Episode 144: Show Notes
“How ridiculous!” “Oh my god, that is so unhealthy!” “I am not listening to this.” So many of us have these reactions when first introduced to the idea of a wholly carnivore diet. However at Real Life Medicine we love keeping an open mind and listening to people who have a personal journey of regaining their health and wellness. Although we are steadfast, loud and proud omnivores, we find interviews with carnivorous medical professionals intriguing and have become curious and respectful of this way of life. The idea is so foreign and different from what we have all been taught, but we encourage you to have a listen to this fascinating episode and you may also decide that the carnivore option may be worth considering as an alternative approach for some people.
Looking for loopholes: Dr Suresh talks about how so many people’s brains look for loopholes when it comes to rules around food. He admits to always finding ways to get around the rules and justify unhealthy habits. For him, a zero carb carnivore diet helps him avoid sugar addiction and find clarity in his eating habits. Dr Lucy’s experience with keeping her cravings at bay is a low, rather than zero, carb intake demonstrating how everyone's bodies and cravings are different. They delve into the importance of listening to our own intuition when it comes to eating habits, rather than relying on external diet plans, what other people are doing, and tracking apps.
Reframing boring as easy: Can you relate to those many instances in modern life of decision fatigue, buyer’s regret, decision paralysis and the anxiety of making the wrong choice when presented with too many options? Dr Max explains how although limiting food options to a narrow selection of meat and animal products can be perceived as restrictive, it can actually lead to discipline and freedom. Many carnivores talk of a new found freedom when condensing food options into a small number of nourishing choices, freeing up time and energy.
Collective trauma: There is a collective trauma around food and diet due in part to dietary guidelines promoting a low-fat paradigm, calorie counting, and the idea of eating less and moving more. Many people are emotionally scarred from being told to do something that clearly doesn't work. Listen as the doctors share their experience with the current way healthcare is delivered, short appointments, increasing reliance on medications, and how disempowering this is for both patients and doctors.
Reclaiming personal health and professional health care:
In response to the inadequacies of the mainstream health and dietary advice, these wonderful doctors have come to a place of tuning in to their own bodies, as well as listening to each individual patient who comes to them seeking better health. Their stories are compelling, and even if you feel that the carnivore life is not for you, this episode is filled with so much insightful and inspirational guidance around reclaiming YOUR pathway to weight loss and better health!
Dr Gulhane is speaking at our sold out Melbourne Low Carb Road Show but there is still an opportunity to hear Dr Khirwadkar speak at the Low Carb Road Show in Brisbane.
Tickets are now on sale for The Low Carb Road Show:
To hear Dr Suresh speak at Brisbane on May 20:
Lakanto presents The Low Carb Road Show 2023:
With thanks to our major sponsor Lakanto:
Max consults at Gardens Medical Group, Albury
Dr Max’s Instagram:
Dr Max’s Podcast:
Regenerative Health Podcast
To Connect with Dr Suresh:
Dr Suresh on Instagram:
Dr Suresh’s Podcast:
The Meat Medic
Buy your tickets to Low Carb Road Show Brisbane to hear Dr Suresh! Melbourne show is now sold out!
Dr Mary Barson: (0:11) Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr Mary Barson.
Dr Lucy Burns: (0:15) And I'm Dr Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of
Both: (0:20) Real Health and Weight Loss!
Dr Lucy Burns: (0:23) Hello gorgeous ones, Dr Lucy here this morning. And I do have a treat for you, a no sugar treat, of course. Now we get asked all the time, our thoughts on the carnivore diet, which is, of course, an animal based diet. Now, as you all know, Dr Mary and I are omnivores, we both eat meat and vegetables. But we wanted to get experts on the carnivore diet to come and have a chat with us. And we have two today, I have Dr Max Gulhane, who is speaking at the Low Carb Road Show in Melbourne, and Dr Suresh Khirwadkar, who is speaking at Low Carb Brisbane. So lovelies, just sit back and enjoy.
Dr Lucy Burns: (1:09) Good morning, gorgeous listeners. I am joined this morning by a really exceptional person who I think you're going to love listening to. His name is Dr Max Gulhane. And, look, I first met him about four years ago when I was presenting at a conference called Low Carb For Doctors and Max was a final year medical student. And the thing that struck me about him was that as a medical student, he was already questioning the dogma. And most, you know, most medical students, including myself as a medical student, and in fact, as a doctor for many years, just listened, and believed every single word I was taught. And Max is already thinking outside the box. So I am super happy to welcome Max to the podcast, and I would love you to listen to his story. Max, welcome.
Dr Max Gulhane: (2:02) Thank you, Lucy. Thanks so much for having me on.
Dr Lucy Burns: (2:05) Ah, mate, I'm very happy for you to be here. And I'd love to hear your story. So you're, you know, you're a low carb aficionado, as a doctor and I know, carnivore, regenerative farmer, all of those sorts of things, which not many, not many, certainly medical students, junior doctors are in your sphere. So I would love to hear, how has that come about for you?
