Balanced Bites Podcast #408: Vegan vs. Carnivore with Michelle Shapiro, RD

Intermittent fasting with Michelle Shapiro

#408 Topics: let’s talk eliminating entire food groups, ideology vs. individualized nutrition, hormone health, short term vs. long term results, and the similarities (yes, similarities) between the vegan and carnivore approaches.

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Transcripts are automatically generated, so may not always accurately reflect the words/phrases used or the individuals speaking.

Welcome to the new Balanced Bites Podcast! I’m your host, Liz, a nutritional therapy practitioner and best selling author bringing you candid, up-front, myth-busting and thought-provoking conversations about food, fitness, and life.

Remember:  The information in this podcast should not be considered personal, individual, or medical advice.

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Michelle Shapiro is a registered and functional dietitian from New York City who has served over 1000 clients in reversing their anxiety, healing longstanding gut issues and approaching weight loss lovingly – and in a body neutral way. You can find her @michelleshapirord on Instagram and via her Quiet the Diet podcast.

[00:00:00] Hey friends. Today’s episode is another chat with my favorite Michelle Shapiro. This is Michelle’s third appearance on the podcast. And at this point, I’m not sure she even needs an introduction. I think going forward, we might just jump right into the chat without concerning ourselves. With the formalities. So should this serve as the final time I introduced Michelle, please take note. 

Michelle is an integrative and functional registered dietician from New York city who has served over a thousand clients in reversing their anxiety, healing, longstanding gut issues and approaching weight loss lovingly and in a body neutral way. She is hilarious. She’s gifted and my absolute favorite. And you don’t have to wait for her appearances here to get more. Michelle, you can also find her at Michelle Shapiro RD on Instagram. 

And via her. So-so good, quiet the diet podcast, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts. And by the way, she does take one-on-one clients. 

Now while I might not continue with like the formalities after this point, I do. Want to say that as Michelle would say, [00:01:00] we are equal opportunity offenders today. And after this episode, we are very likely to get slammed with negative reviews from anyone and everyone at both nutrition extremes that we talk about today. So please, please, please find it in your heart to leave us a good review on Spotify and apple so we can keep fighting the good fight. 

I’m thinking we’re going to need it. Once we go, where we’re about to go. So here we go. 

[00:01:25] Liz Wolfe: I just love a good 

[00:01:26] Michelle Shapiro: biologist. Absolutely. We were talking about our preference for biologists. 

[00:01:31] Liz Wolfe: I have a preference for biologists over other forms of 

[00:01:34] Michelle Shapiro: scientists.

[00:01:35] Michelle Shapiro: I would say the same. And we’re not allowed to say why, and we’re not allowed to say who, but I would say the same . 

[00:01:40] Liz Wolfe: It’s not something I really thought about until very, very recently, based on some interesting conversations 

[00:01:47] Michelle Shapiro: with you. No, it’ll really, uh, really kind of get the wheels turn in for us is evolutionary biologist.

[00:01:53] Michelle Shapiro: Ooh. That’s what, wow. That felt 

[00:01:57] Liz Wolfe: good to say, huh? I’m, I’m palpitating a little bit.[00:02:00] 

[00:02:00] Liz Wolfe: I think that HVAC’s gonna kick off. I also have to turn off the other HVAC vac. It’s like nine degrees outside. So, but I can control all the, all of those variables. I can, I unplug the chest freezer over here, but I have chickens outside the door, . Oh. But course I do, right? Yeah, exactly. You know, US Midwesterners here in New Hampshire really like

[00:02:20] Michelle Shapiro: All right. Don’t be literally hurtful. Okay. This is terrible. . 

[00:02:25] Liz Wolfe: I will never forget that. I’m just, can I just let everyone know that Michelle what did you think, 

[00:02:30] Michelle Shapiro: did you think new?

[00:02:31] Michelle Shapiro: What had happened was, Liz, is that I felt, and I’ll just shout Erin out here because we love Erin. Erin’s the functional nutritionist. She’s an amazing functional dietician and I thought that, I didn’t know where Erin was from, so I thought Erin was from the Midwest. Cuz like, I just feel like she gives in a very posi like, I don’t wanna use any negative words, but to me it was like in a very positive way.

[00:02:54] Michelle Shapiro: Like she’s one with nature and I’m like, oh, she’s like a, like I feel like she has land. I feel like she cultivates land and she gets [00:03:00] her food from it. I, my head went to Midwest and then I put Liz and Erin on a message together and we’re like, you guys should be friends. You’re from a similar geographic region and like, obviously are have, you know, both extremely funny and the, the real reasons I connected.

[00:03:12] Michelle Shapiro: And Aaron was like, I’m from New Hampshire and live in New Hampshire, . And I was like, this is the ego-centric New York bull crap that I think anywhere that isn’t New York is, is the same place. It’s so terrible. . , it was, it was honestly because I was like, I feel like she’s such a good functional dietician that she has access. To land for which she eats the food from the land. That was honestly my thought process. Yeah. I, I just hadn’t known what her region was. I guess I was completely wrong.

[00:03:36] Michelle Shapiro: And I’m sure she does have a lot of land in New Hampshire, by the way. , I’m sure she does. I don’t know what the farming situation is, but she has, she has land there. Well, it sounds like an asset for sure. And it’s would never be a mean thing. And I felt terrible, but it was also extremely funny. Yeah, it was so fun.

[00:03:50] Michelle Shapiro: Cause New Hampshire so close to New York too, it’s like so northeast and so 

[00:03:53] Liz Wolfe: ridiculous. And if I really thought you had never looked at a map of the United States of America, I would not be [00:04:00] razzing you about it, . 

[00:04:01] Michelle Shapiro: Exactly. No, I know where, I know where stuff is. No, I definitely, I definitely know where stuff is.

[00:04:06] Michelle Shapiro: People can’t see me winking because it’s a, a 

[00:04:08] Liz Wolfe: podcast . , okay. We got a big one today, and I feel like this one, our first couple episodes we recorded together was kind of in the, the meta realm about a lot of things, which I love.

[00:04:19] Michelle Shapiro: It’s my favorite thing. Yes. We’re going into this episode, , a little bit more detailed but I want people to listen to the whole episode on a metaconcept level.

[00:04:30] Michelle Shapiro: So the goal is not for you to take a piece of information from this and necessarily implement it into your life, which is, of course, this is not medical or nutrition device anyway, so I wouldn’t want people to do that. But for you to take this information on the concept level, let it permeate with you, and then see what comes up for you as feeling applicable.

[00:04:49] Michelle Shapiro: So even if we say something that’s about nutrient density or something that’s based in science, which we are going to do, still take it on a concept level for yourself. 

[00:04:59] Liz Wolfe: You’re so [00:05:00] good at remembering to say these things.

[00:05:01] Liz Wolfe: Like we’ve said in previous episodes, absorb it. At a conceptual level. Very astute, aptly stated. Well done. Actually, I think we could probably just end the podcast there. 

[00:05:10] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah. So it was great. Um, have a wonderful day in the northeast of Kansas City.

[00:05:16] Liz Wolfe: uh, the Queen of Queens. Okay. I know in our notes we, put, carnivore ahead of vegan, but I think I’d like to start first of all talking about the vegan world. And I guess I should point out part of what probably inspired this, this episode and us tackling this today is this idea of polarity.

[00:05:32] Liz Wolfe: This has always been an issue in nutrition. These kind of polar pendulum swings from one end to the other. , dietary extremes, so these are kind of polar opposites , but at the same time, there are a lot of characteristics, a lot of motivators, and a lot of aspects that we can talk about kind of as two sides of the same coin. Would you 


[00:05:51] Michelle Shapiro: I would totally agree and, I have to say, this is like, it’s, it’s so funny how touchy this is. It’s not funny. It’s so understandable, honestly, how [00:06:00] touchy this is because of any other food choices. The consumption of meat or the lack of consumption of meat seems to be the most belief system and politically driven that I’ve, I’ve ever seen in, in nutrition topics.

[00:06:13] Liz Wolfe: Yes. And it feels like we take that road into justifying it in some way or another nutritionally. So it starts out as like an ideological, political, you know, an emotional thing. I get it. And you’ve been a vegan in your past And I actually have been a vegan as well for probably longer, not been a vegan. I never walked around.

