to the tips for parents when it comes to, you know, kind of what are the small things that we can do as we're trying to make these little changes and steps towards health from the standard American lifestyle. And so we've got some really great small, actionable things. 

Have you seen folks who dive into the health and wellness space who kind of on the opposite end of this are like, my kids are going to be carnivore, my kids are going to do, be vegan and my kids or whatever it might be. Do you have any tips when it comes to child nutrition that you know or a perspective on this anyway, of like floating to the extremes? 

Angela: I'm not a dietitian or anything related, but I don't know a lot about it. I just know in science, nothing is ever black and white. And if you get in yourself in a silo where you become so convinced, you know, that this very extreme version of one way of doing things is the only possible way, I would take a step back and assess all sides of the situation, because you will almost always find some nuance to bring to kind of give yourself a different perspective. 

And especially when it comes to children, you know, they're growing and, you know, they're growing and they have different requirements, goes back to this idea of like catabolism and anabolism. They have different needs and requirements and things—diets, for example, impacts them differently and we know that. There's also not research really in children and diets usually. So to make bold claims about like extreme kind of scenarios as it pertains to children in particular, I think is concerning in my perspective. 

Audra: I think that's so helpful. I mean, it really brings the focus back to what we call whole, Fierce Foods as the when and the approach. And I know for our family, we I mean, we went keto-crazy, you know, in a positive way when we found it. And it did so much for Max that we all went all in. 

Justin: But our son had an aggressive or a growing brain tumor. 

Audra: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And in the cool learning that has come out of it is that all four of us eat differently. We put the same dinner on the table every night. We provide, similar to Angela, we have oranges and apples and we have got, you know, a variety of things like that of, you know, we always have whole foods around. We've got our Quest products, certainly.

Justin: We need to make a note that right now, Max is not on a ketogenic diet. And so that's why we can have this. 

Audra: Yeah, Max is on a higher protein, lower carb diet right now. But still, even when he is and has been fully keto, we've taken a bio-individual approach. And it's been an evolution for us because we went from being like, what's fair for everyone in the family? And everyone's going to eat the same way, too. We all have different needs. 

And so Mommy, you know, has hypothyroidism and has a hard time with lactose. So she needs this. You know, Daddy just really loves sardines and salad. So he is fine with that approach. And Maesie, it's a similar sort of thing, like we're going to provide the more flexibility for her in the home to make those choices. And when she goes out in the world, you know, we're not restricting what she does at birthday parties at friends’ houses or anything like that. And she's ended up making some really good choices for her. So she has her little Annie's mac and cheese and does stuff like that. But she will also eat an entire double flat of raspberries in one sitting, you know, like and it's a really, it's a hard thing because there's like no book that you're going to buy that's going to show you how to do this.

And I think that's the difficult thing is like really working with your family and your kids on what feels nourishing, like what feels good to you. What are the triggers for you where, you know, maybe I'm not feeling great after eating this or maybe this isn't something that would be a good habit for me, you know? I think that's the challenging part, but also the huge opportunity. 

Justin: Well, I feel a little differently. 

Audra: Oh, do you? 

Justin: So, when I hear “Do what feels good for you,” I get concerned because we live in a food environment that if I do really what feels good to me…

Audra: No, no, I'm saying not what feels good, like mindful like what feels like…

Justin: Right, I just as in full disclosure, before Max was diagnosed, like and Audra, to her credit, you know, was not happy with this, but I would come home with like Lunchables and just like the most juice bar like the easiest, the things that kids, you know, like hey we all…

Audra: He loved to eat Smart Start every morning like I don’t know if you remember that cereal, it would like cut the roof of your mouth and he'd be like, “It said smart on it.” 

Justin: I grew up eating like, mixing-bowl-sized full of corn pops. It was just like the entire box, which would go in the…

Angela: Nice. 

Justin: So for me, I had to think, all right, I now have gone far enough down all these different paths that I know what eventually feels good to me, the like, if I eat this way, I know how I'm going to feel. 

But Angela, as you alluded to, parenting, especially when the kids are young, as young as you have, I mean, and you're juggling a career and you know, and all this. I yeah, I just know what feels good is just a little peace, you know, it just a little just like some fast peaceful. I like it. We just get this thing done. 

And so I wonder if there are some more guidelines that we could add in. So we have whole foods, you know, go and go into more whole food direction activity. But I'm wondering if there are some other little pieces of advice that we might be able to do. 

Angela: Something came to mind. You're saying that because I think your comment about a little peace is what it feels good. I completely understand that. 

I have my difficulty is if I have not planned ahead and have, you know, a healthy meal that I can make in a pretty quick amount of time when I get home, or even better, I've already made it and are just waiting to be warmed up, and I have it on-hand. And if I don't have, you know, the snacks that I want my kids to be eating when they're hungry and myself that I want to reach for when I'm hungry, avocados or berries or whatever it is, I will order food because it seems like the craziest, most easy thing in the world and then always make poor choices when I order right from a restaurant. So for me, it's like it's really a significant benefit to me and my family’s health when I just make that commitment to really thinking ahead of time and plan…

Justin: Planning, planning, yeah.

Angela: Once I'm already hungry and exhausted. Oh, my gosh. You know.

Justin: Just all bets are off. 

Angela: Yeah. I think I don't know. That's nothing very insightful. But it helps. It works for us for sure. 

Audra: No, I think it's super insightful. 

Victoria: Again, not speaking from a place of having kids, but trying but loving kids, like trying to make things fun and being and having it be an inclusive experience with them. Much like what you guys do with MaxLove so well is making it be sort of a fun thing. 

I think maybe many families sort of see it as just maybe mom or dad cooking in the kitchen. But I think you can involve the family in a way that makes it exciting for kids, too, and makes it sort of this like educational process at the same time.

Now, granted, that takes a lot of planning and a lot of time and things. So it's not maybe always possible, but where you can maybe on the weekends is making it something fun and exploring it together, because for a lot of families, I think cooking can be just in and of itself can be very daunting. And whole foods feel like so much more commitment because, you know, you really have to understand what you're doing. But I think it can be really fun and it can be really simple, too, with sort of the right approach.

Justin: Ohhh, I just have a thought about that simple thing. One of the things that going into a ketogenic diet with Max and working on getting the right foods at the right time, and it really forced us to simplify. And now I think maybe at one point in time I would have thought, well, it's not ok to just have some chicken and broccoli. Like you can't just eat that. But now it's like... 

Audra: You have to have rice.

Justin: Well, well. Yeah, but you know, but now it's like, well, we've roasted some broccoli and we had a rotisserie chicken and this is what it is. And now I'm like, totally fine with that. This is actually a fantastic dinner. 

Audra: It's a crazy mindset shift, isn't it? 

Justin: Like it can be really simple, it is. And the kids like it, like they're like, “Oh, great, we get broccoli and rotisserie chicken!”

Audra: And no, it's true. And Victoria, your point is super well taken, too. I mean, we've only seen that again and again and again. When kids have their hands on it, when they're involved with it, when they make the choices, whatever the choice might be. I mean, it could be small choices, you know, it could be like. But when they're involved with it, they're invested. And then all of a sudden the outcome is different. Right? Because they're like, “oh, I took part in that. I'm invested in it. It’s not just some random thing you put down in front of me and then asked me to eat.” 

And I think that's really powerful, along with persistence. You know, some of the tips that we've had to ah, make some of that like as you're preparing the meal and you have some of these veggies that you're preparing, make some available to them before dinner when they're really hungry, and let them come in, introduce it, pick at it, and then let them critique it. What would you do different? I mean, even as the little ones, you know, even at three, they can be like, ehhh, I don't know. I would, you know, try it in this. Well, what if you try it in that? You know, they love to be involved and it makes all the difference in the world. 

Angela: We've recently, my son and I recently, we make eggs together in the mornings now. And there's nothing better than a gooey egg, you know, for a three-year-old boy. He loves it. He cracks open the yolks. And then when we break them up, he just loves it. It's just fun. 

Audra: So cool. 

Justin: Eggs are the best. 

Audra: You just have to be willing to let the kitchen's going to be messier than you want. Things aren't as controllable. You know, you got to be willing to let go. There's going to be some like little shards of shell, you know, in your scrambled eggs or whatever. But that's ok. 

And, you know, a big thing for us, too, that we've learned along the way is persistence. One of the cool things about Max going keto was that we had kind of a palate cleanse that happened. You know, like you have a kid who would not even touch spaghetti squash before going keto. Three months into it like “There's spaghetti in the name?” “Yes.” “I'll have some.” 

Justin: It looks kind of like…

Audra: You know, melon, I remember telling them—I remember being at that stage like so many moms, like, you know, eat your melon before you can have dessert or eat your apple before you can have dessert. And now those are truly desserts and valued as such by these kids, you know? 

But it's definitely I mean, we're going on, gosh, eight years or so. And it has taken that long. You know, it has been a continual push of offering and offering and offering and offering. I don't know, especially when the odds are stacked against us with the standard American lifestyle. I don't know that there's a point where you just win. It is a constant effort, you know, and I think that that's. Yeah, it's hard. I just want to recognize that it's hard. You know, you're working. Yeah, it is. 

Victoria: I don't know how you guys do it. I mean, I tell Angela all the time, she's super woman and same with you guys. I mean, I can only imagine, you know, I sit here not being a parent, just saying, well, just involve the kids. And just that simple act is probably I can't even imagine how challenging. 

But at the same time, I can imagine that it probably provides the child with a level of confidence that they might not have had before. And they sort of start to feel empowered that I can be involved in something so significant. You know, eating is a part of everybody's life multiple times a day. And that has got to be such an incredible learning, life learning experience, I would imagine. But the point A to point B to get there, I'm sure I can't imagine how difficult and how not simple. I mean, because I would imagine that one of the biggest challenges for many families is just the outside influences like you can... 

Audra: Yes. 

Victoria: And all you can in the house. But you want social you know, social interaction is so important and not everybody's going to be on the same whole food wavelength that you are. 

Audra: Right.

Victoria: So much like what Angela said, “I'm not going to smack it out of his hand.” It's hard, though, at the same time, when you have exposure like that to other things that maybe don't fit within what you're trying to do, that throws a wrench in at that point A to point B process. 

Audra: Yeah, no, absolutely. It's hard work. And it strikes me with Metabolic Health Summit that you see a lot of this. You see a lot of people making major, major life changes and working very hard. And there is a sort of narrative, I feel like around, especially with parenting, that these things should be easier. 

And I don't know, I think it can be tough, tough as a mom. And, you know, somebody like through what we're doing at the MaxLove Project to share that the project of thriving, of health and wellbeing for your family is indeed work. And it's worth it. You know, it's worth the hard work, but I do think that there's something that's difficult about that in our kind of very convenience-striven American society. I know I wasn't raised with that way of thinking and with that way of thinking around health and wellbeing. So it can be very difficult. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, having anything kind of start to take that sort of like habit place in your life, I mean, especially when you were raised a certain way and not with that level of convenience and whatnot. It's like literally changing your entire mindset. 

I mean, one way I can kind of relate to that is just in working with a variety of cancer patients and some of the sort of pilot studies, so challenging and so difficult, but so empowering in the process if you can get through that learning curve and that struggle to feel like you actually play a really active role in your life and can make these choices that do make a big difference down the line and teach your kids that too. I think there's something so powerful to that. And I think, like you said, it's worth the struggle. So I, you know, keep on persevering through it. It makes a difference. 

Audra: Yeah, it's a powerful way to put it, you know, it's like learning how to work on your house or any other life skill, you know, it's like when you do your own plumbing to some degree. I mean, that is awesome, right? Like that is empowering. And I love that feeling that you have after. I think that's a great way to frame it for people who are thinking, “Do we get over a hump? Does it get easier?” It does get easier. 

Victoria: Yeah, I would agree. I think so. I mean, I've worked with a lot of sort of nutrition clients over the years, and it's all going a totally different way of life is always a struggle, always feels uncomfortable. But some of the most beautiful things come out of discomfort, I think, in life and are worth it at the end of the day. But it does get easier, I think. But, you know, I'm not speaking from the perspective of a parent, but somebody who's put myself through the ringer many different ways so, you know.

Justin: So one of the ways this has gotten easier for me, at least, is seeing the effect of these changes in my own life. And so when I make these nutritional changes or physical activity or more sun or sleep, the whole thing, I notice a difference in myself. And so that motivates me to do this for my kids. 

So I'm wondering for both of you, what are the metabolic health actions that you're working on right now that are kind of like new and challenging for you? Like what is really exciting in your own personal health journeys in regard to metabolic health right now? 

Angela: This whole past year, I really rededicated myself to cooking a lot more than I used to because things have slowed down, obviously. I'm working from home and stuff, and so I'm able to, which is fantastic. And that's been a huge. I also got an air fryer, which is like amazing. 

Audra: I want one! I really want one. 

Justin: What do you make with it? 

Angela: Everything. 

Audra: Everything. 

Angela: Literally make everything. I don't understand. It's literally just magic...everything's like Jamaican jerk work in there is just like the juiciest. So good. You got to get an air fryer and I’ll send you the recipe. But anyways, that's been a journey for me. But more recently, what I'm trying to do is incorporate more like fun activity and do like my exercise. So instead of just kind of doing like, you know, typical kind of workouts for workout sake. My husband and I used to play Ultimate Frisbee. 

Justin: Oh, yes. 

Angela: I bought a Frisbee and Ultimate Frisbee. And I've been making them go to the park with me. 

Justin: Oh, heck, yeah. 

Audra: That’s so cool. 

Angela: And our three-year-old will just run in between us…

Victoria: I need to see this video.

Angela: You should come out, in the afternoon and the whole place. And that's been going to return to the fun aspect.

Justin: Returning to fun. I love it. 

Victoria It's been an interesting year for me. There are some new things that have popped up COVID-related that I've kind of been working through. And so for me, exercise has always been sort of a way to sort of been like my therapy is like working through things through exercise and exerting that energy and completing the stress cycle is, has always been exercise for me. 

So not having that, I would say over the last three months has really pushed me into adapting and evolving, much like what we've done with Metabolic Health Summit into finding new ways to kind of just take in all of life's awesomeness at the moment. 

So a little bit of sarcasm there, but also things like, you know, I've always had kind of a meditation practice, but I've kind of done it sort of sporadically when I felt like I really needed today. So instead, I've been really trying to focus on making that sort of a daily thing and also incorporating just focus on my breath in the process that, you know, obviously with meditation, you can focus on breath, but making it more a little bit more on purpose and sort of doing a little bit of breathwork in between specifically too, because I did suffer some breathing problems with so that that's been really helpful to me to bring my sort of focus back to something so simple. 

That along with I have been taking some fun cold showers and I've been doing that daily, actually. And I like it from the perspective of just simply getting through a cold shower, kind of like trickles into other facets of your life where you're faced with this sort of like, oh, shocking stress response. But if you can kind of face that sort of reaction and instead go through it and not react and sort of like, this is getting a little weird, but.

Audra: No, no, no, no. 

Justin: No. I mean, so just to give any listeners context, who might be saying like, “Why in the heck would you want to do a cold shower?” This has become quite popular in the health world, I'd say over the last, what? Ten, five, ten years? Oh, yeah. And so it's supposed to have, well, I don't want to, I mean, is this supposed to be hormetic in the sense that it did, you know, provides a stress on the body and that the response to that stress is supposed to be healthy. Is that the basics that parents would need to know about taking a super cold shower? 

Victoria: There's a variety of information out there about why that might be sort of beneficial and why not. But for me, I would say I kind of enjoy doing it first thing in the morning because it kind of forces me to get into this like really solid mindset of instead of reacting to stress, I kind of like work through it first thing in the morning. 

And it brings me back to that simplicity of just focusing on my breath and being aware of what sort of is going on with my body first thing in the morning. It just wakes me up as well. I think there's obviously a lot of information out there that you could find on it. But for me, I think it's been really interesting to kind of watch how I've changed mentally. 

And I think I find I've instead of channeling a lot of the stress that sort of the world right now through physical activity, which is what I normally use to kind of get through things, I really kind of gone within myself and look to things like meditation and ways to kind of upgrade and get through these challenging times through using the power of my mind. And I think that's really interesting, because there is such a—  

I mean, if you look at one of the most interesting areas for for me within the research right now is I mean, not to go out of left field, but nutritional psychiatry, I think is really a good example of how interconnected mind, body. And so I've really been kind of focusing on that a lot because I've not had that physical activity in the side of things. It's been a really interesting, eye-opening sort of experience. It's always, you know, I've always incorporated it, but I've taken it to a new level. 

Justin: Awesome. 

Audra: So powerful, Victoria. I can just imagine, I guess, what comes up for me hearing you reflect on this, because I know from knowing you how important physical activity has been, the grief that can accompany that, you know, that the way that you've been able to work with and use your body and even enjoy that. I mean, to lose that for some time, it's got to be incredibly difficult. So I just felt that as you were sharing. Yeah. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, I've gone through periods of injury before. I used to compete professionally in the world of fitness. And so I've been through that before. But it's really interesting when you faced something like COVID that provides these weird heart- and lung-related issues that linger, that are so outside of your control. 

So, you know, coming from a background of being a professional athlete and being so in-control of that has really I think it's been a really great opportunity to continue to work on that mental side of things that I think also is very powerful. I mean, that's why I personally feel sort of the stress management and I think it's amazing that you guys include that so heavily and with MaxLove. Because, you know, being able to manage stress and being able to work through things instead of being I mean, so many of us, especially right now, are in some of this reactionary state and thinking about what that does to the body and constantly being in the state of fight or flight, not being able to manage my, you know, the stress of the world through exercise has really made it even more evident to me how important that peace is. 

And finding different ways to kind of work through it has been pretty powerful and very, I see it as sort of an upward opportunity. I guess shifting my perspective instead of obviously, yes, there's some grief going through losing exercise, but also seeing it as not what I can't, cannot do but choose where I can.

Audra: Where you can. That proactivity. 

Justin: That's yeah. Yeah, I really like your perspective. So I had only thought about cold showers in terms of like what sort of cellular processes are going on when you're freezing. And it wasn't enough. Honestly, that narrative around the, you know, cellular mechanisms was not enough for me to go through it. 

Like I tried it for about a month and I was like, this is so terrible. I don't care. If this adds six months onto my life when I'm 80, I don't care. Like I'll die. And but, what you just said was something that I have found to be so important in mindfulness meditation in my own personal, you know, emotional growth is: can I just be with this? Can I just be with what's happening right now? And so that's what I'm hearing from you is like, you know, getting into that cold shower. Can I just be with this? Like, can I just be here? Yeah, that's super powerful. 

Victoria: That's exactly what it is. I think I can't make myself feel uncomfortable in the gym right now. So I can go through a very uncomf- much like you. I mean, yeah, there's all kinds of information, all kinds of theories and things out there on cold showers in general. But for me, I found the most power in just challenging myself to be sort of ok with it and just sit in it. Much like, you know, a lot of things in life, I think.

Justin: Can I be ok with this feeling of despair that I have or grief or, you know, anger? Like, can I just be with this? Can I just be with it…

Victoria: Yeah, working through it, like head on. I think that's what 2020 taught so many of us, is that like this is going to be uncomfortable for a while. We've got to learn how to live and how to still be grateful and how to, you know, foster relationships and do all these things and just be with what's happening and still take action, of course. But not just like when I say just be not being sort of complacent, but like, you know, really challenging. 

