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Speaker 1 (00:00):
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 (00:13):
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Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Well, if you’re anything like my patients, you’re probably pretty confused about all the nutrition advice out there. And when it comes to diets, forget about it. Should you go vegan? What about the carnivore diet? Oh, maybe you’re keto curious. Well, my guest today is the perfect person to help sort all this out. He’s Dr. Mark Hyman, multiple New York Times bestselling author, head of strategy and innovation at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, and host of The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast. And he’s just written a brand new book called The Pegan Diet: 21 Practical Principles for Reclaiming Your Health in a Nutritionally Confusing World.
On today’s episode, you’re going to discuss the truth about meat, what the food pyramid should really look like, and the shocking shortcomings of the vegan diet. Mark, welcome back to the podcast.

Dr. Mark Hyman (04:08):
Thanks for having me. I think I’m very excited to be here and be able to talk to you about challenges we face with our confusing diet. Because everybody’s confused, and that’s really why I wrote The Pegan Diet. It sort of was a joke initially, because I was on a panel with a militant vegan cardiologist and a very aggressively Paleo doctor, and they were fighting it out and I was sort of in the middle. I’m like, “God, you guys are so extreme.” I said, “If you’re Paleo and you’re vegan, I must be Pegan,” and everybody laughed. I thought, “Oh, this was kind of just a funny joke.” But it turned out I was like, “Wait a minute. They have far more in common with each other than the traditional American diet,” which is processed food, which you’re so violently against, as am I. The result of thinking about it was that I thought, “Wait a minute, they’re identical except for where you get your protein.” Grains and beans or animal protein, no dairy, there’s no processed food, whole foods, lots of vegetables, good fats, nuts and seeds, and so forth.
I was like, “Wait a minute, this is ridiculous.” We should be really focusing on a bigger tent of understanding of what are the basic foundational sound nutritional principles that are based in science that have the ability to include a lot of variety of eating preferences, cultural preferences, and get us out of these diet wars. The other premise of the book is that food is medicine, that it literally influences every main system in our body, and if we don’t understand that when we eat something, it’s not just calories, it’s actually instructions, information, code, or as you like to say, little text messages to all the different parts of your body, then we’re missing an opportunity to upgrade our biological software through improving the quality and the nutrient density and what we call the phytonutrient density of our diet.
So the book really is sort of an attempt to try to deal with a lot of the controversial issues in nutrition today, whether it’s fasting or whether it’s the ketogenic diet, or eating for longevity, or eating for your gut, or eating for hormone balance. It’s all in there, even how to personalize your diet, and even how to address things like climate change through the way you eat. How do you become a regenetarian and eat in a way that is good for you and good for the planet? So I cover a lot of topics in the book, and it’s very simple, digestible, easy to access, and I think it’s just meant to really be a user’s guide and an owner’s manual for your body.

Dr. Gundry (06:34):
All right, so a Pegan diet, you don’t just eat peas, do you?

Dr. Mark Hyman (06:40):
No, no. It’s not that kind of pea. It’s P-E-G, not P-E-A. And it’s not Pagan, it’s Pegan.

Dr. Gundry (06:47):
Yeah, I’m sure you’re going to get those jokes all along. So you mentioned eating a phytonutrient-rich diet and eating for messages. You write in the book about your own microbiome journey. Can you expand on that, what happened to you and what it taught you?

