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):
As you know, I’m a self-proclaimed veg-aquarian. When I eat animal protein, I eat wild-caught seafood, usually twice a week. Why? Because seafood is rich in some of the most important nutrients in the human diet like long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, and there’s even some cool study showing that eating fish promotes a healthy weight.
But in order to ensure you’re getting fresh, nutrient-rich seafood without hormones or toxins, it needs to be wild-caught. As I always say, you are what your food ate, and farmed fish are fed an inflammatory fat diet filled with lectins like corn and soybeans. Long story short, if you eat farmed fish, it’s absolutely horrible for you.
Fortunately, I’ve come across a great solution. It’s called the Wild Alaskan Seafood Box. The company works with small-boat fishermen to deliver the freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious Alaskan seafood right to your door every single month. They offer three different boxes, the Salmon Box, the White Fish Box, or the Red and White Combo, which is what I order, plus a customized box you can change at any time.
Believe me, this is some of the best fish. Because it’s wild-caught, I know I’m getting some of the most nutritious seafood on the planet. Right now, you can try it for yourself and get $25 off your first month’s box and get free scallops for life when you use code DRGUNDRY, all one word, at checkout. Just go to wildalaskanseafoodbox.com. Again, that’s wildalaskanseafoodbox.com and use code DRGUNDRY, D-R-G-U-N-D-R-Y, and get $25 off your first month’s box and free scallops for life.
Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Sometimes you meet someone and you just know that person is your perfect soulmate. Some people call it love at first sight. Believe me, I am living proof that it’s true.
On today’s special bonus episode, I’m joined by my wife, Penny. You’re going to hear the incredible true story of how Penny and I reunited, how our marriage emerged from adversities stronger than ever, and how yours can, too. And the one thing she thinks you need to know about me. Uh-oh. Penny, welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. It’s great having you on the show.
Penny Gundry (02:43):
Thank you, sweetie. It’s nice to be here. I feel like this is bonus time for me to spend with you since our time is so infrequent together.
Dr. Gundry (02:53):
Yeah. That’s why it’s a special episode, because we get to spend an hour together that we normally don’t have.
Penny Gundry (03:00):
Dr. Gundry (03:01):
All right. So the first question that people always want to know is how did we first meet. You want to start with that?
Penny Gundry (03:11):
Yeah, it’s such an interesting question because that is the first question people always ask us. I think that people feel the energy that we have together and they just want to know how that energy evolved. We met on spring break in Jamaica, in Montego Bay.
Dr. Gundry (03:34):
Penny Gundry (03:36):
You were singing down there for the Yale Baker’s Dozen, which was a singing group, and I was down there on spring break vacation.
Dr. Gundry (03:47):
With your parents.
Penny Gundry (03:49):
Yeah. I was in the audience. It was an after-dinner concert you were performing. You and I made eye contact, and that was it. I was smitten after that initial night spending with you, learning a little bit about you. The next morning, I told my parents I had met the man I was going to marry.
Dr. Gundry (04:16):
Now let’s clarify. The first night we spent out on a golf course.
Penny Gundry (04:21):
Just talking. Yeah, just talking.
Dr. Gundry (04:22):
That’s what you did, kind of background. I had to leave the next morning.
Penny Gundry (04:29):
Right, early in the morning. Yeah.
Dr. Gundry (04:30):
You literally walked into your parents’ room and said, “I met the man I’m going to marry.” The problem was, what?
Penny Gundry (04:39):
Well, there was no problem. It was just a little bit of a difficult relationship because you were going to school in New Haven, at Yale, and I was going to school in Santa Barbara, at UC Santa Barbara. So we did have a longterm relationship. Back then, we still had telephones, landlines, and we would talk to one another every Sunday because it was cheaper to talk on Sundays, the rates were lower, than to talk during the week.
Then when we had any time off from school during the summertime, my parents lived in Connecticut and your parents lived in Atlanta, Georgia. So we would reconnoiter either at my parents’ house or your parents’ house. We did that for almost three years.
Dr. Gundry (05:38):
Yeah. Actually, three years.
Penny Gundry (05:39):
Dr. Gundry (05:39):
Penny Gundry (05:39):
Then you tell this part of the story. It gets better.
Dr. Gundry (05:44):
Yeah, so I got into medical school at Georgia, in Augusta, Georgia. You actually graduated from UCSB and started working at a bank, Bank of America, still living in Santa Barbara. At the end of my first year in medical school, I flew out to Santa Barbara. I mean we had picked out China. Our parents had met each other. I flew out and said, well, it’s time to fish or cut bait and start to get married. You need to move to Augusta, Georgia. You said, “Well, no, no, no. I hate Georgia.”
Penny Gundry (06:26):
No, I didn’t say that. I said that you were geographically undesirable-
Dr. Gundry (06:31):
There we go.
