Food Frame with Risa Groux: Rational Wellness Podcast 251

Risa Roux discusses Food Frames with Dr. Ben Weitz.

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Podcast Highlights

0:55  Risa Groux has written a book FoodFrame, which details her approach that recommends one of six different approaches to diet, including paleo, keto, autoimmune paleo, vegan, low FODMAP and low lectin. 

5:32  Detoxification.  Risa likes to start many of her clients with a two week detox program to help to clean out the liver and open up the detoxification pathways both phase one and two.  A lot of patients’ symptoms go away after the detox, including itching skin, headaches, insomnia, acne, stool regularity, bloating, gas, and indigestion.  The detox also helps to set up weight loss.  On her detox, patients consume two collagen shakes that include protein, fat, and fiber.  And they eat animal proteins, unlimited organic veggies, good fats, eggs, nuts, and seeds.  They can have some sweet potato.  No processed or inflammatory foods.

13:14  Weight loss is a function of being healthy.  Those who are overweight but claim to be healthy likely have underlying inflammation that can be seen on lab tests or on stool testing.  For inflammation, Risa will look at CRP and Homocysteine.

15:08  In order to help reverse her Hashimoto’s autoimmune condition, Risa started on the Autoimmune Paleo diet and now she follows the paleo approach.  She said that she is now only 10 points away from reversing her condition, as measured by her TPO antibodies and at one point she was in the 1400s.  When you work with a patient with autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s, the first thing to do is to reduce systemic inflammation.



Risa Groux is a holistic and functional nutritionist based in Newport Beach, California. She believes in treating the root cause of health problems and she believes that if she promotes the health of her clients with a Functional Medicine approach, weight loss will be a side effect of wellness. Risa has written a book Food Frame.  Her website is RisaGrouxNutrition.com.

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for Functional Nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure and also weight loss and also athletic performance, as well as sports chiropractic work by calling his Santa Monica office 310-395-3111. Dr. Weitz is also available for video or phone consultations.


Podcast Transcript

Dr. Weitz:            Hey, this is Dr. Ben Weitz, host of the Rational Wellness podcast. I talk to the leading health and nutrition experts and researchers in the field to bring you the latest in cutting edge health information. Subscribe to the Rational Wellness podcast for weekly updates and to learn more, check out my website drweitz.com. Thanks for joining me. And let’s jump into the podcast. Hello, Rational Wellness podcasters. Today, we have an interview with nutritionist, Risa Groux on the FoodFrame approach to health. Risa Groux is a holistic and functional nutritionist based in Newport Beach, California. She believes in treating a root cause of health problems, and she believes that clients that need to lose weight, if they promote their health with a functional nutrition approach, weight loss will be a side effect of wellness. Risa has written a book called FoodFrame, which details her approach that utilizes six different dietary approaches depending upon the person’s symptoms and health concerns. These include paleo, keto, autoimmune paleo, vegan, low FODMAP and low lectin. Risa, thank you so much for joining us.

Risa Groux:         Thank you for having me.

Dr. Weitz:            So, perhaps you can start by telling us a bit about your personal health journey and how you became so interested in nutrition and functional medicine.

Risa Groux:         I have always been interested in nutrition from the time I was a little kid. I just remember growing up in a house where my mother was always on a diet. My grandmother was on a diet. I remember my grandma would always go, she would call it the fat farm once a year, which I later found out was Canyon Ranch Spa that she would go to every year. And there was always these words in my house called fattening and, “Oh, I can’t have that. It’s too many calories.” And I was always wondering why are foods different and what makes us fat and how do we gain weight and how do we lose weight and why are people always on a diet? So, I was always interested in food from a very, very early age and then slowly but surely I ended up never had a weight problem as a kid, and then started to develop some symptoms of a low thyroid. Didn’t really know what they were, just thought they were kind of normal. And I was able to conceive my first child without any problems at all.  And then I could not conceive my second child. I was having a tough time conceiving, and then I would have several miscarriages and finally went to an infertility specialist where they tested me and said, “You have a thyroid problem? Take this pill.” And I said, “Oh, how long do I take the pill for?” And he said, “Every day.” And I said, “No, no, no. For how long do I take the pill for?” And he said, “Oh, for the rest of your life.” And I was just astounded at that. I thought how could I be taking a synthetic for something that my body was actually born to produce?  So, shouldn’t we back up and say, why is it not producing this hormone?  And what can we do to fix it instead of-

Dr. Weitz:            That’s not a question conventional medicine usually asks.

Risa Groux:         Exactly. But that’s where the birth of it came for me, the curiosity, I have an innate curiosity. I’m always wondering why? Why is it? Do I have a deficiency in Synthroid because I have these symptoms. And I realized, no, I don’t have a deficiency in medication. And then-

Dr. Weitz:            And you a deficiency in lisinopril and you have a deficiency in statins and NSAIDs.