[00:06:31] Liz Wolfe: I was like, I’m a vegan anymore than I walked around and I was like, I’m a paleo. But I definitely dabbled in it. And it really started out actually for me, I think it started out as like, this is something that’s supposed to make me skinny. You know? That’s, that was the way I thought about it. This was 20 years ago.

[00:06:46] Liz Wolfe:  I think a lot of times that gets people in the door and then.

[00:06:50] Liz Wolfe: They will attach morality or ideology to it, and then they need to be able to make the argument nutritionally. And while you know, you have to really know how [00:07:00] to read and deconstruct a study to be able to assess whether there’s actual value to be taken from it. There are, you know, a lot of of studies around a plant-based diet that seem to suggest it has benefits.

[00:07:12] Liz Wolfe: So we’ll maybe deconstruct that a little bit here. But I’d like to hear more about your experience with the 

[00:07:17] Michelle Shapiro: vegan diet. Thank you for lying that out too. So I actually was. A hardcore vegan who was like, I’m vegan all the time, and was for over 10 years. And then I’m like, yeah, exactly. I’m the, because I’m, as we’ve discussed, Liz, I’m the opposite of you where I’m like, I’m gonna do something and I’m gonna do it until it kills me for no reason.

[00:07:35] Michelle Shapiro: Like, I don’t even know why I did for that long. Like, it just, I’m just like, yeah. Oh, I, I I’m gonna do it. It’s like, no one’s telling you, no one’s competing with you and saying that you can’t, it’s not like I had, there was no reason. It actually, the reason I became vegan was definitely for weight loss purposes.

[00:07:49] Michelle Shapiro: It was also for me to shield my eating disorder because I was like, oh, I can’t eat any of these things because I’m vegan. So it, it, it can be a cover for an eating disorder sometimes [00:08:00] too. And I also really did it at very first because my sister was vegan for animal rights purposes. And I was like, if you can do it, I can do it too.

[00:08:08] Michelle Shapiro: And then I just kept it going way longer and, and for reasons that in the beginning I thought it did make me feel really well, which was probably true. But it also was coinciding with that drastic weight loss we’ve talked about in prior episodes. A little bit hard to see, you know, what was making me feel good and what was making me feel bad, but some things are quite clear about my experience with the vegan diet, which is that it was a quite a mismatch for my body.

[00:08:32] Michelle Shapiro: And I think what’s really important for us to say about the vegan diet and the carnivore diet is that the reason that they’re so appealing to people , versus like a paleo or something like that, is because it’s extremely easy to follow. It is extremely easy to follow a vegan diet. You also have this built in sense of community, which we’ve talked about before too.

[00:08:51] Michelle Shapiro: There’s enough science to support, definitely at this point, a vegan or vegetarian diet on some level. And I think there’s some science to [00:09:00] support consumption of meat as, there’s nutrient density of meat, let’s just say, and we’ll go into that too.

[00:09:04] Michelle Shapiro: But I think that. There’s a, the, the main step in the door is yes, that there’s these huge promises with these diets. A lot of people have done them, not the carnivore as much, but vegan. And it’s extremely easy to just cut out entire food groups. Like you, you don’t have to, when you’re paleo, you’re like, am I, I’m looking at the oils at a restaurant.

[00:09:22] Michelle Shapiro: Like it’s, it’s, there’s a lot of rules, like the soy, legumes, dairy, you know, it, it’s, it’s much more complicated. So the barrier to entry for a vegan diet is super low. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:09:33] Liz Wolfe: And so when you were doing the vegan thing, were you like raw food, vegan, or were you just like, if there’s no meat in it, there’s no dairy in it, there’s no hun, like I can do that.

[00:09:43] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah, it’s, I didn’t, basically, I just was not consuming animal products. I was so young when I started too. I was like 16, 17, mm-hmm. . So at that point I came from an ingredient household. I don’t know if you’ve seen this on the net, but it’s, it’s basically. My mom. My mom was not like a, maybe when I was really young, she cooked, but like didn’t [00:10:00] really cook.

[00:10:00] Michelle Shapiro: So it would be the kind of household that had like deli meats and bread. So you would just like make yourself like American stuff, like cereal and stuff, you know, , you’re not actually cooking, you’re just putting things together. That’s like the ingredient thing. Yes. So for me it was just like, all right, I’ll just eat whatever the foods are that aren’t animal products.

[00:10:18] Michelle Shapiro: It was a very, what I would call a lazy vegan, which, and then when I got to college and started a feeling like crap, , and b, learning about nutrition, that’s when I made it an actual well-planned vegan diet and was supplementing for all the nutrients that I didn’t have. 

[00:10:33] Liz Wolfe: Okay, so when you were a vegan and not supplementing, do you feel like it contributed to your anxiety?

[00:10:41] Liz Wolfe: I know you’ve talked about that pretty openly. The anxiety you experienced while you were on this really restrictive, kind of drastic lifestyle , do you think that contributed and why? 

[00:10:51] Michelle Shapiro: I do. The reason I do is because I had a lot of blood sugar instability because I was eating a mostly carb with some fat diet and quite a low protein [00:11:00] diet, which causes more fluctuations in blood sugar.

[00:11:02] Michelle Shapiro: I was also pretty quickly out of nutrients versus other people. I guess I had, I might have had deficiencies from the drastic weight loss or just from occupying a larger body anyway in the first place. So I think that the headaches contributed back to the anxiety. The gut issues contributed back to the anxiety and the feeling.

[00:11:21] Michelle Shapiro: I mean, again, half of this is like the vegan approach. If I had done a a severe calorie restriction, but it. Was not vegan. I might have had more nutrients if I was eating more nutrient dense foods, but I was eating like high carb, high water foods, you know? So I wasn’t getting a lot of the nutrients that you get in fat fatty foods or high protein foods.

[00:11:40] Michelle Shapiro: So I would say for me, certainly if you would’ve asked me at the time, I would’ve been like, I’m better than you cause I’m vegan. Don’t ever talk to me again. But, um, I, I, I, I could I, in reflection, I think it was a combination of the very low calorie and then the vegan diet hurt me in the beginning, but it hurt me much more in the end, I think.

[00:11:58] Michelle Shapiro: Mm-hmm. That’s when you run [00:12:00] out of those nutrient stores, like your B12 takes some time to deplete your, you know, your fat soluble vitamins. Definitely take more time to deplete and then you’re out, you know, and it’s, yeah. And then those become essential nutrients that you can’t get from food. 

[00:12:14] Liz Wolfe: I talked about in, I think episode 4 0 2, which is the episode right before our first interview together of balanced bites.

[00:12:21] Liz Wolfe: I talked about how. Don’t even talk to me until you’ve been doing something for five years. Any kind of intervention or any kind of , lifestyle change that is touted as beneficial needs to have proof of concept beyond five years.

[00:12:36] Liz Wolfe: Five years is kinda that marker where people have lost weight tend to regain it. And my issue, was you have all of these influencers out there that are pedaling certain types of miracle diets where it’s vegan or carnivore , or calorie restriction, whatever. And by the time five years rolls around, they’re gone and forgotten.

[00:12:54] Liz Wolfe: You don’t even know who got you started down this road. They’re gone. And you’re just sitting there going, well, I screwed up. [00:13:00] Like I have no willpower. There’s something wrong with me. This didn’t work. Whatever. So once you extrapolate vegan or carnivore, You will find, I feel like more often than not on any kind of sort of extreme dietary undertaking that you run into problems.

[00:13:16] Liz Wolfe: And with carnivore, I wanna bring up some of this stuff with gut, gut bacteria. Yeah. But with vegan, with vegan dieting over the long term. I have heard this more often than not that after five years I had to add back, you know, dairy or I had to start supplementing, I had to start really, really thinking about it cuz my teeth were falling out, 

[00:13:36] Liz Wolfe: you know?

[00:13:37] Michelle Shapiro: I’m like, My skin was yellow, my hair was, was like falling out. I mean, I think it’s like a, I think part of it’s protein deficiency. I know. This is, by the way, we gotta do this, let’s just do this for a second. Okay. Is it possible to consume the amount of protein that someone needs at a.

