Welcome to the Dr. Gundry podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health, and live your healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry (00:14):
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Dr. Gundry (00:46):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry podcast. You know the statistics are absolutely startling. 70% of Americans are either overweight and obese. In fact, this morning, the newest thing is 42% of Americans are now obese. Nearly one in three Americans are suffering with diabetes or prediabetes, and certainly in my practice, over 80% of the people I see have diabetes or prediabetes. And one in every four deaths in this country are caused by heart disease.
Dr. Gundry (01:17):
Well, according to my guest today, all of these problems can be traced back to a single source, food. So joining me today to discuss this is Dr. Mark Hyman. He’s head of the strategy and innovation for the Cleveland clinic center for functional medicine, host of the doctor’s pharmacy podcast, and the author of a brand new book, Food Fix. How to save our health, our economy, our communities, and our planet.
Dr. Gundry (01:45):
One bite at a time. Whoa. Today Dr. Hyman and I are going to discuss how and why our health problems are so connected to the food we eat, the greedy players at the root of the problems and the best way to take back control of our food and our health. Mark, it’s so good to have you on the podcast. Good to see you again.
Dr. Mark Hyman (02:07):
Good to see you too, my friend.
Dr. Gundry (02:10):
All right, so let’s start with the big picture. What has happened to human health over the past few decades?
Dr. Mark Hyman (02:19):
Oh my God. Well, it’s just staggering. It’s a massive tsunami that it’s hit us and we have just been unaware and unprepared to deal with this onslaught of chronic disease. I mean, when I was born, 5% of people in America were obese. Now it’s 42%. That’s staggering. We had maybe really rare cases of type two diabetes and now it’s one out of every two Americans has prediabetes or type two diabetes. Six out of 10 people have chronic disease in America, and four out of 10 have more than one.
Dr. Mark Hyman (02:56):
And what’s even more staggering is globally. The cause seems to be processed food. And the global burden disease study, which was 195 countries, showed that we have 11 million deaths a year from people not eating good food and eating too much of the ultra processed food. That’s about the same amount of people that died every… through the entire World War II in the Holocaust. So, imagine a Holocaust every year happening from a preventable cause that nobody’s talking about. That’s the situation we’re in today.
Dr. Gundry (03:30):
Well, I’m glad that makes a good parallel. Do what’s happening in the news. I mean, we talk about global pandemics.
Dr. Mark Hyman (03:39):
Yes, Corona virus.
Dr. Gundry (03:40):
This what you’re talking about is actually the global pandemic that no one is talking about except a few of us, and with your new book, you’re really leading the charge on this. Why is this happening on an international scale now?
Dr. Mark Hyman (03:58):
One, our government policies support a food system that makes us sick and fat cripples our economy, threatens on our security, threatens our kids’ academic free turn learning, and create so much social injustice. And the reason the food entry so nefarious is they not only influence policy, but they’re in every aspect of influence. And they control the story and the narrative about what we should eat and what’s good or bad. For example, they fund $12 billion worth of nutrition research, ‘nutrition research,’ things like candy helps kids with weight loss or soda is a health food, crazy stuff that’s out there that confuses the literature.
Dr. Mark Hyman (04:37):
So the government spends only a billion dollars. So, they spend 12 times as much of the government funding, ‘nutrition research’ that pollutes the science and confuse other doctors and consumers. That’s why the headlines are all over the place. Second, they fund professional societies. So those trusted groups that we take our advice from like the American Heart Association. I mean, you’re in cardiology. You know what kind of garbage they put out, and why? Because a big portion of their revenue comes from the food industry and pharma about $192 million a year.
Dr. Mark Hyman (05:12):
And then of course you’ve got the Academy of nutrition dietetics, which receives 40% of its funding from the food industry. They control their conferences. They now don’t allow pictures in the exhibit hall at their annual meetings because it’s all full of junk food and they don’t want people to see who supporting the Academy of nutrition, dietetics, which is the major nutrition association. So we’re taking their advice, but maybe it’s not the best advice.
Dr. Mark Hyman (05:35):
And then you’ve got them funding friend groups, things like the American council on science and health, and the center for consumer freedom and climate smart agriculture and crop life and all these wonderful sounding groups that are friend groups for the food industry to get their agenda pushed forward, knowing that they actually are driving a social groups to behave in certain ways. For example, they fund the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, which is why they oppose soda taxes, this is why they can always benefit for their communities, from these companies that are poisoning them, and they’re the ones who are the most effective.
Dr. Mark Hyman (06:12):
So on every level, whether it’s social advocacy groups that are co-opted, professional groups, front groups that are putting misinformation out there, corrupting science policy change. The food industry has very deliberately driven our food system to produce the worst food on the planet, and then is exporting it to every country in the world, which is why we’re seeing 80% of the people with chronic disease are not in America. They’re in the developing world. 80% of the type two diabetes are in the developing world, and there’s this double burden of obesity and malnutrition and often in the same families because of the sort of inundation of fast food companies into these countries where it’s aspirational.
