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 (00:14):
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Well, as a species, we’re actually hardwired to obsess over food. And from the cultural ties to the taste, to the nutritional profiles, our knowledge of food is vast and expands in many directions. But what most people don’t know is that foods come with an incredibly rich and fascinating history, including their original purpose symbol of and dynamic relationship with humans. And today, my guest here is going to talk all about it. In a moment, I’ll speak with Matt Siegel, former English professor and author of the book, the Secret History of Food, strange, but true stories about the origins of everything we eat. Fascinating. You’re going to love this, I promise you. After the break, Matt and I will uncover the hidden truces behind popular foods, including our toxic co-dependency with corn, a big problem, and the perpetual problem with most commercial olive oil, will also reveal tomatoes were once blamed for witchcraft and wearables. You knew it didn’t you? And potatoes for syphilis and leprosy. You can’t miss this one. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a fun episode. We’ll be your right back.
One of the best things about doing this podcast. My work with Gundry MD is our partnership with Charity Water. Charity Water is dedicated to building smart new ways to get clean drinking water to communities in need, all across the globe. One in 10 people live without clean water, and it’s really up to us to care for our planet. It can sometimes be so amazing to think about how the smallest action can have the biggest consequences. For instance, did you know that over 1 billion plastic toothpaste tubes are thrown out every year, ending up in landfills and oceans? That’s 50 empire state buildings worth of plastic every single year, but what are we meant to do? We must keep brushing our teeth and exercising dental hygiene. And how are we meant to do this without buying a tube toothpaste? Well, folks, we try to stay cutting edge from our advice all the way down to our sponsors.
And that’s why I’m excited to tell you about Bite. Bite is reinventing personal care by making products that are good for you and the planet with their dry toothpaste tablets that come in a re-usable glass jar and the refills come in home composable pouches. You just pop one in your mouth, Bite down and brush, it’ll foam up just like regular toothpaste, but with no plastic tube or messy paste. I love using these tablets from Bite. I can barely tell the difference. Plus they’re made with clean ingredients, no harsh chemicals, sulfites, or artificial dyes or flavors ever. They are certified carbon neutral, cruelty free, vegan and palm oil free. We’re also excited to announce that Bite is offering our listeners 20% off your first subscription. Order, go to trybite.com/gundry or use code Gundry at checkout to claim this deal. That’s T-R-Y-B-I-T-E.com/gundry.
I know what you’re probably thinking. Creatine is just for bodybuilders. Wrong. That’s true. My friends, the good people at CON-CRET know that the body needs creatine to function properly. In fact, did you know our bodies only create about 50% of the creatine that we need? So these friends of yours that think creatine is just forgetting buff, jack, shredded ripped and [inaudible 00:03:55] tell them to think again. Because creatine has been shown to help support the system, as well as your muscles to improve strength and even the brain to increase and sharpen memory, mental processing and focus. And CON-CRET goes a step beyond this because CON-CRET creatine is a micro dose of creatine in a highly bioavailable form, the HCL molecule. So you get all the benefits, none of the typical side effects of regular creatine like bloating or diarrhea. CON-CRET is the gift of better health, focus, fitness and immunity, this holiday season.
It’s a perfect stocking stuffer available at Walmart and walmart.com. And right now you can win a free planet fitness gym membership plus CON-CRET for a year, plus a $500 visa gift card. Take better control of your health, both body and mind. Get CON-CRET into your life today. Register now at con-cret.com/podcast. That’s C-O-N-C-R-E-T.com/podcast. CON-CRET is truly changing the fitness and health game. Go to con-cret.com/podcast. Welcome to the show.
Matt Siegel (05:15):
Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
Dr. Gundry (05:17):
So your book, isn’t just about the history of food. It encompasses many other themes, including the cultural scientific and even psychological aspects of our relationship with food. All right. What’s the motivation for an English professor to write this book and how’d you collect all that research?
Matt Siegel (05:38):
Yeah. So there’s a lot of motivation, but sadly my father passed away when I was 14 from a heart attack, he was 50 and his father had his first heart attack when he was in his 30s, I think, and passed away before I was born. So I started questioning what I knew about food when I was a teenager. And I continued to do that. And what amazes me is how many times the narrative of what’s healthy has changed in just a few decades. And our top still can’t agree on whether or not eggs are bad for us. And it’s just not health, not just health. In a lot of cases, we’ve forgotten more about food than we know. In other cases, we’re still just learning, just starting to understand things. But I think the sum result is that there’s so much about food that we don’t talk about, this despite the fact that we seem to talk about food constantly.