Penny Gundry (06:31):
… because I was living in paradise in Santa Barbara. I had left the east coast, having been born and raised on the east coast, and really didn’t want to move back in that direction. So at the Santa Barbara Airport, we kissed and shook hands and said, “Have a happy life.” But I knew, I knew you were going to call me right away since you got back to Augusta. I just knew that … How could you not call? Well, you didn’t call.
Dr. Gundry (07:06):
I didn’t because-
Penny Gundry (07:06):
No, you didn’t call.
Dr. Gundry (07:07):
… I said, well, she said, “That’s it. I’m not moving to Georgia. Have a nice day.” And so, I was so broken-hearted that six weeks later, I was engaged to be married to a woman I actually did not know until I returned to school. Yeah, so talk about rebound. Holy cow. And so, anyhow, you pined away for a while.
Penny Gundry (07:37):
A couple of years because I knew that you were going to come to your senses and call me. So I waited a couple of years. Then I too, in fact, got married. But I never-
Dr. Gundry (07:48):
But you canceled your wedding three times.
Penny Gundry (07:53):
Two or three times, yeah. But I did go through with it, but I never forgot you. In those days, there were telephone books. When I did a lot of traveling, I would look in the telephone book and see if there was a Steve Gundry living in the town that I was visiting. And, no, no Steve Gundry. Never heard from you again.
Dr. Gundry (08:20):
Anyway, we both had, quite frankly, horrible marriages, long, horrible marriages. I was blessed with two beautiful girls. So I guess that’s a blessing. Let’s fast-forward 20 years and I became a very famous heart surgeon living in California, in Loma Linda, California, and professor and chairman at Loma Linda Medical School. And living in California where really I never thought I’d ever live because I thought California was Florida with cold water.
Penny Gundry (09:06):
And I had moved with my husband at that time to Atlanta, Georgia, where I-
Dr. Gundry (09:15):
Where, of course, you would never.
Penny Gundry (09:16):
Yes, where I had declined to live with you. But I was living there with my husband at the time. So we had just reversed locations.
Dr. Gundry (09:26):
Yeah. So, anyhow, I was on the Today Show with Bryant Gumbel, and we’d done a baby heart transplant. I was doing 60 baby heart transplants a year, and I wondered why this got picked up by the Today Show. So there we are, we’re getting interviewed. And who would be watching the Today Show that morning from her home in Atlanta, Georgia-
Penny Gundry (09:49):
Dr. Gundry (09:50):
… than Penny. And so, you called your-
Penny Gundry (09:56):
Well, first of all, I couldn’t believe it. I think I was doing the dishes and I heard Bryant Gumbel say Dr. Steven Gundry, and I just did a double-take. Yes, that was Steve, but his hair had turned from dark brown to white. So that was a little bit of a shock.
Dr. Gundry (10:16):
Well, it was the shock of you turning me down 20 years earlier. I mean it went white like that.
Penny Gundry (10:20):
That’s right. So I didn’t really know what to do. I called my best friend and I said, “[Dewey 00:10:26], what should I do?” She said, “Well, send him a note.” Back then, we didn’t even have email going on.
Dr. Gundry (10:34):
Penny Gundry (10:34):
Yeah. So I wrote you a very professional, nice note congratulating you on-
Dr. Gundry (10:41):
You and your husband were separated and I and my wife were separated at that time.
Penny Gundry (10:45):
Right. So I wrote this nice note congratulating you on your successes and saying, “P.S. What are you doing in California?” And I mailed it on a Friday and I thought, “Okay. Tuesday, he’ll be calling me.” Sure enough, Tuesday I got the phone call.”
Dr. Gundry (11:06):
Yeah, this nice long note. My longtime secretary brings it up to me. She opens all my mail. But she didn’t because it says personal and confidential. She says, “This is from Penny [Gustafson 00:11:19].” I said, “I don’t know any Penny Gustafson.” She says, “Well, it’s personal and confidential,” and opened it up and perfume wafts out of the-
Penny Gundry (11:27):
That’s so not true.
Dr. Gundry (11:28):
That’s not true.
Penny Gundry (11:28):
That’s not true.
Dr. Gundry (11:30):
She’s got her business card. You were selling-
Penny Gundry (11:32):
I was selling real estate in Atlanta.
Dr. Gundry (11:34):
… real estate [crosstalk 00:11:34]. Anyhow, so I’m reading it. I looked at Barbara, my secretary, and I said, “Barbara, this is the love of my life.” I said, “What should I do?” She said, “Well, call her, you idiot.”
So I actually had a case down in the OR. And so, I got in the elevator to go to the OR and I picked up the phone in the OR Tuesday. She’s sitting probably by her phone at the office, going, “Three, two, one. Ought to be him.”
Penny Gundry (12:01):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Gundry should be calling.
Dr. Gundry (12:02):
Yeah. And so, we actually had a pleasant chat for quite a while. And, “Oh, if you’re ever in Atlanta, stop by,” et cetera, et cetera. Then she always used to call me … You used to call me Gundry. Never called me by my first name, kind of how the blue … She said, “Oh, Gundry.” It was literally for me like 20 years had gone away. The next thing we know we were on a plane to Greenwich, Connecticut to where your folks grew up and you grew up. We haven’t been apart since. You moved out back to California.
