Season 1, Episode 2
Ditcher of Carbs
Libby Jenkinson is a pharmacist turned health promoter – her site Ditchthecarbs.com offers a new way of thinking and eating aimed at families. Its runaway success and sheer site visits will astonish you.
Hosts & Guests
About This Episode
Grant Schofield: We’re here with Libby Jenkinson today. Libby tell us about yourself.
Libby Jenkinson: I’m Libby Jenkinson and I’m the Founder of Ditch the Carbs, pharmacist, and mother of three.
Grant Schofield: What is Ditch the Carbs?
Libby Jenkinson: Ditch the Carbs is a predominantly a recipe website and I’ve also got articles, videos, tips, practical advice, how to actually start low carb and why it’s so advantageous.
Grant Schofield: That’s really your full-time mission now, is working on Ditch the Carbs?
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah absolutely. I used to be … I’m still a registered pharmacist, but no longer a practicing pharmacist. I ran Ditch the Carbs for a few years before starting, while I was still working, and now I’ve resigned from my role as a pharmacist and now I completely, yeah, dedicate all my time to Ditch the Carbs and helping people through low carb nutrition.
Grant Schofield: It’s pretty big now right? Can you give us some numbers? Just the mind boggles when you hear this.
Libby Jenkinson: Oh God, some numbers. I added up social media the other day, social media alone on all my platforms added up is just gone over the million mark now and page views, I think I get roughly two to two and a half million page views a month and a million visitors, so and I’ve got something like 85 thousand subscribers, so it’s kind of getting up there.
Grant Schofield: The mind boggles that you were doing your pharmacy stuff and you became interested …
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, just up the road.
Grant Schofield: You became interested in nutrition. How?
Libby Jenkinson: Well it was through you and through Karen and I attended some seminars up at AUT about low carb nutrition and sort of you know the state of the world of nutrition and it was just fascinating, the effect. You discussed everything through how low carb works, what is wrong with the standard American diet that we’re all on now and you talked a lot about insulin resistance and metabolics and all these light bulbs were going off, and then I started to look at patients that were coming in and thinking, you know, it involved in so many areas these modern diseases with our nutrition and how we’re currently eating this high carb diet that we’re all supposed to be on.
Grant Schofield: You started eating that way yourself?
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Grant Schofield: Your family was … Your kids were even younger than they are now then.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah. As soon as I started I knew immediately that I wanted our family eventually to become low carb and we kind of did it and I always teach the people who are in my groups, I always go it’s step wise. We kind of did the odd meal low carb and then I slowly transitioned us onto low carb and the children took a little bit longer and they were kicking and screaming a few steps of the way, but they enjoy it and they eat such amazing nourishing foods now compared to the food that they were on. Yeah, it takes a while, but you get there.
Grant Schofield: How does one go from being a practicing pharmacist to then running an operation of the scale of Ditch the Carbs?
Libby Jenkinson: It kind of happened by accident really. I literally started Ditch the Carbs as a hobby and it was something to kind of keep me accountable and to kind of have this almost hobby about low carb baking, low carb meals, everything like that.
Libby Jenkinson: Then I remember my sort of light bulb moment is when I went to Low Carb Down Under. Do you remember that back in, I think that was 2014 possibly, when they held it here in Auckland?
Grant Schofield: Yeah.
Libby Jenkinson: The day was phenomenal. All these worldwide experts and whether it was low carb nutrition or some other kind of aspect, and it was fascinating and all the science is there, but what I loved is everyone stood on the stage, all the experts, and they all had to say what they ate, what their general day looked like. That was what the whole audience was like hanging on every single word and I thought well as much as the science is out there …
Grant Schofield: It’s the practice.
Libby Jenkinson: It’s the practice, that’s right, and how is it going to help public health unless people know as a family, “Okay well what on earth do I feed my kids?” or “What on earth do I make for dinner if I’m not going to have pasta and bread and potatoes anymore?” You know, practically how does that get applied to everybody.
Grant Schofield: Do you pinch yourself? Do you look at it and just go wow?
Libby Jenkinson: Well it is bizarre to think that you know, five years I didn’t even know … Literally I didn’t even know what a hashtag was and I remember asking a friend of mine going, “What’s a hashtag? How do you use them?” I had no idea, but you know what, if you’ve got an absolute love for something and it’s like with anything in life, you start looking into it, you look into every area and you slowly improve. Like all my photos, and they still are, of our family dinners, but I literally took them on my iPad and that was it and then they’re still our family dinners, they’ve just become a bit more professional how I take them.
Libby Jenkinson: I kind of did it, yet again, step wise and gradually I kind of started off this website and thought, you know, people are actually finding this useful and helpful and I’m getting feedback. Yeah, it’s just slowly gradually taken on almost a life of it’s on, but yeah, I do struggle sometimes thinking crikey, I’ve got this beast that I sometimes don’t know what to do with.