Dr. Gundry (06:46):
Yeah, that’s a great point. Actually, I started researching food in its impact in human evolution as my thesis at Yale University. And so ever since a young man and now I’m a nutritionist, food and the history of food and how the things we ate impacted our actual evolution is actually not to be missed. And unfortunately, we missed that at our parallel, as you enjoy pointing out in your book.
Matt Siegel (07:21):
Yes. Certainly, the adage that we are, what we eat is true in many, many ways, and it’s not just what we ate, but what our parents and grandparents and their grandparents ate. So certainly we cover that aspect of evolution.
Dr. Gundry (07:36):
Yeah. In fact, I think in your introduction, your first page, bear with me. Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are. I’ve used that quote from Brillat-Savarin many, many times. He was probably one of the most famous nutritionist of all time, Gourmand. And I tell patients that to this day, if you tell me what you eat, I’m going to tell you what’s going to happen to you. And that’s what I do. Okay. One of the topics in the book I find the most fascinating is the evolution of corn and ancient corn would not be recognized to us today. Take us through how corns changed through the years. This is a great story.
Matt Siegel (08:25):
Yeah. It would be completely unrecognizable. So if we look back at the early ancestor of corn, an entire ear of it would’ve been about the size of a cigarette, and it would’ve had maybe five to 12 kernels, way smaller than the kernels we see on corn today. And they were each covered by this rock hard, outer casing. So what we’re really not even sure what our ancestors did with this. Probably they fermented it and drank the liquid or processed it for tortillas. But for whatever reason, they saw potential in this little weed that hardly offered any nutrition or calories and kept replanting it and replanting it over thousands of years and selectively breeding it for the traits they liked. So size, number of kernels, tenderness. And over thousands of years, we domesticated it, not unlike the way we domesticated wolves and the dogs. And that’s not a crazy comparison. I love my dog to death, but he wouldn’t do very well in the wild. And the same is true for modern corn.
Dr. Gundry (09:43):
And you say in the book, and I totally agree with you. We have a codependency with corn. Can you elaborate on that? What do you mean?
Matt Siegel (09:56):
Yeah. So we’ve turned corn into a plant that literally cannot survive without us. So before these changes, we just talked about when the plant was ripe, when the kernels were ripe, they would fall to the ground and separate, and they’d be protected by that tough outer casing. So essentially they would plant themselves like most seeds. That’s what seeds are supposed to do. But with a modern ear of corn, everything stays attached to the cob and you’ve got very little protection. So basically the kernels, and we’re talking about five to 1200 kernels on a modern year of corn today. Basically, either they’re eaten by animals when they’re ripe or they rot, rather than plant themselves. And if by some miracle they are able to plant themselves, we’re now depositing hundreds or thousands of kernels in one place.
So there’s really not enough ground or nutrients for them to grow. So corn really has grown to depend on humans, just as much as humans have grown to depend on corn, if, without us there to not only plant it, but fill the ground with pesticides and different fertilizers. It cannot survive without us.
Dr. Gundry (11:26):
Yeah. And I like how you pointed out, certainly in modern agriculture and you go through some of the, and the native Americans would plant corn with squash and beans as a kind of a codependent system of getting nitrogen back in the soil from the beans. And the squash would cover the ground as a ground cover, but intensive corn farming is nothing like that. Go ahead.
Matt Siegel (12:02):
Yeah, it was really ingenious. I mean, you can do your best with planting corn, but the nature of farming is it’s go going to deplete the soil of some nutrients. And so they figured out, “Hey, if we do inter cropping, if we plant squash and beans, along with this corn they’ll work together mutualistically to restore the soil.” And there really was a balance there. But nobody has time for that when you’re planting corn across 350,000 square miles of North America. It’s really become such an industry, so in order to support that we have to really just pump the ground full of all sorts of fertilizers and try and keep up with changes in terms of adaptions to things like pesticides and fungicides.
Dr. Gundry (13:00):
Yeah. Do you think most people are aware that 95% of all the commercial corn grown in this country is genetically modified now?
Matt Siegel (13:15):
I mean, I’m going to bet, no. I think part of the reason I wrote the book is I think most people aren’t aware of most issues that are going on with food. So yeah, I think there are a lot of reasons to certainly a lot of eyeopening realities about our system for better and for worse.