[00:13:54] Michelle Shapiro: Protein deficiency, like non deficiency level when you’re a vegan. [00:14:00] Yes. Do you have to be extremely well-planned and will you be getting a tremendous amount more carbs for every gram of protein you’re getting? Yes. Not saying anyone has to be low carb. I actually eat a moderate to high carb. I would, it’s not high by normal standards, but by what I consider my own pyramid of, macronutrients.

[00:14:20] Michelle Shapiro: I have a very low trending blood sugar, like my A1C has at times been like a 4.2, which means that my trending blood sugar, , could drop in the fifties sometimes. And this has just been my life since I’m a kid, this is just a thing. It’s my way of, you know, utilizing nutrients.

[00:14:34] Michelle Shapiro: Mm-hmm. . To say that you could get the protein from plant foods, like broccoli you would need to eat like 30 cups of broccoli and this actually brings me to, but what’s gonna happen when you eat 30 cups of broccoli?

[00:14:46] Michelle Shapiro: This brings me to the really important part of this conversation too, which is that both my issues with veganism and the carnivore diet is that it, it’s this conversation of nutritionism, which is that like one nutrient [00:15:00] saves you or that one specific thing influences all else. And I think we have to look at like the, the more broadness of both of these diets.

[00:15:09] Michelle Shapiro: Then focusing on like, meat is really good or plants are really good. I think we need to focus on the comprehensiveness of someone’s diet too. If you eat a vegan diet and do not supplement. , you will 100% of the time end up with deficiencies like even the academy dietetics, which is not something that I usually quote, but they, but when it’s useful, it’s fine.

[00:15:31] Michelle Shapiro: yes, exactly. I’ll, I’ll just totally cherry pick their, what I wanna use from them. I’m, I’m like, just take what I want. Basically, I’m pillaging their site. But p point being that it’s like, there’s always this phrase, a well-planned vegan diet, vegetarian’s easier, obviously, cause you’re eating some animal products, but you do need supplements.

[00:15:50] Michelle Shapiro: So you would still need supplements. To me, a diet that requires nutritional supplementation is not a complete and comprehensive diet. Yeah. I think that has to be stated. [00:16:00] And we might see the same thing on the carnivore side. We get to it too. But it, and this is again, this conversation about veganism. I just have to say like, if you love animals, we got, just don’t even this, this part of the conversation’s not for you because it’s, it’s not something that you are gonna consider, you know?

[00:16:16] Michelle Shapiro: Even contemplating because it’s so, you know, incongruent with what you want for yourself, but in ways of science if you are on a vegan diet for a long period of time. And there are really compelling studies that, and this kind of does bother me and something that I will go a little bit hard on veganism about the nutrient deficiency part, which is that there are studies that show that the neurological development of children is stunted when they grow up on vegan diets.

[00:16:39] Michelle Shapiro: And to me, I’m like, that’s so not fair to children because it could, these could be lifelong issues that they’re having from these deficiencies. So I just, I’m, I’m gonna lay it out and I’m gonna say it as many times I need to, that unless you’re supplementing on a vegan diet, it is impossible to get the nutrients that you need.

[00:16:54] Michelle Shapiro: They ha they cannot be obtained from food no matter how much of the food you eat. 

[00:16:59] Liz Wolfe: [00:17:00] And this is where, this might be a little bit of a jab, but first of all, two things can exist at the same time. Right. We can say, That I, I am a vegan for animal welfare reasons. That’s fine. Consenting adults, cool.

[00:17:16] Liz Wolfe: But we don’t have to also be intellectually dishonest about the nutrients that are actually available to you long term. It’s okay to say I’m a vegan for animal welfare purposes, and it might not be the optimal diet from a nutrition standpoint, and I need to fill some gaps, but to make ourselves more right and more ideologically sound all too often, we feel like we have to figure out a way to make whatever it is we want to do, for whatever reason, we wanna do it the best possible option.

[00:17:46] Liz Wolfe: No, we don’t need this much protein. We don’t actually need b12. We don’t actually need X, Y, and Z. And that’s where I start to get irritated. At the same time when you are a vegan for animal welfare, and this goes back to [00:18:00] like Leah Keith and her book, the Vegetarian Myth, which I know like is a total non-starter for, for vegans and vegetarians, oftentimes 

[00:18:06] Liz Wolfe: but one of the things she talked about in her book, and I feel like she was kind of the originator of this conversation, is that so much of plant agriculture, large scale plant agriculture, and I would say probably all of the vegan protein, the concentrated vegan protein alternatives, P protein, whatever it is, that is the protein of the day.

[00:18:27] Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm. , the actual harvesting and and generation of those food stuffs kills quite a few. , you know, we’re tilling fields, we’re raising, you know, field mice and little tiny birds and destroying habitats in the name of industrial agriculture, which is an issue on multiple dietary planes. Sad, vegan, maybe not so much carnivore.

[00:18:51] Liz Wolfe: I guess it just depends on where your meat’s coming from. But yeah, you’re killing animals either way. So it becomes this sort of like cognitive [00:19:00] loop this, this dissonance there where actually we can’t quite make these connections. 

[00:19:05] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah. Which is why, again, I think when my clients ask me like from an environmental perspective, is it the right thing to do?

[00:19:12] Michelle Shapiro: I mean, the answer is really, really much more nuanced than people want to believe. The funny part about all of this is it’s like when we think about like carbon emissions and all of that, and what is agriculture like, two to 5%, I think, and versus like, obviously fossil fuels being like, I, you know, I’m sure greater than 80% or, or whatever it is, and, and all these things.

[00:19:34] Michelle Shapiro: I think that it’s people, what I, when making nutritional decisions, it is important to take into account where your food’s coming from, what your impact is and everything like that. But if as a nutritionist and a dietician, I, I do put nutrient density quite high on my priority list for clients too. So can we make the most ethical decisions possible?

[00:19:57] Michelle Shapiro: Absolutely. And do all these things have to be taken into [00:20:00] account? Yes. Is it harder to make ethical and logical decisions when you’re sick and can’t think also? Yes. So it’s, it’s like I wanna, I, I do balance all these things. I am always encouraging clients to get the highest quality and most environmentally conscious, you know, decisions in every area, but, Like you said, it’s hard.

[00:20:16] Michelle Shapiro: It’s to make so many equivalencies with this is bad for the environment so that it is nutritionally inferior when it being bad for the environment, it’s like we all lump all this together that almost, like if I were to say I think meat is really nutrient dense, I would have 50 responses back.

[00:20:37] Michelle Shapiro: But what about the environment? But, and that fact, that meat is, you know, per nutrients per calorie is one of the most new, probably the most nutrient dense food in existence, micro and macro. I, I can’t deny. based on the other information, it doesn’t change that basic nutrition information.

[00:20:55] Liz Wolfe: Yeah, it’s this hierarchy of needs. And I guess maybe as a Midwest type of [00:21:00] person, my, I’m a rugged individualist. I don’t know. That’s like a whole other discussion. Some people find that disgusting. Some people We could have a whole other conversation around rugged individualism versus the wellbeing of a group or you know, groups.

[00:21:14] Liz Wolfe: But I tend to look at things as like an individual hierarchy. So the same thing goes for politics. When you find that one issue that you feel affects you most, or when you feel like you find that dietary ideology that is most important to you, you have this hierarchy. So pick one, right. What’s at the top?

[00:21:33] Liz Wolfe: We can’t have everything, you know, right next to each other. In a, in a line, you have a hierarchy. So what is most important to you? Is it animal welfare? Okay. That is your hierarchy and the things absolutely that need that are less important to you. And that’s fine. So for me, my hierarchy of needs is different.

[00:21:49] Liz Wolfe: My hierarchy of priorities. It’s not that I don’t care about animal welfare, it’s that I care about looking things in a conte, looking at things in a contextual way. And that’s what you’re probably familiar with. Diana [00:22:00] Rogers, she’s a registered dietician. Sustainable, yes. She talks about this at length. I don’t have to get her on the podcast again, where.

[00:22:08] Liz Wolfe: We’re talking about how animal agriculture has actually beneficial to the land. Leah, Keith and the vegetarian myth, I believe, or maybe it was Michael Pollen, talked about the importance of the top soil. Well, how do we build topsoil and the important roles of animals within our overall ecosystem? So I th and, and Diana also talks about the dietary privilege and how it is better to have so-called less conscientiously produced meat in your diet than to have none at all.