Grant Schofield: Well I’d just like to congratulate you on what you’ve done. I just think it’s astonishing.
Libby Jenkinson: Oh, thank you.
George Henderson: Yeah. It’s fantastic.
Grant Schofield: What you’ve been able to achieve and the material that’s up there and yeah, almost all of it is just free.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, yeah. Exactly right.
Grant Schofield: For people it’s just a massive resource isn’t it.
Libby Jenkinson: That’s what I want to do. I don’t want anyone … I mean I do have paid courses and paid memberships now if people want that, but the majority I want it to be free for all. There’s free books, there’s free e-books, there’s free articles, everything, because I mean they’re the people who need it the most. The people who can’t afford programs or books or whatever, they’re the ones who just want to come into the free group and go, “You know what, what do I do?” And that’s the ones that I want to help the most.
Grant Schofield: Right, we’re going to take you through our standard set of questions and I think you’ll have some particular perspectives on this because of your health professional background and what not.
Grant Schofield: Just thinking about the health system in this country and around world, what’s good about it?
Libby Jenkinson: I think we’ve got a fairly comprehensive health care system. We’ve got primary, secondary, tertiary care. It’s all predominantly funded by the government. Yes you can have private if you want to go better facilities or faster, but it is predominantly funded by the government, compared to other countries that aren’t. I think that’s what’s good about it.
Libby Jenkinson: I think all of the medical professionals absolutely turn up to work to do the best they can, no one turns up to be miserable to their patients or everyone’s trying their hardest, so I think we have a good healthcare system.
Grant Schofield: What’s not working in it?
Libby Jenkinson: I think we actually instead of having a health care system I think we’ve got a sick care system. I think more should be done into preventative, to lifestyle medication … Not medication, lifestyle interventions and helping patients to help themselves. You know that’s the biggest thing is that give patients the options that surgery and drugs isn’t the only option, there is a third option, but then the poor GPs haven’t got the time. You know when they’ve got a seven minute window to literally go and see their patient and they know they’ve got ten more out in the waiting room, there needs to be this kind of health gap that needs to be filled where health coaches exactly could come in or something. There is this gap between what patients would like to have, this extra advice and given the options which currently aren’t being given.
Grant Schofield: George and I, we talked about that earlier. Shop around. You’re offered a medication that could offer these benefits, but …
George Henderson: If you shop around you may find that the medication is just effecting some pathway that could be effected by diet or fasting or exercise or something like this. Increasingly the most popular new medications all seem to work on pathways that we know as ketogenic diet pathways, to deal with blocking effects of insulin and blocking effects of glucose.
Libby Jenkinson: You know, absolutely, and shopping around not only for that but also a medical professional that you actually like and trust and get on with and knows what your goals are in life rather than just this is the medication we want to give you and the GPs in charge. The patient’s also got to be their own advocate and fight for their own … At the end of the day it’s all up … The patient has got to decide as well.
Grant Schofield: I’m not really anti medicine, but I’m anti this idea of interfering at just one step of the homeostasis of the body, when you’re going to get some side effects.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, exactly, and are those side effects worth the medication that you’re taking and for some people that’s yes and for some people in some situations that’s no, but to be given that sort of deeper understanding when you’re in the GP’s surgery. Again, it’s hard when GPs have got literally seven minutes.
Grant Schofield: When you’re practicing pharmacy are you … How do you communicate that as well, because if someone’s taking a medication there’s always a chance of being affected and there’s always a chance of some harm and how do you help people weight that up?
Libby Jenkinson: It’s really difficult because again there’s that ethical and decision between you cannot counter argue what another health professional has said to that patient because you don’t know the full medical situation, so I can’t say to somebody, “Actually I don’t think you should be on that medication,” because I don’t know the full history and the full background and what the patient may tell you is completely different to what their situation is and all that kind of thing.
Libby Jenkinson: If people come and ask me, say for example, “Should I be on this medication?” and they’ve clearly asked for advice, then I think it’s unethical of me not to offer, say low carbers, if there is a solution in that example.
Libby Jenkinson: I think when people say you can’t offer low carb as a treatment advice, well I think it’s unethical not to.
Grant Schofield: Have you found yourself, when you’ve been in the pharmacy, offering that advice?
Libby Jenkinson: Oh absolutely, absolutely, and I have to … When I was working I couldn’t say what I did, that I ran this website. Other people could, but ethically it would look like I was promoting myself, so I would just say, “Do you realize that there is an alternative route that you can go? Do you realize this is what you could do?”
Libby Jenkinson: A classic example is one woman came in for her daughter and she went to the hospital dietician, her daughter is a celiac. She was given boxes, literally boxes, we had to collect, take them to the car, of gluten free pasta, spaghetti, you name it.
Grant Schofield: Oh my God.