Dr. Gundry (13:37):
Yeah. I routinely test corn sensitivity in all my patients with leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. And one of the, I guess not surprising things is that there’s a protein in corn that didn’t exist before the genetically modified version came out. It’s called the cry protein. And almost all patients react to that cry protein as a foreign protein. And it’s obviously, we’ve never seen it. We’ve never been able to deal with it until a few years ago. So the idea of just eating corn, we’re eating a foreign protein that we’ve never seen.
Matt Siegel (14:26):
Yeah. I’m sure, we all hear a lot. One of the points of wisdom with food is to eat what your ancestors ate. And certainly there’s certainly some wisdom in that, but we also have to deal with the fact that the foods our ancestors ate, a lot of the time, they’re not around anymore. In some cases they might look the same, but they’re not the same on the inside. And we’re not the same, our genes aren’t the same. We’ve gone through adaptations, our bodies aren’t the same and our lives, aren’t the same. We don’t spend most of our days scavenging for food and burning off a lot of those calories and staying fit.
Dr. Gundry (15:10):
No, it’s very true. So corn has taken over certainly much of North America and it isn’t just for us eating it, it isn’t just to feed our cattle and chickens. It’s everywhere. I mean, we’re dependent on corn for so many things, and I love how you go into the book that literally corn is everywhere. Can you talk more about that?
Matt Siegel (15:43):
Yeah. Corn is in almost everything and you mention animal feed. I mean, it’s in the vast, vast majority of animal feed as well, which in turn, if we eat animals, that’s another issue. But the average American turns out eats about three pounds of foods containing corn or corn products every day, often unknowingly. There’s an example I give that if you eat an apple, just a raw apple, there’s a good chance there’s corn in the wax they put on it to make it look pretty in the grocery store. And there’s a whole list of ingredients. There’s obviously things like corn syrup and corn starch, which I think most people are probably aware of. But corn is a hidden ingredient in all sorts of stabilizers, sweeteners, preservatives. And at the end of the day, it’s incredibly difficult to avoid corn in our food system. It’s also an industrial ingredient in everything from ceiling tiles to pan coatings. So it’s a big part of not just our pallet and our grocery store, but a big part of our economy.
Dr. Gundry (16:58):
And I think this monoculture of corn, certainly we can put a lot of the blame on, I mean, even climate change is… We’ve done a bad job making king corn. Now don’t get me wrong. I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. I’m a corn husker, I guess, but even back then, corn was not the dominant force in our society, that really is.
Matt Siegel (17:31):
Yeah. I think when look at most food topics, even the best, most sustainable practices, they’re not super sustainable when you have billions of people on the planet. So I think a lot of times there were good intentions. Certainly, we didn’t know the repercussions, but it’s hard to balance… It’s hard to balance the level of industry that’s required to feed so many people. And certainly there are decisions we could have made better, and hopefully we do make some better decisions moving forward.
Dr. Gundry (18:08):
I want to stay with corn for one more second. You and I both agree that corn is actually not a very healthy food at all. It’s got some amazing drawbacks. It’s not a great source of protein. It’s actually a pretty good source of lectins, one of my favorite topics, but it’s also one of the best ways known to mankind to bind niacin, an essential B vitamin, vitamin B3. And you go into pellagra and corn in the book. Can you flesh that out a little bit?
Matt Siegel (18:47):
Yeah. So you can talk a lot more about lectins and the nutrition than I can. But when corn really first started to become a staple, the reality is that it’s at the very least not a perfect food source. It doesn’t contain all of the essential amino acids required for human life, but it was a cheap and easy to grow convenient ingredient. And so basically what happened is a lot of the world cultures who adopted corn as a staple, but didn’t supplement their diets with other foods like the native Americans did or didn’t properly process it. They ended up with Niacin deficiency and ultimately pellagra. And there were huge epidemics all across places like Europe of pellagra, and we didn’t understand it for quite a while for hundreds of years. In fact, I write in the book how some epidemics of pellagra may have been responsible for the belief in vampires, which sounds crazy, but it’s not that farfetched.
I mean, some of the symptoms of pellagra are things like hyper aggression and irritability and sensitivity to sunlight, and even a rash on the neck that sort of looks like blood and inflamed lips and tongue, which can look like blood as well and insomnia. So it’s not that farfetched to certainly people suffered from depending solely on corn, but not that farfetched that it also may have led to the belief in vampires.
