Interview w/ Lisa Bilyeu of Quest Nutrition – Episode 63: PaleOMG Uncensored Podcast

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Today on the podcast, I have the inspiring and amazing woman Lisa Bilyeu. Lisa is the co-found of Quest Nutrition, President of Impact Theory, and the co-host of the Sheroic Podcast! It’s safe to say that Lisa stays busy. And she has an incredible health story that I think so many people can relate to in some degree. Excited to share her story with you guys!


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Episode 63 Transcription!

This is Juli Bauer from PaleOMG and you are listening to PaleOMG Uncensored.

Juli Bauer: Hey guys! Welcome to another episode of PaleOMG Uncensored. I am Juli Bauer Roth, and thank you guys so much for listening. Today I have a very special guest. I’m so excited to have her on. I’ve been doing all this research finding out all the different things that Lisa Bilyeu is doing. So, thank you Lisa, for being on my podcast!

Lisa Bilyeu: Oh, Juli, thank you so much for having me on. I’m super excited!

Juli Bauer: It’s so cool. I first heard about you on Girls Gone WOD with Joy and Clare, and started looking you up then. And then got in contact with you. So it’s so cool to have you on, because I loved listening to you with Joy and Clare. You just have this beautiful voice that’s just dreamy to listen to.

Lisa Bilyeu: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: So where are you from, originally?

Lisa Bilyeu: I’m from England. I was going to say, I think the accent fools people on the voice! {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Yes, it’s just so pretty. {laughs}

Lisa Bilyeu: Thank you! I’m from England. I’ve been living in the States for 15 years full time, and almost 17 years. But my husband loves the accent so much, that I’ve done everything I can to keep it! {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Seriously. What brought you to the states?

Lisa Bilyeu: I actually came over for a film making course. And it was a summer just program. I was only supposed to be here for two months. Day one, I walk into the film school, and there stands this very sexy, hot American guy. He asks me on a date about a month later. And both of us thought; this is going to be so much fun. For me, it’s a story to go back to England and tell all my friends that I had this summer fling with this really hot American guy.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Lisa Bilyeu: He just came out of a relationship where the girl went a little crazy, so he’s like; this is fantastic. She has to leave the country; she’s obligated to. I don’t have to worry about her going crazy. And I think it was kind of that mentality of both of us thinking we don’t have to put on any pretenses that when we went on our first date, it was literally like lightening and we spent every single moment after that together. And that was 17 years ago. So my summer fling turned into a bit more than that. But I joke that I got a lifetime of filmmaking education. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Wow. So what was your husband doing in that course?

Lisa Bilyeu: He was actually my teacher!

Juli Bauer: Oh-ho-ho!!

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah.

Juli Bauer: That’s very juicy! I love that. {laughs}

Lisa Bilyeu: I know, right? {laughs} So he was teaching. And when I first met him, there were certain elements about him that I just completely fell in love with. He always had ambition; grand ambitions. And I’m very much like that. For me, when I was maybe 16, I said I’m going to be the first filmmaker to win an Academy Award, female filmmaker, sorry. Sadly, I’ve lost that battle, because Kathryn won it.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Lisa Bilyeu: But you know, we both had these crazy ideas of what life should be like. So when we kind of fell for each other, it was never a discussion of; “Oh, can we make this work because it’s long distance. I’m not sure.” We just both dived in with both feet, and we’re like; let’s do this. Let’s build a life together and a future together.

Juli Bauer: So was it hard for you to live full time in the States? Do you miss being back home? Or was it just happy as can be since you are here with your husband now?

Lisa Bilyeu: It was, to be honest, pretty miserable for the first year.

Juli Bauer: Where do you live now?

Lisa Bilyeu: We live in Los Angeles.

Juli Bauer: Ok.

Lisa Bilyeu: We got married in England because I’m Greek and have a massive Greek family, so it was very important for all my family to fly in and we do the whole big ceremony. But we had agreed we’d move to Los Angeles because both of us wanted to be in film. We wanted to be filmmakers. And we both love the sunshine, so it wasn’t really a question of where do we go. We kind of knew we were going to be in LA.

And so, yeah. Sorry what was the question? I’ve lost my train of thought.

Juli Bauer: {laughs} Well, have you been happy. You said it was kind of miserable in the beginning.

Lisa Bilyeu: Oh sorry, thank you. So when we moved to LA; I loved the city, and it had everything I’d ever dreamed about. But then reality sets in. And it’s; wow, I don’t have any friends here. All my friends are through my husband. I don’t have a job; I can’t drive because I don’t have a social security number.

Juli Bauer: Oh my god, yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: So for a whole year, I was sitting in a 700-square foot apartment trying to find things to do to kill my time. So that was really, really rough. And then over time, you kind of build your network, and you build people around you who you really get along with. And my husband and I went into business together, and that went from me being a housewife to being an entrepreneur, and that changed my life dramatically.

Juli Bauer: So I want to hear all about your many businesses you have. But let’s kind of go back to the beginning. Because you have a crazy health story. And I think a lot of people who listen to my podcast, or who have followed my blog. They are looking for a better life, and a better health in general, and a lot of people are dealing with leaky gut and a lot of different issues. And you have a pretty crazy story that I heard on Girls Gone WOD. So can you kind of tell everyone about your health story, and how you were able to heal your body?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, absolutely. So, I have always, I guess from the age of 16, been rather body conscious. I was very skinny as a child. So in going through my teenage years, obviously your body develops and you change. And I had a not so very nice boyfriend who would point out and pinch my fat, and then start telling me that I was getting fat.

Now, as you can imagine as a teenager, that is really impactful on you, and your self-esteem, and how you see yourself. So I went pretty much immediately into listening to the outside noise. “Oh, you shouldn’t eat cheese because it’s really high calorie.” Cool, I’ll pull that from my diet. You hear somewhere else, “You shouldn’t eat carbs because of this.” Ok, cool, I’ll pull that from my diet.

And before I knew it, I was pulling things from my diet from all this noise around me. And it got to the point where then I was just getting sick. I’m sure it was because I wasn’t intaking enough calories, or sustaining a healthy gut. So I was getting sick a lot. And in getting sick, I was prescribed antibiotics. And this went on for probably 10, 15 years. Where I was restricting my diet, taking antibiotics, the antibiotics were killing my gut bacteria. I wasn’t giving myself the food and the nutrition to replace it.

So cut to 15 years later of doing the same pattern, one day I got the stomach flu. And I would always have stomach issues and digestion, but I never really felt like I couldn’t recoup. And then one day when I got this flu. It took me so far over the edge, that when I started recovering, I couldn’t eat. So every time I would eat, I couldn’t sustain it in my body. I would get major cramps. I would get major bloating. To the point where my stomach would protrude so far out, that standing up for more than 5 minutes was agonizing. At one point, I had to sit down in the shower because I couldn’t even stand long enough to have a shower. That’s how bad it got.

Juli Bauer: And this was no matter what you were eating?

Lisa Bilyeu: Correct. It didn’t matter what I tried, what I was eating. I just couldn’t stomach anything. So I was slowly losing a lot of weight. I didn’t have any energy in the gym. And I started going to the doctors. And I went very traditionally to the doctors; the allergy doctors, the gastric doctors. So trying to find all the people to give me the answer.

Now the problem is, every time I was going to a doctor, they were telling me, “This is your problem.” So I was going to an allergy doctor, and they’re telling me, “You’re allergic to beef.” They literally were like, “You’re allergic to beef and eggs.” And I was like, that’s pretty much all I eat! So I cut out beef and eggs.

Then I went to a different doctor, and they told me I had SIBO. I went to a different doctor, they told me I was lactose intolerant. So again, I was just taking in all this noise, just thinking; ok, they know what they’re talking about. It only then got worse.

One thing; I’m a cofounder of Quest Nutrition. And at Quest Nutrition, we have a big R&D department. And the R&D department, we always are looking into the new research, the new science. Because we never want to be dogmatic about our food. So if, for instance, tomorrow you told us protein is actually killing people, we would stop making protein bars. With that company. We pride ourselves on what we stand for. So we’re always doing research. Always doing science and studies.