Justin: It's like a radical engagement with it. Can I just get engagement with this? 

Victoria: Ooh, that's good. A good way to put it. I was going to say. 

Justin: Oh, yes. So I see it. We are getting close up to our time. So I want to give you guys enough time to talk real quick about the Metabolic Health Summit. So you weren't able to do it this year. COVID, you know, it just disrupted everything, but it's coming back next year. Can you just tell us briefly, what is Metabolic Health Summit at this point in its evolution and what can we expect in the future?

Victoria: I would say Metabolic Health Summit has evolved so much over the years, but it's had sort of this core like this mission at its core. I mean, we set out to really, I mean, our goal is to revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing our attention. We've drifted away on, you know, nutrition, metabolism, and sort of its common threads throughout everything from human disease to human performance, longevity. I mean, you name it, everything that we sort of touch as human beings. 

And to do that in a way that provides people with the very latest science, I think that's such a key component to Metabolic Health Summit is making sure that what we do every day is backed by what does the bleeding edge science tell us right now. 

And that's why we call it Metabolic Health Summit, because it's not called the Ketogenic Summit. It's because it extends way past that point. Right. That's obviously a big, the ketogenic diet and obviously metabolic therapy in that sense is a very strong part of the conference. 

However, the science could lead us in a completely different direction. So our goal is to bring the very top experts from around the world, the clinicians, that the academics, the people that are in the trenches, doing the work, doing the research to really show us what is the science telling us about nutrition, metabolic therapies, metabolic health in general, and giving that to both the medical professional all the way to the general public. 

I think what's really interesting about our scientific conference is that it started as sort of an academic meeting and it became very evident very quickly that we needed to include the general public to continue this mission of changing the course of how we look at lifestyle and medicine and how it all intertwined. It's so important to include the public, I think, in that process, because we were having patients come to our conference saying, “I want to try to implement this, I want to try to improve my health, I want to learn to empower myself.” 

And so it was a little bit of an evolution. It was a little risky to kind of like try to bring the two worlds together. But truly, it's become this place where keto science does meet society. It's this blending of these two worlds that somehow we managed to kind of give to the world in a very synergistic way that I think we have to, our goal is to really now educate, educate the people sort of on the front lines, the medical professionals, that there are days that and provide credit in doing that. 

So continuing medical education through watching the presentations that you might find at the conference, but also providing this experience that really allows for people to take home more than just much more like you were saying, Justin, we want to provide more than just this sort of like very black and white, “Here's the information,” we want to provide, this experience that takes the science and really shows you what it's like in the real world. 

And so you will not only get very cutting edge science from the clinicians and academics that are doing the work in research. But you'll also get to experience what a culinary ketogenic meal looks like at a gala dinner or, you know, it's down to like every single piece of food that's offered at the conference. The entertainment I mean, two years ago, we really evolved into providing a sort of entertainment at the gala dinner where a BMX, pro BMX athlete who I connected with, who had suffered from multiple brain tumors, who found ketogenic metabolic therapy and uses it to really thrive. And it's really changed him in many ways. He's found many benefits to it in alongside standard of care. He actually lost his sort of ability to ride his bike for some time. And then I connected with him after he really found in the ketogenic diet and was doing quite well. I remember us talking on the phone. It's like, well, what about I can have you perform? That sounds amazing. Can we build a ramp in the ballroom? 

Justin: It was so incredible. I will never forget that. Never. 

Victoria: Oh, good. It was one of those moments where I don't think Angela and I ate for like two days. 

Audra: Yeah, totally.

Angela: Like how we are just like everything was working up to that moment…like please let it all go smoothly. 

Victoria: You know, because here's this amazing, inspiring professional athlete who’s literally felt like he lost his heart and soul is riding his bike to like getting through it. Using ketogenic metabolic therapy is sort of like a tool. And now, like performing flips in the ballroom on a 65-foot ramp. That's the kind of thing that we want to do. It's not just an event. It's an experience that really will provide people. 

I mean, our goal at the end of the day, what we've had to really do with the pandemic is think of new ways to continue that education without live events. Obviously, we're going to continue the conference and we're going to continue to bring people together. That wasn't possible this year, but it's really opened our minds to how we can reach more people more deeply online as well. 

So I think that's the next sort of evolution of MHS is to how do we continue to educate the people that are making big changes in the world that are interacting with patients and do that from the comfort of their own home? So that's where we're headed. Angela, please add to.

Angela: No, that was beautiful. The only thing that comes to mind as it is, it may just lose a place for collaboration. And I think that was a huge impetus when we put the very first conference so many years ago, we basically were like, we need all of these people that were working on this kind of stuff individually to come together, because that's how things move forward so much more quickly and not just, you know, as a scientist, I'm thinking from all the person who studies, you know, for epilepsy and I work on cancer and this person works on metabolic disease, but not just individual academics, but clinicians speaking to scientists, speaking to industry partners, speaking to nonprofit partners, speaking to the general public. 

And I can't even tell you how many like stories I've heard of, you know, just relationships and collaborations and things that have grown out of meetings and experiences at MHS really proving that, you know, that power of human connection. You know, digital is fantastic. But getting people together and I can't wait till we can do it again. But, man, it's made like massive changes in the world already. And I think that's a huge part of what MHS is and provides as well. 

Victoria: Yeah. So really quickly, follow up on what you just said. That is one of I would say my favorite parts of it is coming together so we can talk about how to collaborate. I mean, I think working together is one of the biggest ways that we can kind of push this forward, where we can only do so much individually. But once you bring all these people who are feeling like they were working in silos, maybe working on different things, but once you bring them together and you can start to talk about some of the similar mechanisms, and I mean, we can do so much more with that. 

And then one of my most favorite parts of the conference, you know, it's four days of presentations from the very sort of in-the-weeds science all the way to application in the real world. There's also a scientific poster session, which if you've been to a scientific conference, it's researchers from around the world. And it's one of the most inspiring things ever where you walk through and literally posters for those who haven't been, posters are set up where you can learn about research that hasn't even been published yet of what's happening. I mean, that's like the bleeding edge of, I just, I find it so intensely inspiring and leave that poster session like man, makes me want to, you feel like you want to like go out and change the world after that. There's a sort of a buzz coming off of that.  

Audra: I couldn't agree more. And on the society side, I consider myself to be a society that gets introduced to this thing, to the science thanks to you all. There's really powerful education and support that happens there through having access to the science directly. 

One thing that really occurs to me, too, is that we get to learn more about science. We get to learn more about the methods. We get to learn. 

And one thing that I have learned is humility. I have learned these boundaries thanks to you all and the scientists who have shared their time with us at Metabolic Health Summit. I've learned, you know, what do we know? That's always sort of like we've learned that this suggests this one thing. It's not evangelical. I think that's one of the things that's really powerful about MHS is that this isn't just like a fan club, you know, sort of thing of a you know, a multilevel marketing conference. Right.

Victoria: ...mentality is like my worst nightmare. 

Audra: I feel like there's really powerful learning that the society side needs direct access to science for this reason. You know, they're the intermediary of the influencer, which is what we're seeing very much a lot of around health and wellness on social media especially can be really difficult. Some influencers have it down. Some do not. 

And I think that big sweeping sort of generalizations can easily be made. You know, thoughts around these interpretations of scientific evidence, you know, can be easily kind of waved around. At MHS makes you really get a reason. Like you get you can talk to the folks doing the research. You'll say, well, this is what this suggests. This is what we can say. There's good evidence here and it helps you, I know it has helped me tremendously anyway. So usually there is gatekeeping with this, normally at academic conferences, societies are not allowed in. And so I think it's a huge thing to bring us all together and to be able to facilitate these conversations. I'm incredibly grateful for what you all do. 

Victoria: Well, we're incredibly, incredibly grateful for your support. And it's been so amazing to be able to partner with you guys in some ways you know, I just we we feel inspired by what you do in the world, because we see how important and how neat it is for other families out there, which, you know, with MaxLove Project that now with The Family Thrive. I mean, you're really filling a need that has needed to be met for so long. 

And it's really exciting to see where it goes, it’s such an important component, I think, to what we're trying to do is including families in that conversation, because that's real life, that, you know, that's where our mentality is. It's like let's provide a platform of legitimate science, but let's also include the everyday person in that conversation, because we see how important that is.  

Justin: Yes. Well, I feel the synergy for sure. And before we sign off here and continue to give each other props and hugs and all that other stuff, we have three questions that we ask every podcast guest. And so now you both are on the hot seat. The first question is, if you could put a big Post-it note right on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say? 

Angela: So I was glad that you sent us off because I needed to think about it, right? 

Victoria: Yeah, I need like two more hours to think about it. 

Angela: This is something I've heard elsewhere and I can't recall where, but it really struck a chord with me. And it's “the way you speak to your child becomes their inner voice.” 

Justin: Hmm. Ooof.

Angela: And just daily reminded how important that is and building who they're going to be down the line the way that I speak to them on a daily basis. 

Audra: That's so powerful.

Victoria: Wow, that's. I don't know how to follow it. Yeah. 

Justin: All right, Victoria. 

Victoria: Bring it down even to a more fundamental level: what we speak and what we say, oftentimes not going back to sort of the reactionary thing, but to go back to that reactionary thing. Sometimes we need to take a second and a pause and a breath to create space between what we're thinking and what comes out of our mouth. 

Audra: Thank you. Yes. 

Victoria: Bring it backwards a little bit. I would just have a Post-it note that says “Breathe.” It sounds so simple. 

Justin: Just breathe, yeah. Take a breath. 

Audra: I'm going to put these up on my fridge. I absolutely love them. Well, I said I'm going to put both of these up on the fridge. I mean, I love them. Victoria. Totally. It's that space between stimulus and response. And that is exactly the space that you need when you're going to take a deep breath and consider how you speak to your child, to consider how you speak to yourself. 

Victoria: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's the difference between making good food choices and bad food choices, as well right, just taking a second. 

Justin: Yeah. Slow down. Slow down.  

Victoria: Just chill out for a second. Yeah. 

Audra: If you still make the bad food choice, you've thought about it, you're like, I want it. Own it.

Justin: And I'm going to be mindful as I do it. All right. So the second one is, what is the last quote that has changed the way you think or feel? And I know there might be some overlap here, but give it a shot. 

Angela: This is what I heard recently as an author by the name of Nora Roberts, said something along these lines. This is not direct. The key to juggling everything in life is knowing which balls you're juggling are glass and which are plastic. 

Justin: Perspective, priorities. 

Angela: Absolutely. Some things you can drop and they bounce and you can get them later and some things you drop, and they shatter. So just keeping that in mind. 

Justin: Oh, I had never heard that. Victoria, you got to bring your A-game. 

Audra: No expectations. Victoria, we embrace and accept everything. 

Victoria: There's one that there's one quote that we've tried in every single conference program that I find really inspiring. It's by Ai Weiwei. It's which is sort of like a world renowned artist of the familiar. “Creativity is the power to reject the past and to change the status quo and to seek new potential.” 

And I just feel like for for me, I mean, creativity is it's sort of the heart and soul of everything. And what we do with MHS is really thinking outside of the box and allowing for that creativity to shine, even among sort of the scientific world. I think it's obviously so critical. And so that would be one that sort of inspired me for a long time. 

But another one that's come that inspires me now that I recently sort of read. And to go back to the sort of reactionaries breath thing is “Your perception of me is a reflection of you. And my reaction to you is an awareness of me.”

Audra: Hmm. Yeah. 

Victoria: I kind of like that. I think what I've noticed more than ever over the course of the last year is just is really that just taking a second and responding and not reacting to things. And there's so much more, you know, that peace, I think that we all try to find within our lives comes from that sort of understanding and awareness and lack of reaction and more responding to things. So that would be more of my recent one, and that was two. And I totally broke the rules. 

Audra: I love it. 

Justin: Angela, I was just coming in with these deep ones that you had to add to that. 

This is the last one, as we know and Angela is right in the thick of things here that it can be really exhausting to raise children. And so a lot of parents, especially if you have a, you know, kid less than one and another at three and you, I'm sure, Angela, have talked with other parents are like, “Oh, my god, I'm so tired. I'm so exhausted, my kids. Oh, my god.” So we're all in that. We're like, we all get it. So we want to just end this by just celebrating kids and just focusing on something that we just absolutely love about kids. And so what is your favorite thing about kids?

Angela: I love that kids are just absolutely hilarious. They just, they don't know what they're supposed to say or think yet. They don't know what society thinks they should be or things that they just offer this completely unfiltered, raw view of the world. And it is hilarious. That’s one of my favorite things about kids. 

Audra: Yes. Yes. 

Victoria: Man, I would serve to go off of that, I just so often look at children and just with their ability to play so freely, and it just reminds me how it's so easy to get so caught up in all of life's stuff that we forget to play and we forget to be sort of that raw, candid you know, not sort of thinking about what you should say or should be or whatever. So much as that sort of constricts and constrains who we really are. Especially with social media, you know. 

Justin: Keeping it real. 

Audra: Yeah. Yeah.

Victoria: Keeping it real and allowing yourself some playtime.

Audra: I love that, Victoria. It reminds me of “present.” You know, the kids are so in the moment and so present that they can just be in that way and that sort of like joyful, playful self, that active of imagination, just sort of as overabundant. Right. And and vibrating like they're just vibrating with it. 

And we see that even with MaxLove Project with kids in treatment, they’re that vibrating, powerful being of presence carries everyone else because they're not you know, they're not like, oh, well, you know, weighted down, they end up walking into treatment and like, “So I want to be able to play with this toy and I want to be able to do this next thing” because they're so present. And so I love, I love that reflection. It really resonates with me. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, they're not sort of weighed down by the burden of anxiety about the future or sad about sort of what happened in the past. They’re literally right in that moment. Yeah, one million percent agree with that. And they keep us grounded. I really think. 

Justin: Awesome. Real quick before we go, so how can people find out more about Metabolic Health Summit? 

Victoria: Yeah, Metabolic Health Summit dot com is the best place. But we're also we really make an active effort to provide free content online. So @MetabolicHealthSummit on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, you can find us everywhere. We do offer a variety of free, incredible content, just launched a Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy: 2020 In-Review eBook. So if you want…

Justin: Incredible. Yeah I've seen. It's awesome. 

Victoria: Awesome. If you want sort of like a snapshot of what happened in 2020 we sort of an overview, maybe not everything, but a good portion of it with those key findings. You can find that on our website as well as our social platforms and videos with top experts sort of interviews as well. So metabolichealthsummit.com you’ll find it all there. 

Justin: Beautiful. 

Audra: Yeah. You do a stellar job of providing really phenomenal educational information in these outlets where you're meeting people where they are. And I just love it. I learn something every single day I pull up Instagram, I learn from you instead of it being like some sort of a scroll. You know, there's always something like rich going on in your social media. It's awesome.

Victoria: Aww thanks. We try to provide value however we can, beyond just the once a year event. I mean, I think that's evident. We need to reach far beyond that. 

Audra: Well, you built a community, you built a family. You know, it's like as we go to the event every year or engage on social media or the friends we've made, I mean, you just, you're, it is. It's a really, really wonderful, supportive community. It's so much more than a conference or an event. 

Victoria: Thank you. That means a lot. It comes from a big place of passion for us. We're a small but mighty team. 

Justin: Well, we can't wait for 2022. Awesome.

Victoria: Big celebration. Yeah, we’ll see you guys there. 

Justin: All right. Thank you so much for coming on the show this week. And yes, we yeah, we can't wait for really big things in the future for you guys. 

Audra: Yeah. We appreciate you so much. So much.

Victoria: And we appreciate you guys just the same. I can't wait to see where things go and the impact you guys continue to make with families. 

Justin: Hey, thanks for listening to The Family Thrive podcast. If you like what you heard, please subscribe, tell two friends, and head on over to Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts and give us a review. We're so grateful you've chosen to join us on this Family Thrive journey.  




Justin: Welcome to The Family Thrive Podcast. Today we're talking about metabolic health for families. Metabolic health encompasses just about every chronic health problem we deal with... obesity to diabetes to heart disease. Today's guests run a yearly scientific conference on metabolic health like nothing I've ever been to. 

As a recovering academic myself, I've been to more scientific conferences than I possibly can remember. And they're all pretty boring, to be honest. But theirs, the Metabolic Health Summit, is not only full of the top scientists researching metabolic health, it also has a bunch of practice-oriented sessions like how to actually implement dietary or other metabolic health actions into your life in a trade show of companies creating products that support metabolic health. So it's like truly the most engaging scientific conference I've ever been to. 

Angela Poff, Ph.D., is a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hendrick's college and completed her graduate work at the University of South Florida with a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences. She knows her stuff. She is super legit. Her research focuses on the development and characterization of a metabolic-based, nontoxic therapies for cancer and neurological. And in her free time, which she doesn't have much of, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Lin, three-year-old son Franklin, nine-month-old daughter Lorelai, two cats, and two dogs. 

Victoria Fields is originally from the UK, but is California-raised. She's also a dynamo. Her professional life is just as eclectic as her roots. The first 10 years of her career included covering the news as an NBC affiliate TV anchor, competing as a professional athlete, and co-creating several fitness businesses she operated alongside her husband, Josh. Victoria’s passion for health and nutrition later led her to get involved in cancer research around ketogenic metabolic therapies and then eventually co-founding the organization Metabolic Health Initiative with Angela Poff. 

The Metabolic Health Initiative is dedicated to providing cutting-edge, evidence-based education to scientists, health care professionals, and the general public through digital content and live events, including the annual international scientific conference I mentioned before, the Metabolic Health Summit. This conference has the mission of revolutionizing science and medicine by providing a platform that focuses on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance. 

Though we are going to get into all this stuff, without further ado, here is my wonderful, amazing conversation with these two, incredibly brilliant, incredibly creative and visionary women. I hope you enjoy. 

We met Victoria before Metabolic Health Summit was even a thing. Though, we met Victoria through Quest. Do you remember that, Victoria?

Victoria: Yes, I was actually looking through pictures this morning. 

Justin: Oh, no way. 

Victoria: Yeah. Where you guys came to visit. And I just remember your energy walking in that door with Max and you met, I think the first time that we met was with Callie, was there as well, the dog.

Justin: Yes. 

Victoria: Just to throw in a little random side note. But we—it was sort of this, you know, we had been working on sort of with the founders of Quest, a nonprofit. I was involved in cancer research in canines then went on to become involved with people. And it was this sort of meeting of, you guys have been doing all of your incredible work with families and obviously through Max and his journey and making a big impact there. 

I just remember meeting you guys for the first time. I was like, I have to be around these people and continue to collaborate with them because they're just such a, you guys are just such a special group. And I really felt that on the first day that we met. So, yes, I remember it.

Justin: Oh, that's awesome. And then we worked with you over a while because Quest was working on keto products at the time. And so you were helping us just tweak and fine-tune the ketogenic diet. And just on a really practical, just everyday level of how does a family, you know, just go from day to day, fixing foods, preparing foods and in a way that…

Audra: Also. Max’s cancer progressed. 