Dr. Gundry (20:39):
Yeah. And there’s also the very interesting association when corn was adopted by the Northern Italians, after Columbus brought it back. They didn’t know the trick that native American Indians did of soaking corn and lime to make posole, which got Niacin back into corn. They didn’t know that, so they just ground up corn and ate polenta. And there was a rash of children born with shrunken heads that were credence. And the word credent came from these children in Northern Italy, that their mothers were just eating polenta without knowing. And in fact, one of the things that I learned in researching corn was that to this day, the French eat very little corn because corn was actually banned because of this as unfit for human consumption. And it could only be fed to pigs. Probably a good idea, looking back, but corn’s got a bad track record as a human health food.
Matt Siegel (21:53):
It is interesting. And it’s not just humans, it’s trickling down, because of this monoculture. Basically mice are now in some cases facing what we were facing with Niacin a few hundred years ago. So mice now have this abundant monoculture of corn that wasn’t natural for them. And when they survive on nothing but corn, they develop a lot of those same symptoms. And actually cannibalism is something, some studies have found that a dependence on corn alone has led to cannibalism in mice.
Dr. Gundry (22:30):
Oh my gosh. [inaudible 00:22:31] vampires and cannibals, isn’t everybody glad you tuned into this episode? Because we’re going to keep going on this. All right. Let’s talk about one of my favorite subjects, olive oil. Now my listeners hear me praise olive oil all the time, but there is one big problem with olive oil that you mentioned in the book. It’s that most of the ones on the shelf today are actually fake. What do you find in your research?
Matt Siegel (22:56):
Yeah, so this is super, super frustrating. Most experts agree that olive oil is healthy, certainly you’re one of them, but that’s only if it’s actually made from olives and sadly there’s depending on where you live, it’s a decent chance it isn’t. Historically olive oil has been a huge target of counterfeiting. This goes back hundreds of years using things like spoiled olives or tainting it with different substances. But even in the 1980s, thousands of people were poisoned from Spanish olive oil that turned out to be machine oil. Something similar happened in, I think it was the 1960s in Morocco after merchants mixed olive oil with engine lubricant meant for jet engines. So there’s a whole history of nefarious fraudulent counterfeiting when it comes to olive oil. The good news is that things are getting better.
Counter fitting is still a thing, but especially in the United States, I’d say most of it has to do with passing off things like virgin for extra virgin or diluting it with different vegetable oils. So hopefully in the worst case today, you end up just overpaying for olive oil and getting something that isn’t as fresh as you would hope and maybe doesn’t come from the destination you see on the label. But definitely it’s important not to skimp on the olive oil and to do as much diligence as you can, if you want to get the health benefits.
Dr. Gundry (24:44):
Now, a lot of people because of the way olive oil acidity is graded in terms of how the label extra Virgin or Virgin is applied, or when in the pressing it’s obtained. A lot of people see, oh, it’s extra Virgin olive oil. And that does doesn’t mean the olive tree never had sex. So I mean, the grading system is very confusing and I think you’re right, a lot of companies play on the fact that we have no idea what extra virgin is versus virgin versus pomace. Take us through that.
Matt Siegel (25:27):
Yeah. The grading system is confusing. Again, a lot of it has to do, depending on the different grades with the different ways the oils are processed. And then also just the end profile, how it actually tastes. But again, we need to, we sadly, we can’t always trust that the grade we see on the label is the real thing or that that taste is coming from the olives we would hope. So things like spoiled olives or lower grade olives, there’s definitely some fraud going on there, but we need to be careful about yellow number five and food coloring and rancid olives and different types of nut or vegetable oil in there. Which sadly again, I think I’m hopeful, I think things are better than they to be. But certainly as someone who’s passionate about not just ingredients but health, I think it’s important we look into our olive oil and manufacturers and brands as much as we can, so we do actually get extra virgin and the health benefits of it.
