Speaker 1: 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: So welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. You know, have you ever felt mediocre, untalented, or a step behind your peers? Has fear ever caused you to set your dreams aside and, well, play it safe? [00:00:30] My guest today knows exactly what that feels like, and is proof that you can turn things around. In just a minute, I’ll speak with hotelier, humanitarian, and internationally known artist Jeremy Cowart.
Dr. Gundry: Jeremy went from a struggling student to a world-renowned photographer who’s shot the likes of Taylor Swift, President Obama, and even Pope Francis. And now, he’s sharing his story [00:01:00] through his book, I’m Possible: Jumping into Fear and Discovering a Life of Purpose.
Dr. Gundry: Today, we’re going to discuss how to break free from the can’ts and shouldn’ts holding us back to become the people we were meant to be. So Jeremy, welcome to the program!
Jeremy Cowart: Thank you. Thank you for having me, appreciate it.
Dr. Gundry: You know, you and I met in a very interesting way, and that was very serendipitous [00:01:30] and a lot of fun. Do you mind mentioning how we met?
Jeremy Cowart: Of course, yeah, it’s a crazy story. I’d been on my own health journey, and I was on my way to LA to be on a Hallmark Channel show and somebody had told me to read your book. And so I got the book to read on my trip to LA on the flight and back to Nashville. And so I’ve got your book, I’m flying out to LA, and I get to the show and on set, I’m [00:02:00] backstage kind of waiting for my turn, and I hear somebody say your name. And I was like, “Wait a minute, you’ve got to be kidding me.” And I realized that moment that you and I were the only two guests on that show that day. And it was just, I literally could not believe how small the world was in that moment. And so yeah, that’s how we met. It’s pretty crazy.
Dr. Gundry: So maybe we’ll get back to why somebody gave you [00:02:30] the book, but I want to talk more about why you wrote this book. And as a kid, apparently you struggled in every academic in school. You doubted you’d be anything other than mediocre. What kind of struggles did you have as a kid?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah. I was just a very quiet, shy, average kid. Didn’t think I would do much in life, didn’t make great grades, and so I had very low expectations [00:03:00] for myself. And it took a long time to overcome all that. But yeah, growing up, I just was a kind of B, C student, never a straight A student, that kind of thing.
Jeremy Cowart: And I lived by the two words, “I can’t.” “I can’t play baseball.” “I can’t play piano.” “I can’t do this,” “can’t do that.” And so my parents really helped me overcome those two words over the course of my life.
Dr. Gundry: Interesting. So this kind of came from internally, these [00:03:30] words? So it wasn’t coming from your parents?
Jeremy Cowart: No. It was all internal. Just my own self-doubt, fear, all that stuff.
Dr. Gundry: So what did you think you were destined to do?
Jeremy Cowart: I wasn’t sure. I figured it would be in the arts, whether it be music or art itself. I was definitely into music growing up. But I wasn’t really sure. I was kind of game for whatever.
Dr. Gundry: Well you’re from Nashville, [00:04:00] so I hope you were into music.
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah. I actually grew up singing professionally in a little kid’s group. We sang on a Willie Nelson record and John Denver and all these famous artists, so I was a professionally trained vocalist as a child, which is pretty crazy.
Dr. Gundry: Wow. So wait a minute. So how in the heck do you go from a vocalist to a world-famous photographer?
Jeremy Cowart: I don’t know.
Dr. Gundry: What was [00:04:30] the turning point that you realized, “Hey, I’m not going to be a vocalist. I think I’ll take some pictures”?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, we are jumping around. I mean, there’s obviously a lot in between those moments, and it’s of course all in the book. But I had a band in college with my brothers and when I could tell that they weren’t as serious about it as I was, I decided to turn my attention towards the arts, visual arts. And so I studied graphic design in college, [00:05:00] minored in illustration, and at that point knew that visual arts is what I wanted to do. So graphic design is actually what I did a long time before switching to photography because I actually took one photography class in college and I got a D and nearly failed. And so it wasn’t until many years later that I rediscovered photography and fell in love with it.