So my husband went to the R&D department, and went to his business partners, and was like; you have to help save my wife. She’s slowly pretty much dying. I hate to be dramatic about it, but my hair was falling out. My nails were getting really thin. And so I was just so malnourished that he said; “We’re a week away from having her do an autoimmune transfusion.” Because that’s what they ended up saying, finally. You’ve got an autoimmune deficiency, we have to give you a transfusion to replace your cells. And that was going to be a 6-month ordeal.

And my husband was like; no. This can’t be the answer. Understanding what we know about food, I’m telling you it must be diet-based, and it must be based on the food. And what you’re dealing with is kind of like putting a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. It’s like, you’re not actually dealing with the problem. The problem is it needs stitches, it needs to heal. And we’re not doing that. We’re just jumping to, let’s throw a Band-Aid over it and hope it stops the bleeding.

So we went to the R&D department. We basically did a study on my gut biome, broke everything down. And immediately, they said, “You need to go on a ketogenic diet, because you have so many inflammatory cells in your gut that it’s just in complete disarray.” So I went onto a ketogenic diet.

Juli Bauer: Ok. So when you started this ketogenic diet, how long did it take you to really heal your gut? And what did that ketogenic diet entail? Were you cutting out certain foods and just trying to eat super high fat? Or what did it really look like for your own gut health?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, so based on the research that we had done internally about a ketogenic diet, all the benefits that it has on the mind. And now there are so many studies coming out about the mind-body connection, and how many neurons you have in your gut. It’s actually the same size as a cat brain, would you believe? I don’t know if you know that, but when I heard that I freaked out that your stomach can have that many neurons inside of it.

Juli Bauer: Yeah!

Lisa Bilyeu: So if it’s got that many neurons, think about; it’s like a motherboard, right? It’s speaking to your brain. And so if ketogenic has already proven it can help inflammation and it can help the mind, what can it actually do to the gut? And that’s when we’re like; ok, what does ketogenic mean?

So we read the book Keto Clarity so that I could understand it more. And then understand ratios. I went on a 2-to-1 ratio. Which means for every combined protein and carbohydrate, if that’s a 1, I need to have twice as much fat.

Juli Bauer: Hmm. Ok.

Lisa Bilyeu: so, instead of having eggs, I would have egg yolk. Olive oil, coconut oil, cutting down my protein dramatically. So for a while, I was on a ketogenic diet. It really helped with the inflammation of my digestion. But it never got me to completely heal.

So imagine one day you’re feeling good, and someone says, “Hey, let’s go and get a burger and let’s have some fries.” Even one fry or one thing out of the norm, it would completely wreck me again. So then I started thinking; this doesn’t seem right. The ketogenic diet is helping me to a point, but it’s not actually taking me all the way to; “Now I’m better.”

So that then led me down another journey of redoing my gut biome and looking into how do I replace the bacteria that shouldn’t be there, and how do I enhance the bacteria that should be there. And that’s pretty much the journey that I’m on right now. And I’m working with a company called Viome. And they are incredible. My husband knows the owner. So they’ve basically taken me on as a case, and they’re breaking everything down.

So the first step was I need to go onto grass-fed meat. That’s actually how I started going into paleo, which I’d never done before. So I started on grass-fed meat, and then they realized that I actually do have SIBO. And I don’t know if anybody knows what SIBO is.

Juli Bauer: I don’t even know what SIBO is.

Lisa Bilyeu: So it actually stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth.

Juli Bauer: Ok.

Lisa Bilyeu: It means I have an overgrowth of bacteria, both good and bad, in my small intestines.

Juli Bauer: And how do they test for that?

Lisa Bilyeu: You basically do a stool sample. And in the stool sample, it can tell where your bacteria is and how much of it you have. It was pretty crazy to see my results. And when I got my results, they were pretty astonished about how bad they were. And the good news was that understanding the overall, then you can break it down into steps on how to then get better. So it’s kind of like saying; I’m going to drive to Vegas but I’m not actually going to look at the roadmap on how to get there. Well, good luck trying to get to Vegas! If you don’t know how to get there. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: Mm-hmm.

Lisa Bilyeu: So that’s basically how they took my gut. And now I’m on this roadmap. And step one was I had to eliminate all the good bacteria in my small intestine. Which means I had to starve it.

Juli Bauer: Ugh!

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. So for the last month, I’ve had to go back to just a meat and fat diet. I couldn’t have any vegetables. My diet, literally every single day, was beef, lamb, chicken, coconut oil, olive oil, and salt.

Juli Bauer: Oh my goodness!

Lisa Bilyeu: And I could start to dabble in eggs, and I could start to dabble in bacon if I felt ok. But that was every single meal, breakfast lunch and dinner, and that’s what I’ve been eating for the last four weeks.

Juli Bauer: Wow!

Lisa Bilyeu: Then it’s; ok that was step one. Now things have actually changed in my digestion and I’m onto step two. So I’ve got rid of all the bacteria in my small intestine, and everything’s been pushed down into my large intestine, and now I have to rebuild back that bacteria. So now I have to add back things like bok choy. I have to have collard greens. So I’ve got a very strict regimen on what I do, when I do it, how much I do it. And so this has been a battle; everything I just told you is a period of two years.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: And I’m still not obviously in the clear. I’m kind of working towards it. But I find after all this time, you’ve got to find the joy in the small things, and you’ve got to find the empowerment in being able to do it. Like, “Wow, today I really crushed it and I didn’t feel badly! I had my mind focused on what I was doing.” So I’ve been giving myself brain tricks to really keep myself motivated. Because it can bring you down. And you can start feeling sorry for yourself. But I’m one of those people that feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t help. And if it’s true that there really is a mind-body connection between the gut and the brain, the more I feel sorry for myself the more my gut is just going to be in more disarray.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. It’s really interesting to hear this stuff, especially right now. My husband is dealing with very similar things to what you’re saying.

Lisa Bilyeu: Oh wow.

Juli Bauer: He did a nutrition test, and he’s allergic to pork, and chicken, and oranges, and everything he was eating pretty much every single day. So of course he’s having those inflammatory responses based on maybe this leaky gut that he’s going through. So he’s cutting out all of these things.

Do you have a hard time finding this balance of; how do you go out right now and hang out with your friends while you’re trying to dial in this nutrition? And your friends want to go to a bar, or want to go to a restaurant? How are you balancing that? Are you just eating before so you can still go to those social functions? Or you’re like; you know what, I have to stay home and put my mind somewhere else. How are you balancing that going through such a tough time? And your real life still going on around you?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, Juli, that’s a really great question. And it’s been an evolution. It’s definitely easy to feel sorry for yourself. It’s definitely easy to give every excuse under the sun why you can’t do something, or why something’s not possible, you know. And I just don’t allow myself to wallow in that.

So every day I start fresh, and I say; ok, how am I feeling? Sometimes I’m feeling very tired because I haven’t been able to sustain enough calories in my body for that day or the day before. And so I just tell myself; you get what you focus on. And I have certain phrases and quotes that I repeat to myself, because it’s so powerful to remind yourself of what you’re trying to get to. And my goal is to get my gut in check.

So if that’s my goal, and my own mindset is holding me back, then it’s counter intuitive. So I just tell myself; “Lisa, thinking like this isn’t going to help. You get what you focus on. What are you focusing on? Are you focusing on the pain? Are you focusing on that you can’t go out with your friends? Or you’re focusing that every step of the way you’re going to be more stronger and powerful for going through this.”

So when it comes to; a perfect example actually is I had to travel a couple of weeks ago for my cousin’s birthday. And we were going to Vegas. And Vegas is; you’re supposed to be able to let go, right? Have some alcohol. Eat as much as you like. Party; all of these things that I personally love to do. And I started getting myself a little in disarray, because I was like; what if I can’t find a place to eat? What if I get sick? What if I’m on the plane because the inflammation hurts. My stomach. So I started thinking about it, and my husband was just like; stop thinking like that!

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: If you’re thinking all the negative thoughts, then what’s going to happen is yes, your tummy will hurt on the plane. And yes, when you get there, you’re going to get yourself all anxious that you don’t know where to eat. So if you know all the worries that may happen. If you can predict the problems, then preempt it. It’s like a business.

Juli Bauer: Totally.