Risa Groux:         Statins. Yep. And pressure medications and Zoloft and so on and so forth. So, I realized that these are just wonderful band aids that we have in Western medicine and great for a momentary relief, but they really shouldn’t be taking long term. I have a sheets and sheets of all these side effects of all the medications, not just the effects of the body, but the blocking of nutrients that take place when you’re having these medications day in and day out. So, I always say, we’re going to plug the hole at the top of the boat, right. And cover the water there.

Dr. Weitz:            So, how did you manage to get your thyroid fixed and get off of thyroid medication?

Risa Groux:         So, I did a deep dive and was on the Synthroid for a bit and researched. This is way back when, before a lot of internet, so I did a ton of research and then was later diagnosed. I did everything. I did herbals, I did acupuncture. I did just everything I could naturally. And then, was later diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. And at that time, when I was told I had Hashimoto’s, I did not have one direction. Nobody told me to take out gluten, soy, dairy. Nobody gave me any dietary guidance. I didn’t have any medication guidance. I really didn’t have any guidance period. So, I did a ton of research and I thought, why is it that I have this autoimmune disease attacking my thyroid gland? So, I couldn’t find at that time a checklist of everything that could be a root cause to autoimmune.  So, I put one together after years and years of researching, I eventually assembled a list of root causes and put it in my book, FoodFrame, because I think it’s really important for people to know how you get autoimmune disease and how you can treat it and perhaps reverse it.

Dr. Weitz:            Cool. So, I noticed you like to start some of your clients with a two week detox.

Risa Groux:         Correct.

Dr. Weitz:            Why do you do this? What is your detox program consist of?

Risa Groux:         So, there’s a couple reasons why I do it. The first reason is because it puts bumpers on the situation for people, right. So, they come in, whether they’re drinking tons of coffee with lots of chemicals in their coffee, whether they’re having wine or alcohol frequently, and they’re eating bread, sugar, dairy, alcohol, they’re eating out of the bounds, it kind of puts bumpers on it and says, “Okay, here’s what you can eat and here’s what you can’t.” And so, it gives you those boundaries, which I think is really good. Instead of doing it slowly, it’s just a very structured, this is what we’re going to do for 14 days.

The second reason I do it and the primary reason I do it is to clean out the liver. The liver is the key to the castle. So, it really help the liver perform more optimally and help us with everything, any excess estrogens that are stored in the liver, it helps to take those out. It really balances out the blood. It opens up the pathways one or two, so that we are effectively able to detoxify. If somebody has a high level of homocysteine, it helps with that. It just helps stabilize things. The other reason I do it is because a lot of symptoms that people walk in my door would go away- itching skin, headaches, inability to sleep. Acne is a big one, regularity, bloating, gas, indigestion. A lot of those things will fall by the wayside in two weeks.

And then of course, people love it because there is weight loss. Everybody does lose weight on my detox, but it isn’t a weight loss program. I say that all the time, it is not a weight loss program. And as you mentioned, weight loss is a side effect of wellness and we’re just focusing on wellness, but I’m always curious to know how much we can get done just with food and detoxifying, which usually tends to be a lot. And the last reason I do it is because it’s my data gathering time. So, I’m ordering blood tests, I’m ordering stool tests. And by the time they’re finished with the detox, I really have a good idea. I have a roadmap now. I can see what the issues are. I know what your health status is. So, at that point I can springboard from there.

Dr. Weitz:            And so what is your detox program consist of and what is it that you’re detoxing?

Risa Groux:         So, my detox is 14 days. There are two collagen shakes every single day. So, the protein is collagen, which is great, very little carbs, lots of good collagen, which is great. I call it grout for leaky gut. It’s really helpful for hair, skin and nails as well, joint pain, any inflammation. And it’s a gut healer. I’m all about protein, fat and fiber. So, you’re having protein, fat and fiber in that shake twice a day. And then you’re eating basically paleo foods. So, you’re having animal protein, unlimited vegetables anyway you want them except for deep fried. And then you’re having good fats. So, eggs, nuts, seeds. And then you can have some sweet potato [inaudible 00:08:33]. So you should not be hungry. It has nothing to do with starvation. I’m just trying to clear out the liver and the toxins.

The unfortunate statistic here is that the FDA has currently approved 86,000 chemicals for us to use, 86,000. That’s the current number and that’s a new number and it really doesn’t matter who’s in the White House about 2000 a year, get approved. And most of them, which is the sad fact are not even tested. So, we have to be really diligent because we have more chemicals than any other country on the planet. And so we have to be diligent about really reducing our toxic load. So, that’s another thing that the detox does is, it decreases your toxic load. We’re eating mostly organic and non processed foods. We take out the processed oils and take out a lot of the inflammatory foods.

Dr. Weitz:            But how does your detox program facilitate liver detox? What does it do?

Risa Groux:         In addition to the collagen, there are an antioxidants and amino acids that are designed to help open up pathways one and two for efficient detoxification. Your liver numbers improve, your inflammation numbers improve. I see it all the time.

Dr. Weitz:            And during the detox, are they eating or they’re just taking the shakes?