Dr. Gundry: So you got to help me with that. You almost [00:05:30] failed photography. And it sounds like you were quite a good graphic artist. What was the turning point that you say, “I’m so bad at photography I think I ought to take it up as a career”?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah. Photography was one of those required classes in college. I didn’t actually want to take it but I had to and I didn’t do very well. And so that was [00:06:00] ’98, ’99. And then it wasn’t until 2001 that the first digital camera came about, and at that point I already knew the world of digital editing. I knew Photoshop because I was a graphic designer. I knew all the digital tools. So once the digital camera came into play, that made a lot of sense for me to start playing with. And so I would actually use a camera to scan in images and textures [00:06:30] to use in my design.
Jeremy Cowart: And then living in Nashville, all my friends were musicians. And so once they found out I had a camera, then they would ask me to start shooting them, and then I turned out to be good at it. And then their labels would start hiring me and the rest kind of took off from there. I was discovered by an agent in Hollywood and then she put me on a roster, and the next thing I knew I was shooting big celebrities in Hollywood and around the country.
Dr. Gundry: [00:07:00] That’s fascinating. Well you know that was actually what my question was going to be, because my guess was that you were going to take pictures to work in graphic arts and one thing led to another. So I should have said that first because then I’d look really smart. But that’s fascinating.
Dr. Gundry: Were there people along the way who, when this started happening, guided you in this [00:07:30] direction? Were there people who really made a difference in your life going this direction?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, of course. I mean obviously my parents had a massive impact, and I talk a lot about that in the book. But then I found this guy who was kind of a, not even a mentor, he was a hero. Somebody I idolized and looked up to. And I got to meet him at one point and we became friends. And he’s the one that said, “You should buy this new thing called a digital camera,” [00:08:00] which that changed my life. And he was also the one to say, “You should quit your ad agency job and start your own company.” And he told me that at the age of 24. I’m now 42 and I’ve worked for myself ever since that day. He said, “You should quit your job tomorrow.” And I did quit my job tomorrow. And again, that was 18 years ago, and I’ve never, never looked back.
Dr. Gundry: Whoa! What? I mean, quitting your job at 24 and doing something [00:08:30] that you almost flunked out of in college, I mean, take our listeners and viewers, what goes through your mind? How do you do that? Because a lot of folks are in that position. How the heck do you do that?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, I think oftentimes when we’re most afraid to do something, that might mean we’re most meant to do that thing. You hear a lot of actors in Hollywood say they chose [00:09:00] to do this film because they were terrified of it. And I’m often drawn to the things that I’m really scared of. I’m drawn to jumping into that dark place, that dark place of fear and just kind of not knowing what’s going to happen but being excited. And I like the idea of risk. Even as a kid, I loved walking into a haunted house. Back in the ’80s they were actually really scary. People could actually grab you and, you know, these days [00:09:30] there’d be lawsuits involved.
Jeremy Cowart: But I remember in the ’80s I just loved walking into these haunted houses. Because even as a businessman now, that’s what it feels like when you’re starting something new. You know, in your world, when people are starting a new way of eating, a new lifestyle, it all can be very, very daunting and scary to try something new. But I’ve found over and over again that I’m just really drawn to that moment, to that feeling. And, you know, the worst that can happen is [00:10:00] you can fail. And I find that even through failure, you’re still learning a ton, and so it’s really not failure.
Dr. Gundry: Now, you credit your parents, like you mentioned, with a lot of this. It sounds like they’re the real backbones that are there to give you the confidence to leap out into the void.
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, for sure.
Dr. Gundry: What did they think [00:10:30] when you quit your job at 24?
Jeremy Cowart: They were worried for the obvious reasons, you know, worried about [inaudible 00:10:38] “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Because I had health benefits and all [inaudible 00:10:44] things, insurance, all that good stuff. But I was pretty hardheaded and knew that I needed to do it [inaudible 00:10:51] I was kind of drowning in the corporate world. It didn’t inspire me, it didn’t motivate me, and I knew that I enjoyed working [00:11:00] with my friends a lot more. So I knew that it was time to jump.
Dr. Gundry: We’ve had other people on the podcast that tell a similar story that the corporate world, they were drowning or strangling, and they made similar leaps. And it’s fascinating. Where do you get the courage to do this? And it sounds like you [00:11:30] were kind of born just to take leaps into scary things.