Libby Jenkinson: Of the bread, the bread mixes. Honestly there would have been maybe 20 boxes in the dispensary. Anyway, so I said …
Grant Schofield: That’s a prescription medication isn’t it?
Libby Jenkinson: Absolutely, prescribed by the hospital dietician up here.
Grant Schofield: Right, they can’t prescribe you a good steak.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah. I went up to her and I said, “I’ve seen you’ve got all these.” I said, “You’re clearly gluten free.” She goes, “Oh yeah, that’s my daughter.” I said, “Have you ever heard of zoodles?” I just explained to her politely and she goes, “Oh no, what are those?” I explained that instead of having gluten free pasta would she maybe just consider making some zoodles.
Libby Jenkinson: Zoodles are zucchini noodles. You get your little grater and you make your zoodles, or you can do it with carrot, with lots of different vegetables, and she goes, “I’ve never heard of that.” She was flabbergasted and she goes, “My daughter, who the prescription was for, loves vegetables. Why was I never given this as an option?”
Libby Jenkinson: Maybe if the dietician had time she could have given her the option of going “Well look, okay there’s this easy alternative and this whole food alternative that you can make zoodles or you can do other kind of things or you can have your dinner on top of coleslaw,” or there’s a hundred different things you could do instead of gluten free pasta which is so ultra processed and so expensive and nutrient devoid.
Grant Schofield: And just disgusting in the mouth.
Libby Jenkinson: Absolutely, absolutely. She goes, “She hates this bread. She was complaining about it.” I said, “Well there are these other options.” I explained to her, I said, “Look, you need to go and do your own research as to what’s available, but this is an alternative.” For her it was like, “Oh my word, why has no one told me this?” as she’s lugging all these boxes into her car.
Libby Jenkinson: That’s just a classic example, whereas I wasn’t contravening what the dietician said, I was just giving an alternative, because I think it was unethical and moral of me not to say [crosstalk 00:12:18]
George Henderson: You’re not telling her to eat gluten.
Libby Jenkinson: No, exactly, exactly. I’m just saying, do you know there’s an alternative to these boxes that we’re giving you, and she was just amazed.
Grant Schofield: I’m just disappointed by funding. I’m disappointed my taxpayers money is funding these products.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah.
Grant Schofield: Thinking about yourself, top three things you would do for your health, what have you got?
Libby Jenkinson: Okay, so it would be diet, activity and I guess just mental well being and happiness.
Grant Schofield: Tell us something about each of those and how …
Libby Jenkinson: Okay, so for diet we are all, our whole family, are all low carb, whole food. It’s not … We don’t go for low carb products, we don’t go for keto bars any of that kind of … It’s pretty much … I always say this, if you go whole food you almost become low carb by default. You’ve got rid of all the sugary drinks, the ultra processed snacks, all of those things kind of go, so that’s how we eat. We eat whole food that is lower in carbs.
Grant Schofield: How old are your kids?
Libby Jenkinson: They’re now 12, 15 and 18, but when we started they would have been 7 … I’ve got to think of the maths now. 7, 10 and 12 or something like those. They were young.
Grant Schofield: You’ve negotiated adolescence with this.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, yeah.
Grant Schofield: Tell us about that. How does that even go?
Libby Jenkinson: I think they always know they do the best they can as often as they can and they make as better choice as they can when they’re out. Say for example if my teenagers go out with their friends, they’ll say, “Mum, what will be a good choice?” Say if they’re going to Subway, I will show to them, you know what, if you go to Subway all your friends are probably going to have a 6, 12 inch sandwich or whatever. They either choose, my kids actually love salads, they either choose the salad of the day instead of a sub of the day or they will choose a thin wrap or say for example if they go to a burger joint, all their friends are having a burger fries and Coke or whatever and they know they will have a really thin wrap and they’ll have either a diet Coke or a water.
Libby Jenkinson: They actually minimize … They still eat out with their friends, but they have better choices and they’re not a huge big deal of their day, they’re not going out to these kind of places all the time.
Grant Schofield: No, but you have had any push back along the way, like mum you’re a loser or any of that stuff? No?
Libby Jenkinson: I get that on a daily basis anyway, but …
Grant Schofield: For other reasons.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, yeah, exactly, other reasons. No. I mean I think given the chance, if this ultra processed food wasn’t as damaging to people’s health as it was, yes they would love to go back on that. Everyone would think these things are very attractive and they’re developed to be that way, they have that bliss point that everyone wants, but they know how we’re eating is for the best of their health in the long run. They know what thyre eating and I give them good nourishing food. They love it. I will say to them when they come home, “What do you want?” They go, “Oh Mum, I just want …” whatever it is that they’re fancying. I don’t know, a can of tuna. I know that might be bizarre for some people who aren’t low carb, but that’s what my kids really like when they come home, or they’ll make themselves a low carb mug cake or …
Grant Schofield: It’s also interesting as they progress through adolescence that they seem to get smarter and smarter. Like I look at my oldest boy who’s 18 now, I put some sourdough bread out the other day with stuff and no one ate it.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah.