Dr. Mark Hyman (07:11):
Sure. It’s interesting. I’ve spent the last 30 years studying the gut and gut function and the microbiome, and through functional medicine, treating thousands and thousands of patients by healing their gut. Of course, I always get these things that are much harder to deal with and don’t respond to the normal stuff, so I always have to think harder, learn more, and investigate the signs of actually what is happening for me so I can heal myself. I don’t encourage people to do that for themselves, to get sick to figure out what to do, but it’s sort of what’s happened to me.
What’s really clear is that the microbiome, as you’ve written so much about, is critical to our health. But for a long time, I didn’t understand the role of a certain class of compounds to repair the gut by feeding the good bugs called polyphenols. There’s 25,000 phytochemicals in plant foods. These are all these powerful medicinal compounds that the plants create for themselves as defenses, but we’ve heard about them. Resveratrol in red wine and catechins in green tea and proanthocyanidins in blueberries. These are things that we’ve heard about in the media. But what’s really been striking is that the microbiome also needs these polyphenols. Not only do they need probiotics and prebiotics, but they also need polyphenols.
And so in my gut, I had a bad situation where I had a root canal taken out, an antibiotic was given to me, I got C. diff, which is a terrible intestinal infection that kills 30,000 people a year. I mean, the only really good treatment is a fecal transplant, and these other antibiotics to kind of fix it. It’s kind of a mess, and it created so much damage to my gut that I literally had an inflamed gut from my mouth basically almost all the way to my … well, all the way to my butt, for sure, and developed postinfectious colitis and I developed ulcerative colitis. It was really a struggle, and in order for me to fix it, I had to really think about, “How do I really reset my gut?”
And so I developed this approach looking at the microbiome, and there was a particular bacteria in there that turned out to be even more important than I thought called Akkermansia muciniphilia, which is a bacteria that forms a mucus coating on the lining of the gut, forbidding a leaky gut, which is what you talk so much about. And so if you have a leaky gut, it means your body’s constantly getting inflamed, and my body was just totally inflamed the whole time and I had zero levels of these Akkermansia bacteria. I’d just check my stool and it was just absent. And so I started researching what are the things that can help it, and it was cranberry and pomegranate and green tea and all these compounds that actually had powerful effects on the microbiome in addition to pre and probiotics.
Then I even learned more about this bacteria, and this is an example of how food is medicine. If you have cancer, turns out that if you have low levels of Akkermansia and you’re trying to get one of these new immunotherapy drugs, these checkpoint inhibitors that help your own immune system fight the cancer and can be really dramatic … I mean, if you have stage four cancer, it can literally cure you if you have the right gut flora. But it turns out that if you don’t have the right gut flora, the microbiome is not right, these drugs don’t work. So it’s on or off. You die. And all you have to do is feed the Akkermansia with these polyphenols and other prebiotics and support the gut and you literally can cure cancer with this approach. I’ve heard this story many times with patients who had low Akkermansia, weren’t responding, who got their Akkermansia fixed, and ended up resolving their cancer.
So I think there’s so much to learn about how food plays a role, and that’s just one example of how food is medicine. So if you think some of the most powerful anti-cancer drugs don’t work unless you eat certain foods that feed the right bugs, that’s mind blowing, and it’s important for people to think about that.

Dr. Gundry (11:04):
Yeah, I think you’re right. In The Longevity Paradox, my last big book, it’s very clear, at least to me, that longevity is actually directly related to how intact your gut wall is. It’s kind of like the walls of a castle. If they’re solid, bad guys can’t get in and hurt you. If they start finding holes in passageways, that’s when the Roman Empire falls.

Dr. Mark Hyman (11:38):

Dr. Gundry (11:39):
Yeah. I’ve had a couple patients who we wanted to use immunotherapy on their cancer and they weren’t responding, and so we changed their diet. They actually paid attention and lo and behold … We’ve got a recent guy with stage four lung cancer and it’s gone. I mean, it’s …

Dr. Mark Hyman (12:01):
That’s incredible.

Dr. Gundry (12:02):
… literally gone.

Dr. Mark Hyman (12:03):
Yeah, that’s metastatic lung cancer. That just doesn’t happen in regular medicine, right?

Dr. Gundry (12:07):

Dr. Mark Hyman (12:08):
So that’s where this beautiful intersection of food and … It affects your immune system, it affects your mitochondria, it affects your gut, it affects your hormones, it affects your brain chemistry, it affects really everything, your detoxification system, that is determining the quality of your health and your life.

Dr. Gundry (12:23):
I love in the book, you talk about, “You are what you eat.” You write in the book, “Do you want to be made of Doritos or grass-fed steak, Coca-Cola or wild blueberries?” I-

Dr. Mark Hyman (12:38):
Yeah. Well, it’s-

Dr. Gundry (12:42):
Go ahead.