Dr. Mark Hyman (06:52):
So McDonald’s, is an upscale brand in China, right? KFC is an upscale brand in Africa. If you’re affluent, like here we think it’s like, not really exactly a great date night out with your wife, but in those countries it’s like, wow, you’re in India and all these countries, it’s like the best thing you could do. I think it’s just driving incredible rates of obesity and diabetes, these countries that is unprecedented and they’re just not equipped to deal with it.
Dr. Mark Hyman (07:22):
And it’s happened so fast. Like our food has changed so much over the last 40 years. Our methods of production, our quality of our food, the processed food, it’s staggering. And so, healthcare systems, governments and people are just so ill equipped to even recognize that there’s a problem, 38,000 people die from the flu every year, and that’s bad. And a few thousand have died from Corona virus, which is terrible and tragic, but like literally a million people die every year just from heart disease in America. Why aren’t we talking about that?
Dr. Gundry (08:00):
So, you mentioned governments and you and I both know that companies actively persuade politicians with money and talk a little bit about that. Is that one of the reasons our government or other governments aren’t doing anything about this?
Dr. Mark Hyman (08:22):
It is, it is. Unfortunately, I mean, just to give an example, one bill, which was the GMO labeling law, which was euphemistically called the dark act of defeat, the denying Americans the right to know if their food’s got GMO in it or not. Right? The food industry spent $192 million in one year on one bill. That’s staggering to me. Right? They influence laws and policies in that way. They spent half a billion dollars on one bill, the farm bill, which is really driving most of our food policies. It should be called the food bill cause most of it is food programs like snap or food stamps, WIC, women’s infant and children’s programs.
Dr. Mark Hyman (09:12):
And they also fund commodity crops and agriculture, which is the raw materials for the process food that then we pay for with snap dollars and then we pay for Medicare and then we destroy the environment at the same time. So we’re paying four times for the corn we produce as taxpayers and the companies don’t have to pay any of that costs. Right? We privatize the profits and socialize the costs. So we have a country where the government and the citizens are paying the cost of this food, which is not actually in the price you pay the checkout counter.
Dr. Mark Hyman (09:47):
So what are the price of a can of soda? I mean, looked up in the writing of the book I looked up Smartwater, which is made by Coke and Pepsi, it was made my Pepsi and Smartwater is more than four times the cost of Pepsi. Smartwater is 9 cents an ounce and Pepsi is 2 cents an ounce. Wow, I want a Pepsi, right? Sugar water is cheaper than water. Like what kind of world do we live in? And it’s confusing because sugar water is made with water.
Dr. Mark Hyman (10:20):
So, why is it cheaper? So I think this is really part of the insidious nature of what’s happening. And so the food industry is really deliberately driving our policies. This why we can’t have an end to food marketing with kids. It’s why food labels are so confusing and are meant to mislead people. It’s why you can have five different kinds of sugar on the label, but you don’t have to list it as the first ingredient because it’s about percentages. And when they distributed over five different kinds of sugar, it doesn’t have to be the number one ingredient, and confuses consumers.
Dr. Mark Hyman (10:51):
This is not an accident, right? It’s why we allow for 75% of food stamps to be used first a junk food and $7 billion for soda or 31 billion servings. It’s why we have a farm bill that supports agriculture. It’s destroying the environment. It’s bankrupting farmers, that’s creating crops that are producing industrialized processed food, and then actually is leading to all these excess costs in the government on the other end rather than supporting things like regenerative eggs. So these are the policies that are challenging. Even Medicare, Medicaid, we should be paying for food as medicine.
Dr. Mark Hyman (11:27):
Your programs should be covered, and things we’re doing at Cleveland clinic using food as medicine to treat chronic illness should be covered. They’re not covered. So we have all these problems with our policies that are influenced by the food industry, that impede our ability to solve these problems. And part of what we have to do is define this, call it out and start to work on our congressmen and senators, putting pressure on them to make a change. And I’m starting a campaign called the fix campaign, which is a lobby group and a nonprofit to go in Washington and tell a different story cause they’re only hearing one side of the story.
Dr. Mark Hyman (12:02):
I was recently at a meeting with a friend, Sam Kass, who was a senior advisor to the Obama administration for nutrition policy. And he basically said when he was there, the industry groups came in one after the other with giant briefing books with 50 regulations that want to change with legislation already written with all the background on why they should do it. And they just give it to the congressmen and senators or the president of the white house and they all go, this is great thanks.
Dr. Mark Hyman (12:29):
And then that’s all they know cause they don’t have time to figure everything out. He said, not, not once in the entire years did a group come, there was advocacy group or a lobby group for the right policies for making improvements in nutrition. It’s like the lobby was make pizza vegetable, make French spies vegetable, make ketchup of vegetable for school lunches. That’s who was advocating. And we have a presidential candidate and I’m sure she’s a nice person, but she, she was a Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar, and I read about in the book she lobbied for pizza to be a vegetable. Why?