Lisa Bilyeu: And at this point, we’ve built enough businesses to understand how process works, and how each step matters, and have your eye on the prize. So I feel ok; let’s do it like that. What are my concerns? My concerns are what if I can’t eat out? Alright, Lisa, go onto Yelp, stop being ridiculous. Go onto Yelp, look at restaurants, find places that have grass-fed meat. Step number one.

Ok, well what if you’re on the plane and you’re in pain? Ok, well take yourself through those steps. Preempt it. There’s nothing you can do if you’re on the plane, but I know that my husband is very comforting for me. So I let him know; hey babe, if I’m on the plane and I’m not feeling well, this is what I need from you. I need XYZ. I need you to be sweet. I want you to put your hand on my lap. Preempt all the things I’m going to need emotionally.

And then warn everybody so that I’m never ever put in a position where I feel uncomfortable, that I feel like I have to tag along or join into something where if I’m in pain or if I can’t participate. So I told my whole family; look guys, this is the situation. I may not be able to come to the club tonight. I may be in pain. So please don’t put pressure on me. I’m going to do everything I can to be there. But if I have to leave, then I’m going to leave. And everyone was very sympathetic and understanding.

My husband had an exit plan. He’s like; alright. If you’re in pain, this is what we do. I grab your hand, I’ll text everybody, we’ll shoot out the door. So everything allowed me to bring my anxiety levels down, and that really, really helped. Because I like to think; the pain is inevitable. So if all I’m worried about is the pain coming; well, hey, there’s no surprise. It’s going to come. So if it’s inevitable, just plan for it.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: So that was really how I approached it.

Juli Bauer: How has it been for you guys as your relationship has grown, and your illness has changed over the years. How has that been for your relationship? Has it brought you guys closer? Was it challenging to get through as a couple? What has that been like? Because I always wonder, when I see people go through even much worse, of cancer, and being in a relationship how that puts turmoil on the relationship. What has it been like for you guys?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. That is a great question. And it has been an evolution because one, it’s; not that I ever doubted it, but it’s just shown that my husband has been willing to go through this entire thing without one ounce of complaint on himself. So knowing that you have that support system; you take your vows, and you say through thick and thin, for better or for worse. But it really does make a difference when you’re in that situation.

So feeling like I had the support really helped. But look; at the end of the day, I’m not going to pretend that just support is everything. It’s not. And there are days where I’m super emotional, and I’m maybe acting a little crazy. And he’s the one calling me on it. He’s like; babe, you have to understand that you’re feeling like this. You’re feeling stressed because of your digestion, and just because it’s because of that it doesn’t mean that you can act crazy or you can be depressed or put a damper on something that can be beautiful. Like a trip to Vegas. He’s like, you’re going to be with your family. This is going to be amazing. And if all you’re doing is sitting here being negative, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. And I’m not going to let that happen.

So he was very harsh on me, as well, and my personality is I needed that. But of course, if you’re too hard; now I feel unloved. And for us, our communication has been the key. It’s been very honest. I’ve had to be very truthful with him about, hey I need tough love here, because I can’t get out of this vicious cycle that I’m in. Or look; I know you’re trying to give me tough love right now. I know it comes from somewhere, because you love me, but I can’t handle it. And what I actually need right now is a hug.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: And really setting each other up for success instead of for disaster is so key. And him telling me what he needs. Because as the sick person, it’s so easy to say; woe is me, I need everyone to understand. I need everyone to just be kind of sympathetic to me. That doesn’t work. I don’t like feeling like that. I do not like feeling like an invalid. I do not like feeling like the woe is me type person.

So I changed my mindset into; this is happening to the both of us. This isn’t just me; it’s to the both of us. And I need to respect him and how he’s feeling as I’m going through this just as much as he’s being sweet and respecting me. So obviously things change. We’re not able to go out for dinner right now. So that is on him as well, it’s not just happening to me. We’re not able to have alcohol, go out, and have a fun night out. Obviously intimacy; that has had to change sometimes because if I’m in pain, I’m sorry, I can’t be intimate. But I want to also be understanding to the face that he has to deal with that too.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Has he, while you’ve gone through this process, has he changed his diet along with you? You’re obviously both healthy people already to begin with, but as your diet has had to change, has he gone to just protein and fat along with you or has he cut out alcohol altogether. How have you guys kind of maneuvered around that?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, we really have always had a healthy somewhat lifestyle. And so whenever we would have pizza, go out, kind of splurge, we always did it together and it always became date night. So that actually has been one thing that’s been hard for us to change. And it’s like; ok, instead of having our enjoyment on going out and having some alcohol and having food, why don’t we play video games? Why don’t we go swimming with our puppies? So we’re just changing what our enjoyment is.

Now that doesn’t mean, obviously, that he shouldn’t go out and eat. And I’ve said that to him. But for him; and I think this is actually more for him than it is for me. But he’s been like; no, if you can’t do it, I don’t want to do it. Because for me, it’s been a shared experience. And in doing it without you; A, he doesn’t get as much pleasure. But also, he’s just like; I want to feel like I’m there for you. So even if you don’t care, he’s like for me as a man and as your husband, I want to feel good about being there for you.

So he doesn’t drink alcohol. He hasn’t had any cake. When we were in Vegas, they brought naan bread to the table. I don’t know if you know what naan bread is, but it is so good.

Juli Bauer: Oh yeah. So good! I haven’t had it in so, so long.

Lisa Bilyeu: Oh my god, it was one of those that I haven’t had in so long. But you know when it’s in front of you, and you smell it it’s like; oh yeah. So they bring it to the table in Vegas, and there’s 10 of us sitting around the table and everyone is indulging. I said, babe why don’t you have some? And he’s like, no thank you. I was like, no, I actually, it would make me happy to see you eat it because you kind of want to live vicariously through somebody else.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: And he was like; no babe, I really don’t want to. He’s like; I want to support you. And this is more for me than it is for you, but I want to feel like I’m there for you. So we have those very honest conversations about what we both need for each other, and for ourselves as well.

Juli Bauer: That’s awesome.

Lisa Bilyeu: But I’d actually like to ask you the same question. If your husband is going through these issues, how have you found it, as the partner?

Juli Bauer: It’s been; so I cook for part of my living. I cook recipes on a regular basis, and they include a lot of things that hen can’t have. Like, pork and onions right now, and carrots. And things that he just can’t have so it’s kind of hard when I’m cooking for the blog and then I have; I made these turkey pot pies the other day for the blog, and he can’t have any of it because it has things that he can’t have in it and it’s just sitting in the fridge.

And it makes me feel guilty. And I’ve told him, I’m trying to set him up for success in making him breakfast so he can start off on the right foot every morning, and he’s not like trying to figure it out himself when he has work to get to and traffic to sit in.

So, sometimes if we don’t have something available in the house because I feel like I’m failing him because we’ve just never had this before and this is a fairly new first month out. But it’s been really good for him to cut out alcohol, because alcohol is such poison to the body anyways. And it’s funny because I don’t drink that often, and then once he was told he can’t have alcohol, then I felt like I actually wanted the alcohol.

Lisa Bilyeu: {laughing} Isn’t that interesting?

Juli Bauer: It’s so weird. It’s like; and I’m the person. I can’t say that I can’t have something because then I want it so much more. And I stay away from gluten because it makes me feel terrible. So it’s not even that I can’t have it; it’s like I don’t want to eat it because it makes me have stomach cramps and I can’t stand up and I’m miserable.

But it’s hard as the partner of feeling completely lost in what to do. You can’t just fix it for him. And I’m sure your husband feels that way for you. You can’t be like; oh I’ll just make these dinners for you and you’ll be fine. Or I’ll get all the groceries for you, and you’ll just be healed in six weeks. So it’s just feeling lost. Like you can’t really do anything. And not knowing who to turn to for answers. And that’s why I loved listening to your podcast with Girls Gone WOD. Because I’m like; I’d love to hear how she searched for answers. Because you think you can trust this doctor, and then you go to a different doctor and they’re telling you something different. So how do you know who to trust?

It’s just a weird, new chapter in our life. And hopefully we can get past it and doing lots of bone broth and just kind of clearing those foods out. And I just try to remind him, this is only for right now and you’ll get past it, and you’ll be able to have onions again someday.

Lisa Bilyeu: {laughs} Right!