[00:22:39] Liz Wolfe: And that speaks to economic privilege, which I also think is extremely interesting. So for me, these things align a lot better when meat is part of the equation than when it’s not. 

[00:22:48] Michelle Shapiro: Absolutely. And I think we would have to look no further. Then the conversation and the Lion King, you know, where 

[00:22:58] Liz Wolfe: always, always bring it back to the 

[00:22:59] Michelle Shapiro: lion.

[00:22:59] Michelle Shapiro: You [00:23:00] know, it’s like the antelopes eat the land. And it’s like the whole, the whole circle of life thing. I mean, on a, on a very, if we’re taking this absolutely way high up bird’s eye view all the way to godliness and universalness, which is that like we think of the digestive systems of who we are and we think of what we’re capable of digesting.

[00:23:17] Michelle Shapiro: We think of what oth other animals are capable of digesting. And I think that animals are, I mean, we are animals who are omnivores, right? We’re obviously capable of d I mean, it would be a hard argument to say we’re not capable of digesting meat, obviously we’re capable versus like if an elephant had meat, they would not be able to actually digest it.

[00:23:31] Michelle Shapiro: So I think that on the most global view, we can look at what type of creatures we are and what our capability of digestion is, and what our body can do with what it digests and absorbs, and it’ll point us to the same. Uh, evolutionary biological conclusion. Cause we love evolutionary 

[00:23:49] Liz Wolfe: biology too. Yes.

[00:23:50] Liz Wolfe: That’s our favorite thing. That’s my, my hall pass is basically any evolutionary biologist . Just find me one. Yes. . Okay. I feel like you know what we should have [00:24:00] done? We probably should have devoted one entire episode to vegan and one entire episode to carnivore because we, we’ve been rocking 

[00:24:05] Michelle Shapiro: already for a while.

[00:24:06] Michelle Shapiro: Uhhuh . We’ve been going a while. Classic us. I think we did, I think we did a good lay of the land for veganism and what some concerns are, which is that it’s extremely hard to plan well, and you require supplementation to get an adequate amount. Um, you’re also cutting out some of the most nutrient dense foods, and it just, it makes things very, very hard to stay healthy.

[00:24:28] Michelle Shapiro: And then once you, that’s in a healthy person and a person who’s chronically ill, it, it turns into a level of almost impossible. Um, so we think about also evidence, again, pointing to the vegan or vegetarian diet, being more. Healthy. And a lot of those studies, as we know, it’ll be studying like vegans and vegetarians at a health food store, and it’s like, well, those are people who are at a health food store.

[00:24:50] Michelle Shapiro: So of course they’re healthier comparatively, or in a country where people are cultivating their own food and growing their own food and working the land very different. So there’s [00:25:00] a lot we can say about the China study and a lot we can say about those studies point being, it’s extremely challenging for an individual who is even healthy to have a long-term, well-planned vegan diet for someone who is already unhealthy and is trying to reverse chronic conditions.

[00:25:19] Michelle Shapiro: It creates a, a massive challenge, I believe, for people and, and sometimes an impossible. 

[00:25:26] Liz Wolfe: Okay, so obviously if we’re going to talk about one thing and maybe do one thing and that doesn’t work, then we’re gonna immediately swing to the very other side and do the exact polar opposite to see if that works, quote unquote.

[00:25:39] Liz Wolfe: Yep. Right. 

[00:25:39] Michelle Shapiro: Let’s, let’s, so let’s go there. Let’s try to disprove or prove our hypothesis here 

[00:25:43] Liz Wolfe: short. Okay. Okay. So this brings us to carnivore, which, how have you seen in your practice people kind of doing that wild swing from one thing to another? Not while they’re with you, but before they come to you, they’ve done the, like, I did this thing and then I did that thing.

[00:25:58] Michelle Shapiro: Yes, but vegan [00:26:00] to carnivore is not a switch. I see that often. I will tell you that’s, 

[00:26:04] Liz Wolfe: that’s not what I see. Nobody’s admitted it yet. Nobody’s admitted it yet. It’s, it, like this sent me a really interesting article earlier today, and I actually poked around in some of the comments and it was really interesting to see.

[00:26:13] Liz Wolfe: It was a, it was an article about, um, basically just eating meat. And one of the comments was, I am a former vegan, I eat meat now and I hide it. I can’t tell anybody because my entire community that I built around this ideology, which is another thing you and I talked about previously, would reject me.

[00:26:31] Liz Wolfe: It’s what we talked about, like running a foul of, of your group or of the, in this 

[00:26:36] Michelle Shapiro: case, like the virtue that it’s almost, it’s a little bit worse than the body positivity crew, too. The vegan crew is, I mean, there’s like, there’s like funding, there’s pita, like there’s a lot of messaging. There’s like, you got the what?

[00:26:47] Michelle Shapiro: The health documentary. Oh my God. I wrote, I made a crazy rebuttal to that in 2016. Um, but I think there, there’s. You and I are gonna get in trouble even for this episode. And I’m certain about that, even though it’s, it’s [00:27:00] extremely contentious for people and which is my least favorite thing in the world, is when people make food decisions based on what others are telling them versus their own autonomy.

[00:27:08] Michelle Shapiro: So for me, it’s a, it’s an instant no when people are telling other people what to eat and what’s right. 

[00:27:13] Liz Wolfe: Yeah, absolutely. Well, carnivore feels like the carnivore, people wouldn’t say this, the carnivore people would say, people have been eating like this for bajillions of years, but carnivore in the zeitgeist, like as a, as a thing, as a way of eating feels like it’s relatively new, at least in actual like the conversation around it.

[00:27:30] Liz Wolfe: Yes. So we have more of kind of a runway when it comes to veganism. Carnivore, not so much. There are some very big, very attractive, you know, muscular, legit looking men who are huge proponents of carnivore. And I know some women too that are huge proponents of carnivore. We’ve kind of deconstructed vegan and people would think that we are like gonna be more pro carnivore and that’s not the case. 

[00:27:54] Michelle Shapiro: I’ve never been carnivore, but I vegan for over 10 years.

[00:27:56] Michelle Shapiro: I have more, I have more to say about vegan because of that anyway, but not [00:28:00] scientifically I have equal to say about carnivore. So yeah, first of all, just laying the landscape, if anyone doesn’t happen to be familiar with the carnivore diet, where the vegan diet is absent of all meat and animal products.

[00:28:11] Michelle Shapiro: The carnivore diet is absent of all plant products. So it means only consuming animal protein, um, essentially and animal foods. Yeah. It’s so funny because the keto diet and the carnivore diet to me have like where there are hardcore vegans, Go for. So I mean, again, I was like 12, it was like 12 or 13 years I think, but it was de it was well over 10, but I never know the exact date that I started or anything.

[00:28:35] Michelle Shapiro: Cause why would I have tracked that but Right. Um, the hardcore carnivore and keto people have so many of them introduced like carb cycling. So many of them have introduced food and honey and these things that the longevity of the carnivore diet from its most aggressive proponents, I feel like, is so much shorter than the vegan diet.

[00:28:56] Michelle Shapiro: I have to tell you. Cause I know vegans who are vegans for 50 years. Like I know, I do know, I [00:29:00] can’t speak to their like, bone health and, and you know, anything like that. But I will tell you that they are live and exist for sure. Versus, uh, of course this carnivore wave is, is seemingly new. Not an, an ancestral perspective.

[00:29:13] Michelle Shapiro: There are obviously communities of people who subsisted on meat almost exclusively, but in ways of what we’re seeing socially, I, it is funny cuz even the most hardcore carnivore and keto people have. You’ll, you can find YouTube videos now, which is so funny of like all of those people starting to incorporate new things and, and, and adding things back in.

[00:29:31] Michelle Shapiro: So there is a definite unsustainability aspect of the carnivore diet that we’re already seeing because the creators and most highest proponents have already started to introduce those things back in. 

[00:29:41] Liz Wolfe: I was gonna make a joke about like B12 or, or brain health or something leading people to make a very quick conclusion that adding fruit and plants and whatnot to a carnivore diet and justifying it as carnivore.

