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  • Writer's pictureThrive Inc.

Hormones and the Keto-Green Diet with Dr. Anna Cabeca

We’re so excited to welcome this week’s guest, triple-board certified physician and hormone expert Dr. Anna Cabeca, who’s here to talk about the link between our diet and our health – more specifically - our hormones. Dr. Cabeca was diagnosed with early menopause at the age of 38. Devastated, she set out on a personal wellness journey to reverse her menopause side effects, which resulted in her delivering a healthy baby girl at the age of 41. Following this, she began counseling others, ultimately changing thousands of lives across the globe. It’s no wonder she was named the 2018 Innovator of the Year by Mindshare Collaborative.

Many people are using food to self-soothe during this period, which is resulting in what we are calling the 'COVID-19 gain', and we’re working to get stress and weight back in line! We don’t always realize just how much the effects of stress and our diets affect our hormones and life, but the links are proven. Dr. Cabeca is here today to tell us more!

Join us today where we’ll discover how we can all pay more attention to our nutrition and lifestyle, especially but not limited to these trying times. We’ll learn all about the Keto-Green diet and how to create lifestyle factors that balance and boost our natural hormones. We’ll also discuss how changing our mindset and habits can impact our vitality and health.

If you enjoyed the show, please share the podcast with your family and friends, or post a five-star review on Apple Podcasts. Rating and reviewing the show helps spread the word, which means less friction and suffering for everyone, and who doesn’t want that?

Learn More:

  • How the Keto-Green diet works and why it’s good for you.

  • Why it can be possible to reverse medical diagnoses and how you can do it.

  • Why your hormones don’t need to diminish as quickly as they are.

  • What ketosis is and why it’s important.

  • Why what you think you know about diet may not be correct.

  • How eating at specific times is optimal for your health.

  • Why Keto-Green is a lifestyle and not just a diet.


Full Transcript:

CrisMarie Campbell: Welcome to The Beauty of Conflict, a podcast about how to deal with conflict at work, at home and everywhere else in your life. Hi, I'm CrisMarie.

Susan Clarke: And I'm Susan. We run a company called Thrive, and we specialize in conflict resolution, communication and building strong, thriving teams and relationships. Conflict shows up in our lives in so many ways. Most people, unfortunately, are not very good at handling conflict. Most people have never been taught the right tools for dealing with conflict, and then it leads to unnecessary friction, arguments, passive aggressive emails, tears, hurtful comments, stuck-ness, all kinds of things we don't want. We're on a mission to change all of that.

CrisMarie Campbell: We've spent the last 20 years teaching our clients how to handle conflict in a whole new way. We're here to show you that conflict doesn't have to be scary and overwhelming. With the right tools, you can turn a moment of conflict into a moment of reinvention. Conflict can pave the way into a beautiful new system at work, a new way of leading your team, a new way of parenting, a new chapter of your marriage where you feel more connected than ever before. Conflict can lead to beautiful things.

Hi, there. For the last several weeks, Susan and I have been doing podcasts, Facebook live, LinkedIn videos, all helping people deal with the stress of this uncertainty of this global pandemic. This episode, we interviewed Dr. Anna Cabeca, and she's known as the girlfriend's doctor. It was at the start of all of this.

It was just beginning, and we had a fabulous conversation about how stress impacts your hormones, and impacts your eating, and we talked about a lot of different interventions that we have used during this pandemic and have been able to actually keep our weight level, which many of the clients that I'm coaching have been using food to self-sooth and are disappointed in the results. They've called it the COVID-19 gain. So, we're working with them to actually bring their diet and their stress back in line.

Susan Clarke: I was really fascinated talking to her because she tells some stories about some pretty miraculous things that have happened for women dealing with cancer and different issues like that related to hormones and diet. I know I am a true believer in that, and it was really quite rich to talk to her.

She had her own experience of having to face learning this information as a physician where some of the things she needed just were not being taken care of. So, she did her own experience of figuring out how to make this work and has the science behind it.