Dr Max Gulhane: (2:28) I grew up in a household where low fat, kind of dietary guideline was very much implemented and very much the norm. We had cereal every morning, oats, these kinds of foods. But we still had a little bit of meat. But basically, as I got older, particularly in my late adolescence, and early 20s, I developed some acne. And it was pretty persistent acne. And as you can imagine, it wasn't very aesthetically pleasing, especially to a young adult. Around this time I was in early medical school and you know, in addition to following the normal eating patterns, I was also experimenting with a lower meat intake and increasing my plant intake. Because like a lot of people, I thought that was the best thing for me, best thing for the environment, best thing for the planet. And I distinctly remember one day, you know, getting out of my car in medical school and just feeling so tired and so exhausted. And you know, the question popped up into my head, you know, is this what it's supposed to be like? I mean, am I always gonna feel like this? And around that same time, the acne that I was suffering was basically apogee, was just horrible. And I was having very, very bad bloating symptoms, just recurrent colds and illnesses that year, and I thought, This can't be right. So somehow, I can't exactly remember, I stumbled upon the Low Carb Down Under YouTube channel. And at this point, it was an interesting because I'd heard, I was studying medicine, I had the scientific kind of basis and background. But I was hearing very, very different opinions about disease and about the development of disease, and particularly these lifestyle causes of disease. So I delved into that. And part of that was attending some low carb events and, and that's where I met you, Lucy, and I also met Dr Rob Szabo, who is a very experienced GP, in reversing diabetes. And at that point, I just experimented on myself, and I began to cut out a lot of the foods that I had been eating. I cut out the oats, I cut out the “Up and Go”, you know, breakfast drinks, full of sugar, I cut out the fruit. And I really cut out the nuts and the legumes and all these type of foods. And what I noticed is that my symptoms improved. So the acne went away, like, bloating went away, I felt just better in myself. And then finally, just before I finished medical school, I was at lunch and I’d made myself a salad, I was keto by then, or low carb, I was eating a salad with some kangaroo. And I’d eaten the kangaroo, I was very satiated and I felt great. And I was picking amongst the spinach leaves. And I looked at them and I wasn't enjoying eating them at all. And I really, I asked myself like, Is this necessary? At around the same time doctors like Dr Shawn Baker and Dr Paul Saladino, were really promoting an idea of exclusively animal based eating. So getting rid of, not only ketogenic or not only low carb, but actually removing any food that isn't of animal origin. So that was the next step for me. And cutting those out. I found I had an extremely interesting experience, Lucy, that almost bordered on, almost like a religious experience. And essentially, I had a couple of weeks of intense euphoria and amazing energy, boundless energy and creativity and that point was when I went exclusively carnivore. After that point, I was feeling great, and very much on board with this low carbohydrate approach. The thing that I want to also mention, and I guess I didn't before was that I was that patient. And particularly with regard to my acne treatment, I went through the standard medical approach. So I was prescribed topical, anti acne treatments, then topical antibiotics, then oral antibiotics, doxycycline and minocycline, a different antibiotic. And then finally Roaccutane, which is a synthetic retinol drug. And it's actually an adjuvant, chemotherapeutic agent as well. I didn't have a great reaction to that, and essentially self ceased. But I want to give your listeners an idea that I understood how the mainstream medical pharmaceutical based approach isn't serving a lot of patients because I guess I was in that position myself. So fast forward another couple years, and I've been basically 95% meat, 80 to 95% meat throughout this past three or four years. And now I've just moved down to Albury in New South Wales to commence my general practice training, here with training with Dr Rob Szabo, who I mentioned earlier. And yeah, implementing low carb, implementing carnivore in certain patients. And yeah, having amazing results.
Dr Lucy Burns: (7:33) Yeah. It's so interesting, isn't it? And, look, I remember listening to an interview from Shawn Baker, maybe three, four years ago. And I initially wasn't even going to bother. Because in my brain I'm going, Ugh carnivore, what a load of crock, I'm not listening to this, this is bullshit. And then I just thought, oh, actually, Lucy, listen to yourself, you're being very closed here. Listen to it and see what you think. So I listened. And I thought, Oh, that's interesting. So I became a little more curious. Now, as I'm always saying, I'm actually a loud and proud omnivore, I do enjoy my vegetables, I have no issues with them. They don't cause me any particular harm. I suspect that my body can process them in whatever way. But for some people, as you said, this idea, which seems so foreign, and so different, to what we've all been taught and believe, that to at least be curious about it, and at least as a doctor, consider it as an offering to your patients, I think is amazing.