Justin: Yes. 

Audra: And you all jumped in, and I remember it was like, “Ok, we're sending you food.” We're sending you, and like we were about to do a road trip and you stocked us up with food and like helped us kickstart again. Because he had always been, you know, from the time we met. Anyway, since 2012. When did he go keto? 2013?

Justin: September of 2013. 

Audra: Yeah. So, you know, we do the kind of like variations where when he is doing good, he goes higher protein and then, you know, and so we had to get back into therapeutic ketosis. And you all jumped in like family. 

Justin: I do have to note, there will be hopefully people listening to this who have no idea what keto is. So we'll get to that later on in the podcast. Just put a pin in that. Right now, we're just taking a walk down memory lane.

Audra: But I mean, isn't it crazy to think, though, in 2013 when we were talking about what we were doing with Max and I'm sure both of you can walk on that memory lane. People would be like, “You what?” 

Victoria: Yeah. 

Audra: What are you talking about? And then now…

Justin: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Oh. Kim. Kim Kardashian. 

Audra: Yeah. Every other magazine in the store. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean that Kim's been doing forever. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that was one of the reasons why I loved meeting you, because it was like there was this family that's been just struggling and very similar to Charlie of the Charlie Foundation, that's very human and just struggling to find resources and putting the pieces together, but then also helping other families along the way. That was the crazy part to me, where you were taking your own super challenging situation and really turning it into a way of, gosh, this is a need for so many others as well. 

But it was really cool to connect because it was like here we were in our little silo and I was on the nonprofit side heading up a nonprofit that just happened to be sort of associated with the founders of Quest. And we were doing our sort of research that was, thanks to what Dr. Angela Poff was doing in the lab. And it was this sort of perfect, beautiful storm of, I feel like meeting of people that just turned into so much more. And it's a weird story because it started with canines for us and then people. 

Justin: Yeah, right. 

Victoria: And turned into a scientific conference, so you know.

Justin: Exactly. So the scientific conference I remember attending the first year of that and just being blown away because I had been in academia for a long time, and I would go to academic conferences and it was just like a little piece of my soul would die every time. 

It just was not, yeah, I remember telling a fellow grad student this early on in my first PhD program, like, “I hate these things like this.” And he looked at me so strange. Like “What? I love it.” And so I should have taken that right then like, dude, this is not for you. But I instead, I stuck around and I got two PhDs. So I don't know what I would say. 

But anyway, I'm at this conference and there's like legit scientific presentations alongside really practice-oriented presentations alongside, and this really cool outside area with all of these keto products that were brand new to me and meeting the people behind them. And it was just an amazing event. And I remember telling Audra and MaxLove Project families like this is super unique, like this... 

Audra: It's like our Coachella for our people, you know.

Justin: The Coachella, for nerds. 

Victoria: ...for science and stuff.

Justin: It's called the Metabolic Health Summit. Now, because of COVID, things have gone all wonky. We were lucky enough to have one last year right before things went crazy. 

Audra: A year ago. 

Justin: I know. Just like, right, right in. But this year, no Metabolic Health Summit next year. Yes. But for people who are wondering what the heck are they talking about, what is metabolic health? Let's just try to define this term real quick. And Angela already alluded to the fact that this is a slippery term. 

Angela: It is. Yeah, it's absolutely slippery. And, you know, and I think Victoria said also, I think just partly, you know, that it's the absence of metabolic disease, but that's almost like as specific as you can get without or as general as you can get without being really specific, you know? 

Justin: Right. You either need to go get a PhD or be happy with that. 

Angela: Yeah. But it is. And I think from, you know, a clinical perspective, it's that definition is really focused on certain factors, metabolic parameters that we know are tightly associated with links to development of diseases like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and then as we know, actually many, many more diseases that don't seem so obviously linked. 

But if you have certain risk factors, so abnormalities in, for example, your blood sugar. So if you have chronically elevated blood sugar or insulin resistance and abnormalities in cholesterol or triglycerides, these things would be indicative of metabolic disease or dysfunction. And then we know that these markers are all correlated to these specific diseases that can develop over time. So, you know, it's kind of hard to say other than, you know, really, truly like an absence of abnormalities. And these are really important factors. And I think that is what metabolic health is from a clinical perspective. 

Justin: So from a like just a regular parent perspective, if I'm trying to understand metabolism. So the way that I have thought about it and maybe this is way too simplistic, but I think about it as metabolism is taking stuff from the outside and converting it into energy and waste. Is that Ok?

Angela: Yeah. Yeah. So I would say that's one half of metabolism. So that's what we call catabolism. So catabolism is the breakdown of the things that you take in these large biomolecules. So the food you eat, for example, and then you break it down through the catabolic pathways, catabolism into energy, these small little packets of energy that then your tissues can use to run everything that it does. So your cells need these small little packets of energy called ATP, and they fuel every action that happens in our tissues. 

Anabolism is the opposite direction. So taking small molecules like amino acids that then combine to form proteins or nucleotides that combine to form DNA. That's the other direction. So you have catabolism and anabolism. 

And of course, as adults, you know, we don't have a ton of anabolism going on in, like, our kind of steady-state situation. I mean, you're hitting the gym, you know, you're building muscle protein, things like that. Right. But most of your tissues are kind of like at this homeostatic point. 

But for kids, you know, they're taking in energy and then repackaging it to grow. Right? So the anabolic side of metabolism is really important there as well. It plays a much larger role in the everyday life of an ever-growing child. I would say. But it's important for everyone. But yeah, that's metabolism is kind of those two sides of the same coin. 

Justin: Alright. So then we think about it as taking stuff from the outside to convert into energy and into like building blocks of stuff like muscle and tissues. Both are right. 

And so a parent is thinking about their own child's health. Is there any advantage for them to understand metabolic health as separate from any other aspect of their kids' health? 

Angela: Yeah, I think so. I think that metabolic health is one of the most malleable aspects of our health, most susceptible to influence by our lifestyle. And so as a parent, the habits that you instill in your children when they're growing really define for so many people the way that they're going to live their life, you know, for the rest of their life. 

And it's much harder for an adult to kind of overturn decades of maybe, you know, poor lifestyle choices when it comes to, you know, exercise or diet or whatever, rather than, you know, from the beginning trying to instill those habits that would work towards metabolic health in a child. So you think about doing everything you can to set your kid up for a long, healthy, you know, happy life. And I think metabolic health is absolutely key to that. 

Victoria: Full disclosure, I'm not a parent, so I'm just speaking from, as an outsider looking in. But I think for so many probably parents, you think about sort of genetics playing this massive role, which it does for sure. 

But our choices, the daily choices that we make, the simple, you know, how we choose to eat, how we choose to stress or not, how we sleep, how much sunlight we get, all of these different sort of lifestyle factors, as Angela suggested. What makes such a difference in how things play out, I think for the child, what things turn on or off? Right? 

So I think to put it simply and I think that's where we find things sort of very interesting because we're seeing sort of metabolism as this key feature and common thread of so many diseases these days. I mean, you look at Metabolic Health Summit and all the areas that we're covering. Right. It's really interesting to see how it impacts that. So I think it's important to consider the choices that we make as we're thinking about raising kids and as I'm thinking about them in the future. 

Audra: Yeah, Victoria, I think that's an amazing point that you bring up, that our genetics are not necessarily our destiny. Right? And with Metabolic Health Summit, you're seeing people completely change the odds, turn their lives around very often later on down the path. Right? And in that process of being a part of this for so many different diseases, so many different opportunities for change through lifestyle, you know, it does make me think that you can look down that path and say, man, if we got to this earlier, what are the opportunities, right? 

Victoria: Yeah.

Justin: Victoria, you mentioned several actions, behaviors. So you talked about diet, you talked about sleep, you talked about stress or stresses in it actually about what stress management is. 

So if I were to go to the Metabolic Health Summit, what are some of the behaviors that I would see studied? What are the things that I could learn about that I can affect in my own life? Like what does it mean to actually do metabolic health in one's life? 

Victoria: Metabolic Health Summit has really kind of grown over the years as well. I mean, ketogenic metabolic therapy has been sort of like the key focus, but in that, we've kind of expanded it. And so it was originally called the Conference on Nutritional Ketosis and Metabolic Therapeutics. Say that 12 times fast. 

Justin: The kids loved it, though. 

Victoria: But it's evolved over time into Metabolic Health Summit because there were so many sort of factors and things that we were sort of seeing in the research, that how that was kind of evolving that we needed to kind of include in the conversation. So, you know, it's not just nutrition. It's also sort of we make sure to include things like sleep, obviously exercise, human performance. Stress reduction is a huge, huge thing. And in fact, an area we actually included a meditation up on the helicopter pad last year. You want to include that more because there's a lot of really interesting research there. 

Next year, we also want to be inclusive of the gut microbiome. There's so you know, our gut health getting out into the sunshine, vitamin D, there are so many factors, right, that we've really kind of expanded what Metabolic Health Summit sort of incorporates, because over time too, that definition and what that means sort of can evolve as well. I think as we learn as we kind of sit on the cutting edge sort of cusp of science, nutrition, and health science, I think that we need to give that room to evolve. But what's very clear is that metabolic health really runs deep throughout our entire life. And so..

Justin: Yeah, every... 

Victoria: Yeah. There are so many important factors. Right. That I could give you a list. And I think as we talked about, sort of like the definition of metabolic health and sort of being the absence of metabolic disease, it's taken on this whole new life, especially now sort of given the pandemic and everything metabolic, the sort of words “metabolic health” have taken on so much more meaning and have sort of involved so much more than just what we're eating. 

Audra: That's such a great point. And it makes me think or brings up for me the concept that's alive and well in the MaxLove Project community and that of bio-individuality, which defies prescription. But when we're new to this, we're just getting into these kind of some of these lifestyle changes and many of us working to overcome the standard American lifestyle. We want to fall into a prescription. Right? We want to fall into like there's only one way to do this. And this is, you know, the one way. 

So it strikes me that as metabolic health, as the Summit is expanding, I'm seeing more of that, like, feeling of attention to bio-individuality that you need to tap into you. Right? Your own health goals, how you respond to things, what your unique needs are. And there are so many ways of going about doing this. 

So I'm really interested in how we can help foster that kind of with parents and families. That seems like it's really hard. So many of us need a book and a prescription, right? Like how do you develop that mindfulness to get to know yourself or and your kids, your family? You know, it's challenging. 

Victoria: Go down that road to find what works for you. Yeah, it is a lot of trial and error, I will say, just as being sort of a lifelong, you know, just seeker of metabolic health and taking my own health to the next level. It's so different for everybody. There's you know, everybody is so unique in how they respond to things, even sort of a ketogenic diet. 

I mean, you can see that not to get deep into that, but you can see that in sort of even the markers that people measure, cholesterol being one of them, how different an individual we are and how we respond to that, whether or not that's good or bad, it's up for another discussion. 

But it is a lot of trial and error. But it's also, you know, you guys are doing it right. And that's why I feel so passionately about what you guys are doing, because I think it's so needed in the world to be able to guide, especially families. I mean, you're not just talking about trying to figure out your own metabolic health. You're trying to also balance that with your family. I can't even imagine that. You know, I just try to balance my metabolic health and my dogs and...

Audra: You've got Josh, too. I mean, what do you two do it or in your family's in this space of your own diversity within your family units and bio-individuality and all of that, like how, what does that like for you both personally? 

Victoria: Yeah, for us. You know, it's been a learning process, I think, with as it goes in any marriage to figure out, you know, we've always valued, I think, at different points too. We've obviously always valued nutrition and exercise and have really understood what we both kind of need as individuals prior to us sort of getting into our relationship. 

But as we've gone through our time, much like you referred to, I think before we started the recording, you know, different sleep schedules and different, you know, like I could stay up really late and work throughout the night and then, you know, so we've now become very in-sync with that. But it's come to sort of like the realization and in getting different devices that have helped us kind of see how we both respond differently. I mean. 

Audra: Oh, interesting.

Victoria: ... too much here. But, you know, we both have Oura rings and, you know, we both started to talk about how important sleep is and how different of an experience each night we have. And even talking about, you know, maybe the best thing to do is sleep in different rooms so we get our individual needs met. I mean that’s a thing these days. 

Audra: Yeah. 

Victoria: So it's been a really interesting process. And we probably nerd out a little bit more on our own individual data more than most. But I think it really has been it's really important to be communicative, I think, with each other, because you're so different. And for us, that was really apparent when we both got COVID how differently we responded to that.

That was another really big eye-opener for us, that, “Wow, we're very different.” You know, I got hit hard and he had sort of cold-like symptoms. 

So and same with our dogs. I mean, we have two different dogs. One can be a little pain in the butt, but we love him. And the other has suffered from a traumatic brain injury. And so actually monitoring their stress levels and what throws one off with seizures and what the other sort of acting out. It's been interesting, but it's not been, I'm sure, as challenging as being able to balance out within a family with human children. I can only imagine. So I'd love to hear from you guys on how you guys balance that. Not to flip the script, but, you know.

Audra: Oh, no, please do. I think that’s great. But what about for you, Angela? 

Justin: Well, and can I preface yours? Angela, I just to give yours more context. I'm super interested in how parenting has changed what you thought you were going to like. Right. Mike Tyson has a saying: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” And I feel like having a baby is like getting punched in the mouth. 

Angela: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it is as much as you think you know, you're ready and you know what's going to come. You're right. It is like getting punched in the mouth. It's completely eye-opening in so many ways. 

And, you know, I think for me and my husband, we have really benefited. So we have a three-year-old. He just turned three. And then our daughter just, she's almost 10 months. So she was born right at the beginning of the pandemic, like in April. And I remember back then, like being so, so worried. It just seemed so extreme at the time, not realizing that, like, “Oh, it's going to get a lot worse.” You know? It's a great time to have a baby. 

But anyway, you know, so it was kind of under the context of all the stress. But, you know, my husband and I, my husband is an emergency physician. We met in college, so we went through graduate school and med school together. It was, you know, difficult years where we were both just studying and working and just challenging times, especially with him being in the E.R., you know, he's constantly flipping between days and nights shifts. He has really long shifts and he still does at this point in this year, obviously has been particularly challenging for many reasons because of COVID. 

But, you know, when we had our son three years ago, I think there's something about your children. You would do anything for them to give them what they need. You know, you would forego whatever you need, but then the second that they come into the picture, you would do anything. Right. So I think that having him really made me prioritize my own health. 

I wouldn’t say I had, like, a great mental perspective around my work-life balance before my son and I, even though, like, I had like an incredibly supportive boss. For example, Dr. Dominic D'Agostino is my boss. We've worked together for a decade now, and he is the kindest, most supportive boss you could ever have. There's something about the career that I chose in research, it just doesn't end. I'm sure Justin you've experienced that. 

Justin: Yup. 

Angela: You can decide to...

Justin: There is literally no end. And I mean, there's no point I was like, “Ok, I'm done.” Yeah.

Angela: Right? And then, of course, with my husband going through that, too. But when our son came to the picture and then even more when Lorelai came into the picture, our daughter in the middle of a pandemic, it just really brought to surface, you know, what is important, what is less important, and doing the things that keep us as a family unit healthy and thriving, and together and give us the best opportunity to have as much happy, healthy, happy time together. 

That was just such a motivating factor that I guess I didn't care about myself as much as I care about my children. And I think that that has just been just absolutely life-changing in that regard. So, you know, even though this year has by far been the most difficult of our lives, my husband and I have looked at each other recently and said, “Wow, this is like the best year of our life.”

Justin: Oh, my god. I love to hear that. Oh, geez. 

What has surprised you, Angela, the most like going into being a parent? I'm sure you had lots of ideals, like ideals about how you know a lot about health and metabolic health. And so it's like, “Ok, you know, I'm like, I've got it all planned out.” What have you learned about what is doable, not what's perfect, but what is achievable?

Angela: Right, exactly. And that's what immediately came to mind. I think there's a saying, “Don't let great become the enemy of good” or something. Right. You know of these ideas. You want to do everything perfectly. And then you have a three-year-old. And he doesn’t necessarily want to do everything perfectly. 

Justin: Yeah. 

Angela: And you can’t make him to. As much as you want him to 100% of the time, choose the healthy thing and the you know, all of that. But you support and you prioritize and you hope that the majority of the time we make it and we make the right decisions. But then, you know, you also accept that life is not perfect.

Justin: Angela, is there a non-negotiable for you? Like, is there one thing where you like “I know enough, like because of my research or you know, I know that this is just I can't slide on this one thing.” What would it be?

Angela: You know, I wouldn’t say for me, for my husband, it's motorcycles and fireworks. He says, no. 

Audra: He’s seen too much. 

Angela: Zero. Never in our family. He’s had too much of that in the E.R.

Justin:  Absolutely. No, that makes sense. Well, you know, if your guts are splattered all over the highway, then you can't metabolize food. 

Audra: Unless you become a zombie. But yeah.

Justin: Oh, wow. All right. So it's fireworks and motorcycles for him. Do you have one? 

Angela: You know, nothing that we've experienced so far, but they’re also very young. Right. I imagine will come into some will meet some hard lines here in the next decade or so. When they get a little older, they're more able to make some decisions on their own. 

Victoria: What about for you, Justin? 

Justin: Well, one thing I would ask you about is what do you think about fruit juice? Like, is that something…

Angela: Oh yeah, we don’t do fruit juice. Yeah. But, you know, I'm not going to knock it out of his hand. If someone you know, if you just…

Justin: Just like Shaquille O'Neal. Yeah. 

Angela: Right. Yeah. No, that's a great, great point. Yeah. Never I mean, we got those kind of things we just don't keep in the house, you know what I mean? Like we don't have fruit juice in the house. He doesn't, I don't even know they really know what juice is. 

Justin: And so for parents listening to this who are like, wait, what? Juice? What are your thoughts on juice? Why don't you have any juice in your house? 

Angela: Yeah. So because I think, you know, most fruit juices that are sold as marketed to children, have as much sugar in them as a bowl of ice cream or a couple of donuts. And they don't have the fiber, too. So I'm not like... 

Justin: It's just straight sugar. I mean, there’s nothing else in it. 

Angela: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, my kids eat fruit, you know? I'll give them an orange, but to give him a glass of orange juice that’s stripped of the fiber so it doesn't slow the absorption of that sugar. And then it's literally like the amount of sugar and how many oranges, you know, it's just it's taking something that I'm perfectly fine with and then kind of removing the best things about it and then making it even worse. So, yeah, I mean, I just think, yeah, we just pretty much drink water for the kids. It's water and he drinks whole milk. 

Justin: So one of my questions was for both of you, if you could give parents just one piece of advice on metabolic health for the kids, like one thing to start today to focus on, what would it be? I think fruit juice is an easy one. Do either of you have any other ones that are just some like first steps today, give this a try.

Victoria: I mean, not being a parent, speaking from not having experience on how challenging it might be. I would say try to stick to whole foods as much as possible. If it's packaged, you probably want to try to avoid that as much as you can. And that's sort of the first step. They talk about sort of shopping on the outside of the aisle.

Audra: Yeah, the perimeter.