Penny Gundry (12:45):
Real fast. Yeah, real fast.
Dr. Gundry (12:47):
Real fast, real fast. Yeah, so that’s how it happened. So we’ve been together 25 years now.
Penny Gundry (12:58):
I remember always being unhappy in my first marriage and talking to my mom about it. My mom would always say, “You should have married Steve Gundry.”
Dr. Gundry (13:09):
Penny Gundry (13:10):
Those were pretty much her last words before she passed away. “You should have married Steve Gundry.”
Dr. Gundry (13:13):
Yeah, she passed away about, what? A couple of months before we reconnected.
Penny Gundry (13:17):
Yeah, so I figured that she was up there orchestrating us getting back together.
Dr. Gundry (13:24):
So one of the first things we did when we voice connected was I called my mother and I said, “Mom, I want you to call this 404 number,” which was an Atlanta area code, “and just say that, ‘My son, Steve, told me to call.'” So go ahead, [crosstalk 00:13:40] the story.”
Penny Gundry (13:41):
Yeah, the phone rings and I pick up the phone and I hear this little voice say, “This is Bev Gundry, and my son Steve Gundry told me to call this phone number.” Bev and I had been soulmates too when you and I were dating. Of course, I can’t even tell the story. I start crying. I just first started crying and-
Dr. Gundry (14:07):
“Bev, it’s me.”
Penny Gundry (14:07):
Dr. Gundry (14:08):
Yeah. She’s like, “Oh my gosh. Are you back in our lives?”
Penny Gundry (14:11):
Dr. Gundry (14:12):
Yeah. Actually, it turns out that we spent incredible quality time with both of my parents until they passed away a couple of years ago. We were always touring the world with them.
Penny Gundry (14:24):
Dr. Gundry (14:24):
Penny Gundry (14:24):
Oh, we had so much fun.
Dr. Gundry (14:25):
We’d go down to their house in San Diego. So it was a whole family got reunited.
Penny Gundry (14:33):
Dr. Gundry (14:33):
You had lost both of your parents.
Penny Gundry (14:35):
So it was like having a family.
Dr. Gundry (14:36):
You got a new set of parents as well.
Penny Gundry (14:38):
Then Bev and myself looked so much alike, which is freaky.
Dr. Gundry (14:43):
It’s very freaky. Girls are supposed to marry their father and guys are supposed to marry their mother.
Penny Gundry (14:50):
He did. Yeah, you did.
Dr. Gundry (14:51):
But they’re not supposed to look exactly like your mother. It’s like, “Oh, I see.” It’s scary. When people see pictures of them, we’d always play a guessing game. Who’s the parent? Everybody would guess that my parents were actually her parents because of the resemblance. Then we got a bonus gift that either of us was expecting. You want to talk about that?
Penny Gundry (15:16):
Yes. Melissa, your daughter, she was-
Dr. Gundry (15:22):
She’s your daughter now.
Penny Gundry (15:23):
That’s right. She was 13 years old when I had the opportunity to help raise her. It was such a blessing. It’s some of the hardest times I’ve ever gone through. She had some acting out issues that we had to deal with. It was a very hard time. I grew up so much in those, what?
Dr. Gundry (15:54):
Penny Gundry (15:55):
10-plus years, as did she. She has become one of the loves of my life.
Dr. Gundry (16:05):
Yeah. She runs your store.
Penny Gundry (16:09):
Yeah. I always tell her, I say the reason I didn’t have children is because I could never love my child as much as I love you.
Dr. Gundry (16:17):
Oh, now you’re going start crying. She’s crying, folks. No, no, things always seem to have a way of working out for, I guess, everyone involved in a lot of ways we could never imagine.
So we’ve talked to other people who have had similar experiences of reconnecting with their high school sweetheart or their college sweetheart or someone they know. Often it’s because of the death of a spouse that seems to have done it. But what do you think? If you were going to do it over again, how do you know when it’s time to call it quits and how do you know when it’s time to come back? Any thoughts?
Penny Gundry (17:10):
I think you just listen to your heart. I think that’s what I did with you for many years. My heart was just somehow attached to you. I knew that-
Dr. Gundry (17:31):
Well, if it was attached, why didn’t you come to Georgia 20 years ago?
Penny Gundry (17:33):
Well, we’ve already discussed that.
Dr. Gundry (17:36):
Oh, well. I’ve talked about this on other programs. I think one of the things I learned from the experience, from my first marriage, was you go into something thinking that either you can change or you can change that person. Having dealt with human beings now for 50 years in my career, if you go in with that attitude, it’s not going to work. I think, at least for us, if you actually have to work at a marriage, I think that’s the wrong way to approach it.
Penny Gundry (18:28):
We have never worked.