[00:29:53] Liz Wolfe: Um, you know, maybe like there’s an intelligence aspect there, but at the same time, if you’re consistently low carb, I also could make a joke about glucose in [00:30:00] the brain. So I don’t think, I think they cancel each, the penalties cancel each other out. They do, yeah. They 

[00:30:04] Michelle Shapiro: really do. Cuz I think of like, you know, I, which I actually think there’s a lot of merit too, like com like Mm. Parts of a very popular, I’m not gonna say names of any of these people, but a very popular keto diet. In recent years and what the scope of like the car brief feeds even from book to book started to change.

[00:30:24] Michelle Shapiro: And if you just watched the Instagram of the most famous carnivore people, you’ll see in the beginning there was literally nothing. And now there are fruits and honey and there, I mean, I guess the, the main thing has always been with the carnivore diet that there are defense chemicals in plants. And plants don’t wanna be eaten, just like animals don’t wanna be eaten.

[00:30:44] Michelle Shapiro: So they defend themselves. And I think people who follow the carnivore diet, or even like a low, you know, lectin and phytate kind of diet is that the issues you’re getting from consuming the vegetables are greater than the benefits you’re getting from consuming the [00:31:00] vegetables. I think that people who.

[00:31:03] Michelle Shapiro: Look at science would say, again, this is the nutritionism issue, that the benefits you get from plants do outweigh the potential damage that you’re getting from plants. I mean, that’s again, more of a general nutrition perspective. I know it’s, it’s hard to say because I think some, that’s kind of a seesaw also.

[00:31:20] Michelle Shapiro: Like there are, there might be certain plants that are more defended that do not have as many benefits, but on the whole to rule out entire plant foods and say that all of them are so highly defended that they’re not worth the risk to eat, I think is just incorrect. I think there’s enough science to to say that that’s incorrect.

[00:31:40] Liz Wolfe: So some of the research that I was doing around the carnivore diet and the justifications in favor of it had to do with our ancestral bodies and how humans are very much evolved to, to be on a very low carbohydrate diet.

[00:31:52] Liz Wolfe: Well, the thing that bothers me about that is you kind of pick and choose your epic, right? Your era of human history. Was it before the [00:32:00] first major ice age where there were actually carbohydrates in abundance? Or was it after that when there was actually like a kind of a squeeze on the carbs? Or was it even after that?

[00:32:08] Liz Wolfe: And what part of the world and when did agriculture come to play in that part of a world such that the selective pressures around things like insulin resistance would have changed, kind of who survived and whose, you know, genetic. Lived on. So they’re, so, I, I always liked the argument of we have these ancestral bodies that are best suited to a certain type of food, but they’re so, it’s so easy to poke holes in an argument like that.

[00:32:34] Liz Wolfe: So basically the way I look at it now is we are human beings that live in a very novel environment, even novel 10 years ago. It’s brand new. And so if we really, if we know how different foods work in the body and how they can support our existence on this plane, that’s probably the best way to look at it.

[00:32:53] Liz Wolfe: And when you look at, you know, we need b12, we’ve always needed b12. When you look at plant compounds that you’re [00:33:00] talking about, cor carnivores might say have a negative connotation. Many of them actually enable us to package and activate and export toxic substances from our bodies. Right. So it’s, 

[00:33:11] Michelle Shapiro: it’s just a toxic essential for our livers to, to do that.

[00:33:14] Michelle Shapiro: And it’s also a little bit of a compounding issue because, It takes a greater, um, energetic demand from your body to digest, I would say animal foods because it mm-hmm. , it’s more liver input, um, and stomach input in that way because of the acid and gallbladder and the, and bile. I think there’s like a greater energetic input and your liver has to detoxify and the nutrients necessary for your liver to detoxify are absolutely found in meat.

[00:33:41] Michelle Shapiro: But the fiber that’s required for your liver to, to detoxify is really found in those plant foods. And I think because you’re consuming something that is liver intensive, you also need to support the liver with fiber and, and with, you know, other nutrients that you’re gonna get from plant foods too.

[00:33:59] Liz Wolfe: Speaking of [00:34:00] the liver and thinking about insulin resistance, I find some of the arguments that pop up around carnivore. I guess vegan and carnivore. I think this happens everywhere. I, I’m doing a little logical fallacy of both si both side, both sides sing right now. Yeah. I think this exists on both sides, but what I feel like I see people saying, and I’ll say it, um, in particular with reference to people doing the carnivore diet, is this idea that whatever happens when you’re on the carnivore diet is a positive adaptation.

[00:34:32] Liz Wolfe: So I could sit here and say, Hey, I have concerns around what happens to your gut bacteria in the absence of certain types of fiber. Um, and for example, with the paleo diet, I feel like. The addition of legumes is really important because, for example, um, chickpeas have like really cool fibers in them, like oligosaccharides that are prebiotic and really great for bifido bacteria, which bifido bacteria in turn helps you digest carbohydrates and is associated with like very long-lived healthy [00:35:00] people.

[00:35:00] Liz Wolfe: Sure. Which is interesting. But when you look at this from the carnivore perspective, they’ll say, well, you don’t really need those, or your body adapts to not having those or not using those. And then it can use this pathway to create what it needs out of this. And to kind of paint over anything maybe negative that’s popping up about any kind of concerns or any just like, Hey, this might not make sense.

[00:35:20] Liz Wolfe: Maybe we need to actually emphasize like a broad, varied diet that is responsive to your physiological and sometimes emotional needs. Like, but no, no, we can’t do that. So all of these ideas are kind of couched as like, well, the body has an adaptation for that. And my concern with that is you’re actually painting over whether or not these adaptations that your body is using are beneficial, healthy adaptations for the long term.

[00:35:46] Liz Wolfe: So it’s like, yeah, you can do that, but is that optimal? Optimal, exactly. And I, I wonder what your take is on that, on all of the current justifications around carnivore and maybe, maybe what you see come into your [00:36:00] practice. 

[00:36:01] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah, I, I would say that again. Well, it just comes down to also like cherry picking data and cherry picking how you view and interpret data too.

[00:36:11] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah, yeah. I mean, you could, again, I could make an argument for a vegan diet and I could make an argument for a carnivore diet, but I think it’s the totality of someone’s diet that matters. The other thing that I have to mention about this when it comes to, again, my practice or it comes to anything, is that it really freaking matters who the person is that’s eating it and nutrition.

[00:36:31] Michelle Shapiro: I know it’s so corny to like how many times you have to say this, but nutrition is so individualized, but I know that a carnivore diet. For some of my clients could be disastrous at a certain disease state and time for them. I know that to be true. I’ve seen it to be true and I have, I use all tools in my toolbox in Yeah.

[00:36:47] Michelle Shapiro: With my clients. So there could be, there’s a season for everything I say. So there could be a time where I’m like, Hey, we’re, we’re like going down deep into cooling foods cuz you’re like super, like an iveta. You’re super pitta. Like you’re super hot right now, [00:37:00] like adding a bunch of meat to that fire when it’s already burning really high.

[00:37:04] Michelle Shapiro: It, it really depends. So I feel like the carnivore diet works really well for like fit men, um, whose systems are, who’s who you see doing it mostly, whose systems are running super efficiently already. But I don’t think that the actual diet, I don’t believe a vegan diet does this either is reparative for the system.

[00:37:23] Michelle Shapiro: It just can work well with a system that’s already functioning properly. So the issue. People who are already experiencing chronic illnesses, and I really want people to understand this. A person who is experiencing chronic illness, which by the way is me and everyone, don’t feel like excluded or weird if you’re that person, feel the opposite, feel very included when I say this, but a person who’s experiencing chronic illness, which is now 60 to 70% of the United States, and I believe that number is actually like understated because what I perceive as illness would be out of the level of optimal versus.

[00:37:56] Michelle Shapiro: You know, just existing, it’s like mm-hmm. . You don’t have to have a full blown disease [00:38:00] state for things to not be optimal. Point being. But for people who are experiencing chronic illness, you kind of need as many advantages as possible to help support your body. So you don’t wanna cut off any potential tools you have.

[00:38:11] Michelle Shapiro: So again, if your liver needs more support or detoxification cause of a, a mold exposure, like you might really need broccoli and fiber to help your liver to do that. So it’s all fine and dandy when the system is running perfectly. And then you can apply something more restrictive because your baseline ability to handle changes is much better.

