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Practice website: www.pedremd.com. At my practice, I help the patient take a deep dive into their gut health and gut-related health issues using functional medicine and a mind-body-spirit approach to wellness.
Sometimes we have to listen our bodies when it’s telling us that something is wrong. A certain symptom can sometimes present itself with a different root cause. In the instance of having an unhealthy gut, an upset stomach or maybe even heartburn can manifest towards when our bodies are fighting off the imbalances in the acids within. Dr. Vincent Pedre shares some of his expertise towards having a healthy gut in this episode we’re sure everyone is interested to know about.
Hello, true health seeker and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. You’re going to love today’s show with functional medicine doctor, Vincent Pedre. He has some amazing information about healing the gut and I know you will just love it. I wanted to share an email I got. I love emails from you guys, from the listeners. They often bring me to tears and this one from a listener that I’ve received a few days ago and I got permission to read it. I won’t share their name. They’re actually really excited for me to share because they wanted to spread hope. They say, “Hey there, Ashley. Hope the start of your holiday season is treating you and your family well. I just wanted to sincere thank you for the incredible impact you and your podcast has had in my life. After struggling with nervous system issues, digestive system issues for over 5 years, after a concussion landed me in the ER, after years of bouncing around to numerous practitioner and following countless protocols and spending way more money that I’d like to admit. It was two episodes of your podcast in particular that introduced me to the missing links in my healing process. I was able to locate an atlas orthogonal chiropractor in Seattle after hearing your episode with Dr. Patrick Gallagher. And I happen to see Eric Thorton who literally put my brain back in place. I imagine you get loads of emails like these but just wanted to extend my appreciation and gratitude for you and your work. All your shows are so jam-packed with valuable information that I will continue to listen, learn and pass along the information. Many cheers and hope you have a very happy and healthy holiday.”
Thank you so much for this letter. I wanted to share this because this listener had spent years and years over 5 years going from doctor to doctor with all kinds of issues and they didn’t give up hope. They’ve kept educating themselves and through some wonderful episodes, they really unlocked and unlocked what they’re looking for. I’ve had similar emails recently saying that specific episodes were the missing links that they were searching and searching and something just clicked. That was the missing link. Sometimes its diet. Sometimes it’s really simple like removing something out of your diet. Sometimes it’s a nutrient deficiency. Something as simple as magnesium or zinc. Sometimes it’s taking the time to breathe. Something really simple. And sometimes it is a lot of things. It’s the shotgun approach needing to do many changes. If you’re suffering and you are feeling sick. You’re tired of feeling sick, know that there’s hope. Keep moving forward and every little change matters. You’ll look back and you’ll realize, today you’re better than the day before. That’s how I was. I was so sick for so many years and now looking back, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe how sick I was because I feel so good now. It took me years to build this. It’s the foundation of health you’re building, it’s funny that this listener wrote this about having a concussion because in today’s interview, Dr. Pedre talks about one cause of gut dysfunction, is concussion. He explains that.
Concussions are really common and often overlooked by regular doctors. When I say regular, I mean just like, run of the mill doctors. Not ones that have more advanced training like in functional medicine. So you go to an average doctor and they wouldn’t know when you’re having digestive issues to actually look at your brain health. Very interesting. So you’ll enjoy today’s interview if you have gut issues and that you’re looking to heal because Dr. Pedre has a wonderful book called, Happy Gut and he teaches some and brings us some great information in today’s interview. He’s going to come back on the show because even after 90 minutes we just got in the surface. I’m very excited to have him continue to come back and teach more and more. I want all of you to have wonderfully healthy guts. That doesn’t sound good. I want all of us to have wonderfully healthy tummies and happy healthy tummies and digestive systems. Enjoy today’s interview. Please share this episode with those you love who you also want to extend having healthy tummies with. That would be great if we could include all of our loved ones. Build happy healthy tummies with us. Enjoy today’s episode and have an excellent rest of your day.
[05:25] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 397. I am so excited for today’s guest. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and my gut. We have Dr. Vincent Pedre, who is an MD that specializes in healing the gut, holistically. Man, your bio, we could spend 2 hours just talking about your bio and your credentials. You have been on some amazing TV shows, you’ve hung out with Dr. Oz, you’ve done so many interviews. You’ve written so much great articles and books and your website, Happygutlife.com. I’m really excited for us to talk about this today because so many people complain. A lot of my listeners that they have bloating, they have constipation. That they’re on medications for heart burn that they just don’t know where to start or maybe they’ve been trying to do some diet to heal their candida, or heal their small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. It’s such a long path and they’re not getting the results that they want to get. Gut health is the foundation. If we don’t have our gut health, we don’t have anything. Because if we’re not absorbing and utilizing our nutrition, everything falls apart. That’s where it all begins.
[07:03] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Totally. Thank you so much for having me on your podcast. I’d like to think of the gut as the root system of the body. The same that the roots are for a tree. They are foundational. Imagine the health of the tree is guided by the health of the roots. Same way, the health of the body is really dependent on the health of your entire digestive system.
[07:27] Ashley James: Absolutely. Yes. Then more recently, people have been talking about how they’re seeing a direct correlation between gut health and brain health. That the vagus nerve can become inflamed and they’re seeing that also in the gut. That we make some of our neuro chemicals in the gut and that even our T3’s converted, 25% of our T3’s converted in the gut. The gut is not just for digesting food, it’s also affecting our brain and our hormones.
[08:03] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Let’s say, metabolically active organ system that is involved in making if we include the gut microbiome in that picture, is included in making neuro transmitters. It makes it’s own hormone that affect things like your appetite also your sense of that you’ve already eaten enough. It control so many things, it regulates blood sugar. It’s a really integral part of the entire picture of what makes up our health.
[08:39:] Ashley James: Now you wrote a book called Happy Gut. The cleansing program to help you lose weight, gain energy and eliminate pain. I heard about the study where they took obese, I think it was obese mice and mice of a healthy weight. They did a fecal transplant from the healthy weight mice to the obese mice and then the obese mice then became, without changing their chloric intake, the obese mice became not obese. So they’re saying that even our gut health has to do with the obesity and since we’re seeing that that is one of the largest health problems occurring today. Would you say that gut health and that almost everyone doesn’t have gut health right now?
[09:28] Dr. Vincent Pedre: You could argue for that. That we are in an epidemic of gut disorders. Let’s say in gut related disorders all throughout the world. It’s fascinating because I teach – I’ve had the honor to teach in Australia and Mexico. I just came back from Peru. Obesity is a problem that is a worldwide problem and the rise in diabetes and metabolic syndrome which is a precursor to diabetes that’s growing all over the world. You could argue which is the chicken or the egg, what’s coming first. There has been so many changes in the way that we eat. Our dietary patterns are so skewed from our ancestral patterns because of the availability of food, but also just the preponderance of sugar-laden foods, the refined carbohydrates, packaged foods. All sorts of things that are convenient but they’re just not healthy for us and certainly not healthy for the gut microbiome which then regulates things like how your body processes sugars. That’s going to relate to how much fat you pack into the middle of your body because that’s regulated by the hormone insulin.
You could argue, look at just the trends for example. The second most prescribed medication worldwide is a proton pump inhibitor, which lowers the acidity of the stomach. If you just look at this just as a late person. Even just like of an innocent child asking questions like, “Weren’t we made to have acid in our stomach for a reason? Is it okay to go in and alter that?” And think that we are solving a problem without a problem without creating downstream problems. That was my question in the 90’s when the proton pump inhibitors became the new panacea for gut issues if you’ve’ had acid reflux, let’s give you a proton pump inhibitor. You know, even back then, I asked the question, “You know, our physiology evolved to have a PH in the stomach around 3. We evolved to create stomach acid, why is it okay to change that? Are you sure that by changing that we’re not causing some downstream problems?” Early on in the days of the proton pump inhibitors, I swear if you spoke to a gastroenterologist, they thought it should just be added to the water and there were no problems with it. We know now, more than two decades later, that they lead to all sorts of things like calcium malabsorption, iron malabsorption. It could cause B12 deficiency. They lead to low bone mass eventually maybe to osteoporosis.