Dr Max Gulhane: (8:40) Yeah, look, I think there's a spectrum of sensitivity to plant based foods. And people like you, Lucy, are completely fine to eat these type of foods, and it doesn't affect you, you feel great. And then on that other end of the spectrum, people with, particularly with severe autoimmune disease, or other kinds of severe inflammatory conditions, basically have just, in my opinion, have a very, very small buffer or allowance for plant based foods. And I think maybe your listeners know of Mikhaila Peterson, who is the daughter of Jordan Peterson, she's probably a great example of that, and had a range of inflammatory arthritis that basically required, or was able to keep her symptoms in control, with only a meat and salt based diet. But I'm not dogmatic by any means. And I don't think we can be dogmatic, as doctors and clinicians. So I'm basically there to support my patients and give them options. And for some people, that option is just a plain low carbohydrate diet. But there's some people who I think, particularly will benefit from exclusively a meat based diet. And these patients are often young men or, you know, older guys. They're busy, they love steak, they like eating meat. And it's a really good way of simplifying the approach for them. And I simply just say, you know, do you like steak? Yes. Use steak, use salt. And, you know, eat as much as you can, as much as you need. And they love it, and the results they have, and the simplicity of it, is amazing. I give the analogy of Steve Jobs, you know, Steve Jobs used to, every day, walk into his cupboard, and there were 10 polo necks, 10 pairs of Levi's and 10 New Balance sneakers. And it just removes decision fatigue, so much decision fatigue, and cognitive effort about what we're going to eat, that could better be used, you know, dealing with the rest of the stresses for life. So that's my general approach or how I think about it.
Dr Lucy Burns: (10:40) You know, what, I love that idea, the reframe of something, you know, because sometimes people will say, Ah, it's so boring. How can you just do that? That's so boring. And I think, yeah, that's a thought. That's your brains attaching meaning to it. You could use that sentence. It's so boring, or you could use the sentence. It's so easy. And I love the idea that it's easy. I mean, I was thinking the other day, well, recently I went on a little trip to America, and I was looking at the movie list. And there were initially five films that were available. And I thought, Oh yeah, one of those I was happy to watch. And then there was a little button that said, more options. And I go, Oh, I'll click on that. And there were 150 movie options. And I reckon I spent half an hour looking through, making sure that I'd had the best choice because, you know, what if I wasted two hours on a movie, when there was actually a better one available. And so all of this took up, as you said, brainspace, decision fatigue, and this idea that I would somehow be unsatisfied because then there may have always been a better option. Whereas when your options are less, you just pick one, and you're happy with it.
Dr Max Gulhane: (12:02) Yeah, no, and that’s a bit of a, I guess, a metaphor for life as well. But I think there's a couple points there. One speaks to modern societal use of food as entertainment. And I don't think food should be entertainment. It should be pleasurable, but it shouldn't be necessarily the person’s primary source of entertainment. Food is fundamentally nourishment. Food is fundamentally a nutrition that allows you to build the structure of your body, allows it to operate optimally, and then allows you to give your gift to the world, whether that's through your work, through looking after your family, going on weekends, this is the goal in my mind, and I think food should help people get there. And if people are more preoccupied about taste, or they, they're using sugary and carb foods as their source of entertainment, then they're going to pay for that, you know, 10, 20, 30 years down the track, and they're not going to be able to enjoy their life because they simply haven't haven't taken care of their body. And on to your second point, it does on the surface appear to be restrictive. But in many ways discipline equals freedom. And when we, this is my experience and my patients experience, when we condense those options into just meat, animal based food and a small number of dishes, then what we find is that it is intensely nourishing, and then it becomes a process where we're not having to worry, as you said about everything else, and all those other extraneous, buyers regret, or that you can get when you have all these other food options. So look, that's my take on it. Look and as you said, it's not suitable for everyone, but for the people who it does work for, it works very well.
Dr Lucy Burns: (13:47) Absolutely. And as you said, acne is, you know, for a lot of, acne is an inflammatory condition, you know, that there's some a couple of different, I guess, causes of that inflammatory disorder, and we will, you know, be looking at bacteria and all of those sorts of things. But it's interesting, isn't it, that despite all of our knowing, here you are, you were able to manage it, you know, dare I say, cure it, simply by changing your food. We love that phrase that real food is medicine. And it's so interesting to me that there are some doctors who are completely disinterested in that concept. And in fact, there's a guy who's written a book called Food is Not Medicine. And I just think, how can, how can you say that? As a doctor, how can you say that?