CrisMarie Campbell: And she did it as a doctor but also a patient. She was trying to deal with her own health. Her book is about to be released, Keto-Green 16, and it has lots of neat things about how you can take care of your own hormones, and weight, and stress. So, I think you're going to really love this episode.

Susan Clarke: Bear in mind. It is probably going to be predominantly focused for women, but men, you can learn something in this too. So, hope you'll listen.

CrisMarie Campbell: Today, we have a special guest, Dr. Anna Cabeca, a triple board-certified Emory University trained physician and hormone expert. She was diagnosed with early menopause at the age of 38. Devastated, she set out on a personal wellness journey to reverse her menopause side effects, which resulted in her delivery of a healthy baby girl at the age of 41. That is amazing. We're so excited.

After her experiencing her own health successes, Dr. Cabeca began counseling others. Ultimately, changing the lives of thousands of women across the globe. Her book, The Hormone Fix, and her upcoming book, Keto-Green 16, which is due out May 5th, 2020, have changed the lives of women of all ages. Her successful line of all-natural products features the alkaline superfoods, drink Mighty Maca Plus, and Rejuvenating Vulva ̶ oh, golly, you're going to have to help me, Dr, Anna Cabeca ̶ Julva.

Anna Cabeca: Julva.

CrisMarie Campbell: This is definitely an episode for women, so just be aware, men out there. Recently, Dr. Cabeca was named 2018 Innovator of the Year by Mindshare Collaborative. We're so excited to have you, Dr. Anna, because of course, this is a beauty of conflict, but conflict impacts our hormones, our stress, and I'm sure you're going to tell us how we can balance that and bring that back into health.

Anna Cabeca: Thank you for having me. I definitely would say when your hormones are out of balance, you're more likely to have conflict, and when you're having conflicts you're more likely to have hormones that are out of balance.

CrisMarie Campbell: That is so true.

Susan Clarke: And really, even though this is probably more for women, you men listening, you have hormones too. It's just a different run. So, that applies to you as well. I would imagine.

Anna Cabeca: Right, and you may know a woman.

Susan Clarke: Exactly, or live with one.

CrisMarie Campbell: Tell us about your journey. We told the short story, but if you can tell us a little bit about how you got here, that would be great to hear.

Anna Cabeca: Well thank you. You mentioned in my bio that I was diagnosed with early menopause and infertility in my 30s and had really struggled. I was a really world-class trained physician. I trained at one of the best institutions, yet my doctor's bag was empty. It was completely empty.

Everything that I knew to do just didn't work, and that took me on a healing journey around the world looking for answers. This is where I indiscriminately, or without discrimination, looked at different modalities to see what works and what doesn't work, what resonated, what didn't resonate, and that's what started me on this journey, and I was able to heal myself in so many ways.

Susan Clarke: Just one quick question. This is Susan. When you were describing that, I know for myself, my own experience, and this had to do with cancer and my medical team not having answers sent me on a whole journey. One thing I did learn about practitioners sometimes is it could be a challenge to have really strong subject matter experts coming in with new information, and the conflict around that even that I imagine you faced in the healthcare profession itself. Was that true, or?

Anna Cabeca: Absolutely. Especially as you go outside of your guidelines or your protocols that you've been taught and others are adhering to. You're like, “You know what? There's a better way here.” Now, talk about conflict. I was the first bilingual female gynecologist in Southeast Georgia in this area where I live, and I came across a lot of conflict with just because I did things differently.

I had a background in food as medicine. I always had this other approach, or if this isn't making sense, let's find something that does, or if this isn't working, let's find something that works, and that type of approach. I came across a lot of conflict just in my career here as an out-of-the-box, coloring outside the lines physician.

Susan Clarke: I bet. I can imagine. That's pretty powerful right there, including and then taking it so that you could actually heal yourself and contribute that to other people is impressive.

Anna Cabeca: I think that's a big part of it. When we have an inner desire for something and we're receiving a diagnosis, often we feel there's no reversing of that diagnosis. Well, I have diabetes, or I've heart disease, or I have early menopause, I have infertility. Those two, I was given those diagnosis. I was able to reverse those, and we don't talk about reversing it in medicine. We have to because we can.