Risa Groux:         Yeah, no they’re eating. So, it’s today and one meal and if you’re hungry, then eat a snack. If you’re really hungry, eat two meals. I have some professional athletes. I work with those people having two shakes and two meals, but I always say, “Eat when you’re hungry. Not when you’re not.” And it really helps that lectin that’s that hormone that tells us that we’re full and ghrelin that tells us we’re hungry. Sometimes people come in and they’re so dysregulated that they are not even functioning. We don’t know if we’re hungry and we’re just always eating because it’s either that time to eat or just because it’s in front of us or we’re afraid we might get hungry. And I always say to people, “It’s okay. We will not die if we’re hungry for an hour or three. We really won’t. Three hours. You’re good.” So, I don’t know what it is, but when I was a kid, I remember it’s like, “Wait till dinner time.” Now it’s, “Let’s eat before dinner.” So, it will tide you over.

Dr. Weitz:            Well, things have kind of shifted as they frequently do in the nutrition world. So, I’ve been in this a long, long time. And so, when I first started, the thing we had to tell everybody, you have to eat breakfast, because everybody would skip breakfast and maybe eat a light lunch and a big dinner. And that’s why everybody was fat because they skipped breakfast. And then the key was you had to eat breakfast and you had to have a snack or meal every three hours to keep even blood sugar. And so, the big thing, if you want to lose weight, you have to eat more because that’s going to stimulate metabolism. You have to eat within an hour of waking up and then you have to have a snack in two hours and then you have to have a meal and you have to have another snack. And unless you do that, your blood sugars going to go crazy and you’re not going to lose weight.

Risa Groux:         Right.

Dr. Weitz:            And now we’re back to skipping breakfast is good for you.

Risa Groux:         Yeah. But that’s where my methodology comes in as it’s not one size fits all. So, if you have a blood sugar issue and you are low blood sugar, I am not going to recommend intermittent fasting for you for sure. Conversely, if you have diabetes, intermittent fasting would be a great thing for you to do. It would help with blood sugar regulation.


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Dr. Weitz:            So, you say that weight loss is a function of wellness, but some people claim that they are fat, but healthy. What say you?

Risa Groux:         So, I appreciate that point of view, but I’m all about numbers. I’m very science rooted. So, I like to see facts. And the fact is that when we carry extra weight, it really is equivalent to having inflammation. So, those people, I don’t know how they define healthy, but for me there are foundational issues and they come in two categories. One is systemic inflammation, which we know is the driver of disease. And we know now with COVID that people are dying from third stage inflammation, which is usually blood sugar related, right? Then we look at gut health and gut health is incredibly important. So, those are the two foundational issues I look at. So, that person who says, “I might be fat or overweight and or obese, but I’m healthy.” I don’t know how they define healthy. So to me, I’m looking are your inflammation numbers low, because that to me, defines healthy. And is your gut healthy? Is it intact? Do you not have all these overgrowth of bacteria? Are you not dysbiotic? And things like that.

Dr. Weitz:            What are the most important inflammation factors you look at?

Risa Groux:         So, I look at the CRP, the C-reactive protein that is very related to cardiovascular. And so that usually is a good indication of systemic inflammation. And then the other one I look at is homocysteine and homocysteine has a lot to do with methylation, but it is a major driver of inflammation. And if it gets very high, I’m talking over 12, which I see from time to time, it could lead to dementia. It could lead to cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, lots of health issues. So again, those are the root causes. Those are the driver of disease.

Dr. Weitz:            Right. So, of the six dietary approaches that we listed, which one do you personally follow most of the time?

Risa Groux:         So, because I have Hashimoto’s, I’m about 10 points away from reversing it, which I started in the thousands and now I’m like 10 points away, which is crazy.

Dr. Weitz:            So, when you say 10 points away, what are you talking about?

Risa Groux:         So, when officially Hashimoto’s are diagnosed with autoimmune for thyroid, you’re looking at thyroid peroxidase antibody, TPO and you’re looking at thyroglobulin antibody. So, I never register positive for thyroglobulin antibody. So, I have registered for thyroid peroxidase antibody. And when I was tested positive, originally diagnosed years ago, I was in the 1400s and the lab now says you should be less than 34. So, I’m at 44. So, I’ve got about 10 points to go to reverse it completely. I follow a paleo program, but when I was first diagnosed, I was on the autoimmune protocol. Or I shouldn’t say when I was first diagnosed, because it really wasn’t invented. But, I originally took out gluten dairy and soy because those are really the major offenders. They have what’s called molecular mimicry to antibodies that attack the thyroid. And when you are in a state of autoimmune, those antibodies basically are what’s called inflammation. You’re in a systemic inflammation. Your Th17 gets activated, you’re in a cytokine storm, your NF-kappa B is involved and you have just systemic inflammation. And in this case and in the case of Hashimoto’s, you’re attacking your thyroid gland.