Juli Bauer: But it’s just this piece of your life is going to be a short piece compared to the full length of it. It’s just sad seeing someone else not the happiest they could be.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah! And the one thing actually that you said is one thing that we’re dealing with right now. And I wonder if you guys are, as well. Is your identity. I wrapped my identity for so long as being cofounder of Quest Nutrition, and then not being able to eat our product really did affect me. And then with identity in your partner, my husband’s identity is to protect me. And to make sure that nothing bad happens to me. So for him, because I’m going through so much of this health thing, I think it really does affect him in feeling like he can’t protect me or he’s not getting me better. So he spends hours a day researching the microbiome. Every morning he gets up at 4 a.m. and all he’s doing is reading.

So I know that’s kind of the struggle for him. And that’s one thing we do talk about, as well. Because again, it’s both of us going through this, not just me. So I actually wondered do you also feel like that with your husband. Where it’s like; you take care of him, you make him food, and now it’s like you have to change the way you do that.

Juli Bauer: Absolutely. And just things that are available in the house. Grocery shopping. Going to different grocery stores. And I don’t want to have something in the fridge that he can’t have, because then I have to tell him that he can’t have it.

Lisa Bilyeu: Right!

Juli Bauer: Like I had to do this morning.

Lisa Bilyeu: How do you feel about that? Does that upset you? Does it break your heart?

Juli Bauer: It does. He was like; what is this? I’m like; you can’t have it.

Lisa Bilyeu: Aww.

Juli Bauer: He was like, I’m just asking. I was like, I know. Just the person who has been there as I’ve pretty much started my business and my blog, and he’s tried every single one of my recipes. And then that piece of your relationship is just kind of taken away for the time being. It’s just so weird. It’s just a very feeling of trapped, when you’re trapped within your body. And I’ve been to that position where he is, where you’re just sick all the time and you feel terrible and I went through that. So I totally understand it. And it’s just so sad when you can’t help them, you can only really be there for them. And then do as much as you can. It’s sad. It sucks. It’s sad and it’s hard.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah.

Juli Bauer: It’s only, as you know, it’s a small chapter in your life, and you’re building for a better and healthier life together. And that’s what you’ll get to. The more you press through it.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. And kind of going back to your earlier question, I really feel like this is a challenge, and it’s something that we’re working through. We’re learning so much about each other. We’re learning so much about ourselves that sometimes I get something like this can actually hurt a couple, and really be a problem in their relationship. But for us, it’s like we’ve got our eye on the prize and we know that this could be dangerous for our relationship. So we make sure that it’s not. Every step of the way we talk about it. We go over it.

And like you said, it changes. Right? You’ve had so long where you’re cooking, and your husband is trying it and now that’s not the case. It’s like, you have to adapt. And that was the case with me and my husband. Our date night was, let’s go out, let’s have a drink, let’s have some fun food. Really make a night of it whether we’re; maybe we travel for the weekend or something like that. And we can’t do that now.

Instead of falling into that trap of just being like, now we’re a couple that don’t go out, and we don’t spend time together, you’ve got to reassess. Ok, this is who we were, but this isn’t who we are now. So how do we still get the pleasures that we got before? How do we get them in doing something else? And that’s why, like I said earlier, we play video games and we swim with our puppies. And now he reads to me. So we found all these other bonding things that we can do that don’t require us to go out to a restaurant. Or don’t require us to have to put ourselves in a situation where now I’ll be completely in trouble with my digestion or something like that.

And that is so important when it comes to relationships and dealing with something like this. I think it’s very important to make sure that you readjust. Instead of going; oh well, can’t do that. That sucks. And before you know it, it does weigh on your relationship.

Juli Bauer: Yeah, absolutely. I really like that you said adapting; because I think that’s what relationships are. It’s not like you married this person, and you’re the exact same person throughout your life.

Lisa Bilyeu: {laughing} Right.

Juli Bauer: You really have to adapt together, whether you deal with an illness, or a death, or something. We all have those crazy moments, and you have to adapt together. I love that you said that, because that’s totally what it is. And that’s the stage you’re at. I think every year you’re at a new adapting stage. But these are just harder ones than others.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, and I’m just going to build one more onto that. Because that was so spot on, what you said. People really; do you ever hear, “Oh my god, but you’ve changed so much! You’re not the same person you were!”

Juli Bauer: 100% all the time. {laughing}

Lisa Bilyeu: That makes me laugh! Because it’s like, of course I’m not the same person. Thank god I’m not the same person! Life is about growing and learning. So if you’re only judging someone by, you’re not the same person they were. Or you’re judging them now because they’ve changed. I think you’re just stetting yourself up for disaster. And so in the adaptation of that, you have to keep growing. You have to be aware that other people are going to be growing. You make sure, at least in a relationship, that you’re growing in the same direction.

Juli Bauer: Totally. {laughs} That’s like; I get that all the time on a blog. They’re like; I wish you were like yourself when you started your blog. I’m like, that was 2011! When I was like 23 years old! Why would I ever want to be my 23-year-old self who was insecure, broke as hell, unhappy every day.

Lisa Bilyeu: {laughs} Right.

Juli Bauer: It’s so strange when people say that, because they are not; hopefully they’re not like their 23-year-old self.

Lisa Bilyeu: Right!

Juli Bauer: Who would want to be that same person. Growing and changing is the best part of life.

Lisa Bilyeu: Right, exactly. And hopefully; me personally, I see myself as being quite confident. But I’m hoping that next year I look back and go; oh, Lisa you’re an idiot. I can’t believe you thought like this. Or you did this. Or you thought this was right. I want to be new, and I want to re, I guess, invigorate myself every step of the way, right?

Juli Bauer: Absolutely.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. So when it comes to stuff like health; a relationship is already difficult to make sure that you’re always on the same page and that you’re growing together. So when you get something like a health issue that can come in and really disrupt everything you have, I just see it as this is a chance to empower myself. This is a chance to get stronger. This is actually a chance for me and my husband to bond even more. And that I get excited about. So I think change and adaptation should be exciting for people instead of a fear.

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Juli Bauer: Well, you mentioned this a couple of times. You have two dogs.

Lisa Bilyeu: I do!

Juli Bauer: Two dogs. I don’t know if you’ve heard it, but my French Bulldog is sleeping on the couch cushion behind me, so he lets out a few snores here and there.

Lisa Bilyeu: Aww! Jackson, right? If I remember correctly.

Juli Bauer: Yes. He’s sleeping right behind me. So I bring that up, because as I was looking through your Instagram, I saw this picture of your two dogs. And then you’re obviously very good at drawing, correct?

Lisa Bilyeu: OH, thank you. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: You have your two puppies, and then a picture of a baby that you drew. So I was instantly interested to see what this was about. And you talk about, in this Instagram post, that after 15 years of marriage, you guys have decided not to have children. And you were kind of; you just thought that was something you did, because that was always; I think that’s a very social norm.

Lisa Bilyeu: yeah.

Juli Bauer: To think; you’re a woman, you will get married and you will have kids and you will raise these children. That’s kind of what; at least for me. I was always told, and continually told, that I should be doing now that I’m married. So can you kind of talk about that? Since I’ve talked about this a lot on my blog and podcast. I try to be very vocal about it. Because I don’t think we have many women in the world who speak about not having children. And why they’ve chosen that path because it can be very frowned upon by other people.

And when I’ve mentioned it, I’ll have people that say, “Oh, you just don’t want to change your body. It’s so selfish of you.” Like, no, there are 400 other reasons that go into it. Not only growing a human inside me, but all the other reasons of having children why it’s very much a stressor for me. So how did you guys kind of come to decide that? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yes, Juli! I’m so excited that we’re going to talk about this. Because I was listening to one of your podcasts about kids, and I was like; oh my god, this woman is like my jam! We’ve got to talk about this.

Juli Bauer: {laughs}

Lisa Bilyeu: And because I feel the same; there are just not enough people right now that are speaking our, or even really thinking that they have a choice. So I love that when I was listening to your podcast, and just your take on it. So thank you for asking me this question.

The one first big bold statement I’m going to say is what’s wrong with being selfish?

Juli Bauer: I know. That’s how I feel! That’s totally how I feel.