Dr. Mark Hyman (13:05):
Because in her state, the largest manufacturer of school lunch pizzas, Swanson is in her state. So she lobbied to get that to be a vegetable. Otherwise, all their school lunch programs wouldn’t be able to get the pizza. So this is the kind of nonsense. She’s a Democrat and she’s liberal and progressive and it’s just across the board. It’s really discouraging, but it’s possible to fix, and I’m trying to fix it.
Dr. Gundry (13:28):
But money talks obviously, it’s one thing to use great arguments and great research in front of your representative. How do we pay them under the table $50,000 to support their campaign. Like these food companies do?
Dr. Mark Hyman (13:50):
Well, they do, they pay a lot for campaign contributions and it’s interesting, policies will change if lawmakers feel pressure from their constituents, which is all about us. If they feel pressure from business, which they’re starting to do in a good way. For example, like general mills and Kellogg’s and Dinan have all committed to regenerative agriculture. And they will respond to education, which I’m not getting about the real issues that are going on. And so, they’re not completely corrupt. They want to do the right thing. They want to do what’s in their self interest, but it’s tough.
Dr. Mark Hyman (14:20):
And if they’re getting these big campaign contributions, it’s challenging. But I’m raising a lot of money to actually create a campaign to go to Washington with powerful lobbyists who can tell a different story, and actually make this happen. So, I hate lobbying. I think it’s terrible, but I think you’ve got to play the game if you’re going to win. And I feel like there is no lobbyist for the good guys and I want to be one of the good guys.
Dr. Gundry (14:47):
You mentioned regenerative agriculture a couple of times now. What the heck is regenerative agriculture for our listeners?
Dr. Mark Hyman (14:54):
Okay, well let’s just back up a little bit. So we hear about organic, we hear about whole foods, sustainable agriculture, all this stuff but people don’t understand why our agriculture is so problematic. And as a doctor, why the hell would I care about farms and agriculture? Right? Well, as a functional medicine doctor, you’re looking for the root cause and it starts on the farm. It starts with the seed produce. It starts with the chemicals we use, the fertilizer we use, how we farm, the quality of the food that’s produced. And you have to start with that because today the best vegetables out there that are supposedly nutrient dense are about 50% less nutritious than they were when I was 10 years old, 50 years ago.
Dr. Gundry (15:35):
Yeah, exactly right.
Dr. Mark Hyman (15:36):
So even you’re eating like a plant based diet, the quality of the food is worse because of the soil it’s grown in. If the soil is required to have a lot of organic matter, a lot of microbes, a lot of life to extract the nutrients from the soil to give to the plant. Right now, we farm in dirt, which is lifeless dead, can hold carbon water and no organic matter, and it doesn’t really produce high quality food and creates all these other problems like climate change. So our food system is the biggest cause of climate change.
Dr. Mark Hyman (16:07):
We’ve destroyed our soil so much that actually is one of the biggest causes of climate change. We think the rainforest are terrible. We’re cutting on the rainforest, that’s bad. But it turns out soil’s worse. We’ve lost a third of all of our soil on the planet. We lose an area the size of Nicaragua to desert every year. We deforest an area the size of Costa Rica to grow crops for animals or farming and that 7 billion trees a year. And all of these farming techniques actually destroy the environment, destroy the ecosystem, and 30 to 40% of all the carbon in the atmosphere since the time of the industrial revolution.
Dr. Mark Hyman (16:46):
And it’s about a trillion tons is in the atmosphere, about 300 billion or a third of it comes from the soil loss of organic matter. So regenerative agriculture is a method of farming that has a whole bunch of benefits. One, it builds organic matter in the soil, which sucks the carbon out of the atmosphere. And the UN said we could literally stop climate change for 20 years if we took two of the 5 million degraded hectors of land around the world and turned it to regenerative agriculture, which would only cost $300 billion.
Dr. Mark Hyman (17:16):
Now that seems like a lot. It’s only three times as much money as Jeff Bezos has, and it’s less than the money we spend from Medicare on diabetes every year. It’s less than the entire world’s spending on the military for 60 days, and if you do that, you could put the carbon back in the soil. You conserve water. It was seeing these farms like a million acres were flooded in the Midwest. You know, part of that had to do with this quality of the soil being so bad that it couldn’t hold the water. When you have organic matter in the soil from farming the right way, you actually can hold up 27,000 gallons per acre and then you increase bowel diversity.
Dr. Mark Hyman (17:57):
We’ve lost 75% of our pollinator species, butterflies and bees that agriculture depends on when you restore the farm to a healthy ecosystem by regenerative agriculture, you actually bring them all back so you have all of these benefits and then you produce better food, better quality food, and more abundant food. It’s more profitable for the farmer. I know Virginia Farmer, he says he doesn’t use any chemicals or pesticides, saves tons of money and he makes better food, more food and makes 20 times the profit as his neighbor and he’s drought and flood resistant and climate resistant on his farm because it’s a diverse ecosystem as regenerative farming, and there are a lot of techniques to get it regenerative farm.
Dr. Mark Hyman (18:35):
A lot of ways to do this. A lot of it’s talked about in draw down, which is a great book about how to draw down carbon and the food system is also the number one solution to climate change. Not possible fuels or renewables. Those are all things that are important but it’s not as important as the food industry and fixing the food system. And they found that you can actually add so much carbon in the soil by using these methods that it’s such a powerful tool and the quality of the food is better.