So, the first thing you need to do with an autoimmune patient is you just decrease that systemic inflammation. So, I have my fab five or now it’s my essential six that are supplements to help quell that inflammation. So, I diligently take those supplements every day, day in and day out. I have removed gluten dairy and soy from my diet completely. And then I do have sheep’s milk or feta very rarely, but occasionally it’s a different type of casing, different type of protein that I can tolerate. And then I started the autoimmune protocol AIP, which is a very restrictive form of paleo. So, it’s paleo, but you’re taking out eggs, nuts-

Dr. Weitz:            Seeds [inaudible 00:17:29]

Risa Groux:         And so, I did that for about 90 days and then I now follow a paleo program myself.

Dr. Weitz:            Okay. So, I noticed of the dietary approaches that you list, there’s one popular one, in fact, including popular and functional medicine [inaudible 00:17:51] that you don’t list here and that’s a Mediterranean diet. Why is that?

Risa Groux:         Yeah. I thought about that when I was putting together the book and I realized I really don’t promote that diet in my office and I don’t really recommend it even though there’s tons of studies that show it’s very heart healthy. And I think the reason that it’s very heart healthy is it’s very focused on olive oil, which is really a great oil to have its great fat. And the reason I don’t really stick by that is because it adds a lot of grains and legumes and I’m a former vegetarian or vegan myself. And I noticed that when I was vegan, I ate a lot of beans and a lot of grains, quinoa, gluten free grains, not a ton of rice, but a little bit of quinoa and millet and occasionally amaranth. But I sustained myself on that because you need to get your protein from a source. So, it’s going to come in the form of nuts, beans or seeds and grains.

And so, I noticed every time I did my blood work, my blood sugars were escalating and I’m thinking, “How could this be? I’m not eating any sugar at all.” And I was eating gluten-free bread and my products were gluten free. I wasn’t having any dairy and I wasn’t eating any sugar. I really was eating very little berries, but I was having berries. And, when my hemoglobin A1C got to 5.6, which just for reference range 5.7 is pre-diabetic, I said, “That’s it. This is not working for me.” And I stopped that diet and I went completely paleo. And I took out all the legumes and grains that are carbohydrates at the end of the day. They’re filled with great properties of great fiber polyphenols. All those things are really, really great, but at the end of the day, they’re carbohydrates and that just doesn’t work. And in my opinion for everyone.  Some people can, if you’re an elite athlete, I’m going to say you probably need more carbohydrates, but most of us are not elite athletes. Me included, even though I work out all the time, I’m not an elite athlete, so I don’t need that many carbohydrates. And so, I do recommend it for some people some of the time, but I don’t think that there’s a major population that thrives on a Mediterranean diet.

Dr. Weitz:            Agree to disagree on that.

Risa Groux:         Your thoughts on that?

Dr. Weitz:            I do think that a low glycemic version of the Mediterranean diet can be really good. And I think something like autoimmune paleo is a really difficult diet to stay on for a long time. It’s very, very restrictive. And, it depends on a person like you’re talking about athletes, like somebody like myself, even though I’m 63 years old and you know, I’m working in an office still. I’m getting about 20,000 steps a day. And if I don’t consume 3,500 calories a day, I’m going to lose weight and I’m not trying to lose weight. So, it’s really hard for me if I don’t have some legumes or healthy grains in my diet and I avoid gluten like you do and dairy, but I do find that judicious use of properly cooked and prepared grains and legumes and sweet potatoes is necessary for me to get the calories I need to make my body [crosstalk 00:21:25]

Risa Groux:         And I fully agree. I fully agree the if you’re having 20,000 steps a day regularly, you need more carbohydrates for sure. Especially if you don’t want to have weight loss. And let me just clarify, I’m not against legumes, especially if they’re sprouted or they’re soaked-

Dr. Weitz:            Soaked overnight, yeah.

Risa Groux:         Exactly. And certain grains like quinoa, which actually isn’t a grain, it’s a seed, but millet, quinoa, amaranth. So, I’m totally good with that in small doses. I have people who just say, “No, please, don’t take my hummus away.” Well, fine. Have some hummus. You’re not having a container of hummus every day. If you want some hummus and vegetables, have it, just watch your portions and you should be fine, but there’s tons of benefits in those legumes, but not somebody with SIBO or with IBS, right. That person I’m not going to tell, “You have some legumes.”

Dr. Weitz:            Right. Because they’re high in FODMAPs and I notice you have the low lectin diet. So, why do you have the low lectin diet in there?

Risa Groux:         So, low lectin-

Dr. Weitz:            I guess we could call it the Dr. Gundry Diet, right?

Risa Groux:         Dr. Gundry diet. Yes. He really highlighted the dangers of lectins. And for your listeners who don’t know, lectins basically fall under the category of anti-nutrients. And they basically are what I call a hard candy shell around the bran or the seed or the germ of a plant, because we all have our way of protecting ourselves. Humans, if we’re in danger, we can flee, bite, kick, scream, yell and call 911. Plants don’t have that ability, right. So, they have this protective coding on them that says, “If you try to eat me or destroy me, I’m going to do my best to sustain myself and procreate because those are our two main goals as living organisms.” And so, they’re very hard to digest for people.