Lisa Bilyeu: Right? Like, not having kids is selfish. Yes, it is. What’s wrong with that? It’s not like they’re alive and now I’m abandoning them because I would rather be selfish than take care of them. They don’t exist. So right now, all that exists in my life is me, my husband, and our business.

So anyway, that’s just my big bold statement. But I can kind of backtrack a little on how we evolved into this. I’m Greek Orthodox, so growing up it was just totally assumed I’m going to get married and have kids. No question about it. I didn’t even question it. I met my husband fairly young, got married, I was 22. He was like, immediately, look babe. I’m not looking to have kids at least for another couple of years. I want to really enjoy you. I want your selfish time together, just husband and wife.

So, great. I was totally on board. I was a housewife, so when we were in America, we had discussed what our roles were in our relationship. So what are we actually looking for out of a partner. What am I looking for from him as a husband; what is he looking for as a wife. What does our future look like. And we really broke all of this down. And my husband was like; look. I’m very ambitious. I want to build a company. I want to make movies. So that’s the path that I really want to go on. But obviously if you want to have kids, I’m going to support you. Because I’m never going to tell my wife, if you’ve dreamed about having kids your whole life, if that’s who you are I’m never going to take that away from me. Just like he wouldn’t want me to take away from him about his ambition.

So we’d kind of laid out the ground rules. So I was a house wife, I was taking care of him. We called it Bilyeu Enterprises, so I was taking care of Bilyeu Enterprises. Which is basically the bills, the house, taking care of his food. He didn’t have to think about anything except work.

And then Quest Nutrition came along. And I went from being a housewife to basically help build this billion-dollar company in five years. And it was one of those very slow progress. So it was; oh, just box some bars on my rug and take it to the post office. Ok, well we’re doing a bit better, so maybe I should start shipping out of my friend’s garage. Ok, well the company’s doing a bit better. So it kind of; I didn’t really mean to become an entrepreneur at the beginning. I kind of just stumbled into it as a support system for my husband and the business he was doing with his business partners.

And then over time, I started really enjoying the growth. And I started really enjoying learning new skills. And I started really enjoying understanding business. And I started building the shipping department of Quest. And before I knew it, we were a billion-dollar company, and I was running the department, and I had 14 employees under me. And I had learned about imports and exports and deliveries and freight. I just learned so much.

And I had gained so much confidence out of learning. And once I then went from running the shipping department to now going back to my true love, which is film making. I started building a studio within Quest Nutrition. So we were making commercials for the company. We were making recipes, and we did a cookbook. And that was so exciting, because it was then going back to my true love.

So here I was, from a housewife flash forward five years later, I’ve built a media studio within the company and really finding my passion. And I was so driven. And I love it. And here I’m going; I’m not getting any younger. At some point I have to decide; do I want children? And what does that look like? Because I don’t want to be that person that blinks and goes, oh well I missed my window.

Juli Bauer: Do you mind me asking how old you are?

Lisa Bilyeu: No, not at all. I’m 38.

Juli Bauer: Ok.

Lisa Bilyeu: This was probably about 2 years ago. So about 36. We kept putting off kids. Like, oh the company is doing so well and right now it doesn’t make sense. Oh, the company is doing so well, right now we shouldn’t. So we kind of justified why we kept putting it off.

And then a couple of years ago, I sat my husband down and we spoke about it. I just said; look. Let’s lay out everything. All the things we don’t want to admit, all the things we’re embarrassed to ever say out loud. But let’s just put it down. And then we can actually make a decision. So we laid everything out. And it was, if we’re going to have kids, what does that look like?

And for me, it meant I would want to step away. Because I don’t want to have someone else bring up my children. So it means that I would give up what I was doing. Ok, well how do I feel about that? I love what I’m doing. So ok, well there’s a bit of a debate there. But I get that if you don’t have children, you never know what it’s going to feel like, right? You ask a mother what it’s like to have a kid, and the first thing they’ll say is, they’ll be no other love in your life like you feel about your child.

Juli Bauer: Mm-hmm.

Lisa Bilyeu: And I accept that that’s true. I don’t debate that. I just don’t feel it because I don’t have a kid right now. So the emotion isn’t real to me. But the emotion of being a female entrepreneur is. I feel that every day.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: So, ok. Now I have to weigh those options. What does my life look like with my husband, as a relationship between me and him? He said he never wants to be the father that’s absence. Ok, well he’s an ambitious man who works 15 hours a day, at least. Actively works on things. He’s always doing stuff. But 15 hours a day, imagine, he’s working. He works out because for him the body is very important. The connection between the body and mind. So he works out; that’s part of his identity. I would never ask him to change that.

So now, the moments he has free, he’s going to want to spend with his children. Because he doesn’t want to be an absent father. And as the wife, I get it. I wouldn’t want him to be an absent father. So we broke that down. Now, where does that leave time for me and him? It doesn’t.

Juli Bauer: Mm-hmm.

Lisa Bilyeu: So then we had the question that people don’t want to ask themselves, but we did. Right now, he’s my number one and I’m his number one. Period. Well, when we have kids, he’s going to become his number two, and I’m going to become his number two. I’m not his priority anymore, and he’s not mine.

And being brutally honest; because I think that’s how it should be. I think if we were going to have kids, that is the right decision for us to make. But I don’t want that.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: Again, going back to being selfish. I’m absolutely going to be selfish because this is the life that I have. And it’s not like I’m abandoning a child, because they don’t exist yet. So I am coming from of an utterly selfish perspective. What do I selfishly want? I want to be my husband’s number one. What I do selfishly want? I want to be a female entrepreneur.

And when we can be honest, with no judgement. Right? You can’t judge yourself on it. You’ve just got to be honest about it. And he didn’t judge me for it. He didn’t say, oh your less of a woman now. Oh, you’re not nurturing. You know; all these things that I feared people would think about me. Or that he would think about me. Because in my head, that’s what a woman should be like. A woman should be nurturing. A woman should be a care taker.

And now I feared, am I less of a woman because I’ve chosen to not have children? And we had that talk. And he was honest with me about it. He goes; babe, I don’t care. He’s like; that doesn’t reflect on how I feel about you. You’re still going to be you. You’re still nurturing. I love the spark in your eye when you are doing business. When I feel like I’ve done a good job; he’s like, you have this smile and spark in your eye that I love. And so if that’s what it’s going to take for you to have that spark in your eye, and it’s not going to be children, he’s like, I don’t care.

Juli Bauer: That’s awesome.

Lisa Bilyeu: So I could let go of that. But for a year, if I’m going to be truthfully honest with you, Juli, I couldn’t say it out loud.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: Because of the judgement, right? You even just said that you get people that come to you and say, hey, you’re being selfish. And I so feared that that I felt guilty about it. Which is crazy! Why do I feel guilty? It’s my life!

Juli Bauer: Yeah. That’s so weird when people say that. Because just like you said at the beginning, what’s wrong with being selfish? If you’re giving back into the world in so many ways, why is it wrong to be selfish in your own life? When you’re still being the best person you can be. You just don’t have another little human tagged right to you. It’s so interesting. And I see; well, how did you family deal with that? Since you come from such a huge family who kind of just expected that?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. My parents still haven’t given up. At one point, I just had to tell my mom straight to her face. “Mom, I love you, but I’m not going to have kids. And I know that’s breaking your heart right now, and I need you to really think about it and embrace the emotion you’re going through of the loss of the grandchildren that you desperately wanted from me. And I’m going to be here if you have any questions. But I need you to know that as your daughter, I’m so happy. And if your primary goal is for your daughter to be happy, then you should absolutely remind yourself that I am.”

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: So if you need to grieve, if you need to go through this emotion, then I get it. I’m here for you. And again, just being empathetic to other people and how they’re going to feel about your decision making.

My dad, on the other hand, bless him hasn’t given up as much. And he still gives me the whole speech of; you spend so much time and energy being successful. Now that you are, what are you going to do? You’re just going to give your money to your dogs. {laughs} He does all that.

Juli Bauer: {laughs} You’re like, if I could, I would totally give all the money to my dogs. Duh.

Lisa Bilyeu: I know!