Grant Schofield: No one was interested.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah.
Grant Schofield: I’m, okay.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah exactly. My kids just have learned, because that’s how we all live all the time, they know how to make better choices. If we go out for a dinner they’ll know what to choose. If they wanted say, I don’t know, I wouldn’t have the processed burger, but if they’re at a restaurant where it’s like a proper burger with proper beef kind of thing in there, they would know to order it without the chips and have salad instead or whatever. They know how to tweak things.
Grant Schofield: Food.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Grant Schofield: Exercise, what do you do?
Libby Jenkinson: I run with a girlfriend three times a week, although sometimes it’s just walking because we’ve had a busy day the night before or something. When I say run, it’s more of a jog and a chat and to put the world to right when we run around the block. Honestly, both of us, we say if we weren’t there on the street corner waiting for us at 6:00 AM we wouldn’t be doing it. We have to have a friend there encouraging us.
Grant Schofield: What about your vitamin sea? S-E-A, because I see you setting to sea in boats?
Libby Jenkinson: Oh my sea. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah no, I love my sailing. I have a little boat. It’s a little sunburst, it’s like a little two man dingy that I love sailing. I absolutely love that and that to me kind of sums up everything I love about being active. It’s being fun, it’s being in the sun, it’s mentally challenging, you always have to learn where is the wind coming from, are you reaching, are you running, all that kind of thing, and it’s having fun time with my daughter, it’s having fun time with my girlfriends. We’ll have a laugh and a giggle and it’s just … It’s just fun and I still want to be doing that when I’m 80. Even if I’m in my Zimmer frame kind of hiking my legs into the boat, that’s exactly what I want to do.
Grant Schofield: Do you reckon there’s something special about this, what we’re calling blue space now?
Libby Jenkinson: Oh absolutely. There’s something about being by the sea. I used to live in the UK and we were near Meriden, which is literally the middle of England, you couldn’t have got further from the sea if you had tried where we kind of lived, and I missed it. I really did. Even just driving past the sea gives you that kind of uplift that you feel and walking in and having just … Feeling the sea with your … There’s something about it that I think one day they will discover what the sea gives us.
Grant Schofield: Vitamin sea.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah.
Grant Schofield: What about this … What was your third? We had the …
Libby Jenkinson: I think just your mental health. Being with friends, being with family, doing … I know a lot of people said in my groups, they don’t like the word exercise, they hate that because they just think of people in leotards and personal trainers with six packs kind of thing. I say exercise is more activity, being out is being active with your friends, it gives you that mental kind of boost and being socializing, you need to look after that, you can’t be hibernating all the time.
Grant Schofield: Friends are our medicine sort of thing.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, absolutely. Friends and yeah, hanging out with friends, and like I say, the sailing kind of encompasses everything, just giggling the whole way round.
Grant Schofield: One of my favorite movies when I was a kid was Crocodile Dundee and when Crocodile Dundee went to New York they were like, where’s so and so, ah they’re with their therapist and Crocodile Dundee’s response was, “Crikey, don’t they have any mates?”
Libby Jenkinson: Exactly right, exactly right. Yeah, yeah.
Grant Schofield: Well that sounds all sort of pretty perfect. What do you reckon you struggle with on health behaviors?
Libby Jenkinson: I think I’ve worked on everything slowly as the time goes … You know, I never used to run and I slowly introduced running. I Googled how to start running and I slowly addressed my diet and food and all of those kind of things, so I kind of slowly went there.
Libby Jenkinson: I think the only thing I still struggle with is sometimes the attitudes from other people and that what I get from either friends, family, when you hear in media. It was on the news the other day, which we were discussing, that it was a study … They were talking about keto on the news and the guy who was the media presenter was talking about it and he was like, “Oh that’s ridiculous,” and he was absolutely poo pooing people do it and I thought, well don’t mock people that want to be healthy and don’t mock people who are, like you said before, fitness freaks. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, you should be proud of and if I want to do this that’s my … I’m not telling anyone else to do it. If you come to my page great, I’ll help you, but I’m not going out there being an overzealoused telling everyone to do it.
Libby Jenkinson: I think just the attitude sometimes you get from people.
Grant Schofield: What do you reckon is going on there, George? Why do people do that?
George Henderson: Some of it’s defense. You know it’s a mechanism about their own kind of I think I know I should do this but I don’t really know what to do and they’re resistant to it. Some of it’s a resentment of people who are a little bit holier than thou out there. Some of it no doubt they’re impressed by some expert, like some sort of blow hard expert like Doctor Katz that’s made a good smoke screen of ridicule about something that seems to impress some people.
