[5:23] Dr. John Douillard
[9:00] Grains and Drains
[15:40] The Studies That Show That Humans Have Been Eating Gluten for a Very Long Time
[23:05] Did Our Ancestors Hunt or Harvest First?
[29:15] What John Means When He Says “Perhaps we simply have an inability to digest these foods”
[29:50 & 35:40] The 2 Shocking Ingredients Added to Most Breads That are the True Culprits
[38:53] Quick Commercial Break/HumanCharger
[40:10] Kimera Koffee
[41:42] Continuation/Amylase and Grain Consumption
[51:46] The Skin Prick Test For Gluten Intolerance
[55:54] Ways To Reboot The Lymph System
[57:35] Why John Thinks Lunch Should Be the Heaviest Meal of the Day
[1:03:23] Decoction Tea
[1:15:17] End of Podcast
Ben: Howdy ho! Sit back and grab yourself a nice big loaf of sourdough bread and maybe a big glass of milk for today’s podcast episode because we’re going to give a big middle finger to the Paleo diet, and talk about why you need to eat more bread, drink more milk. So before we jump in, I wanted to tell you about nutrient dense foods, and as a matter of fact, if you look at the way that most nutritionists get certified these days, it is, for lack of a better word, [censored]. What I mean by that is that they learn how to use Gatorade for hydration replenishment, and PowerBar for energy, and how to drink 2% low fat milk, and all these things that fly in the face of ancestral nutrition.
There is a company though called the Nutritional Therapy Association, a.k.a. the NTA. What they do is they offer nutritional therapy practitioner and consultant certifications that teach you how to, you, yourself, or the clients and customers who you work with, how to use nutrient dense foods to enhance your body’s ability to heal. They have a bioindividualized ancestral whole food approach to diet, which is pretty dang rare these days in nutrition certification programs. So if you want to become a Nutritional Therapy practitioner and consultant, you can get certified by them. How? Go to the following: NutritionalTherapy.com. That’s it, NutritionalTherapy.com.
And by the way, I’m speaking at a conference in Vancouver, Washington March 3rd through the 5th. That’s pretty close to Portland, for those of you weak on US geography. Tickets are on sale. You can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/NTA to get in on that goodness, and come party, and eat, probably, I would guess lard, and pork, and kale, with me, and Nora Gedgaudas, and Natasha Campbell-McBride, and Allison Siebecker, and Terry Wahls, and apparently a whole bunch of other female speakers, and then me, the sole sausage, at the Nutritional Therapy Association conference. So check it out, bengreenfieldfitness.com/NTA, and check out their certification at NutritionalTherapy.com.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“The rest and digest parasympathetic nervous system, at least the digestive component of that, increases in the winter to digest hard to digest foods. If you think of nature, we’re going to get more dense foods in the winter.” “So eating just a high protein, high fat diet for 355 days of the year, is simply not natural.” “And all these poisons that were toxic and lethal 200 years ago, hybridized them out of our diet. And slowly, our body use some of these very subtle toxins to trigger an immune response.”
Ben: Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield, and I know a lot of you out there are gluten-free, or you’re dairy-free. And the fact is, as shocking as this might be for you to hear, you might not have to actually be. And there’s this brand new book that I just got done reading that blew my mind on multiple pages. It’s extremely dog eared after I finished with it, and the name of the book is “Eat Wheat”. And the subtitle of it is “A Scientific And Clinically-Proven Approach To Safely Bringing Wheat And Dairy Back Into Your Diet”, which would probably be great news for those who like things like, say, bread and ice cream. Well, I’ve got my former podcast guest who actually wrote this book on the show today. His name is Dr. John Douillard, and I always wonder if I’m pronouncing your name correctly, John. Is it actually “do-yard”, or is it “do-we-lard”?
John: Nope. You got it right the first time.
Ben: Okay. I thought maybe I’d try to pronounce it like a typical American might, but I’m going to go with the Euro pronunciation of Douillard. Anyways though, it’s a great book, John. I mean you go into how generations upon generations of human beings have been eating wheat, and perhaps we’ve only been eating meat for a relatively short few thousands of years, and we might be genetically equipped to better eat wheat than meat, and you go into a lot in the book. I mean, we probably don’t even have time on today’s show to unwrap everything that you go into, but I have plenty of questions for you, and I’m sure that you’ve gotten plenty of questions since you wrote this book, even though I know it’s relatively new. I think at the time that you and I are recording, it just came out today. Is that a correct?
John: That’s right. Exactly right.
Ben: Cool. So if you’re listening in and you want to get this book, or you want to access anything that John and I talk about as we go through my questions for him and I grill him about whether we actually can have sandwiches, you can access the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/wheatpodcast. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/wheatpodcast. So first of all, John, welcome to the show.
John: Thank you, Ben. Great to be back.
Ben: Yeah. And by the way, for those of you who don’t know what John does, he actually is one of the world’s top recognized leaders in the field of Ayurvedic medicine combined with sports medicine. In the last show that we did, we talked all about how you could like more or less biohack your breath with things like deep nasal breathing, and breath of fire, and all these techniques to enhance your sports performance. And he has this place called Life Spa. You’re down in Boulder, right John?
John: Exactly. Yep.
Ben: And he’s worked with some teams in the NBA, he’s got six other books, he’s been on the Dr. Oz Show, and Huffington Post, and Women’s World Magazine, and Yoga Journal, and I think your place in Boulder was nominated as the Holistic Wellness Center Of The Year, one of the nation’s top a holistic wellness centers, right?
John: Yeah. Exactly right.
Ben: Cool. I may have to come down there, and visit you at some point, and see what you do. I’m always looking for a good excuse to go to Boulder. It’s one of my favorite cities. So at some point I’ll make it down there, and you and I can do some deep nasal breathing and go on a run together.
John: Yeah. That’ll be wonderful.
Ben: So anyways, one of the first things that you say when you get in this book, John, is you say that it’s not the grains that cause issues in people, but instead it is what you call the drains. Can you go into what you mean by that?
John: Yeah. Absolutely. One of the major systems of our body’s circulatory systems is our lymphatic system, which is twice as big as our arterial system. It is responsible for delivering energy, baseline energy. If the lymph system’s congested, you’re exhausted. There is your immune system, and it detoxifies you. And what the science shows is that if you don’t break down wheat, or dairy, or other hard to digest proteins very well, and a big part of what we’re going to talk about is why wheat is a problem and why people feel bad when they eat wheat, and I get that they do. I’m not denying that they don’t, they do. But we got to figure out why, and fix the cause, and not just kick the ball down the road, and just keep treating the symptoms by just taking the wheat out of a diet. There’s underlying causes here that have to be addressed.
And this starts with a global breakdown of the digestive system, and will talk about how that happens probably in a minute, but in terms of the lymphatic system, is when the proteins aren’t properly digested, they are too big to get into the bloodstream and the small intestine, and where they go is into the collecting ducts of your lymphatic system. And when they congest into your lymphatic system, you have this big roadblock of gluten, undigested gluten, and casein, and toxins, and mercury, and chemicals that clog up your lymphatic system. Now remember, your lymphatic system is trying to deliver to fats in the form of triglycerides to every cell of your body with baseline and energy. And if that road is blocked because the lymphatic system’s congested, the lymph will just get pushed out of, the fats, rather, will get pushed out of your lymphatic system into the fat around your belly. And there’s absolute good science to prove everything that I just said, suggesting that when the lymph gets congested, we get belly fat. But that lymph system also drains the skin of your body, and it drains your brain, and your joints, and your muscles, and every cell of your body of toxic chemicals. In fact, the lymph in your brain drain about three pounds of toxic chemicals and plaque out your brain every single year while you sleep at night.
Ben: Holy cow.