[12:46] Ashley James: Would it also lead to something like H-Pylori and allow for other parasitic infections to occur because if we don’t have enough acid in the stomach, like that’s our line of defense, it’s kind of a like a mote around it’s castle. It’s preventing stuff from getting in right?
[13:06] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. It’s initial line of defense, let’s say bacteria that might get through the food that we eat. Yeast for example. Candida has a hard time surviving stomach acid but if your stomach PH is raised and much easier than to colonize the stomach and really the small intestine and large intestine with yeast. H. Pylori’s a different story because PPI’s actually inhibit H.Pylori. Slow down the growth H.Pylori but they don’t eradicate the infection. They could actually perpetuate an H.Pylori infection at a very low grade but never fully get rid of it.
[13:52] Ashley James: That sounds like, you could insert that into almost any condition where chronic drugs we’re given to mask how the body functions. To sort of manage symptoms but not solve the problem. It persists. Something persists.
[14:10] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Exactly and for many people, we’re starting with stomach acid. For many people, acid reflux, heart burn is both an issue of diet and lifestyle habits, but it can also be an issue with not enough stomach acid production which is counter intuitive. Most people think that acid reflux means you’re making too much acid. For the majority of people what it means they making too little acid. They’re probably not making enough stomach acid because there’s different levels of malfunction they could be nutrient deficient so maybe they don’t have enough zinc in their diet. For example, they could have vagal nerve malfunction and thus they’re not getting the nerve impulses that would stimulate the stomach to produce enough acid to break down protein.
[15:06] Ashley James: What causes that? What causes vagal nerve malfunction?
[15:09] Dr. Vincent Pedre: The probably the easiest thing to understand that could cause that is a concussion for example. How many people have had concussions in their life where they lose consciousness and they recover for it. At least they think they’ve recovered from it but then something is not quite right after that. We know that if you have a concussion with loss of consciousness that within 30 minutes, you have vagal nerve malfunction and because of that you get leaky gut syndrome. The vagus nerve also regulates the gut barrier and the permeability of the gut. The other thing that I see in my practice that is more common that concussion that causes vagal nerve malfunction is stress. I would say that’s the number one reason people are – just think through a time where you’ve been really stressed and you eat but that food feels like it’s like a rock in your stomach? That’s because you’re not making enough digestive enzyme. They say you have to rest to digest. Or another word is you have to be in a relax state in order for your body to be able to digest foods. If you’re not into a relax state your body thinks that you need to be ready to run because something’s going to come and attack you. That’s the state of our modern lives. It’s maladaptive stress response because we’re not out in the wild. We don’t need to protect ourselves form some animals that going to try and attack and eat us. We’re living in a state as if it exists and we don’t resolve that state so a lot of people live in that chronic fight or flight response.
That will then affect your vagal tone that reduces vagal tones and terms has cascading effects of reducing stomach acid production. You might get stomachaches, maybe you start getting some reflux and then you think, “Well, I’m producing too much acid so I should take some of the acid lowering medication.” For the most part, that is the wrong thing to do. Now you’re going to create new problems because once you’re reducing stomach acid, I’ve mentioned calcium malabsorption, B12. They’ve also found that people who take PPI’s long term so proton pump inhibitors, these acid reducing medications out there that they’re at increased risk for some pneumonia and for being hospitalized with a pneumonia. They’re also at an increased risk for an infection and infection that you never want to get which is C. DIFF Diarrhea which is caused by bacteria called Clostridium Difficile. Which is extremely difficult to treat has become more and more resistant to the classic antibiotics that were used for that because of the overuse of antibiotics. It’s something that you don’t want to get. Along with yeast overgrowth and potentially I had a patient who came in who develop C. DIFF as a result of being on a proton pump inhibitor.
[18:28] Ashley James: There just doesn’t seem like there any positive news that comes to taking these medications. They get temporarily relief but they’re going to have worse side effects down the road.
[18:43] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Right. It’s either the quick solution versus what is going to be a little bit harder work. Which is figuring out, “Okay, you need to look at yourself, change your lifestyle.” Maybe you’re coming home at 8pm at night. Eating dinner and then you’re in bed by 11. You haven’t had enough time to digest your food and then at nighttime that food is sitting there putting pressure and stomach acid comes up because you’re lying down. A lot of times it takes making some tough choices about changing lifestyle habits. A lot of people, they’d rather just take a pill than change lifestyle but honestly, the lifestyle’s going to have the most favorable effects. The other thing is not breaking down protein properly. We started talking about neuro transmitters and hormones, what not. If you don’t break down your protein properly, you’re not going to have the sub stream necessary to make the neuro transmitter that help keep you happy and help life feel satisfying. Then you know you can go down the path of depression and anxiety because you’re not breaking down your protein properly.
[19:57] Ashley James: I’ve been advertised to recently, Zantac which is an anti-acid and anti-histamine now there’s a big recall because it’s now linked to causing cancer.
[20:12] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Let me explain it. There’s an ingredient in there, the scientific term for it, it’s an inert ingredient that’s used as filler to make these tablets.
[20:25] Ashley James: So it’s not that anti-acids directly causes cancer.
[20:28] Dr. Vincent Pedre: No. It was an ingredient within Zantac and it was a lot of the generic manufacturers. It was actually a recall that affected other generics as well because I have patients that take blood pressure medication that was also within that recall and it’s because they found that it had an ingredient that had an increase suspicion of being increasing the risk of cancer for people. So it was basically not the active ingredient itself, but another ingredient in the – which is scary because there are over the counter medications that you can just go and buy without a doctor’s prescription. And it had a substance in it that had been found to increase the risk for cancer.
[21:17] Ashley James: We live in a world where we feel that because it’s been sold over the counter that it’s safe. But if we go to Costco, you can buy one purchase of cough syrup because they sell this both too so that there’s two bulk giant, it’s like half a liter I think or something. It’s some crazy amount of cough syrup and they’re strapped together but two bottles of this big cough syrup and if you were to accidentally, maybe you were just sipping on it or you have a cough and you don’t read a label, you could kill yourself. It has a lethal dose of acetaminophen in it. It’s sold over the counter like we can go to a drugstore and buy something that doesn’t seem excessive and kill ourselves. We have to like really be careful taking any medication at all and make sure that we’re talking tour doctor and doing our research and like you said, stopping and looking at lifestyle and diet.
[22:16] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. I think a lot of doctors are trained within the system. You know, I hate to say it but I was trained in that system. That in some ways and this is what really turned me off to medicine at the end of my training is that, we’re just glorified reps for the pharmaceutical industry. That’s the way they train us. We’re constantly being marketed to by the different companies and back in the day and the early 2000’s, we were wined and dined. They found that doctors that were visited by pharmaceutical reps with the newest most expensive drugs tended to prescribe those newer and more expensive medications. When maybe there were alternatives that were much cheaper that would have been out for the long time. Obviously, the push is always to sell the newest because those are the medications that are unpatented and the companies that are going to make most money with. It’s horrible to say but in some ways I feel like until you wake up as a doctor, you’re basically a glorified rep for pharmaceutical companies writing their medications.
[23:37] Ashley James: This is so refreshing because normally I’m the one that gets into the soapbox that starts ranting and raving about the allopathic medical system but I decided to just hold back and you just filled in everything. It was perfect. I love it.
[23:52] Dr. Vincent Pedre: I can say that now because what I do as much as – I’m talking about the system, medications can be lifesaving. They are definitely places where medications can help change the course of the disease that has gone too far to be able to make and immediate change by using natural means. Even when and even with because I sit on both sides of the fence as in internal medicine trained doctor but also functional medicine trained. I kind of mewled the two and there are places for each but I’m always regardless having a conversation with a patient about nutrition, about lifestyle, about stress management. Everything that I think builds good health because a medication is not going to build good health for a person, it’s going to be lifestyle, it’s going to be the way they eat. That’s what’s going to help build good health for people.
