Eat a diet tuned for a healthy gut microbiome to avoid ten diseases and three conditions
Our microbiome is so important and the reason is if we don’t watch what reading and eat the wrong things, and have a lot of bad bacteria in our gut, we can cause up to 11 diseases. I’m just going to name them off quickly, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, that a third of the people in our country have got, hepatitis, colitis, multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, 30% of the people in the US are pre-diabetic and 10% have it, lupus, irritable bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. And many of them have the three other conditions, small intestine bowel overgrowth, small intestine fungi overgrowth, and irritable bowel syndrome.
So imagine, if we don’t have the right healthy gut microbiome, any of these can happen. And when you look at the percentages that people have them, almost everybody has one of them. So let’s start with a couple of definitions. Many people think the gut is just the stomach. Well, our gut is our whole digestive system that goes all the way from when we take food in till the rest comes out. All of that’s called our gut, our entire digestive system. Our microbiome is what’s in our entire digestive system, or what’s in our gut. And our gut is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, worms. It’s mainly bacteria, and there are five pounds of bacteria in our microbiome. And, of course, there are good and bad bacteria.
Probiotics is the name of the good bacteria in our gut. Prebiotics is the food our good bacteria like to eat. I’m sure many of you have heard of probiotic supplements. Their job is to add good, live bacteria to our microbiome. And having a majority of good bacteria in our microbiome will greatly increase lifespan and having the majority of bad bacteria will lead to all those diseases I mentioned. So there’s a lot at stake here with our microbiome. Just to give you some ideas about prebiotics, that is the food, mostly high fiber food, that our probiotics, the good bacteria like to eat, is certain fruit, raspberries, apples, papaya, avocado, chicory root, which is essentially 68% insoluble fiber. So great, great, the prebiotics love them.
And certain vegetables, asparagus, okra, mushrooms, flaxseed, shallots and leeks, seaweed, all leafy green vegetables, yams, parsnips, sweet potatoes. So all those foods are great to eat. They’re called prebiotic food because our probiotics, the good bacteria in our gut, love to eat them. Now our gut, the microbiome in our gut, is connected by the vagus nerve, the biggest nerve in our body. It goes from our stem cells in our brain to the heart, the lungs, and to our gut. And there are eight times as many messages that flow from our gut to the brain as there are from the brain to the gut. So, our gut microbiome then influences our thoughts, our actions, our sense of smell, and our cravings. They don’t come from the brain. They come from the gut going to the brain, so the brain will let us know.
So many of the researchers now call our gut the second brain. And it leads to, we were chatting earlier about the term, the gut instinct. Now also, another great part of the gut is it has a lining, and it’s a strong lining, but it’s very thin. And it protects our gut from anything bad coming into the gut, and it prevents the bacteria in our gut from getting out to our bloodstream, lymph system, and organs. So once the bacteria will pass through the gut lining, they ignite the immune system causing this widespread chronic inflammation. So a term we’ve all heard, you’ve been listening to the other podcast, we’re talking about chronic inflammation in every single podcast. And that can result in what many of the listeners have heard as a leaky gut syndrome. That’s what leads to those 10 diseases and 11 conditions.
Now bad bacteria love the Western diet. That includes all these things we shouldn’t be eating, lectins, the protein in all grains, dairy products of most Western cows, sugar and artificial sugar substitutes, red meat, high glycemic index, meaning high sugar content, carbohydrates, and manufactured vegetable oils. The good bacteria, the probiotics, love the vegan diet. So when we switched to a way of eating that feeds the good bacteria, overall health improves within days. To give an example of how powerful the gut is on influencing everything, I went on a five-day cleanse of my gut about three years ago, described in The Longevity Paradox, by Dr. Gundry, one of the best longevity books. And he said, go on a restricted diet, eat only good stuff for your gut, and after about five days, things would change around. And so I did.
I was down at the beach anyway. It was just my wife and me, so why not? There are no outside pressures to eat anything else. So then, we came back and we’re at a birthday party for one of our grandkids, and everybody’s watching the grandkids all around the table eating, and the cake and that sort of thing, and then I heard the back door open, and then there’s this horrible smell. And I didn’t look around, but I whispered to my wife, I said, “Honey, what’s that horrible smell?” She looked around and she said, “What do you mean? That’s the pizza.” So my gut now was telling my brain, “Don’t eat it,” making it smell bad to me. It’s changed my sense of smell, so the things I shouldn’t do smell horrible. Which is crazy, I used to love pizza, but not now.