Victoria: Yeah, I mean, I would say full food, you're going to be kind of moving towards sort of in the right direction and staying away from the packaged stuff that has the preservatives, that has so many different sort of additions to it than what it was in its whole state. You know, you really, not to get too deep into the weeds with ingredients. You just stick with the whole stuff, you know, and you're headed in the right direction. 

Angela: So I would say that too and then just prioritizing active fun, just getting your kid outside every day. It's so pervasive and easy now to, especially right now. I know it's complicated and people have many reasons to use like, a lot of screen time because of specific obstacles. But just making that a daily part of their routine and prioritizing that for children, I think is really critical. So I don't think it can be underestimated how important that is.

Victoria: To go off of that, I mean, one thing that I do for myself every day is just making sure I start my day with sunlight, like getting outside, even if it's for 10, 15 minutes. 

There's a pretty powerful effect for just being in the sunshine that I think, you know, maybe all of us can kind of practice just literally taking a bit of a walk outside or, you know, whatever the case may be. But trying to get it in some sunshine every day can be really powerful. It sounds so simple and so strange, but I think as humans that’s sort of an absolute need.

Audra: And without sunblock, right? 

Victoria: Yeah, there you go. I mean, yeah, we could get into a whole rabbit hole. Yeah. But, you know, I think we have underestimated the importance of getting sunshine and how I mean, every sort of form of life, you know, plants, animals, we all need sort of light. And it's so underestimated. And I mean, you're starting to hear more and more about it with vitamin D, you know, the talk around vitamin D and COVID and whatnot. But, yeah, it's an important thing.

Audra: I have a related question to the tips for parents when it comes to, you know, kind of what are the small things that we can do as we're trying to make these little changes and steps towards health from the standard American lifestyle. And so we've got some really great small, actionable things. 

Have you seen folks who dive into the health and wellness space who kind of on the opposite end of this are like, my kids are going to be carnivore, my kids are going to do, be vegan and my kids or whatever it might be. Do you have any tips when it comes to child nutrition that you know or a perspective on this anyway, of like floating to the extremes? 

Angela: I'm not a dietitian or anything related, but I don't know a lot about it. I just know in science, nothing is ever black and white. And if you get in yourself in a silo where you become so convinced, you know, that this very extreme version of one way of doing things is the only possible way, I would take a step back and assess all sides of the situation, because you will almost always find some nuance to bring to kind of give yourself a different perspective. 

And especially when it comes to children, you know, they're growing and, you know, they're growing and they have different requirements, goes back to this idea of like catabolism and anabolism. They have different needs and requirements and things—diets, for example, impacts them differently and we know that. There's also not research really in children and diets usually. So to make bold claims about like extreme kind of scenarios as it pertains to children in particular, I think is concerning in my perspective. 

Audra: I think that's so helpful. I mean, it really brings the focus back to what we call whole, Fierce Foods as the when and the approach. And I know for our family, we I mean, we went keto-crazy, you know, in a positive way when we found it. And it did so much for Max that we all went all in. 

Justin: But our son had an aggressive or a growing brain tumor. 

Audra: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And in the cool learning that has come out of it is that all four of us eat differently. We put the same dinner on the table every night. We provide, similar to Angela, we have oranges and apples and we have got, you know, a variety of things like that of, you know, we always have whole foods around. We've got our Quest products, certainly.

Justin: We need to make a note that right now, Max is not on a ketogenic diet. And so that's why we can have this. 

Audra: Yeah, Max is on a higher protein, lower carb diet right now. But still, even when he is and has been fully keto, we've taken a bio-individual approach. And it's been an evolution for us because we went from being like, what's fair for everyone in the family? And everyone's going to eat the same way, too. We all have different needs. 

And so Mommy, you know, has hypothyroidism and has a hard time with lactose. So she needs this. You know, Daddy just really loves sardines and salad. So he is fine with that approach. And Maesie, it's a similar sort of thing, like we're going to provide the more flexibility for her in the home to make those choices. And when she goes out in the world, you know, we're not restricting what she does at birthday parties at friends’ houses or anything like that. And she's ended up making some really good choices for her. So she has her little Annie's mac and cheese and does stuff like that. But she will also eat an entire double flat of raspberries in one sitting, you know, like and it's a really, it's a hard thing because there's like no book that you're going to buy that's going to show you how to do this.

And I think that's the difficult thing is like really working with your family and your kids on what feels nourishing, like what feels good to you. What are the triggers for you where, you know, maybe I'm not feeling great after eating this or maybe this isn't something that would be a good habit for me, you know? I think that's the challenging part, but also the huge opportunity. 

Justin: Well, I feel a little differently. 

Audra: Oh, do you? 

Justin: So, when I hear “Do what feels good for you,” I get concerned because we live in a food environment that if I do really what feels good to me…

Audra: No, no, I'm saying not what feels good, like mindful like what feels like…

Justin: Right, I just as in full disclosure, before Max was diagnosed, like and Audra, to her credit, you know, was not happy with this, but I would come home with like Lunchables and just like the most juice bar like the easiest, the things that kids, you know, like hey we all…

Audra: He loved to eat Smart Start every morning like I don’t know if you remember that cereal, it would like cut the roof of your mouth and he'd be like, “It said smart on it.” 

Justin: I grew up eating like, mixing-bowl-sized full of corn pops. It was just like the entire box, which would go in the…

Angela: Nice. 

Justin: So for me, I had to think, all right, I now have gone far enough down all these different paths that I know what eventually feels good to me, the like, if I eat this way, I know how I'm going to feel. 

But Angela, as you alluded to, parenting, especially when the kids are young, as young as you have, I mean, and you're juggling a career and you know, and all this. I yeah, I just know what feels good is just a little peace, you know, it just a little just like some fast peaceful. I like it. We just get this thing done. 

And so I wonder if there are some more guidelines that we could add in. So we have whole foods, you know, go and go into more whole food direction activity. But I'm wondering if there are some other little pieces of advice that we might be able to do. 

Angela: Something came to mind. You're saying that because I think your comment about a little peace is what it feels good. I completely understand that. 

I have my difficulty is if I have not planned ahead and have, you know, a healthy meal that I can make in a pretty quick amount of time when I get home, or even better, I've already made it and are just waiting to be warmed up, and I have it on-hand. And if I don't have, you know, the snacks that I want my kids to be eating when they're hungry and myself that I want to reach for when I'm hungry, avocados or berries or whatever it is, I will order food because it seems like the craziest, most easy thing in the world and then always make poor choices when I order right from a restaurant. So for me, it's like it's really a significant benefit to me and my family’s health when I just make that commitment to really thinking ahead of time and plan…

Justin: Planning, planning, yeah.

Angela: Once I'm already hungry and exhausted. Oh, my gosh. You know.

Justin: Just all bets are off. 

Angela: Yeah. I think I don't know. That's nothing very insightful. But it helps. It works for us for sure. 

Audra: No, I think it's super insightful. 

Victoria: Again, not speaking from a place of having kids, but trying but loving kids, like trying to make things fun and being and having it be an inclusive experience with them. Much like what you guys do with MaxLove so well is making it be sort of a fun thing. 

I think maybe many families sort of see it as just maybe mom or dad cooking in the kitchen. But I think you can involve the family in a way that makes it exciting for kids, too, and makes it sort of this like educational process at the same time.

Now, granted, that takes a lot of planning and a lot of time and things. So it's not maybe always possible, but where you can maybe on the weekends is making it something fun and exploring it together, because for a lot of families, I think cooking can be just in and of itself can be very daunting. And whole foods feel like so much more commitment because, you know, you really have to understand what you're doing. But I think it can be really fun and it can be really simple, too, with sort of the right approach.

Justin: Ohhh, I just have a thought about that simple thing. One of the things that going into a ketogenic diet with Max and working on getting the right foods at the right time, and it really forced us to simplify. And now I think maybe at one point in time I would have thought, well, it's not ok to just have some chicken and broccoli. Like you can't just eat that. But now it's like... 

Audra: You have to have rice.

Justin: Well, well. Yeah, but you know, but now it's like, well, we've roasted some broccoli and we had a rotisserie chicken and this is what it is. And now I'm like, totally fine with that. This is actually a fantastic dinner. 

Audra: It's a crazy mindset shift, isn't it? 

Justin: Like it can be really simple, it is. And the kids like it, like they're like, “Oh, great, we get broccoli and rotisserie chicken!”

Audra: And no, it's true. And Victoria, your point is super well taken, too. I mean, we've only seen that again and again and again. When kids have their hands on it, when they're involved with it, when they make the choices, whatever the choice might be. I mean, it could be small choices, you know, it could be like. But when they're involved with it, they're invested. And then all of a sudden the outcome is different. Right? Because they're like, “oh, I took part in that. I'm invested in it. It’s not just some random thing you put down in front of me and then asked me to eat.” 

And I think that's really powerful, along with persistence. You know, some of the tips that we've had to ah, make some of that like as you're preparing the meal and you have some of these veggies that you're preparing, make some available to them before dinner when they're really hungry, and let them come in, introduce it, pick at it, and then let them critique it. What would you do different? I mean, even as the little ones, you know, even at three, they can be like, ehhh, I don't know. I would, you know, try it in this. Well, what if you try it in that? You know, they love to be involved and it makes all the difference in the world. 

Angela: We've recently, my son and I recently, we make eggs together in the mornings now. And there's nothing better than a gooey egg, you know, for a three-year-old boy. He loves it. He cracks open the yolks. And then when we break them up, he just loves it. It's just fun. 

Audra: So cool. 

Justin: Eggs are the best. 

Audra: You just have to be willing to let the kitchen's going to be messier than you want. Things aren't as controllable. You know, you got to be willing to let go. There's going to be some like little shards of shell, you know, in your scrambled eggs or whatever. But that's ok. 

And, you know, a big thing for us, too, that we've learned along the way is persistence. One of the cool things about Max going keto was that we had kind of a palate cleanse that happened. You know, like you have a kid who would not even touch spaghetti squash before going keto. Three months into it like “There's spaghetti in the name?” “Yes.” “I'll have some.” 

Justin: It looks kind of like…

Audra: You know, melon, I remember telling them—I remember being at that stage like so many moms, like, you know, eat your melon before you can have dessert or eat your apple before you can have dessert. And now those are truly desserts and valued as such by these kids, you know? 

But it's definitely I mean, we're going on, gosh, eight years or so. And it has taken that long. You know, it has been a continual push of offering and offering and offering and offering. I don't know, especially when the odds are stacked against us with the standard American lifestyle. I don't know that there's a point where you just win. It is a constant effort, you know, and I think that that's. Yeah, it's hard. I just want to recognize that it's hard. You know, you're working. Yeah, it is. 

Victoria: I don't know how you guys do it. I mean, I tell Angela all the time, she's super woman and same with you guys. I mean, I can only imagine, you know, I sit here not being a parent, just saying, well, just involve the kids. And just that simple act is probably I can't even imagine how challenging. 

But at the same time, I can imagine that it probably provides the child with a level of confidence that they might not have had before. And they sort of start to feel empowered that I can be involved in something so significant. You know, eating is a part of everybody's life multiple times a day. And that has got to be such an incredible learning, life learning experience, I would imagine. But the point A to point B to get there, I'm sure I can't imagine how difficult and how not simple. I mean, because I would imagine that one of the biggest challenges for many families is just the outside influences like you can... 

Audra: Yes. 

Victoria: And all you can in the house. But you want social you know, social interaction is so important and not everybody's going to be on the same whole food wavelength that you are. 

Audra: Right.

Victoria: So much like what Angela said, “I'm not going to smack it out of his hand.” It's hard, though, at the same time, when you have exposure like that to other things that maybe don't fit within what you're trying to do, that throws a wrench in at that point A to point B process. 

Audra: Yeah, no, absolutely. It's hard work. And it strikes me with Metabolic Health Summit that you see a lot of this. You see a lot of people making major, major life changes and working very hard. And there is a sort of narrative, I feel like around, especially with parenting, that these things should be easier. 

And I don't know, I think it can be tough, tough as a mom. And, you know, somebody like through what we're doing at the MaxLove Project to share that the project of thriving, of health and wellbeing for your family is indeed work. And it's worth it. You know, it's worth the hard work, but I do think that there's something that's difficult about that in our kind of very convenience-striven American society. I know I wasn't raised with that way of thinking and with that way of thinking around health and wellbeing. So it can be very difficult. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, having anything kind of start to take that sort of like habit place in your life, I mean, especially when you were raised a certain way and not with that level of convenience and whatnot. It's like literally changing your entire mindset. 

I mean, one way I can kind of relate to that is just in working with a variety of cancer patients and some of the sort of pilot studies, so challenging and so difficult, but so empowering in the process if you can get through that learning curve and that struggle to feel like you actually play a really active role in your life and can make these choices that do make a big difference down the line and teach your kids that too. I think there's something so powerful to that. And I think, like you said, it's worth the struggle. So I, you know, keep on persevering through it. It makes a difference. 

Audra: Yeah, it's a powerful way to put it, you know, it's like learning how to work on your house or any other life skill, you know, it's like when you do your own plumbing to some degree. I mean, that is awesome, right? Like that is empowering. And I love that feeling that you have after. I think that's a great way to frame it for people who are thinking, “Do we get over a hump? Does it get easier?” It does get easier. 

Victoria: Yeah, I would agree. I think so. I mean, I've worked with a lot of sort of nutrition clients over the years, and it's all going a totally different way of life is always a struggle, always feels uncomfortable. But some of the most beautiful things come out of discomfort, I think, in life and are worth it at the end of the day. But it does get easier, I think. But, you know, I'm not speaking from the perspective of a parent, but somebody who's put myself through the ringer many different ways so, you know.

Justin: So one of the ways this has gotten easier for me, at least, is seeing the effect of these changes in my own life. And so when I make these nutritional changes or physical activity or more sun or sleep, the whole thing, I notice a difference in myself. And so that motivates me to do this for my kids. 

So I'm wondering for both of you, what are the metabolic health actions that you're working on right now that are kind of like new and challenging for you? Like what is really exciting in your own personal health journeys in regard to metabolic health right now? 

Angela: This whole past year, I really rededicated myself to cooking a lot more than I used to because things have slowed down, obviously. I'm working from home and stuff, and so I'm able to, which is fantastic. And that's been a huge. I also got an air fryer, which is like amazing. 

Audra: I want one! I really want one. 

Justin: What do you make with it? 

Angela: Everything. 

Audra: Everything. 

Angela: Literally make everything. I don't understand. It's literally just magic...everything's like Jamaican jerk work in there is just like the juiciest. So good. You got to get an air fryer and I’ll send you the recipe. But anyways, that's been a journey for me. But more recently, what I'm trying to do is incorporate more like fun activity and do like my exercise. So instead of just kind of doing like, you know, typical kind of workouts for workout sake. My husband and I used to play Ultimate Frisbee. 

Justin: Oh, yes. 

Angela: I bought a Frisbee and Ultimate Frisbee. And I've been making them go to the park with me. 

Justin: Oh, heck, yeah. 

Audra: That’s so cool. 

Angela: And our three-year-old will just run in between us…

Victoria: I need to see this video.

Angela: You should come out, in the afternoon and the whole place. And that's been going to return to the fun aspect.

Justin: Returning to fun. I love it. 

Victoria It's been an interesting year for me. There are some new things that have popped up COVID-related that I've kind of been working through. And so for me, exercise has always been sort of a way to sort of been like my therapy is like working through things through exercise and exerting that energy and completing the stress cycle is, has always been exercise for me. 

So not having that, I would say over the last three months has really pushed me into adapting and evolving, much like what we've done with Metabolic Health Summit into finding new ways to kind of just take in all of life's awesomeness at the moment. 

So a little bit of sarcasm there, but also things like, you know, I've always had kind of a meditation practice, but I've kind of done it sort of sporadically when I felt like I really needed today. So instead, I've been really trying to focus on making that sort of a daily thing and also incorporating just focus on my breath in the process that, you know, obviously with meditation, you can focus on breath, but making it more a little bit more on purpose and sort of doing a little bit of breathwork in between specifically too, because I did suffer some breathing problems with so that that's been really helpful to me to bring my sort of focus back to something so simple. 

That along with I have been taking some fun cold showers and I've been doing that daily, actually. And I like it from the perspective of just simply getting through a cold shower, kind of like trickles into other facets of your life where you're faced with this sort of like, oh, shocking stress response. But if you can kind of face that sort of reaction and instead go through it and not react and sort of like, this is getting a little weird, but.

Audra: No, no, no, no. 

Justin: No. I mean, so just to give any listeners context, who might be saying like, “Why in the heck would you want to do a cold shower?” This has become quite popular in the health world, I'd say over the last, what? Ten, five, ten years? Oh, yeah. And so it's supposed to have, well, I don't want to, I mean, is this supposed to be hormetic in the sense that it did, you know, provides a stress on the body and that the response to that stress is supposed to be healthy. Is that the basics that parents would need to know about taking a super cold shower? 

Victoria: There's a variety of information out there about why that might be sort of beneficial and why not. But for me, I would say I kind of enjoy doing it first thing in the morning because it kind of forces me to get into this like really solid mindset of instead of reacting to stress, I kind of like work through it first thing in the morning. 

And it brings me back to that simplicity of just focusing on my breath and being aware of what sort of is going on with my body first thing in the morning. It just wakes me up as well. I think there's obviously a lot of information out there that you could find on it. But for me, I think it's been really interesting to kind of watch how I've changed mentally. 

And I think I find I've instead of channeling a lot of the stress that sort of the world right now through physical activity, which is what I normally use to kind of get through things, I really kind of gone within myself and look to things like meditation and ways to kind of upgrade and get through these challenging times through using the power of my mind. And I think that's really interesting, because there is such a—  

I mean, if you look at one of the most interesting areas for for me within the research right now is I mean, not to go out of left field, but nutritional psychiatry, I think is really a good example of how interconnected mind, body. And so I've really been kind of focusing on that a lot because I've not had that physical activity in the side of things. It's been a really interesting, eye-opening sort of experience. It's always, you know, I've always incorporated it, but I've taken it to a new level. 

Justin: Awesome. 

Audra: So powerful, Victoria. I can just imagine, I guess, what comes up for me hearing you reflect on this, because I know from knowing you how important physical activity has been, the grief that can accompany that, you know, that the way that you've been able to work with and use your body and even enjoy that. I mean, to lose that for some time, it's got to be incredibly difficult. So I just felt that as you were sharing. Yeah. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, I've gone through periods of injury before. I used to compete professionally in the world of fitness. And so I've been through that before. But it's really interesting when you faced something like COVID that provides these weird heart- and lung-related issues that linger, that are so outside of your control. 

So, you know, coming from a background of being a professional athlete and being so in-control of that has really I think it's been a really great opportunity to continue to work on that mental side of things that I think also is very powerful. I mean, that's why I personally feel sort of the stress management and I think it's amazing that you guys include that so heavily and with MaxLove. Because, you know, being able to manage stress and being able to work through things instead of being I mean, so many of us, especially right now, are in some of this reactionary state and thinking about what that does to the body and constantly being in the state of fight or flight, not being able to manage my, you know, the stress of the world through exercise has really made it even more evident to me how important that peace is. 