[00:38:30] Michelle Shapiro: Your nutrient stores are not vulnerable to depletion, your organs are not in need of added support. So what I’m nervous about, For people excluding any of these foods is taking away another tool that their body might need, because you might need more tools if your body isn’t doing that well. And again, i I, this is not to say that there’s not a woman who’s chronically ill who’s not benefited from the carnivore diet.

[00:38:52] Michelle Shapiro: That would be silly to say. I’m, I’m certain that that’s happened for people even just getting their nutrients stores up. I’m sure that someone consuming a vegan [00:39:00] diet whose body’s been like, again, overheated, let’s say, having these cooling vegetables and getting some fiber in, you know, those components of each diet probably can be helpful for people we’re talking about in the long term.

[00:39:13] Michelle Shapiro: And also, I think, again, the answer is, are we doing things that are optimal for our individual selves? Are we doing things that won’t, like, kill us? You know, like I, I think any diet’s not really gonna be the thing that kills people unless you’re ingesting literal poison. Um, so I think that’s the conversation to be had too, is that who, who is being targeted by these diets?

[00:39:33] Michelle Shapiro: And is it the right season for people to engage in them? 

[00:39:36] Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Yeah. I, there are, there’s a lack of, I think, encouragement to self-reflection. And this is, you know, we live on the internet, we live on Instagram and we see people saying, Hey, look how this quote unquote worked for me. Whatever worked for me means to you and I did this and it worked great.

[00:39:55] Liz Wolfe: And then immediately we wanna kind of glam onto that and say, well, that looks good. I’ll try [00:40:00] that too. Rather than saying, Hey, exactly what you say every time I talk to you, it’s who are you, what are your needs? And you have to say it over and over and over again.

[00:40:08] Liz Wolfe: And it’s terrible for business. I mean, it’s not terrible for business, but not, it is terrible painting with this broad brush. I mean, it’s a little terrible for business. 

[00:40:17] Michelle Shapiro: You know, I actually have a personal anecdote about the carnivore diet that I forgot about, which is I had a huge mold exposure and was, I had mold toxicity and it.

[00:40:25] Michelle Shapiro: It, it’s, I’m still getting it out, man. That is a, it’s a tough critter, whatever the heck we wanna call it. Hate it. Um, as part of that, what happens is, and with anyone experiencing chronic illness, and, and what I talked about in the beginning of this episode is that people choose diets because they’re very easy to follow.

[00:40:43] Michelle Shapiro: So I was running, I had mold and then I had covid. So I was running through nutrients like crazy as my liver was trying to detoxify. And I, I was losing nutrients. I mean, my, I had like scurvy randomly, like any, like, which is hilarious. I have to say a thing about scurvy really quick, and I’m interrupting [00:41:00] myself to say this, which is that in regular dietetic school, like, you know, just for my RD degree, they talk about scurvy literally constantly.

[00:41:07] Michelle Shapiro: Like it’s the whole pirate thing, like you’re talking about scurvy in every class. And when I got scurvy, I texted all my dietician friends and I was like, I’ve made it because now I’m applying the knowledge that I’ve learned in my rd schooling. It was like, it was a big thing for me, but, but point being.

[00:41:22] Michelle Shapiro: I was running through nutrients really fast and I remember messaging, you know, I have like all my friends are functional medicine doctors, naturopathic physicians, functional dieticians. So I was like texting my crew of people who we always talk to each other when we’re dealing with something or sick and I was like, you know what?

[00:41:36] Michelle Shapiro: At this point, like I just wanna do a carnivore diet cause I wanna get as many nutrients in as possible and I can’t even think about what the heck to eat anymore. Because like when you’re dealing with mold toxicity, there’s like a histamine component to it. There’s, for some people, there’s like a mass cell activation component to it.

[00:41:51] Michelle Shapiro: There’s like gut dys, bio, you have all these different things and it makes those levers for what you choose to do go up and down so quickly. [00:42:00] So I was like, mm-hmm , I wanna choose a really easy solution. And that’s like, I’m just going to eat meat for 30 days and get my nutrients up as much possible. And all of my friends who are functional naturopathic.

[00:42:10] Michelle Shapiro: You know, were like doctors or dieticians. Were like, literally no. Like, it’s like, I hear your decision fatigue and I hear your frustration, but you’re still gonna need those other nutrients to get your liver going. I know this has become a lot of liver conversation, but it just, it’s been an on my mind liver detoxification.

[00:42:26] Michelle Shapiro: Um, of course, and I, I’m realizing from our urgency conversation again, that what dragged me to the, I didn’t end up doing it obviously. I just kept incorporating meat and vegetables. But what I realized in that moment was, That sickness for me caused urgency, which then led me to what can I do? That’s the easiest possible thing that I don’t have to make any decisions anymore.

[00:42:50] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah. Oh, I’ll just buy a, a bunch of meat and cook it up. That’s what I can do. So it’s like, there’s a pathway here, which is illness signals, urgency. Urgency signals, intense [00:43:00] conversations that go on in your head, which signals decision fatigue. And then it’s like, screw it. Let me do the easiest thing possible for my health.

[00:43:06] Michelle Shapiro: Um, for or what I thought, which is why it’s annoying to have friends who are, you know, really good practitioners cuz they were like, nah, go cook your broccoli. And I’m like, whatever. Leave me alone. 

[00:43:15] Liz Wolfe: Fine. Smart friends are the worst, the worst. Boring’s 

[00:43:18] Michelle Shapiro: the worst. Let me do, let me do the car More diet. Yeah, 

[00:43:21] Liz Wolfe: exactly.

[00:43:22] Liz Wolfe: Losers, thumb down losers. So this makes me think about the difference between listening to your body, which, and this probably ties into the overall conversation around intuitive eating and, and whatnot, but listening to your body in a moment, and I don’t know what the word would be. But maybe indulging your body long term on things that might not be appropriate for it long term.

[00:43:47] Liz Wolfe: So I love the idea of saying, I love the idea of what you did, which is you analyzed all of the different components to that decision you were just about to make. You called in some wisdom, some outside wisdom, and you made a good [00:44:00] decision for yourself. But at the same time, I, you know, when you were telling that story, I was also like, well, I get that and maybe that would’ve been the right thing for you for a week.

[00:44:08] Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Or for two weeks. But then you have to also have the self-awareness to say, well, and this would probably apply better to people who have completely eliminated meat for a month, six months. Your body stops being able to effectively digest what you have eliminated and. Because of that, your body stops wanting it.

[00:44:30] Liz Wolfe: It doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need it, 

[00:44:32] Michelle Shapiro: so, Long-term vegans in general, ha have more incidents of HypoChlor, atia, low stomach acid because animal foods require more stomach acid to break down.

[00:44:42] Michelle Shapiro: So what happens with acid reflux that is so misunderstood is that you think that it’s like this thing where it’s like burning in your throat, but because our bodies are so wildly smart, I, I see with people with HypoChlor, atia, a lack of interest in meat.

[00:44:57] Michelle Shapiro: Mm-hmm. . So it becomes this like self-fulfilling [00:45:00] cycle because the less meat you eat, the less you kind of want meat. But that’s not really a signal from your body to eat less meat. It’s a signal from your body to improve your stomach acid, So I, I. What a lot of people experience is they could be feeling really sick and need the nutrients from meat, but it becomes really hard to reintroduce 

[00:45:20] Michelle Shapiro: but what it’s telling you is not, I don’t want meat, it’s that I need more stomach acid actually. 

[00:45:25] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah. 

[00:45:25] Liz Wolfe: So the carnivore flip of that would be like, well, if I eat one bite of broccoli, I’m so bloated, like my gut bacteria can’t handle it. Well, you’ve educated your gut bacteria and you have grown certain types and you have suppressed other types through the food that you eat.

[00:45:39] Liz Wolfe: And so you can no longer tolerate, for example, broccoli. That doesn’t mean broccoli is bad. You may very well need some of the compounds, some of like the sulfur compounds from broccoli or something. You might need the fiber from broccoli or from any other vegetable. So you will have to take steps to be able to comfortably digest that again, which likely, in my opinion, is [00:46:00] probably worthwhile for most people.