Grant Schofield: But it runs a bit deeper than that, because I looked up yesterday, because I’m just interested in ketogenic diets and ketosis, I was reading the Wikipedia entry on ketosis. Oh my lord, someone’s written that with an agenda.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah.
Grant Schofield: There’s no resemblance to science.
George Henderson: Rewritten it, because it would have been fine a week ago. Yeah, yeah. I mean we’re only just becoming aware that really we are in an information war here, like the political war that’s … the bigger war that’s out there, we’re in part of that, we’re in a small part of that and we actually have to be aware that media is being manipulated and kind of work out what to do about it because it’s … You don’t want to be the conspiracy theorist, you don’t want to be the person that cries foul, because it’s an overplayed card.
Grant Schofield: Bearing that in mind, Libby, what would you say? What would be your advice to someone you’d meet off the street and says, “What should I do for my health?” What would you say bearing all that in mind?
Libby Jenkinson: Well some friends, it’s interesting, when people sort of ask me why I have gone low carb I already know that they’re not ready to go low carb, but if they ask me how I’ve gone low carb that’s when I know they’re kind of … That’s the difference in the people’s attitudes, they’re kind of asking me. I often don’t … I never introduce myself as what I do because it’s just that would stop the conversation for the next hour and it’s kind of … So I hardly ever do it, but if people genuinely ask and they want to know how to either start low carb or just even to go into whole food, it doesn’t even need to be as difficult as going low carb, and it just goes start by looking at the worst areas first.
Libby Jenkinson: The first thing is you drop maybe your sugary sodas, that’s the worst area. Can you drop that and if you can’t drop it immediately can you do it step wise and then you think to yourself, well how can I introduce more whole food into my diet and take the ultra processed food out. You slowly make little swaps like that and just address each little thing as one at a time.
Grant Schofield: Are there different personalities for that though? Do different types of people thrive with different strategies?
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah.
Grant Schofield: I look at myself and I go, I’m either fully doing this. Are there those sorts of people are is it just me?
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah. No, I think there is and I think … Again, I kind of teach people you have to do the step wise approach where you slowly address either every meal or the worst things in your diet or there are other people who love to do the pantry clear out and from day one it’s quite cathartic and they actually show photos of bin liners of junk food either being thrown away or donated to the local food store and they love that.
Libby Jenkinson: Either approach works and that’s what I try and tell people. Don’t think that what one person does is impossible for you, try to do whatever works for you in your situation. If it just means you just address maybe your breakfast and you get rid of the granola and the cereals and you go to something different like eggs or leftovers, then start with that and just then improve as you go rather than thinking it’s all or nothing. Just kind of do it little step wise.
Libby Jenkinson: I remember talking to a mum at water polo one night and she was going, “I don’t know how to get my I’d off the sugary junk and everything else,” and I just said just make one little step. If it’s one change every week or one change every month, by the end of the year you will have made 12 massive steps or 52 little steps, whatever it is. She went, “Oh my God, I never thought of it like that.” She thought she had to go all out. How the heck could she start and I just said start reducing it.
Grant Schofield: That’s a good point isn’t it. What you’re doing most of the time also counts. Is that another thing …
Libby Jenkinson: Oh absolutely. You know some people think oh … Said low carb doesn’t work for them and then when I question it they have the odd low carb meal, well that doesn’t make them low carb and the converse is true, if they suddenly have a cheat meal, they haven’t fallen off the wagon, they’ve just had a cheat meal.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, it’s what you do everyday on a regular basis that counts.
George Henderson: Something I’m really interested in, Libby, is you’re talking about reaching out to lower economic people, people who have not a lot of money to spend and a lot of low carb meal replacement plans are like you give up the cheap granola and then you make your own granola with nuts and things, it’s going to cost you $100.00 every time you do it. If you’re cooking something like eggs for breakfast instead of granola you don’t need to do that, so I’m really interested in that kind of budget approach to low carb. Hear enough about that because the high end approach has more reach I suppose.
Libby Jenkinson: Absolutely and there are so many low carb replacement companies, you know low carb bars, low carb proteins, all these kind of things and also people really pushing the grass fed beef and the organic and free range. Yes, that may be the gold standard, but if it means you’re surviving on burger, chips and Coke compared to just having some, okay, it’s not free range eggs but just regular eggs, that is still a better alternative than staying on the burger and chips or the sugary granola.
Libby Jenkinson: I always kind of say, do what you can where you are. If you can only afford the, yes the free range will be the gold standard but that is out of the pocket of a lot of people, and instead of having organic chicken, go for chicken drumsticks, they’re as cheap as chips. Go for the mince, go for the fatty … We go for the fatty meat cuts anyway, but the cheaper cuts of meat and make a casserole.
Libby Jenkinson: We live like kings. You make these casseroles and it turns a cheap cut into a luxurious meal and you can do these options.