And finding different ways to kind of work through it has been pretty powerful and very, I see it as sort of an upward opportunity. I guess shifting my perspective instead of obviously, yes, there's some grief going through losing exercise, but also seeing it as not what I can't, cannot do but choose where I can.

Audra: Where you can. That proactivity. 

Justin: That's yeah. Yeah, I really like your perspective. So I had only thought about cold showers in terms of like what sort of cellular processes are going on when you're freezing. And it wasn't enough. Honestly, that narrative around the, you know, cellular mechanisms was not enough for me to go through it. 

Like I tried it for about a month and I was like, this is so terrible. I don't care. If this adds six months onto my life when I'm 80, I don't care. Like I'll die. And but, what you just said was something that I have found to be so important in mindfulness meditation in my own personal, you know, emotional growth is: can I just be with this? Can I just be with what's happening right now? And so that's what I'm hearing from you is like, you know, getting into that cold shower. Can I just be with this? Like, can I just be here? Yeah, that's super powerful. 

Victoria: That's exactly what it is. I think I can't make myself feel uncomfortable in the gym right now. So I can go through a very uncomf- much like you. I mean, yeah, there's all kinds of information, all kinds of theories and things out there on cold showers in general. But for me, I found the most power in just challenging myself to be sort of ok with it and just sit in it. Much like, you know, a lot of things in life, I think.

Justin: Can I be ok with this feeling of despair that I have or grief or, you know, anger? Like, can I just be with this? Can I just be with it…

Victoria: Yeah, working through it, like head on. I think that's what 2020 taught so many of us, is that like this is going to be uncomfortable for a while. We've got to learn how to live and how to still be grateful and how to, you know, foster relationships and do all these things and just be with what's happening and still take action, of course. But not just like when I say just be not being sort of complacent, but like, you know, really challenging. 

Justin: It's like a radical engagement with it. Can I just get engagement with this? 

Victoria: Ooh, that's good. A good way to put it. I was going to say. 

Justin: Oh, yes. So I see it. We are getting close up to our time. So I want to give you guys enough time to talk real quick about the Metabolic Health Summit. So you weren't able to do it this year. COVID, you know, it just disrupted everything, but it's coming back next year. Can you just tell us briefly, what is Metabolic Health Summit at this point in its evolution and what can we expect in the future?

Victoria: I would say Metabolic Health Summit has evolved so much over the years, but it's had sort of this core like this mission at its core. I mean, we set out to really, I mean, our goal is to revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing our attention. We've drifted away on, you know, nutrition, metabolism, and sort of its common threads throughout everything from human disease to human performance, longevity. I mean, you name it, everything that we sort of touch as human beings. 

And to do that in a way that provides people with the very latest science, I think that's such a key component to Metabolic Health Summit is making sure that what we do every day is backed by what does the bleeding edge science tell us right now. 

And that's why we call it Metabolic Health Summit, because it's not called the Ketogenic Summit. It's because it extends way past that point. Right. That's obviously a big, the ketogenic diet and obviously metabolic therapy in that sense is a very strong part of the conference. 

However, the science could lead us in a completely different direction. So our goal is to bring the very top experts from around the world, the clinicians, that the academics, the people that are in the trenches, doing the work, doing the research to really show us what is the science telling us about nutrition, metabolic therapies, metabolic health in general, and giving that to both the medical professional all the way to the general public. 

I think what's really interesting about our scientific conference is that it started as sort of an academic meeting and it became very evident very quickly that we needed to include the general public to continue this mission of changing the course of how we look at lifestyle and medicine and how it all intertwined. It's so important to include the public, I think, in that process, because we were having patients come to our conference saying, “I want to try to implement this, I want to try to improve my health, I want to learn to empower myself.” 

And so it was a little bit of an evolution. It was a little risky to kind of like try to bring the two worlds together. But truly, it's become this place where keto science does meet society. It's this blending of these two worlds that somehow we managed to kind of give to the world in a very synergistic way that I think we have to, our goal is to really now educate, educate the people sort of on the front lines, the medical professionals, that there are days that and provide credit in doing that. 

So continuing medical education through watching the presentations that you might find at the conference, but also providing this experience that really allows for people to take home more than just much more like you were saying, Justin, we want to provide more than just this sort of like very black and white, “Here's the information,” we want to provide, this experience that takes the science and really shows you what it's like in the real world. 

And so you will not only get very cutting edge science from the clinicians and academics that are doing the work in research. But you'll also get to experience what a culinary ketogenic meal looks like at a gala dinner or, you know, it's down to like every single piece of food that's offered at the conference. The entertainment I mean, two years ago, we really evolved into providing a sort of entertainment at the gala dinner where a BMX, pro BMX athlete who I connected with, who had suffered from multiple brain tumors, who found ketogenic metabolic therapy and uses it to really thrive. And it's really changed him in many ways. He's found many benefits to it in alongside standard of care. He actually lost his sort of ability to ride his bike for some time. And then I connected with him after he really found in the ketogenic diet and was doing quite well. I remember us talking on the phone. It's like, well, what about I can have you perform? That sounds amazing. Can we build a ramp in the ballroom? 

Justin: It was so incredible. I will never forget that. Never. 

Victoria: Oh, good. It was one of those moments where I don't think Angela and I ate for like two days. 

Audra: Yeah, totally.

Angela: Like how we are just like everything was working up to that moment…like please let it all go smoothly. 

Victoria: You know, because here's this amazing, inspiring professional athlete who’s literally felt like he lost his heart and soul is riding his bike to like getting through it. Using ketogenic metabolic therapy is sort of like a tool. And now, like performing flips in the ballroom on a 65-foot ramp. That's the kind of thing that we want to do. It's not just an event. It's an experience that really will provide people. 

I mean, our goal at the end of the day, what we've had to really do with the pandemic is think of new ways to continue that education without live events. Obviously, we're going to continue the conference and we're going to continue to bring people together. That wasn't possible this year, but it's really opened our minds to how we can reach more people more deeply online as well. 

So I think that's the next sort of evolution of MHS is to how do we continue to educate the people that are making big changes in the world that are interacting with patients and do that from the comfort of their own home? So that's where we're headed. Angela, please add to.

Angela: No, that was beautiful. The only thing that comes to mind as it is, it may just lose a place for collaboration. And I think that was a huge impetus when we put the very first conference so many years ago, we basically were like, we need all of these people that were working on this kind of stuff individually to come together, because that's how things move forward so much more quickly and not just, you know, as a scientist, I'm thinking from all the person who studies, you know, for epilepsy and I work on cancer and this person works on metabolic disease, but not just individual academics, but clinicians speaking to scientists, speaking to industry partners, speaking to nonprofit partners, speaking to the general public. 

And I can't even tell you how many like stories I've heard of, you know, just relationships and collaborations and things that have grown out of meetings and experiences at MHS really proving that, you know, that power of human connection. You know, digital is fantastic. But getting people together and I can't wait till we can do it again. But, man, it's made like massive changes in the world already. And I think that's a huge part of what MHS is and provides as well. 

Victoria: Yeah. So really quickly, follow up on what you just said. That is one of I would say my favorite parts of it is coming together so we can talk about how to collaborate. I mean, I think working together is one of the biggest ways that we can kind of push this forward, where we can only do so much individually. But once you bring all these people who are feeling like they were working in silos, maybe working on different things, but once you bring them together and you can start to talk about some of the similar mechanisms, and I mean, we can do so much more with that. 

And then one of my most favorite parts of the conference, you know, it's four days of presentations from the very sort of in-the-weeds science all the way to application in the real world. There's also a scientific poster session, which if you've been to a scientific conference, it's researchers from around the world. And it's one of the most inspiring things ever where you walk through and literally posters for those who haven't been, posters are set up where you can learn about research that hasn't even been published yet of what's happening. I mean, that's like the bleeding edge of, I just, I find it so intensely inspiring and leave that poster session like man, makes me want to, you feel like you want to like go out and change the world after that. There's a sort of a buzz coming off of that.  

Audra: I couldn't agree more. And on the society side, I consider myself to be a society that gets introduced to this thing, to the science thanks to you all. There's really powerful education and support that happens there through having access to the science directly. 

One thing that really occurs to me, too, is that we get to learn more about science. We get to learn more about the methods. We get to learn. 

And one thing that I have learned is humility. I have learned these boundaries thanks to you all and the scientists who have shared their time with us at Metabolic Health Summit. I've learned, you know, what do we know? That's always sort of like we've learned that this suggests this one thing. It's not evangelical. I think that's one of the things that's really powerful about MHS is that this isn't just like a fan club, you know, sort of thing of a you know, a multilevel marketing conference. Right.

Victoria: ...mentality is like my worst nightmare. 

Audra: I feel like there's really powerful learning that the society side needs direct access to science for this reason. You know, they're the intermediary of the influencer, which is what we're seeing very much a lot of around health and wellness on social media especially can be really difficult. Some influencers have it down. Some do not. 

And I think that big sweeping sort of generalizations can easily be made. You know, thoughts around these interpretations of scientific evidence, you know, can be easily kind of waved around. At MHS makes you really get a reason. Like you get you can talk to the folks doing the research. You'll say, well, this is what this suggests. This is what we can say. There's good evidence here and it helps you, I know it has helped me tremendously anyway. So usually there is gatekeeping with this, normally at academic conferences, societies are not allowed in. And so I think it's a huge thing to bring us all together and to be able to facilitate these conversations. I'm incredibly grateful for what you all do. 

Victoria: Well, we're incredibly, incredibly grateful for your support. And it's been so amazing to be able to partner with you guys in some ways you know, I just we we feel inspired by what you do in the world, because we see how important and how neat it is for other families out there, which, you know, with MaxLove Project that now with The Family Thrive. I mean, you're really filling a need that has needed to be met for so long. 

And it's really exciting to see where it goes, it’s such an important component, I think, to what we're trying to do is including families in that conversation, because that's real life, that, you know, that's where our mentality is. It's like let's provide a platform of legitimate science, but let's also include the everyday person in that conversation, because we see how important that is.  

Justin: Yes. Well, I feel the synergy for sure. And before we sign off here and continue to give each other props and hugs and all that other stuff, we have three questions that we ask every podcast guest. And so now you both are on the hot seat. The first question is, if you could put a big Post-it note right on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say? 

Angela: So I was glad that you sent us off because I needed to think about it, right? 

Victoria: Yeah, I need like two more hours to think about it. 

Angela: This is something I've heard elsewhere and I can't recall where, but it really struck a chord with me. And it's “the way you speak to your child becomes their inner voice.” 

Justin: Hmm. Ooof.

Angela: And just daily reminded how important that is and building who they're going to be down the line the way that I speak to them on a daily basis. 

Audra: That's so powerful.

Victoria: Wow, that's. I don't know how to follow it. Yeah. 

Justin: All right, Victoria. 

Victoria: Bring it down even to a more fundamental level: what we speak and what we say, oftentimes not going back to sort of the reactionary thing, but to go back to that reactionary thing. Sometimes we need to take a second and a pause and a breath to create space between what we're thinking and what comes out of our mouth. 

Audra: Thank you. Yes. 

Victoria: Bring it backwards a little bit. I would just have a Post-it note that says “Breathe.” It sounds so simple. 

Justin: Just breathe, yeah. Take a breath. 

Audra: I'm going to put these up on my fridge. I absolutely love them. Well, I said I'm going to put both of these up on the fridge. I mean, I love them. Victoria. Totally. It's that space between stimulus and response. And that is exactly the space that you need when you're going to take a deep breath and consider how you speak to your child, to consider how you speak to yourself. 

Victoria: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's the difference between making good food choices and bad food choices, as well right, just taking a second. 

Justin: Yeah. Slow down. Slow down.  

Victoria: Just chill out for a second. Yeah. 

Audra: If you still make the bad food choice, you've thought about it, you're like, I want it. Own it.

Justin: And I'm going to be mindful as I do it. All right. So the second one is, what is the last quote that has changed the way you think or feel? And I know there might be some overlap here, but give it a shot. 

Angela: This is what I heard recently as an author by the name of Nora Roberts, said something along these lines. This is not direct. The key to juggling everything in life is knowing which balls you're juggling are glass and which are plastic. 

Justin: Perspective, priorities. 

Angela: Absolutely. Some things you can drop and they bounce and you can get them later and some things you drop, and they shatter. So just keeping that in mind. 

Justin: Oh, I had never heard that. Victoria, you got to bring your A-game. 

Audra: No expectations. Victoria, we embrace and accept everything. 

Victoria: There's one that there's one quote that we've tried in every single conference program that I find really inspiring. It's by Ai Weiwei. It's which is sort of like a world renowned artist of the familiar. “Creativity is the power to reject the past and to change the status quo and to seek new potential.” 

And I just feel like for for me, I mean, creativity is it's sort of the heart and soul of everything. And what we do with MHS is really thinking outside of the box and allowing for that creativity to shine, even among sort of the scientific world. I think it's obviously so critical. And so that would be one that sort of inspired me for a long time. 

But another one that's come that inspires me now that I recently sort of read. And to go back to the sort of reactionaries breath thing is “Your perception of me is a reflection of you. And my reaction to you is an awareness of me.”

Audra: Hmm. Yeah. 

Victoria: I kind of like that. I think what I've noticed more than ever over the course of the last year is just is really that just taking a second and responding and not reacting to things. And there's so much more, you know, that peace, I think that we all try to find within our lives comes from that sort of understanding and awareness and lack of reaction and more responding to things. So that would be more of my recent one, and that was two. And I totally broke the rules. 

Audra: I love it. 

Justin: Angela, I was just coming in with these deep ones that you had to add to that. 

This is the last one, as we know and Angela is right in the thick of things here that it can be really exhausting to raise children. And so a lot of parents, especially if you have a, you know, kid less than one and another at three and you, I'm sure, Angela, have talked with other parents are like, “Oh, my god, I'm so tired. I'm so exhausted, my kids. Oh, my god.” So we're all in that. We're like, we all get it. So we want to just end this by just celebrating kids and just focusing on something that we just absolutely love about kids. And so what is your favorite thing about kids?

Angela: I love that kids are just absolutely hilarious. They just, they don't know what they're supposed to say or think yet. They don't know what society thinks they should be or things that they just offer this completely unfiltered, raw view of the world. And it is hilarious. That’s one of my favorite things about kids. 

Audra: Yes. Yes. 

Victoria: Man, I would serve to go off of that, I just so often look at children and just with their ability to play so freely, and it just reminds me how it's so easy to get so caught up in all of life's stuff that we forget to play and we forget to be sort of that raw, candid you know, not sort of thinking about what you should say or should be or whatever. So much as that sort of constricts and constrains who we really are. Especially with social media, you know. 

Justin: Keeping it real. 

Audra: Yeah. Yeah.

Victoria: Keeping it real and allowing yourself some playtime.

Audra: I love that, Victoria. It reminds me of “present.” You know, the kids are so in the moment and so present that they can just be in that way and that sort of like joyful, playful self, that active of imagination, just sort of as overabundant. Right. And and vibrating like they're just vibrating with it. 

And we see that even with MaxLove Project with kids in treatment, they’re that vibrating, powerful being of presence carries everyone else because they're not you know, they're not like, oh, well, you know, weighted down, they end up walking into treatment and like, “So I want to be able to play with this toy and I want to be able to do this next thing” because they're so present. And so I love, I love that reflection. It really resonates with me. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, they're not sort of weighed down by the burden of anxiety about the future or sad about sort of what happened in the past. They’re literally right in that moment. Yeah, one million percent agree with that. And they keep us grounded. I really think. 

Justin: Awesome. Real quick before we go, so how can people find out more about Metabolic Health Summit? 

Victoria: Yeah, Metabolic Health Summit dot com is the best place. But we're also we really make an active effort to provide free content online. So @MetabolicHealthSummit on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, you can find us everywhere. We do offer a variety of free, incredible content, just launched a Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy: 2020 In-Review eBook. So if you want…

Justin: Incredible. Yeah I've seen. It's awesome. 

Victoria: Awesome. If you want sort of like a snapshot of what happened in 2020 we sort of an overview, maybe not everything, but a good portion of it with those key findings. You can find that on our website as well as our social platforms and videos with top experts sort of interviews as well. So metabolichealthsummit.com you’ll find it all there. 

Justin: Beautiful. 

Audra: Yeah. You do a stellar job of providing really phenomenal educational information in these outlets where you're meeting people where they are. And I just love it. I learn something every single day I pull up Instagram, I learn from you instead of it being like some sort of a scroll. You know, there's always something like rich going on in your social media. It's awesome.

Victoria: Aww thanks. We try to provide value however we can, beyond just the once a year event. I mean, I think that's evident. We need to reach far beyond that. 

Audra: Well, you built a community, you built a family. You know, it's like as we go to the event every year or engage on social media or the friends we've made, I mean, you just, you're, it is. It's a really, really wonderful, supportive community. It's so much more than a conference or an event. 

Victoria: Thank you. That means a lot. It comes from a big place of passion for us. We're a small but mighty team. 

Justin: Well, we can't wait for 2022. Awesome.

Victoria: Big celebration. Yeah, we’ll see you guys there. 

Justin: All right. Thank you so much for coming on the show this week. And yes, we yeah, we can't wait for really big things in the future for you guys. 

Audra: Yeah. We appreciate you so much. So much.

Victoria: And we appreciate you guys just the same. I can't wait to see where things go and the impact you guys continue to make with families. 

Justin: Hey, thanks for listening to The Family Thrive podcast. If you like what you heard, please subscribe, tell two friends, and head on over to Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts and give us a review. We're so grateful you've chosen to join us on this Family Thrive journey.  




Justin: Welcome to The Family Thrive Podcast. Today we're talking about metabolic health for families. Metabolic health encompasses just about every chronic health problem we deal with... obesity to diabetes to heart disease. Today's guests run a yearly scientific conference on metabolic health like nothing I've ever been to. 

As a recovering academic myself, I've been to more scientific conferences than I possibly can remember. And they're all pretty boring, to be honest. But theirs, the Metabolic Health Summit, is not only full of the top scientists researching metabolic health, it also has a bunch of practice-oriented sessions like how to actually implement dietary or other metabolic health actions into your life in a trade show of companies creating products that support metabolic health. So it's like truly the most engaging scientific conference I've ever been to. 

Angela Poff, Ph.D., is a research associate in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Hendrick's college and completed her graduate work at the University of South Florida with a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences. She knows her stuff. She is super legit. Her research focuses on the development and characterization of a metabolic-based, nontoxic therapies for cancer and neurological. And in her free time, which she doesn't have much of, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Lin, three-year-old son Franklin, nine-month-old daughter Lorelai, two cats, and two dogs. 

Victoria Fields is originally from the UK, but is California-raised. She's also a dynamo. Her professional life is just as eclectic as her roots. The first 10 years of her career included covering the news as an NBC affiliate TV anchor, competing as a professional athlete, and co-creating several fitness businesses she operated alongside her husband, Josh. Victoria’s passion for health and nutrition later led her to get involved in cancer research around ketogenic metabolic therapies and then eventually co-founding the organization Metabolic Health Initiative with Angela Poff. 