Jeremy Cowart: Maybe. I mean it’s definitely still scary. Like right now, I’m sure we’ll get there in a minute, but I’m pursuing a new career, a new journey, that is more terrifying than anything I’ve ever done. And it’s not like you overcome fear. It’s not like I finally defeated fear because fear is still there every single day. Fear and doubt and insecurities. But I just know that those [00:12:00] things are part of the journey. At 9 AM tomorrow when I get back to work, they’re all going to be there again. But it’s just being a professional [inaudible 00:12:09] knowing you’re still going to be battling those inner voices.
Dr. Gundry: So your career as a photographer, were there fearful moments when you were going to take a picture of a star who was intimidating? [00:12:30] Or President Obama or the Pope, how do you get ready to photograph somebody like that?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, it’s wild, for sure. I’ve had some wild encounters. And I do get starstruck, I do get nervous. But I also have to remember that they’re just another human being like myself and they also have their fears and insecurities, and I just have to treat them like I would treat anybody. I think that’s the most important thing is [00:13:00] treat the janitor in my building the same as I would treat President Obama or whoever I was photographing at the time.
Jeremy Cowart: And I’m very laid back. My countenance right now in this interview is the same as it is on a big photo shoot. Taking pictures is not changing lives. It’s not saving lives. It should be fun. A lot of people take it way too seriously, so my approach is, “Let’s have some fun, let’s make some cool images, and see [00:13:30] what happens.”
Dr. Gundry: So I take it you’re not kind of like Austin Powers with his camera going, “Work it, baby! Work it!”
Jeremy Cowart: You know, sometimes I kind of have to play that role, for sure. I’ve done some fashion shoots and the client wants me to be a lot more talkative and encourage the model more. So I’ve had to find my inner Austin Powers a few times, yeah.
Dr. Gundry: It turns out we’re going to take a quick [00:14:00] break and then we’re going to come right back because I want to hear about what happens next.
Jeremy Cowart: Sure.
Dr. Gundry: Okay?
Jeremy Cowart: All right.
Dr. Gundry: Okay. So stay tuned. We’ll be right back.
Dr. Gundry: Hey podcast listeners. Dr. Gundry here, and I need your help. I’m always trying to improve this podcast so I can bring the most valuable and insightful information to you, the listener. In the show notes for each episode of this podcast, you’ll find a link to a survey. Please, just take a few minutes to fill [00:14:30] it out so I can learn more about you and what you would most like to hear us discuss on the show. Your opinion really matters, so thank you. And now, back to the show.
Dr. Gundry: Okay. We are back with the author of I’m Possible, and it’s Jeremy Cowart. Jeremy, thanks for joining us. And you look like you’re in studio for those of you who can’t see us, and he’s got a couple [00:15:00] dogs running around in the background.
Jeremy Cowart: I sure do.
Dr. Gundry: So if I look off camera a little bit, I’m looking at his dogs. How many dogs do you have? Not to change the subject.
Jeremy Cowart: Just two. A big Golden Retriever and a little Shih Tzu.
Dr. Gundry: Yes, great. Tell me what people on a regular basis can overcome a feeling of defeat and forge ahead? Give us some tricks. Because you’re right. Everybody fails. [00:15:30] And quite frankly, if those of us who are listening haven’t failed yet, you haven’t been at this long enough.
Jeremy Cowart: Exactly. I just feel like my story in the book is everybody’s story [inaudible 00:15:44] I did the talk. So my buddy, let me rewind, my buddy years ago, Jon Acuff, asked me to speak at his conference. And I said, “Dude, I’m not a speaker. I can’t remember a talk. Like, that’s just not my thing.” But then I came [00:16:00] back a few days later. I was like, “You know what? I think if I drew a talk in Photoshop and made a timelapse video, that could be really cool.” And so I did it.
Jeremy Cowart: And the video was about my childhood and how I couldn’t do anything and I did bad in photography. I got fired from my first ad agency job, was told I wasn’t creative enough, you know, just never had a lot of confidence. But then I overcame all that and went on to become a very successful [00:16:30] photographer. But then [inaudible 00:16:32] realized success, to me, didn’t mean as much as I hoped it would, or I thought it would, and so what did matter. And it goes into my journeys as a humanitarian photographer and somebody who does projects that try to help others in need.