John: Yeah. That’s a crazy amount of toxins coming out of your brain. And they just discovered this about three years ago. They didn’t even know that these lymphatics existed, which is cool though. What I actually do at Life Spa is we prove ancient wisdom with modern science. We say ancient principles of medicine, we prove it with modern science, and I write about it, do videos on it, and put it on the web. And naturally, the main thing that we do here at Life Spa is really take this information, this really amazing ancient wisdom, and say, “Hey, guys. There’s also science that supports this ancient wisdom,” which makes me think science alone, you can prove coffee is good, coffee is bad, you can prove whatever you want. We have a thousand years of time-tested use of these principles and you have science, I think that we should at least look at that. And that’s what the book is about, is understanding the lymphatic system from this ancient perspective with volumes of modern science.
Ben: So if I understand this correctly, I think most of the people on the call or listening in to this show are familiar with the concept of like leaky gut and the potential for undigested proteins to cross the barrier between the gut and the bloodstream. And it sounds to me like what you’re saying is that in someone who has a compromised gut, or a leaky gut, the problem with something like gluten proteins or dairy proteins is that these are actually affecting the ability of the lymphatic system to drain, and that’s what’s causing all the downstream issues that people experience when they, say, consume some concentrated source of gluten, like, say, sourdough bread, or even react deleteriously to what might be a natural form of dairy like, let’s say, raw goat’s milk or something like that.
John: Exactly. When the lymph system gets congested, their skin associated lymph, when that gets congested, you’re vulnerable to hives, and eczema, and skin reactions. When the brain lymphatics gets congested, the science shows that those are directly linked to anxiety, depression, brain fog, cognitive decline, and then, get this, infection, inflammation, and autoimmune conditions. Those are what are now known to be linked to a congested lymphatic system, particularly the lymph that drain your brain and your central nervous system, which all starts inside your intestinal tract, that’s where your lymphatic system starts. And if the lymph around your gut’s congested where the lines sure that the lymph is, then all the lymphs in the body will slowly congest.
Your immune system will get stuck in traffic and you might infections anymore, you’ll become tired because the triglycerides you’re trying to get through your lymph and into your cells, but the roads are blocked, the body was just storing the fat for a while until road opens up, and you get fat, and you gain weight, and you store belly fat, and that becomes a problem. If the brain can’t drain three pounds of chemicals out of your brain every year while you sleep at night, you get all kinds of brain-related neurological issues. I did a big debate with David Perlmutter, the author of “Grain Brain”, and I told him that it’s not the grain brain. In fact, it’s the brain drain effect, and nobody’s saying, “Hey! Why don’t we decongest the lymphatics of the brain? Why don’t we repair the intestinal skin? Why don’t we turn the digestive system back on and deal with the cause of the inability to break down gluten and other hard to digest proteins in the first place?” Deal with that, and then we won’t have to take all these foods out of our diet, which we’re going to talk about, I hope, ’cause that has been shown to be actually not so innocuous. There’s some interesting science showing that taking wheat out of your diet, believe it or not, can be dangerous. And we can talk about that.
Ben: So, more or less, what you’re saying is it’s not necessarily the grains and the dairies, it is us. It is our bodies and things that are going on in our bodies that have rendered us incapable to be able to digest those. But what it sounds like you’re arguing is that that can actually be fixed. And once fixed, a human body does have the capability to digest some of these plant matters and some of these animal proteins that we would perhaps be encouraged by like say, let’s say, the average Paleo Crossfitter with the knee-high compression socks to avoid.
John: Right. And when you go back to the ancient human argument, we found that humans were eating, they found food in their [0:15:44] ______, cereal grains, which is wheat and barley, in the teeth of ancient humans 3.44 million years ago. So we know that ancient humans were eating wheat. I mean Africa was literally covered with grasslands, covered with wheat and barley. The studies show that ancient humans could actually gather enough wheat berries to feed them for an entire day in just two hours. And it was a lot easier to sit in some grass, picking out wheat berries than trying to chase down a woolly mammoth, or a lion, or something. And ancient humans, they didn’t even start hunting until a couple hundred thousand years ago, or maybe 500,000 years ago, we started eating and hunting our own meat. So 4 million years ago, we didn’t hunt. We were gatherers mostly and slowly learned how to hunt.
So like you said at the very beginning, we do really actually have more genetics for wheat than we do meat, which is interesting that the Paleo folks are throwing all the grains out of the diet. And here’s the interesting thing, the grains are hard to digest, and people have a global breakdown of the digestive system, and I want to talk about why that happened, and that’s process foods, and pesticides, and we’ll go into detail about that. But when you take all of the hard to digest food out of the diet, it’s very similar to what we did with the microbiome, we scrub anti-bacteria to everything. Scrubbed everything clean, everything, killed as many bugs as we could, and now we have no diversity in our microbiome and that has become a real problem for our immunity and a lot of issues. So you can’t sterilize everything. Well, these hard to digest grains that have the antinutrients like leptin and phytic acids, they’re hard to digest components that have been shown to be immune triggers, they stimulate an immune response.
The studies show, and it’s a bit hard for people to hear, but the studies show that people who actually were on a gluten-free diet had four times the amount of mercury in their blood as people who ate wheat. People who were on a gluten-free diet had less good bugs, bacteria, and more bad bugs than people who eat wheat. And people who were on a gluten-free diet had significantly killer T-cells, a measure for immunity, than people who actually ate wheat, suggesting that these hard to digest grains have antinutrients that trigger the immune system, which is 80% of which is inside your intestinal tract. And for us to just say, “Oh you know, take the wheat out of the diet. It’s hard to digest. You don’t feel good when you eat it, why should you eat it,” and not address the cause, “Are we doing what we did when we took cholesterol out of our diet in 1960 and they replace it with these processed fats and refined oils that extends shelf life that are directly linked that are undigestible, that are directly linked to obesity, diabetes, and depression, and a breakdown of your digestive system, and we’re digging out of those epidemics today. And now we have a $16 billion a year industry is telling us we need to eat gluten-free, and those gluten-free products are all processed, and it’s the process foods from this 1960 cholesterol debacle that turned out to be completely false. It has nothing to heart disease. It caused all these diabetic, depression, obesity issues because of processed foods, and also the inability to digest hard to digest less likely wheat caused from the exact same thing, and our solution is a $16 billion a year industry that says, “Hey! Eat gluten-free, a whole new processed food industry,” which is exactly what got us in this mess in the first place. And I’m scratching my head going, “Has anybody seen the research on whole wheat and the whole grains showing how beneficial they can be? Or have we only been hearing the one side of the argument?” And that’s really the truth. No one’s heard the other side of the science, and there is volumes of science telling a different story.
Ben: So, John, is this kind of like this argument that like some people would say, for example, wild plants and wild plant extracts are bad for you because they produce a mild inflammatory response, but in fact, they turn out to be like mild hormetic stressors that actually make the body stronger? Is that kind of what you’re getting at when you’re saying, or when you’re describing the effects that trace amounts of gluten, or are sane amounts of gluten, have on the body?
John: You’re absolutely right, Ben, and is called the hygiene hypothesis. And they took one of the examples of that, one of the best examples is Amish kids, they’re Mennonite farmers, and they run barefoot in the barn, they have cows as pets, and they compared them to the Hutterite farmers who are also Mennonite, but they became modernized, and they have the highest rates of asthma on the planet, Amish have the lowest rates. And they measured the dust in the barns of the Amish kids and they found that the dust had irritants to the respiratory tract that triggered an immune response and rendered them with the lowest level of asthma on the planet. Suggesting that these irritants, and hard to digest irritants, which we know, leptin, phytic acids are irritants, but you also, these antinutrients that we… there’s also study, after study, after study showing that there is incredible benefit. And so they are, yes, immune stimulants, and we have been eating poisonous foods from the very, very beginning.