Dr. Mark Hyman (12:44):
No, it’s such an important point. We don’t think about the fact that we are building our own biological house with the building blocks from food. You wouldn’t build a house with really crappy wood or bricks that were going to dissolve and fall apart or melt in the rain and with wires that had all kinds of crap that didn’t make the electrical system work, or pipes with holes. I mean, you just wouldn’t do that to build a house, but that’s what we do to build our biological house and it’s why we are so sick. That’s why six out of ten Americans have a chronic disease and 88% of us are metabolically unhealthy and one out of two have diabetes or prediabetes. I mean, this is not a rare problem, and it’s food related. So food is really the biggest killer on the planet by far, and so, for me, to understand that we can actually break out of the old paradigm of using pharmaceuticals and drugs to cure disease and use these foods, it’s incredible.

Dr. Gundry (13:47):
Let’s dive right into the meat controversy, since we just talked about grass-fed beef. What’s the problem with most nutritional studies on meat consumption? What do you think?

Dr. Mark Hyman (14:00):
This is a great question, and it brings back the point of, “You are what you eat.” You are what you eat, and you are whatever are eating has eaten.

Dr. Gundry (14:09):
Yeah, that’s exactly right.

Dr. Mark Hyman (14:10):
And on my podcast, The Doctor’s Farmacy, I had this incredible range line scientist, Fred Provenza, who wrote a book called Nourishment, talk about the emerging research from Duke University on phytochemicals and in grass-finished beef. So if animals are left to forage on hundreds of varieties of plants, they’re literally eating the medicines in all of those plants all the time and they’re seeking out different plants for different properties in terms of medicine or in terms of the nutrient density or the vitamins and minerals. And so it turns out that you find in the meat of some of these high quality, grass-fed meats or goat or whatever, goat milk, that there are high levels of phytochemicals in there as you find in plants. For example, goats who are eating certain shrubs and are left to forage around in the wild will have as high levels of catechins, which are in green tea, as green tea, which is really remarkable to think about. Wow.
So I think back to the question of, “What about meat and the studies about meat?” Most of the studies on meat were done on, obviously, feedlot beef, not grass-finished beef, or wild beef. And there’s a great study on a kangaroo meat in Australia where they fed people the exact amount of kangaroo meat versus feedlot beef, and they found that with the feedlot beef, inflammation in their body went up. With the kangaroo meat, it went down, and it’s because it’s a different quality of the information in the food.
And so most of the studies on meat are really done on large populations. They’re what we call observational studies. They don’t prove cause and effect. They look for correlations. When you looked at the studies on meat, the big studies that were done with a million people, half a million people, this was done in the era, one, when meat was considered bad to eat. We were told, “Don’t eat meat. It’s got saturated fat. It’s bad for you.” So people who were health conscious didn’t eat it. That’s called the healthy user effect, meaning people aren’t doing bad stuff to themselves. So it’s not the meat that’s the problem, it’s that they’re not smoking, they’re not drinking alcohol, they’re exercising, they’re eating whole foods, and that’s why they have less heart disease. It may not be the fact that they’re not eating meat.
And on the other hand, when you look at the people who did eat meat in those studies, they had really bad habits. They didn’t care about their health, so they were far more overweight, they ate 800 calories more a day, they smoked more, they drank more, they ate less fruits and vegetables, they ate more processed food and junk food, so of course they had more disease. And then one study that I love was when they looked at two groups of people, meat eaters and vegetarians who shopped at health food stores, their death rate went down half for both groups because they were eating meat in the context of a whole foods diet. Now, meat shouldn’t be the staple in your diet, but it should be a side dish in the face of a lot of good quality plant foods that help you to deal with the need you have for phytochemicals.

Dr. Gundry (17:00):
So what do you think about the carnivore diet?

Dr. Mark Hyman (17:05):
Well, I think it’s problematic. I mean, a lot of people are trying it and I think people get rid of all the bad stuff in their diet, and that can often help. So if you go from eating a traditional American diet with processed food and 60% starch and sugar and processed calories to eating only meat, you’re cutting out all the gluten and the dairy and the sugar and the processed foods, so that’s going to make you feel better. Over a long period of time, I think it can be problematic because it’s devoid of certain phytochemicals and nutrients and it can affect the microbiome in ways that I don’t think are that healthy. We are not lions. We are humans and have evolved on an omnivore diet, so I believe that phytochemicals are really important for human health, and I don’t see how you get those just on a carnivore diet. Although it has helped people with autoimmune disease, like I said, because you’re cutting other stuff out.