Jeremy Cowart: So I made that talk and then that launched my career as a speaker. So I’ve now presented that story all over the country. And the reason it’s successful is not because of me, but because that story, like [00:17:00] you’re saying, it is everybody. People look at you, they look at me, and they think that we’ve got it all figured out and that we’re just on this pathway to perfection. But they have no clue that I still wake up every day with all these issues still, insecurities and doubts.
Dr. Gundry: So what does it mean to be a humanitarian photographer?
Jeremy Cowart: [00:17:30] Yeah, I guess it could be interpreted a lot of different ways. I think, for me, it just means when you use a camera to help in times of need. So I’ve done wildfire humanitarian projects. I’ve done hurricane disaster relief projects. I like to tell stories.
Jeremy Cowart: So for example, after the wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a couple of years ago. They destroyed, just, it was devastating, much like the California wildfires. [00:18:00] And I went down there and just told stories of people and what they lost through drones, using a drone to photograph the damage with a white mattress in the middle of [inaudible 00:18:10] with the person laying on a mattress, so you could really see the perspective and scale.
Jeremy Cowart: And then we built crowdfunding pages for each of those people. And then I tried to spread the word. So TIME Magazine did a huge feature on that project. And so I think it’s just anytime you’re using your camera to [00:18:30] offer humanitarian aid in some sense.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah, and you’re quite the humanitarian now. I understand you’ve got this exciting new project. You want to talk about that? Is that an offshoot of what you’ve been speaking about?
Jeremy Cowart: A little bit, yeah. So basically on April 30th, 2012, I was in Los Angeles for a photo shoot, and [00:19:00] I was walking through a hotel to the meeting and, just randomly, I had just a ginormous idea for a new hotel brand. Keep in mind I have no experience in hospitality, nor does anyone in my family. I don’t even have any friends in the hospitality industry. So this was as random as random could be. I mean I just, out of nowhere, had a really big idea for a hotel.
Jeremy Cowart: And the idea was that hit me in that moment was like, “There should be a [00:19:30] hotel where everything in the building is connected to causes and nonprofits so that when people choose this hotel brand, they are changing the world around them for the better.” And I had the idea to call it The Purpose Hotel. And so I knew it was a good idea, but I was still terrified of it. I was 35 years old at the time, freelance photographer. What photographer goes and builds a global hotel chain?
Jeremy Cowart: So I pocketed the idea [00:20:00] for three years because I was so afraid of it. It was too big. And then in 2015, I started taking steps towards that. We launched a Kickstarter to the public and we raised nearly $700,000 to kind of get the ball rolling. That money has obviously gone to all of our many startup architects and designers and attorneys and websites and graphic designers, all kinds of stuff.
Jeremy Cowart: And now we’re well on our way. [00:20:30] We should break ground on our first hotel in Nashville next year. So there’s a lot happening. But, you know, it turns out you can build a hotel from scratch. It’s pretty crazy.
Dr. Gundry: So you don’t know anything about this, right?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: And so you say, “I’m going to open a Kickstarter campaign, and I want people to give me money to do something I know nothing about.” [00:21:00] What goes through your head? Where do you get the inner strength to pull this off, to pitch yourself? And I actually want to take an excerpt from your book. You use the old saying, “Fake it until you make it.” Is that kind of your mentality in all this?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, on my photo career it was, for sure. On the hotel front, obviously, it’s a much bigger business that involves a lot [00:21:30] more people. And so to answer your question, probably my biggest strength is how well I know my weaknesses. And so I go and find people that fill in the gaps of my weaknesses. And so with the hotel, when I made the decision to launch a Kickstarter, it actually took us about a year before we launched the Kickstarter. And during that year, I got a business partner who is extreme [inaudible 00:21:58] and knows the [00:22:00] hotel industry. And together, we got it going.
Jeremy Cowart: Now we have a CFO and advisory board, a lot of other people that do know what they’re doing, that do have decades of hospitality experience. And so it’s definitely not me anymore. I’m a part of a much bigger team. But it did take me to kind of get the vision going, put the pieces together. And like I said, it took a year just to launch the Kickstarter, and [00:22:30] another year to kind of do it and wrap it up and get everybody sent their robes and desks that they ordered and keys and all that stuff, and so it was a lot of work.