So let’s take a look at one of the first problems and that is lectin. So lectin is a sticky protein in all plants that plants, that plants millions of years ago started producing as a defense against being eaten by insects and animals, millions of years ago. We only started cultivating grain, we humans, about 10,000 years ago. So our guts had not learned to digest lectin well. And the trouble with lectin, especially lectin from wheat, is it will easily break through the gut lining, invade the rest of our body. So the main reason not to eat grains is to keep your gut microbiome healthy and not let that bacteria in your microbiome leak out into your bloodstream, organs, and lymphatic system. So the bottom line is, don’t eat grains.
Also, don’t eat animals, poultry, or farm-raised fish that are fed grains, because it’s in their system. And now, many of you have heard about how great beans and peas, chickpeas and lentils are, and they are great, great protein, great fiber, but they’re lectin bombs. They’re full of lectins. So if you’re going to eat those, pressure cook them first or do what I do, just buy the Eden, E-D-E-N, brand that we get up at Whole Foods. Of any of those beans, peas, lentils that have been pre-pressure cooked so that they’ve got rid of all the lectin.
Going to give you a fun idea, some of you may remember your grandmother or your mother soaking beans overnight before cooking them the next day. And the reason was, she knew that if she didn’t do that, soaked them, that it could cause digestive upset for people who ate them the next day. What she didn’t know was why, and the why is the lectin. And when you soak beans, you only get rid of half of the lectin. So if you want to get rid of them all, they’ve got to be pressure cooked or pre-pressure cooked by the manufacturer.
And many, many products are available that are grain-free. There’s a whole Siete brand, a Hispanic brand, of tortilla chips, quesadillas, and anything else you want that you normally would eat, that would be made of grains, is now totally made of cassava root, and also cooked with avocado oil, a great oil for us, a natural oil. There are also coconut chips made with coconut flour and cassava flour and coconut oil. That’s all that’s in it, just those three ingredients. I’m addicted to the darn things. “Why do you keep eating them?” “Understand, my gut is telling me to eat those.”
Second is cows. So about 2000 years ago, in Northern Europe, there was a genetic mutation that changed the basic protein and cow milk from casein A2 to casein A1. And the trouble with casein A1 is it causes an attack on our immune system. And it explains why 65% of Americans are what is called lactose, the sugar in milk, intolerant. What we are is intolerant of that protein casein A1. And most of the breeds of cows in Switzerland, France, and Italy did not suffer that mutation, so their dairy products are still okay to eat, but not most of the ones in the US. So you get great cheeses from Switzerland, France, and Italy, and it’s fine to eat them, but not the cheeses manufactured in the US.
You can also get goat milk butter, and clarified butter, ghee, with no dairy. Easy now to get goat milk and goat yogurt. And there’s also a brand of milk now called a2, in other words, casein A2, not the casein A1, or the bad milk. And some of you may have been reading that it was a 60 Minutes special, that over a million small dairy farmers have gone out of business in the last 10 years. And actually, the two largest dairy farmers in the US recently filed for Chapter 11. So most of the public is starting to get onto this now. Cow milk just isn’t that great for us, especially the cow milk in the US.
Third would be sugar. So most of you I’m sure know sugar is not a food, and it’s just a food additive. And there is no biochemical reaction in any animal cell that requires sugar. And it is addictive through the same brain pathways that alcohol is addictive. And the trouble with sugar is this, remember the low-fat fad for many years ago, Dr. Allen Keys, all turned out to be BS. And so the manufacturers started making food that was low fat. Well, the trouble was, when you got rid of the fat, the food tasted horrible, so they added sugar and, typically, salt. So any of these great-sounding foods, low-fat salad dressing, barbecue, pasta sauce, breakfast cereals, fruit juices, soft drinks, baked goods, candy and cakes, molasses, honey, keep going on down the list, are full of sugar.
I used to love ketchup. Ketchup is 25% sugar, which is unbelievable. So I’m not eating too much ketchup anymore. Here’s the problem with sugar, the bad bacteria in our microbiome love simple sugar. And in addition to that, sugar and artificial sweeteners kill the good gut bacteria. So sugar is addictive, and so are all these artificial sweeteners. Now, the good news is there are natural sweeteners, monk fruit, and Stevia, both approved by the FDA as sugar substitutes. And both are great, both have zero calories, and they’re both much sweeter than sugar, so you only need a little bit. For example, whenever I buy dark chocolate, I’m buying the Lily brand, because it has Stevia instead of sugar.