Every one of those conditions I mentioned, we can improve our quality of life. We can change the trajectory of our health, and regain because our bodies are amazingly resilient. We can regain this quality of life and optimal health in in so many ways. Certainly, we can be better tomorrow than we are today.

Susan Clarke: I love that as a physician, you're saying that because that really was one of the probably most challenging things that I continue to face even sometimes with the medical model is because they're like, “No, that is not curable.”

CrisMarie Campbell: It's a fact.

Susan Clarke: It's like, “Wait a minute. I don't have it, and it's been a long time since I did, and so things can be reversed.” So, I love that as a physician, you are really owning that, recognizing, and speaking to that. That's just amazing. Pretty cool.

Anna Cabeca: Thank you. Yeah, I definitely faced conflict in it, especially as you're working with clients that are under the care of other physicians. I feel compelled to mention, I had a client who had a history of Hodgkin's lymphoma, and then she had a diagnosis of a microinvasive breast cancer, but it was multifocal on mammogram. They had done a biopsy, and they said she needed a mastectomy.

I said, “Well, give me six weeks. Let's follow this approach,” and very much the dietary nutrition lifestyle, recommendations that I lay out in my book, and let’s supplement with some herbal combinations that I put together for her so that she'd have best shape physically when she went into surgery and that she could recover better afterwards. When she, honestly, had her mastectomy, the pathology report showed they were read as less than one-millimeter microinvasion.

CrisMarie Campbell: Oh, my gosh.

Susan Clarke: Wow. Wow, that is pretty amazing.

Anna Cabeca: The body is amazing.

Susan Clarke: The body is amazing. It is very cool. So, I could see all the many reasons why you're putting out there, not just for people that have particular health issues that they want to turn around, but women in general, there's a period where they're going to be dealing with this issue, whether it's around weight, whether it's around their hormones, various things.

CrisMarie Campbell: Stress.

Susan Clarke: Tell us where you are now with this diet because it sounds like it's for everyone, all women.

Anna Cabeca: Yeah, it really is. Women and men. Honestly, we've been running some test groups near the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida at Dr. Angeli Akey’s office, as I really fine-tune the recipes in my 60-day plan to kick butt as quickly as possible.

Prerequisites, over 50 with stubborn weight loss resistance, but had men joining too and husbands come along with many of the clients, and the results are phenomenal all the way around. So, it's really nice to see that because as we age, our hormones are declining, but they don't have to necessarily decline as rapidly as they are. Stress plays a big role in sucking out our life-giving hormones, so to speak.

Susan Clarke: Wow. We always talk about it because from our perspective, conflict can create a lot of stress, and we actually talk about different ways people can deal with the stress of conflict. But diet is definitely one of them, or looking at it and addressing it.

CrisMarie Campbell: Yeah, Dr. Anna, could you tell us more about the Keto 16 because that's the piece you're talking about that you're testing, right, with the new book and the studies?

Anna Cabeca: Yeah, Keto-Green 16. The big part is incorporating the benefits. Especially as we get older, gaining the benefits of getting our body into ketosis because as our hormones are shifting, we typically revert to using glucose for fuel. That's our quick fuel source. That's our pick me up, and it is our brain fuel.

So, when we have glucose, our brain is going to be well fed, until we start declining in our hormone estrogen, specifically, progesterone declines and estrogen declines. The ability for the brain to use glucose for fuel is an estrogen dependent phenomenon.

So, we can actually feel during this time from mid to late 30s through 50s this brain fog, this memory loss, this rapid decline in these hormones, and our brain is really like starving. But if we shift to ketones, that is not hormone dependent utilization of fuel, but it is a super food for brains. I think of gasoline to glucose as jet fuel is to ketones.

This is really important because during this perimenopausal time period, we can generate a lot of conflict because we're forgetful, irritable, agitated. We can be. We can be, and our body is off balance. Many women would say to me, “I don't believe how I reacted that way. It's just not me. I'm not acting like myself.”