Dr. Mark Hyman (19:02):
People make more money, and everybody wins. And the things like crop rotations or cover crops or using animals in the ecosystem to rebuild soil with their poo in their pee. It’s about very specific techniques were used little chemicals or no chemicals, no irrigation and very low irrigation. And you create a whole healthy ecosystem that has all these extra benefits, and people are now paying for this. So, there’s companies out there that are paying farmers to add value to the ecosystem. To build soil, to increase biodiversity, to conserve water.
Dr. Mark Hyman (19:36):
So these are called ecosystem services and the farmers are actually benefiting from this. And we’re talking about how do we do that in America. And Dinan is now paying farmers to convert and journals to convert their farms to regenerative farms, because they what’s better for their supply chain. It’s better for their business. It’s better for everything. So, we even see big companies that are the evil terrible food companies starting to move in the right direction.
Dr. Gundry (19:58):
So, why wouldn’t a farmer do this? What’s stopping this from happening? And I didn’t know you talk a lot about this in the Food Fix, but-
Dr. Mark Hyman (20:09):
Yeah, was an inertia. I mean we’ve got policies in the government that are locking farmers into a way of eating. I mean, producing food that is dependent on chemicals. It’s dependent on large industrial scale agriculture. They’re funding the mono crops of soy and corn and wheat and cotton and others that are really doing all the damage. They’re not funding the right things. So, the obstacle is really to get the government to start to support incentives for farmers to be able to actually do this. And that’s happening. But businesses already acting on this.
Dr. Mark Hyman (20:43):
You’ve got big companies like General Mills and to they’re actually funding this. It’s not, they’re not just talking about it. And that to me is very impressive, and I think that will drive the government to change and slowly it’ll all shift. So, there’s definitely an interest in regenerative agriculture in Congress. There’s food as medicine working group. There are people who are talking about it like Earl Blumenauer, Chellie Pingree and Cory Booker and Tim Ryan and McGovern. So there’s bipartisan side groups that are talking about how to actually work on this issue.
Dr. Mark Hyman (21:10):
So, it’s going to happen. It’s coming. It’s the right thing to do. It breaks on the myth that you need massive industrial scale agriculture to speed the world. You can actually produce more food, better food in a more distributed way. There we use a lot of the adverse consequences of the food system, including the chronic disease, the economic impact of it. And of course the climate and environmental impact.
Dr. Gundry (21:32):
Speaking of environmental impact, you mentioned in Food Fix about Roundup glyphosate and having yourself tested.
Dr. Mark Hyman (21:43):
Yeah, it’s good you read the book.
Dr. Gundry (21:44):
Of course, I’m not going to talk to you unless I read the book for goodness’s sake. So, give us a primer on Roundup.
Dr. Mark Hyman (21:56):
So for those who don’t know, Roundup is a weed killer. It’s probably 70% of all the agricultural chemicals used in the world. It’s made by Monsanto, the same company that brought you agent orange, dioxin and PCBs. And this chemical is used on soy and other crops as a weedkiller, but it’s working less and less well, so the use of it has to increase more and more and it’s become an extremely abundant in the environment, in our food supply. In fact, in Kellogg’s, I think it was a general mills, maybe it’s Cheerio’s, there’s more glyphosate, then there is vitamin D and B 12, which they add to the food, and it has terrible effects.
Dr. Mark Hyman (22:46):
It destroys your microbiome, which I know you talk a lot about. It has epigenetic effects that causes generational harm over generations. And in terms of cancer and hormonal and other issues, it has been linked to cancer. There’s multi-billion dollar suits now. The CEO of bear was just fired by the board. So, this is not good. And for them and I think we really are swimming in a sea of men and I try to eat organic. I try to have non-GMO, everything. I’m super careful. I travel, some of that can’t… But I don’t want to go like eat GMO corn or soy or I don’t eat process food.
Dr. Mark Hyman (23:24):
And I checked my urine, I had like 50th percentile for glyphosate, which freaked me out. And I’m like, “Oh my God,” and how much are people getting that getting to know. And this isn’t an controlled experiment on the population that the government allows. And they were like gripe to say, it’s fine. It’s not a problem. You know, and it’s not allowed in many other countries. Here in Europe and allow it here, we just go about it as if it’s nothing.
Dr. Gundry (23:49):
Yeah. And I just read a paper this morning that the honey bees gut microbiome is totally altered by the glyphosate that’s been sprayed on anything. And I think you mentioned, it’s actually in most honey now because bees are collecting this. But, the microbiome of the honeybee has been totally changed. And as you mentioned, we don’t have any honey bees anymore, because of this lovely stuff.
Dr. Mark Hyman (24:24):
I don’t know if Einstein was right, but he said that when we lose bees off the face of the earth, we have four years to live.