And my wife just made cookies for the grandkids, and only two ingredients, cassava flour, and monk fruit sweetener, and the grandkids are sucking them up. I think they’re pretty good, too. Now, sometimes you’ll buy things, if you’re in a hotel there’ll be the waffle maker, then they have the breakfast syrup, and you get a choice of breakfast syrup or sugar-free. And you get the sugar-free, it’s in a little Smucker’s container. And it says sugar-free, it’s like, “Yay.” Well, let me read you the ingredients in Smucker’s sugar-free breakfast syrup. Everybody ready? Sorbitol, an artificial sweetener, acesulfame potassium, a non-nutritious sweetener, sucralose, non-nutritious sweetener, Splenda, cellulose gum, natural artificial flavors, caramel color, xanthan gum, sorbic acid, sodium benzoate, sodium hexametaphosphate, and phosphoric acid, which provides the tangy taste.
So what do y’all think? Sound yummy? No. And some of you’ve heard about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup added to thousands of processed foods and soft drinks, thousands. It inhibits the liver’s ability to process fat. So the fat gets stored, which leads to obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. And table sugar that you buy is 50% glucose, but also 50% high-fructose corn syrup.
Let’s talk about the dangers of eating meat. Now, based on a study of 6,000 people over 18 years, who ate a lot of animal protein, four times the risk of higher risk of cancer, five times higher risk of diabetes, twice the risk of dying. And the study of people who are vegetarians, vegetable protein does not increase the risk of any age-relating diseases. So meat, in general, it’s going to shorten our life, if we eat too much. Now, how about these meat substitutes, like the Beyond burger or the Impossible burger? So my wife and I, about a year ago, when it first came out, we said, “Hey, yay. Let’s try this.” So we bought a package of burger meat and a package of sausage. We took them home, cooked up, frankly, it tasted great.
However, my wife took a look at the ingredients on the package after we’d eaten them. I don’t know why I didn’t look. Anyway, they’re ultra-processed food, meaning in the nova food classification system, it is the highest, worst processed food you can eat. It has 40 ingredients, including titanium dioxide, which is a whitening agent used in paint, potato starch, which is essentially candy, methylcellulose, a bulking agent used in laxatives, and 400% more sodium than lean burger meat. And the protein is provided by legumes, peas, and beans. So it’s full of lectin, and it contains a ton of manufactured oils, canola, and sunflower, which means it’s full of omega 6 fatty acids. So in summary, it could not be worse for us. It’s too bad, but it couldn’t be worse for us.
Now, let’s look at the danger of pesticides since we’re going to eat a lot of this meat, perhaps. So the pesticide, Roundup, we’ve all heard of it, contains an antibiotic. So the main ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, and it’s an antibiotic. And 93% of us humans test positive for it because we’ve been eating the grains that have been sprayed with this pesticide, or eating the animals who have eaten the same grain. And unfortunately, since microbiome, biotics, good and bad, antibiotics kill our gut bacteria, both good and bad. So imagine, we’re eating animal meat and we’re eating the grains that they eat, then essentially, we’re reading all these antibiotics, which are disrupting our gut bacteria. So the bottom line is, stick to organic food. Don’t eat any food that is essentially not organic.
And essential organic means no harmful artificial pesticides. It can mean a whole bunch of different things for different foods, pre-packaged salads, eggs, cow’s milk, but basically, no artificial pesticides in organic food. And there is that part of the Department of Agriculture called the USDA Environmental Working Group. Been around for quite some time. And every year it analyzes which foods, typically fruits and vegetables, is it easy to wash off the pesticides, and which ones it’s essentially impossible. So in 2019, they came up with what they refer to as the dirty dozen. That is the fruits and vegetables that have so many pesticides on them, and the pesticides get into the actual vegetable or fruit, so you can’t wash them off.
And that’s celery, spinach, kale, tomatoes, potatoes, apples, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, cherries, and pears. So, I’m sure many of us have heard, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, how about a non-organic apple a day, will that keep the doctor away? No. Non-organic apples have 16 chemicals that are hormone disruptors, six chemicals that are known suspected carcinogens, and five neurotoxins. So eat organic. Next, let’s look at the dangers of antibiotics that are fed to farm animals. So we all know if one of our kids has an ear infection. You go to the doctor, the doctor will prescribe a very specific antibiotic, that is tuned to kill the bacteria that caused that infection.