Potatoes have solanines, and tomatoes have tomatines and solanines, and all these poisons that were toxic and lethal 200 years ago, we hybridized them out of our diet, and slowly our body used some of these very subtle toxins to trigger an immune response. And now tomatoes and potatoes, take Russia and Italy, and that’s all they eat is potatoes and tomatoes, take them out of the diet because they have a little poison in ’em, and they starve. You know I mean? So, yes. We have adapted over millions of years to process hard to digest foods. We have only one taste bud per sweet taste, which is from the first taste of mother’s milk, sweet was always good. Still is good. We’ve been trying to get sweet ever since, and it’s really a sugar belly issue than a wheat belly issue. But we have 300 taste buds for bitter ’cause a bitter taste can either kill you or cure you. And we still aren’t really sure which bitters are going to kill you or cure you. We have 300, we evolved 300 taste buds to discern that. And those bitter tastes are the poisons that in small amounts are triggers for immune system. And when you take them out, like the studies are showing, like in wheat, our immune system gets compromised. So, yeah, maybe this is a little bit of dangerous road to hoe, and now with a $16 billion a year industry kind of driving it, it started to become a little scary.
Ben: Now one of the things that you mentioned, as you were describing this scenario, was about how we were doing things like eating wheat, and barley, and rye, and how they found this stuff in the teeth of people a really long time ago, and you said that that might have happened prior to us actually hunting or eating meat. Why is it that you see so many folks say that the very first thing that we did was we would hunt meat, and then eventually agriculture happened. And there are entire books about this, and we developed concentrated cities around farming and agriculture, and that led to things like human disease and other issues of an agricultural lifestyle shifting out of like a hunting lifestyle. Like how does what you’re saying actually jive with that argument? Like how can you say that what you’re saying is right and that people actually didn’t hunt first, they gathered first, or they gardened first?
John: Well, there’s an enzyme called amylase, which is linked to digesting wheat. If people don’t have that enzyme, they’re very vulnerable to what’s called “baker’s asthma”, which is an allergy or asthma reaction to wheat. And if you don’t have that enzyme, you get baker’s asthma. Well that enzyme, we evolved to get, as apes, we didn’t have that enzyme. Somewhere about one to two million years ago, they think, we evolved to get this enzyme, which has to do with breaking down starch. And that’s what that enzyme does. So the newest science is saying that, yes meat, and we didn’t start basically hunting and cooking our own meat until 500,000 years ago, but we have starch for a very, very much longer period of time, and they really think now it’s a combination of the starch which provided the sugar, and the meat which provided the fats that triggered, and maybe even fish would may have been the real trigger in tripling, or doubling, or tripling our brain size and making us into modern humans. And it was a combination of the four things: [0:24:23] ______ , starches in the diet, which included cereal grains, [0:24:27] ______ know about, in some cases, up to 40% of their diet was whether you see three cereal grains, which is a lot of grain which nobody really talks about, but there is the science to back that up.
Now fast-forward to 40,000 years ago where we are now officially hunter-gatherers. We were definitely beginning to cook and eat more meat, we were still hunter and gathering the meat, the men, if you talk to Harvard anthropologists, they’ll tell you that the hunters weren’t the greatest hunters in the world. Women, and the moms, and the dads, and the grandparents, and the kids would gather, and dig, and gather grains, and the hunters would come back empty handed, and the wive’s would say, “Hey, don’t worry about it. I got it all figured out. Go wash up, and we’ll take care of lunch or dinner tonight.” And they did eat meat, but it wasn’t like three times a day. Never, ever, ever did that happen. It was a rabbit here and a rabbit there. They weren’t the greatest hunters in the world. A woolly mammoth that they’d eat for three or four days and then have nothing for a period of time.
When we got into the agricultural times and domesticated wheat, we also domesticated everything. Everything we eat today has been domesticated and hybridized. But when the hybridized wheat, which is really interesting, they wanted the brain that would get off, that we could stretch it and bang it off, that was bigger to get off the stalk, so it’s easier to harvest. So they selected wheats that were bigger. And the bigger the wheat, the less gluten it had, and the more starch it had. So the original domestication actually selected the wheat with much less gluten than the ancient humans were actually eating then, and much more starch. So when people say, “They started domesticating and speed up the wheat,” we actually gave it less gluten. And studies show that when you say ancient wheat, like a kamut wheat, and a modern wheat, one study showed that the ancient kamut had twice as much gluten and twice as many [0:26:20] ______ there which is the bad boys, they cause all the problems, supposedly, in wheat.
But in the same study, they found that people who consumed the kamut, the ancient wheat, had twice the reduction of inflammation, significantly lower blood sugar, and significantly lower cholesterol levels than people who ate the modern wheat, suggesting that, “Wait a minute, how could the grain with the most gluten have the best health benefits?” And there’s study, after study, after study that makes us think that. In 1900, people ate 86 pounds more gluten in their diet than in 1800, 1900, than they did in 2008, 86 pounds of gluten or wheat flour per year or more in the year 1900 than they did in 2008, suggesting that we ate a whole lot more gluten, a whole lot more a hundred years ago or so than we do today. But all of a sudden, people are saying, “It’s the wheat! It’s modern wheat, it’s [0:27:15] ______ wheat.” And, boy, I got to tell you, there is again study, after study, after study saying that there isn’t there isn’t any genetic differences, and I can go study by study and can go play by play, and there’s a lot of misinterpretation of the science because we’re trying to prove that wheat’s a poison, but there are so many studies that say that wheat has not changed in the last 200 years. And 19 year study from the University of Saskatchewan found, in the 19 year study, they did this, and they found really no difference between ancient and modern wheat.
Ben: When you see somebody argue that, like, okay, so you hear this a lot, “I could go to Italy, and I can eat pasta and bread all day in Italy, and my stomach feels fine. But then when I eat pasta and bread in America, I go and I decommission the bathrooms.” And that argument is based on this idea that the way that we grow wheat crop in America for like high commercial yield somehow concentrates the gluten and makes that gluten less digestible by the human body. What you’re saying is all of that is flawed, none of that is true, and that the gluten that we get in our diets nowadays is actually less than what people might have consumed like in the 1800, or the 1900. And the problem is that our bodies have changed in terms of our gut and our lymph system’s ability to be able to handle that gluten?
John: Even Dr. Davis, the author of “Wheat Belly”, will tell you that, and it’s true, the science is clear, that the level of gluten in the bread has not changed in the last 200, 300 years. The gluten is the same. It’s not a gluten issue, and he agrees with that.
Ben: So modern wheat processing is not the culprit here?
John: It’s not the gluten. These gluten levels are the exact thing. And I’ve heard Dr. Davis say that directly, he’s written that, he doesn’t make that argument.
Ben: And he’s the guy that wrote…
John: Wheat Belly. Wheat Belly.
Ben: Yeah, Wheat Belly.
John: Right. So what, why do people feel, you’re so right. A lot of people go to Italy or go to Europe and they feel better. It’s what happened in 1960, when they took the cholesterol out of our diet, and they replaced our good fats with processed, refined, bleached, deodorized fat, which rendered them completely indigestible, and they put them in our bread, and they put them in our foods as processed foods, and they basically rendered us unable to digest those foods. Studies have shown that people…
Ben: Wait. What did they put into them?
John: Like oils and fats, if you look at a loaf of bread today, you’re going to see cooked oils in that bread, and they stick it in there so the bread stays squishy.
Ben: You mean like vegetable oils?