Dr. Gundry: That reminds me of a song from one of my favorite reggae artists, Shaggy. And Shaggy’s got a song that his mother said, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong [00:23:00] room.” And just hearing you say that just brought that song into my mind. I think what you just said is brilliant advice. Surround yourself with smarter people, and they’ll make you smarter.
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, I can’t even convey how funny it is for me to be in hotel meetings now with all these just brilliant business people. I don’t even know what [00:23:30] a lot of the words they’re saying means. Like, I’m over there acting like I’m working, and I’m actually Googling the words they’re saying just so I can understand what they mean. So yeah, I’m in way over my head. But again, thankfully I do have a business partner and a CFO and a lot of advisors and people on our team that they know what they’re talking about.
Dr. Gundry: But you’re not just the pretty face of this operation, are you?
Jeremy Cowart: No. So I’ve spent seven years, it’s not just [00:24:00] the idea that I had, it’s probably a couple hundred ideas within the hotel. Because I’ve spent these seven years really thinking about, “Okay, what happens when they enter the room?” “What happens when they walk in the elevator?” “Which organizations are going to be involved?” “What will those organizations do?” “How will the soaps be connected? The blankets? The art? The furniture?”
Jeremy Cowart: So I’m really the creative director, if you will. I think through all the creative elements. I care [00:24:30] about what people are going to smell, how they’re going to feel, how they’re going to be welcomed, what the staff is going to say to them when they walk in the hotel. That’s really where my head lives, so I guess you could call that the visionary, the creative director. But yeah, when it comes to the day-to-day operations, that is definitely not my role.
Dr. Gundry: So, getting back to something you said earlier, are there other misconceptions [00:25:00] out there about successful people? You’ve obviously mentioned one, that this automatically didn’t happen for you. Any other misconceptions about successful people? You certainly see successful people in your life.
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, I mean, gosh, I think there’s misconceptions now every day about all of us because social media is the king of misconceptions. We’re all [00:25:30] posting our highlights and the best moments of our lives. And it’s really [inaudible 00:25:37] cause, even for me, some serious depression.
Jeremy Cowart: Because anytime you go on social media, you are looking at all the things you didn’t get to do, all the people you didn’t get to hang out with, all the events you didn’t attend, all the parties you didn’t attend, all the cars you don’t drive. And so it’s kind of poisonous, I think, for a lot of us. I really feel [00:26:00] for young people. You know, you and I got to grow up without social media, which I think was amazing to not have it growing up, and so I really feel for people.
Jeremy Cowart: And so [inaudible 00:26:10] I don’t know why I got off on that tangent because you asked me about, you know, kind of celebrities or successful people. I mean, there’s so many misconceptions. Like I said, they’re all insecure, they all have their battles they’re facing. And we just from the outside get to see the wins. [00:26:30] So yeah, it’s important for us to remember that.
Jeremy Cowart: Even as a guy whose job it is to… like, here’s how a photo shoot works. So let’s say whatever blank beautiful female celebrity walks into my studio. They’ve hired the best hair and makeup people in the world to do their hair and makeup, the best wardrobe stylist to make them look literally perfect. Then, [00:27:00] my job is to light them the most flattering way possible. And then we take 2,000 photos in one day. Then we narrow that down to one photo. Then that one photo gets into the best skin retoucher on the planet that then goes in pore by pore and fixes their skin.
Jeremy Cowart: Then, the poor teenager reading the magazine looks at that photo and thinks, “Oh I wish I looked like that.” Little does she know that that celebrity also looked like crap when [00:27:30] they walked in the door for the photo shoot. And so it’s amazing how much work goes into making celebrities or successful people look the way they do. Even the models I shoot, they all look like every day people when they walk in the door.
Dr. Gundry: Should we have a caption at the bottom of all these pictures saying, “Warning: professional celebrity on a closed course. Don’t try this at [00:28:00] home”?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, exactly. Thankfully, there is a trend now where a lot of [inaudible 00:28:06] magazines, I’ve seen Target do it, they’re starting to show photos that are not retouched. They’re showing men and women that are not super thin. There is a trend towards showing real life, which I think is amazing.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah. And I think, as you just kind of riffed on, we’ve got to do something about the power of social [00:28:30] media. I’m not smart enough to figure out what that is, but it’s certainly capable of ruining an awful lot of lives. Besides the good benefit, there’s a lot of bad benefits. I don’t know, luckily my children are grown. But I have two grandchildren [inaudible 00:28:50] luckily are very young yet. But I fear for them in the coming years. Luckily, their parents are pretty doggone grounded. So [00:29:00] we’ll see.