Dr Max Gulhane: (14:35) Yeah, yeah, no, I really conceive of our role or medicine and lifestyle medicine, I can see that as basically three steps. And if you think about the bottom step, that's someone who's dying. And the middle step is someone who's merely surviving. The top step is someone who's thriving. So pills and pharmaceutical interventions, and mainstream medicine gets us from dying to merely surviving. But if you want to go from surviving to thriving, you're going to need a diet and lifestyle. And the fact is, most of our colleagues, Lucy, are only occupied at that transition from the first to the second step. That would be okay. Sure, if it didn't imply that so many patients aren't being served, and are being let down by the advice that they're getting. And by failing to get proper dietary advice, say in my case, you know, how many unnecessary years of not only symptomatic acne, but potential adverse effects from a very strong anti acne medication like isotretinoin, which causes birth defects incidentally. So any young woman who gets put on it has to be strictly on birth control, hormonal contraceptives. So all that to say, I think it should be an option. Doctors need to be at least giving patients the option of the lifestyle, best gold standard lifestyle option, and the patient its up to them if they don't want to take that advice, but at least it should be offered before you know they reach for the prescription pad.
Dr Lucy Burns: (16:04) Ah, I totally agree. I totally agree. And you know, this has been one of the themes that's been come through all the interviews with people who are speaking at the Low Carb Road Show, is this idea that because the advice we've often been taught about lifestyle and particularly, you know, for me, as you know, I mean, I mean, weight loss and weight management, you know, the advice for that was eat less move more, calorie restrict, reduce, reduce, reduce, and that is unsustainable and doesn't work. So then what happens is that doctors go well, yeah, okay, lifestyle. All right, take lifestyle, but it's not, it's not the lifestyle we're talking about. It's old fashioned, if you like, old advice, that doesn't work. So no wonder people go, uh, yeah, lifestyle, it's not gonna work. This is really, you know, frontier medicine. And I, I love it. And I love the idea that, you know, people like you, and all the other speakers are the pioneers of lifestyle change. And the beneficiaries of that are our patients.
Dr Max Gulhane: (17:04) Yeah, yeah. And look I don't blame, you know, our colleagues, but I really feel like they don't have a good framework for thinking about optimal health. And you can see, because many of our colleagues are themselves overweight, themselves look insulin resistant. So the fact is that they're unable to give good lifestyle advice, because they simply, one, don't understand it themselves. And two, probably aren’t able, haven't been able to implement anything like that themselves. So yeah, it's really, I think, a common theme and the people you've interviewed, and the people that I've interviewed on my podcast is that doctors who have this approach have had to go through their own journey with the medical system or weight gain or insulin resistance and diabetes. Without that personal journey, I haven't seen a lot of clinicians, you know, practising in this way.
Dr Lucy Burns: (17:57) No, you're right. I mean, and that's, that is I think, the, again, medicine, we would be scathing about the N equals 1 experiment, and you know, it's anecdotal, and all of those sorts of things. But unless you've walked the walk, most people won't talk the talk. So you're right, there is absolute buy in from all of the doctors who are speaking at the Low Carb Road Show because they have a personal story that brings them to low carb nutrition, whether that is low carb, keto, carnivore, they have their own experience with it. And I think that's so, so empowering, because I think that for a lot of people, if you're, if you're, let's say you're a type two, a patient with type two diabetes, who's overweight, who has been overweight for a long, long time, who's tried diets, they've tried Weight Watchers, and they're sitting across the desk from a young, and I'm stereotyping here, absolutely stereotyping, but a young, perhaps dietitian who's never had a weight problem. There is a disconnect, in how that person can give the advice if they've never had to experience any suffering like that.
Dr Max Gulhane: (19:09) Yeah, I agree with that completely. And I talked last Thursday night at a restaurant event that we did with Jake Walker, who's a good friend of mine and regenerative farmer. And we had four courses of the regenerative produce. And there were two speeches, and Jake talked about regenerative farming. And I talked about the Australian dietary guidelines, and how they haven't served patients. And at the end of my talk, I basically made the point that there is a collective trauma around food and diet in Australia and the world as a result of dietary guidelines. And this, as you mentioned, a low fat paradigm, the eat less and move more. And it's a trauma because people have been told to do one thing that clearly doesn't work, and they are emotionally scarred from it. So I agree and to have some young dietitian, you know, reading these essentially propaganda dressed up, as you know, health advice, out to someone who's lived in their body, been in their body, tried all these dietary approaches. Yeah, I mean, no wonder they don't gel or they don't, you know, relate to each other. So yeah, there has been a trauma and I what I hope I'm doing and is really empathising with patients, and I say to them, it's not your fault, you have been given the wrong advice. And often that conversation takes five or 10 minutes of really empathising and trying to make them realise that they've been given the bum steer. But then here's something that might work and I’m already having patients coming back, you know, 12 days later, with four kilos of weight loss, feeling so much more energetic, and that's just so it feels great, and it's very rewarding. And that's why I love doing what I do.