John: That’s right. Those vegetable oils, when you cook them, they go rancid, they become indigestible. And most of the ones that they use to start with have already been purified, bleached, and deodorized. If you go down the aisle in your grocery store and you look at all the vegetable oils, and they’re in clear plastic bottles. You know in the old days, when they would make oils, vegetable oils, they would press them in dark rooms, put ’em in dark bottles, deliver them in the early wee hours in the morning in like little milk boxes, and this oil was so vulnerable to becoming rancid that even one photon of light would make it go bad. So to solve that problem, they just bleached it, deodorized any kind of nutrient out of that oil, and rendered it completely and it unable to go rancid and unable for us to digest it. And that oil will not support bacterial growth whatsoever. The microbes which make up 90% of you will not eat that bread, that bread will stay soft on a shelf and squishy for months. Good bread made without any oils, cooked oil, or any cooked oils in it, or ingredients like organic whole wheat, salt, water, and organic starter will go bad or get hard in a day or two.
Ben: This is blowing my mind because I just read this book by Dr. Cate Shanahan called “Deep Nutrition”, I don’t know if you’ve read this, it’s a really good book, it’s actually a republication of her initial book on the topic. But she highlights in really great detail on that book how vegetable oils, and especially rancid and heated vegetable oils, are even a worse culprit than processed sugar when it comes to inflammation and cellular damage within the body. And it sounds to me like what you’re saying when we look at say, the difference between a nice homemade loaf of sourdough bread and a loaf of bread at the grocery store, what you’re saying is it’s not the fact that the gluten might be more concentrated in the bread from the grocery store, it’s the addition of these vegetable oils and other preservatives that are rendering our digestive system and also our lymph system unable to actually deal with some of the more natural gluten proteins within that compound.
John: Right, 100%. And studies show that people who eat processed foods which have all these cooked oils which are shelf life extenders and natural preservatives, they increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is belly fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bad low good cholesterol, and high triglycerides by a whopping 141%. And in the exact same study, when people ate whole foods, non-processed food, including the whole wheat and whole grains, they reduce the risk of all those components of metabolic syndrome by 38%. Study, after study, after study will point to the processed foods. Whole grains, in study, after study, after study, reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53%, reduce the risk of type two diabetes. In study, after study, after study, when you compare ’em to refined processed grains, yes, those grains have a high glycemic index and they will act more like sugar, but a whole grains lower your blood sugar in study after study.
So what we’ve done in this culture, we’d be taking processed foods and processed wheat, like Wonder Bread and the stuff on the grocery store, that has a litany of ingredients you’ve never heard of, including processed oil that can’t be digested, that break down your digestion, and we say these are causing high blood sugar issues and therefore they must be related to Alzheimer’s because sugar causes Alzheimer’s. We made that leap from “because something had a high glycemic index and therefore must act like sugar, and sugar it does cause Alzheimer’s”, we then made the leap that says “wheat causes Alzheimer’s”. And that is simply not true. Study after study shows that people who eat whole grains and whole wheat have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and increased cognitive function. They lose weight, they have less arthritis, they have less schizophrenia compared to what you have been being told. But when you take processed foods, refined foods, then we have an issue, and that’s my point.
We are taking something you’ve been eating in a whole form for three and a half million years and saying, “This is a terrible new poison!” I’m going, “Well, wait a minute. You’re not measuring that. You’re measuring a processed that has nothing to do with natural and nothing to do with healthy. And when you take those cooked oils in that form in our breads which you’ve been eating for three times a day for 50, 60 years, overeating that heck out of the wheat like crazy, wheat, remember, is also a seasonal grain, harvested in the fall for winter eating. If you’re living off the land, you’re not eating wheat in the spring and the summer. You wait for the fall, ancient humans didn’t eat it when it was not ripe in the summer, they waited until it was ripe in the fall and then eat it from the fall. And there’s enzymes, like amylase, that increase in your body in the fall to digest wheat, and they disappear in the spring.
Ben: I actually, I want to ask you about that in a second. I want to get into like nature cycles and like how our body changes in season based on the enzymes that we produce. But before we do, I want to close this loop real quick on like the bread that we get from the grocery store. Because you hear this idea that, for example, like whole wheat bread will spike your blood sugar higher than, say, a candy bar, and it sounds to me, like again what you’re saying, is that isn’t because necessarily the wheat or the gluten are causing issues, but instead it’s these added residual compounds, like sugars and oils, that they add into these breads.
John: That’s right. It’s the added sugars, what these oils do is they…
Ben: Sorry to interrupt. If I look at the nutrition label of bread that I buy at the grocery store, and here’s my problem, being completely ignorant, I haven’t bought bread at the grocery store in like three years, so I haven’t actually looked at the label in a while, does it say sugar and vegetable oil buy it?
John: Oh my god, yes. They put honey, sugar, corn, I mean depending on how bad it is, but they always, almost always put in some type of preservative and some type of cooked oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, there’s going to be a cooked oil in there, and that’s what makes it squishy and keeps it soft for a long time. People like that, they like soft bread. But a real loaf of bread, like a baguette made without any oil, will get hard in a couple of days, and you can club somebody with it in two or three days. I mean it’s hard. So we’ve just deviated from those really natural versions of this food. And people also say, “Well, whole wheat isn’t whole wheat anymore,” and that might be true in other countries, but in America when they say whole wheat, it actually has in it the bran, and the germ, and the endosperm in the original proportions that nature made it in. So it is a legal term, “whole wheat”.
Ben: So do you think when people do like better with, ’cause this is the case for me, when I go to like Spain or Italy, like I do okay with the pasta and the breads over there, and not quite so well in America. You think it’s because it has nothing to do with like the wheat processing, but instead perhaps they’re not adding the same amount of sugars and vegetable oils as we add here in America?
John: It’s all the additives that we do here to mass produce it, to extend shelf life. Those things are made homemade. They’re made usually homemade that day, ground their own wheat, they make their own bread, they make their own, I go to Italy a lot and they make their own pasta every single day. So it’s a whole grains without the processed versions. And what happens, and this is what “Eat Wheat” is really all about, is just make this case with over 600 scientific references saying, “Maybe you should look at the science. It doesn’t say wheat is the culprit, but the digestive system, because of these processed oil, has been broken down. And I take people and I help them troubleshoot every single aspect of their digestion so they can reboot the part that’s not allowing them to have the ability to eat hard to digest foods that are causing their food intolerances or allergies, or potentially setting them up for real problems down the road because our ability to digests well is our ability to detoxify well.
And that’s the other issue we have, pesticides and environmental pollutants, 400 billion pounds of these environmental pollutants dumped in the American environment every single year. Coal mine plus produced mercury in the cloud that filter on to every single organic vegetable. And if you can’t eat wheat and you once were able, and now you have inability to digest that wheat, and I’m talking to good quality wheat, then how are you going to break down the mercury on every organic vegetable you can’t wash off. That mercury’s going to go into your liver, into your fat, your brain, at it’s going to cause real problems down the road. So if you can’t wheat, in a lot of ways, there’s many, many grains you can choose, but if you can’t digest these certain foods, then that means that our digestive system and our ability to detoxify has been compromised. My point is let’s fix that. You can choose to eat wheat or not. That’s not the major issue. The major issue is make sure you have a digestive system that supports healthy delivering of the nutrition and the detoxification that we desperately need to stay healthy for a long life. Otherwise, those toxins will take us out.
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Ben: Okay. So let’s touch on something else that you just touched on briefly, and that was this idea, I believe you said that our bodies produce more amylase in the winter months, or as it becomes colder, and that the bread and the wheat that we’ve stored away for the winter months is best digested in the fall or the winter. Can you expound on that a little bit?
John: Amylase, the good science of the amylase as a genetic adaptation to early humans to be able to digest starch. To this day, that amylase specifically helps us digest grains. And it increases in the fall, or when that grain just happens to be harvested. It’s hard to ignore that science. There’s a nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system which we call the rest and digest nervous system, and the other half of that nervous system is the fight or flight nervous system. The rest and digest parasympathetic nervous system, at least the digestive component of that, increases in the winter to digest hard to digest foods. If you think of nature, we’re going to get more dense foods in the winter. The grains can store, the root vegetables can store, the nuts and seeds can store, the meats are heavier and more dense. We need stronger digestion and generally eat more high protein, higher fat, sort of paleo-esque diet in the wintertime.