Dr. Gundry (17:57):
Yeah. I have no problem with it as the ultimate elimination diet. In fact, some people have actually accused me of being the father of the carnivore diet because you’re eliminating lectins out of your diet. So no, I don’t want to be the father of the carnivore diet. But anyhow. What about fish and poultry? Same rules apply?

Dr. Mark Hyman (18:25):
Well, in every area, in every category of food, I think the key is to focus on quality and understand the source of what you’re doing. So if you’re eating, for example, fish, a lot of fish we have now is contaminated with mercury, micro plastics, and it’s challenging and there’s farm-raised fish, but those problems with those. So there are sort of organically, sustainably raised farm fish, and you can source those. There’s a great resource called cleanfish.com where you can go and look at what those fish might be. And there’s great sources, for example, Vital Choice Seafood, that provide well sourced seafood.
The second is poultry. Poultry’s a mess because we have so many names. There’s organic, there’s grass fed. I mean, there’s pasture raised, there’s cage free, there’s free range, there’s whatever, and it’s all a bunch of nonsense. The key is, you want animals that are truly pasture raised, that have been out in pasture, that aren’t in cages, that run around, that eat all the grubs and the worms and whatever stuff they find around a farm. Those are the ones you want to eat because they have less of the bad stuff, more of the good stuff. They’re not grain fed, which their omega-6 levels are lower. They have more nutrient density. If you take a chicken and look at the eggs from a chicken that’s running around in the wild eating pasture, the eggs are dark, dark yellow. If you look at one of those factory farm eggs, it’s a pale yellow color. I mean, it’s almost like a bright orange sunset if you look at the real eggs that are like that.
So I think we want to always focus on quality. I think pasture raised is ideal for eggs and poultry. And of course, organic is sort of the next best, but even that may be problematic. So I think we have to just do our best to find the best quality and not be fanatical about it, but understand that it’s a hierarchy of needs. Getting off of processed food is key, and eating more plant foods is key, and the rest just sort of can look at the fine print of how do we navigate, what is the best source of fish? What are the best sources of meat? What are the best sources of poultry? And I go through all that in The Pegan Diet and explain that in great detail.

Dr. Gundry (20:30):
Now, I know you’re down on dairy in general, but you do like grass-fed butter. How come?

Dr. Mark Hyman (20:37):
Well, I think ghee is my favorite in terms of that. I think we can tolerate saturated fat for most of us. I think, again, it’s another one of those big topics that’s gotten a lot of bad press, but it’s actually the science doesn’t support it being universally bad for everybody. Now, there are some people who respond badly to saturated fats, but it’s an individual thing. You have to just check your lipids. But for most of us, a little bit of ghee or grass-fed butter can be fine. And grass-fed butter, while it does still contain some of the casein and whey that’s in milk. Very, very little, and if you don’t want that, you can get ghee. But the grass-fed butter has higher levels of vitamin, for example, vitamin A and carotenoids. That’s why it’s darker yellow. And also, it contains something called CLA, which is a conjugated linoleic acid, which is a powerful anti-cancer compound and metabolism booster, and you don’t get that in regular butter.

Dr. Gundry (21:27):
Yeah, there’s also a nice amount of vitamin K2. I agree with you, if people are going to use grass-fed butter, they should be aware of casein A1. Use grass-fed ghee. That’s really the best choice.

Dr. Mark Hyman (21:42):
That’s pretty much what I do, yeah.

Dr. Gundry (21:44):
All right. Now, there’s a lot you admire about the vegan diet. What are the shortcomings that you note in the book?