The Metabolic Health Initiative is dedicated to providing cutting-edge, evidence-based education to scientists, health care professionals, and the general public through digital content and live events, including the annual international scientific conference I mentioned before, the Metabolic Health Summit. This conference has the mission of revolutionizing science and medicine by providing a platform that focuses on the importance of nutrition and metabolism in treating disease, extending life, and improving human performance. 

Though we are going to get into all this stuff, without further ado, here is my wonderful, amazing conversation with these two, incredibly brilliant, incredibly creative and visionary women. I hope you enjoy. 

We met Victoria before Metabolic Health Summit was even a thing. Though, we met Victoria through Quest. Do you remember that, Victoria?

Victoria: Yes, I was actually looking through pictures this morning. 

Justin: Oh, no way. 

Victoria: Yeah. Where you guys came to visit. And I just remember your energy walking in that door with Max and you met, I think the first time that we met was with Callie, was there as well, the dog.

Justin: Yes. 

Victoria: Just to throw in a little random side note. But we—it was sort of this, you know, we had been working on sort of with the founders of Quest, a nonprofit. I was involved in cancer research in canines then went on to become involved with people. And it was this sort of meeting of, you guys have been doing all of your incredible work with families and obviously through Max and his journey and making a big impact there. 

I just remember meeting you guys for the first time. I was like, I have to be around these people and continue to collaborate with them because they're just such a, you guys are just such a special group. And I really felt that on the first day that we met. So, yes, I remember it.

Justin: Oh, that's awesome. And then we worked with you over a while because Quest was working on keto products at the time. And so you were helping us just tweak and fine-tune the ketogenic diet. And just on a really practical, just everyday level of how does a family, you know, just go from day to day, fixing foods, preparing foods and in a way that…

Audra: Also. Max’s cancer progressed. 

Justin: Yes. 

Audra: And you all jumped in, and I remember it was like, “Ok, we're sending you food.” We're sending you, and like we were about to do a road trip and you stocked us up with food and like helped us kickstart again. Because he had always been, you know, from the time we met. Anyway, since 2012. When did he go keto? 2013?

Justin: September of 2013. 

Audra: Yeah. So, you know, we do the kind of like variations where when he is doing good, he goes higher protein and then, you know, and so we had to get back into therapeutic ketosis. And you all jumped in like family. 

Justin: I do have to note, there will be hopefully people listening to this who have no idea what keto is. So we'll get to that later on in the podcast. Just put a pin in that. Right now, we're just taking a walk down memory lane.

Audra: But I mean, isn't it crazy to think, though, in 2013 when we were talking about what we were doing with Max and I'm sure both of you can walk on that memory lane. People would be like, “You what?” 

Victoria: Yeah. 

Audra: What are you talking about? And then now…

Justin: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Oh. Kim. Kim Kardashian. 

Audra: Yeah. Every other magazine in the store. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean that Kim's been doing forever. Yeah. Yeah. Well, that was one of the reasons why I loved meeting you, because it was like there was this family that's been just struggling and very similar to Charlie of the Charlie Foundation, that's very human and just struggling to find resources and putting the pieces together, but then also helping other families along the way. That was the crazy part to me, where you were taking your own super challenging situation and really turning it into a way of, gosh, this is a need for so many others as well. 

But it was really cool to connect because it was like here we were in our little silo and I was on the nonprofit side heading up a nonprofit that just happened to be sort of associated with the founders of Quest. And we were doing our sort of research that was, thanks to what Dr. Angela Poff was doing in the lab. And it was this sort of perfect, beautiful storm of, I feel like meeting of people that just turned into so much more. And it's a weird story because it started with canines for us and then people. 

Justin: Yeah, right. 

Victoria: And turned into a scientific conference, so you know.

Justin: Exactly. So the scientific conference I remember attending the first year of that and just being blown away because I had been in academia for a long time, and I would go to academic conferences and it was just like a little piece of my soul would die every time. 

It just was not, yeah, I remember telling a fellow grad student this early on in my first PhD program, like, “I hate these things like this.” And he looked at me so strange. Like “What? I love it.” And so I should have taken that right then like, dude, this is not for you. But I instead, I stuck around and I got two PhDs. So I don't know what I would say. 

But anyway, I'm at this conference and there's like legit scientific presentations alongside really practice-oriented presentations alongside, and this really cool outside area with all of these keto products that were brand new to me and meeting the people behind them. And it was just an amazing event. And I remember telling Audra and MaxLove Project families like this is super unique, like this... 

Audra: It's like our Coachella for our people, you know.

Justin: The Coachella, for nerds. 

Victoria: ...for science and stuff.

Justin: It's called the Metabolic Health Summit. Now, because of COVID, things have gone all wonky. We were lucky enough to have one last year right before things went crazy. 

Audra: A year ago. 

Justin: I know. Just like, right, right in. But this year, no Metabolic Health Summit next year. Yes. But for people who are wondering what the heck are they talking about, what is metabolic health? Let's just try to define this term real quick. And Angela already alluded to the fact that this is a slippery term. 

Angela: It is. Yeah, it's absolutely slippery. And, you know, and I think Victoria said also, I think just partly, you know, that it's the absence of metabolic disease, but that's almost like as specific as you can get without or as general as you can get without being really specific, you know? 

Justin: Right. You either need to go get a PhD or be happy with that. 

Angela: Yeah. But it is. And I think from, you know, a clinical perspective, it's that definition is really focused on certain factors, metabolic parameters that we know are tightly associated with links to development of diseases like cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and then as we know, actually many, many more diseases that don't seem so obviously linked. 

But if you have certain risk factors, so abnormalities in, for example, your blood sugar. So if you have chronically elevated blood sugar or insulin resistance and abnormalities in cholesterol or triglycerides, these things would be indicative of metabolic disease or dysfunction. And then we know that these markers are all correlated to these specific diseases that can develop over time. So, you know, it's kind of hard to say other than, you know, really, truly like an absence of abnormalities. And these are really important factors. And I think that is what metabolic health is from a clinical perspective. 

Justin: So from a like just a regular parent perspective, if I'm trying to understand metabolism. So the way that I have thought about it and maybe this is way too simplistic, but I think about it as metabolism is taking stuff from the outside and converting it into energy and waste. Is that Ok?

Angela: Yeah. Yeah. So I would say that's one half of metabolism. So that's what we call catabolism. So catabolism is the breakdown of the things that you take in these large biomolecules. So the food you eat, for example, and then you break it down through the catabolic pathways, catabolism into energy, these small little packets of energy that then your tissues can use to run everything that it does. So your cells need these small little packets of energy called ATP, and they fuel every action that happens in our tissues. 

Anabolism is the opposite direction. So taking small molecules like amino acids that then combine to form proteins or nucleotides that combine to form DNA. That's the other direction. So you have catabolism and anabolism. 

And of course, as adults, you know, we don't have a ton of anabolism going on in, like, our kind of steady-state situation. I mean, you're hitting the gym, you know, you're building muscle protein, things like that. Right. But most of your tissues are kind of like at this homeostatic point. 

But for kids, you know, they're taking in energy and then repackaging it to grow. Right? So the anabolic side of metabolism is really important there as well. It plays a much larger role in the everyday life of an ever-growing child. I would say. But it's important for everyone. But yeah, that's metabolism is kind of those two sides of the same coin. 

Justin: Alright. So then we think about it as taking stuff from the outside to convert into energy and into like building blocks of stuff like muscle and tissues. Both are right. 

And so a parent is thinking about their own child's health. Is there any advantage for them to understand metabolic health as separate from any other aspect of their kids' health? 

Angela: Yeah, I think so. I think that metabolic health is one of the most malleable aspects of our health, most susceptible to influence by our lifestyle. And so as a parent, the habits that you instill in your children when they're growing really define for so many people the way that they're going to live their life, you know, for the rest of their life. 

And it's much harder for an adult to kind of overturn decades of maybe, you know, poor lifestyle choices when it comes to, you know, exercise or diet or whatever, rather than, you know, from the beginning trying to instill those habits that would work towards metabolic health in a child. So you think about doing everything you can to set your kid up for a long, healthy, you know, happy life. And I think metabolic health is absolutely key to that. 

Victoria: Full disclosure, I'm not a parent, so I'm just speaking from, as an outsider looking in. But I think for so many probably parents, you think about sort of genetics playing this massive role, which it does for sure. 

But our choices, the daily choices that we make, the simple, you know, how we choose to eat, how we choose to stress or not, how we sleep, how much sunlight we get, all of these different sort of lifestyle factors, as Angela suggested. What makes such a difference in how things play out, I think for the child, what things turn on or off? Right? 

So I think to put it simply and I think that's where we find things sort of very interesting because we're seeing sort of metabolism as this key feature and common thread of so many diseases these days. I mean, you look at Metabolic Health Summit and all the areas that we're covering. Right. It's really interesting to see how it impacts that. So I think it's important to consider the choices that we make as we're thinking about raising kids and as I'm thinking about them in the future. 

Audra: Yeah, Victoria, I think that's an amazing point that you bring up, that our genetics are not necessarily our destiny. Right? And with Metabolic Health Summit, you're seeing people completely change the odds, turn their lives around very often later on down the path. Right? And in that process of being a part of this for so many different diseases, so many different opportunities for change through lifestyle, you know, it does make me think that you can look down that path and say, man, if we got to this earlier, what are the opportunities, right? 

Victoria: Yeah.

Justin: Victoria, you mentioned several actions, behaviors. So you talked about diet, you talked about sleep, you talked about stress or stresses in it actually about what stress management is. 

So if I were to go to the Metabolic Health Summit, what are some of the behaviors that I would see studied? What are the things that I could learn about that I can affect in my own life? Like what does it mean to actually do metabolic health in one's life? 

Victoria: Metabolic Health Summit has really kind of grown over the years as well. I mean, ketogenic metabolic therapy has been sort of like the key focus, but in that, we've kind of expanded it. And so it was originally called the Conference on Nutritional Ketosis and Metabolic Therapeutics. Say that 12 times fast. 

Justin: The kids loved it, though. 

Victoria: But it's evolved over time into Metabolic Health Summit because there were so many sort of factors and things that we were sort of seeing in the research, that how that was kind of evolving that we needed to kind of include in the conversation. So, you know, it's not just nutrition. It's also sort of we make sure to include things like sleep, obviously exercise, human performance. Stress reduction is a huge, huge thing. And in fact, an area we actually included a meditation up on the helicopter pad last year. You want to include that more because there's a lot of really interesting research there. 

Next year, we also want to be inclusive of the gut microbiome. There's so you know, our gut health getting out into the sunshine, vitamin D, there are so many factors, right, that we've really kind of expanded what Metabolic Health Summit sort of incorporates, because over time too, that definition and what that means sort of can evolve as well. I think as we learn as we kind of sit on the cutting edge sort of cusp of science, nutrition, and health science, I think that we need to give that room to evolve. But what's very clear is that metabolic health really runs deep throughout our entire life. And so..

Justin: Yeah, every... 

Victoria: Yeah. There are so many important factors. Right. That I could give you a list. And I think as we talked about, sort of like the definition of metabolic health and sort of being the absence of metabolic disease, it's taken on this whole new life, especially now sort of given the pandemic and everything metabolic, the sort of words “metabolic health” have taken on so much more meaning and have sort of involved so much more than just what we're eating. 

Audra: That's such a great point. And it makes me think or brings up for me the concept that's alive and well in the MaxLove Project community and that of bio-individuality, which defies prescription. But when we're new to this, we're just getting into these kind of some of these lifestyle changes and many of us working to overcome the standard American lifestyle. We want to fall into a prescription. Right? We want to fall into like there's only one way to do this. And this is, you know, the one way. 

So it strikes me that as metabolic health, as the Summit is expanding, I'm seeing more of that, like, feeling of attention to bio-individuality that you need to tap into you. Right? Your own health goals, how you respond to things, what your unique needs are. And there are so many ways of going about doing this. 

So I'm really interested in how we can help foster that kind of with parents and families. That seems like it's really hard. So many of us need a book and a prescription, right? Like how do you develop that mindfulness to get to know yourself or and your kids, your family? You know, it's challenging. 

Victoria: Go down that road to find what works for you. Yeah, it is a lot of trial and error, I will say, just as being sort of a lifelong, you know, just seeker of metabolic health and taking my own health to the next level. It's so different for everybody. There's you know, everybody is so unique in how they respond to things, even sort of a ketogenic diet. 

I mean, you can see that not to get deep into that, but you can see that in sort of even the markers that people measure, cholesterol being one of them, how different an individual we are and how we respond to that, whether or not that's good or bad, it's up for another discussion. 

But it is a lot of trial and error. But it's also, you know, you guys are doing it right. And that's why I feel so passionately about what you guys are doing, because I think it's so needed in the world to be able to guide, especially families. I mean, you're not just talking about trying to figure out your own metabolic health. You're trying to also balance that with your family. I can't even imagine that. You know, I just try to balance my metabolic health and my dogs and...

Audra: You've got Josh, too. I mean, what do you two do it or in your family's in this space of your own diversity within your family units and bio-individuality and all of that, like how, what does that like for you both personally? 

Victoria: Yeah, for us. You know, it's been a learning process, I think, with as it goes in any marriage to figure out, you know, we've always valued, I think, at different points too. We've obviously always valued nutrition and exercise and have really understood what we both kind of need as individuals prior to us sort of getting into our relationship. 

But as we've gone through our time, much like you referred to, I think before we started the recording, you know, different sleep schedules and different, you know, like I could stay up really late and work throughout the night and then, you know, so we've now become very in-sync with that. But it's come to sort of like the realization and in getting different devices that have helped us kind of see how we both respond differently. I mean. 

Audra: Oh, interesting.

Victoria: ... too much here. But, you know, we both have Oura rings and, you know, we both started to talk about how important sleep is and how different of an experience each night we have. And even talking about, you know, maybe the best thing to do is sleep in different rooms so we get our individual needs met. I mean that’s a thing these days. 

Audra: Yeah. 

Victoria: So it's been a really interesting process. And we probably nerd out a little bit more on our own individual data more than most. But I think it really has been it's really important to be communicative, I think, with each other, because you're so different. And for us, that was really apparent when we both got COVID how differently we responded to that.

That was another really big eye-opener for us, that, “Wow, we're very different.” You know, I got hit hard and he had sort of cold-like symptoms. 

So and same with our dogs. I mean, we have two different dogs. One can be a little pain in the butt, but we love him. And the other has suffered from a traumatic brain injury. And so actually monitoring their stress levels and what throws one off with seizures and what the other sort of acting out. It's been interesting, but it's not been, I'm sure, as challenging as being able to balance out within a family with human children. I can only imagine. So I'd love to hear from you guys on how you guys balance that. Not to flip the script, but, you know.

Audra: Oh, no, please do. I think that’s great. But what about for you, Angela? 

Justin: Well, and can I preface yours? Angela, I just to give yours more context. I'm super interested in how parenting has changed what you thought you were going to like. Right. Mike Tyson has a saying: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” And I feel like having a baby is like getting punched in the mouth. 

Angela: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it is as much as you think you know, you're ready and you know what's going to come. You're right. It is like getting punched in the mouth. It's completely eye-opening in so many ways. 

And, you know, I think for me and my husband, we have really benefited. So we have a three-year-old. He just turned three. And then our daughter just, she's almost 10 months. So she was born right at the beginning of the pandemic, like in April. And I remember back then, like being so, so worried. It just seemed so extreme at the time, not realizing that, like, “Oh, it's going to get a lot worse.” You know? It's a great time to have a baby. 

But anyway, you know, so it was kind of under the context of all the stress. But, you know, my husband and I, my husband is an emergency physician. We met in college, so we went through graduate school and med school together. It was, you know, difficult years where we were both just studying and working and just challenging times, especially with him being in the E.R., you know, he's constantly flipping between days and nights shifts. He has really long shifts and he still does at this point in this year, obviously has been particularly challenging for many reasons because of COVID. 

But, you know, when we had our son three years ago, I think there's something about your children. You would do anything for them to give them what they need. You know, you would forego whatever you need, but then the second that they come into the picture, you would do anything. Right. So I think that having him really made me prioritize my own health. 

I wouldn’t say I had, like, a great mental perspective around my work-life balance before my son and I, even though, like, I had like an incredibly supportive boss. For example, Dr. Dominic D'Agostino is my boss. We've worked together for a decade now, and he is the kindest, most supportive boss you could ever have. There's something about the career that I chose in research, it just doesn't end. I'm sure Justin you've experienced that. 

Justin: Yup. 

Angela: You can decide to...

Justin: There is literally no end. And I mean, there's no point I was like, “Ok, I'm done.” Yeah.

Angela: Right? And then, of course, with my husband going through that, too. But when our son came to the picture and then even more when Lorelai came into the picture, our daughter in the middle of a pandemic, it just really brought to surface, you know, what is important, what is less important, and doing the things that keep us as a family unit healthy and thriving, and together and give us the best opportunity to have as much happy, healthy, happy time together. 

That was just such a motivating factor that I guess I didn't care about myself as much as I care about my children. And I think that that has just been just absolutely life-changing in that regard. So, you know, even though this year has by far been the most difficult of our lives, my husband and I have looked at each other recently and said, “Wow, this is like the best year of our life.”

Justin: Oh, my god. I love to hear that. Oh, geez. 

What has surprised you, Angela, the most like going into being a parent? I'm sure you had lots of ideals, like ideals about how you know a lot about health and metabolic health. And so it's like, “Ok, you know, I'm like, I've got it all planned out.” What have you learned about what is doable, not what's perfect, but what is achievable?

Angela: Right, exactly. And that's what immediately came to mind. I think there's a saying, “Don't let great become the enemy of good” or something. Right. You know of these ideas. You want to do everything perfectly. And then you have a three-year-old. And he doesn’t necessarily want to do everything perfectly. 

Justin: Yeah. 

Angela: And you can’t make him to. As much as you want him to 100% of the time, choose the healthy thing and the you know, all of that. But you support and you prioritize and you hope that the majority of the time we make it and we make the right decisions. But then, you know, you also accept that life is not perfect.

Justin: Angela, is there a non-negotiable for you? Like, is there one thing where you like “I know enough, like because of my research or you know, I know that this is just I can't slide on this one thing.” What would it be?

Angela: You know, I wouldn’t say for me, for my husband, it's motorcycles and fireworks. He says, no. 

Audra: He’s seen too much. 

Angela: Zero. Never in our family. He’s had too much of that in the E.R.

Justin:  Absolutely. No, that makes sense. Well, you know, if your guts are splattered all over the highway, then you can't metabolize food. 

Audra: Unless you become a zombie. But yeah.

Justin: Oh, wow. All right. So it's fireworks and motorcycles for him. Do you have one? 

Angela: You know, nothing that we've experienced so far, but they’re also very young. Right. I imagine will come into some will meet some hard lines here in the next decade or so. When they get a little older, they're more able to make some decisions on their own. 

Victoria: What about for you, Justin? 

Justin: Well, one thing I would ask you about is what do you think about fruit juice? Like, is that something…

Angela: Oh yeah, we don’t do fruit juice. Yeah. But, you know, I'm not going to knock it out of his hand. If someone you know, if you just…

Justin: Just like Shaquille O'Neal. Yeah. 

Angela: Right. Yeah. No, that's a great, great point. Yeah. Never I mean, we got those kind of things we just don't keep in the house, you know what I mean? Like we don't have fruit juice in the house. He doesn't, I don't even know they really know what juice is. 