When we shift to really enhance our physiology, to enhance our ancestral design based on how we were designed to survive as we age, this concept of getting into ketosis and also the alkalinity part through nutrition and lifestyle, it's not just about what we eat, certain habits that we do increase our alkalinity.

Anything we can do to increase oxytocin increases alkalinity. So, laughter, it decreases cortisol, predominantly decreases cortisol, and anything that increases cortisol, increases our acidity. Urine pH will become more acidic, and that throws us off. We won't react instead of respond, and during this transition time period, it really can affect us greatly. It peaks, I would say.

CrisMarie Campbell: So, what I'm taking away is you really want to shift to an alkaline state and ketosis. Tell our listeners some key things that they can do to make their body more alkaline and go more into ketosis.

Anna Cabeca: Yeah, definitely. I always recommend getting more alkaline first. So, greens, plenty of greens, low carbohydrate greens because I have clients think that juicing is great because they're getting all these fruits and vegetables, but it's very high in carbohydrate, and that's going to decrease our alkalinity just because it’s too much sugar. So, we want low carbohydrate greens and alkalinizers.

Even doing something like a teaspoon to a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help with digestion, that will become more alkaline, but definitely the dark greens and lifestyle habits like gratitude, prayer, walking outside in nature, getting a good night's sleep. All of those things work to alkalinize us. Then the ketosis part in Keto-Green 16, I work you into a 16-hour intermittent fast.

CrisMarie Campbell: Yes. That’s the 16.

Anna Cabeca: Yes, that's one of the 16. Sixteen-hour intermittent fasting. Sixteen food types, or really 16 key ingredients to make the recipes helpful and very targeted for hormone balance and detoxification, and yet to get us into ketosis faster. In Keto-Green 16, I really work you into two meals and a 16-hour fast. Then also timing of our meals makes a difference. Especially as we age, the later we eat, the more insulin is secreted for the same meal that we would eat before 7:00 p.m. So, eating earlier is better by design.

CrisMarie Campbell: So, you want to eat like by like 6:00 or 7:00 sort of thing? Is that what you're saying?

Anna Cabeca: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Then do a 16-hour intermittent fast overnight and breakfast at 10:00 or 11:00 a.m., and I typically say breakfast with either a keto green shake. That could be a high-quality protein, like zero grams of sugar in your protein powder. I give many examples of that. You want to add some healthy fats like avocado, coconut milk, or some MCT oil, and a high-quality protein. There are many different options. Everything I do in my programs are dairy-free because I'm very dairy-free. I'm like, “I'm not going to have it. You're not going to have it.”

CrisMarie Campbell: I love it.

Anna Cabeca: I do those, and it's a very low inflammatory diet too. So, if we have aches and pains, and especially the brain fog issues, really, the 16-day plan will kickstart a tremendous amount of brain clarity plus the stubborn weight loss, the fat loss, the toxic fat that we often carry around.

So, we want to get rid of that too as quickly as possible. Then keto green dinner could be like a steak and vegetables, but we're going to bypass the potato, and the starches, and eliminate those, and also any of the higher carb vegetables. We'll avoid those as well.

CrisMarie Campbell: You mean like potato, or yams, or things like that?

Anna Cabeca: Yes.

Susan Clarke: Just one question. This is Susan. I realized you probably face this and dealing with it, but I've had people tell me, “Ketosis is not so safe. Not necessarily a good thing to be in.” I imagine, as a physician, you've heard that. We have friends that are dieticians who always say, “That’s not a good.”

CrisMarie Campbell: My mom is a dietician. “You should eat breakfast, honey.”

Susan Clarke: I don't remember actually the argument against it, but I do remember that I'd hear that, like, “Don't tell me you're doing a ketosis diet.” So, I imagine you have. Are there concerns about ketosis, and what's different in how you're approaching it?

Anna Cabeca: I have a lot to say on this. Honestly, we need to be in ketosis. We are designed to be in ketosis, especially as we age, especially those of us over 50. That will optimize our quality of life because it creates insulin sensitivity, and that is a big driving force for quality of life, as the opposite, insulin resistance increases our risk of diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer's, cancer, all of those things.