Dr Lucy Burns: (20:52) Yeah absolutely. And I agree, and I think that's been certainly the theme from all the doctors that are interviewed is that this is so rewarding. This type of medicine is so, so rewarding because the standard type of way healthcare is delivered in our society at the moment is short appointments, usually resulting in some sort of script of some sort. So you're either maintaining multiple medications or adding to them, and that just becomes disempowering. And I think the, the two people that probably see, you know that for whose career felt soul destroying was when I spoke with Gary Fettke, who's an orthopaedic surgeon who just felt terrible having to amputate limbs like, what an awful, you can imagine his job chopping people's feet off, like how soul destroying. Or Dr James Muecke, the Australian of the Year, who's was seeing people going blind from conditions that are preventable and treatable, if given the right advice early enough.
Dr Max Gulhane: (21:58) Yeah. And I'm not surprised. I mean, there's GP shortages everywhere and practising the standard way, as Dr Penny Figtree says, you know, I watch my patients get sicker and sicker and prescribe more and more medications. That's enough to cause distress in the doctor, whether it's amputating or watching people go blind or simply, you know, watching them become more and more obese and overweight and metabolically sick. It's enough to make someone not want to do that job. So yeah, this approach, I think, is not only necessary for it to help our patients, but to help the profession as general practitioners.
Dr Lucy Burns: (22:34) Absolutely. Well, Max, I can tell you, Melbourne, Low Carb Melbourne, is going to be in for a treat listening to your talk. I just love the fact that, you know, you have, as I said, you haven't waited to, like us where we're 20 years down the track going God there's got to be a better way. You know, your patients. I mean, how lucky are they? They're gonna have decades of you, not burning out, enthusiastic, looking after them and really offering them an option for a better way to take them from surviving to thriving, and I just love that.
Dr Max Gulhane: (23:11) Yeah, every day I walk in and I'm next to Dr Rob Szabo. And, you know, we like the energy in the room, we get up, we're like, Let's go reverse some diabetes. Like, let's go, let's help some people lose some weight, and we just keep bouncing off each other. We discuss our patient stories. And yeah, the energy is high. And the energy in this town in Albury is high. Because we're mixing regenerative agriculture, the highest quality food with holistic health, with low carbohydrate nutrition, carnivore nutrition. And things are happening here. So yeah, it's really good energy.
Dr Lucy Burns: (23:43) Excellent. So lovelies, Max, if our listeners are wanting to connect with you, and I'm quite sure they will be, where do they find you?
Dr Max Gulhane: (23:51) I have a podcast called The Regenerative Health Podcast, talking to low carb doctors. Lucy was episode number nine, I believe. So you can find that podcast on all podcasting apps, on Spotify, Apple podcast, Google podcasts, on YouTube as well. I'm on Instagram, Dr_Max_Gulhane and Twitter @ MGulhaneMD. So yeah, those are my handles and I'm consulting at the Gardens Medical Group, Albury. So you can ring up and make an appointment if you're local, or if you are not local. If you want to drive you can see me, I'm happy to see you. So yeah, that's how you can connect with me.
Dr Lucy Burns: (24:32) Wonderful. And we will have all those links in the show notes lovelies and again if you want to come and listen to Max and meet him in person, you can do so at Low Carb Melbourne, which is on May the 7th, coming up. Great! Well that was Dr Max speaking. And now of course I'm having a chat with Dr Suresh. See you soon lovelies.
Dr Lucy Burns: (24:53) Gorgeous ones, it’s Dr Lucy here to introduce you to another fabulous doctor who I've had the pleasure of meeting. He's a deadset legend and I'm super happy to introduce you to him. He will be speaking at Low Carb Brisbane Road Show. So that's even better. But today lovelies, I'd love to introduce you to Dr Suresh Khirwadkar. He is a lifestyle medicine physician a bit like me, and we're going to talk a bit about that today. But he's not, so Lifestyle Medicine College often recommends plant based nutrition. And as you know, Dr Mary and I are loud and proud omnivores. But Suresh is a carnivore. So let's have a chat about his journey. And, you know, just a few little nitty gritties, around the carnivore movement. And you know, who it's helpful for and perhaps I'll ask his expertise on whether it's not helpful for some people. So Suresh, welcome to the podcast.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (25:50) Thank you very much, Lucy. It's great to be here today.