Dr. Gundry (18:29):
Yeah, we have never worked at our marriage.
Penny Gundry (18:32):
Dr. Gundry (18:33):
We wouldn’t know how to, I think. So I think that’s an advice. I do think that, at least in our experience, there is a soulmate who you don’t have to work with to do things right and it just fits. My advice is don’t give up looking until you find that. Don’t-
Penny Gundry (18:57):
It gets back to the heart strings, I think. You just know. We have so much fun together. We know how to laugh, we know how to joke with one another. We’re always optimistic, always looking on the bright side of things.
Dr. Gundry (19:17):
So let’s talk about looking at the bright side because, as we well know, when we made the decision to leave Loma Linda and start a practice out in Palm Springs, it basically means a substantial change in pay. We probably didn’t realize how big that would be. A lot of us, we always are hopeful.
So shortly after a few years in practice, I wrote my first book, which was Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution. It was supposed to be a major bestseller. Random House bought it. It came out literally right when the Great Recession hit. We had said times are rough, times are rough, but the book’s going to be a bestseller. Random House is going to make a big deal out of it. It’s going to be a bestseller and everything’s going to be fine.
Sure enough, I mean it sold well, but it certainly wasn’t the monster bestseller that we would have hoped. It put us on easy street, so to say. The recession really hurt everybody.
So there we are. Should I go back and start a surgical practice again? Should I go get recruited to another hospital and another university? You kept saying, which you are a stubborn person, “Well, I’ll miss you. You can certainly come and visit on vacations and weekends, but I’m not leaving California. I got back here and I’m not leaving.” So that makes me think you really only came back for California and not for me. But that’s another story.
So what was it like? When I was traveling all over the world as a very famous heart surgeon, we flew business class. We stayed at very nice hotels. Then we couldn’t do that. Let’s merge into you started a business because, quite frankly, we needed the money, and you had a crazy idea. So why don’t we talk about what’s it like … I made a career change at 50 and you’ve had multiple careers. You were a Pan Am flight attendant, you sold real estate. You got a degree in design. Then what happened?
Penny Gundry (22:15):
Well, I got this degree in design and I thought, well, I’ll start working with clients and designing homes and that sort of thing. And I realized, oh my goodness, I can’t be with a client for a year choosing the white paint that they wanted to use throughout their house. So I said, “This isn’t going to work.” I said, “How can I use my design degree?” I thought to myself, “I’m going to open up a retail store,” knowing nothing about retail, “and I’m going to sell accessories, women’s accessories, from around the world.”
So I presented this idea to you and you thought I was half crazy, but you were very supportive of me. I found a wonderful little storefront on El Paseo, in Palm Desert, named the store Zense, and then said, “Okay. Now what do I do?” I designed the store according to my idea of what a retail store should look like. It’s only about 600 square feet, but I did some very cool design work inside.
Then needed merchandise and started buying some very unique, unusual handbags from a Korean man who is living in New York City. Then I thought, no, I need more than just handbags in here.
To make a long story short, I ended up going to Europe and literally backstreets in Paris and in Florence, in Rome and finding designers that really didn’t have any sort of presence in the United States and introducing their product into my store. It was wildly successful. I just was so proud of the job that I was able to do in making this store work.
Dr. Gundry (24:32):
Yeah, you had literally no retail experience.
Penny Gundry (24:35):
None. Absolutely none. It was trial and error, but I was always very optimistic, that I knew I had something that would do well.
Dr. Gundry (24:47):
My dad was so cute. He would call you every afternoon, at the close of business, and say, “Penny [inaudible 00:24:53].” That was your original name.
Penny Gundry (24:54):
My maiden name, yeah.
Dr. Gundry (24:55):
He said, “How’d we do today?” and you’d have to give the totals.
Penny Gundry (24:58):
Yeah, that I had to report to him on just how much we had made. So that was just so sweet.
Dr. Gundry (25:03):
Of course, I’d call you and say, “How’d we do today?” because I’m not bringing in any money. Yeah, so we really depended on you having this career. Anyhow, so when everything hit, we still had to get over to Europe several times a year to meet with your then-designers and find new designers. Now we’re in the back of the airplane.
Penny Gundry (25:36):
Back of the bus.
Dr. Gundry (25:37):
I’ll tell you a funny story. The first time we were in the far back row of Air France, a big jumbo jet, going over to Paris. You said, “I can’t be back here. I get claustrophobic. This is not going to work.”
Penny Gundry (25:53):
Well, I looked down the aisles of the plane. It was just people, people, people everywhere. I said, “I can’t do this. I need to be a little bit closer to the front.”
Dr. Gundry (26:03):
Now people are hearing, “Oh, prima donna.” Well, you actually were scared, claustrophobic.
Penny Gundry (26:08):
Dr. Gundry (26:08):
Well, the minute the engines went on, she closed her eyes and she didn’t wake up until we landed in Paris.
Penny Gundry (26:15):
Best sleep of my life.