Dr. Mark Hyman (21:52):
Well, it’s interesting. I just had a patient which brought it to the forefront for me again, because if you’re not really smart about it, if you don’t design it very well, it can be really problematic. This one patient I saw was a young 26-year-old woman who was feeling tired and had a lot of inflammation in her body and lots of pimples and acne. I mean, she was relatively thin, but just struggling with her well being and health. We did sensitive nutritional testing. She was significantly protein deficient, really depleted in amino acids and protein. She was massively B12 deficient, vitamin D deficient. She was completely devoid of any omega-3 fats. She never ate fish. These are not insignificant nutrients. These are significant things that affect the quality of you health and your life and every system in your body.
So if you are smart about it, you can be accommodating by making sure you’re designing your diet in a way that maximizes protein, for example. But I don’t think you’re going get it as a vegan unless you jack up protein shakes. So there’s a shake that I just saw in a health foods server here, which is a Garden of Life Sport shake. But it’s very interesting because they jacked up the amino acids that you need for protein synthesis. They jacked up the amount of protein because you need more protein if you have vegan protein. So where a four to six-ounce piece of chicken or fish will be equivalent to two or three cups of beans … One, it’s hard to eat that many beans and two, you’re also getting 100-plus grams of carbs in there. I mean, you’re getting fiber, you’re getting minerals, and there’s other issues around lectins. But I think the issue is how do you actually get the right amount of high quality nutrients … protein, zinc, iron, vitamin D, B12, omega-3 fats. These are the common deficiencies we see in vegans, so you either have to take supplements with it or you have to really design your diet.
And the other thing is that people should not be focused on dogma. That’s the whole point of the book. The dogma gets people into trouble. “I’m going to be a vegan because I believe in it and it’s good for me and it’s good for the planet.” Well, one, it may not be good for you. If your health declines and you feel depleted and you’re a woman and your menstrual cycle stops or you have infertility or your libido goes down or you’re tired or you have all these other issues, it may not be the right diet for you, where somebody else might thrive on it. A guy like Rich Roll can run an Ironman triathlon on a vegan diet and he was great, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for everybody, in the same way that eating meat is not great for everybody and it makes them feel bad and has adverse consequences. And so I think we have to really get them off the dogmas, and that was really the purpose of the title, which is kind of a joke, The Pegan Diet. It’s kind of poking fun at these diet extremes.

Dr. Gundry (24:42):
That brings up a good point. In my Paradox books, I have a food pyramid, and you have a food pyramid in this book. Can you talk about what that looks like? How do you build your food pyramid?

Dr. Mark Hyman (25:00):
Well, it’s pretty simple. The bottom of it should be predominantly plants. I mean, we should be eating a … I call it plant forward or plant-rich diet. I don’t think the term plant based is the best for most people because it means it’s only plants, and I think that there are needs for certain nutrients that we’re only really getting from animal foods. But the idea is to eat a lot of plants. And then second would be getting a lot of your protein and fat from good quality foods. So it would be nuts and seeds, it would be good oils like olive oil, it would be avocados, it would be nuts like macadamia nuts … which I love, and are sort of like the olive oil of nuts … and then, of course, high quality protein, chicken, fish, meat, lamb, whatever, that is sourced properly.
Then you move up the pyramid and you include a little more things like nuts and seeds and grains and beans, but in a very specific way. I’m very careful about which grains and which beans you want to be eating. I don’t think we should all be eating gluten, because even if you’re healthy, it does cause a leaky gut, even microscopically. So even if you don’t have gluten sensitivity or celiac, it’s still causing a little havoc down there.
And there may be grains that are great, like there’s a new discovery of a grain called Himalayan Tartary buckwheat, which is actually a very ancient grain that was … sort of been rediscovered and is grown by a friend of ours, Jeff Bland, up in upstate New York. I just got the first batch. I got my flour here. I’m going to make my buckwheat pancakes. But they are probably the most powerful, phytonutrient-rich super food on the planet with over 100 and … I think 50 phytochemicals, some which are found in other plants. It’s got probably two or three times the protein content of most other grains. It’s got the special fibers that are incredibly good for the microbiome. So that’s a very different thing than eating some dwarf wheat that’s sprayed with glyphosate, that’s preserved with calcium propionate, that has extra [inaudible 00:26:55] molecules that are more likely to trigger autoimmunity and have amylopectin A, which is a super starch that’s worse than sugar.
So that’s a very different grain. I make my pancakes from one or the other, I’ll have very different effects on my body. So it’s really about which of these things we should be eating. And then of course, at the top, there’s recreational things like a little bit of alcohol, a little bit of sugar, but very limited.

Dr. Gundry (27:19):
Can you have it every day?