So, we have to do this. I always say there's the keto dirty way to do things, and then there's the keto clean way, which is keto green. Like if you think Velveeta, and hot dogs, yeah, your keto, but there's nothing good I can say about that.

Susan Clarke: That’s the keto dirty version. I got it. All right.

Anna Cabeca: It's keto dirty. I know. It sounds fun though, right?

Susan Clarke: It does.

Anna Cabeca: So, getting into ketosis is that body's ability to use fat for fuel, and so there's a different way to do ketogenic eating. The cautions I would do is if you're a type one diabetic, and you're on insulin, and if you have APOE genetic phenotype, then you want to watch your lipid levels and monitor it with your physician, with your practitioner.

Susan Clarke: Now, this is going to sound like another dumb question on my part, but I'll ask them. What's the difference between this and, say, a Paleo diet?

Anna Cabeca: Well, good question. So, with Paleo, we're avoiding all grains, where certainly, you can do Paleo and eat lots of carbs. You can do Paleo and eat lots of fruits, and that's going to be higher carbs too. So, it's similar in a lot of ways as an ancestral eating pattern, but with ketogenic, we're really restricting those carbs.

For me, in Keto-Green, the carbs are from mainly dark, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, and some other sources that I put in, but we are avoiding grains too in the program, although you can have some. I'm not against grains. I think all the world's food is great, but it's how we combine it, how we manage it, and how we rotate it in and out of our nutrition plan that makes it either beneficial or not.

Susan Clarke: That brings up another point for me. There's the diet part, and then there's how do you live your life? Because I mean I'm imagining that even though it might be great to stay in the ketosis all the time, we're human. So, it's nice to be able to have that ice cream cone.

CrisMarie Campbell: Piece of cake.

Susan Clarke: Or a beer. How do you work with people to help them bring it into something that's sustainable?

Anna Cabeca: Definitely. That's a great question, and I'm all about feasting, so I hear you. I say keto green is a lifestyle, and you incorporate your feasting into it. We had sweet potatoes last night, and we'll have my daughter's birthday, we're celebrating with cake. It's not at the end of every meal anymore that we have a dessert, but we still partake, and same, I love my wine, I love my dark chocolate. So, I find the research to support my vices.

Susan Clarke: I love that.

Anna Cabeca: Yeah, and feasting is necessary for metabolic flexibility, so we shouldn't stay in ketosis for a long time, and that's what I'm finding from the research as well. I was really glad to find that because that wasn't sustainable for me either.

Susan Clarke: Yeah, I love it.

CrisMarie Campbell: I have a question related to the intermittent fasting. It sounds like, tell me where I'm wrong, but from what you said, intermittent fasting is good for insulin sensitivity, which we want. What else does intermittent fasting do that's helpful, that 16 hours that you're fasting?

Anna Cabeca: It actually helps our stem cells. So, it helps our body's own natural regenerative processes and puts us into a state of autophagy where we reduce the amount of circulating glucose that's available to us, so we're going to go into our fat stores. That'll help us get into ketosis, but it also stimulates this cellular cleaning type of state, this housekeeping state in our body.

How this plays out clinically is that in a study that was actually released in the American Medical Association in 2016 looked at women with breast cancer and looked at how their lifestyle was, and those that had at least 12.5 to 13 hours between dinner and breakfast had a significantly reduced risk of recurrent breast cancer.

That's huge. That's so powerful. That's so powerful. Often, it's shifting the mindset from people having been told or have the habits of eating late at night and eating first thing in the morning, and by design, it's not helpful.

CrisMarie Campbell: That's fascinating. I have a related question because you talked about bioidentical hormones, that you think those are really good. What about if women have risk of breast cancer taking bioidentical hormones?

Anna Cabeca: This is a great question, and I would say it takes more than hormones to fix your hormones. It really does because I always say, for example, if everyone on thyroid pills taking thyroid supplementation should be thin, right? But it's not because it takes more than hormones to fix our hormones, and this is so true.