Dr. Gundry (26:16):
[crosstalk 00:26:16] best sleep of your life back in coach. I said, “Hey, sorry.”
Penny Gundry (26:20):
From now on, it’s coach.
Dr. Gundry (26:22):
“From now on, it’s coach. Guess what?” The funny thing was we had to find hotels really cheap. I mean really cheap. Sometimes it was places where it was by the hour, for other purposes.
Penny Gundry (26:35):
Yeah, it was interesting.
Dr. Gundry (26:36):
True. We kept calling it the pizza tour because we’d get a croissant for breakfast and a pizza, and that was all we could afford. We’d laugh about it.
Penny Gundry (26:36):
But we still had such a great time.
Dr. Gundry (26:53):
We had a great time and we’d laugh about it. We’d say, “Next year, we’re going to be back in business class and we’re going to be at that hotel.” Well, next year took a long time, but we always just said, “This is temporary. Let’s make the best of what we can do.”
Penny Gundry (27:16):
We learned that we can adapt to any situation.
Dr. Gundry (27:19):
Yeah, I think that’s a very important lesson. It is adaptability. I think rather than … Like Tony Robbins says, life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. Looking back, we drove this old, beat up Volvo, second-hand Volvo.
Penny Gundry (27:44):
Dr. Gundry (27:48):
And we did fine. The dogs didn’t know any different. I suppose that’s the important thing. Dogs really didn’t care whether it was a Volvo or a Mercedes that they were riding.
Penny Gundry (27:59):
They still loved us.
Dr. Gundry (28:00):
So how do you stay optimistic when things look pretty bleak and you don’t know who to pay at the end of the pay, which we went through? We met with bankruptcy attorneys. Any secrets?
Speaker 4 (28:21):
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Penny Gundry (28:57):
I think you just have to … The expression we used was chop wood and carry water. Get in the trenches and you pull yourself up by your boot straps and you keep on going. You find joy in small things. We never lost the gratitude that we have for one another. We really relied on our relationship to pull us through the hard times. It pays off.
Dr. Gundry (29:39):
No, you’re right. For those of you who are wondering what chop wood and carry water means, the Buddha always said that the way to attain enlightenment is to chop wood and carry water. Actually, I think he’s right.
When The Plant Paradox first came out, Dr. Mercola, Joseph Mercola, had me on his podcast. We were off-camera and he says, “I’ve got to apologize.” He says, “Where did you come from? Who are you?” He says, “This is the second best book I’ve ever read, and of course the best book was mine.” He says, “What have you been doing?” I said, “Well, I’ve just been chopping wood and carrying water.” I think that’s probably the key to everything. Enjoy chopping wood and enjoy carrying water and do the best you can do at whatever you’re dealt.
Can I tell one more story from Georgia? Not about you, but it’s about this sort of mentality. I was a scrub tech at Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, which was the inner city hospital. I worked the night shift. We had a wonderful black gentleman janitor who scrubbed the floors every night with a mop. He had an unlit cigar out of the corner of his mouth. He was the happiest guy you’d ever want to meet.
I’m a young buck college student with the world ahead of me, and I’m going … One night, I said, “You are so happy.” I said, “What’s the deal?” I’m thinking, “You’re a janitor in an inner city hospital. What do you have to be happy about?”
He says, “You guys do such important work.” He says, “I realized the seeing is so important to what you do. You have to have perfect conditions to see. And so, these floors reflect light. The shiner these floors are, the better you can see. So my job is so important because without the floor shining, you can’t do the important work you do. So I got the best job in the world.” It’s always stuck with me.
Penny Gundry (32:05):
Dr. Gundry (32:06):
Yeah. It’s, “I’ve got the best job in the world because I’m helping you do your job.” Well, I think if we all took that attitude, it would be pretty cool.
Penny Gundry (32:16):
Dr. Gundry (32:16):
All right. Is there any secret to keeping a marriage strong?
Penny Gundry (32:22):
Well, I think we’ve pretty much covered that.
Dr. Gundry (32:26):
We’ve argued about a few things, but I think-
Penny Gundry (32:32):
Not even an argument. It’s more like just a minor disagreement.
Dr. Gundry (32:37):
Yeah. No, that’s true. How did Penny react to your diet change other than delight?
Penny Gundry (32:45):
Dr. Gundry (32:47):
Tell that story of Hawaii.
Penny Gundry (32:49):
Yeah, we were in Hawaii at some meeting.
Dr. Gundry (32:53):
Early after we connected.
Penny Gundry (32:54):
Steve, at that time, was 70 pounds heavier, at least 70 pounds heavier, than you are today. You’re a gourmand and you enjoyed food. You would eat everything and anything that was on your plate. In Hawaii, at this meeting that we’re at, there was lots of buffet-style meals and you would pile on the food. It was quite disgusting. I remember one night I said to you, “You’re going to have to do something about this. I can’t deal with you eating so much food and being so overweight.”
Dr. Gundry (33:43):
And you said, “I’m out of here if you don’t.”