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Gundry: All right. So, give me one more example. I think this hotel concept is fascinating. You know, we hear all about recycling, and we hear all about hotels that are using indigenous people. It sounds like you’re kind of putting this all in one concept. Give me an example. What can a guest expect? [00:29:30] What’s going to be in the room that makes your hotel so different than what’s out there?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah. It’ll be pretty thorough. So, for example, when you walk in your room, when you access the internet, there will be free internet, or you can upgrade the internet. But when you upgrade, that money will go to fight against human trafficking through an organization called International Justice Mission. When you order room service, you’ll feed a child in need through Food for the Hungry. Your blankets [00:30:00] will be sewn by survivors of human trafficking. The artwork will come from humanitarian photographers and other artists out there. There will be a charity: water well in the lobby that teaches people about clean water and the importance of that.
Jeremy Cowart: So kind of wherever it makes sense to make a connection to a humanitarian cause, we will do that. We’re talking to organizations where they teach homeless men how to build furniture. [00:30:30] So the desk you sit on to work at your hotel will most likely be built by a homeless person who was employed to build that desk. And so the goal is to create as many jobs out there for people locally, domestically, and internationally. And if the hotel doesn’t do that, then it’s just another hotel brand, which I find quite boring. And so we have to be successful in our mission to help people all over the world.
Dr. Gundry: That’s fantastic. Thank [00:31:00] you for mentioning charity: water. I’m a personal supporter of charity: water and profits from Gundry MD go to charity: water.
Jeremy Cowart: Oh, that’s awesome!
Dr. Gundry: And so far with Gundry MD we’ve built now over a thousand wells for people who had dirty water.
Jeremy Cowart: That’s incredible.
Dr. Gundry: And I’ve had the privilege to go to Ethiopia this year and actually see this in action. And so good for you, it’s a phenomenal organization.
Jeremy Cowart: What a small world. Yeah, Scott Harrison [00:31:30] is a dear friend of mine and he’s one of the first people I ever told about the hotel idea. So Scott and I are very connected, and he wants to build an actual functioning well in the hotel. So we’re really excited about that.
Dr. Gundry: [inaudible 00:31:45] that’s going to be fun! Maybe he’ll let me come and help drill it while you’re there.
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: And so we now have two degrees of separation.
Jeremy Cowart: Absolutely. And obviously this, I would think, goes without saying, but in the hotel [00:32:00] clean eating is going to be truly a massive priority for us. I don’t believe something should be called The Purpose Hotel and we should be selling junk food in the hotel. And so I’m really excited to push healthy living, clean eating, hardcore through our hotel.
Dr. Gundry: Well that’s fantastic. You know, you and I met because of a health issue that [00:32:30] you were facing. And you don’t have to, but can you, if you feel like it, can you update me on how things are going?
Jeremy Cowart: Sure, yeah. I found out just this year that I have a disease called Friedreich’s ataxia. Years ago, somebody noticed that I couldn’t walk straight. And I was athletic in high school and college. I played a lot of sports, and so that was news to me. I was like, “What do you mean I can’t walk straight? Of course I can!” And sure enough, he was right. I couldn’t [00:33:00] walk in a straight line. And ever since then, it’s gotten a lot worse. I sometimes walk like a drunk. And so I am on a long journey to figure out what can help, and I’m a big fan of what you do and what you teach.
Jeremy Cowart: And so far, I have struggled, just personally, to find the discipline to perfectly follow your [00:33:30] diet. But I believe 1000% that it works, and I believe you when you told me that your plan has specifically helped people with ataxia. I very much believe that because I did quit a lot of things hardcore last year. I quit gluten and dairy and soy and corn and coffee, alcohol, sugar, fried foods, you know, all of that. And I saw just a 1000% turnaround. All my symptoms went away.