[00:46:01] Liz Wolfe: I mean, again, like we come around to this idea of like a varied diet that is, you know, structured in response to your physiological emotional needs is probably the way to go for most people. There can be interventions, and I wanna talk to you about that too before we’re done. Is this idea that some of these things can be worthwhile interventions depending on who you are and what you are struggling 

[00:46:26] Michelle Shapiro: with?

[00:46:27] Michelle Shapiro: Absolutely. And I think. To just bring home the point that we’ve been talking about, which is that the diet that you’re eating directly impacts your nutrient stores and directly impacts your digestion and directly impacts how you’re feeling on a hunger scale. You know, your actual fullness. But it also indirectly impacts, impacts what your body is going to do with food in the future.

[00:46:48] Michelle Shapiro: So it’s really important that, again, even any elimination diet, cause these would both be actually extreme versions of elimination diets, it’s really important that you’re, that we understand how efficient our bodies are [00:47:00] and how it’s not like we forget to digest these things, but we kind of like for a second.

[00:47:04] Michelle Shapiro: Like, forget to digest these things. So a really important feature of our digestion is that you kind of wanna flex how much you can do. Like, I, I don’t, you don’t, you never wanna give your body the least amount of work possible. That’s usually not the way, you don’t wanna give your body way more work than is necessary either.

[00:47:21] Michelle Shapiro: But there is a sweet spot with giving your body enough work to do. And that, it’s, it’s really important to flex the amazing capabilities of what your body is able to do. I think that’s really important. And when we stop doing that, we don’t permanently lose the ability to do that, but we might impair on a short term our ability to do something.

[00:47:42] Liz Wolfe: . I love that sweet spot. And I, I, in preparing for this, for this episode, I was really thinking. The, like we said at the beginning, the polarity of things. And it’s interesting you say that thing, what, what you just said about you don’t wanna give your body no work at all. It’s the same thing as with exercise. [00:48:00] But

[00:48:01] Liz Wolfe: There are people that go to extreme, extreme extremes with exercise where they’re really on the net beating their bodies down instead of actually building them up. And then I would say that carnivore and vegan is kind of that, where it’s like you’re giving your body so much work on certain levels and why when we can really come back to the middle and eat a varied diet of multiple compounds that balance other ones out.

[00:48:25] Liz Wolfe: For example, any sort of concerns around carcinogenic compounds from meat can be very effectively, dealt with with the presence of fiber. So being able to balance those things out just like on a very diet, hopefully. That’s where we can get people. It might not be where we start. There might have to be an elimination diet or some kind of protocol that you walk through with a really experienced guide like yourself.

[00:48:47] Liz Wolfe: But hopefully we can get folks to some level of balance just by default. 

[00:48:53] Michelle Shapiro: I think it’s so amazing that we have access to so many different foods, well, that some of us [00:49:00] who are very privileged have access to so many different foods during different seasons and things like that.

[00:49:04] Michelle Shapiro: We really have our. We’ve, we’ve been, uh, spoiled with in some ways too many choices. I mean, I’m talking about, when I’m talking about any of this, I’m not talking about hyper palatable, hyper processed foods. I’m talking about actual food. But we’re spoiled in that way to the point where we’re, we’re almost like not able to take in that abundance.

[00:49:22] Michelle Shapiro: And we’re like, we can’t have, yeah, we can’t have all, we can’t have all these fruits and vegetables and meat and all of these things. So I, I, I would agree that there’s something so beautiful from a nature perspective about how meat and, and vegetables and fruits can be so balancing even from a, again, Ayurvedic, I think of like as a cooling or heating, like there’s, there’s such a, there’s such a balance that can be, you know, between the two.

[00:49:46] Michelle Shapiro: And, and it seems quite necessary, at least to me, to put the body to work ins in some level, but not too much work. And same with our brains as we know. Like, and, and at the same time, uh, [00:50:00] Variety just seems like essentially important for, for our gut bacteria and for, uh, our nutrient stores. Yeah. 

[00:50:07] Liz Wolfe: I wanna pull something out that I forgot to say earlier, but I didn’t wanna forget to do it.

[00:50:10] Liz Wolfe: We talk about, or I have talked about, I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, but how, oh, you did say this at the beginning, how dangerous a vegan diet can be for babies and little children. Children, yes. I don’t know. I, I don’t know what the data is around vegan diets in pregnancy. I think it’s a little bit of a different thing, but, but one of the things that I ran across when I was researching carnivore or a very low carbohydrate, very high protein diet, was specifically around reproductive.

[00:50:41] Michelle Shapiro: I was gonna say like, women’s, women’s hormonal cycles or carbs are much more, and again, men’s bodies are more likely to tolerate lower carb diets. Mm-hmm. because of higher muscle mass, like, Again, there’s subjectivity to all of what we’re saying, yes, on the whole men’s proclivity [00:51:00] to build muscle and muscle mass versus women’s ability to store fat, which is like great for us.

[00:51:06] Michelle Shapiro: Great. Um, we love that , but a lot of that is related, again, to our hor hormonal capacity, and our hormones are very influenced by, by low carbon. I see this a lot in my practice that when clients are too low carb, that their cortisol shoots up, then cortisol blocks the production of some of these essential sex hormones, our thyroid hormones, and again, then our insulin starts to become wacky, which is creating a whole issue in and of itself.

[00:51:29] Michelle Shapiro: So I, I would say that in general, I can definitely see. A huge issue with very low carb diets in, in women. Um, and I see that I’ve never really seen, and I have to be honest with you a long-term, even if I have clients who are doing keto diet, which is definitely a tool in my toolbox for sure, for some clients, we need to do carb brief eats because mm-hmm.

[00:51:49] Michelle Shapiro: the, the, there’s start waking up at 2:00 AM like really quickly. Women’s bodies are very, very prime for survival and preservation. Yes. So if they perceive the threat of starvation from [00:52:00] a blood sugar standpoint, it’s gonna create, and, and we know women in general have higher cortisol too, so it’s gonna create that reflex really hard and then have the downstream effects of influencing all of our hormonal systems.

[00:52:10] Michelle Shapiro: So I definitely, I’ve never, I’ve worked with a thousand clients plus I, I’ve never seen a very long-term sustained low carb diet.

[00:52:18] Liz Wolfe: Well, one of the things on that note on insulin dysregulation, one of the things that I ran across as well was that in the face of long-term, low carb, high protein, and this was like a more of kind of an ancestral bird’s eye view of cultures across the world, and the ones that ended up by by means of actual availability, ending up just by default eating a very low carb high protein diet.

[00:52:45] Liz Wolfe: What ends up happening is that females in that situation develop profound. Insulin resistance. That was, that was literally the phrase, profound insulin resistance. Because during reproduction, which again speaks to hormones, if you are able to [00:53:00] get pregnant during reproduction, blood sugar is, needs to be spared for fetal development.

[00:53:06] Liz Wolfe: So not only is blood sugar also like a, a preferred fuel for the brain, but blood sugar is also so important for fetal development. And again, there’s that sweet spot 

[00:53:14] Liz Wolfe: reproductive tissues have a very specific requirement for glucose as fuel during that specific time. So you’re actually creating a state of insulin resistance that can be detrimental to that process. And at times, you know, I hate to say this and, and just make a blanket statement, but whether you wanna call it hormonal health or reproductive health are kind of the same thing.

[00:53:38] Liz Wolfe: And if you’re wanting to know, Hey, how you doing? One of the first things that we look at is hormonal health. 

[00:53:43] Michelle Shapiro: Right? Exactly. This is so funny because I can flip this on its head for us, which we love doing.

[00:53:49] Michelle Shapiro: Yay. And play the exact other game, which is how we’re talking about a very low carb, carnivore diet cannot be supportive during pregnancy for some or all women. Again, it’s individualized. Yeah. I’m gonna say that [00:54:00] it’s so funny cuz my friends who are functional dieticians in the infertility realm and are, I think the f freaking best in the world, one of them who is really well known and really incredible, she does not accept vegan clients in her practice.

[00:54:14] Michelle Shapiro: Wow. Because she feels that it is so detrimental to your hormones to eat a vegan diet that she feels. It’s almost like smoking for her clients. She’s like, I can’t, I’m, I know I’m not actually going to be able to impact the change in you that I need to. And that always really moves people. I think when, and my clients are always surprised when I’m pro diversity and, and into of food consumption.