Dr Lucy Burns: (25:54) Excellent, good. So I'd love to hear a bit about your journey. And you know, it sounds like you've been on a similar quest to me recognising that the current state of medicine is not helpful in identifying root causes. That, you know, going down that lifestyle medicine pathway usually indicates that people are much keener to address stuff upstream.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (26:17) Yeah, absolutely. I mean, obviously, there we can talk about this, the short version, or the long version, depending on what you were you in, the listeners might want. But, I mean, the short version is really, since very early on in my career, I've wanted to practice in a different way. You know, really, medical school teaches us to pass the exams, doesn't teach us to be a doctor most of the time. And then you kind of learn on the job, you know how to be a doctor. But when you're a junior doctor, I trained in the UK, so it may be different in Australia, may be different in the States, but I'm assuming it's the same, you know, pretty much all over the world. You know, being a junior doctor teaches you how to, generally, prescribe. And it's all about the medications. And you know, you're working often in the hospital system, the guidelines there. It's all about the medications, it's never about the lifestyle, the diet, the exercise. Diet may play a small role. But then you see people in the hospital, you know, after surgeries, and so forth. And they're just given the most garbage food. Diet is clearly not a key factor when it comes to what you're learning as a junior doctor. And nobody really talks about sleep, or really mental health and how this can pertain to physical health. And so I was very lucky, actually, early on in my career, I was taught by some excellent, excellent doctors, who really instilled in me the idea of actually de-prescribing and stopping medications, and I owe that I owe really my career to them. And they just happen to be geriatric consultants. So you know, elderly, elderly care. And I think that's where it really is very evident that medications can cause a problem. Polypharmacy, lots of medications, lots of side effects, interacting all with each other, you know, I was always taught to kind of try and de-prescribe where we can. And that really started me off on this journey. And ever since then, I've been really looking for a different way of working, because so much of medicine is focused on the drugs, on the prescribing. And don't get me wrong, they have a role. Absolutely. You know, this morning, I was just arguing on one of my Facebook Carnivore groups about statins, and the role of statins and so forth. So you know, they do have a role. But they're not necessarily the be all and end all. And there's other ways that we can manage things. Basically, over the years, you know, I've been just honing this, and I never knew it had a name. I never knew what I was doing, anybody else was doing, I just thought I was this kind of outsider in medicine, trying to not prescribe to people, medications. And then just, I don't even know how I even came across it. But I stumbled across lifestyle medicine, and read into it, and I just kind of instantly went, This is me, like, this is my jam. And then I just, I just signed up, like straight away to do the board certification. And as I read more and more into it, and I thought these guys really are trying to do what I'm trying to do. And I'm not alone. There's actually millions of doctors around, or maybe 1000s of doctors around the world that are actually doing this. This is a really big thing. And so I just Yeah, signed up kind of there and then. Of course as you said, though, you know, lifestyle medicine. You know, we talk about the six pillars of lifestyle medicine, but one of those of course is plant based nutrition. Now, as your viewers obviously heard you introduced, I am not currently eating a plant based diet, and I don't necessarily advocate for a plant based diet. So I am what at the moment people are terming, carnivore. This has been around for a long time. It used to be called Zero Carb. And I believe it was Dr Shawn Baker, who some people may know of, I think maybe what, seven, eight years ago, perhaps now or something like that, he kind of coined this term Carnivore Diet. Wrote wrote his book, which is still on my reading list. I never get time to do anything. I really want to read these books, I don't have time. Yeah, basically, the premise really is they're zero or as close to as possible of zero carbohydrates, which is taking low carb, obviously, to the nth degree. And then, of course, the removal of plant based materials, or predominantly, you know, plant based materials from the diet. And the reason I got into this was actually because of a patient. I think a lot of what we do as doctors that work in this kind of space, you know, yourself, I'm sure, often we've either heard a personal story, health story or a patient's you know, stories resonated with us somehow often, it's the mix of the both. And he basically came in one day and just said, like, Yeah, I'm doing I'm doing carnivore and and I said, but what's carnivore? What, what is this? I don't know what this is. He said, I'm basically just pretty much just eating meat, and saturated fat and cheese and butter. And I was like, Holy hell, you're just gonna kill yourself. Like, what are you doing? Yeah, like saturated fat, cholesterol, come on. And my kind of medical brain, you know, it was just like, this does not compute, like, I can't resolve this. But all of his issues just kind of disappeared, or the vast majority anyway, just completely disappeared. And he felt great. And he looked great. And his bloods were great, and by every marker we could find, you know, metabolically, he was great. But I still couldn't quite accept it.
Dr Lucy Burns: (31:33) Do you know, do you know what's interesting? When you mentioned Shawn Baker, I once listened to his podcast or something like that. And I initially listened to it thinking, Oh, what a load of codswallop this is going to be, this is just going to be just such BS. And I went in thinking I was going to hate it, came out, not necessarily going, God this is for me, but a little more open minded about right, well, this is potentially helpful for some people.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (32:00) Yeah, absolutely. And that's kind of where I was at. So I still couldn't quite accept it with this guy. But I could see that it was obviously working for him. And I thought, okay, yeah, fair enough. And then, you know, I went to the Low Carb Down Under last year in the Gold Coast, 2022. And I heard Dr Anthony Chaffee talk, his Plants Are Trying to Kill You lecture, which I think is possibly one of the most watched videos on the low carb down under YouTube channel. And I don't know, it's something kind of just clicked where I was like, Okay, well, now there's a doctor actually talking about it. And I wasn't even aware of Dr Baker, you know, other people in this space at that point. And so I thought, Okay, well, if there's a doctor talking about it, then maybe there's something in this. I've seen the effects it’s had with this patient. I know I've had my own issues with carbohydrates, like, like everyone. I mean, I've pretty much tried every diet going, you know, over the years, weight up and down, health up and down, and so on. I've never managed to stick to anything. And so I thought, you know what, why not? I try this. Like, I've tried everything else. And I just said, Okay, that's it. I'll go eat steak, no plants. Give it a few weeks, see what happens. If I feel awful, I'll go off it. No problem. And I didn't, I didn't feel awful. I felt amazing. I felt absolutely truly amazing. In less than two days. I just felt truly amazing. And I just kind of was like, what, what is this magic? Like, what is this craziness? And so then I was like, I've got to research into this, I've got to look into this. And that's really just where my journey just kind of really took off. And that was about five months ago now. And I just haven't looked back. I've just been experimenting with my diet, ever since really, to find out what works for me.