[24:58] Ashley James: Exactly. The thing is, by the time they go to get on the medication, they’re really sick of being sick and they’re sick of that symptom. They need some relief and pain is the biggest motivator. When we’re in pain –
[25:14] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Anything that makes us uncomfortable. Right? You know, thank goodness for podcasts like yours that are out there educating people because if you think about it, 20 plus years ago, pre internet age, the place that people got their medical knowledge was from doctors who were trained to prescribe medications and to treat disease with bandage rather than to look at the root cause. Now we’re in an era where information is wide and open. You would probably chuckle if you saw the sticker that’s on the side of my computer that faces my patients because I think it’s funny but I also respect the free flow of information and the searching that this is created in. It’s really the last 20 years I think empowered patients to see that they had played a bigger role in their health than they were made to believe by our paternalistic allopathic medical system. My sticker says, “Please don’t confuse your google search with my medical degree.” [Laughter] As I say that I still encourage people to be their own doctor and part of what I do with my patients is I teach them to listen to their body and to basically evolve their own intuitive awareness of what is right for them and what is wrong for them. I think a lot of people are moving through life and we’re talking about gut health here and just think the gut is the intuitive center of the body. It’s really about tuning into your body and seeing that if you eat this, how does it make you feel? If you don’t eat it? Do you feel better? Do you feel more clear headed? Some people are really not living by that level of awareness. They’re feeling horrible. They’re not connecting the two together that the way they’re eating is part of the reason they don’t feel that great.
[27:27] Ashley James: About 2 years ago, I started to get this sore throat and my glands were swollen and I went to my Naturopath and she did swabs for everything and everything came out negative. I’m so weird, I’m like, “What’s going on?” I didn’t feel sick other than my glands were swollen, my adenoids, and my throat was always sore just out of nowhere. It was around February so I thought, “Okay, I got to have something, some kind of bug.” I was talking all this herbs and stuff for anti-viral and anti-bacterial and when again few weeks later, I said, “This is ridiculous.” I got to the point where I couldn’t do interviews because my throat was so sore, my voice was so sore. She was swabbing me checking again, nothing. Everything came back, all the cultures came back negative and she looks at me and she goes, “This could be heartburn.” I thought, “There’s no way this is heart burn. I eat so healthy.” Then she says, “Okay, let’s do a test.” She doesn’t think that Tums are a healthy thing to take but it’s an easy diagnostic tool. It’s the cheapest diagnostic tool. She was like, “Take Tums for 3 days and if you get relief and your sore throat goes away then we need to look at your diet. We need to look at what’s going on.” Sure enough, within hours of talking some Tums, my sore throat starts to subside. I thought, “Shoot. Are you kidding me?”
That heartburn can appear as just a sore throat. It doesn’t have to be that classic, sensation in the tummy or in the esophagus. I figured out that I – because I was my husband went vegan like whole food plant based and I was trying to adapt to that way of eating so I started to eating tofu at every meal. Because I hadn’t really learned yet how to do this way of eating and my body was going, “What are you feeding me?” My body was giving me heartburn from eating tofu so I cut tofu out. I all went away and then I had to learn that I can eat lots of beans and peas and nuts and seeds and all other kinds of foods for fiber and protein and all that. Now I can eat tofu once in a while and I had absolutely no problem but it was sort of the daily eating at pretty much every meal my body went, “This isn’t happening.” I thought that was really interesting because if I had gone to an MD, I don’t know, they would started probably with anti-biotic. I had classic look like infected throat and maybe later on I would’ve been put on some antacids. Never looking at adjusting the diet whereas going to you, the functional doctor, you would’ve started with, “Okay, what’s going on with your life? What’s going on with your diet? What changes have you made? How was your stress level? What are you eating?” You know, you’re looking at the root.
[30:28] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Exactly. Definitely. We’re looking at a much bigger picture of where the symptoms are coming from.
[30:38] Ashley James: What can people do if they’re currently on anti-acids and they want to get their gut to the point where it’s making healthy levels of acid, they no longer have those painful symptoms. What kind of steps can they ate to get themselves so healthy so that they no longer need that crutch?
[30:58] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That is a really great question. It can be tough for some people. That ones that I’ve had that are the most challenging, part of it can be also belief system. If you’ve been on anti-acid mediation for over 10 years, you’ve learn that you can’t live without it. The first part of it is changing the mindset around that because there is almost like a psychological dependence around taking the medication because if you don’t, you’re going to have acid reflux. You’re not going to feel well, you’re not going to be able to eat but the way I used to do presentation where I showed a picture of hoover dam and that was my analogy of the PPI is that, it basically slows down the acid production. It’s blocking those proton pumps but the body has a response hypertrophies, the proton pumps so it actually makes more of them but then they’re all getting blocked right? Now say you stop taking the PPI, now you have more proton pumps than you had before. Guess what’s going to happen?
[32:21] Ashley James: Is it like a flood?
[32:23] Dr. Vincent Pedre: You’re going to start producing too much stomach acid. You stop the medication then you feel worse, and then you think, “Well, that means, I can’t be off of this medication.” Right? A lot of the work that I do with patients is that transition point which can be a multi-month process. It could be a 6 month process. A lot of times involves looking at full lifestyle because we started talking about the role of the vagus nerve and stress and how that affects stomach acid secretion. How acid reflux is probably for the most part, low stomach acid not high stomach acid production and yet yes, it does respond to going on a PPI because it raises the PH o the stomach acid so if it does come up it doesn’t bother the esophagus. You don’t get those heartburn symptoms in the same way. The transition can be tough for some people but very slow taper of the medication we don’t go from on to off knowing that there is a hypertrophy of those proton pumps that if you stop if suddenly you’re going to get a flood of acid.
Then we work on giving them nutrients that help heal the gut barrier. A lot of people are zinc deficient and zinc is very important for the health of the stomach lining. We may supplement with some zinc carnosine. A lot of times use combination supplement with marshmallow roots, slippery elm bark, aloe, DGL, which is a licorice derivative. Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice. Then we might also start and this is so counter intuitive and hard for people to understand. I may start to introduce a hydrochloric acid supplement with meals where they’re eating protein. That’s to help them break down the protein better. A lot of times that’s the hard part for patient who’s been used to being taught and told that you’re producing too much stomach acid now I’m going to give you more stomach acid, like, “How is that going to make me better?”
[35:00] Ashley James: But they were taught a lie. For those who don’t know the physiology of the esophageal sphincter, isn’t that why they get GERD because they weren’t producing enough stomach acid so the sphincter wasn’t closing. The sphincter is triggered by a certain level of acid? Can you explain that?
[35:27] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That is part of the picture. Then you have to think about all the things that people might be doing that we can or relax the lower esophageal sphincter which is a protection from that acid coming up. For example, chewing gum excessively or eating too much chocolate or drinking a bunch of coffee or smoking. All of these things affect the tone of the lower esophageal sphincter. Then that can also allow acid to come up.
[36:09] Ashley James: Does stress or the vagal nerve malfunction also affect the lower esophageal sphincter?
[36:18] Dr. Vincent Pedre: I’m going to say that there’s stronger influence on what’s happening on the stomach. It probably has some level of defect because stress definitely can affect the ability of the esophageal sphincter to contract or relax but it’s probably the bigger role as it effects on stomach acid production.