Dr. Gundry (24:31):
Dr. Mark Hyman (24:35):
Actually, you know what’s really tragic Steven is that now there are not enough bees and there are humans doing the job of bees. They literally hire farm workers to go around with little feather dusters and pollinate all the trees, because there’s not enough bees to do it. So, when humans have to start doing the job of nature, it’s a losing battle.
Dr. Gundry (24:58):
Yeah, you’re right. You mentioned in Food Fix, and I totally agree, some of our most vulnerable people in society are the people who are most affected by this. And tell us what this stuff is doing to our brains, all this wonderful ultra-processed food.
Dr. Mark Hyman (25:18):
Well to poor minorities, they’re more target affected in our children is what scares me the most. Because we’re literally poising the future generation of Americans and pretty much the world. And the studies have shown that if you eat processed food as a kid, your brain is 10% smaller, and your IQ is 7 points lower. That should be terrifying to people. And the CDC put out a report about nutrition, and academic performance. And they found that these kids who ate poorly and were malnourished from the food they were eating, or on the food they were not eating, showed poor grades, poor academic performance, trouble concentrating, trouble problem solving, trouble focusing and trouble with attention.
Dr. Mark Hyman (26:04):
I mean, these are real things that are going on. These kids’ brains are being affected by this. I had a teacher come to me the other night, I gave a talk at the 92nd Street Y, and she’s like, “I’m so frustrated because our schools have such poor nutrition. The kids are struggling so much to learn. The principals are squeezing the teachers because the kids are getting bad grades.” Probably it’s change the food. And this is not my opinion. This has been shown over and over again.
Dr. Mark Hyman (26:29):
Even behavioral issues. We see so many behavioral issues in kids and violence, oppositional behavior, and we even see it in adults. The divisiveness of our society is crazy now. Like I just don’t remember it being so crazy and everybody hating each other and everybody fighting, whether you’re paleo, or you’re vegan, or you’re on lectins or you’re off lectins. Everybody hates each other. It’s like, why can’t we get along and find our common ground? And there’s a lot of science about how these processed foods drive inflammation in the brain.
Dr. Mark Hyman (27:00):
They decouple the frontal lobe, which is your adult in the room, with the reptile in your brain, that’s your fight or flight mechanism. And so they’re not talking to each other. So when something triggers you, you don’t go, “Okay, I might be triggered but I’m going to just take a breath and have a rational response.” We’re just in this constant state of conflict. And they took these kids 3000 juvenile delinquents in a controlled environment, swapped out bad food for good food. And these kids had dramatic reductions in violence, use of restraints, 75% reduction in restraints, a 100% reduction in suicide. And suicide is a third leading cause of death in kids 10 to 19-years-old.
Dr. Gundry (27:37):
Dr. Mark Hyman (27:38):
So think about that. I mean, if our kids are killing themselves because of the food they’re eating, that’s terrifying.
Dr. Gundry (27:45):
All right, so we’re going to conclude, because I can’t take this any longer, but no.
Dr. Mark Hyman (27:50):
No, I got a lot of solutions.
Dr. Gundry (27:51):
Exactly. So it’s not all doom and gloom. Right?
Dr. Mark Hyman (27:54):
The book is called Food Fix, not Food Apocalypse. There’s plenty of bad for sure, but there’s a lot of good news about what we can do, what businesses can do, what your local governments can do, and what our state and federal government can do to make a difference to fix the food system. And I have a whole action guide with all the solutions people can go to foodfixbook.com, and the action guide is free and it gives you the 20 top solutions for you as a citizen. The 20 top solutions for governments, businesses, farms and farmers. So it’s really an exciting moment where we actually know what we need to do. We know how to fix it. It’s a solvable problem. It’s just going to take political will. It’s going to take consumer activism, and it’s going to take people standing up and doing the right thing.
Dr. Gundry (28:37):
Tell me about victory gardens. Most people don’t know that during World War II, 40% of our food in the United States was grown in home victory gardens. And I know personally, growing up and after the war, we had a victory garden in our yard. And I actually did it when my kids were growing up.
Dr. Mark Hyman (29:01):
Dr. Gundry (29:02):
Where’s the victory gardens and how do we do it?
Dr. Mark Hyman (29:05):
That’s a great point. So you know in World War II we came together to fight a common enemy and we were willing to make sacrifices. We were willing to ration food, have victory gardens. And we were willing to do all sorts of things, turn the lights out at night, because we didn’t want the enemy to be able to see where our cities were. And so we really had a really robust coming together as a society, we need to do the same thing for what’s going on today with chronic disease, with all these social problems that are all connected to food and with climate change in the environment.
Dr. Mark Hyman (29:37):
It’s an existential threat to us, and I think most of us just go about our daily life and we worry about coronavirus because it’s an acute thing. This is like slowly boiling a frog, right? If you boil a frog, and you drop it in boiling water, it’ll jump right out. If you turn the heat up slowly, it’ll just sit there and boil to death. And that’s what we’re doing now. It’s terrible. So there are a lot of things that we can do whether we want to have choices in our own diet. For example, just say I’m not going to buy GMO Foods anymore. That alone will make a difference in your health and will stop the demand for these foods.