Penny Gundry (33:44):
Dr. Gundry (33:45):
Penny Gundry (33:45):
So I think I was a little bit of the catalyst for you to start doing what you did, which was to lose all that weight.
Dr. Gundry (33:56):
Yeah, I know. That’s so hard because I mean choosing between all that food and you.
Penny Gundry (34:00):
Hey, hey, hey.
Dr. Gundry (34:04):
Yeah. I mean, wow! So everybody wants to know. You are an incredible athlete, you’ve been an incredible athlete for as long as I’ve known you. You’re now 70 years old, as I am. You’re a few months older than me.
Penny Gundry (34:04):
Dr. Gundry (34:19):
Yeah, four. But, hey-
Penny Gundry (34:20):
Dr. Gundry (34:21):
… it’s actually three and a half. So what’s your secret? I mean, number one, have you always been athletic when you’ve come out of the box?
Penny Gundry (34:31):
No, I didn’t come out of the box athletic. But I think it’s an exaggeration to say I’m an incredible athlete. Yes, I used to run marathons. Yes, I ran the hundredth running of the Boston Marathon. Then I-
Dr. Gundry (34:48):
Penny Gundry (34:49):
Yes, and finished and lived to talk about it. Then I hung up my running shoes. But always have been very active in sports, from my 20s on, I guess. I think part of that attraction for me is the endorphin rush that I get from exercising. That was the initial reason, that I would exercise.
Then I realized the health benefits, the benefit to the brain. You may be able to elaborate a little bit more on that. But it is very, very important for our brain to be stimulated by exercise. So that keeps me going.
Now I play tennis, I do a lot of weightlifting. I think weightlifting is extremely important as you age. I do Pilates. Every morning, I walk our dogs three miles.
Dr. Gundry (35:57):
Penny Gundry (35:58):
Yeah, we have a Peloton at home, so I do a lot of spinning. I do some stretch classes, too. I think that’s also very important at this age.
Dr. Gundry (36:10):
No, I think it’s important, particularly our women listeners, is women have a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s than men, which shocks everyone who ever hears that statistic, but it’s true. The studies of the effect of exercise on preventing dementia, particularly in women, are startling. I’ve written about this.
But women who have a routine exercise program for most of their life, they have a 90% reduction in developing Alzheimer’s compared to women who don’t exercise regularly. Even if you get Alzheimer’s, the exercising women develop Alzheimer’s 11 years later than the women who don’t.
I mean when you think about that, there’s a big difference between getting Alzheimer’s at 80 and getting Alzheimer’s at 91, where … Maybe it doesn’t make too much difference at that point, but you’re losing 10, 11 years of seeing grandchildren, maybe great grandchildren at that point, and being with your husband and remembering his name or her name.
I’m going to go back to you starting a business at 50 that you knew nothing about. Any advice? I mean this is a time where we talk about, boy, if there was ever a time to maybe do something new, this is probably the perfect opportunity. Just do what you love or I mean what-
Penny Gundry (37:53):
I think I’ve always tried to challenge myself. As you get older, I think every day you have to do something that’s outside your comfort zone. For me to start a business at the age of 50 really challenged me every single day for quite a few years because I didn’t know what I was doing.
I’ve had the business now actually for 18 years. Melissa, the daughter that we were talking about before, she is now the store manager. I’ve been privileged to teach her everything I know about the business. Now she’s running the show and loving every day of it. So it continues.
Dr. Gundry (38:52):
Very good. We’ve talked about probably people should never retire. Certainly, I have no plans to, and we’re both 70. I see, in my practice, the effect of retiring on men and now frequently on women. I see basically, for most people, a downward death spiral. They don’t recognize it right away, but I can see it in their blood work. I can see it a thousand times. So any third careers or fourth careers or fifth careers?
Penny Gundry (39:33):
I’m working on it. It’s not for public information yet. I’ll let you know.
Dr. Gundry (39:35):
Oh, wow! Oh, wow! Well, I never thought I was going to be a writer. It’s interesting, people go into surgery because, in general, you’re a person who likes to write a 10-page history and physical examination. If you like to do that, you go into internal medicine or family practice. If you don’t like to do that, you tend to go into surgery.
We used to joke that a typical surgeon’s discharge summary would be patient came in the hospital, had an operation, did well and went home. That’s the summary. The internal medicine doctor’s would be a 10-page dissertation. So I never really thought that I would end up a writer, and here I am now writing, just finished my sixth book and starting on the seventh.
So, yeah, there’s always some career that you never thought that you were going to do. Just keep doing it. Just keep doing it. All right, next question. What’s one thing you think the listeners should know about me?
Penny Gundry (40:54):
Oh, that’s an easy one, easy question to answer. You’re an eyeglass whore. You have, at last count, 45 pairs of eyeglasses.
Dr. Gundry (41:06):
No, that’s not true.