Grant Schofield: Good point with that. What is a budget low carb day? What could that look like?
Libby Jenkinson: It could be, okay, you’ve got to think of this now, maybe some scrambled eggs with maybe some leftovers or even leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. Leftovers are absolute king. I love leftovers.
Grant Schofield: Underrated.
Libby Jenkinson: Absolutely. You know you cook once, you serve twice. Also I say leftovers, it’s immediate portion control. You won’t go back for another portion because you go, nope that’s lunch for the next day or whatever.
Grant Schofield: Yeah, right.
Libby Jenkinson: You can build up a library of frozen meals in your freezer at the fraction of a cost of a ready meal. Breakfast could be scrambled eggs, it could be leftovers, anything like that. Lunch could be a salad with leftovers, that’s what my husband gets every day. I say why get a dog, get a husband, because he eats all the leftovers and all the bits. There’ll be like an inch of cheese left and I go, oh that will go on his salad and two slices of roast pork and that will go in his lunch.
Libby Jenkinson: It’s all those … All the dregs from the bottom the fridge, that are still fresh but that could be a salad and then dinner could be a casserole, sort of a curry, which is a slow cooker or an instant pot with the cheapest cut of meat. Gravy steak, any kind of those, chuck steak, rump steak, any of those are so cheap.
George Henderson: Frozen vegetables.
Libby Jenkinson: Absolutely.
George Henderson: Save a lot using those.
Libby Jenkinson: And frozen berries. Everyone thinks, oh berries are so expensive at the moment. Well buy frozen. They’re a fraction of the cost.
Grant Schofield: The preparation for that slow cook thing is pretty quick as well isn’t it? You’re just literally chucking things in.
Libby Jenkinson: Literally and I don’t even now … A lot people they will pre fry the meat and they’ll pre fry the onion. No, if you’re really in a hurry you’re never going to do it, so I just throw everything in and give it a stir. Even the instant pot, which I absolutely love, you can cook … You know it’s a pressure cooker and you can cook a curry in 20 minutes.
Grant Schofield: Both in exercise and diet, when you ask people about their barrier to doing it, it’s most often a lack of time and when we’ve, because we’ve studied this quite a lot in our research center, is time use and the astonishing amount of time people spend on screens.
Libby Jenkinson: Yep.
Grant Schofield: They don’t have time to either move around or cook. What do you make of all that?
Libby Jenkinson: I think it’s where their priorities are. You know like you say, people say they don’t have time, well get off Facebook for a start.
Grant Schofield: Well they might be on Ditch the Carbs though.
Libby Jenkinson: Well they might be and if that case then stay there and I can give them some tips. Generally you look at the time and it’s where they choose to spend that time. Is it in front of the TV or is it on social media? Whatever it is, are they gaming? Whatever. I don’t know what people spend their time on, but generally you know that they do have time, it’s where they choose to spend it.
Libby Jenkinson: There’s even meals you can prepare that require zero cooking. I always say my go to meal if we’re really busy and I’ve come home late with the kids off some sport or something like that, you literally run into the supermarket, you get a rotisserie chicken and a bag of salad. Job done and all you do, you literally dump the salad on the plates, you’re ripping off the chicken. Meanwhile I’m doing that, kids are emptying the fridge of all the bits of blue cheese or the bit of mayonnaise or anything they want and it’s almost like their own salad bar and they just throw everything on and it’s the quickest, easiest meal possible.
Libby Jenkinson: Like I say with prep, if you don’t want to prep then buy the pre made cauliflower rice or buy your bag of salad, buy pre cooked chicken or whatever it is. There are easy ways, yeah, yeah, to do it.
Grant Schofield: Keto versus low carb and carb restriction in general, what do you make of all that? What do you think about all that?
Libby Jenkinson: I think it depends, again, on the person’s situation. Some people love keto, because A, it gives them really good health benefits and mental clarity and everything else and it takes so many options away, they are quite restricted so they love that if that’s their kind of … You know we talked about before about their personality, it’s actually really fit for them and they love it. Other people find it far too restrictive and so then I go, well go to just moderate low carb or just plain low carb, just do that and do it to what you can fit in with your daily requirements. Does it fit in with … You’ve got to make it sustainable.
Grant Schofield: Oh that’s a really interesting one isn’t it, about the rules, because George and I earlier were talking about what we call vitamin D.
George Henderson: Yeah, I had this … This came to me in a dream and [crosstalk 00:29:54]
Grant Schofield: Oh my God.
George Henderson: It came to me in a dream and it was a setup like this and the podcaster was saying, “And you need some vitamin D, vitamin don’t.” That’s your rules of just don’t so this.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, yeah.