So, not everybody, those people who have SIBO and IBS and some people have autoimmune, they’re going to have a difficult time breaking down those lectins, especially if you’re not having any digestive enzymes, you’re not taking any digestive enzymes or you’re not producing digestive enzymes, you are going to have a horrible time. And those are the people who come in and saying, “I had three garbanzo beans and I was bloated all night or I had hummus and I just wanted to die. My belly was like a balloon that needed to be popped.” Those people cannot break it down. So, low lectin is great for, I think for it’s an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s another anti-inflammatory diet and it’s really good for people with autoimmune. So, it’s very similar to paleo or AIP, but they’re different. It’s really more centered around lectins. And some people do really well with a low lectin diet.

Dr. Weitz:            Yeah. It’s, it’s pretty restrictive because I mean, there are so many vegetables that contain lectins, including cucumbers and tomatoes and squash. It’s very, very restrictive.

Risa Groux:         It is very restrictive and again, that’s why not everybody does well with it. But some people do.

Dr. Weitz:            Now on a practical level, as a dietician, you put somebody on a low FODMAP map diet or autoimmune paleo diet, what kind of guidance do you give them? Do you simply say, “Here’s a list of foods not to eat. Here’s the food you can’t eat.” How do you make this work? Because I’ve noticed some patients need more handholding. And do you have some way of giving them more detailed guidance in your practice?

Risa Groux:         Sure. So, in my practice I test everybody because what I do basically like… I watch a movie on HBO and then it tells me all these other movies I might be interested in. I listen to a song on Spotify and it tells me all these other songs that I would be interested in, right. We don’t have anything to tell us what kind of food that we are customized to eat. So, I’ve created that because it’s crazy that in this day and age, we’re not customizing our food to our health status. So, the first thing we have to do is find out our health status. So, if I’m working with you in my office or we’re working through zoom, I’m going to find out because I’m ordering your blood test and your stool test. So, I’ll find out what your landscape looks like?

Dr. Weitz:            What sort of blood test or stool test you’re going to order?

Risa Groux:         So, I order a comprehensive bioscreen and that tells me all 10 markers of your thyroid, not just the two or the one that your doctor orders, but all 10. And it tells me all four markers of your blood sugar. So, I’m looking for insulin resistance, I’m looking for prediabetes. And then it tells me inflammation markers. And then it gives me a breakdown of your white blood cells. And it gives me a ton of information, iron which is a big factor and all your liver enzymes. It gives me a very full picture. And I look for viral patterns. I look for bacterial patterns and then I order a stool test. And that tells me about 84 pathogens, fungus, yeast, worms, parasites. It tells me how much digestive enzyme, pancreatic enzymes you are producing, tells me how you do with fat malabsorption if you have a fat malabsorption issue, tells me about your immunity because so much of our immunity is produced in our gut.

A lot of people come to me with a lot of sex hormone imbalance and that gives me a good indication of beta-glucuronidase. If that is high, then that will likely be the factor that is dysregulating hormone. And then I look for leaky gut and inflammation in your gut. So, I can really see what’s going on. I can find out if there’s SIBO, bacterias, all that stuff. And so then, I am educated. I’ve got my data. I can say, “This is what your landscape looks like. And this is the eating lifestyle that best suits what your health status is.”

If I’m not working with you in my office or via Zoom and you just go on my website, you’re going to take the FoodFrame quiz and it really is an expeditious way to pretty much figure out what eating type is best for you. And then you go from there. But, I also have a course coming out on thyroid health. So that people can learn how to read their thyroid labs and ask their doctor what to test for and find out if they do have a thyroid issue or if their thyroid medication isn’t working. So, we just need to educate people on how to do this for themselves.

Dr. Weitz:            Okay. But practically, let’s say you select the low FODMAP diet. How do you get them to follow it?

Risa Groux:         Right. So, I give them a handout and I give them all the foods to enjoy and I give them a list of foods to avoid. And then I usually work with these people. So, I give them a food log and they’re kind of judging how they’re doing in a low FODMAP case. I would say, “Give me evaluation of how your bloating is or your constipation, your chronic diarrhea.” So, I have some assessment way of assessing-

Dr. Weitz:            So, they write down what they’re eating and then they write down how they’re feeling.

Risa Groux:         Exactly. And we’re starting to relate that, “Oh, if I have a quarter of an avocado, I’m good. But if I have more than a quarter, if I have a half an avocado, I have bloating or I have diarrhea.” Whatever it is. And so, we start to make those correlations of what food is affecting them. And then I work with people. So I have that ability to say, “Okay.” And then usually a lot of those lifestyles that are on there, like low FODMAP and AIP, those are a temporary elimination diet. So, that’s 30 to 90 days. Once you’re done with that, then I say, “Okay, let’s look at the landscape and see where do you go from here?”  So in AIP, they would typically either go to AIP… I’m sorry, they would go to paleo. So, they’re opening up a few more things or reintroducing things, or they would go low lectin, but usually they go paleo. And then with somebody with SIBO or IBS, I would recheck their stool test to see if their inflammation is gone. We’ll know because their symptoms will have gone away. And then we treat that whatever is in there and we look at the root cause and address it.