But come spring, the rules change. Some of the rules change because the diet, and the harvest, and the microbes in the soil change dramatically, the microbes on the foods change dramatically, and the microbes in our gut and our microbiome also change dramatically, and we have no conception of that yet, although ancient wisdom would suggest that this is very, very important, and then science of the microbiome is saying it absolutely is. Can I tell you a quick story about that deer study I wrote about?
Ben: About the deer study?
John: They did a study with deer, and they found that deer eat bark in the wintertime, and they eat leaves in the summertime. And they have microbes in the summer for digesting leaves, they have microbes in the summer, or in the winter for digesting bark, bark digesting microbes. And the studies showed that if the deer were to eat bark in the summer, they would have the wrong microbes. It wouldn’t be able to digest it, and it would cause such a level of indigestion it could potentially kill deer. And I was like, “Wait a minute. Are you kidding me? Deer die when they eat out of season?” One of my books earlier on was called “The Three Season Diet And Eating Seasonal Foods,” and everything. And when I read that study which was a couple years ago, I was like, “Oh my goodness”. How completely disconnected we are to understanding that the microbes in the soil change from season to season. Those microbes attached to our foods, which should be organically, ’cause we spray them, you kill all those bugs, and that changes our microbiome to dissipate heat in the summer, decongest us in the spring, boost immunity and digestive strength in the winter.
And how important is that? I was so passionate about that, I actually put out every month of the year, a free grocery list, recipe list, and seasonal food list. For every single month of the year, it’s a free eating guide that people can get, it’s called “The Three Season Diet”, you can get it at my website at LifeSpa.com, and you get free lists, and grocery lists, and recipes, and superfood list for what to eat in January, February, and March, and April. Every month you check your inbox, so you know exactly how to get reconnected to what’s in season for that month, and how to eat it, and how to cook it. It’s so…
Ben: And people can just download this from your website, and it tells you which food you should eat, or which food groups you should prioritize based on what time of season that it is?
John: Every month we give you a recipe and a grocery list for every month of the year.
Ben: That’s really cool because like, so there’s this concept, I was actually talking about this the other day with a guy named Dr. Dan Pompa who I had on my show. We were talking about this concept of diet variation, like kind of allowing yourself to do things like cycle carbohydrates, and go in and out of ketosis, and things like that. But still, despite that, that’s more like a macronutrient shifts than it is actual food content shifts. And it sounds to me like what you’re saying is like if I’m one of those guys who has like a smoothie for breakfast every morning with the leafy vegetables, and some of the oils, and fats, and like a salad for lunch with some seeds and nuts, or perhaps some fish, and some roasted vegetables and meats for dinner, I could actually assist my health and my digestion by, instead, looking at what the season is. Let’s say summer, fall, or summer, spring, winter, fall, and instead changing the type of foods that I eat. Maybe salad for lunch in the summer, and soup for lunch in the fall or the winter, and this would actually allow my body to better digest the foods that I’m eating?
John: One hundred percent because we now know that there are cyclical enzymes in your body that help us digest seasonal foods that have been in evolutionarily designed for millions and millions of years. Higher protein, higher fat diets in the winter are naturally occurring. Lower fat, leafy greens, sprouts, berries, and cherries are naturally occurring in the spring. Higher carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables for long days and short night naturally occurring in the summer. So eating just a high protein, high fat diet for 365 days of the year is simply not natural. When you think about the natural cycles of nature, you’re not going to get grains in the springtime. You’re not going to get, why would you kill an animal or go hunting when in the summertime, there’s fruits and vegetables on every single tree, and there’s so much food that you can eat that are plant-based, why would you go kill your animal? You want to save ’em for the winter when you need them. So people naturally were inclined to eating more protein and fat in the winter, more leafy greens, and sprouts, and green alkaline kind of cleansing foods in the spring, and higher fruits and vegetables, energy foods in the summer. And that’s the rule, and that was my book “The Three Season Diet”.
Ben: Yeah. There’s another book I read a long time ago, it’s called “Lights Out: Sleep, Sex, and Survival” by T.S. Wiley, and she even goes into how the body, like fruit, and citrusy foods, and even some sugars become less metabolically damaging to the body when you are in the presence of things like sunlight and high amounts of vitamin D. And it sounds to me like kind of what you’re saying tends to agree with that concept, and perhaps it’s also why, when I’m in a tropical location, I get cravings for things like papayas, and mangoes, and coconuts, and bananas. Whereas when I’m at home, in Spokane, Washington where I’ve got, in some cases, like sunlight from 10 to 2, I’m on a north facing slope in the forest, it’s cold, like I barely even think about fruit when I’m in that location. It sounds to me like some of that might be based on like inherent built-in human mechanisms for creating certain enzymes, or being able to handle certain foods at different times of the year.
John: Yeah. My daughter went to school in Spokane, and I get it. First of all, there isn’t any fruit in Spokane in January, February, March. You couldn’t get it if you wanted to get it a hundred years ago. So you’re absolutely right. In addition to seasonal cycles, there’s also a daily cycle. Studies show that the digestive system, part of our circadian rhythm, that our digestive strength is stronger in the middle of the day and less strong in the evening. And based on your point that you just mentioned, there are also studies that show that the foods in the middle of the day deliver a higher concentration of the nutritional value than they do in the morning or in the evening. In other words, the foods are cyclically delivering the food to us when our digestive system is the strongest. So we get the best bang for our buck when you eat foods, and historically throughout the world, everybody ate bigger meals in the middle of the day. We can’t argue with that.
And now we’re finding the science and going, “Yeah, that was a really good idea. We did it for thousands of years, and now we threw it out the window 50 years ago, and maybe we should bring that back because the circadian rhythms are telling us that’s exactly when we should eat the biggest meal of the day, the middle of day when the digestive system’s strong.” And we all know it. Yeah, but we all threw that out the window. And we slow, we pay I think this very slow, cumulative price. We spray our foods with stuff, there’s no microbes on the food anymore, we eat it at the wrong time of the year, we eat it late at night when we can’t digest it, we eat processed versions of the food sprayed with pesticides through the study, then they show that farmers who are around pesticides have zero microbes in their mouth, which is where the microbes start, that it kills the microbes, and there’s microbes in your mouth, your esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine that are specifically designed to make enzymes to break down the gluten and the [0:50:22] ______ of wheat. And if you have a lot of pesticides on your food over a long period of time, and processed foods, it’s the perfect storm for not digesting meat.
And I totally get it. Why would you eat wheat when you feel bad? People are right. It’s true. But calling wheat the cause of Alzheimer’s, calling wheat the cause of obesity when there are studies saying it’s the exact opposite, when it’s the processed foods, and the sugars, and the pesticides that have really broken down our digestion so we can’t deliver nutrition as well, we end up congesting the lymph. And like I said, the studies show if the lymphs are congested, where does all the fat go? Boom! Into your belly, into your hips, and create all these, or into your brain, creating all these real problems.
Ben: Wow. Okay. So I know we can download some of these free guides from your site, and by the way, for those of you listening in, any of these books have been mentioning or John’s website, just go to the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/wheatpodcast, and I’ll put a link to all this stuff. John, there are some other questions I wanted to ask you, almost like some rapid fire things based on some really interesting anecdotes that I found in your book, ’cause it’s just so chock full of some things I’d never read before. And so one of them is this, there are these tests for gluten intolerance, like the skin prick test is a very common one. People get that, and they come back, and they say, “I’m gluten intolerant. I should stop eating bread.” What do you think of that test?