Penny Gundry (41:07):
Ye. But I understand. Men have very few ways to express their individuality and their creativeness, and accessorize. For you, it’s your eyeglasses. So you’ve pretty much-
Dr. Gundry (41:26):
And I do need them to see.
Penny Gundry (41:27):
That’s true. That’s your excuse anyway, even though your eyesight is getting better over the years.
Dr. Gundry (41:31):
It actually is getting better and better.
Penny Gundry (41:33):
Yeah, pretty soon you’re not going to need any glasses. I’m not sure what you’re going to do then. But, yes, I mean-
Dr. Gundry (41:38):
Well, then I’ll just use them as props like Elton John and so forth.
Penny Gundry (41:40):
Right. Right, right, right. Exactly.
Dr. Gundry (41:42):
He and I probably would get to know each other really well.
Penny Gundry (41:42):
Right. You could share glasses.
Dr. Gundry (41:45):
Maybe we could share glasses or something. Yeah, well, I think people, when they see me, notice that I do change glasses quite a bit. Oh, this is one for you. What’s a food you didn’t eat before that now you can’t live without?
Penny Gundry (42:05):
Dr. Gundry (42:08):
Penny Gundry (42:08):
When I was a young girl, maybe, I don’t know, seven or eight years old, I have wonderful memories of my father handing me a little plastic beach bucket and he and I going out into Long Island Sound, walking into Long Island Sound, and searching with our feet in the sand for clams. My dad loved clams.
Really a lot of fun memories during that. I’d fill my bucket with clams. He’d go inside and either eat them raw or steam them or have them with white wine sauce. I just thought that was so disgusting. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I, all of a sudden, one night went out to dinner with you, and clams were on the menu the way my dad used to make them. I tried them and I’ve just been hooked on them.
Then, of course, the health benefits. Again, they contain phospholipids, which are also an excellent additive for your brain. So knowing that, I’ve come to like clams and I eat them all the time now.
Dr. Gundry (43:35):
Yeah, it’s weird. I was researching The Longevity Paradox and finding that there are some really interesting phospholipids that are called plasmalogens in bivalves, in shellfish, clams, mussels, scallops, oysters. It turns out that there’s some really, really good evidence that these phospholipids, very important for our brains.
Back in the good old days, people literally lived on the coast long ago and ate a lot of shellfish. In fact, most of the roads in New England were paved with oyster shells. They ate so many oysters. So there we go. The next question: what’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Penny Gundry (44:33):
Best advice I ever got was from my mother, who said, “You should’ve married Steve.”
Dr. Gundry (44:37):
Bingo! Oh, boy, is that a great way to end this? Well, you finally listened to her.
Penny Gundry (44:45):
Dr. Gundry (44:47):
Finally. All right, now we have an audience question, but we’ve decided that Penny is going to be the audience question today for me.
Penny Gundry (44:59):
Dr. Gundry (45:00):
All right. So give me the audience question.
Penny Gundry (45:02):
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Dr. Gundry (45:06):
Oh, other than you? Oh, no, sorry. We’ll probably cut that, too.
Penny Gundry (45:11):
Dr. Gundry (45:12):
Well, yes. As you know, when we go over to Europe, particularly Italy, I view it as research. There is a particular pizza place in Santa Margherita Ligure, which is on the coast of Italy, in Liguria, that makes a wonderful, wonderful thin crust pizza with just the tiniest hint of tomato sauce and cheese. It’s covered with arugula, pizza con Rúcula. I must say that we make a beeline every time we get near that place, and sometimes we will have two of those pizzas. So, yes, I do eat pizza over in Italy. Yeah, I think that’s my guilty pleasure. What do you think?
Penny Gundry (46:08):
I think that’s a very worthwhile guilty pleasure. They do know us at the restaurant. They see us coming from blocks away.
Dr. Gundry (46:14):
Penny Gundry (46:14):
Yeah, they do. It’s so cute.
Dr. Gundry (46:17):
All right. Well, time for the review of the week. My next book in the bestselling Plant Paradox series is coming in March. You can pre-order it now at harperwave.com/energy. Energy Paradox is my fresh take on one of the top health issues plaguing Americans: fatigue. It outlines my revolutionary plan for revitalizing mental and physical stamina. You’ll feel better in no time. Learn more at harperwave.com/energy.
This week’s review comes from [Aireka96 00:46:57] on iTunes, who wrote, “Love listening to Dr. Gundry. He’s so helpful and I’ve honestly felt a difference in my body. Thank you, Dr. Gundry.” Well, thank you, Aireka. Your review helps us reach a bigger audience so more people can feel healthier and happier.
So that’s going to wrap it up for this week’s episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast starring my wife, Penny. She’s raising her arms and doing, “Yay!” So thank you very much for volunteering on this. I think-
Penny Gundry (46:17):
It was fun.
Dr. Gundry (47:35):
… people want to know how this keeps working and how you get through some hard times.
Penny Gundry (47:42):
Of course, we didn’t talk about another hard time, which was losing our home in Montecito-
Dr. Gundry (47:42):
Oh, let’s do that.