Dr. Mark Hyman (30:14):
Two, you can become a regenetarian, which is a new idea that I came up with, it’s just how do you source your food from more regenerative farms? So you can, for example, go to mariposaranch.com where they have all kinds of poultry and meats that are regeneratively raised. And you can get a direct from the rancher at a fabulous discount of about $2 a serving, on average for regeneratively raised beef, which is affordable for most people.
Dr. Mark Hyman (30:39):
So we have the technology to do that. You can start a garden, call it a victory garden, call it a community garden whatever you want. I’ve had gardens most of my life. Start a compost pile, because food waste is the biggest source of climate change after the US and China for our country.
Dr. Gundry (30:58):
Dr. Mark Hyman (30:59):
Yeah. So it’s like we throw out 40% of our food. It’s enormous waste of resources, that’s bad enough. But what’s worse everybody throws out in America a pound a day per person average. But that’s not the worst part is when we throw it in a landfill, it actually off gases rots and out gases and it turns into methane and it’s a huge cause of climate change. So food waste is a huge problem that you can end by having a compost pile in your kitchen, a compost bucket, and then you can have a compost on your backyard if you live in the country or suburbs, or if you live in a city, you can have an in-home anaerobic digester that digest the food.
Dr. Mark Hyman (31:35):
There’s business innovations that are happening around this, it’s really exciting. So there’s so much that you can do as an individual. Then you can be active politically in your town or community to advocate for this. You can advocate in your school, you can be actively federally. Like for example, you can go to foodpolicyaction.org, where they have a list of your senators and congressmen, they’re voting wrecking on food issues and whether it’s good or bad, and they’ve actually outed and gotten rid of a couple of congressmen who were super in the pocket of the food industry simply by a social media campaign. So we don’t think we have impact, but we do.
Dr. Gundry (32:07):
So what do you think about having leftovers as a way of reducing food waste? L.
Dr. Mark Hyman (32:12):
Leftovers is great. I mean my favorite thing to do is the WIF dinner. And that’s what’s in the fridge. And I go in the fridge and there may be little kind of lumpy things and I basically chop them up and I make a stew or a soup. So you don’t really notice that they’re kind of wilted. And they may not be as nutritionally dense as fresh off the vine, but it’s still good food and you can make stew, you can freeze them. So it’s really important not to buy too much. Buy what you need. Don’t overbuy. Make sure you use leftovers. You can actually use composting if you can’t get rid of all of it. I don’t feel bad using scraps because I just throw it in the compost, and they have this amazing stuff that I put on my garden and it’s awesome. You know, its just so easy, and it doesn’t smell or anything and it’s great.
Dr. Gundry (33:00):
Okay. Our listeners and viewers are living in an apartment and they’re going, “Oh, that’s great guys, go out into your backyard, do your garden.” What’s the options of… Can you have a victory garden in your apartment?
Dr. Mark Hyman (33:13):
Sure. There are a lot of people who have like balconies and window seals. People have little vegetables out there in pots like tomatoes, or herbs, or a little lettuce. A friend of mine just showed me other day. She had like these two raised wooden boxes on her porch, and it was just full of lettuce and kale, and all these amazing vegetables. They were literally just on her front porch. And I mean in New York there’s rooftop gardens here. On the new apartment I’m moving to, we have actually a rooftop garden, raised bed garden, and you can grow food. They have composting in the building. If you’re living an apartment, you can have that little compost collector. You can take to the local farmer’s markets. There’s farmer’s markets in most cities. Now that farmers love that stuff. So I think it’s really pretty simple if you just kind of focus on it.
Dr. Gundry (33:55):
All right. So those are all great tips. So I know you’re a prolific writer like myself. In fact, that’s why I’m spurred to write new books so often, because I’m always evolving and upgrading my theories on best health practices based on my research and working with patients. So what’s your most surprising revelation or discovery when you started writing Food Fix?
Dr. Mark Hyman (34:22):
I don’t think I really grasped how much the food industry, and the food system was driving so many problems. I just didn’t get it. I mean, I knew as a doctor that it’s bad for health, and that it causes chronic disease. As a functional medicine doctor, it’s clearly the focus. But that it affects kids’ academic performance, that it causes mental health issues, that it causes violence, that it causes and perpetuates poverty and social issues. That it causes climate change, and it destroys the soil. That it’s driving our economic crises. I mean these are all massive effects of our food system.
Dr. Mark Hyman (34:58):
And I also wasn’t as aware of all of the bad behavior of the food industry. I kind of knew in big terms that it was an issue, but I just didn’t understand the ways in which they were acting that are so deliberate. They’re so toxic, and they’re driving so many bad policies and practices, and it just heartbreaking. Here’s an example, a food stamp program and it’s a great program because it helps save 46 million Americans from food insecurity. It’s not enough. It’s not good enough. It’s got problems, but there’s no nutrition guidelines in there. There’s nutrition guidelines for women, infants and children, programs for school lunches. You can’t just serve whatever you want there. And there are no guidelines.