John: Well, I mean I wrote in the book that there are some really interesting studies. I think in one study, it was 50 something percent inaccurate, and another study it was 90 something, I think 93% inaccurate. And here, people are getting these skin prick test giving a life sentence of don’t eat X, Y, and Z, and the study was shown to be 93% inaccurate. So that is the worst test you could ever get is a skin prick test…
Ben: Why is it so inaccurate?
John: I don’t know why it’s inaccurate, but it just is. I mean the studies show that…
Ben: How do you figure out it’s inaccurate? Like you get the skin prick test and then you do some other tests to show that it’s inaccurate?
John: They did some other tests and they found that the only thing that was really valuable was they would give people these foods that they were told they were hyperallergic to and they didn’t have any issues whatsoever. And then they would actually test them in other ways and found that there actually were no real hypersensitivity issues to those. And I know in clinical practice, and I’ve doing this for over 30 years, people come in with a skin prick test or an allergic test and they say, “Hey, I’m allergic to X, Y, and Z.” Six months later they come back and allergic to a whole new list of foods, and then another six months, a whole new list of foods. And it keeps changing, and I’m going like, “Yes! Because we keep changing, and the microbiome is trying to change.” And you can’t just take the foods and throw them out, you’ve got to fix the, like you said at the very beginning so eloquently, we got to fix the body so the body can do what it was designed to do, have a very powerful, diverse ability to digest many different types of food, easy to digest foods, hard to digest foods, and these little poisonous, so-called poisons that turn out to be cancer curing many in cases, like leptins and phytic acids, in small amounts are drivers of our immune system, which should be very, very careful when we just throw that out of our diets saying, “Ack! That’s bad. We’ve been eating it for three quarter of a million years. It can’t be good…”
Ben: I assume if you have like celiac or Crohn’s, it would be a different matter?
John: Yes. Different matter. Completely 100%, this is not for them. That’s 1, possibly a maximum of 3% of the population. Totally 1% is diagnosed, maybe 3% percent of the population are lingering with undiagnosed celiac. That segment of the population should not do it. But like you said earlier about the sourdough bread, in other ways the bread, or sourdough, sprouted and soaked grains, spelt has significantly less of the antinutrients, rye is really easy on your blood sugar, many ways and strategies, but sourdough bread, done properly, was shown to reduce the gluten content during the fermentation process rendering the bread 100% gluten-free. It was officially labeled gluten-free bread, and they gave that bread to people with celiac in Italy and it had no reactivity to that bread. Now, I’m not in any way suggesting people who have celiac should eat wheat, but people who have celiac have an autoimmune condition, and autoimmune conditions are linked to lymphatic congestion of the central nervous system in the brain, and that tracks back in its arsenal skin.
So those folks for sure should look at what I write in the book, and help you troubleshoot and repair the intestinal skin, decongest your lymphatic system, and turn on your digestion, and repair you liver from all the processed oils that have congested your liver and your gallbladder for so many years. Gallbladder surgeries are the number one surgery in America today. People with liver issues and liver disease, it’s just epidemic. Take that organ, and one organ, the lymph and the liver have taken such a beating from the process foods and pesticides in our diet that we have to help and repair and reboot them. And the cool thing about the human body is it heals if you do the right thing.
Ben: Right. So we can get rid of metals, and processed foods, and some of these things that damage the lymph and that damage the gut, and I’ve certainly done other podcasts about how to heal your gut, and it’d obviously be a whole different podcast for us to go full on down the road of gut healing, but you do have a few little tips that you give in the book that I wanted to ask you about. You talk quite a bit about the lymph, for example. And you recommend, for example, foods that help to move the lymph and that help to encourage a healthy lymph system. What are some of the top foods that people can consume on a daily basis or throughout the day to assist with either rebooting their lymph system or getting their lymph system to a state where it can actually handle some of these things like gluten and dairy proteins?
John: Well, in addition to regular exercise, which I talk about, I’m big believer in nasal breathing exercise, and could explain why that’s important, but the…
Ben: And jumping up and down on a trampoline, right?
John: Yeah. You bet. And…
Ben: Which I’ve actually been doing.
John: Oh, nice, nice. But in addition to that, in terms of foods, like you ask, any food that would actually make your dye on your clothes, like berries, or cherries, or blackberries, or blueberries, or cranberries, or beets, all of them have antigens and different types of antioxidants that move and work their magic through your lymphatic system. Herbs like, red roots is a red root, again, dries your skin, usually use as a dye in Ayurvedic medicine, an herb called manjistha, powerful lymphatic movers. All your greens and your leafy greens, your natural alkalinizers that help move your lymphatic system. So all these things are natural lymphatic movers that work really, really well to help get that lymphatic system to move for sure.
Ben: So basically, take a food and rub it all over your clothes, and if it dyes your clothes, it’s a good sign that it might be good for your lymph system?
John: Pretty much. Exactly.
Ben: But seriously, like these darker colors, like the purples, the blues, the very dark reds, a lot of those you’re a fan of?
John: Big time. Yeah. Anything with color has antioxidants, generally speaking. But the berries and cherries, the ones that are actually used as dye are more potent.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. Any particular time of day that’s best to eat these? I mean in terms of timing, obviously those foods contain things like fructose and sugars, like do you pay attention to macronutrient timing at all and eat those at specific times of the day?
John: The heavier and more dense the food, the better off you’re eating it in the middle of the day when you have more digestive tract. And the lighter foods, which could be soups, or salads, or maybe a meal of fruit, Ayurvedic medicine traditionally always said to eat fruits sort of on their own, not mixed fruits with a whole bunch of other stuff. And generally, because if you have like, if you have granola and you put a fruit on the top of the granola, the body will take the glucose in the granola and just deliver it into the bloodstream very, very quickly. But the fructose burns very, very slow. So the fructose is probably going to end up being stored as fat as a reserve source of energy, but the glucose in the granola, the grain will actually be delivered as energy. So if you don’t mind having a little extra storage fat, and that’s why the fruits were harvested in the fall, for winter fat storing. Bears gorge on fruits in the fall to gain a level of extra weight. And we’re so paranoid about any little extra weight in the fall, but in a lot of ways, that’s what’s trying to happen in our body, is gain a little insulation in the winter, and depending on where you live, you want a little more, a little less, but it’s important to do that. And fruits do that, grains to a certain extent a lipophilic side.
But in general, when you eat a whole grain, as people eat more whole grains and less whole grains, they actually lose weight. But in the fall, if you gorge on them, which traditionally when they’re harvested, that’s when you would do it, these fruits and grains have a little bit of a lipophilic effect. They’re just doing what they’re supposed to do. So we have to, again, the biggest issue with our whole world is we eat this way too much food, and that also stems to our inability to digest and deliver the nutrition ’cause the brain never really feels satisfied. It keeps saying, “Give me more food! Give me more food!” And we eat way, way, way too much. And that’s where we’ll help you to reboot digestive strength, the ability to assimilate well, and get the lymph system to deliver those fats as energy so you’re not craving and starving all day long. Makes a huge difference in the amount of food you actually need, or require, or crave.
Ben: Gotcha. And you actually like lunch as the heavier meal of the day versus like having a huge breakfast, or like kind of fasting for a lot of the day and then having a big meal for dinner.
John: I do like a bigger lunch, and I do also like fasting for at least 13 hours of your day. A little between dinner and breakfast, you should try to give yourself 13 hours where the body is just, the kitchen is closed.
Ben: I do that, and generally it’s like a 12 to 16 hour fast where there’s just no food, and not even the coffee with all the fats in it, or anything like that, for breakfast until later on in the morning. But I generally and this is primarily I think because sometimes I have a pretty work intensive afternoon, and I find that a very heavy lunch, or making lunch the biggest, most calorically dense meal of the day can sometimes give me a little bit of sluggishness in the afternoon. Have you found that to be the case when lunch is the heaviest meal of the day?