Dr. Gundry (26:47):
Right. All right. Let’s move on to another one of my favorite subjects since I was a professor at Loma Linda University for much of my career, which is an Adventist healthcare institution. Give the gift of healthy foods this holiday with a membership to Thrive Market. Thrive Market on an online marketplace, dedicated to clean organic sustainable groceries is a wonderful gift for anyone that’s short on time, wants to eat better and likes to save money. That sounds like all of us, right? An annual thrive membership is the perfect gift for anyone on your list this holiday. I enjoy stocking up on organic olives, dark chocolate, wild caught salmon, avocado oil, Eden pressure, cooked beans, and even organic frozen veggies. Meanwhile, I save roughly 30 to $40 on every order. I tell my patients just like the Costco of health food and Thrive Market has membership options to suit any lifestyle monthly or annually. Join today for yourself or someone you care for to get 30% off your first order and a free gift head to T-H-R-I-V-Emarket.com/gundry to get 30% off your first order and a free gift. Thrivemarket.com/gundry.
Let’s be honest ratings matter a lot, but when it comes to finding healthcare ratings matter even more, that’s why I recommend Zocdoc. Zocdoc makes healthcare easy by giving access to thousands of healthcare providers and their ratings. Just download the free Zocdoc app, search for local doctors who take urine insurance plan, read through verified patient reviews and instantly book an appointment. That’s right. You’ll never wait on hold with a receptionist again. Plus you can choose to have your appointment in person visit or by video chat. Every month, millions of people use Zocdoc and I’m one of them. Just last month, I use the app to easily book an appointment with a specialist I know and trust. So whether you need a primary care physician, dentist, dermatologist, psychiatrist, eye doctor, or other specialist, Zocdoc, has you covered. Now is the time to prioritize your health. Go to zocdoc.com/gundry and download the Zocdoc app to sign up for and book a top rated doctor. Many are available as soon as today. That’s Z-O-C-D-O-C.com/gundry.
My regular listeners out there, you know by now that my wife, Penny is unstoppable when it comes to exercise. I love trying to keep up with her and putting myself up to the challenge. Whenever I’m working out with her, I always make sure to drink LMNT. LMNT is a delicious electrolyte drink that is filled with all the essentials you need and none of the junk you don’t. Pack with generous portions of sodium, potassium and magnesium electrolytes that are amazing for energy and muscles. LMNT is sure to provide you with everything to keep you moving. Plus their science backed electrode drinks are easy to add into your daily routine. Just open an individual packet in a fun flavor, like watermelon, citrus, or grapefruit salt, pour into your water bottle stir and that’s it. LMNT is not only trusted by my wife and I, but by many of the world’s leading health experts and athlete.
Ready to try it for yourself? Just go to drinklmnt.com/gundry and use promo code Gundry to get your free LMNT sample pack. That’s drinklmnt.com/gundry. Taking just a few minutes out of my day to meditate has completely changed my life. We all know I’m the biggest advocate of taking care of my physical health, but none of that would be possible without taking care of my mental health first. That’s why I love Headspace. Headspace is a science back meditation app that has become my convenient dose of relaxation. Headspace has exercises for any of your needs, including meditations, mindfulness, and sleep. I began and end each and every one of my days with a quick exercise. For just about 10 minutes each time I am able to relax my mind, sharpen my focus during the day and immensely improve my sleep at night. You know how I love my studies?
Did you know studies have even improved and in just two weeks, Headspace is able to lower your stress by 14%. Join me in the 60 million other people who have downloaded Headspace for a happier life. Find some Headspace at headspace.com/gundry and get one month free of their entire meditation library. This is best Headspace offer available. So go to headspace.com/gundry today. We got to talk about cereal. So you have a whole chapter in the book on serial and it’s original purpose. So now my listeners may know that due of loads of sugar and very little nutrients, cereal is not a healthy option, but what’s interesting is that cereal was never intended to be sugary or even enjoyable. Can you tell us more about this?
Matt Siegel (32:16):
Yeah. What’s ironic here is that we’re talking about cold breakfast cereal, ready to eat breakfast cereal. And what’s ironic is that it was a health food. It was created in the 1800s by religious health reformers, who essentially believed that sugar and spices were sinful, and that these pleasures of the table led people into lives of really uncontrollable lust and debauchery. So the idea was to make breakfast, to make cereal as deliberately bland and boring as possible so that you could break your fast without getting the body and the soul too excited about earthly pleasures. It was really meant to be the exact opposite of what it is today.
Dr. Gundry (33:07):
Yeah. And in fact, the Kelloggs brothers at the battle Creek Sanitarium, the advent of Sanitarium actually had a really hard time getting their followers to eat breakfast cereal. And then what happened with John Harvey Kellogg?