Dr. Mark Hyman (35:46):
And the hunger groups like Feeding America, which are very altruistic, are opposed to changing food stamps to limit access to processed food, or to soda, because they feel like it’s going to stigmatize the poor. And all they’re worried about is giving them enough calories. But you’re actually killing these people. And the data is very clear that people on these programs their health is worse. And that on the board of these programs, on these nonprofits are the big food companies. They fund huge amounts towards these. They’re trying to do good things, but it’s so co-opted.
Dr. Mark Hyman (36:27):
And so there’s so much conflict between the obesity groups and the hunger groups, why can’t we work together? And a lot of times it’s just deliberate efforts from the food industry to prevent that from happening.
Dr. Gundry (36:41):
Where do big health institutions fit into this problem. Are we benefiting by bad health in this country?
Dr. Mark Hyman (36:55):
Well, I mean, historically we have been. We get paid a lot to take care of really sick people. But that’s changing. And the good news is that the Medicare policies around value-based care, which means you pay for results. You don’t pay for just doing more and more angioplasties, or cardiac bypasses or colonoscopies. You only get paid when people are well. It’s a very different driver of medical practice and it’s happening fast. It’s not quite there yet, but it’s happening fast. And when we’re incentivized based on the health of our population, instead of just treating disease, that’s going to change the marketplace. And now they’re incentivizing healthcare systems to do the right thing. In Cleveland Clinic, we have a food is medicine program. We have small groups that are lifestyle groups. We have a lot of efforts to actually address this in a different way. And I’m really excited about that.
Dr. Gundry (37:47):
So are we going to see big institutions shrink because we won’t need all the hospital beds? I mean, oh my gosh, Mark, what are you saying?
Dr. Mark Hyman (37:58):
Actually I said that to the CEO of Cleveland Clinic, Toby Cosgrove when I was in a conference on World Health, the Davos World Economic Forum. And I said, “What would you say if I told you I could empty out half of your hospitals and cut your bypasses and angioplasties in half?” He’s like, “That’d be great.” I’m like, “How are you going to pay the bills? You’ve got an $8 billion year revenue you’re making from all that.” He’s like, “We’ll figure it out.” Then he wouldn’t leave me alone, and he hired me to come do this at Cleveland Clinic. So that was a good thing.
Dr. Gundry (38:32):
Well so there is hope after all of this.
Dr. Mark Hyman (38:35):
There is so much hope. I think defining the problem, naming it, educating people, and getting people aware, changing their behavior, changing their influence on policymakers is a huge lever we can pull to make change. And we are mattering to those companies. I mean, I don’t just Burger King ad, but Burger King is not exactly a health food, but they announced that the big Whopper had no more preservatives. And they had an ad of a burger molding, getting really moldy over 34 days. And the end of the ad was no artificial preservatives. And so Burger King is getting the message. That’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean its health food, but still, I think there’s a movement towards shifting the food system to healthier foods, to changing our agricultural practices. And I’m actually very hopeful.
Dr. Gundry (39:25):
That’s great. Yeah, I used to show a slide. I went to the Santa Barbara Farmers Market a few years ago and bought a pint of strawberries, organic strawberries. And I simultaneously went to Costco and bought their strawberries and I put them in the refrigerator and I didn’t bother them. And after three days, the organic strawberries from the Farmers Market were covered with mold, and all sorts of wonderful stuff munching away. And the Costco strawberries, I’m proud to say lasted six weeks without any deterioration.
Dr. Gundry (40:00):
The point is, if a bug, if a mold won’t eat that dumb stuff, because of all the preservatives on it, why would you want to put that stuff in your mouth?
Dr. Mark Hyman (40:09):
It’s true. It’s like Margarine. A fly will land on butter but won’t land on Margarine.
Dr. Gundry (40:16):
Yeah, and one last funny thing. Michael Pollan, I think for years had a twinkie on his desk wrapped in this hall of fame. And every year he’d go by and squeeze it, and it was still perfectly fresh after years and years. And it’s like, why would I put that in my mouth?
Dr. Mark Hyman (40:34):
It’s true. Yeah. I mean, the whole idea that you should only eat food that rots. But Burger King has kind of figured that out and trying to use that for their benefit, which I’m not so sure it’s a good idea.
Dr. Gundry (40:43):
All right, we could go on and on, and we’ve mentioned off camera, do fear for your health, and safety walking down the street.
Dr. Mark Hyman (40:53):
Yeah, I know. You know, someone’s got to speak out. I mean, what am I going to do? I’m 60 if I die, whatever. At least I got the word out. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think people are engaged and care about this, because it affects everybody. Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, doesn’t matter, Jewish. Everybody is affected by this chronic disease epidemic. It’s everybody. I guarantee you, everybody watching this, listening to this, somebody in your family has a chronic disease, whether it’s diabetes, or high blood pressure, they’re overweight, they have dementia, they have heart disease, they have cancer. I mean, it’s so common and a lot of it is caused by our food.
Dr. Gundry (41:26):
Yeah. And you and I both know that our healthcare system cannot survive unless we make a fix.
Dr. Mark Hyman (41:37):
Dr. Gundry (41:38):
It’s going bankrupt, and it’s going bankrupt faster than anyone would have anticipated.