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Dr. Weitz:            So, once they’ve been on one of these specialized diets for a period of time, do you try to introduce all the foods or do you keep certain foods out permanently?

Risa Groux:         I always like to have diversity in the microbiome, right. So, we now are knowing about short chain fatty acids, which is really the food for the colon, the end of the line, right. And I have a product-

Dr. Weitz:            Butyrate and propionate.

Risa Groux:         Exactly, exactly. And I have what’s called post BioMax, which is a postbiotic. They’re now called postbiotics, not prebiotic, not a probiotic, but a post. And it is those Butyrates and all those things that creates the diversity of the microbiome. So, always want to do things through food. And if you don’t have to take a pill, I’m always saying, “Let’s do it through food.” But as if I were to say to you, “I want you to go into the market and go into the produce section and buy every single food in there that you have no idea what it is. You don’t know what country it gotten from. You’ve never had it before, put it all in your basket, bring it home, put it in the blender, whip it up and drink that.” That’s going to create that diversity of the microbiome.

Risa Groux:         But unfortunately, we all eat about the same 20, 40 foods day in and day out in different forms or shapes. And so, we don’t get that diversity of the microbiome. So, especially if you’re on a restricted diet, I always want to say, bring in some more colors for sure. And more things. So, it depends on what you are. So, if you’re autoimmune, I’m not going to say to you, “You should have some gluten.” That wouldn’t be good for you. But if I’ve tested you and I’ve looked at your anti-gliadin on my stool test, and I say, “You really don’t show up high for gluten.” Then I would say to you, “Once we take care of the autoimmune, you can start bringing in gluten in every now and then.” Or if you wanted to have gluten, if you’re going to Italy, I’m going to say, “Have fun. Here, take some GlutenFlam with you, so you can mitigate the effects of that gluten. And it’s not going to cause major habit for you.”

Risa Groux:         Now, if you’re celiac, I’m not going to say that to you. You’re not going to have gluten. But I try not to say ever, never forever, but some cases that is the case. And every now and then a cheese might be okay with you, but I’d have to know what your specific circumstances in your health status is.

Dr. Weitz:            They say that saturated fats are among the healthiest fats, but don’t saturated fats promote atherosclerosis and heart disease?

Risa Groux:         Certain ones do. Yes, absolutely. If they’re from the wrong sources, for sure. So, saturated fats and coconut oil or coconut products as we know, are good for you. We know that they’re antimicrobial, they’ve got lauric acid and caprylic acid, really good for gut. Really good for skin.

Dr. Weitz:            It is controversial, but…

Risa Groux:         Yes.

Dr. Weitz:            I think for a lot of people, they probably are.

Risa Groux:         Yes. Now, would I tell you to have the saturated fat and Twinkies? No, I wouldn’t. Those are the ones that are going to cause you some issues, right.

Dr. Weitz:            The Twinky fats.

Risa Groux:         Yeah. Twinky fats are probably not really recommended. at least I don’t recommend them. But, if you think about it logically, I mean, think about it. I say to every patient I work with, “I want you to imagine that your body is just like a sneaker factory. You’ve got all the equipment to make sneakers. I know if I give you some leathers, some rubbers, some canvas, we’re going to get a sneaker at the end, right. May change in shape or size or color, but it’s going to be a sneaker. And if I say let’s put some cell phone parts in your sneaker factory, what would you say? Hopefully you would say no, because if we did that, what would happen to our machinery? It would break.” So, I use that silly little example because it’s a great visual. If you think about the Nike factory, it’s not the same as the iPhone factory, right. Fully different equipment, fully different parts.

And so, I use that example for, because whoever created us, whenever that was, all of a sudden, there were these things crawling on the ground and spreading from the earth that we could eat. And again, sustain ourselves and procreate are two main goals of living organisms. So, I’m trying to take out the cell phone parts. Twinkies were not on the planet when we were created. Pop-Tarts, Big Mac, Doritos, you name it, anything that really has a label on it, is not really food from the farm. So, if we eat food from the farm mostly, then we’re in pretty good shape. So, if we think about it that way, all the fats that came from the farm, we’re in good shape with. Those were what we’re meant to eat. Not a lot. Our plate shouldn’t be this much animal protein and this much vegetables.

We should have 60 to 70% of our plate living foods, whether they’re cooked or not, it doesn’t matter. But foods from the ground and then some protein, because we all need protein. And then we have some sweet [inaudible 00:35:45] some carbohydrates, right. That are good for us. We can’t forget about the good fats because we need good fat.

Dr. Weitz:            Why is sugar so bad?

