The creator of “The Healing Foods Method,” Vivica Menegaz of The Nourished Caveman is a keto paleo nutritionist, cookbook author, and blogger. Originally a native of Italy, she grew up eating a nutrient-dense and local diet full of wonderful healing foods like organ meats in her keto or carnivore diet.  After spending years as a food photographer for magazines such as Bon Appetit and Vanity Fair, Vivica was given an opportunity to train with Dr. Deborah Penner from Chico, California in nutrition clinical practice. 

After working with Dr. Penner, Vivica branched out on her own and was eating a paleo type diet until she suddenly began gaining extra weight that seemed unusual. Upon further investigation, she realized she was pre-diabetic. This led her to blending the paleo diet with a ketogenic approach that brought about great results in her weight, blood sugar and more.

Vivica now works with women to help them reverse their own metabolic issues, lose weight and balance their hormones with her program: “The Healing Foods Method.” As Vivica provides custom instruction and one-on-one attention, only five women are accepted per month, where they can begin learning how to test their blood sugar and ketones, and more, to see their progress.

You can find Vivica on her website The Nourished Caveman and blog which combines ancestral diets with the wisdom of nutrition pioneers: Weston A Price, Dr. Royal Lee, Dr. Pottenger and more. She can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and on her YouTube Channel.

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In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • About Vivica’s past work in photography after attending The Center for Design in Pasadena and how she got into food photography [4:10]
  • That she grew up in Italy, eating locally, and later traveled to Japan just to enjoy the food [5:40]
  • That she never had a metabolic issue until recently and was never drawn to the starchy carbs or sweets, but rather preferred meats, veggies and organ meats like fried brains and liver [6:30]
  • How she views nutrient-dense organ meats like fried brains — the taste of childhood! [7:15]
  • That she started cooking at age 7 [8:00]
  • Born and raised in Italy, she moved to the United States at age 23 and has been here for more than 25 years [8:30]
  • About her transition to working with individuals in clinical practice, starting with raw food [9.10]
  • How she had major gallbladder attacks at age 27 but didn’t have it removed. She was having attacks 1-2 times a week and both her mom and grandma had theirs removed, but she refused to let them take hers [9:45]
  • How her chiropractor helped her with food and nutrition, supplements and adjustments to overcome the gallbladder issues [10:05]
  • How Vivica began working for Dr. Deborah Penner, her chiropractor in Chico, who later became her friend and mentor, pushing her to begin studying nutrition, working together for four years in clinical practice [10:35]
  • How she branched out on her own and now takes a keto paleo approach, blending the two diets together. Although the paleo diet supported her gallbladder, the discovery of pre-diabetes and sudden 30 lb weight gain led her to finding keto. [12:10]
  • About how monitoring your blood glucose can prevent a diagnosis of diabetes by just being aware of how foods are affecting your blood sugar [14:15]
  • That graphing your blood sugar readings show you a whole different perspective than a single fasting blood draw [16:45]
  • That she asks her clients to test 7 times a day and keep a food journal to see real-time feedback on their food and what it’s doing in their bodies as they learn how to test blood sugar [17:00]
  • That testing and macros are training wheels for understanding how to eat, but you will eventually understand when you’re in ketosis by how you feel [21:00]
  • About keto-adaptation, testing for ketosis with both blood sugar and ketones to keep you on track, and why avoiding cheat days is important for becoming really keto-adapted [22:30]
  • Are they food sensitivities or are they just foods that aren’t paleo? [26:30]
  • Dave compares white bread to cocaine in its addictiveness [27:00]
  • That carbs ups aren’t necessarily bad, but you don’t have to eat a donut to do one or stop eating the high-quality foods either! [30:00]
  • About food shaming and peer pressure and how we navigate it [31:40] 
  • About the layers and steps to healing based on where you are and what you want to do. This can be based on your family situation, psychology etc. [35:10]
  • About her experiment with going carnivore for a week and how she was in the highest ketosis she’s ever been in [36:23]
  • How she had cravings for some things come up while doing carnivore and attributes it to another layer of keto-adaptation and gut microbiome recalibration [41:00]
  • That she gained weight and then when she started working out she lost 5 lbs without trying [44:40]
  • “If you don’t take time for your health today, you’ll have to take time for your illness tomorrow.” — Dr. Bruce Bond [48:00]


Dr. Deborah Penner

Zsófia Clemens, PhD

Food Shaming Blog Post by Vivica Menegaz

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