[36:47] Ashley James: Got it. So someone stressed out one of the listeners, busy mom. Stay at home mom or a guy that one of the listener’s is a male and he rushes off to work or a female who has manage taking care of their elderly parents and a job. They’re basically burning the candles at both ends. They’re stressed. Maybe they’ve had a concussion in their past, who knows. Concussions are really common. They have that, they’ve got the stress. Maybe they’ve had in the past, a few years they’ve had some antibiotics that they’ve been on so their gut flora isn’t that great. Maybe they have like you said a nutrient deficiency of zinc so they’ve sent out his perfect storm. Maybe they’re sort off so tried that they’ve pounding back the coffee just to like be able to get through the day. Have some adrenaline going on. Now they start getting this heartburn so they start popping this over the counter medications, TUMS, whatever they’re doing which is lowering stomach acid because that gives temp relief but what that does is persist the problem of malabsorption of nutrients, might even allow for Candida overgrowth or other dysbiosis to occur. Now they’re having more and more symptoms. So then it just grows and grows and grows and grows.
[38:15] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. So you see like this is like a snowball or avalanche effect. It starts small and then before you know it, you feel sick. You feel fat. You feel like you don’t have you’re bloated and you don’t have energy for anything and you’re supposed to be this super mom.
[38:42] Ashley James: Yes. And it’s really hard because we, I can only speak from my experience as a woman. We will put the oxygen mask on everyone else first especially when we’re a mom. Especially if we have family member who are in need of help. Right now, so many baby boomers or even our grandparents who are still around need us. We’re taking care of a lot of people and then we have to pay the bills. We sometimes put our needs last and sometimes, we self-medicate.
[39:17] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Sometimes or a lot of the times. I have such respect for women do in the world. You have to hold so much space for so many things. We are in an era where it’s just in many ways so difficult because it would be much simpler if you’re a mom to stay home and take care of the kids but I have a lot of working moms that have a child. They’re giving 3 months maternity leave which in my opinion is not long enough. Then they have to say goodbye to their baby child, leave them with a nanny or in best-case scenario it’s the mom or family member. Go back to work and now they’re supposed to work full time, maybe pumping breastmilk. I feel like it’s a huge load on women because you have to be like superhuman. That is a huge stressor. Huge stressor. Then of course, you know we’ve talked about snowball effect of stress and how that affects the body. It affects the gut microbiome. It affects the way the gut functions from acid productions to digestive enzyme production to the permeability of the gut and also for the makeup of your gut microbiome. All of that is sensitive to the stress signals within the body.
[40:46] Ashley James: You know, so many listeners are really intrigued by, “What’s the perfect diet?” Like, “What should I eat to be healthy?” I keep saying there’s no one perfect diet for everyone. Right? Because if an athlete, 40-year-old athlete came in versus 70-year-old woman with osteoporosis versus a 20-year-old with the recent diagnosis of type two diabetes. Those three people might need a different nutrient plan, right? They have different needs. Their body one person might be in a histamine response and great amount of inflammation whereas the other person might have zinc deficiency and calcium deficiency. There’s not one perfect approach like a one diet that fits all but diet isn’t the first thing we should be asking. What you’re sharing is really gut health is the first thing, we should be asking. “Do I have gut health?” Because if I don’t have gut health, it doesn’t matter what I’m eating. My body’s not digesting and absorbing it.
[42:00] Dr. Vincent Pedre: It could be problematic because you could think that you’re being super healthy. Eating lots of salads raw vegetables and if your gut is disordered, you don’t have the right microbiome to break down those very difficult to break down plant cell wall fibers, then you’re not going to feel well. Perhaps in that moment in time, timestamped, you would do better with cooked vegetables, healing the gut microbiome. Healing the production of digestive enzymes then over time then Segway the diet back towards a mix of cooked and raw or maybe just lightly steamed. Even what is the right diet is not just what is the right diet for you as an individual but what is the right diet for you now. You know you almost have to put that out also in the timeline because the right diet changes. I do see general trends. We know that the more plants you eat, in my opinion and that’s what the science had showed its what’s better for you but then there are really interesting studies have been done. Like the Hadza people of Tanzania, the hunter-gatherers. Which is I’m so excited because I’m going to be travelling there to meet them next year.
[43:39] Ashley James: Wow. Cool.
[43:42] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Then there’s about little over a thousand of them but at least a quarter still lived in their more traditional way which is eating tubers, berries, the baobab fruit. They eat the seed, also the meat the pulp of the fruit. It’s very high in fiber. They also hunt. They eat large two medium sized animals. Sometimes bigger. They also eat honey but when I say that, you have to take your western mind out of it. It’s not honey that comes in a jar. They’re actually going and getting the honeycomb and they’re eating the entire thing including larvae inside. Their gut microbiome when they’ve done test, they’ve done PCR testing had a much greater variety than in one study they’ve looked at Italian group of control. You can imagine an Italian diet, pasta and meat dishes and lots of fresh tomatoes and vegetables from the garden.
Their gut microbiome was not as diverse as the Hadza people. So you ask, “Okay. What is the missing element?” The Hadza are certainly not eating the diet that as varied as the Italian group. So why do they have such a diverse microbiome and probably part of it is their contact with nature and living out in the wild and contact with dirt. They’re not living in this hygiene, over clean environment. They’re not washing their hands when they come home from hunting. Maybe they have some blood in their hands before they hug or kiss their wives. That’s something else to look at is the missing element of just being connected with nature. Being out there. That’s part of what builds diversity in our microbiome and creates a healthy gut.
[45:54] Ashley James: I’d be really interested to know that what they incorporate in their – when you go there remember this question, what do they incorporate as an anti-parasitic because when we looked at traditional ancient cultures, they have like in India, Mimosa Pudica seed for example is used commonly to deworm eating pumpkin seeds deworms. That was normal. Like a hundred years ago, it was normal for farmers twice a year to deworm their animals and the farmers would take the same herb themselves. That was normal. So I’m wondering what do they do to deworm themselves. Like, is it honey? What is it that’s just cleaning them out because parasites they happen.
[46:47] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Exactly. Also, the question is are they living in a different state of balance with parasites than people in the west do? Because of a slightly different composition of their gut microbiome. I would keep that in mind. It’s so crazy to me that I will be out on the middle of the bush in Tanzania and get to live and spend a couple of days with them in this various small group. It’s going to be really amazing because I’ve been looking at their microbiome and the studies on that and seeing it’s just a big curiosity. Like, why do they have such a diverse microbiome and why do they have no diabetes, they do not have cancer.
[47:43] Ashley James: What do they die off? When it comes to illness, what do they die off?
[47:47] Dr. Vincent Pedre: When it comes to illness, they die of a lot of times from accidents. Funny enough. There might be some infant mortality but otherwise if they don’t die in the young age or because of an accident, they live into their 60’s, 70’s. Not as long of a life span that would think but still pretty amazing for hunter gatherer.
[48:17] Ashley James: I’d be really curious thought when they die in their 60s or 70’s. What illnesses do they die from? Is it all heart disease? Is it all infection like that? It would be interesting to see the correlation between their lifestyle and then what they die from.
[48:35] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That would be another question for my research when I go.
[48:37] Ashley James: Nice. All right. I want to have you back on the show after that trip because I want to hear all about it. I think that sounds fascinating. That is a true, average and all diet. That’s like if all of us were picked up some reality TV show and threw us on an island, that’s how we have to eat to survive.
[48:57] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Oh my gosh, can you imagine eating like –
[49:00] Ashley James: Larvae and honey?
[49:03] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Can you imagine eating honeycomb? That would be – [laughter].
[49:07] Ashley James: I think my 4-year-old would fight me for it. I think he would be so excited. He has this fascination with insects and I don’t think he would mind eating them at all. There has to be something primal in there.
[49:19] Dr. Vincent Pedre: There’s a lot of nutrition in the honeycomb that helps support the gut microbiome. It’s also interesting how- I’ve looked at their microbiome every time as they go from a rainy season to a more dry season. During those two different seasons, their diet skews in one direction and in the other. I see that there are parts of the microbiome that appear during the season because they’re being fed, let’s say the honey and when their diet skews in another direction that part disappears, seemingly disappears but then it comes back the next season.
[49:56] Ashley James: Yes. Isn’t there like a whole season where all they eat are tubers for a few months and that their microbiome adapts for that?