Risa Groux:         Why is sugar so… How much time do we have? So, sugar is the devil. We really don’t glean any nutrients from sugar, unfortunately. And we like sugar. Everybody’s addicted to sugar and it makes us feel good immediately, but it doesn’t do well for us. And I’ll just give you a few of my things on my list. Sugar makes us fat. Why does it make us fat? Because it makes the pancreas pump out some insulin and it converts it into glycogen. And then we send it to every cell in the body and we use that for energy, right. It gets into there. If your receptors are open and it goes into the mitochondria and that’s our energy factories, right. We’re making energy. But any excess we have, if we can’t fit into the cell, it just parks it in storage, right. We just keep putting it in the storage unit.

And if your receptors on your cells are closed, that’s insulin resistance. We’re going to park it into fat tissues and fat cells. So, that’s number one. And we know that fat creates inflammation, which is the driver of disease. Second thing is, it causes fatty liver. It will really congest our liver, our gallbladder. It doesn’t help us there. It feeds cancer cells, right. It’s the nutrition for cancer cells to replicate. So, anybody with cancer should not be having any kind of sugar at all.

Dr. Weitz:            Yeah. We had Dr. Thomas Seyfried on the podcast.

Risa Groux:         Awesome. We [inaudible 00:37:20] a lot about that, I bet. It eats up white blood cells. Our white blood cells are our immune powerhouse. They are our protectors. So, even one tablespoon of sugar, table sugar can affect our immune system by 50% within one hour. So, I don’t know about you, but I’m going out in this world, especially with COVID with all my army with me. I’m not putting anybody on vacation. Everybody’s with me. I need as many troops as I can possibly have. Another reason why we don’t like white sugar at all is it causes fatigue. We spike and then we drop, we spike and then we drop. So again, I want my A game. We can drink sugar, right. Alcohol wine especially is a great resource of drinking sugar and it ruins our sleep. So, if you’re waking up between 3:00 and 4:30 in the middle of the night, you’re most likely having sugar plummeting and you probably have some blood sugar issues.

 So, it provides brain fog and fatigue. And gosh, I can keep going, but it’s not good for our skin. We get acne from sugar. We don’t glean any nutrition from it. And I talk a lot about eating for survival and eating for support. And I just want to be very realistic. It’s best that we eat for survival, but there’s always going to be support eating. Even me. I have to have my gluten free pizza every now and then. I don’t have it frequently, but I like it. And I want chips and salsa. Now, there are Siete chips or cassava flour and now I’m making my own salsa and I’m making my own guacamole, but every now and then, I would like to have some of that. So, we do.

Dr. Weitz:            What’s your favorite meals?

Risa Groux:         I have a few favorite meals, but I’m a big, huge fan of salads. I love a really good salad with some good fats, good animal protein. I’ve been making recently. I’m a little obsessed with this because it’s like literally in 10 minutes you can just whip this up. I do sauteed veggies with mushrooms and onions and kale and Bok Choy or whatever green I have or broccoli and then I throw in some chicken or some fish and then I love miracle noodles, konjac noodles. They don’t have any carbohydrates in them. There’s really nothing in them except for just a hair of fiber. And then I put coconut aminos. I have a sesame ginger recipe on my website that I basically do with a coconut aminos, which is a soy sauce, substitute almond butter, fresh ginger and Sesame oil. And it is so good and I sprinkle black and white sesame seeds at the end. And it’s packed with protein, fat and fiber, and even my 20 year old son, he loves it. So, it’s good.

Dr. Weitz:            There you go.

Risa Groux:         I love that. I do a lot of cauliflower rice with coconut curry. I like that a lot too.

Dr. Weitz:            Right, cauliflower rice. Yeah.

Risa Groux:         Easy. Really easy.

Dr. Weitz:            Yep. You basically cook it like rice.

Risa Groux:         Exactly. Just heat it up and-

Dr. Weitz:            Make a stir fry. Yeah.

Risa Groux:         Exactly. Yeah. Protein, fat and fiber. And I’m all over that.

Dr. Weitz:            Good. So, any final thought you want to leave us with? Did you want to maybe give us a case history maybe of somebody that you worked with?

Risa Groux:         Sure. I have a great story that came in this morning. She was my first client this morning. I’ve worked with her for a few years and she’s very shy and private, but I said to her, “I wish I could showcase your family.” Because she’s married to a surgeon. And she came to me a few years ago and she was exhausted. She napped every day, she had this constant congestion and she went to the doctor and her husband’s friends and they were giving her steroids and she just wasn’t feeling good. Her stomach didn’t work. And I did the detox with her and then we found out she had Hashimoto’s and she had a very, very high levels of ferritin. So, she was storing a lot of iron and she didn’t have hemochromatosis, but it was an acute phase reaction to inflammation.

Dr. Weitz:            What her ferritin levels [inaudible 00:41:37]

Risa Groux:         They were 600 something.

Dr. Weitz:            Okay.