George Henderson: You know like obviously the sugar sweetened beverages are one, you know that’s an easy one for me. Obviously the things that I’m actually allergic too, that’s an easy one. There are places in the rule book for some firm lines and that can be useful to have in place and that’s just not a thing I do. It’s like smoking, it’s just not a thing I do.
Libby Jenkinson: Exactly.
Grant Schofield: Yeah. For some people … There is a lot of talk, especially in the dietician community, and I debated a couple just last week about moderation and enjoying all foods and I found that as sort of the opposite of the vitamin D rule, which is have no real rule, just do whatever makes you feel good and that will work out. What do you make of that?
Libby Jenkinson: I think this everything in moderation, A, I think that’s been invented by the food manufacturers. You can have a little bit of this and a little bit of that and basically having a little bit of all different types of junk food all day long kind of thing. What does moderation mean? For me that might mean something completely different to somebody else. If I’m moderate say in low carb, that might be extremely widely different to say somebody who’s extremely hardcore keto or a carnivore. What is moderation and really do we want our health in moderation? I don’t. You know, I don’t, so I want to do the best I can as often as I can, so I’m not having junk food and I’m not going to have ultra processed food. Yeah, it’s …
George Henderson: I think there are areas where moderation has been defined, so alcohol consumption there is a defined … Moderate is a defined thing.
Grant Schofield: One to two servings in a glass is one of those little small glasses that no one drinks out of.
George Henderson: I think another area is if you look at things that are actually toxic, like oxalates in foods. Look at consumption of those as something that you don’t want to be immoderate, you don’t want loading up smoothies with spinach all the time because that can have adverse effects on your kidneys.
George Henderson: There’s a few areas where it kind of does make sense, but as an overall plan to apply to everything that you’re offered, it makes no sense to me.
Libby Jenkinson: No.
Grant Schofield: I think there are some … There’s some epidemiology where they’ve asked, at least Americans, to report their eating style and those who reported them as moderators were in the worst condition of the lot.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah.
Grant Schofield: For what thought that’s worth.
George Henderson: Yeah. It’s a vague concept in the first place.
Libby Jenkinson: If people think I’m being restrictive, well I’m only restricting myself two whole food.
Grant Schofield: What do you say to people out there who aren’t even started on the journey though? They find out you do this low carb thing, they’re like, “What is that? What are you on about?” Is there a … Because this is …
Libby Jenkinson: I’ve had this. Yeah, I mean I’ve had people … I’m on this kind of challenge at the moment where I’m actually alcohol free this entire year, which is for somebody who loves their red wine and champagne it’s completely off the wall for me, but I’m doing it. Someone said to me, “For goodness sake, what’s left?” It’s like, well for me actually it’s kind of like this negative. Again what we said about people being quite mocking or from some kind of place of defense. Well a lot people, food and drink and everything else, that is their hobby, that literally is their hobby, and it’s like well I have other things in my life other than food and dink. Do you know what I mean?
Grant Schofield: Yeah, right. Yeah, yeah.
Libby Jenkinson: I do get this kickback from a lot of people who say, “Oh for goodness sake, what do you eat?” It almost starts with this for goodness sake kind of and it’s like, well I don’t mock anybody, I don’t go up to anybody and tell them, I don’t preach it, but if people ask, absolutely I will help them, but then don’t be negative if I’m actually looking after my health as best I can.
Grant Schofield: You started the year with the alcohol free thing?
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, yeah. I just did a little mini day challenge with my membership and then we did a little three day challenge and I did a three day challenge. I thought right, January first I’ll see if I can go without alcohol. I did three days, and we were away on holiday so I’m amazed. Here we’re going out fishing every day and of course when you come home from fishing what do you want, you want a glass of wine. I thought, no, no, I’ll see if I can do it and I thought no actually I felt really, really fabulous with not drinking. Then I though I’d just see if I can do the week, because it was a week in a holiday is near an impossible, you know, you want to drink and sit out on the deck in the sun.
Libby Jenkinson: Then I thought I’ll just see if I can do it for January. I didn’t want to set myself any big goals and then I just, as the time went on I just felt so fabulous, I just thought actually I’m going to set myself a goal for 2019, other than two dates, on my fiftieth birthday and my daughter’s 18th, they’re my two caveats.
Grant Schofield: Yeah, right.
Libby Jenkinson: It’s not going to be no forever. I just want to see, can I do it for a whole year and it’s also been … Like I say, when I tell people, and I don’t go out there advertising it, I’ll just say, “Oh no thanks. I’d just like a … ” you know, I don’t know, whatever, a soda water or whatever. It’s there again, the attitude’s kind of back. It’s like I’m not telling you to do this, I’m not telling anyone to do it, it’s just what I have chosen.
Grant Schofield: It’s interesting because I’ve just started a three month alcohol … And I haven’t really told anyone about it. I’m a week and a half into it. Frankly I’ve actually found the first week and a half quite hard, because I don’t really drink wine, but I’d started for some reason drinking these low carb beers and then … And they’re quite nice, and then I started drinking them every day. You come home from work and you’d have beer.