If you had another child who got strep throat, and you went to the doctor, you would get a prescription for a different narrowly-focused antibiotic to kill that particular bacteria. So imagine, all farm animals, commercial farm animals, are administered broad-spectrum antibiotics, meaning kills everything, all biotics. So very disruptive to our gut microbiome. And not only that, they’re all fed these hormones to fatten them up. So the antibiotics, don’t die prematurely, and hormones to fatten them up. So they just, literally, wreak havoc with our microbiome.
So let’s see what we can’t eat with respect to fish, shellfish, poultry, and meat. Typically, eat four ounces a day is all we need. And if you’re going to eat fish and shellfish, make sure they’re wild-caught. So if you take salmon, for example, that are farm-raised, the farm-raised sounds great, doesn’t it? Sounds pretty sexy, cool? Well, farm-raised are in big bins, or they’re in ponds, and they’re fed the following, grain, canola oil, antibiotics, hormones, and many cases, chicken feces pellets. So how yummy does that sound when you’re reading farm-raised salmon? So if you just go to Whole Foods or a Wegman’s or Costco, you’ll see a big fish counter that’s all wild-caught. You’ll see another counter where it’s farm-raised. So based on what I just heard me say is in farm-raised salmon, don’t even think about eating it. Couldn’t be worse for you.
I give you a funny example. I’m out to see one of my newest-born grandkids in San Francisco, at Petaluma. So we all went out to dinner, I saw the salmon on the menu. So I asked the server, “Is this farm-raised or wild-caught?” She said, “What do you mean?” And I said, “Well, could you ask the chef?” She said, “Yeah, I will.” So she came back and she said, “It’s farm-raised.” I said, “Well, that’s okay, I’ll order something else.” She said, “No, but listen, it’s farm-raised in Scotland.” It’s like, okay, thanks so much for that information. So if you’re going to eat poultry, make sure it’s pasture-raised, meaning they’re out in the pasture, eating all kinds of things other than grain, and make sure they’re not fed antibiotics and hormones. So it’s usually pasture-raised is what you want.
And the same thing with meat, four ounces a week, probably, and grass-finished, meaning they’ve been eating grass almost their whole lives. If it just says grass-fed, that means they only ate grass at the end of their life, not the whole rest of their lives, so you want it to be grass-finished. And again, all of these various foods, I just mentioned the fish, the shellfish, poultry, and meat, all available at Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, many of it at Wegman’s. And one of the interesting things, I took a picture at Costco recently of farm-raised salmon next to the wild-caught salmon. So the farm-raised salmon is a real light-pink color. And, when they come out of the pond, they’re gray, the color of the salmon is gray, and they add color to make it a light pink. When you look at a picture of the color of the farm-raised salmon, it’s a bright, bright orange, totally different color.
And of course, one of the reasons the wild-caught’s so good for us is they’re eating the algae, and the algae is full of omega-3. That’s why salmon has so much omega-3, but not in the farm, not so much. You can also get, again, pasture-raised chickens without hormones and antibiotics. You can get pasture-raised eggs that are organic and pasture-raised. You can get organic ground beef that is grass-fed, a hundred percent organic. A quick example, I was in Vegas recently doing a big presentation to the longevity group, and we were at one of those big resorts, and they had a bunch of restaurants around the casino. And one of them was really nice. It was a white-tablecloth steakhouse. And so, I was with John Edwards, one of our partners, and they did have on the menu filet or organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed beef. So you can get it even at restaurants now.
So let’s take a quick review of what we shouldn’t be eating for our gut microbiome. No lectin, no dairy from most US cows, no sugar and artificial sugar substitutes, no glycemic fruits and vegetables, being the high sugar content. An obvious example would be a ripe banana. Poultry and red meat-fed grains and antibiotics and our hormones, and fish or shellfish that are farm-raised. Give you another quick example. If you buy farm-raised shrimp at any grocery store, they are literally mealy. If you buy wild-caught shrimp, it’s crunchy. So easy to tell the difference, and no industrial oils. So let’s see what we should be eating. It’s a long list. So like, yay. So proteins from nuts, mushrooms, and vegetables, vegetables, or fruit with a low glycemic or low-sugar content.