Matt Siegel (33:28):
Yeah. Well, again, it’s a whole story. I mean, you have stories of, when we talk about it being bland, right? In some cases it was way worse than bland. You have stories of people breaking their teeth on it. It was rock hard. And the reason that they started soaking it in milk, was to soften it so that people didn’t break their teeth. But the Kellogg we know today was actually his brother. So when we see Kellogg on the box, that’s actually John Harvey’s younger brother W.K Kellogg. And they basically had a falling out and W.K created his own version of corn flakes adding not just sugar to them, but the industry’s first free prizes in the box and games on the back of the box. I think the first prize was the Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures book, sort of a comic book. And his goal was really quite the opposite. His goal was that he wanted to make people happier and that turned out to be the better business plan. So W.K eventually won legal rights to the family name and that’s the Kelloggs we know today.
The Sanitarium ended up going bankrupt and going away. Interestingly though, they still love to call themselves a health food, not just Kelloggs, but you walk down the cereal aisle and it’s filled with hearts and words like fuel and pictures of athletes all over even the sugariest cereal boxes. So in some ways it’s been a 180 and in others not so much. They dropped sugar from the name, but not necessarily from the ingredients.
Dr. Gundry (35:27):
Yeah. And there’s also a story. I think it’s probably true, Mr. Post, CW post happened by the Sanitarium and talked to the younger brother and showed him what he was up to. And the younger brother said, “Eureka basically.” And rumor has it. He stole his formula for making it a palatable food. And so I suspect the Post Toasties and the Kelloggs had never talked to each other since.
Matt Siegel (35:55):
Yeah, no, there’s a post was actually, he was a patient of Kelloggs for a while. And most of today’s major serial brands, they all go back to that era. They all started out in that era. And they ended up really first following Kellogg, the elder because he was the first and then pivoted and following his brother by adding frosting and marshmallows.
Dr. Gundry (36:24):
Yeah. In fact, Kelloggs used to advertise that they were the first predigested food. And if you think about it, I suppose that’s very attractive. But when we think about our modern fast food, which is basically virtually predigested food, that’s the last thing that we would ever want to eat.
Matt Siegel (36:49):
Yeah. Not the most appealing branding messages there.
Dr. Gundry (36:53):
All right. Let’s move on to another one of your interesting subjects. And one of my favorite subjects, people have heard me talk about tomatoes and potatoes being high in lectins, but that’s the least outrageous things humans have believed about these things. So tell me about the belief that potatoes were to blame for syphilis and leprosy.
Matt Siegel (37:20):
Yeah. So people were afraid of potatoes initially. With tomatoes, it’s a little more complex, but with potatoes one of the stigmas really basically had to do with how they looked. So if you think about a potato, it’s this gnarled stubby thing that grows in the dirt and they reminded people of things they saw in real life. Like some of the symptoms of leprosy and syphilis. So their logic was basically, “That thing looks gross, I don’t want to eat it.” And also, “Hey, that things looks like something I’ve seen in real life. I’m afraid that if I eat that, it’s going to cause that on me.”
Dr. Gundry (38:10):
Yeah. I love the story. I’ve forgotten which king in France, while his peasants were starving and they wouldn’t eat potatoes probably for that reason. And so he made his gardeners plant them in the Royal garden and guard them. And as if they were gold, and of course, then everybody, oh my gosh, King’s garden these things, what’s with it?
Matt Siegel (38:39):
Yeah. It’s funny how people work. Yeah. They surrounded the gardens with guards.
Dr. Gundry (38:44):
Matt Siegel (38:45):
The upper crust of society started wearing potato flowers and in their lapels and in their hair. And yeah, the rest of the class is caught out and said, “Hey, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.” And the threat of starvation during famine didn’t hurt either-
Dr. Gundry (39:04):
Matt Siegel (39:05):
… and ultimately forced people’s hands. But if it weren’t for that, people… It took a lot to force people’s hands to come around. And ironically, they’re now I think the number one, if not the number two vegetable in the United States.
Dr. Gundry (39:20):
Yeah. And we have McDonald’s to thank for a lot of that, as you point out in the book and you point out in the book and I won’t steal your thunder, tell us about how McDonald’s accomplish this feed.