This is where the dietary and lifestyle factors come in because that was the truth for me. My reproductive hormones were dialed in, but there's a bigger picture here. So, we need to optimize our major hormones because honestly, as a gynecologist, and especially after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in some prime years of my life on my education, I want to say it's all about estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and even DHEA, but it’s not.

It's about the major hormones, insulin and cortisol predominantly, and insulin sensitive with the ketosis plan, and we get more control of cortisol with the alkaline plan, the green part of my program because it's not just about what we eat. So, we control cortisol and insulin in those ways, and then empower oxytocin.

Now, I've used, and I always think of my breast cancer patients as a physician because they were the ones that would come to me and say, “I have vaginal dryness. I can't have sex with my husband. I feel irritable. My hair is falling out. I can't do hormones. What can I do?” So, that's where I've really learned the safety net of my programs and my products, and what I've created and formulated because there was no good answer for these women, and they were left to suffer.

Well, there's a lot we can do naturally with natural bioidentical hormones, natural supplementation, herbs, and combinations that can support our body's own natural hormone processes and supplements. So, it depends on the history of the patient that's coming in with breast cancer. What's her current treatment regimen or how far post-treatment is she?

I always ask, because I ask my breast cancer patients this question all the time, what caused your breast cancer? Often, there's no answer. I say, “Well, we have to look,” and that's really a big part of it. If we never address the cause that caused the poor cell-to-cell communication to begin with, and if that hasn't been addressed, it's just going to show up somewhere else.

That's where my breast cancer patient said, “I always feel like I'm waiting for the next shoe to drop,” and in fact, they are until we make these interventions. We create that insulin sensitivity, manage cortisol, create the lifestyle factors that balance and boost her own natural hormones, and replace as needed.

So, for my clients with vulvar and vaginal dryness, which is a huge issue, not just for my breast cancer patients, but that's why I created Julva, which has DHEA in it, which is one of our natural adrenal hormones that's depleted with stress. So, we work from both ways, create the lifestyle habits that boost our own natural hormones and supplement to the area that I think is prime real estate. It needs to be taken care of.

CrisMarie Campbell: Exactly. That's interesting because Susan, with her experience of cancer, looking at what caused it and also looking at the relationship dynamics, or how are you not speaking up and taking care of yourself, the boundary setting, those are all the emotional components that really impact our vitality and health.

Anna Cabeca: Yes.

CrisMarie Campbell: So, I love all the work that you're doing, and it sounds like bioidentical hormones are part of the regime that you give women with breast cancer.

Anna Cabeca: Yes.

CrisMarie Campbell: That's great. Anything else that you want our listeners to know about these awesome plans? I love the education you've given us.

Susan Clarke: And you have the book coming out, but how can they find out more about these other products that you have?

Anna Cabeca: Thank you for sharing. Everything is on my website at I have book bonuses too, including a roadmap to get started, a quick start guide, and you guys are going love the feast guide.

CrisMarie Campbell: Oh, yummy.

Anna Cabeca: Yes, and the products are there too.

CrisMarie Campbell: Perfect. Thank you, Dr. Anna, and yes, you can find out more. I love that you shortened your website,, right? That's it.

Anna Cabeca: Yes.

CrisMarie Campbell: Go there, and buy your products, and get the book Keto-Green 16, and/or The Hormone Fix.

If you want to learn more about what we discussed today or how to deal with conflict more effectively, Susan and myself, CrisMarie, are both available for individual one-on-one coaching. We also offer couples coaching, which now as we live and work 24/7 together, may be more important than ever.

Susan Clarke: We continue to do our team facilitation both live and now virtually. Let's get real. Until you've had a tough conversation over Zoom, you may not be building the trust you need on your team. For the next couple of months, we are offering free virtual trainings to organizations. Our goal is to support you, your team, and your business both at work and at home during this pandemic.

CrisMarie Campbell: Right now, you can find short videos on my, CrisMarie’s LinkedIn and Facebook with tips, tools, and inspiration. To contact us, email

Susan Clarke: Okay, stay safe, stay healthy, and remember, together we're better and stronger.

CrisMarie Campbell: Take care.


CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

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