[50:05] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That is a really big part of, at least my understanding a big part of their diet. Also interestingly, when they wean kids off of breastmilk what they do is create a porridge of the baobab. The baobab is kind of really hard fruit. It’s got a lot of fiber inside. They grind that out and they make a porridge out of it. The kids are getting anywhere between 50 and a hundred grams of fiber a day. Their bellies will be bit extended because that amount of fiber is going to produce a good amount of gas which I think about because in the west, we don’t want to be distended. We don’t want to look fat. For them, it’s like yes, whatever it’s part of. In comparison, the average American gets about 10 maybe maximum 15 grams of fiber in a day just to put it in perspective and the recommended amount of fiber we should be eating is anywhere between 25 and 35 grams of fiber and yet the Hads are eating up to 50 grams of fiber per day.
[51:26] Ashley James: Can we eat too much fiber? Is there any point where it’s like, “Oh, 100 grams of fiber’s dangerous.” I mean, as long as you’re consuming enough water and you feel fine and you’re not hurting, it’s okay to have 100 grams of fiber?
[51:39] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. I have a feeling if you have a 100 grams you would be really bloated and uncomfortable. Yes, the danger is you get really stocked inside, constipated because you’re not drinking enough water with the fiber or maybe you’re not getting enough healthy fats to lubricate things and help move things along. I always think it’s important to be careful to make sure you’re balancing all.
[52:10] Ashley James: Right. I made this chia seed pudding. It’s amazing. It tastes exactly like pumpkin pie and my husband swears he can taste the crust in it too. It kind of something like Willy Wonka, would make where you can it tastes like an entire pumpkin pie with the crust and there’s a ton of chia seeds in it, like a ton. Your gut is getting so lubricated but it tastes just like pumpkin pie and it’s great for breakfast because it’s so filling. Such good fiber in it.
[52:46] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Oh my god, that sounds so good.
[52:46] Ashley James: I will give you the recipe. I’m launching a membership called Learn True Health home kitchen. Where we’re doing cooking videos and teaching people how to cook whole food plant based. For those who don’t want to give up meat entirely, they can just learn to have more vegetables and have more fiber and more whole food in their life but people who want to try to learn whole food plant based and experience it, they can jump in and do everything. That’s one of the recipes that I’m adding to the membership. We’re going to launch it soon. I got so excited because my son really wanted some pumpkin pie and I really wanted to make something healthy for him for breakfast. I was just like, “I’ve got a lot of chia seeds and a lot of pumpkin, let me see what I can do with that.” Yes but I was just thinking, how much fiber is in it. It’s crazy. It’s a crazy amount of fiber but you feel so good afterwards. Obviously, it’s moist and it’s not dehydrating but you definitely want to drink a lot of water if you’re adding chia or flax to your food. I’ve learned that the hard way once. I thought I was safe to just adding some flax meal to my salads and I didn’t drink enough water and I found out pretty quickly that it’s not a smart move.
[54:04] Dr. Vincent Pedre: No and it just can kind of condense things in the gut and not let things move. You definitely want a mix of both soluble and insoluble fibers that’s also important. You think of insoluble fibers a roughage. Kind of like cleans out the inside of the gut. Gets things moving, provides a lot of the fibers that are fermented and the soluble fiber which are things like oats which then allow for control of how nutrients come into the bloodstream so they help slow down the sugars like the sugars that are getting broken down, carbohydrates from entering too quickly and causing an insulin spike. It’s important to make sure you’re getting a balance of both types of fibers. Apples are another great example. Organic apples.
[54:58] Ashley James: Organic apples are my favorite. The outside the peel of an apple is insoluble fiber and then the inside is soluble fiber.
[55:07] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. Basically you’re getting both types of fibers in an apple. I don’t know if your listeners know this but if you’re eating non organic apples they are sprayed with up to several different types of pesticides that have up to 40 something different neuro toxins. If you ever follow the environmental working group, the Clean15 and the Dirty Dozen, you know that apples are very high up on the list of the dirty dozen. Anything that has a thin skin like an apple that is sprayed with pesticide is going to be infused with that pesticide. You cannot wash it off. So you should never and if you can choose that, if you’re going to choose where do you spend your dollars on groceries, buy organic apples. Don’t buy non-organic. You can get them at them farm – you’re in Seattle so you’re like in an apple state and I’m in New York which also is a great apple state. I think it’s either pay a little bit more now or pay later for the consequences thereof.
[56:20] Ashley James: I’ve told the story before on the show but I’ll share with you. I was really sick in my 20’s. I was just eating the standard American diet, I had type two diabetes, chronic adrenal fatigue, chronic monthly infections for which is was taking antibiotics monthly. I had polycystic ovarian syndrome and told by an endocrinologist that I was infertile and I’d never have kids. I’ve spent my 20’s on medications and sick and getting sicker and sicker I ended up actually on medication for heart burn. I mean the whole thing and I remember watching – I was also completely stressed out to the max. I was in an abusive relationship. My mom had died, I was very depressed,
[57:02] Dr. Vincent Pedre: You sound like our talking patient. Like what we’re talking about.
[57:08] Ashley James: Exactly. I was going through the ringer. I found joy in the day-to-day things but I was just going downhill and I was gaining weight even though I was exercising like crazy and I eat like all the other guys in the dojo. I was doing martial arts 6 days a week. I would eat like all of them because they look healthy so I go to subway with them and get like whole wheat. Think that’s like super healthy, “I’m getting whole wheat subway sandwiches thinking, Oh I’m eating healthy.” Of course, then I immediately have heartburn after and then I popped my heart burn pills. This is my 20’s when this happened. I happen to turn on the TV and then there was this show, I guess a Naturopath and they were just some kind of talk show and she was saying, “If you have heartburn, it’s too little stomach acid not too much. Drink some apple cider vinegar and drink some aloe.” I threw away that box of over-the-counter meds, started drinking aloe, and started listening to my body a bit more. And my heartburn went away I’m like, “Whoa.” Then a few years later, it’s 2008 we watched the documentary on Netflix right when I started doing streaming of videos and it was some health documentary like Food Inc. or something. They said, “Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and eat organic.” At this point, I was so sick. I’d wake up every morning with a pounding headache. Feeling as though I drank a bottle of vodka and got hit by a mad truck the night before. I was out of control sick. I felt like a prisoner of my own body. I cried daily because of how much pain and suffering I was in because I felt like such a prisoner of a sick body. We did it. We went to whole foods and we shopped the perimeter of the store and we bought organic and within 30 days my chronic infections went away. I thought the only thing I changed besides, I probably cut out some sugar like accidentally because I wasn’t buying processed food. I’m still eating meat, I’m still eating dairy even. I was eating just fruits, vegetables, meat and I wasn’t even gluten free at the time. I was still eating grains but I was just eating less processed food and cutting out all the pesticides. It just hit me, I’m like, “Pesticides were the reason that I was getting these infections. It was the stressor on my body and in my gut.” When I went organic, that was the biggest shift that happened within 30 days. That’s what had me keep seeing how to heal my body. With food and lifestyle changes and supplements, I healed my type 2 diabetes. My chronic adrenal fatigue went away. I got rid of my polycystic ovarian syndrome. I’m now completely free of that. My numbers are amazing. I get regular bloodwork with my Naturopath. We naturally conceived our child who is almost five and he’s so healthy.
[1:00:10] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That is so great.
[01:00:11] Ashley James: So that’s what shifting to organic and then shifting lifestyle looking at stress, taking supplements to fill in those nutrient gaps. That’s why I do what I do know because I know my listeners are suffering and I want them to find the answers that they need so that they don’t have to suffer anymore because it’s possible. That healing is possible. That’s why I love the message that you give and what you teach because you’re showing people that they can be free of the suffering of the heartburn or the bloating, of the constipation or the small intestinal overgrowth. That they could be free of it.