Dr. Mark Hyman (27:22):
I mean, can you have a square of chocolate every day if you’re metabolically healthy? Yeah. If I ride my bike 20 miles and I work out for half an hour with my trainer and I eat healthy, yeah, I’m not worried about a little bit of chocolate or some sugar. I think it’s the amount we’re eating. I always say sugar is a recreational drug. Just like tequila. I love it, but I wouldn’t have it every night, and I wouldn’t have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which is basically what we’re doing in America. We eat sugar for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, either in the form of flour or directly sugar.

Dr. Gundry (27:52):
No, you’re right.
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I’d love to ask this. What was the most interesting or surprising thing you learned researching and writing The Pegan Diet?

Dr. Mark Hyman (30:28):
Well, it really had to do with this idea that when we eat well for us, it’s also connected to how we grow the food. There’s a chapter in there called How to Be a Regenetarian, How to Eat Like a Regenetarian, and what that means is, how do you eat in a way that regenerates human health and regenerates the soil health and the health of the ecosystems on the farms? And it turns out, they’re intimately connected. You talk a lot about the microbiome, but there’s a microbiome in the soil, which we’ve … with glyphosine and through overtillage and through lack of cover crops and crop rotations and monocrop fields, and that’s destroyed the soil, which has led to food that is highly nutrient depleted because there’s no nutrients in the soil, and it’s led to a set of farming practices that really destroys the climate and the environment, our water resources.
I mean, literally if you put end-to-end our food system, it’s the number one change of climate change. We’ve lost a third of our topsoil by tillage and everything else, which has actually put all this carbon in the atmosphere. So a third of all the carbon right now in the atmosphere is not from fossil fuels. It’s from loss of carbon in the soil. And that we can actually regenerate all that soil and we can use less chemicals or no chemicals, limit our water resource use because the soil … it’s got organic matter … can hold 27,000 gallons per acre of water and we stop destroying the waterways by the runoff of nitrogen fertilizer, stuff causing all the chemical damage to endocrine systems from the pesticides and herbicides and the glyphosine. I mean, I just could go on and on.
So it’s kind of a win-win-win where you connect the dots between, really, where does healthy eating start? It starts on the farm. And how do we regenerate human health and how do we regenerate planetary health and ecosystems and climate change? That’s really what’s sort of shocking to me, to really learn how connected those things are.

Dr. Gundry (32:28):
Okay. So what can the listener do starting today to put your book into play, and to do regenerative eating?

Dr. Mark Hyman (32:40):
That’s not that hard. I think we actually can start with upgrading the quality of our diet through the things we just talked about. But then, you can start to begin to think about where you source your food. So try to source your food from places like farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture places, and even maybe regenerative farms. And in the book, I talk about how you find these regenerative farms. I think there are many online, like Mariposa Ranch, there’s Belcampo Ranch, there’s a lot of resource in there explaining how do you begin to find ways to start to source foods that support the movement. And I think that right now, it’s small, but I think the Biden administration, for example, has recently put forth suggestions for how we start to support regenerative agriculture, and how do we start to do that in a way of addressing climate change.
So eating like a regenetarian is really, really important and it’ll help us solve a lot of our issues. Not just our own health, but it’ll help us address climate change, environmental pollution. And I think if you focus on your choices that you have something to do about, you can actually make a big difference. So shop local or organic when you can. Join your community-supported agriculture program. Look for the new regenerative organic certification label which is being done. Stop food waste, which is … I mean, food waste is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases. After US and China, it’s the third largest emitter, which is your … If you’re a vegan, you’re good. But if you throw out all your vegetable scraps in the compost or the rotten vegetables from your fridge … I mean, in the garbage … those end up in the landfill and the off-gas produces three times as much methane … three times as much methane … as cows. So that’s a very important thing to think about.
And also, you can eat real whole foods, like I said. Avoid packaged and processed foods, and essentially try to source from regenerative farms when you can. So it’s a start, I think, but people are going to become more and more aware of this issue. There’s a great movie called Kiss the Ground, which I was in, which talks about regenerative agriculture and how to get involved. I encourage people to check that out. It’s on Netflix. It’s called Kiss the Ground.

Dr. Gundry (34:48):
Oh, so you’re going to kiss the ground, I’m going to kiss my dog, and we’re both going to accomplish the same purpose.

Dr. Mark Hyman (34:57):
That’s right, that’s right.