Dairy from sources, other than most USA cows, fish and shellfish in limited amounts, and only wild-caught, poultry in limited amounts and pasture-raised with no antibiotics or hormones, very little red meat and grass-fed with no antibiotics or hormones, the natural oils, olive, avocado, coconut, fermented foods that are adding good bacteria to our gut. That’s why a lot of people like sauerkraut and kimchi and kombucha is because they’ve got that live bacteria. And of course, organic foods, that’s what we should be eating. And many vegetables have a lot of protein, be surprised. So the following have four to five grams of protein per cup, cooked cup, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. And legumes, peas, beans, and chickpeas, have a ton of protein, 22 grams of protein per cup. But again, they should be pressure-cooked.
So let’s see what a typical day would look like. This is a typical day for me. So breakfast, I’m going to eat a closed-fistful, each of walnuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts, and a cup of mixed berries, including about half of them, will be raspberries, because of their prebiotic nature and high fiber content. For lunch, I almost always have a smoothie. And the reason is, if you try to eat a great big salad, it could take 15, 20 minutes, you could drink a smoothie at about three minutes. So, I’ll make six smoothies at once in a big blender, I’ll put in eight leafy, green vegetables, half of an avocado, a green banana, low sugar content, six ounces of goat yogurt, a teaspoon, each, of hemp hearts and flaxseed, sauerkraut, olive oil, hemp or coconut milk, unsweetened, as a liquid, and then seven different hermetic spices, that we’ll talk about in step six.
And then, for dinner, I’ll add four ounces of fish, poultry, or red meat, once a week, cook with low heat, steamed or roasted vegetables and mushrooms with olive oil, and then, for dessert, say, two figs, either fresh or dried. And now, when you buy dried fruit, you have one or two choices, it’ll have sugar and oil added, or it’ll be just the fruit. So if you’re going to eat dried fruit, which I like, then make sure it’s just the fruit and organic.
Here’s another typical day when you’re following this routine, breakfast might be two eggs, cooked in olive oil with low heat, and a cup of fruit, and a cup of fruit of those great vegetables with all that fiber in them, orange, apple, say, tart cherries. Lunch might be a large salad with mushrooms, all the leafy greens, and other low-glycemic vegetables, with olive oil and vinegar dressing. And then dinner, again for us, is a fish, poultry, or red meat, cooked with low heat, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and fennel, and then a coconut milk ice cream bar. And now, there’s just a ton of opportunity to buy other than ice cream, which is a highly processed food. There’s lots of non-dairy ice cream. The one I like is the So Delicious brand, and it’s got about 150 calories per ice cream bar, with all the good ingredients.
So this sounds like an awful lot. And so what we’ve come up with, that’s on our website, you can take a look at, is if you were going to transfer from eating a Western diet and having a bad microbiome full of bad bacteria, and you wanted to shift, doing everything I suggested in this podcast and a lot of stuff to do. So I’ve got 12 steps. So if you and your partner said, “Okay, we want to shift, but we can’t be crazy about this, and we just took one step a month, what would that look like?” Here’s what it would sound like. So step one, just start eating much less processed foods. Step two, start consuming much less sugar and artificial sugar substitutes. So shift to those natural sugars. Three, eat red meat only once a week and only grass-fed with no antibiotics or hormones.
The fourth month, when you eat fish and shellfish, shift to only wild-caught, again with no antibiotics or hormones. Month five, eat poultry infrequently, and again, only pasture-raised with no antibiotics or hormones. Month’s number six, increase consumption of protein from nuts, mushrooms, and leafy, green vegetables. Month seven, start buying mainly organic food. That’s why I always shop at whole paycheck, I mean, Whole Foods. It’s mainly organic foods, meaning no pesticides. Month eight, just cut out all the grains and legumes, unless they’re pressure-cooked. Month nine, start eating low glycemic, low sugar content, fruits, and vegetables, frequently.
Month number 10, substitute goat and sheep products for cow and dairy products, meaning milk, cheese, and yogurt. Month 11, cut out all manufactured oils and start using natural oils, coconut, and avocado for high heat and olive oil for low heat. In month 12, shift drinking habits to maybe one or two glasses, depending on whether you’re male or female, of red wine per day. And the reason for red wine is white wine has a lot of sugar. So that is a way to organize yourself to go from a bad microbiome to a good macro biome, by just taking one step a month.>