Justin: And so for parents listening to this who are like, wait, what? Juice? What are your thoughts on juice? Why don't you have any juice in your house? 

Angela: Yeah. So because I think, you know, most fruit juices that are sold as marketed to children, have as much sugar in them as a bowl of ice cream or a couple of donuts. And they don't have the fiber, too. So I'm not like... 

Justin: It's just straight sugar. I mean, there’s nothing else in it. 

Angela: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, my kids eat fruit, you know? I'll give them an orange, but to give him a glass of orange juice that’s stripped of the fiber so it doesn't slow the absorption of that sugar. And then it's literally like the amount of sugar and how many oranges, you know, it's just it's taking something that I'm perfectly fine with and then kind of removing the best things about it and then making it even worse. So, yeah, I mean, I just think, yeah, we just pretty much drink water for the kids. It's water and he drinks whole milk. 

Justin: So one of my questions was for both of you, if you could give parents just one piece of advice on metabolic health for the kids, like one thing to start today to focus on, what would it be? I think fruit juice is an easy one. Do either of you have any other ones that are just some like first steps today, give this a try.

Victoria: I mean, not being a parent, speaking from not having experience on how challenging it might be. I would say try to stick to whole foods as much as possible. If it's packaged, you probably want to try to avoid that as much as you can. And that's sort of the first step. They talk about sort of shopping on the outside of the aisle.

Audra: Yeah, the perimeter.

Victoria: Yeah, I mean, I would say full food, you're going to be kind of moving towards sort of in the right direction and staying away from the packaged stuff that has the preservatives, that has so many different sort of additions to it than what it was in its whole state. You know, you really, not to get too deep into the weeds with ingredients. You just stick with the whole stuff, you know, and you're headed in the right direction. 

Angela: So I would say that too and then just prioritizing active fun, just getting your kid outside every day. It's so pervasive and easy now to, especially right now. I know it's complicated and people have many reasons to use like, a lot of screen time because of specific obstacles. But just making that a daily part of their routine and prioritizing that for children, I think is really critical. So I don't think it can be underestimated how important that is.

Victoria: To go off of that, I mean, one thing that I do for myself every day is just making sure I start my day with sunlight, like getting outside, even if it's for 10, 15 minutes. 

There's a pretty powerful effect for just being in the sunshine that I think, you know, maybe all of us can kind of practice just literally taking a bit of a walk outside or, you know, whatever the case may be. But trying to get it in some sunshine every day can be really powerful. It sounds so simple and so strange, but I think as humans that’s sort of an absolute need.

Audra: And without sunblock, right? 

Victoria: Yeah, there you go. I mean, yeah, we could get into a whole rabbit hole. Yeah. But, you know, I think we have underestimated the importance of getting sunshine and how I mean, every sort of form of life, you know, plants, animals, we all need sort of light. And it's so underestimated. And I mean, you're starting to hear more and more about it with vitamin D, you know, the talk around vitamin D and COVID and whatnot. But, yeah, it's an important thing.

Audra: I have a related question to the tips for parents when it comes to, you know, kind of what are the small things that we can do as we're trying to make these little changes and steps towards health from the standard American lifestyle. And so we've got some really great small, actionable things. 

Have you seen folks who dive into the health and wellness space who kind of on the opposite end of this are like, my kids are going to be carnivore, my kids are going to do, be vegan and my kids or whatever it might be. Do you have any tips when it comes to child nutrition that you know or a perspective on this anyway, of like floating to the extremes? 

Angela: I'm not a dietitian or anything related, but I don't know a lot about it. I just know in science, nothing is ever black and white. And if you get in yourself in a silo where you become so convinced, you know, that this very extreme version of one way of doing things is the only possible way, I would take a step back and assess all sides of the situation, because you will almost always find some nuance to bring to kind of give yourself a different perspective. 

And especially when it comes to children, you know, they're growing and, you know, they're growing and they have different requirements, goes back to this idea of like catabolism and anabolism. They have different needs and requirements and things—diets, for example, impacts them differently and we know that. There's also not research really in children and diets usually. So to make bold claims about like extreme kind of scenarios as it pertains to children in particular, I think is concerning in my perspective. 

Audra: I think that's so helpful. I mean, it really brings the focus back to what we call whole, Fierce Foods as the when and the approach. And I know for our family, we I mean, we went keto-crazy, you know, in a positive way when we found it. And it did so much for Max that we all went all in. 

Justin: But our son had an aggressive or a growing brain tumor. 

Audra: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And in the cool learning that has come out of it is that all four of us eat differently. We put the same dinner on the table every night. We provide, similar to Angela, we have oranges and apples and we have got, you know, a variety of things like that of, you know, we always have whole foods around. We've got our Quest products, certainly.

Justin: We need to make a note that right now, Max is not on a ketogenic diet. And so that's why we can have this. 

Audra: Yeah, Max is on a higher protein, lower carb diet right now. But still, even when he is and has been fully keto, we've taken a bio-individual approach. And it's been an evolution for us because we went from being like, what's fair for everyone in the family? And everyone's going to eat the same way, too. We all have different needs. 

And so Mommy, you know, has hypothyroidism and has a hard time with lactose. So she needs this. You know, Daddy just really loves sardines and salad. So he is fine with that approach. And Maesie, it's a similar sort of thing, like we're going to provide the more flexibility for her in the home to make those choices. And when she goes out in the world, you know, we're not restricting what she does at birthday parties at friends’ houses or anything like that. And she's ended up making some really good choices for her. So she has her little Annie's mac and cheese and does stuff like that. But she will also eat an entire double flat of raspberries in one sitting, you know, like and it's a really, it's a hard thing because there's like no book that you're going to buy that's going to show you how to do this.

And I think that's the difficult thing is like really working with your family and your kids on what feels nourishing, like what feels good to you. What are the triggers for you where, you know, maybe I'm not feeling great after eating this or maybe this isn't something that would be a good habit for me, you know? I think that's the challenging part, but also the huge opportunity. 

Justin: Well, I feel a little differently. 

Audra: Oh, do you? 

Justin: So, when I hear “Do what feels good for you,” I get concerned because we live in a food environment that if I do really what feels good to me…

Audra: No, no, I'm saying not what feels good, like mindful like what feels like…

Justin: Right, I just as in full disclosure, before Max was diagnosed, like and Audra, to her credit, you know, was not happy with this, but I would come home with like Lunchables and just like the most juice bar like the easiest, the things that kids, you know, like hey we all…

Audra: He loved to eat Smart Start every morning like I don’t know if you remember that cereal, it would like cut the roof of your mouth and he'd be like, “It said smart on it.” 

Justin: I grew up eating like, mixing-bowl-sized full of corn pops. It was just like the entire box, which would go in the…

Angela: Nice. 

Justin: So for me, I had to think, all right, I now have gone far enough down all these different paths that I know what eventually feels good to me, the like, if I eat this way, I know how I'm going to feel. 

But Angela, as you alluded to, parenting, especially when the kids are young, as young as you have, I mean, and you're juggling a career and you know, and all this. I yeah, I just know what feels good is just a little peace, you know, it just a little just like some fast peaceful. I like it. We just get this thing done. 

And so I wonder if there are some more guidelines that we could add in. So we have whole foods, you know, go and go into more whole food direction activity. But I'm wondering if there are some other little pieces of advice that we might be able to do. 

Angela: Something came to mind. You're saying that because I think your comment about a little peace is what it feels good. I completely understand that. 

I have my difficulty is if I have not planned ahead and have, you know, a healthy meal that I can make in a pretty quick amount of time when I get home, or even better, I've already made it and are just waiting to be warmed up, and I have it on-hand. And if I don't have, you know, the snacks that I want my kids to be eating when they're hungry and myself that I want to reach for when I'm hungry, avocados or berries or whatever it is, I will order food because it seems like the craziest, most easy thing in the world and then always make poor choices when I order right from a restaurant. So for me, it's like it's really a significant benefit to me and my family’s health when I just make that commitment to really thinking ahead of time and plan…

Justin: Planning, planning, yeah.

Angela: Once I'm already hungry and exhausted. Oh, my gosh. You know.

Justin: Just all bets are off. 

Angela: Yeah. I think I don't know. That's nothing very insightful. But it helps. It works for us for sure. 

Audra: No, I think it's super insightful. 

Victoria: Again, not speaking from a place of having kids, but trying but loving kids, like trying to make things fun and being and having it be an inclusive experience with them. Much like what you guys do with MaxLove so well is making it be sort of a fun thing. 

I think maybe many families sort of see it as just maybe mom or dad cooking in the kitchen. But I think you can involve the family in a way that makes it exciting for kids, too, and makes it sort of this like educational process at the same time.

Now, granted, that takes a lot of planning and a lot of time and things. So it's not maybe always possible, but where you can maybe on the weekends is making it something fun and exploring it together, because for a lot of families, I think cooking can be just in and of itself can be very daunting. And whole foods feel like so much more commitment because, you know, you really have to understand what you're doing. But I think it can be really fun and it can be really simple, too, with sort of the right approach.

Justin: Ohhh, I just have a thought about that simple thing. One of the things that going into a ketogenic diet with Max and working on getting the right foods at the right time, and it really forced us to simplify. And now I think maybe at one point in time I would have thought, well, it's not ok to just have some chicken and broccoli. Like you can't just eat that. But now it's like... 

Audra: You have to have rice.

Justin: Well, well. Yeah, but you know, but now it's like, well, we've roasted some broccoli and we had a rotisserie chicken and this is what it is. And now I'm like, totally fine with that. This is actually a fantastic dinner. 

Audra: It's a crazy mindset shift, isn't it? 

Justin: Like it can be really simple, it is. And the kids like it, like they're like, “Oh, great, we get broccoli and rotisserie chicken!”

Audra: And no, it's true. And Victoria, your point is super well taken, too. I mean, we've only seen that again and again and again. When kids have their hands on it, when they're involved with it, when they make the choices, whatever the choice might be. I mean, it could be small choices, you know, it could be like. But when they're involved with it, they're invested. And then all of a sudden the outcome is different. Right? Because they're like, “oh, I took part in that. I'm invested in it. It’s not just some random thing you put down in front of me and then asked me to eat.” 

And I think that's really powerful, along with persistence. You know, some of the tips that we've had to ah, make some of that like as you're preparing the meal and you have some of these veggies that you're preparing, make some available to them before dinner when they're really hungry, and let them come in, introduce it, pick at it, and then let them critique it. What would you do different? I mean, even as the little ones, you know, even at three, they can be like, ehhh, I don't know. I would, you know, try it in this. Well, what if you try it in that? You know, they love to be involved and it makes all the difference in the world. 

Angela: We've recently, my son and I recently, we make eggs together in the mornings now. And there's nothing better than a gooey egg, you know, for a three-year-old boy. He loves it. He cracks open the yolks. And then when we break them up, he just loves it. It's just fun. 

Audra: So cool. 

Justin: Eggs are the best. 

Audra: You just have to be willing to let the kitchen's going to be messier than you want. Things aren't as controllable. You know, you got to be willing to let go. There's going to be some like little shards of shell, you know, in your scrambled eggs or whatever. But that's ok. 

And, you know, a big thing for us, too, that we've learned along the way is persistence. One of the cool things about Max going keto was that we had kind of a palate cleanse that happened. You know, like you have a kid who would not even touch spaghetti squash before going keto. Three months into it like “There's spaghetti in the name?” “Yes.” “I'll have some.” 

Justin: It looks kind of like…

Audra: You know, melon, I remember telling them—I remember being at that stage like so many moms, like, you know, eat your melon before you can have dessert or eat your apple before you can have dessert. And now those are truly desserts and valued as such by these kids, you know? 

But it's definitely I mean, we're going on, gosh, eight years or so. And it has taken that long. You know, it has been a continual push of offering and offering and offering and offering. I don't know, especially when the odds are stacked against us with the standard American lifestyle. I don't know that there's a point where you just win. It is a constant effort, you know, and I think that that's. Yeah, it's hard. I just want to recognize that it's hard. You know, you're working. Yeah, it is. 

Victoria: I don't know how you guys do it. I mean, I tell Angela all the time, she's super woman and same with you guys. I mean, I can only imagine, you know, I sit here not being a parent, just saying, well, just involve the kids. And just that simple act is probably I can't even imagine how challenging. 

But at the same time, I can imagine that it probably provides the child with a level of confidence that they might not have had before. And they sort of start to feel empowered that I can be involved in something so significant. You know, eating is a part of everybody's life multiple times a day. And that has got to be such an incredible learning, life learning experience, I would imagine. But the point A to point B to get there, I'm sure I can't imagine how difficult and how not simple. I mean, because I would imagine that one of the biggest challenges for many families is just the outside influences like you can... 

Audra: Yes. 

Victoria: And all you can in the house. But you want social you know, social interaction is so important and not everybody's going to be on the same whole food wavelength that you are. 

Audra: Right.

Victoria: So much like what Angela said, “I'm not going to smack it out of his hand.” It's hard, though, at the same time, when you have exposure like that to other things that maybe don't fit within what you're trying to do, that throws a wrench in at that point A to point B process. 

Audra: Yeah, no, absolutely. It's hard work. And it strikes me with Metabolic Health Summit that you see a lot of this. You see a lot of people making major, major life changes and working very hard. And there is a sort of narrative, I feel like around, especially with parenting, that these things should be easier. 

And I don't know, I think it can be tough, tough as a mom. And, you know, somebody like through what we're doing at the MaxLove Project to share that the project of thriving, of health and wellbeing for your family is indeed work. And it's worth it. You know, it's worth the hard work, but I do think that there's something that's difficult about that in our kind of very convenience-striven American society. I know I wasn't raised with that way of thinking and with that way of thinking around health and wellbeing. So it can be very difficult. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, having anything kind of start to take that sort of like habit place in your life, I mean, especially when you were raised a certain way and not with that level of convenience and whatnot. It's like literally changing your entire mindset. 

I mean, one way I can kind of relate to that is just in working with a variety of cancer patients and some of the sort of pilot studies, so challenging and so difficult, but so empowering in the process if you can get through that learning curve and that struggle to feel like you actually play a really active role in your life and can make these choices that do make a big difference down the line and teach your kids that too. I think there's something so powerful to that. And I think, like you said, it's worth the struggle. So I, you know, keep on persevering through it. It makes a difference. 

Audra: Yeah, it's a powerful way to put it, you know, it's like learning how to work on your house or any other life skill, you know, it's like when you do your own plumbing to some degree. I mean, that is awesome, right? Like that is empowering. And I love that feeling that you have after. I think that's a great way to frame it for people who are thinking, “Do we get over a hump? Does it get easier?” It does get easier. 

Victoria: Yeah, I would agree. I think so. I mean, I've worked with a lot of sort of nutrition clients over the years, and it's all going a totally different way of life is always a struggle, always feels uncomfortable. But some of the most beautiful things come out of discomfort, I think, in life and are worth it at the end of the day. But it does get easier, I think. But, you know, I'm not speaking from the perspective of a parent, but somebody who's put myself through the ringer many different ways so, you know.

Justin: So one of the ways this has gotten easier for me, at least, is seeing the effect of these changes in my own life. And so when I make these nutritional changes or physical activity or more sun or sleep, the whole thing, I notice a difference in myself. And so that motivates me to do this for my kids. 

So I'm wondering for both of you, what are the metabolic health actions that you're working on right now that are kind of like new and challenging for you? Like what is really exciting in your own personal health journeys in regard to metabolic health right now? 

Angela: This whole past year, I really rededicated myself to cooking a lot more than I used to because things have slowed down, obviously. I'm working from home and stuff, and so I'm able to, which is fantastic. And that's been a huge. I also got an air fryer, which is like amazing. 

Audra: I want one! I really want one. 

Justin: What do you make with it? 

Angela: Everything. 

Audra: Everything. 

Angela: Literally make everything. I don't understand. It's literally just magic...everything's like Jamaican jerk work in there is just like the juiciest. So good. You got to get an air fryer and I’ll send you the recipe. But anyways, that's been a journey for me. But more recently, what I'm trying to do is incorporate more like fun activity and do like my exercise. So instead of just kind of doing like, you know, typical kind of workouts for workout sake. My husband and I used to play Ultimate Frisbee. 

Justin: Oh, yes. 

Angela: I bought a Frisbee and Ultimate Frisbee. And I've been making them go to the park with me. 

Justin: Oh, heck, yeah. 

Audra: That’s so cool. 

Angela: And our three-year-old will just run in between us…

Victoria: I need to see this video.

Angela: You should come out, in the afternoon and the whole place. And that's been going to return to the fun aspect.

Justin: Returning to fun. I love it. 

Victoria It's been an interesting year for me. There are some new things that have popped up COVID-related that I've kind of been working through. And so for me, exercise has always been sort of a way to sort of been like my therapy is like working through things through exercise and exerting that energy and completing the stress cycle is, has always been exercise for me. 

So not having that, I would say over the last three months has really pushed me into adapting and evolving, much like what we've done with Metabolic Health Summit into finding new ways to kind of just take in all of life's awesomeness at the moment. 

So a little bit of sarcasm there, but also things like, you know, I've always had kind of a meditation practice, but I've kind of done it sort of sporadically when I felt like I really needed today. So instead, I've been really trying to focus on making that sort of a daily thing and also incorporating just focus on my breath in the process that, you know, obviously with meditation, you can focus on breath, but making it more a little bit more on purpose and sort of doing a little bit of breathwork in between specifically too, because I did suffer some breathing problems with so that that's been really helpful to me to bring my sort of focus back to something so simple. 

That along with I have been taking some fun cold showers and I've been doing that daily, actually. And I like it from the perspective of just simply getting through a cold shower, kind of like trickles into other facets of your life where you're faced with this sort of like, oh, shocking stress response. But if you can kind of face that sort of reaction and instead go through it and not react and sort of like, this is getting a little weird, but.

Audra: No, no, no, no. 

Justin: No. I mean, so just to give any listeners context, who might be saying like, “Why in the heck would you want to do a cold shower?” This has become quite popular in the health world, I'd say over the last, what? Ten, five, ten years? Oh, yeah. And so it's supposed to have, well, I don't want to, I mean, is this supposed to be hormetic in the sense that it did, you know, provides a stress on the body and that the response to that stress is supposed to be healthy. Is that the basics that parents would need to know about taking a super cold shower? 

Victoria: There's a variety of information out there about why that might be sort of beneficial and why not. But for me, I would say I kind of enjoy doing it first thing in the morning because it kind of forces me to get into this like really solid mindset of instead of reacting to stress, I kind of like work through it first thing in the morning. 

And it brings me back to that simplicity of just focusing on my breath and being aware of what sort of is going on with my body first thing in the morning. It just wakes me up as well. I think there's obviously a lot of information out there that you could find on it. But for me, I think it's been really interesting to kind of watch how I've changed mentally. 