Dr Lucy Burns: (33:45) Ah, and you know, what I love about that Suresh is that you went in, just as an experiment. And we often talk about that with any of our people, any of our followers is just go in as an experiment. It may be great for you, it may not be great for you, it doesn't matter. You try it and see what happens. Everything, everything we do, and because you know, people will often ask me you know, Dr Lucy, I'm going out tomorrow night, is it alright if I have cake? And I go, Well, you know what, you're the boss, you get to decide. Why don't you look at this like an experiment? Have the cake, see what happens. If you can have the cake, a little bit and stop at that and not go down the rabbit hole of wolfing down the whole cake? But you know, one small bit of cake is not going to cause chronic disease for the rest of your life. But in your experiment, if you find that you’re then sniffing around looking for more and more sugar or more and more junk, then maybe, maybe the experiment is that actually it's easy for me to have none than some. So I love what you've just done then too, you know this carnivore thing. You've heard about it, give it a crack. I'll see what happens. If it doesn't agree with me, I'll stop.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (34:55) Yeah. And that was, you know, what you just said that that was my life, like sugar addiction. And, you know, I was saying to my wife the other day, you know, talking about it, and I said, Well, you know, really my reality is, I am still a sugar addict. And I can't moderate. Like a lot of people. I mean, a lot of people are in that position. And I've done low carb. I've done keto, and we all know the health benefits of these. But for me, they were always a battle. You know, from the start, like, I knew they were healthy. I knew they were good for me, I felt good on them. But it was so hard for me mentally to stay away from that sugar. You know, like, I would always kind of rationalise it, oh, well, low carb, I can have up to 70 grams of sugar. So I would have 70 grams of sugar, you know, I'd be counting out the teaspoons. Keto, oh, well, you know, it’s 40. Well, some people say 50. So I can do 50. And it doesn't really matter if I'm in ketosis or not as long as, and then I would, I would just creep up. And every day was a battle. And I think probably the longest I've ever really managed to stick to any kind of, you know, quote, unquote, diet was probably about three months, which was always long enough to see the benefits, but not long enough, obviously, for permanent change. But every day was a battle, whereas with this zero carb carnivore, literally from day one, it's been super easy. It's not a battle and has now been almost five months with no effort. So for me, that's the difference it’s made.
Dr Lucy Burns: (36:34) And you know, it's so interesting, because what you're describing there, and this happens for lots of people is, some people's brain looks for the loophole. It's always looking for the What can I get away with line? And so yours was doing that. What can I get away with? What is the loophole? What can I do and I'm still within the, and I’m using quote unquote, rules. So for you the idea then is okay, well, I'm, I'm just going to make it really clear for my brain, what am I doing? There's no, there's no loopholes,
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (37:06) That’s it, that's, that was me, I was always finding the loopholes and ways to kind of get around it. Justify, Well, if I have ice cream today, I just won't eat it tomorrow. And, you know, and I would creep so so badly. And that's where like a zero carb carnivore diet may be useful for some people, if like me, they struggled to moderate. If they're struggling, you know, to find those loopholes. And a lot of people report that those sugar addictions, they never go away. But they just stopped seeing sugar as something to eat.
Dr Lucy Burns: (37:38) Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We refer to this, the sugar cravings as Fluffy. So Fluffy is the three headed dog in JK Rowling's Harry Potter. And Fluffy is asleep when the music's playing in the story. And I often go, Fluffy is asleep when I keep my carbs low. And for me, it is about 20 or 30 grams, and he's quiet. So when people go, are you on keto forever?, and it's like, well, I've just got a threshold for which my carbs if I keep them that low, then he's quiet. And I like that. I don't like the chit chat. That will I, won't I, the I'm going to do this, you know, the loopholes. And for you, that threshold is obviously lower, down to zero.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (38:22) Yeah, it's interesting. It's actually not zero. And this is part of my experimentation. So I do actually occasionally drink milk. And of course, milk has lactose. And I can actually drink quite a lot of milk. Sometimes. I don't know how many grams I'm having of sugar, but you know, it's actually not zero. Yet interestingly, I don't get the sugar addictions anymore. Right. Yeah, it's just very interesting.