[01:00:55] Dr. Vincent Pedre: I’ve always been, as much as I can be the type of practitioner that walks his talk because I also was subject to multiple rounds of antibiotics when I was a child. As a teenager and I didn’t realize at that time because I was getting 2 or 3 rounds of antibiotics. Every year the doctors, the pediatricians were telling my parents my immune system is weak. I couldn’t gain weight, I was super thin. I ate probably more than 3,000 calories a day but I was eating cereal with milk in the morning and maybe a sandwich at school or pastry. Then there was breaded dinner and maybe there was ice cream after dinner. A lot of times I used to go and get a milkshake on the way home from school. It’s crazy how much sugar and wheat and dairy that I was eating. I can look back and now say that the multiple rounds of antibiotics was probably the instigator of the dysbiosis of the balance of the good and bad bacteria in my gut. Then lead to leaky gut and allowed me to become sensitive to wheat, gluten and dairy. It was over the years figuring that out because by my 20’s I’ve had IBS and I just thought this is just the way my life is going to be. I’m always going to have sensitive stomach, I’m not going to be able to tolerate a lot of things. I had to be careful when I ate out. I never knew what is causing what.
It wasn’t until I discovered and started making changes in the diet but I was always even though when I was in my medical education and not being taught nutrition I always had a gut intuition, pardon the pun, that nutrition was a big part of the picture. I was always trying to hack, it’s perhaps a little bit selfish on my part but I think it guided a lot of what I’ve strived to learn. Then what I do with my patients was I – just back in my early 20’s wanted to hack, “Why do I get sick so often and how can I not get so sick so often?” I was in medical school, experimenting with my diet. Reduced the amount of dairy in my diet and then immediately noticed that I wasn’t getting sick as often. Without anybody teaching me back then, there was not teaching around dairy and it’s inflammatory effects. I just kind of concluded by being an observer in my own body that dairy was problematic for me and I had to be careful about consuming dairy as much as I loved in my 20’s, ice cream.
[01:03:53] Ashley James: Who doesn’t? [Laughter]
[01:03:54] Vincent Pedre: I know. It’s still a weakness. Thankfully now, there’s vegan ice creams and coconut –
[01:04:01] Ashley James: You can get a vitamix and make your own ice cream.
[01:04:04] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Exactly. I’ve made avocado ice cream.
[01:04:08] Ashley James: Oh my gosh, that sounds crazy.
[01:04:09] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. Over the years, there was one point when I was in my residency training in New York. I was going out with my friends and late nights and eating out and I wasn’t feeling that great and I was dragging. I just told all of them, I’m going to disappear for the next month and I’m going to do some self-care and I went to the supermarket. I bought organic, I started coking for myself more often. No more take out and within, I kid you not, in two weeks I felt so different. Just eating food that was more vital. In 4 weeks, I felt great. At that time, I had also been doing yoga and had started meditating. I was meditating 5 days per week and when I went back, and met up with my friends they looked at me and like, “What did you do? You look totally different.” All I did was reduce my stress by meditating and eating right. That was it. I was listening to your story and thinking, you know, I have a very similar story. But even then, I had not completely hacked the gut issues and it wasn’t until I ran into a functional medicine and started learning functional medicine and understand the role of the gut and the gut microbiome and really the complexity of all that. That I was able to heal my gut. Because of that, I had such a big fascination with gut health and patients who came in with gut problems because we’re really not taught in western medicine all the potential root causes of gut problems. We are taught – let me clarify it.
We’re taught from the perspective of western medicine but we’re not really taught the root root causes which could be yeast overgrowth. Which could be dysbiosis, which could be low stomach acid, which could be not enough leaky gut with damage to the brush boarder in the small intestine then affecting your pancreas ability to produce enzyme because it’s not getting the right signals. I got a much more complex understanding of gut health and all the interconnections and how it’s connected to allergies, asthmas, migraine, auto immune disease and that became a fascination for me and working with gut patients was just something that I enjoyed. Of course, when you enjoy something, you want to do more of that. Just accidentally one gut patient would get better, they would refer a friend. The friend would get better. A friend would refer another friend. It wasn’t like I was out there saying, “I want to be a gut expert.” It was more like, “I’m just pursuing my passion. My passion is helping people heal at the root.” It turned out that had to do with even my own plight growing up with gut issues. That was where my book Happy Gut was born from. Was from my own struggles figuring that out and working with patients and seeing them improve and seeing what a dramatic influence you can make in people’s lives by healing their gut health.
[01:07:36] Ashley James: I love it. How long have you been practicing functional medicine?
[01:07:43] Dr. Vincent Pedre: My first conference was in 2006 and soon after that, I started learning and I dove into their advanced practice modules starting in 2008. The institute have not had a whole certification program built out and they came out with that over that time period and then I started doing the advance practice modules. Over 10 years that I’m integrating that into my practice. Obviously, you learn it in theory but then you have to practice it, you gain a lot of experience by dealing with a bunch of different patients and scenarios and then as you become more of a recognized gut expert which I am now. You then get the more difficult cases.
[01:08:38] Ashley James: Nice. Very cool. So my listeners who have really or the difficult cases, I have listeners out there who feel that they’re complex, can they see you? Do you take consultations over Skype? Or could they come see you in person?
[01:08:56] Dr. Vincent Pedre: They could come see me in person. I take very few patients now because as you can imagine, I’ve got a pretty full practice but my plan is to, next year to bring in a functional trained nurse practitioner who can train with me and start to see patients. Because I recognize it’s just funny how you go from not being known to known and then everybody wants to come in and see you and you realize, I just can’t serve everyone. That’s part of the reason why I wrote my book because I realized there are so many people out there who need help that I can’t possibly ever see in my lifetime. Because there’s just – I’m very much into balance and I’m very much into also my own self-care and bringing my best foot forward which means that I don’t work a 12-hour day. I don’t see patient every 15 minutes because I believe in quality over quantity and I think that’s what the people who come see me know that I’m about is I’ll spent significant amount of time with you. To me for any doctor’s practicing functional medicine, it’s a collaborative effort. It’s me and the patient both facing the path into the future together. It not the old paradigm of I’m a fatherly doctor, you come in and I give you this medication and you just take that and you don’t have to do anything else and you’ll be better.
No. I give my patients homework but realizing that it’s impossible for me to see all the people that I would ever want to help in my life and I wanted to have a bigger impact that why I do things like interview with you and give this information for people to hear this and then think maybe they could do things a little bit differently. Or maybe there’s something that they could change that could help them heal or at least start a conversation with their health practitioner with, “What is really going on here? Are we really addressing the root cause?” That’s why I wrote my book because I realized partly honestly I don’t know if you have felt this but even from the early 2000’s, I started getting this feeling inside that I had a book in me that had to be written. I didn’t know what that book was.
If you look at my files in my iPhone, I’ve got so many book ideas that have been written down but it wasn’t until I landed on this idea that was also connected to my own story. That it felt authentic enough for me to put the work in because doing a book is like running a 50-mile mega marathon. It is a toil. It is a labor of love. It is not for the weak hearted. Yes, I mean you could produce a really short book but for me, it was like my manifesto was like me putting all my work everything that I had learned together to teach people how to have healthy gut. Why did I get sidetracked on that?
[01:12:41] Ashley James: Oh, well your book, it’s a marathon and you have more books in you. By the way, you’ll definitely going to write more books but that Happy Gut is you’ve poured your passion into it, your over 10 years’ experience of helping people heal their gut but also your own story, healer heal thyself. You healed yourself and you walk the walk.
[01:13:10] Dr. Vincent Pedre: You’re always a better healer I think when you have to face your own challenges that have made you human. The hardest thing about being a doctor is being put on the pedestal and people think that you’re like this super human. We were talking about super women and supermoms, in some many ways walking the walk of the doctor sometimes being that super human but we are also human. I have been so grateful in my life for all the challenges that I’ve had that have really condensed me into just being a grounded human and understanding things not just from theory, from learning in the book but from having lived it myself. One thing, I don’t know if you ever watched Grey’s Anatomy?