Penny Gundry (47:50):
… with mudslide.
Speaker 5 (47:52):
Yeah, we can do that.
Speaker 6 (47:53):
Penny Gundry (47:53):
Dr. Gundry (47:56):
So we’ve had our fair share of hard times. Let’s talk about what happened two years ago.
Penny Gundry (48:02):
Two and a half years ago.
Dr. Gundry (48:04):
Two and a half years ago.
Penny Gundry (48:06):
There was a horrific storm that-
Dr. Gundry (48:09):
There was a huge fire first.
Penny Gundry (48:10):
Right. Then horrific rainstorm that blew through Santa Barbara. To make a long story short, mudslide ensued and we lost our home to this mudslide. At the time, we were in Palm Springs. So we woke up in the morning and listened to the news. There was all these reporters reporting from downtown Montecito with waders on and water everywhere. We didn’t know the extent to what had happened, but we started getting reports. It went right through our area where our home was. Our home was right on the creek. One of the walls of the guest house was the creek wall.
Dr. Gundry (49:01):
It was the creek wall.
Penny Gundry (49:03):
Yeah, that was another really, really trying time. We were not even able to get to the house for about six weeks, so we didn’t know the extent of the damage at all. But you were so sweet. You just kept telling me, “Penny, the house is fine. The house has been there since 1936.”
Dr. Gundry (49:03):
Penny Gundry (49:26):
“It’s all stone. It’s going to be fine.” You really walked me through those six weeks where I was pretty much a mess.
Dr. Gundry (49:35):
We’d get Google Maps and you could see that it was actually standing. But the odd thing was you had a Fiat Abarth 500 convertible and it was parked in the garage, but on the Google Maps, your Abarth was out in the driveway, which I said, “Well, pretty interesting. I wonder what it’s doing out there.” It has been actually popped out of the garage as the garage collapsed. Anyhow, yeah, I was very optimistic. I said, “Look, still standing. Everything’s fine.”
Penny Gundry (50:13):
We did lose our-
Dr. Gundry (50:14):
I neighbor was dead. His house was destroyed. But, hey, look, our house, it came through. So we drive up the driveway and I go, “See, it’s still there. It’s fine.”
Penny Gundry (50:27):
You’re so sweet. Yeah, you’re still so optimistic. I went up to the front door and looked through one of the transom windows on the side of the front door, and it was not fine.
Dr. Gundry (50:38):
It was full of mud.
Penny Gundry (50:39):
It was not fine. There was so much mud everywhere. The whole backside of the house had boulders that came through, trees that had come through. Yeah, it was-
Dr. Gundry (50:54):
But, see, optimism. I think maybe that’s what got us through.
Penny Gundry (50:59):
Dr. Gundry (51:00):
Everything will be fine.
Penny Gundry (51:02):
Right. Right, right, right. We ended up leasing a home for a year there while we figured out what we were going to do. We loved what we were renting. It was just a very fun place. We had many good times, many good memories there. Then we ended up buying another home that we also loved.
Dr. Gundry (51:24):
Which you liked better.
Penny Gundry (51:25):
Right, right. It came completely furnished down to China, crystal, silverware, everything. It was like moving into a hotel. We brought our toothbrushes and-
Dr. Gundry (51:38):
Because that’s about all we have.
Penny Gundry (51:39):
Right, and that was it.
Dr. Gundry (51:41):
Oh, and the best part, my father’s ashes were actually-
Penny Gundry (51:47):
Dr. Gundry (51:48):
My parents frequented the guest house and we turned it into their little house. My father’s ashes were actually in the guest house-
Penny Gundry (51:59):
Which he loved.
Dr. Gundry (51:59):
… which he loved. We figured, well, he’s now mixed in with all the mud, with everything. So one of the cleaning crew, the hazmat crew, called you and said, “Hey, look.”
Penny Gundry (51:59):
“I have something for you.”
Dr. Gundry (51:59):
“We have something for you.”
Penny Gundry (52:20):
He said, “I have something very special that I think you’re going to want,” and handed me your dad’s remains, which was so kind.
Dr. Gundry (52:30):
Yeah. So there you go.
Penny Gundry (52:32):
So something good came out of it.
Dr. Gundry (52:32):
Something good came out of it.
Penny Gundry (52:35):
Dr. Gundry (52:36):
All right. So, yeah, there’s … Just when you think things are really going to go, well, just be ready because something might turn wrong. But the key is I think without downs, you have no idea what up feels like.
Penny Gundry (52:56):
So true. So true.
Dr. Gundry (52:58):
No idea. So cherish the downs as much as the ups, maybe more so.
Penny Gundry (53:05):
And cherish each other.
Dr. Gundry (53:07):
That’s true. Just keep holding onto each other.
Penny Gundry (53:10):
Dr. Gundry (53:12):
Okay. All right, that’s it. Thanks for listening. 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. 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.