[00:54:37] Michelle Shapiro: Of course pro diversity of li in life too, obviously, but , um, they’re, they’re surprised when I’m. Like, think it’s totally acceptable to eat organic meat. Like they think it’s like, wow, I would think a dietician would be so pro vegan. I said, not only is that so not the case. I know a dietician who won’t even take you in her practice if you’re vegan

[00:54:52] Michelle Shapiro: And it’s not a discrimination issue at all for people’s eating styles. It’s just that she authentically will only take clients that she feels she [00:55:00] can help. She’s like, I’m not gonna take a client who I think I can’t help. And if they are absolutely unyielding on the vegan aspect, I, I won’t be able to help them with fertility.

[00:55:08] Michelle Shapiro: So that and mm-hmm. , and again, she’s a really ethical and really compassionate practitioner, so she’s not doing it from a state of bias. She’s just like, I, I, I only wanna help people. I can actually help. So it’s, it’s wild how, again, either one of these diets, um, would not be supportive probably for people with fertility.

[00:55:26] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah, fertility issues either. 

[00:55:28] Liz Wolfe: Well, and I think what we see oftentimes is people that have had such a good experience in the short term, whether that’s with vegan or carnivore. I think that’s really the biggest commonality between the two, is that you look at people who are so happy, their acne has cleared, their gut issues have resolved.

[00:55:44] Liz Wolfe: In the short term. 

[00:55:45] Michelle Shapiro: The reason people do vegan or carnivore diets is cause they wanna feel better and in the short term, they actually do. Yeah. Because the downstream effects of the body’s efficiency, regulatory mechanisms have not kicked in yet.

[00:55:55] Michelle Shapiro: The nutrient deficiencies have not kicked in yet. I do believe people who eat a vegan diet start [00:56:00] feeling really good and there’s a, there’s about, I would say you got six. and then you start to, to notice a difference. But for some people it can be a little longer. It can be a little shorter, but you know, people feel good when they do carnivore, vegan to start with.

[00:56:11] Michelle Shapiro: Yeah. And there’s, that’s another episode of why we think we need to, we’re gonna go hit our research a little bit, but of why we think people feel so much better to start with. And it’s not just the reduction of processed foods, which is a lot of people’s like, yeah, of course you were eating McDonald’s every day and now you’re eating vegetables.

[00:56:27] Michelle Shapiro: Obviously you feel better. It’s actually not that. It’s because potentially our body favors one type of nutrient at a time or something. But we’ll talk about it later. We can’t even, don’t even bring up, bring it up. We’ll talk about that. This was meant 

[00:56:36] Liz Wolfe: to be like an introductory, like a 1 0 1 more 

[00:56:40] Michelle Shapiro: hardcore.

[00:56:41] Liz Wolfe: Yes. . We’re gonna. We’re gonna bring this around. We’re gonna talk more about this in future episodes. Anything to keep Michelle coming on the podcast. Basically. I’ll, by the way, everybody I have gotten, so I’m gonna have to send you some screenshots on Instagram. People are like, Michelle, bring Michelle back.

[00:56:56] Liz Wolfe: And I’m like, I will be bringing Michelle back if 

[00:56:58] Michelle Shapiro: I, you’re like, we already have to [00:57:00] recorded. Yeah, exactly. So don’t worry. Yeah, no, I’m here for life until we die. We kind of made up like a blood pact or whatever. We’re good. Yeah, 

[00:57:06] Liz Wolfe: yeah. We did. We’re we’re together forever. 

[00:57:08] Michelle Shapiro: Well, you’re my literal favorite person to have any conversation with.

[00:57:12] Michelle Shapiro: So for us to do this, That in a way that actually helps people and in a public forum is like pretty much a delight beyond delight for me. So thank you. Dream. Obviously 

[00:57:22] Liz Wolfe: it’s my, it’s my dream come true. For sure. And I really feel like you were, you know, if we thank the universe, we should thank the universe because I feel like I stumbled across your stuff at the exact right time.

[00:57:32] Liz Wolfe: And I’ll, I’ll tell you sometime in the future how much I stalked you and just hoping that you would come on my podcast, just planning, planning my effect. I now 

[00:57:41] Michelle Shapiro: we’re literally co-hosting this damn thing. Like we’re, we’re gonna do this forever. Like, this is it. I mean, you might have to cut out the beginning. Funny stuff because this is gonna be like an hour and a half episode. People have to like go to work. They have to do stuff. They have to digest 

[00:57:52] Liz Wolfe: food. Well, what they can do that while they’re listening to us. Just take deep breaths, everyone. Don’t let us stop.

[00:57:57] Liz Wolfe: I know. I was gonna say, 

[00:57:59] Michelle Shapiro: deep breaths we’re very [00:58:00] sympathetic. Nervous system, simulating what we talk about. That’s the only issue. 

[00:58:03] Liz Wolfe: Yes, we are. I just took my biggest deep breath of the last like hour and a half. Maybe we can start out each episode with like a meditation or like some kind of calming, whatever.

[00:58:11] Liz Wolfe: But 

[00:58:11] Michelle Shapiro: you know what, then we wouldn’t be able to get hype like we do during the episodes. Forget it. . We stay, we stay anxious. The whole 

[00:58:17] Liz Wolfe: episode. That’s the only way to do this, . We stay anxious. Okay, my friend. Well, we’re gonna be back with more on carnivore, more on vegan, and more on everything, more on the Midwest, more on life.

[00:58:28] Michelle Shapiro: The Northeast. The Northeast, which is Kansas City and New York City, which are very close to each other. If anyone didn’t know geography, listen, 

[00:58:35] Liz Wolfe: if you were, I’m sure there is some kind of biologist that would talk about the nature of time and how you can actually fold it, you know, so you can do the same with a map, right?

[00:58:42] Liz Wolfe: Like if you fold the map, damn, we can make the Midwest and the no. One and the same. You know 

[00:58:47] Michelle Shapiro: what they always say? Kansas City and New York’s basically the same place. Everyone says that. Everyone. 

[00:58:52] Liz Wolfe: I’ve never heard anyone not say that. There’s t-shirts. They’re people with t-shirts. Why? It 

[00:58:57] Michelle Shapiro: says that exact thing they call Kansas City, the other [00:59:00] Big Apple.

[00:59:00] Michelle Shapiro: You know that ? 

[00:59:02] Liz Wolfe: We do have, we do have, why do they call it Manhattan? Yes, because Manhattan, what’s your, 

[00:59:07] Michelle Shapiro: what is Kansas City’s thing? What’s, what’s the like, you know the New York’s a big apple. What’s your slogan? You have one? 

[00:59:13] Liz Wolfe: Uh, there’s Cowtown, there’s the city of Fountains, which is actually funny. I’ll have to send you like the image from the city of Fountains.

[00:59:19] Liz Wolfe: It looks like, like the, the uterus and fallopian tubes. It’s, I 

[00:59:23] Michelle Shapiro: can’t, that’s amazing. We have lo we have loads of fountains in New York. It’s basically the same thing. It’s 

[00:59:28] Liz Wolfe: a hundred percent the same thing. 

[00:59:31] Michelle Shapiro: That’s is the next episode. Kansas City and New York. Are they the same exact place? There’s nothing different about them.

[00:59:36] Michelle Shapiro: One, 

[00:59:37] Liz Wolfe: one 

[00:59:37] Michelle Shapiro: could argue. 

[00:59:38] Liz Wolfe: Okay, my friend.

[00:59:38] Liz Wolfe: Thank you for giving me the time yet again. As always. I don’t know. You know, keep on back. See you in a 

[00:59:44] Michelle Shapiro: week. Yeah, whatever. See you in a week. See you in three days or whatever. Yeah. We’ll, we’ll be 

here [00:59:48] Liz Wolfe: still.

Thanks for listening to the new Balanced Bites Podcast! Before you shut down your podcast app, PLEASE take a moment to subscribe and leave a review! It’s a small thing you can do that I appreciate more than you can imagine! And speaking of what we can do for each other, if YOU have a question you’d like to have tackled on this podcast or an interview you’d like to hear, submit the details at Let’s keep unpacking, unraveling, contextualizing and nuance-ing the important questions together so we can be empowered, informed, active participants in our own health and happiness.

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