Jeremy Cowart: And then I’ve also obviously [00:34:00] tried the lectin-free and it does work, absolutely. I just travel a lot, and I struggle to follow diets when I’m traveling, sitting with a client at a restaurant and there just simply are no options for me. So it’s definitely a struggle, but I’m definitely a huge supporter and believer.
Dr. Gundry: Well, let me tell you a success story from yesterday.
Jeremy Cowart: Cool.
Dr. Gundry: And I think this may give you some more motivation. [00:34:30] A young 34-year-old gentleman came to me with his wife and he had some neurologic symptoms, and I won’t go into them, and we did some very specialized tests from a company that looks not only for leaky gut, but looks at whether or not you react to lectins. But it also looks for a lot markers of brain injury, autoimmune [00:35:00] markers of brain injury.
Dr. Gundry: And when we first did this test, actually about two months ago, he was on a gluten-free diet. But there was tons of gluten in him because he traveled a lot, and he was shocked. And we found that in fact he was sensitive to a number of lectins, including spinach. There’s lectin in spinach [inaudible 00:35:24] but he had two markers of brain inflammation, one of which was [00:35:30] a demyelination which correlates with developing MS. And that got his attention.
Dr. Gundry: And so his wife said, “Look, for the next two months, I’m going to cook all your meals. If you’re traveling, I’m going to put them in things wherever you go. You can heat them in the hotel. You’re going to do this.” Now, this guy is a meat and potatoes guy. And I saw him yesterday [00:36:00] because we had just repeated his labs. And the first thing he did, he says, “I got to tell you. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. You know, I am a smart guy. I’m a good businessman. This was the hardest thing. It was like withdrawing from drugs and I can’t believe how hard this was. And unless my wife [inaudible 00:36:20] kept at me, I would have stopped.” And he said, “It was really hard.” He said, “Now, the last two weeks, it’s okay. I’ve finally gotten over my pity [00:36:30] party.”
Dr. Gundry: So we open up his new labs, and this guy, the way it works, red shows lots of gluten, so he’s almost all green. He’s got a couple little markers here and there, but almost all the gluten is gone. But then we open up his Neural, it’s called a Neural Zoomer, and both markers of his brain inflammation are gone.
Jeremy Cowart: Wow.
Dr. Gundry: He’s normal. And he goes, and his wife turns to him and she [00:37:00] actually hits him in the shoulder, and she says, “You see, dummy? I told you this was going to work.” And the guy’s so excited but he was, quite frankly, he was so miserable trying to adhere to this, and if it wasn’t for his wife doing all this. So all I can tell you is, it is worth it. I just saw it again yesterday. It’s really hard.
Dr. Gundry: And good for you. And listen, [00:37:30] I’ll volunteer to help you with the restaurant and what should go into those foods.
Jeremy Cowart: Oh, man. We would love that. We would really love that.
Dr. Gundry: Because, as you know, I’m on a mission for this. And heck, if you’re going to have a charity: water well in the hotel, I’m there.
Jeremy Cowart: Absolutely, yeah. We can’t wait [inaudible 00:37:48] but I’ll take you up on that. I will definitely hit you up [inaudible 00:37:51] because we’ve already had a lot of meetings about the restaurant and the food and all that, so that would be an honor to work with you on that.
Dr. Gundry: Well I was [00:38:00] the nutritional advisor for Six Senses Hotels & Resorts and the entire Eat With Six Senses program is mine and my colleague, Patrick Wahlberg. So I know how to do this and implement it, so I’m happy to help.
Jeremy Cowart: I love it.
Dr. Gundry: What do you hope people take away from reading your book?
Jeremy Cowart: I hope they find themselves in my story, and I hope that they see that truly anything is possible. You know, I’m building a hotel [00:38:30] from scratch, a global hotel chain. Like, if I can do that as a failure in school, as the guy who got fired from his first job, and the guy who nearly failed photography, if I can do all this then just imagine what you, the listener, can do.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah. Is there anything scaring you now? Or is this hotel scaring you to death and don’t want to think about [inaudible 00:38:51]?
Jeremy Cowart: The hotel is definitely still scaring me every day. It’s just, I can’t even express how big and complex [00:39:00] it is. But I’m doing another project in the Bahamas, a hurricane relief project in the Bahamas that will be quite complicated as well. And that’s certainly scary, but also exciting to think that we can possibly help.