Dr. Gundry (34:59):
Well, Dr. Hyman, it’s always a pleasure to have you on the show, and I’m looking forward to being on yours to talk about The Energy Paradox. All right, so where can listeners follow you and your work, and where can they pick up a copy of your new book? And hold it up again so everybody can see it. Oh, there it is. It’s you on the cover. Very nice.

Dr. Mark Hyman (35:20):
It’s me. It’s me. 21 Practical Principles for Reclaiming Your Health in a Nutritionally Confusing World. You can get it on Amazon. You can go to pegandiet.com. There’s bonuses you can find there, lots of great resources, and lots of great foods you’ll get. You’ll be able to watch a trailer about the book and order the book from there. You can go to Amazon or your local bookstore. If they want to follow me, I’m DrMarkHyman, that’s just D-R, MarkHyman on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And of course, my podcast, The Doctor’s Farmacy, as well. So I encourage people to check out the information and I think we’ve seen, as you have with patients, just dramatic changes in their health. I’m so excited to be able to present a book that really talks about how food is medicine and how to use food as medicine in your own life, so thank you so much, Dr. Gundry, for having me on your podcast.

Dr. Gundry (36:12):
And I should point out that The Doctor’s Farmacy is spelled with an F, so make-

Dr. Mark Hyman (36:17):
That’s right, that’s right. Thank you for reminding me. Yes, Doctor’s Farmacy with an F, yes.

Dr. Gundry (36:21):
Make sure you find that. Okay. I want you to stick around because we’ve got an audience question and we’ve been talking about autoimmune disease. So, [Evona Alanzo 00:36:33] on YouTube asks, “How Doc Gundry. My husband, a healthy 50-year-old man, and I started two weeks ago on The Plant Paradox diet. I already got two of your books on the hope that his progressive, rare, and autoimmune disorder that has no cure called inclusion body myositis, IBM, could somehow heal.” By the way, for those of you who don’t know what that is, there is no known treatment for inclusion body myositis, including no autoimmune drug treatment, so keep that in mind. “We have also started to take vitamin D, 1,000 international units a day, and fish oil supplements. Question. Is there something else he could be doing to get better? Is it okay to exercise? Are there any other supplements he should be taking?”
Now, before Dr. Hyman answers this and I answer this, just remember we can’t give specific medical advice without you being a patient. But we both can give general recommendations about supplementation when you have an autoimmune disease. So Mark, any thoughts?

Dr. Mark Hyman (37:46):
Absolutely. I just had a patient with this who’s done remarkably well. She almost couldn’t walk at all because all of her muscles were weak. It basically means you get an autoimmune disease of your muscles, with muscle pain, fatigue, weakness. And from a functional medicine perspective, it’s the same approach to pretty much all disease and all autoimmune diseases. Take out the bad stuff, put in the good stuff. What are the things that are potentially triggering the inflammation? Not just, “There’s inflammation. Let’s take steroids to shut it down.” And you can use steroids with this condition, but it’s not a very fun drug to be on a long time. We investigate carefully. Is it a toxin? Is it an allergen? Is it the microbes? Is it a microbiome problem? Is it stress? Poor diet? What is it that’s triggering the immune system and what are the body needs that it’s not getting to actually optimize muscle function and mitochondrial health and immune system function and just your general health?
So we have to take out the bad things and put in the good things. And this patient had … for her, it was not … And this is the thing with functional medicine. You could have 10 people with the same disease and you’d have 10 different treatments. So in her case, turned out she had very high levels of heavy metals, mercury and lead, extremely high. And so we had to address those and get her metal levels down in order to help her. And we also had to fix her microbiome, which was a problem, and we had to then optimize her mitochondria with … And so not only we helped her diet and got rid of all the inflammatory foods and very much similar to your approach, we also jacked up all the mitochondrial support so her muscles could function better. So we gave her lipoic acid and carnitine and ribose and NAC and CoQ10 and a lot of the key nutrients that are needed for mitochondrial optimization, which is how you produce energy.
So it’s a very individual approach, but I think it’s also good to think that there may be other causes and you have to keep digging, whether it’s tick infections which can cause autoimmune disease, whether it’s heavy metals, whether it’s things like gluten, a leaky gut. You have to think about all these things and address these, and that’s really the job of a good functional medicine practitioner, is to be a medical detective and dive down deep into the story.