Juli Bauer: Well let’s actually talk about your business. Because you have multiple businesses. And what is so crazy is as you’re talking about Quest Nutrition. And I was doing a little research about it, and just kind of how long this company has been out. And when you talk about it, it is a billion-dollar company. Not just M; million. It is a billion with a B. Which is insane to me. Is that so crazy as you’ve seen this business grow? How crazy is it to see that it’s a billion-dollar company, as you’ve seen it grow over the years? That’s just bananas to me.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. The funny thing is my personality is because I pride myself on growth, and not what I’ve really achieved in the past. I’m always future facing. That I’m like; we’ve built this company. It’s been crazy incredible. But I’ve been in the trenches all the way, so I don’t really pick my head up much to really think about it. It’s all been like; what are the skills I’m getting every day. Oh my god, I just did this, I’m so proud! This is so exciting. This commercial just hit this many views! I’m so excited! It’s the small little things along the way.

But I am very proud of the size that it’s gotten to, and the reason being that has now allowed me to do what I do today. So, Quest Nutrition was definitely about the body. How do you help people that are already on their journey make better choices? Now, Impact Theory, the new company we do, is how do you actually get people to start that path in the first place? Because we did so well in helping people that were already wanting to get healthy. But you look at people, even in my own family. My mom was severely overweight. And here I am, having helped build one of the largest nutrition companies in the world, and my mom is still overweight. And it’s like; mom, I’ll give you free food. I’ll hire a chef. And she just couldn’t lose the weight.

My husband is the same. He comes from a morbidly obese family. And he realized that it doesn’t matter how much you can help somebody once they’re on that journey. How do you help someone before they get on the journey? How do you break them free of that? Because if the mind is not there, then forget about the body. You can’t help the body.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: So our goal is to really now help the mind. So we started the company Impact Theory. And that is solely based on looking at the mindset. And looking at how you overcome hardship, and how you achieve anything you set your mind to. Without limitations. So we bring on celebrities, we bring on incredible people, have achieved great things. We bring on neuroscientists. We bring on anybody to do with the brain or who has worked on their mindset to overcome obstacles.

Because let’s face it; everybody has overcome an obstacle. There isn’t one person out there, whether you’re looking at Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, whether it’s business, whether it’s health. Everybody has hit road blocks. But how do you overcome them? That’s how we make a change, I think. Is learning how you overcome them.

Juli Bauer: So how long ago did you start Quest Nutrition, and then when did you guys start Impact Theory? Because you started Quest Nutrition with your husband, correct?

Lisa Bilyeu: Correct. My husband has two other business partners. And they had a company that they all hated. It was a technology company. They were miserable. My husband was miserable. And they said, we need to change what we do. And we have to do something that we love every single day. And what is that? So they sat down and were like; look. We all love health, we all love fitness. The one problem we have is eating healthy when we’re on the go. I would make him homemade protein bars. His business partners, their wives would make them homemade protein bars.

And so we’re like; if we were able to make this shelf stable, then this could be a product that no one else; it’s not on the market. Right now all the products on the market either taste terrible, which isn’t going to encourage anyone to eat healthy. Or, it’s a protein bar disguised, right, and it’s really just a candy bar because it’s got so much sugar in it. But what if we actually do something that tastes good and is good for you?

So they started it, and I just loved the idea, loved the notion, so I jumped in with both feet. One of the other business partners, his wife was working on it. And it just became this big group endeavor where we every day had our own roles. And we went from hand rolling the protein bars ourselves in a rental kitchen. And there was probably about 6 of us. Rolling pins, knives. It would take us 8 hours to make 2000 protein bars. And now just to give you an idea, we make approximate 1.5 million bar a day.

Juli Bauer: {laughs} Oh my god! That’s insane.

Lisa Bilyeu: {laughs}

Juli Bauer: That’s so crazy.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, so that was incredible. But then going on to Impact Theory, it’s like; you’ve affected the body with Quest Nutrition. It’s so much fun, and the bars are fun, and it’s such a fun company. But it’s got it handled now. What value am I actually bringing? And again, I just always look inward and say, am I growing? What value am I bringing to the world? What value am I bringing to myself?

And then the decision of kids; that was part of it. And it’s like; ok, well if I’m not having kids, what is the thing that I’m going to fear about not having kids? And one of it is actually having an impact on people. And I think if I really broke down why I wanted children, I think it was that. I want to have an impact. I want to see this little thing grown and hopefully have this excitement in their own lives because of me.

So if that’s what I’m looking for in a child, well I can actually do that on a global scale. Now that Quest Nutrition has been so successful, I can take the finances we’ve gotten from that company and really do something that’s meaningful to my heart. And really have impact on the world at scale. And that’s why, now my heart and soul is really in this new company. And how Quest Nutrition has played such a great part in that evolution of my future and where my goal is to go to.

Juli Bauer: That’s awesome. So you guys started off as bars, and then you expanded to a full line. When you started off as bars, how much longer until you started expanding your line? What made you guys go into different, from pasta to protein powders, to chips. How did you decide to kind of expand it? What made you want to do that? You guys were doing obviously well with the bars.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. It was definitely a collaborative effort. My husband’s business partner ran the R&D department. Everyone had their roles in the company. So one of the guys was running R&D. My husband was the president of the company, so he was more about culture and marketing and image and branding and things like that. And his other business partner was the finance. So they had great skillsets to come together as a team.

Obviously, me my background is filmmaking. So I came in working with marketing to build the studio. But as a collaborative, you’re listening to the audience. You’re listening to what people are looking for. And the one thing was; the bars are great. But the negative connotation of a protein bar, for whatever reason, people frown upon it. They’re like, “Oh, you’re one of those people.” I don’t know if you’ve ever found people like that. But anyway.

Juli Bauer: All the time. {laughs}

Lisa Bilyeu: Right. So it’s like; ok, how do we get past just being a protein bar company? And people started using our bars for recipes. And so they were melting bars. They were adding almond milk, and coconut oil. They were just adding things and they were making these recipes. And it’s like; wow. You’ve not taken a product of ours and started making foods that other people don’t frown upon. Right? Cheesecakes. Everybody loves. Ice cream. All these other cool recipes from our protein bars.

So then it made us think beyond that. What ready made meals can we do that people naturally go to? What are the things that get people into trouble? Well, it’s chips. It’s cakes. So how do you make a cake? If you have protein powder that could use as a substitute for flour; ok, well now people can make cakes. So it kind of evolved from that.

So many people try to change people’s behavior, right? “Don’t eat this cake. Don’t want French fries. Don’t want ice cream.” But it’s like, who are you fooling? Ice cream tastes amazing. French fries taste amazing. So telling people not to eat it; you’re trying to change human behavior. So instead of trying to change human behavior, what if we start leveraging it? What if we start going; ok. Well they’re going to eat cake, so if I make a cake that tastes so damn good you’re not going to question it, but it’s good for you? Now, as a brand, as a company, you’ve basically given your fans what they’re looking for. And the fans now turn to you because they trust you as a company to be the company that listens. So that was really how we ended up expanding into protein powders and chips.

And again, fried foods. Going; well people love fried foods. How do you get a healthy fried food? Well, what is it about the fried foods that’s damaging? We’re damaging the fats, the oils, the heat. So we literally broke everything down. Said, ok what oil can you heat that can fry food that when you heat it it doesn’t damage the fats. So we looked into oils. So the R&D department just literally, in all credit to them, crushed it and found solutions and we did tests. And that’s why we came out with a cookbook. It’s like, how do we get these recipes into people’s hands? Well now it’s an option. Now if you turn to bad food, it’s because you’ve chosen to. Versus, I don’t have any choice. That for me is always a struggle. I like to be able to have a choice.

Juli Bauer: How do you balance knowing what is so good for our bodies, which is whole foods. We need clean protein; grass-fed, grass finished, humanely raised protein. We need fruits and vegetables. We need real, whole foods. How do you make sure your consumer understands that a Quest Nutrition bar for every single meal and every single snack is not what they need on a regular basis? Because I feel like I’ve turned to bars at points in my life that I’m like; oh, it’s a nutrition bar. I can have this as a supplement to my meal. And then you almost get addicted to it because it’s so easy.

Lisa Bilyeu: Right.