Dr. Gundry: What do you do for yourself? What’s your downtime other than having two dogs?
Jeremy Cowart: Well I have four kids, and so my-
Dr. Gundry: Oh!
Jeremy Cowart: I have a 13-year-old [00:39:30] and an 11-year-old that are biological. Then I have an adopted son who is 8 and an adopted daughter who is 7. And so we are fully busy with sports and all the things.
Dr. Gundry: And any downtime? Doesn’t sound like it.
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, not a lot of downtime. I travel a lot. My wife’s a real estate agent, and so we have multiple careers that we’re juggling. But anytime I’m with my family in the outdoors that’s pretty much a good downtime [00:40:00] spent for me.
Dr. Gundry: All right, yeah. Spend more time outdoors.
Jeremy Cowart: That’s right.
Dr. Gundry: I agree. It’s been great having you on the program and to see you again. Where can listeners find out about you and your work? And how do we contribute to the hotel or urge you on?
Jeremy Cowart: Yeah, thank you for asking. It’s all pretty easy. I’m @jeremycowart on all socials. I’m jeremycowart.com. The book you’re holding, my new book I’m Possible, [00:40:30] can also be purchased on my website. And then for The Purpose Hotel, it’s just thepurposehotel.com and thepurposehotel on socials.
Dr. Gundry: And is this going to be a worldwide hotel? Is that your vision?
Jeremy Cowart: That is certainly the vision. Because it’s simple: the more hotels there are, the more people are helped. And so yeah, absolutely, as many as possible.
Dr. Gundry: Love the concept, and I love what you’re doing.
Jeremy Cowart: Thank you so much.
Dr. Gundry: So keep us informed.
Jeremy Cowart: Will do.
Dr. Gundry: All right. Take care.
Jeremy Cowart: All right. You, too.
Dr. Gundry: Okay, it’s time for the audience [00:41:00] question. Liz851 on Instagram wrote in and asked, “I’m new to Plant Paradox. Does the food have to be organic? Where I live, we don’t have access to many organic items, and if we do, they’re very pricey. Will I be able to do the program without buying organic?”
Dr. Gundry: Great question, Liz. And I talk about all this often. So one of my favorite sayings is, “Do what you can, with what you got, wherever [00:41:30] you are.” No, you don’t have to do organic to do this program. Do I think the more organic you do, the better? Yes. In fact, there’s some very good human data looking at families who were asked to eat organic for two weeks, and the level of pesticides and heavy metals and herbicides in their body, in their blood, dramatically fell in two weeks’ time just by changing [00:42:00] to organic.
Dr. Gundry: Now the other good news is, major retailers like, for instance Walmart, have now pretty much insisted that the organic foods that they have and their organic suppliers are going to charge the same amount for organic as conventional products. And you’re going to see a movement of other major retailers following Walmart’s lead. So Walmart’s [00:42:30] almost everywhere. And if it’s not in your town, it’s probably in the town next door. And it’s probably well worth the trip to go to a Walmart. I’ve got nothing for or against Walmart, but good for them for making organic possible for families who otherwise can’t afford organic.
Dr. Gundry: But do what you can do. Get rid of junk food, and if a conventional [00:43:00] head of romaine lettuce is all you can afford, that’s a whole lot better than a bag of Cheetos, okay? So that’s the message.
Dr. Gundry: Review of the week. We’ve got the review of the week. PH0813 from Apple Podcasts writes, “I start every Monday morning off with your amazing podcast. I have read all your books,” thank you very much, “and continue [00:43:30] to apply the vast knowledge you provide in them for my health and diet routines daily. I have learned so much over the last few years about the food industry, and thank you for being a reliable and valuable resource, for making this truthful information readily available.”
Dr. Gundry: Well thank you for writing that. That’s actually why I do this, to get you the information to improve your health. And please, if you’re enjoying these podcasts, write [00:44:00] in and tell me. I actually read this and it really motivates me to keep doing what I do. And if you’ve got a question, please write us. I read your questions, and we’ll have a podcast about it, I promise. We’ll get to you. So thanks so much for writing. I really appreciate it.
Dr. Gundry: 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 [00:44:30] 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.