Matt Siegel (39:35):
Well, it’s back to industrialization. McDonald’s today they make a big deal about individualism, and being able to express yourself. But reality McDonald’s is successful for the exact opposite reason and Burger King along with them. They specialize in making a few things in a uniform mat manner with really insane mechanical efficiency. So it takes a lot to do that all over the country and all over the world. So we talked earlier about monoculture. At the end of the day, they’re the biggest buyer of a lot of fruits and vegetables. So things like tomatoes, lettuce, and potatoes for french fries, they’re believe the biggest buyer of those. And as such, they’re able to dictate what farmers grow.
So as a result of that, it’s really decreased the diversity of vegetables that are around because all these farmers know that the money is in one type of lettuce and one type of potato that sadly a lot of the times it isn’t chosen because of the way it tastes, or certainly not for its health benefits, but because of the way it holds up in warehouses or on the back of trucks. So we talked earlier about how foods today are not really the same as that of our ancestors. And there’s a lot of different ways that that’s true, but certainly some of our foods have lost their taste and diversity because of the need for uniformity.
Dr. Gundry (41:35):
We could talk about that forever, but I got to talk about tomatoes and werewolves. So tomatoes have been known for a long time as one of the poisonous vegetables. And can you go into the history of how that came about?
Matt Siegel (41:54):
Yeah. Now, you would probably say these people are right, that they are poisonous.
Dr. Gundry (41:59):
Matt Siegel (42:01):
But I think your explanation is a lot different from the way it was a few hundred years ago where people really thought that tomatoes caused instant death and were used to summon wear wolves. In fact, the scientific name for the tomato essentially translates to Wolf’s Peach. This is a little more complex. It’s not as simple as not wanting to eat them because of how they looked. This was the case for the potato. A lot of this has to do with their relationship to plants like mandrakes and deadly night shade which were poisonous. So I think that’s sort of how the rumor mill got started there. But once again, they’re up there, potatoes and tomatoes, hold the number one and number two spot. And again, fast food plays a decent role in that for tomatoes. But I think the number one player is frozen pizza sauce.
Dr. Gundry (43:03):
Yeah. Now, that’s an interesting segue into, was it 1890 that there was a legal dispute over whether a tomato was a fruit or a vegetable? And what happened with that?
Matt Siegel (43:24):
Yeah. So I think it was 1893, the Supreme Court actually argued, debated whether tomatoes were fruits or vegetables. And this was actually contested in lower courts for six years before it made it to the Supreme Court. It was actually a tax issue. So at the time imported vegetables were subject to a higher tariff than fruits. So one importer of tomato in New York decided he didn’t want to pay that anymore and sued the tax collectors saying, “Hey, this is a fruit. It should be exempt.” Ultimately the court ruled that the tomato was a vegetable in their definition. But what’s really interesting to me about this is that 1893, it wasn’t that long ago. It wasn’t that many generations ago. And the fact that they struggled with this and couldn’t figure it out in the lower courts says a lot about our food knowledge and people today are still arguing whether or not ketchup is a vegetable. So we really haven’t come all that far.
Dr. Gundry (44:41):
No, you’re right. And just to set the record straight, maybe I’ll argue it at the Supreme Court. A tomato has seeds therefore it is a fruit, it is not a vegetable.
Matt Siegel (44:52):
If only you were there history might’ve changed.
Dr. Gundry (44:54):
I know they should have called me. We could go into why I still think tomatoes are a mischievous food, but the peel and the seeds have the troublemaker. So if people and a lot of cultures including the Italians will not make tomatoes sauce, pizza sauce with the peels and the seeds of the tomatoes, they dice them and peel them. So obviously the Italians knew something about the mischief in tomatoes, otherwise they wouldn’t have done it. All right. I want to do one last thing, because I’m going to have to let you go. But one thing that you talked about and I don’t want to miss it. You also even have a complete chapter on ice cream and the history.
Matt Siegel (45:56):
Yeah. How far do you want to get into that?
Dr. Gundry (46:00):
Well, I think it’s fascinating. Ice cream’s got a long history, doesn’t it?
Matt Siegel (46:06):
Yeah. Ice cream, that was a tough chapter to write. Ice cream has a really long history as does vanilla, which you find out in the book is the least vanilla ingredient out there in terms of being plain and ordinary. There are a few interesting things about ice cream. I mean, there’s great stories about George Washington trying and failing terribly to make his own ice cream and get ice to last through the winter. But for me, what’s most interesting is ice cream’s role as a comfort food really changed the world in a few ways as a comfort food. And for me, the pinnacle of that was World War II when the United States really went through crazy, crazy lengths to supply ice cream to their troops overseas for really the sole purpose of morale. Up until then, food had always played a huge part in war and military strategy, but the focus was caloric.