Juli Bauer: How do you find that balance of knowing what is best for your consumer, but while still promoting a product you believe in. You just don’t believe in it at every single meal, every single snack, every single day.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. That’s such a good question. So very early on we realized when it comes to food, you can’t preach. Food is like a religion.

Juli Bauer: Yeah, big time.

Lisa Bilyeu: Where it’s like, if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness and you’re going to someone who is a Muslim and you’re telling them to their face why they shouldn’t be Muslim; it’s not going to work. And now all you do is push people away. Your voice isn’t heard. So we realized very early on that as a food company, we can’t preach.

We can only say; hey guys, this is a product we believe in, if you want it, here it is. As an individual; for myself, I listen to my body. I just pay attention. I have learned also to not be dogmatic. I used to be so hardcore about carbs are bad for you. Well, now the things that I’m learning in the studies I’m reading and all the new science that’s coming out, may then combat that idea. So if it does, I don’t care about being right. I just want to get to the right answer.

So if that means I have to adapt. If that means my mindset has to change, and my belief system has to change, then I’m willing to do it. So I’ve learned to never be dogmatic with other people about what they should eat. Because the science that exists now is going to develop. And in one year, in two years, in three years; there’s going to be new technologies out that are going to show; oh. That thing that we thought last year is actually wrong.

I think about the earth. Once upon a time, we thought it was flat. We didn’t have enough science to back up that it wasn’t flat. So everyone just believed it; it made sense, right? Well of course it’s flat, because you don’t topple. But new science came out that proved that was wrong. I see that in our diet. New science will come out, people. And when it does, it’s going to start to show new things.

We’re only recently now talking about the microbiome. And how there’s the connection between the microbiome and the brain. Well, 5 years ago people weren’t talking like that. People would have said you’re nuts! 10 years ago. So again, I just try to not be dogmatic. I don’t preach to people about having to eat Quest bars. Especially because I can’t even eat them.

Juli Bauer: Yeah.

Lisa Bilyeu: I would be a total hypocrite if I’m like; yeah, all you should eat is Quest bars, because I can’t digest artificial sweeteners right now. So me personally, I never preach. I will answer questions on what I’m doing. And if you have any questions or any queries, I will tell you what worked for me. But I will never say to people, this is how you should eat. This will make a difference. I will tell my story, and then leave it up to you to do your own judgement on what you should be eating.

Juli Bauer: Good. That’s kind of what you have to do. Especially with nutrition, is even with me. My diet is not right for you, and your own diet. So I can share what I eat on a regular basis, and I can share my recipes. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you, and your lifestyle, and your family, and your health issues. Whatever is going on. So you really have to make your own decisions. You can’t base your own lifestyle off of someone else’s lifestyle. Which is so easy to do in the social media era we live in at this point.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. Do you find people reach out to you and say, hey I’ve been doing your recipes? But I find that this doesn’t work or this doesn’t work. Do you find that that happens? And how do you react to it?

Juli Bauer: Not so much the recipes. But more so, I’ve been trying paleo and I haven’t been losing weight. Or, I’ve been working out on a regular basis. Or I’ve been doing CrossFit, because I’m big into CrossFit. And I haven’t seen the results that I’m wanting to. I’m not seeing any abs. I haven’t lost weight in my stomach.

So I get those sorts of questions on a regular basis. And it’s always like; how do I solve this issue. But I’m not there with them every single day. Seeing their diet choices. Seeing their lifestyle. Seeing their stressors. So it’s really hard to answer those types of questions and say; here is your answer. I have to say, you have to start doing studies on yourself. Because that’s the only way you’ll get an answer.

Lisa Bilyeu: Right.

Juli Bauer: Because that’s how I figured out my own stuff. Questioning myself, and what my lifestyle choices are, and how that’s manipulating and changing my body. And then take the steps to change it in a different direction.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. That’s amazing.

Juli Bauer: Well I want to ask one last question, and that is about your Sheroic podcast. Which I think is the cutest name.

Lisa Bilyeu: {laughs} Thank you.

Juli Bauer: You cohost it with Cassy; what is it?

Lisa Bilyeu: Cassy Ho.

Juli Bauer: Ok, that’s what I thought. So how did you and Cassy meet up, and how did you start this podcast?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, so Cassy Ho was actually a host on one of the shows that I was executive producer on at Quest. So one of my very first projects after building the studio was; we need a cooking show. And the CMO was like; you’ve got to speak to this woman, Cassy Ho. She posted about our bars. She’s a big influencer in the health space. And I really want to get her on; she should be the host of the show.

So she comes on, and at the time I look at her social numbers. I’m expecting her to be somewhat of a diva. To kind of come in, do the job, and leave. Not much input or heart to the project. And she comes in, and she was the complete opposite to everything I had thought she would be. She was super sweet, super humble. But above that, she was an amazing business woman.

So it was the first insight I ever had; and this was, I’m talking probably three years ago now. The real first insight I personally had of a YouTuber being an entrepreneur. I think that I’d personally had always dismissed them as more fame; like, oh it’s not really business. It’s fame. And here she was. She’s got her clothing line. And she’s thinking about sales. And she’s thinking about algorithm. You know. And she had such an incredible business mind, that I was like; wow, I really want to get to know her a bit more.

So we just clicked. We started hanging out. And before we knew it, we were the two girls that would go to each other whenever we wanted advice on business. Because we didn’t really know other people that were kind of in our position, where we both worked with a partner. Her boyfriend, now fiancé, is her partner. Obviously I work with my husband. So we had a lot of similarities in our lives. And I think it’s very refreshing when you can talk to somebody who can relate to the situation you’re in. Surround yourself, I think, with the people that can empower you. So she was very empowering for me, and I was for her.

And over time, we just very much believe on impact. Here I was, running Quest Nutrition. And then transitioning over to Impact Theory. For me, it was making an impact on people. And then when I really dissected it further; for me it was females. And for me, it was really wishing that there was voice out there that I could listen to, like if I was 16 again. I think part of all the issues I think got myself into trouble with; with diet, with health, and just with low self esteem and not feeling good about myself and feeling trapped. I felt alone, and I felt like no one else understands this or knows this.

Now, this was before social media existed. So I kind of thought; if I was 16 now, I would want women to talk about this. And as much as I’m not used to being out front, and I’m definitely more behind the scenes, there needs to be people that are empowering women that can tell these young girls out there; you don’t have to be trapped in your culture of expectations of having a child. You can be an entrepreneur.

So all these elements, I was like; there needs to be someone that can talk like this. So I went to Cassy’s studio one day, and she had built a podcast room. And I was like; Cassy, you’ve got to do a podcast! Oh my god, there has to be a woman out there that’s talking about this. You’re perfect for it! You’ve got to do it, you’ve got to do it, you’ve got to do it. And I just kept bugging her and kept bugging her.

And then after about a year, she was like; I just don’t know if I’ve got the time. I don’t know. Eventually, I was like; well, my personality is you don’t want for somebody else. If there’s a problem and you can see that you can solve it, jump in with both feet and solve it. Don’t wait for other people.

So I was like; am I going to have to do a podcast, to get this going? So we went out for dinner. I said to her; I think I’m going to have to do the podcast, Cassy. Because I can’t wait for you anymore. And she was like; oh, I’ll be your first guest. And I was like, ok if I do one first you be my first guest. If you do one first, vice versa. And then we parted ways, and within 24 hours she texted me. She was like; Lisa, should we just do a podcast together? And that’s where Sheroic was born.

Juli Bauer: That is awesome! I don’t know much about Cassy. I just looked at her Instagram, and it’s crazy! 1.4 million followers!

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah!

Juli Bauer: That is bananas!

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. And she’s at 3.5 million on YouTube.

Juli Bauer: Oh my gosh! {Laughs} That is so many people.

Lisa Bilyeu: It is so many people. She is a true powerhouse. Again, I want to go; she’s got these people that are watching her videos. She does workout videos so people are watching them. But I only knew her as that. And I saw a completely different side to her when I got to know her. And I said; people need to see this side to you. People need to understand that it’s not luck that got you here. It’s not luck that made you a YouTube star. It’s not just your sweet and bubbly side that you show. You’re an incredible business woman. And you’re business savvy. And you understand market, and you understand consumer products. All these things that you’re learning.