Dr. Gundry (39:49):
No, you’re exactly right. I view myself as a detective. That’s all I think of myself as. And Hippocrates literally said this 2500 years ago, that the body has an innate ability to heal itself as long as you act like a detective and take away the external forces, or the forces that you’re swallowing, that are keeping your natural healing ability, which he called veriditas, from expressing itself. Basically, green life force energy is the translation.
So yeah, I think you’re right. I use a lot of food sensitivity testing that I used to never give the time of day to, but now the newer food sensitivity testing based on IGG and IGA and IGM has just opened up a world for me. Many times, some of the most innocuous foods may actually be one of the biggest triggers that starts all this. I have a number of patients that almond flour turned out to be one of their biggest triggers and they were almond flour fanatics, almond flour bread, almond flour cookies, and we took it away. So Dr. Hyman’s suggestions are absolutely spot on. You have to do a real deep dive into this, but I agree with you, Mark, that what seems to be incurable oftentimes we just … I mean, things that I would have never believed we could fix, you see people turn things around. I mean, it’s just remarkable. That’s why I get up every day and see patients six days a week, just because I’m like-

Dr. Mark Hyman (41:41):
Oh wow.

Dr. Gundry (41:41):
I do. You and I have talked about this. You said, “You idiot. Why do you do that?” And I-

Dr. Mark Hyman (41:47):
Well, I mean, yeah. I still see patients, but that’s a lot.

Dr. Gundry (41:51):
I see them on the weekends. I got a full clinic this weekend. Okay. That’s another story. I’m a kid in the candy store. All right. So thank you for your answer. Look forward to seeing you in person one of these years, months, whatever.

Dr. Mark Hyman (42:07):
Yes. Thank you so much, Steven, and look forward to seeing you again, too.

Dr. Gundry (42:10):
All right. Take care. Now it’s time for the review of the week.

Speaker 3 (42:14):
Welcome to the Feel Good podcast with Kimberly Snyder. My goal is to help you develop a holistic lifestyle based on our four cornerstone philosophy: food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. This holistic approach will help you feel good, which I define as being connected to your most authentic, highest self. This is the place from which your energy, confidence, creativity, true power, and true beauty will start to explode. Every week, we provide you with interviews from top experts in their field, or a solo cast from yours truly, to support you in living your most beautiful, healthy, and joyful life. I’m your host, Kimberly Snyder, founder of Solluna, New York Times best-selling author and holistic wellness, nutrition, and meditation teacher. Let’s get started.

Speaker 4 (43:11):
Support for this podcast comes from Pluto TV. Ready to get away from it all? Free yourself with Pluto TV. Stream hundreds of channels and thousands of movies and shows all for free. Yeah, free. No contracts, no subscriptions, no fees. Imagine 24/7 channels of Narcos, CSI, Star Trek, Survivor, and everything else from hit movies to binge worthy TV shows, the latest news, live sports, comedy, and more. What are you waiting for? Download the free Pluto TV app for Android or iPhone and start watching now. Pluto TV. Drop in, watch free.

Dr. Gundry (43:45):
This week’s review of the week comes from Rachel on Apple Podcasts, who left us a five-star review and wrote, “I have listened to every podcast episode and read all your books.” Well, thank you, Rachel. “I always look forward to the new episodes. I’ve learned so much from you and the people you have interviewed. I really appreciate how you stay updated on research and continuously provide new information and recommendations. As a home gardener and blogger interested in personal and environmental health and sustainability, I especially enjoyed your interviews with Charles Malki and Dan Walter.” Farmer Dan, for those of you who listen. “Please keep sharing your knowledge and passion.”
Well, wow, thank you so much, Rachel. Your reviews, Rachel, and everyone else’s, are so important in helping us grow our audience so that we can help more people live healthier, longer, and happier lives. So if you haven’t yet, please rate and review us on iTunes. It’s a huge help. And if you want to give me a bad rating, I’ll read it and I’ll make some changes because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you and what you think.
Disclaimer: On the Dr. Gundry Podcast, we provide a venue for discussion and the views expressed by my guests do not necessarily reflect my own. 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 could always find me on YouTube at youTube.com/drgundry. Because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.