John: I think that’s the primary reason why we ended up eating little meals throughout the day. I eat a big meal at lunch and I fall asleep, so I want to eat little meals all day, keep my energy up all day long, and there are some problems with that. Number one is that you put gas in your car and your car stalls, you don’t stop putting gas in your car or put $2 in every three, or four, or five, or 10 miles. You go to the garage and say, “Hey, my car stalls when put gas in it, when I fill it up.” So we have to reboot the ability to digest foods really, really well. Part of that means eating whole foods that are not processed. Remember, if those foods that are processed and they’re undigested, those big proteins and those big fats go into your small intestine and they will clog your lymph, and your lymph trying to deliver baseline energy to give you a surge of energy throughout the day. And if those lymphs are clogged, you’re going to have a food coma. It’s going to hit like a rock and you’re going to fall asleep.
But that tells me that there’s an indigestion causing a lymphatic congestion and inability to deliver those fats as fuel. So why don’t we fix that problem instead of just saying, “Let’s eat meal, snack, meal, snack, meal, snack.” And if you eat meal, snack, meal, snack, meal, snack, your body is going to burn the meal and the snack, the meal and the snack, and as you know, we really want to help the body burn fat. If you want the body to burn fat, you’ve got to give it a reason. If you have breakfast and nothing until lunch, you’ll burn fat in between. Lunch, nothing until supper, you’ll burn fat in between. Supper, nothing ’til breakfast, you’ll burn fat. But if you have a meal and a snack, and a meal and a snack, you never give the body a reason the burn fat. So you become addicted and conditioned to need to be fed every two to three hours like a baby. And then when you try to go to bed and sleep for eight hours, the body goes, “Hey, I have a feeding schedule. I need to get fed every two hours.” So then it affects your ability to have a deep night’s sleep and slowly undermining all of our circadian rhythms that have to do with getting hungry at the right time, sleeping at the right time, and living in sync with this very powerful natural rhythm.
In circadian medicine, circadian science, the cutting-edge research is saying this is going to revolutionize medicine as we know. It’ll get us reconnected to the rhythms of nature, and that’s because we’re understanding how the microbes are so connected to that and how disconnected we are. That’s what I love about the ancient principles. They were like staying connected to the rhythm of nature of like is Lifestyle 101. I mean that’s like what you learn in kindergarten, historically. And now we have to learn that as the new revolutionary part of our medical science. It’s crazy.
Ben: Yeah. And then you talk about certain things that you could include during the day, and I kind of noted this as I was reading your book because I thought, “Well maybe if I do some of these things, it would assist with being able to digest meals a little bit more efficiently, things like lunch, but also help with my own lymph system and digestive system. And one thing that I’ve started to do, I ordered all the ingredients for this based off reading about it in your book, and I’ve been beginning to prepare it each day, is this decoction tea that it sounds like you drink and kind of sip throughout the day. So can you explain to me the ingredients of your decoction tea and how that works? Why that actually is something good for the lymph system?
John: Well, it’s good for a lot of things. It’s a combination or slippery elm, licorice, and marshmallow root, and the herbs are chopped. You take three tablespoons…
Ben: Slippery arm, licorice, and marshmallow root…
John: Elm. Slippery elm, licorice, and marshmallow root in chopped, not ground up, form. And you soak them in two quarts of water overnight, boil it down for two quarts to half a quart, strain it through a metal strainer, and you take tablespoon dosages throughout the day to sort of coat your whole intestinal tract with this prebiotic fiber slime, like the Pepto-Bismol commercial, and coat it with this protective coating. Our intestinal tract is so irritated and so inflamed in many cases that that creates like a protective Band-Aid to coat and let the intestinal skin repair. It’s also naturally a prebiotic. When you look at the ancient hunter-gatherers, they had a hundred grams of fiber per day in their diet, and we get about 15 grams of fiber per day. Fiber takes the bile that, it’s like a Pac-Man in your liver, gobbling up toxins and stuff. And that’s, of course, the bile is very congested in most people today because of the process fats, but that bile’s supposed to gobble up all the toxins when it goes in your intestinal tract, all that mercury, parasites, bad kind of stuff, keep your villi of your intestinal tract super happy, and your intestinal skin, really, the junctions tight so you don’t have to get leaky gut.
If there’s fiber in that diet, 93% of the bile, with all the toxins, will get reabsorbed back to your liver. Now if there’s toxins in your liver, and that liver’s going, “My god, what’s going on?” And then the bile get reused 17 times before it finally just gets exhausted and gets depleted. So without the fiber in the diet, a hundred grams of fiber what ancient hunter-gatherers had, that bile is taken to the toilet, forcing the liver to make brand new today’s version of the bile. And that’s what we want to have. So when you have this fiber, we’re giving you this slippery elm prebiotic formula, is that it actually increases the fiber, takes the bile to the toilet, repairs, heals the gut, [1:05:20] ______ for good microbes to actually proliferate inside your intestinal tract, it repairs your intestinal skin, and it supports the fiber for the bile to get out of the body, and it also helps support really healthy lymphatic flow.
Ben: Yeah. It tastes really good too. It’s like kind of slimy, but it almost feels as though it coats my stomach.
John: Well, that’s what it’s doing. It’s coating your stomach from top to bottom. It’s like a medicinal Band-Aid that’s coating your whole intestinal tract, like for ulcers and [1:05:48] ______ and irritation, and bad microbes. It’s wonderful. Now sometimes I will use a colonizing probiotic with that to make sure that you keep the good bugs really populating and not let any bad bug proliferate, like in situations like SIBO, where people are growing all kinds of bad bugs, the fiber can support that. So I use a combination of colonizing probiotics and Saccharomyces yeast to kill the bad bug, and I use that to make sure we only grow good bugs in that new healthy environment.
Ben: And why do you prepare that tea by fermenting it overnight, or by cooking it overnight, versus just making it like a normal cup of tea?
John: You could do it that way, but it just becomes more medicinal when you get the demulcent slime out of those herbs. Soaking overnight allows those herbs to soften. So when you boil it down, you get more of the demulcent components, which are the slimy parts, and the slimy parts are the soluble fibers that really repair and support the intestinal skin, and that’s what the bile loves to attach to.
Ben: Okay. Got it.
John: So you get a little more of it when you cook it down.
Ben: Okay. So a few other little questions here that I have for you about a few of the things that you recommend for the lymph system. You described this meal called the kitchari. I hadn’t heard of it before, but can you describe what it is and why you’re such a fan of people learning to make kitchari and include that in their diet?
John: Well years ago, they would take the split mung beans, and they would take a knife, or a hatchet, or I don’t know what they would take, and they would chop the yellow mung bean and split it, and the husk would fall off, and they would separate the husk from the bean. And they would take the rice, this is all by hand, they would take the rice and they would strip off the husk of the rice and make white rice the old fashioned way, strain grain by grain. They would take all of these gonna dehusk split mung bean and the rice, and they would cook it into a soup with special spices, with curcumin and coriander, and fennel, and ginger. I talk about the spices and how powerful they are for digestive reset in the book, and they cook it down, and make it into this medicinal food for convalescence, the first food they give babies, and it’s so gentle in healing and repairing for the intestinal skin. So we give that food as a food to help repair the intestinal skin as we begin to increase the soluble fiber in the gut, reboot digestive strength. We’re just doing a complete reboot for the entire digests, that what I could tell you how to do in the book, a complete overhaul for every part of your intestinal track and digestive function so you can get back to eating the foods that we were designed to eat.
Ben: Okay. Got it. And you just eat this stuff, like you would just include it like you would include something like sauerkraut, for example, with dinner?
John: You could do it that way. I mean, fermented foods are a wonderful way to deliver probiotics. I always think about those as smaller condiments. My kids eat that once or twice a week ’cause it tastes so good. I also have a cleanse, like a digestive reset cleanse, it’s a four day cleanse in the book where you eat nothing but kitchari for four days as a real powerful reset for the intestinal skin.