You understand failure. You’ve fallen flat on your face a million times, and so have I. And yet all these other people out there thing; oh, you’re lucky. Right? If people don’t know my story, they’re like; oh you’re lucky with Quest Nutrition. Oh you’re lucky with Cassy’s company and her YouTube channel.

It’s like; let me tell you it’s got nothing to do with luck. It’s got to do with falling on your face a million times, wiping off the dirt, and moving on. And until you hear that, and realize there are these people that have actually done it, you’re always going to, I think, feel sorry for yourself or feel trapped and feel like there’s no way out. And there needs to be more people that are talking about it.

Going back to you talking about everything with the food and your diet and what you’ve been through. And your vision on kids, and how you feel about children. It’s like; it’s so important that you’re talking about these things because people need to hear that. That there are other people out there that are like them.

Juli Bauer: And do you; on your podcast, do you guys talk mostly to yourself or do you have multiple guests on. Because I think you have around 20-something, mid-twenties, a little over 25 episodes. Do you guys interview multiple people, or do you just like talking one on one more?

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, so we actually do a mix. It’s usually a 3 to 1; so three episodes we do just me and her and one episode we bring on someone that we admire or has an influence that we really think can be beneficial to our audience.

We’ve just actually wrapped season 1. We’re kind of doing them in seasons because we do have our parent companies that we always said needs to take priority. So for me, obviously it’s Impact Theory and for her it’s her Blogilates company and Pop Flex. So we’ve kind of structured it a little differently. So we’re just wrapping up our first season.

But that has been just incredibly empowering for myself. Because I don’t know if you’ve heard the phrase; I speak not to be understood, I speak to understand. So for me, I really grasp that. I actually love talking so I can understand how I feel about myself. So that I can actually put my thoughts in more of a construct. So I can understand what I’m trying to do. And for me, the podcast has been incredible for that. And we choose topics that we are struggling with. Or we choose topics that we have struggled with. And in our episodes, we explore our own emotions, and sometimes come to realizations that we didn’t realize before. So it’s kind of like mini therapy sessions, as well.

Juli Bauer: I love that. That is so cool. Have you had a favorite topic that you’ve talked about on the podcast?

Lisa Bilyeu: Oh, a favorite. It’s like picking your favorite child! I’ve got two puppies, I don’t know if I could pick one. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: No way. I only have one dog, I can’t imagine having a second one. Because you love them so much. You’re like; how could I love something just as much as I love this dog?

Lisa Bilyeu: I know. And not to derail us totally, but one of my puppies. We’ve had her for a year, and she escaped; she was missing for 30 hours.

Juli Bauer: Oh my god.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah. That was an insight to what it is like to be a parent. {laughs}

Juli Bauer: I would; I can’t imagine.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yeah, it’s emotional just thinking about it. But do I have a favorite episode? There was one episode fairly recently where, I can’t remember the name of the episode so I’m probably not helping much. But we had a realization in real time. So, it was an issue that Cassy had that she wasn’t sure why she had it. And then throughout the episode we came to realize towards the end that it had something to do with her father and things that happened when she was younger.

Juli Bauer: Interesting.

Lisa Bilyeu: So that was kind of interesting, because it was all real time that we were discovering this. Also, just things that I really do embody. So we had an actual episode that we called Food is Religion. And both coming from food backgrounds; you know, she does recipes. She talks about health. And just the negativity on comments that you get in social, where if you say I eat meat, you obviously get the vegan community coming after you. If you say you’re vegan, you get the meat community coming after you. If you say you’re gluten free; you know, there’s always something that no matter what you say people are willing to attack.

And I think; it’s my belief is people attack in order to defend their beliefs. It’s not actually to be mean or horrible to that person. It’s defense of their own situation. And so that episode really allowed me to be empathetic to all types of people and all types of situations that people are going through. Because, yeah, I wanted that from the audience when I told my story. And so that was really enlightening for me going; ok, here I am talking about what I believe in ketogenic food and grass-fed food that has really helped me.

I get that people want to pass on that. It’s like; oh my god, look, you don’t understand. It saved my life. And you want to pass it on with enthusiasm. The problem is, in passing it on with enthusiasm, it starts to feel like religion and starts to feel like you’re preaching. So that was a revelation for me. I don’t know if I would have had if I didn’t do the podcast episode.

Juli Bauer: Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s so cool. I’m excited to listen to some of your episodes. I’m always looking for new podcasts to listen to, especially women out there who are just spreading the word of health and just badassery all around.

Lisa Bilyeu: Thank you! And I’m going to say this on public podcast, that when we do season 2, I want to have you on.

Juli Bauer: Oh, I would love that! That would be so, so cool.

Lisa Bilyeu: Because I’ve literally been trying to hold back. I’ve got so many questions for you that I just; yeah. I could keep going on for hours and just ask you questions.

Juli Bauer: I know, totally! Well I am happy to come on any time. Just let me know.

Lisa Bilyeu: Alright. Your fans out there have heard that. It’s on record.

Juli Bauer: Yes! {laughs} So where can everybody find you and get any information about Quest, or Impact, or anything. Tell people where they can find you at.

Lisa Bilyeu: Yes. If you follow me at Lisa Bilyeu, I’m primarily on Instagram. And because I’ve kind of got my toes in multiple things, that’s usually the easiest place to send people. I talk about relationships. I talk about the relationship with my husband, with kids, with being an entrepreneur. With female empowerment. I really do just cover on Instagram all the things I’m very passionate about. And they’re kind of my little mini blogs, if you will. So yeah, that’s the best place to follow me.

Juli Bauer: Love it! Well thank you so much for being on. I seriously loved listening to your health story. It’s really given me some insight into my own life, so I really appreciate you sharing that with everybody. I can’t wait to come chat with you more someday.

Lisa Bilyeu: OH, this has been my absolutely pleasure, sweetie. We’ve got to have a little doggie date or something, get our puppies together. Although you don’t live in LA do you?

Juli Bauer: I don’t. And my dog is a bit of an asshole to other dogs.

Lisa Bilyeu: {laughing}

Juli Bauer: {laughs} So other dogs and children, he’s like; mm, I’m cool by myself.

Lisa Bilyeu: That’s awesome. I love how honest you were there. Well next time you’re in LA, me and you will hang out.

Juli Bauer: Ok, deal. Well thank you so much for being on. I really appreciate it. Hold on the line one second, I’m just going to sum this up. Guys, you know what to do. Rate, review, and subscribe. And you can always find any of my information at Have a good one, bye-bye!

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


6 thoughts on “Interview w/ Lisa Bilyeu of Quest Nutrition – Episode 63: PaleOMG Uncensored Podcast”

  1. Another great episode, thank you Juli! Lisa Bilyeu is such an awesome person and I am glad that you interviewed her! I just listened to Mind Pump Media’s episode with you and it was stellar!

  2. I just finished listening to this episode and loved it. I’d never heard of Lisa before but now love her. I really loved the section of the podcast where she talked about not having children. I don’t have kids myself ( just stepdkids) and people’s reactions blow my mind! There is NOTHING wrong with being selfish and knowing yourself well enough to make that type of decision. I applaud her honestly (and yours too!)

  3. Very interesting poscast! I wanted to just mention that a breath test for hydrogen and methane is the best way to test for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Dr. Michael Ruscio is an amazing functional medicine clinician who specilizes in treating digestive disordet and writes a lot on this topic.

  4. I loved this episode so much. I just went through something very similar like Lisa and Juli’s husband! I had really bad food sensitivities that got worse and worse over the past 5 years. This last year I was down to eating 5 different foods. That’s all my body could handle and I was getting sicker. Doing a keto diet like Lisa helped along with a gut healing protocol (probiotics and antimicrobials). The number one thing that helped me though was a brain retraining program. It was created to help heal food sensitivities, chemical sensitivities, chronic pain, and other illnesses. Which is pretty cool since you were discussing how the gut and the brain are connected! After doing this program I believe it 100%! Its been 6 months since the start of the program and I’m now able to eat all my regular paleo foods again! I would not have thought this was possible. It not only helped me to be able to eat again but it seriously changed my brain. I think differently now, my anxiety is gone, I feel like a completely different person in the most amazing way possible. The program is called DNRS. Maybe your husband could benefit from this Juli? I hope my sharing will help in any little way:)

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