It was, hey, if your soldiers can’t eat, they can’t march. And the United States changed that during World War II. They said, “There’s a worldwide shortage on food staples and sugar, but we are going to sacrifice a lot to remind our soldiers of the comforts of home and remind them in some cases of what they’re fighting for. And do our best to provide some sense of comfort.” So I really get into that and great stories about doctors and hospitals serving ice cream and POWs making wishlists of all the foods they missed.
Dr. Gundry (48:05):
And ice cream was probably way up there.
Matt Siegel (48:08):
It was up there and we get into the science as well, why it’s a comfort food, which just take up a whole book.
Dr. Gundry (48:15):
Speaking of taking up a whole book, you probably have more research than you know what to do with. Is there a part two in the works?
Matt Siegel (48:25):
Yeah, I hope so. You’re definitely right about having plenty of stories that didn’t make into this book and more that I’ve found since. So yeah, I’m not sure how close of a sequel it will be. There’s a few directions I might go, but end of the day, there’s a lot more that I would love to share with audiences.
Dr. Gundry (48:46):
All right. Well, this has been a lot of fun. Everybody it’s the Secret History of Food by Matt Siegel and it’s available right now. Where can we find you, the book and learn more about you, Matt?
Matt Siegel (49:05):
Yeah. You could find the Secret History of Food in any bookstore or online, or is in the audio book. And you can find me on Instagram. I’m matt.siegel.author, mostly pictures of my dog.
Dr. Gundry (49:18):
That’s right. Yeah. You got to check out his dog, for no other reason go to that web, go on Instagram and follow his dog. You got to follow Goldendoodles and Labradoodles. Okay. I’m biased. All right. Well, thanks so much for sharing. This has been great fun and keep us posted and we’ll keep posted on your dog.
Matt Siegel (49:39):
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. This was great.
Dr. Gundry (49:42):
All right. Take care.
Matt Siegel (49:44):
Dr. Gundry (49:45):
It’s time for our audience question from Nora Santa Rusaka. I hope I did that right. Do you recommend oil pulling after drinking lemon and apple cider vinegar to get the acid off of your enamel or brushing with hydroxy appetite toothpaste? That’s a really good question. And one of the things I’d like to tell you is I am a big fan of vinegars. I’m also a big fan of drinking lemon water. I’m a big fan of apple cider vinegar and fermented products out of Japan called [KOSO 00:50:26]. But you don’t really need to do oil pooling every time you do that. I’d probably spend the rest of my day oil pulling. One thing I’ve tried with my patients which has worked miraculously well for oral hygiene. I have them not do coconut oil pool pulling, but do olive oil pulling instead. And I got to tell you, the results have been really good with olive oil pulling instead of coconut oil pulling.
So think about that the next time you really want to try some oil pulling. And most of the time, if you want to use a toothpaste with hydroxy appetite, that’s okay but a lot of times so many toothpaste have so many other additional ingredients. I’ve become more and more skeptical of toothpaste. I’m playing with a fun new toothpaste right now, which is called Bite. And it’s actually not a toothpaste. It’s a tooth tablet that you chew and it foams and then you brush your teeth. And it’s a lot of fun by the way. But great question. Review of the week.
Heather Dubrow (51:52):
Hi everyone. It’s Heather Dubrow, telling you to check out Heather Dubrow’s World on PodcastOne. Every week we discuss the hippest hottest news trends in health, wellness, parenting style, and so much more, including all things, housewives and botched. Download new episodes of Heather Dubrow’s World on Thursdays and Fridays on PodcastOne, Apple Podcast, Spotify and Amazon Music.
Dr. Gundry (52:21):
This week’s review comes from Eileen Lopez who liked my episode on fasting with Dr. Anton Joseph. She says, “I love these topics and appreciate your YouTube channel. I especially like the doctor you invited. He is very informative. I’m starting to believe there is hope for me.” Well, thanks a lot Eileen. Believe it or not, there is hope for you, and there’s hope for everyone watching and listening. That’s why we do this because I see people who are 85 years old with literally death door, and now one of them is 97 and living a great life chasing younger men. And I could go on and on. But that’s why I do it. That’s why we’ll see you next week because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you and there’s always hope.
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 podcast. And if you want to watch each episode of the Dr Gundry Podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/dr.gundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.