Ben: That’s how you pronounce it? Kitchari.
John: Kitchari. Yeah. Kitchari.
Ben: Cool. Yeah. I circled that part of the book, and it’s on my, I kind of always have this list of different things to try, and I’ve already started incorporating your decoction tea every day and just love it. I mean it literally just feels like it’s nourishing and protective to my digestive system, so I’m very very intrigued to try this kitchari and begin [1:09:14] ______, and the main kind of active ingredient in it is these mung beans?
John: The combination of the mung beans. Split yellow mung beans are one of the only beans that have what they call anti-flatulence factors, which means that they’re one of the only beans that don’t produce gas. So they’re super easy to digest. And out of all the beans, this is the only being that’s classified that way according to Ayurvedic medicine. And now there’s science to show that it’s powerfully anti-inflammatory, and powerfully anti-gas, and one of the easiest beans to digest. Split yellow mung beans is what are the easiest ones. You could have trouble having beans, and beans are the highest source of fiber, and we have very little fiber in our diet, let’s say 50 grams of fiber per day, which is half of the hunter-gatherers had. That’s a crazy amount of vegetables, and without beans, it’s very difficult to even come close to 50. A hundred grams of fiber, Ben? I don’t even know how they did that. But beans are actually required. So we have to amp up our ability to digest beans again, and that also requires very strong digestive strength.
Ben: Yeah. Okay. Got it. You are obviously a big fan of sourdough bread, man after my own heart. You talk about it quite a bit in the book, and my wife makes fantastic sourdough bread. She makes so much of it, our sourdough bread starter is constantly overflowing and like exploding in the pantry, and she gives out bread to friends and family, and we absolutely love those big cannonball loads of sourdough bread. But you, in the book claim that you have a source, a recipe for the best sourdough bread kind of known to man, or at least known to you. Can you describe what it is that makes your version of sourdough bread so special? Or did I misinterpret what you said?
John: Yeah. I don’t think I say it’s anyway the best. There’s a couple of recipes, one comes from an ancient old bakery.
Ben: Well, you’re definitely a fan of it.
John: Yeah. I think your wife’s bread sounds great. I think that there’s, I have a recipe from France, an ancient bakery, an old bakery in France from the 1800s, an old recipe there. And there also is a recipe from the Kripalu Yoga Center. There’s a woman there who makes the most amazing bread, and she shared her recipe with me, which is more of a modern recipe. But there is this couple recipes, but by no means do I suggest these are like ‘the all-time be-all best’ sourdough bread recipes. They’re just good recipes.
Ben: And what is it that you think makes these sourdough recipes so good? Like is there…
Ben: ‘Cause we have some people listening in who like to make sourdough, so I’d just be curious like if there are some key ingredients or key methods that you really like.
John: I think it’s the combination of first soaking the grain, and so it soaked first, and then leaving the fermentation, leaving it to ferment long enough, for 24 hours at least. Some recipes, actually, it takes three days to fully make a really good sourdough bread. So the key is to let the bread sit around and really ferment so it can really gobble up the gluten and lighten up the bread, and make it lighter and better. That’s really the key.
Ben: Okay. Got it. And I know you have the full recipes, you have multiple recipes in the back of the book for the sourdough breads.
John: Yeah. There’s two of them, yeah.
Ben: I’m actually, my wife and I are going to try one of your spins just to see how it compares to hers. I mean the book is chock full of recipes, you’ve got like how to eat in season, you’ve got tons of scientific information, we didn’t even delve into as far as like references, and research, and studies to back up a lot of what you’re saying about gluten and about the fact that really it’s not the gluten, and in many cases, it’s not the dairy proteins either, which we didn’t really touch on too much in today’s show, but it’s very similar, it is instead our gut/lymph systems that, if we reboot and heal, we are going to be able to handle some of these proteins that we find in nature, assuming that they don’t have all the sugars and the vegetable oils added to them. So I don’t think John, for those of you listening in, is in any way endorsing that you go out and buy Wonder Bread and a giant plastic jug of 2% milk from the grocery store. But what he is saying is that the ancestral versions of some of these foods are far less of an issue than what perhaps you’ve been led to believe.
And I’m going to put a link to his book, I’m going to put a link to a lot of the stuff that we talked about in the show notes, some other books we mentioned like “Grain Brain”, and “Wheat Belly”, and “Deep Nutrition”, and some of the other resources, including the link to his website where you can get that free guide for how to eat in season. Everything’s going to be over in the show notes, and you can access those at bengreenfieldfitness.com/wheatpodcast that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/wheatpodcast. John, thank you so much for coming on the show, also for writing this book, and for giving your time so graciously to share the stuff with us.
John: Ben, it was a pleasure. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
Ben: Awesome. Alright. Well folks, this is Ben Greenfield along with John Douillard from Life Spa signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
Are you gluten-free or dairy-free?
If so, you might not have to be.
In his brand new book “Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically-Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back Into Your Diet“, my former podcast guest Dr. John Douillard introduces a scientific and clinically-proven approach to addressing food intolerances. He thinks that after generations upon generations of human beings eating wheat and only a relatively short few thousand years of hunting meat, we are actually genetically better equipped to eat wheat than meat.
In the book Dr. Douillard, who I first interviewed in “The Zen of “The Zone” – How To Breathe The Right Way When You’re Working Out” (and who first inspired me to begin nasal rather than mouth breathing during my workouts) addresses the underlying cause of the gluten-free epidemic. He explains how a breakdown in digestion has damaged the intestinal wall and leaked undigested foods and environmental toxins into the body’s lymphatic system, causing “grain brain” symptoms and food allergies. Although eliminating wheat and dairy from your diet may help your symptoms, it is a Band-Aid solution. Backed by more than 600 scientific studies, Eat Wheat claims to address the root cause: weak digestion and the inability to efficiently break down harmful pollutants and toxins that can predispose you to a host of chronic degenerative diseases, such as cancer and autoimmune disorders.
Dr. Douillard, DC, CAP, is a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda, and sports medicine. He is the creator of LifeSpa.com, the leading Ayurvedic health and wellness resource on the web. LifeSpa.com is evolving the way Ayurveda is understood around the world, with over 700 articles and videos proving ancient wisdom with modern science. Dr. John is the former Director of Player Development for the New Jersey Nets NBA team, author of 6 health books, a repeat guest on the Dr. Oz show, and featured in Woman’s World Magazine, Huffington Post, Yoga Journal and dozens of other publications. He directs LifeSpa, the 2013 Holistic Wellness Center of the year in Boulder, CO.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-Why John says it’s not the “grains” but the “drains”…[9:00]
-The studies that show that humans have been eating gluten for a very long time…[15:40]
-The difference between modern grain and ancient grain processing…[25:20]
-What John means when he says “perhaps we simply have an inability to digest these foods”…[29:15]
-The two shocking ingredients added to most breads that are the true culprits to the villainous nature of these breads…[29:50 & 35:40]
-Why deer can die when they eat “out of season” and how you can “eat wheat (or dairy) in season”, especially in terms of your digestive enzymes…[43:35]
-Other surprising examples how you can eat according to nature’s cycles…[44:55]
-Why the skin prick test for gluten intolerance is notoriously inaccurate…[51:35]
-Why you should eat foods that can “dye your clothes”…[56:55]
-Why John thinks lunch should be the heaviest meal of the day…[57:35]
-How John’ s decoction tea works (and why you should sip hot beverages throughout the day)…[63:15]
-The strange food called “kitchari” and why John highly recommends including it in your diet…[67:00]
-John’s recipe for the best sourdough bread he’s ever had…[71:00]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
-Previous podcast with John: The Zen of “The Zone” – How To Breathe The Right Way When You’re Working Out.
-Book: Wheat Belly
-Book: Grain Brain
-Book: Deep Nutrition