Libby Jenkinson: It’s a habit.
Grant Schofield: It’s a habit.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah it really is.
Grant Schofield: It’s the cues that get me still. I’m on a little challenge with some other guys. We’ve been doing this for a week and a half and on Saturday we got a [inaudible 00:35:30] from one of the guys, “Comrades, I’ve fallen.”
Grant Schofield: Yeah, I’ve definitely got more mental clarity.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean I know so many people who have gone alcohol free and they’ve just found, and again it’s completely, completely optional to anyone in their position, but they’ve gone alcohol free. Even one guy, the guys that I go sailing with, I think I’m the youngest on the boat by quite a few decades, and even one of them, we went to a Christmas party and there he was this old sea dog drinking his kombucha instead of his alcohol and he goes, “I’ve never felt so good.” What was lovely, all the guys who were around him go, “Oh good on you mate,” and they were really positive about what he’d done, because he was on this health challenge for himself and he said he’s never felt so good when he didn’t drink it. He’s going to go back to moderation and like you say, there is a limit for moderation for alcohol, so he’s going to go back on one or two drinks, but he just felt that they were creeping up beyond what he was happy with.
Grant Schofield: What do you make of this whole challenge? Mini challenges, bigger challenges thing?
Libby Jenkinson: I like mini challenges, but I think people need to go into them thinking they’re not a some kind of weird, wacky, gimmicky thing. I like challenges just so you’re sort of laser focused for those three days or a week or whatever it is and it’s easier to say no, to go, “Actually I’m in a mini challenge,” rather than going, “Oh well actually I should cut back on my wine.” No, I’m on a challenge or I should cut back on my coffee or whatever it is.
George Henderson: I think doing it from the point of view of not do this because you should, but do this and see what happens.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah.
George Henderson: Do this and pay attention to the process of doing it, how it affects you and how hard is it, why is it hard, how does it make you feel is …
Libby Jenkinson: It may be that people at the end may go, okay, well whatever it was, whatever their poison was that they’ve cut out for three days or a month or whatever, maybe at the end they might think, man I felt so much better, I’m not actually going to go back or you know what, at least it’s managed to make you cut down or address whatever it was, whatever that may be that you actually think, you know what, I’m not going to go back to where I was. I’m just going to cut it back to a level I’m happy with.
Grant Schofield: Because there’s quite a lot of criticism about these sorts of things from the public health community in particular, right? [inaudible 00:37:46] have …
Libby Jenkinson: Sugar free September.
Grant Schofield: Yeah, right, okay, yeah there you go, so both of those. I’ve always wondered exactly why there was so much criticism.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah, I don’t understand it. I don’t know. Is it like you said, but is it something from … Are they afraid or is it their kind of … Are they feeling that that’s something that they’re not addressing. I don’t know what the backlash is, because to me I kind of think live and let live and if that’s working for you great, go for it, but if it doesn’t work for someone else then do what works for you.
George Henderson: I think there’s an analogy here with the bigger picture of cutting the carbs. Some people go low carb and they don’t to be low carb and they’re going to eat carbs again, but if they do really give low carb a try they’ll know a lot more about the carbohydrates they’re eating they will be making better choices.
Libby Jenkinson: Yeah and it will suddenly, when they start to look and see what they’re eating, go man I never knew that my chai latte had 20 grams of sugar in there when they make it or they never knew their skinny latte or their weight watchers sweet and sour low fat chicken had whatever. It just opens their eyes to looking at labels.
George Henderson: They may go back to a very high carb diet, but it probably won’t be flour and it probably won’t be sugar.
Libby Jenkinson: Exactly.
Grant Schofield: To counter that though, the public health argument is like the food environments pathological, it’s full of sugary drinks. It needs to be regulated. That’s not an either or thing is it? We agree with that, so the fact that our leading cause of hospitalization in our children is getting anesthetized to get dental [inaudible 00:39:16] fixed and that’s a number one cost for kids as well. No one says that kids should go on a three day sugar free trial and that’s going to fix the problem. We know that we’ve got to fix the whole food supply, but they shouldn’t preclude us from getting started individually as well.
Libby Jenkinson: Exactly.
Grant Schofield: Yeah.
Libby Jenkinson: Exactly.
Grant Schofield: Right, well Libby, thank you so much. We appreciate it, being on Flippin Health.
Libby Jenkinson: My absolute pleasure.
George Henderson: And that’s it. Thanks for listening to the Flippin Health podcast.
Grant Schofield: Next episode we’ll be talking with Doctor Glenn Davies, general practitioner physician from Tapau, New Zealand. He’s a man on a mission to reverse diabetes for a whole town. You’ll love what he’s got to say and what he’s done.
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