Dr Lucy Burns: (38:45) Yeah. Yeah. And this is the thing that I think people need to kind of just understand is that every single person is different. So for you drinking milk doesn't wake doesn't wake Fluffy up. And look, honestly, for me eating something like bread doesn't wake Fluffy up either. I don't eat bread. I'm not that interested in it. But if I did, I wouldn't be on a rampage. But eating one Tim Tam or one Lindor ball, so milk chocolate, will do it.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (39:16)
Dr Lucy Burns: (39:19) And every single person is different. And this is where it's so hard, because I think people have lost the ability to be in touch with their own self. We're so used to abdicating what we should do to somebody else, whether that's a meal plan, whether it's counting points, even counting carbs, tracking apps, all of those things, because we don't know how to just eat to our own intuition.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (39:47) Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. And a big thing that I teach my patients is intuitive eating and listening to their body. And that's definitely something that, you know, kind of has helped me with massively. But you're right. I mean, I think people focus too much on what others are doing, and what others, you know, tell them to do, and have lost the ability to listen to their own bodies. And once you kind of reawaken that in them, it's amazing. What people can then do with themselves once they learn, Okay, what does this food do to me? Not what does it do to someone else. Not, Can they drink milk? Can they eat bread? It's just no. Can I do that? And then you just set that spark in, and then that they're just off and they just got the power then. And it's incredible.
Dr Lucy Burns: (40:39) Ah, absolutely. And, you know, one of our favourite sayings is that eating is not a team sport, it's an individual pursuit. But we treat it like a team sport, that everyone should be doing the same thing. And if you're not doing what everyone else is doing, you know, you're often judged, ridiculed, questioned, all of those things. And really, you know, to use a very, very overused phrase, but you know, I say to people, You do you. You do you, I'll do me. And we're all happy.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (41:10) No, absolutely. I mean, a lot of people do worry about what what can they eat in social situations, you know, will people judge me, especially in the carnivore community. You know, because it is a little bit out there. Of course, you know, nobody, nobody will question if you order a steak and salad and you just eat the steak, nobody will really care. But then if you mention it to someone, then all of a sudden, it's a big deal.
Dr Lucy Burns: (41:32) Yeah. Or if you just order the steak and you don't, and suddenly just a plate of steak arrives. I mean, we all had that reaction, though. You had it with your patient. It's like, what are you doing? You know you're gonna kill yourself. And so, I'll often say to people, Look, people are sometimes just acting out of concern. You know they're worried about you, they love you. They're just wanting to make sure you're alright. And that's fine, you know, but you just go It's okay, I've got this. Oh, wonderful. Well, I am super looking forward to your talk at Low Carb Brisbane. It is going to be magnificent. And I think that there's a lot that people want to know about this carnivore movement. And I think for people who are, who are starting out, you know, they often want to know that there are health professionals who will support them in that journey. So if people wanted to connect with you, Suresh, where do they find you?
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (42:22) Yeah, so they can find me on my website. So my main kind of professional website is drsuresh.com.au. And otherwise, my podcast is called The Meat Medic and themeatmedic.com. And pretty much all my socials is @themeatmedic, as well. And I try and yeah, I respond to messages, try and interact with people as much as humanly possible. It's hard, working a lot. But you know, I try and be very responsive. And just answer questions and just chat with people.
Dr Lucy Burns: (42:54) Absolutely. Well, that sounds wonderful. And for those of you who would love to listen, in person, to a real life carnivore doctor, then you can hear Suresh speak at Low Carb Brisbane, which is Saturday, the 20th of May. We will link all of Dr Suresh’s socials, try saying that fast, Suresh’s socials, in the show notes, as well as obviously, Low Carb Brisbane in the show notes as well. Suresh, I have loved our chat. It has been fascinating. And I do love the idea that you are just an experimenter. And at the end of the day, the results are all about what works for you. And that's brilliant.
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar: (43:34) Yeah, thank you for having me on the show, Lucy, it’s been great to chat to you this morning. And I look forward to presenting at the Low Carb Road Show in Brisbane.
Dr Lucy Burns: (43:41) Indeed, it'll be a ripper. Okay lovelies, have a wonderful weekend and we will talk to you soon. Bye for now.
Dr Lucy Burns: (43:53) So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns…
Dr Mary Barson: (44:01) and I'm Dr Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit rlmedicine.com
Dr Lucy Burns: (44:11) And until next time…
Both: (44:14) Thanks for listening!
Dr Lucy Burns: (44:16) The information shared on the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, including show notes and links, provides general information only. It is not a substitute, nor is it intended to provide, individualised medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor can it be construed as such. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.