Dr. Mark Hyman (41:44):
Right. Well, people don’t know that the Medicare trust funds running out of money in five years.
Dr. Gundry (41:48):
Yeah. Five years, 2025.
Dr. Mark Hyman (41:51):
And one out of $2 of Medicare is going to be for… Sorry. No, I’m wrong. One out of $2 of the entire federal budget is going to be for Medicare in five years. It’s not coming in 20 years; it’s coming pretty soon.
Dr. Gundry (42:07):
Yeah. That’s real soon. All right. I know where people can find Food Fix, where can they find out… you’ve mentioned it. Let’s summarize it again. How do we get with this movement?
Dr. Mark Hyman (42:19):
Okay, well you go to foodfixbook.com to learn more about the book, to get the five steps for a healthy you and a healthier planet. You can get the Food Fix Action guide, which is what to do about it. And you also can go to foodfix.org, which is about the nonprofit that we have created to fix the food system. And we’re starting to build a movement. We’re launching this campaign soon and people can join and be part of that.
Dr. Gundry (42:46):
Good for you. And thanks for taking this on. I know you have nothing else to do.
Dr. Mark Hyman (42:51):
Yeah. And if people want to find me, they can find me on The Doctor’s Farmacy, which I have to have you on talking about lectins. My podcast and also a Dr. Mark Hyman on social media, Dr. Mark Hyman on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. So hope to see you there
Dr. Gundry (43:05):
All right. Take care. And thanks again.
Dr. Mark Hyman (43:09):
Dr. Gundry (43:10):
Now before you go, we’ve got an audience question, that I always do. Actually this is very timely. So since we brought up the coronavirus.
Dr. Mark Hyman (43:22):
Dr. Gundry (43:24):
@voyagevixen on Instagram asks, I know your specialty is the immune system from your xenotransplant days as heart surgeon. That’s actually true. I travel for work and cannot avoid countries with coronavirus outbreaks. What do you recommend I do to protect myself from the coronavirus?
Dr. Mark Hyman (43:42):
You want me to give some thoughts?
Dr. Gundry (43:43):
Dr. Mark Hyman (43:44):
Sure. First of all, 38,000 people die every year from the flu, far less than coronavirus. You’re more likely to die of heart disease than you having coronavirus. That’s the first thing. And put in perspective. The second thing is 80% of people who get it, have no symptoms or mild symptoms. The people who die are the ones who are compromised or sick. If you’re traveling a lot, it’s often stressful. So make sure you can have sleep, drink plenty of fluids. You know your mother’s advice. Basically eat good food. Don’t eat sugar, because that’s suppress your immune system. Take certain vitamins that can help boost your immunity. Like vitamin D, at least 5,000 a day.
Dr. Mark Hyman (44:20):
I’d take a cocktail of mushroom immune boosting herbs like Reishi, and Maitake, and Shiitake to help my immune system. And zinc and Vitamin C and the usual cocktail that really will help. And then there’s other advanced immune support things you can do. But that’s really what I would do and not freak out about… I mean, I wouldn’t go to Milan, I wouldn’t go to Wuhan. I wouldn’t go to the center of where this is.
Dr. Gundry (44:44):
Yeah, those are all great points and Vitamin D is so important. The University of Southern California, San Diego, UCSD put out a very good paper a few years ago that the average American should take 9,600 international units a day of Vitamin D3, to have an adequate level which was very… It’s very actually impressive data. I certainly recommend, like you say. Everybody should be on 5,000 international units.
Dr. Mark Hyman (45:18):
That’s a lot.
Dr. Gundry (45:21):
Quite frankly, I’ve said this before, I measure Vitamin D levels on everybody every three months. I have yet to see Vitamin D toxicity and I have some people who run their Vitamin D levels at 200, 250 nanograms per milliliter. I haven’t ever seen Vitamin D toxicity.
Dr. Mark Hyman (45:42):
No, I haven’t either.
Dr. Gundry (45:43):
Yeah, I think we’re missing the boat on this one. But you’re right. More people are going to die of heart disease today than of the coronavirus, that’s for sure. And our food system is the pandemic we should be focused on.
Dr. Mark Hyman (46:05):
It really is and I think that’s what people need to understand and that it’s affecting everybody. It’ll affect you in your lifetime and then it’s actually totally treatable and preventable by using this approach. And I just want people to understand that that’s what’s so exciting about this. It’s not like we have to wait for some crazy solution or a vaccine, or some magic new drug. Like we have the tools and the best drug is food and using the right food.
Dr. Gundry (46:28):
You mean there’s no vaccine against this chronic food disease?
Dr. Mark Hyman (46:33):
Is there a vaccine against soda? I don’t think so.
Dr. Gundry (46:37):
All right. All right. Thanks again Mark. Our paths will cross again soon, I’m sure.
Dr. Mark Hyman (46:42):
Okay. My friend. Take care.
Dr. Gundry (46:44):
All right. Take care.
Dr. Gundry (46:46):
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Dr. Gundry podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/drGundry because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.