[01:14:04] Ashley James: I do.
[01:14:06] Dr. Vincent Pedre: There was an episode where the chief of surgery I think was speaking with the woman doctor that was also in surgery. It was about being a parent and he said, this was I remember seeing this episode when my son was probably two or three years old and he said, “Being a parent makes you a better doctor.” I totally connected with that because having a child was that first moment of, “Wow. It’s not about me anymore. It’s not just about me anymore. It’s about this new life that has arrived.” It really puts you in a place of service. I looked at for me, my work with patients is almost like a in some ways, I almost feel like it’s almost like the service that a priest does. It alike vocation. Sometimes I think of my patients as my sheep. It really does require a great deal of sacrifice on our part but with that sacrifice and kind of tied back into the important or realizing that at some point, the balance can shift too far and you have to come back and look into the mirror and realize, you also need to take care of myself. Put your oxygen ask on first, then put on everyone else’s oxygen mask. Because what you don’t realize is when you’re not doing that, yes, you might be taking care of everyone, you’re not doing it as well as you could if you are in your best light.
[01:16:09] Ashley James: Right. We absolutely don’t take care of those we love best if we’re neglecting ourselves just like, I mean it’s funny, people will take care of their car more than they take care of themselves. They’ll make sure it gets an oil change. All the foods are topped of. It’s clean.
[01:16:25] Dr. Vincent Pedre: I have patients who will cook an entire dinner for their kids and then just order in for themselves. Or they’ll cook for their dog and then their dogs eats better than they do. Okay, if you’re taking trouble to do that, let’s refocus here. Let’s see how can get care back to self and that was part of the reason that I named the program, when I was trying to come up with an acronym for the program. That would be like the system that I used for healing the gut, I called it Gut C.A.R.E. Care being an acronym for cleanse, activate, restore and enhance. It’s a whole system for healing the gut that I wrote in my book but in the bigger picture it’s also care. Caring for self. I think it’s so important because the commonality I find in patients that come in with gut health issues is a lot of times, they’re really putting themselves last.
[01:17:33] Ashley James: Yes. I love it that you started at the beginning of the interview talking about how the first thing you do to help someone get off a medication and heal the gut to the point where they no longer need that crutch is mindset. I think a lot of people will go, “Pfft, mindset. Whatever, okay.” Really that is everything. We can actually create a placebo effect or a nocebo effect based our belief system. Based on our mindset.
[01:18:00] Dr. Vincent Pedre: This is a crazy fact. Patients who feel more connected and liked their doctor have better results than patients that don’t.
[01:18:12] Ashley James: That’s the nocebo or the placebo effect. If you like your doctor then you think it’s going to work even if you got a sugar pill –
[01:18:22] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Just think of the blue zones around the world and the factors that affect the reason that people lived past a hundred and part of it is a sense of community. Being together and that’s a very important part of I think for humans healing is to feel like they’re in community connected. Whether it’s with family, with friends, for some people it’s church. For other people it’s their CrossFit box. Whatever it is. It’s a sense of having community where you feel you belong. I think that’s a very important human need and something we don’t often talk about in health is that importance of community. If you think about it, each individual is a community. We are the this symbiotic organisms that some people argue couldn’t not exist without the metabolic byproducts produced by the gut microbiome because some scientists say there are not enough genes in the body to encode for everything the body needs in order to function optimally. That you also need the microbiome and the genetic pool of the microbiome which is hundred times greater than our own genetic pool to create metabolic byproducts that regulate and help support the body.
That to me is super fascinating because if you only thought that your gut microbiome is one of the most complex eco systems on the planet, think of it that way. How would you treat that? Now that you know that within you, you have this treasure. This really great treasure that is evolved over centuries with us passed on from human to human through our environment. Through our interaction with nature that helps support health or it can be a detriment to health. Depending on circumstances like antibiotics. Over use of antibiotics. How do you treat your body? What would you eat if you know you have this really important internal garden. I think that there is a lot of mindlessness that happens with people. A lot of unintentional eating, they’re not really thinking about how they feel and how things affect them. I think that’s really important.
[01:21:19] Ashley James: I was just grabbing a few studies that are printed out on my paper on my desk that’s why I was making some noise because what you said goes exactly with, I love the serendipity of this. I’m holding in my hand some studies on the gut biome and that they’re seeing that the signaling in parasitic nematodes that there’s a psychochemical communication between host and parasite and the indigenous molecular transduction pathways governing the warm development and survival. That was one. The other one was parasites nutrition and immune response in the biology of metabolic tissues but in these, they talk about not only are they talking about negative pathogens, like negative stuff in your gut but basically the gut biome which could have parasites. Not all parasites are worms, right? But parasites are good bacteria, bad bacteria. Anything living in the gut is sending their seeing that they’re sending signals. There’s these studies now that show that they can see that their psycho chemicals being created by whatever it is in your gut. Let’s say you want fast food every day, that’s the gut biome you created. You created the Homer Simpson of gut biomes. That is signaling to you. The gut biome is actually telling you to feed it more fast food because that’s what feeds it.
[01:22:57] Dr. Vincent Pedre: And the most blatant example of that that I see in practice is when someone has yeast overgrowth or candida. They have an irrational craving for sugar or for refined carbohydrates. It could be sugar or it could just comfort foods like potatoes, pasta, rice. Yes, that’s another really blatant example of where it’s like who’s in control. Is your brain in control or is your microbiome in the gut in control?
[01:23:35] Ashley James: Yes. Who’s craving? Who’s having the cravings? Right. A dear friend of mine is going through a parasite cleanse right now because she was having very strange symptoms around the full moon for about 4 months now and I kept saying, “Dude this is parasites. You’ve got to look at this.” She was having heart palpitations, mood swings and just feeing totally off but it was only during the full moon. Which of course someone might think that’s hormones. But she was like, it was pretty consistent around the full moon so she started a parasite cleanse and she can tell a difference and that is just very interesting that the parasites and even gut dysbiosis can cause crazy symptoms in the body but it an also tell us what to eat to feed it. That’s what I noticed when I started eating whole foods plant based. I didn’t like love vegetable but I admit I hate them and now, when I see kale I actually have a pavlovian’s response. I actually stare salivating. I started getting a little excited. Just like someone might get exited if they see Krispy Kreme donuts which I will have like a revulsion towards now. Not even interested but man if you made me a kale salad, I’m like I’m getting a little happy actually salad my mouth is getting watery just thinking about it. Just because the gut biome I created over the last few years is like super happy with eating that way. I get almost a high off of eating these leafy greens.
[01:25:14] Dr. Vincent Pedre: For me, because I travel a lot and sometimes to foreign countries, when you’re missing the amount of greens that I’m used to eating on a regular basis, you started to crave it. It’s almost like you’re – that’s yet another level of that intuitive awareness where you sense a craving but then you actually honor it. You realize, oh it’s because my body needs this.
[01:25:46] Ashley James: Now we’ve got to catch ourselves now because if we’re having that craving for processed sugar of –
[01:25:51] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That’s a whole different – I was going to say actually I’m glad that you come back to that because I was going to say that, what I’ve seen with patients and it was amazing because you can take a person who feels like they cannot live without sugar and if you can put them on a sugar cleanse. You take all processed sugars out of the diet and keep them on that. The first day or two they’re going to feel horrible. They’re going to feel like they’re not going to make it through the day. By day 3, they’re a little bit better. By day 4, they’re really not needing sugar and by the end of 7 days, they’re off of sugar.
[01:26:34] Ashley James: It’s like getting on heroine.