And I think I find I've instead of channeling a lot of the stress that sort of the world right now through physical activity, which is what I normally use to kind of get through things, I really kind of gone within myself and look to things like meditation and ways to kind of upgrade and get through these challenging times through using the power of my mind. And I think that's really interesting, because there is such a—  

I mean, if you look at one of the most interesting areas for for me within the research right now is I mean, not to go out of left field, but nutritional psychiatry, I think is really a good example of how interconnected mind, body. And so I've really been kind of focusing on that a lot because I've not had that physical activity in the side of things. It's been a really interesting, eye-opening sort of experience. It's always, you know, I've always incorporated it, but I've taken it to a new level. 

Justin: Awesome. 

Audra: So powerful, Victoria. I can just imagine, I guess, what comes up for me hearing you reflect on this, because I know from knowing you how important physical activity has been, the grief that can accompany that, you know, that the way that you've been able to work with and use your body and even enjoy that. I mean, to lose that for some time, it's got to be incredibly difficult. So I just felt that as you were sharing. Yeah. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, I've gone through periods of injury before. I used to compete professionally in the world of fitness. And so I've been through that before. But it's really interesting when you faced something like COVID that provides these weird heart- and lung-related issues that linger, that are so outside of your control. 

So, you know, coming from a background of being a professional athlete and being so in-control of that has really I think it's been a really great opportunity to continue to work on that mental side of things that I think also is very powerful. I mean, that's why I personally feel sort of the stress management and I think it's amazing that you guys include that so heavily and with MaxLove. Because, you know, being able to manage stress and being able to work through things instead of being I mean, so many of us, especially right now, are in some of this reactionary state and thinking about what that does to the body and constantly being in the state of fight or flight, not being able to manage my, you know, the stress of the world through exercise has really made it even more evident to me how important that peace is. 

And finding different ways to kind of work through it has been pretty powerful and very, I see it as sort of an upward opportunity. I guess shifting my perspective instead of obviously, yes, there's some grief going through losing exercise, but also seeing it as not what I can't, cannot do but choose where I can.

Audra: Where you can. That proactivity. 

Justin: That's yeah. Yeah, I really like your perspective. So I had only thought about cold showers in terms of like what sort of cellular processes are going on when you're freezing. And it wasn't enough. Honestly, that narrative around the, you know, cellular mechanisms was not enough for me to go through it. 

Like I tried it for about a month and I was like, this is so terrible. I don't care. If this adds six months onto my life when I'm 80, I don't care. Like I'll die. And but, what you just said was something that I have found to be so important in mindfulness meditation in my own personal, you know, emotional growth is: can I just be with this? Can I just be with what's happening right now? And so that's what I'm hearing from you is like, you know, getting into that cold shower. Can I just be with this? Like, can I just be here? Yeah, that's super powerful. 

Victoria: That's exactly what it is. I think I can't make myself feel uncomfortable in the gym right now. So I can go through a very uncomf- much like you. I mean, yeah, there's all kinds of information, all kinds of theories and things out there on cold showers in general. But for me, I found the most power in just challenging myself to be sort of ok with it and just sit in it. Much like, you know, a lot of things in life, I think.

Justin: Can I be ok with this feeling of despair that I have or grief or, you know, anger? Like, can I just be with this? Can I just be with it…

Victoria: Yeah, working through it, like head on. I think that's what 2020 taught so many of us, is that like this is going to be uncomfortable for a while. We've got to learn how to live and how to still be grateful and how to, you know, foster relationships and do all these things and just be with what's happening and still take action, of course. But not just like when I say just be not being sort of complacent, but like, you know, really challenging. 

Justin: It's like a radical engagement with it. Can I just get engagement with this? 

Victoria: Ooh, that's good. A good way to put it. I was going to say. 

Justin: Oh, yes. So I see it. We are getting close up to our time. So I want to give you guys enough time to talk real quick about the Metabolic Health Summit. So you weren't able to do it this year. COVID, you know, it just disrupted everything, but it's coming back next year. Can you just tell us briefly, what is Metabolic Health Summit at this point in its evolution and what can we expect in the future?

Victoria: I would say Metabolic Health Summit has evolved so much over the years, but it's had sort of this core like this mission at its core. I mean, we set out to really, I mean, our goal is to revolutionize science and medicine by refocusing our attention. We've drifted away on, you know, nutrition, metabolism, and sort of its common threads throughout everything from human disease to human performance, longevity. I mean, you name it, everything that we sort of touch as human beings. 

And to do that in a way that provides people with the very latest science, I think that's such a key component to Metabolic Health Summit is making sure that what we do every day is backed by what does the bleeding edge science tell us right now. 

And that's why we call it Metabolic Health Summit, because it's not called the Ketogenic Summit. It's because it extends way past that point. Right. That's obviously a big, the ketogenic diet and obviously metabolic therapy in that sense is a very strong part of the conference. 

However, the science could lead us in a completely different direction. So our goal is to bring the very top experts from around the world, the clinicians, that the academics, the people that are in the trenches, doing the work, doing the research to really show us what is the science telling us about nutrition, metabolic therapies, metabolic health in general, and giving that to both the medical professional all the way to the general public. 

I think what's really interesting about our scientific conference is that it started as sort of an academic meeting and it became very evident very quickly that we needed to include the general public to continue this mission of changing the course of how we look at lifestyle and medicine and how it all intertwined. It's so important to include the public, I think, in that process, because we were having patients come to our conference saying, “I want to try to implement this, I want to try to improve my health, I want to learn to empower myself.” 

And so it was a little bit of an evolution. It was a little risky to kind of like try to bring the two worlds together. But truly, it's become this place where keto science does meet society. It's this blending of these two worlds that somehow we managed to kind of give to the world in a very synergistic way that I think we have to, our goal is to really now educate, educate the people sort of on the front lines, the medical professionals, that there are days that and provide credit in doing that. 

So continuing medical education through watching the presentations that you might find at the conference, but also providing this experience that really allows for people to take home more than just much more like you were saying, Justin, we want to provide more than just this sort of like very black and white, “Here's the information,” we want to provide, this experience that takes the science and really shows you what it's like in the real world. 

And so you will not only get very cutting edge science from the clinicians and academics that are doing the work in research. But you'll also get to experience what a culinary ketogenic meal looks like at a gala dinner or, you know, it's down to like every single piece of food that's offered at the conference. The entertainment I mean, two years ago, we really evolved into providing a sort of entertainment at the gala dinner where a BMX, pro BMX athlete who I connected with, who had suffered from multiple brain tumors, who found ketogenic metabolic therapy and uses it to really thrive. And it's really changed him in many ways. He's found many benefits to it in alongside standard of care. He actually lost his sort of ability to ride his bike for some time. And then I connected with him after he really found in the ketogenic diet and was doing quite well. I remember us talking on the phone. It's like, well, what about I can have you perform? That sounds amazing. Can we build a ramp in the ballroom? 

Justin: It was so incredible. I will never forget that. Never. 

Victoria: Oh, good. It was one of those moments where I don't think Angela and I ate for like two days. 

Audra: Yeah, totally.

Angela: Like how we are just like everything was working up to that moment…like please let it all go smoothly. 

Victoria: You know, because here's this amazing, inspiring professional athlete who’s literally felt like he lost his heart and soul is riding his bike to like getting through it. Using ketogenic metabolic therapy is sort of like a tool. And now, like performing flips in the ballroom on a 65-foot ramp. That's the kind of thing that we want to do. It's not just an event. It's an experience that really will provide people. 

I mean, our goal at the end of the day, what we've had to really do with the pandemic is think of new ways to continue that education without live events. Obviously, we're going to continue the conference and we're going to continue to bring people together. That wasn't possible this year, but it's really opened our minds to how we can reach more people more deeply online as well. 

So I think that's the next sort of evolution of MHS is to how do we continue to educate the people that are making big changes in the world that are interacting with patients and do that from the comfort of their own home? So that's where we're headed. Angela, please add to.

Angela: No, that was beautiful. The only thing that comes to mind as it is, it may just lose a place for collaboration. And I think that was a huge impetus when we put the very first conference so many years ago, we basically were like, we need all of these people that were working on this kind of stuff individually to come together, because that's how things move forward so much more quickly and not just, you know, as a scientist, I'm thinking from all the person who studies, you know, for epilepsy and I work on cancer and this person works on metabolic disease, but not just individual academics, but clinicians speaking to scientists, speaking to industry partners, speaking to nonprofit partners, speaking to the general public. 

And I can't even tell you how many like stories I've heard of, you know, just relationships and collaborations and things that have grown out of meetings and experiences at MHS really proving that, you know, that power of human connection. You know, digital is fantastic. But getting people together and I can't wait till we can do it again. But, man, it's made like massive changes in the world already. And I think that's a huge part of what MHS is and provides as well. 

Victoria: Yeah. So really quickly, follow up on what you just said. That is one of I would say my favorite parts of it is coming together so we can talk about how to collaborate. I mean, I think working together is one of the biggest ways that we can kind of push this forward, where we can only do so much individually. But once you bring all these people who are feeling like they were working in silos, maybe working on different things, but once you bring them together and you can start to talk about some of the similar mechanisms, and I mean, we can do so much more with that. 

And then one of my most favorite parts of the conference, you know, it's four days of presentations from the very sort of in-the-weeds science all the way to application in the real world. There's also a scientific poster session, which if you've been to a scientific conference, it's researchers from around the world. And it's one of the most inspiring things ever where you walk through and literally posters for those who haven't been, posters are set up where you can learn about research that hasn't even been published yet of what's happening. I mean, that's like the bleeding edge of, I just, I find it so intensely inspiring and leave that poster session like man, makes me want to, you feel like you want to like go out and change the world after that. There's a sort of a buzz coming off of that.  

Audra: I couldn't agree more. And on the society side, I consider myself to be a society that gets introduced to this thing, to the science thanks to you all. There's really powerful education and support that happens there through having access to the science directly. 

One thing that really occurs to me, too, is that we get to learn more about science. We get to learn more about the methods. We get to learn. 

And one thing that I have learned is humility. I have learned these boundaries thanks to you all and the scientists who have shared their time with us at Metabolic Health Summit. I've learned, you know, what do we know? That's always sort of like we've learned that this suggests this one thing. It's not evangelical. I think that's one of the things that's really powerful about MHS is that this isn't just like a fan club, you know, sort of thing of a you know, a multilevel marketing conference. Right.

Victoria: ...mentality is like my worst nightmare. 

Audra: I feel like there's really powerful learning that the society side needs direct access to science for this reason. You know, they're the intermediary of the influencer, which is what we're seeing very much a lot of around health and wellness on social media especially can be really difficult. Some influencers have it down. Some do not. 

And I think that big sweeping sort of generalizations can easily be made. You know, thoughts around these interpretations of scientific evidence, you know, can be easily kind of waved around. At MHS makes you really get a reason. Like you get you can talk to the folks doing the research. You'll say, well, this is what this suggests. This is what we can say. There's good evidence here and it helps you, I know it has helped me tremendously anyway. So usually there is gatekeeping with this, normally at academic conferences, societies are not allowed in. And so I think it's a huge thing to bring us all together and to be able to facilitate these conversations. I'm incredibly grateful for what you all do. 

Victoria: Well, we're incredibly, incredibly grateful for your support. And it's been so amazing to be able to partner with you guys in some ways you know, I just we we feel inspired by what you do in the world, because we see how important and how neat it is for other families out there, which, you know, with MaxLove Project that now with The Family Thrive. I mean, you're really filling a need that has needed to be met for so long. 

And it's really exciting to see where it goes, it’s such an important component, I think, to what we're trying to do is including families in that conversation, because that's real life, that, you know, that's where our mentality is. It's like let's provide a platform of legitimate science, but let's also include the everyday person in that conversation, because we see how important that is.  

Justin: Yes. Well, I feel the synergy for sure. And before we sign off here and continue to give each other props and hugs and all that other stuff, we have three questions that we ask every podcast guest. And so now you both are on the hot seat. The first question is, if you could put a big Post-it note right on every parent's fridge tomorrow morning, what would that Post-it note say? 

Angela: So I was glad that you sent us off because I needed to think about it, right? 

Victoria: Yeah, I need like two more hours to think about it. 

Angela: This is something I've heard elsewhere and I can't recall where, but it really struck a chord with me. And it's “the way you speak to your child becomes their inner voice.” 

Justin: Hmm. Ooof.

Angela: And just daily reminded how important that is and building who they're going to be down the line the way that I speak to them on a daily basis. 

Audra: That's so powerful.

Victoria: Wow, that's. I don't know how to follow it. Yeah. 

Justin: All right, Victoria. 

Victoria: Bring it down even to a more fundamental level: what we speak and what we say, oftentimes not going back to sort of the reactionary thing, but to go back to that reactionary thing. Sometimes we need to take a second and a pause and a breath to create space between what we're thinking and what comes out of our mouth. 

Audra: Thank you. Yes. 

Victoria: Bring it backwards a little bit. I would just have a Post-it note that says “Breathe.” It sounds so simple. 

Justin: Just breathe, yeah. Take a breath. 

Audra: I'm going to put these up on my fridge. I absolutely love them. Well, I said I'm going to put both of these up on the fridge. I mean, I love them. Victoria. Totally. It's that space between stimulus and response. And that is exactly the space that you need when you're going to take a deep breath and consider how you speak to your child, to consider how you speak to yourself. 

Victoria: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's the difference between making good food choices and bad food choices, as well right, just taking a second. 

Justin: Yeah. Slow down. Slow down.  

Victoria: Just chill out for a second. Yeah. 

Audra: If you still make the bad food choice, you've thought about it, you're like, I want it. Own it.

Justin: And I'm going to be mindful as I do it. All right. So the second one is, what is the last quote that has changed the way you think or feel? And I know there might be some overlap here, but give it a shot. 

Angela: This is what I heard recently as an author by the name of Nora Roberts, said something along these lines. This is not direct. The key to juggling everything in life is knowing which balls you're juggling are glass and which are plastic. 

Justin: Perspective, priorities. 

Angela: Absolutely. Some things you can drop and they bounce and you can get them later and some things you drop, and they shatter. So just keeping that in mind. 

Justin: Oh, I had never heard that. Victoria, you got to bring your A-game. 

Audra: No expectations. Victoria, we embrace and accept everything. 

Victoria: There's one that there's one quote that we've tried in every single conference program that I find really inspiring. It's by Ai Weiwei. It's which is sort of like a world renowned artist of the familiar. “Creativity is the power to reject the past and to change the status quo and to seek new potential.” 

And I just feel like for for me, I mean, creativity is it's sort of the heart and soul of everything. And what we do with MHS is really thinking outside of the box and allowing for that creativity to shine, even among sort of the scientific world. I think it's obviously so critical. And so that would be one that sort of inspired me for a long time. 

But another one that's come that inspires me now that I recently sort of read. And to go back to the sort of reactionaries breath thing is “Your perception of me is a reflection of you. And my reaction to you is an awareness of me.”

Audra: Hmm. Yeah. 

Victoria: I kind of like that. I think what I've noticed more than ever over the course of the last year is just is really that just taking a second and responding and not reacting to things. And there's so much more, you know, that peace, I think that we all try to find within our lives comes from that sort of understanding and awareness and lack of reaction and more responding to things. So that would be more of my recent one, and that was two. And I totally broke the rules. 

Audra: I love it. 

Justin: Angela, I was just coming in with these deep ones that you had to add to that. 

This is the last one, as we know and Angela is right in the thick of things here that it can be really exhausting to raise children. And so a lot of parents, especially if you have a, you know, kid less than one and another at three and you, I'm sure, Angela, have talked with other parents are like, “Oh, my god, I'm so tired. I'm so exhausted, my kids. Oh, my god.” So we're all in that. We're like, we all get it. So we want to just end this by just celebrating kids and just focusing on something that we just absolutely love about kids. And so what is your favorite thing about kids?

Angela: I love that kids are just absolutely hilarious. They just, they don't know what they're supposed to say or think yet. They don't know what society thinks they should be or things that they just offer this completely unfiltered, raw view of the world. And it is hilarious. That’s one of my favorite things about kids. 

Audra: Yes. Yes. 

Victoria: Man, I would serve to go off of that, I just so often look at children and just with their ability to play so freely, and it just reminds me how it's so easy to get so caught up in all of life's stuff that we forget to play and we forget to be sort of that raw, candid you know, not sort of thinking about what you should say or should be or whatever. So much as that sort of constricts and constrains who we really are. Especially with social media, you know. 

Justin: Keeping it real. 

Audra: Yeah. Yeah.

Victoria: Keeping it real and allowing yourself some playtime.

Audra: I love that, Victoria. It reminds me of “present.” You know, the kids are so in the moment and so present that they can just be in that way and that sort of like joyful, playful self, that active of imagination, just sort of as overabundant. Right. And and vibrating like they're just vibrating with it. 

And we see that even with MaxLove Project with kids in treatment, they’re that vibrating, powerful being of presence carries everyone else because they're not you know, they're not like, oh, well, you know, weighted down, they end up walking into treatment and like, “So I want to be able to play with this toy and I want to be able to do this next thing” because they're so present. And so I love, I love that reflection. It really resonates with me. 

Victoria: Yeah. I mean, they're not sort of weighed down by the burden of anxiety about the future or sad about sort of what happened in the past. They’re literally right in that moment. Yeah, one million percent agree with that. And they keep us grounded. I really think. 

Justin: Awesome. Real quick before we go, so how can people find out more about Metabolic Health Summit? 

Victoria: Yeah, Metabolic Health Summit dot com is the best place. But we're also we really make an active effort to provide free content online. So @MetabolicHealthSummit on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, you can find us everywhere. We do offer a variety of free, incredible content, just launched a Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy: 2020 In-Review eBook. So if you want…

Justin: Incredible. Yeah I've seen. It's awesome. 

Victoria: Awesome. If you want sort of like a snapshot of what happened in 2020 we sort of an overview, maybe not everything, but a good portion of it with those key findings. You can find that on our website as well as our social platforms and videos with top experts sort of interviews as well. So metabolichealthsummit.com you’ll find it all there. 

Justin: Beautiful. 

Audra: Yeah. You do a stellar job of providing really phenomenal educational information in these outlets where you're meeting people where they are. And I just love it. I learn something every single day I pull up Instagram, I learn from you instead of it being like some sort of a scroll. You know, there's always something like rich going on in your social media. It's awesome.

Victoria: Aww thanks. We try to provide value however we can, beyond just the once a year event. I mean, I think that's evident. We need to reach far beyond that. 

Audra: Well, you built a community, you built a family. You know, it's like as we go to the event every year or engage on social media or the friends we've made, I mean, you just, you're, it is. It's a really, really wonderful, supportive community. It's so much more than a conference or an event. 

Victoria: Thank you. That means a lot. It comes from a big place of passion for us. We're a small but mighty team. 

Justin: Well, we can't wait for 2022. Awesome.

Victoria: Big celebration. Yeah, we’ll see you guys there. 

Justin: All right. Thank you so much for coming on the show this week. And yes, we yeah, we can't wait for really big things in the future for you guys. 

Audra: Yeah. We appreciate you so much. So much.

Victoria: And we appreciate you guys just the same. I can't wait to see where things go and the impact you guys continue to make with families. 

Justin: Hey, thanks for listening to The Family Thrive podcast. If you like what you heard, please subscribe, tell two friends, and head on over to Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts and give us a review. We're so grateful you've chosen to join us on this Family Thrive journey.  




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