Risa Groux:         So, we like them about a hundred and women usually fall between 40 and 70. So, she was 565, something like that. 600, somewhere around there. And she was prediabetic. We just found out all these things that was going on and we took her off gluten, dairy, sugar. We detoxed her. I think I detoxed her for about a month. In just less than a year, she lost 72 pounds with me. Every single solitary symptom was gone. Her husband ended up coming in. And the great story about him is that he’s an MD. So, he didn’t realize any of this. He wasn’t aware of anything with food and he added a garden in his house and he started planting and he came in after working with me for 12 weeks. I ordered all his lab work for him because he couldn’t do it at his hospital. And he also had some prediabetes and his iron levels were really high too.

But, he came in after 12 weeks and he said, “I have to tell you something. “I said, “What is it?” And he said that, “He had been wearing a hearing aid for the last two years, which I was unaware of.” And he said he went to the audiologist in his hospital and the audiologist said to him, “I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but you do not need a hearing aid anymore.” So, I was stunned because I haven’t seen that. I’ve seen a lot of miracles in my office, but not that. And I said, “What do you think it is?” And I had my idea, but he said exactly what I thought that it was systemic inflammation because all of his inflammatory numbers were really high. And so, they brought in their two daughters who just suffered from severe fatigue, two teenage daughters, they’ve lot on their plate with school and activities and things. But it turned out, they both had a pretty high case of Epstein–Barr virus. We treated that and they have been thriving ever since.

So, the woman came into my office a few months ago back in, she’s been doing great and had a full body rash and went to the doctor and they wanted to put her on all these steroid creams and everything. And so, I said, “Well, let’s do a stool test.” And we did. And sure enough, she had a pretty good case of geotrichum, which is a type of fungus and we treated it and we did a food allergy test as well. Her eosinophils were elevated. So, we did a food allergy test. She’s been so diligent, she came in this morning. She goes, “Please tell me I can eat more food.” Because she’s really restrictive. So, it’s been more than 30 days, so we started just adding it back today. So, we’ll see how she’s doing. Rashes are hundred percent gone. Everything [crosstalk 00:44:06]

Dr. Weitz:            And how did you treat the fungus?

Risa Groux:         I have what I call natural antibiotics that I use and a [inaudible 00:44:16] oil and garlic oil and a myriad of all natural herbs that I treat. Unfortunately, it’s not a 10 day script. It’s a little bit longer, but it works and it’s clearly worked.

Dr. Weitz:            And which ones did you use for her? Did you use combination products or you use several individual products?

Risa Groux:         There is a packet that I use from Apex Energetics that I use to treat this pretty much with almost everybody I work with and it kills. It just kills bacterias and yeast and fungus and H-Pylori, things like that. So, I’m always looking at the underlying cause, we found it and she came in today and she said the rash is fully gone. She feels amazing. And now we’re going to open up the gate so she can eat all these other foods again.

Dr. Weitz:            And so you use this Apex Product, what’s it called?

Risa Groux:         It’s called GI Synergy.

Dr. Weitz:            Oh, okay. Yeah.

Risa Groux:         Yeah. And I tested her zonulin also and she had leaky gut. So, I’ve given her my gut reboot, which is really, really good. I give it to everybody with leaky gut, anybody with autoimmunity. I do it every day in my shake and it has L-glutamine and Slippery Elms, Marshmallow Root, Zinc-Carnosine, everything to heal the gut.

Dr. Weitz:            That like a GI revive type of product.

Risa Groux:         Exactly. Very similar. Yes.

Dr. Weitz:            Okay, cool. Very good. So, how can listeners and viewers get a hold of you? Find out more about you if they want to work with you?

Risa Groux:         Yeah. So my website is risagrouxnutrition, it’s R-I-S-A, my last name is G-R-O-U-X nutrition. And I work with people all over the world. Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok even. I have all those things at risagrouxnutrition and then look for my Achieving Optimal Thyroid Wellness is launching March 11th and only open for a short period of time, but it’s a deep, deep dive into thyroid and then FoodFrame, we actually sold out our first run, but it should be back up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble and our website as well any day. So, FoodFrame and it explains everything that we really talked about in great detail.

Dr. Weitz:            Cool. Thank you.

Risa Groux:         You’re very welcome. Thank you for having me and I hope everybody learns something.

Dr. Weitz:            I’m sure we did.

Risa Groux:         Okay.



Dr. Weitz:            Thank you. Thank you for making it all the way through this episode of the Rational Wellness podcast. And if you enjoyed this podcast, please go to Apple podcast and give us a five star ratings and review. That way more people will be able to find this Rational Wellness podcast when they’re searching for health podcasts. And I wanted to let everybody know that I do now have a few openings for new nutritional consultations for patients at my Santa Monica, White Sports Chiropractic and Nutrition Clinic. So, if you’re interested, please call my office three-one-zero three-nine-five three-one-one-one and sign up for one of the few remaining slots for a comprehensive nutritional consultation with Dr. Ben Weitz. Thank you and see you next week.


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