[01:26:36] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. We know sugar has the same effect on the brain as cocaine. It affects the dopamine pathway which is the reward pathway in the brain that makes you feel good when you do something. So, of course. Everyone wants sugar. The interesting thing. I know you don’t eat processed sugar, eat a lot of sugar. I’m the same. I find that I’m also dogmatic but I also allow for fussy boarders because I think that in my own eating because I think if we just are strict all the time, that can get a little too much and that becomes a stressor. You know, I might be travelling and someone offers a dessert but they didn’t tell you if there’s too much sugar. I actually feel horrible. I can’t feel it immediately. My heart rates goes up as soon as I eat it. I have the reverse effect like I’ll have sugar and I’ll realize, you know what, this is not worth it for me. You heard me unwrapping this earlier was my dark chocolate form Peru.
[01:27:45] Ashley James: Right. I was like, “Is that a candy wrapper in the background? What was going on?” And you’re like, “Well, let me tell you about my 85% Peruvian dark chocolate.”
[01:27:57] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes and that is my go to because it’s low in sugar. It’s not going to bump my blood sugar. It’s not going to give me sugar cravings and it satisfies a little element of sweetness. There’s we were talking about dark chocolate with stevia. You know, sometimes I need that little bit of sweet but I also know if I have something too sweet it’s going to actually feel pretty horrible for me because once you get your body accustomed to being cleaner it actually tells you when you don’t, when you step outside of that.
[01:28:33] Ashley James: Yes. Just yesterday we are filming for the Learn True Health home kitchen and we made brownies. Whole food brownies. And it’s sweetened with yams, with sweet potatoes and there’s raw organic cacao powder but when you bake them your whole house smells like brownies. Now they’re not as sweet as store bought brownies because obviously, they’re whole foods but they tastes really good and my son loves them. He thinks they’re the best thing in the world. If you can get a 4-year-old to eat something that’s healthy and love it, oh man, you’re hitting a home run. He likes that. That’s his new go to food. Between that and the chia seed pumpkin pie pudding.
[01:29:25] Dr. Vincent Pedre: What is the base for the brownie?
[01:25:26] Ashley James: It is yams. I call them sweet potatoes but they’re orange yams. They’re organic. The big bag of them from Costco is really cheap right now and we make them in the instant pot and then we blend them with cacao and vanilla. You can put in some maple syrup if you want. Or stevia if you want. If you need more sweet because sometimes you need more sweet if you’re first of all giving it to people who are neuro adapted to eating no sugar. Just help them transition or if sometimes yams, sometimes they’re really sweet or sometimes they aren’t so you just got to play around basically taste the batter. We just blended it and then we –
[01:30:15] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Japanese yams.
[01:30:16] Ashley James: Yes. Oh my gosh, seriously. Yes, you can play around with the different kinds of sweet potatoes and yam because some of them are sweeter than the others. Then you bake it for an hour and that creates that brownie crust as wonderful. Very moist and it really does feel like there’s flour. There’s no flour in it.
[01:30:37] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That sounds like a dream. Last year I tried and failed. This was my first try to make black bean brownies for the holidays. Needless to say, my family doesn’t share the same zest for healthy renditions of things as I do and I thought they were actually pretty good but they did not.
[01:31:02] Ashley James: I love black bean brownies but one thing I’d say is, do one can of black beans with between 1 and 2 cups of yams. That really balances it out.
[01:31:16] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. To keep it a little more sustenance.
[01:31:19] Ashley James: Yes and you can add some vanilla powder in there. There’s a few things you can add in there like some cinnamon. You can play around it and then lots of the cacao powder which has caffeine in it so don’t eat it late at night. I learned that the hard way. I’m like, “Why am I so awake right now?”
[01:31:43] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes, I have to be careful because usually my desire for dark chocolate is right after dinner. By the way the benefits of dark chocolate partly and due to the microbiome. They’re processing of the I believe it’s an endemite in the dark chocolate. You need the microbiome to convert the chemical in there to a version that is antioxidant for the body. It’s kind of a little fascinating fact.
[01:32:16] Ashley James: That is so fascinating. It’s amazing the microbiome is needed to convert so much of what our body needs. It really is that garden in our body. We have the most complex garden inside us. It’s somewhere between I heard between 4 and 6 pounds of bacteria living inside us. I have so many more questions for you. We have to have you back on the show. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s been so much fun.
[01:32:43] Dr. Vincent Pedre: I know. How did this fly? How did this go by?
[01:32:44] Ashley James: I know. It’s just amazing.
[01:32:45] Dr. Vincent Pedre: You’ve got to have me back after I get back from Africa.
[01:32:48] Ashley James: Please. Yes.
[01:32:50] Dr. Vincent Pedre: The Hadzas, that’s going to be so wild.
[01:32:52] Ashley James: I’m so excited. When are you going next year?
[01:32:55] Dr. Vincent Pedre: February.
[01:32:56] Ashley James: Awesome. Okay. I need to get you on the calendar when you get back and after you’ve recovered from the wonderful trip. While you’re still on the glow of how amazing it was I have to get you back on the show. I think I’d be wonderful. I’m definitely going to make sure that links to everything that Dr. Vincent Pedre does is in the show notes of today’s podcast at Learntruehealth.com. Dr. Vincent’s book, Happy Gut making sure the link is there as well. We should all get it for Christmas and give it to each other. What a great Christmas gift. Let’s all give each other the gift of a healthy gut.
[01:33:28] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That sounds like a great idea. [Laughter]
[01:33:45] Dr. Vincent Pedre: That was my practice website.
[01:33:46] Ashley James: Got it. You know I see you hiring five nurse practitioners and maybe like 12 certified health coaches. You should just hire a bunch at once and train this whole team, it’ll save you time. Instead of training one person at a time you should just hire a whole team.
[01:34:03] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. Well guess what, you’re ahead of me but I have already shot the video for and I’m going to be rolling out probably quarter two of 2020, a health coach certification in Happy Gut.
[01:34:22] Ashley James: Awesome. Well you know what, I’ve got a ton of health coaches as listeners especially a lot of IIN graduates. I’m an IIN graduate as well. I know a lot of my listeners who’d be really interested because we have a lot of health coaches and a lot of holistic health professionals that are listeners that would love to take your course. When you come back and tell us about your trip, you’ll also going to tell us about your Happy Gut health coaching training.
[01:34:50] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. Can I briefly end with a funny story?
[01:34:54] Ashley James: Yes, please do.
[01:34:56] Dr. Vincent Pedre: Yes. I was just with my family in Washington DC for Thanksgiving. It’s my sister with my niece and nephews and obviously, the kids, a lot of their high school friends get back there. My niece is 25 years old. So she was with a friend of hers and she was raving about this book and how it changed her life and how she had IBS and now she’s followed the diet plan and it took away all her gut issues. They’re out at a bar and she pulls our my book, and it’s like, it has notes and bent pages and she’s got marking everywhere and she says, “I never travel without this book.” She didn’t know that my niece was related to me and my niece tells her, “You know, that’s my uncle?” Because my sister she has a different last name and so she says, “You know, my uncle’s in town if you want to meet him.” and she’s like, “Oh no, I don’t think I could handle it I think I would faint or something.” I thought, it’s so funny, I told her, “Yes, if she wants to meet me. Yes, I’m in town.” I thought, that why I did this. To help people that I probably maybe would never have the opportunity to meet but to be able to change their lives in that way. That’s why I did what I did. That’s why I continue to do things like these, be on podcasts and interviews. I just want to help as many people as possible.
[01:36:45] Ashley James: I love it. That’s my mission too. We’re right in alignment. We have a really active Facebook group, the listeners. The Learn True Health Facebook group. I know that my listeners after they get your book and they start reading it and loving it and writing notes in it and everything. They’ll start talking about it in the Facebook group and we’ll start having some wonderful discussion about it. I can’t wait to have you back on the show. Thank you so much. This has been wonderful. I love this topic. Can’t wait to continue exploring happy gut and gut health and how to balance ourselves naturally in our next interviews. I can’t wait to hear all about your trip. Have a very safe and very enlightening trip. I can’t wait to connect with you when you come back.
[01:37:31] Dr. Vincent Pedre: I look forward to it. Thank you.
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