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):
All right. The New Year is just around the corner. And with a new year comes a clean slate, an opportunity to reevaluate your life and make goals to create what you really want 2022 to look like. Yes, career, spiritual, and relationship intentions are very important, but I’m going to focus on health resolutions today. After all, when your health is taken care of, everything else is easier to tackle.
And I’m not talking crazy, over-the-top, lose-100-pounds-in-a-month New Year resolution, but small health goals that you can actually stick to. In my practice, I’ve observed that patients that make these kind of micro goals are really the most successful. So today I’m going to show you how to beat that awful statistic that most people ditch their New Year’s resolutions by February, true statistic, by making easy, minor adjustments to your existing routine rather than overhauling everything. So stay tuned because I’ll share five simple resolutions that’ll make a drastic improvement in your health so that you can enjoy a longer, happier, and more energetic life.
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Welcome back to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Today, I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions and which will make the most dramatic impact for the least amount of effort. Sounds good? Well, let’s dive right in. Okay. Number one, this seems self-explanatory, but resolution number one is move more. Now, if you don’t exercise at all, take the challenge to start small with five to 10 minutes of exercise per day, even if that’s just walking around the block or dancing to one entire song, like I talk about in The Energy Paradox. It’s a great start.
Then slowly increase your workout time every week. So if you commit to five to 10 minutes per day, increase your movement to seven to 12 minutes per day the next week, and so on, until you’re working up to about 30 minutes a day, even if it’s just 10-minute exercise bouts three times a day. And here’s the deal: If you’re going to the office and you live in a multi-stored office building, don’t beat yourself up that you got to climb up the four stairs to your office. Take the elevator up, but walk the stairs down.
Beautiful experiments that I’ve alluded to from Austria allowed people to either take the cable car up to the top of the mountain and walk down, or walk to the top of the mountain and take the cable car down. And lo and behold, they found that either way, got the same beneficial results. Anytime you walk against gravity, up against it or down against it, you’ll get a huge amount of benefit.
And as most of you know, one of the unique unifying features of all the blue zones is that they all live in hilly communities. And so, just go walk. And another great idea to make you move, like I always say, is get a dog, preferably a rescue dog. This past weekend, I took our rescue dog, Okey-dokey, a miniature poodle, out on the runway for the Good Samaritans animal shelter in Palm Springs area for Men of the Desert, and get a rescue dog. You’ll benefit them. They’ll benefit you. I just actually gave a prescription again to one of my new patients this week to go get a dog.
And last week, one of my patients, who I had given a prescription to a couple months ago, brought in their new rescue dog, and it was a great little dog. So get a dog. Now, even if you can’t have a dog, consider volunteering at these shelters. I can tell you, they need volunteers, and you’ll get working with the dogs out in their runs and you’ll benefit, the dog will benefit. And who knows, you might take one home.
Now, if you already have a good exercise routine in place, look for opportunities to get even more movement throughout the day, not just once a day. And I talk a lot about this in The Energy Paradox, and I call it an energy snacking, exercise snacking. So take the stairs for a few minutes. I know this sounds trite. Park your car way away from where you’re going into a store.
My wife and I just actually did this two weeks ago at Costco, and I was grumbling the whole time. But in fact, it was a brilliant way to get in about a five-minute walk in the Costco parking lot. One of my favorite tricks is do squats when you’re brushing your teeth morning and night. You’re not doing anything for a minute or two except brushing, so just do deep knee bends. Do it while you’re washing dishes, do it while you’re folding laundry.
Any opportunity to sit up and squat and stand up is a great opportunity to get some exercise snacking done. Now, they may seem insignificant, but there’s multiple studies showing that these little one to two-minute bursts of exercise can have just as much impact as 10 to 20 minutes of exercise in a continuous fashion. So anytime you get your muscles moving is a good time.
All right. Second project, improve your metabolic flexibility. Did you know that roughly 98% of obese people have zero metabolic flexibility? Now, what the heck is metabolic flexibility? And that’s not the ability to bend over and touch your toes. Metabolic flexibility means normally, the mitochondria that live in almost all of our cells, those little organelles that make ATP, the energy currency, they can make ATP by using glucose or amino acids, protein, or fat, free fatty acids, to generate ATP. But they can’t do it simultaneously.
Now, most of the time, mitochondria like to burn glucose to make ATP. But if glucose isn’t available, then, just like a hybrid car, a mitochondria should be able to, on a dime, switch over to burning free fatty acids as a fuel, or the brain can burn the equivalent ketones as a fuel. But what is sadly missing in Americans in particular is that the vast majority of overweight and obese people, in fact, almost all obese people cannot flip the switch when glucose runs out.
Now, what does that mean? Well, it literally means that our brains, for instance, if glucose is no longer available, if you stop eating and 12 hours pass, in the middle of the night, your brain, which normally should be now running on ketones, instead, there are no ketones to use. You can’t make them and you can’t burn any fuel. And so, your neurons literally start to die. They not only start to die in your heart, in your brain, they start to die in your heart, they start to die in your liver, they start to die in your kidneys.
And so, it’s actually no wonder that we’re seeing this epidemic of kidney failure, liver failure, heart failure, brain failure, which we call dementia or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. It’s because our bodies no longer can make this switch between fuels that’s actually so dependent on good functioning. So the vast majority of you who are overweight and obese, I got news for you, you cannot make that switch. And slowly, surely, progressively, cells that you really want are dying. They’re starving to death.
Okay. So how do we get our metabolic flexibility back? Well, that’s what I spend most of my practice with my patients, teaching them how to do. And as you know, I explained this in great detail in my book, The Energy Paradox, but I’ve created a very slow, gentle program to retrain your mitochondria to become metabolically flexible. And it really only takes about six weeks. So one of the most empowering things that you can do, and I want you to start January 1st, is shortening the time of day that you eat to about six to eight hours.
Now, what does that mean? It means that if I asked you on January 1st not to eat breakfast, break fast until noon, the vast majority of us would fall flat on our face because we couldn’t burn fats as a fuel, and we would get hangry, we’d get headaches, we’d get weak, and we’d fail miserably, because the vast majority of us can’t do that. But almost every one of us, if, say, we eat breakfast at 7:00 in the morning, can make it till 8:00 in the morning and still do okay.
So as I talk about in The Energy Paradox, and soon in Unlocking the Keto Code, the first week, I want you to eat breakfast at 8:00 in the morning, all week. Take the weekend off. Then next week, I want you to move your breakfast to 9:00 that week. And for five days, eat breakfast at 9:00, take the weekend off. Week three, we’re going to eat breakfast, break fast, at 10:00. We’re going to do that for five days. Take the weekend off, and so on. As you can see, in five weeks, you’ll be eating break fast at noon, at lunch, and you’re going to get there gradually.
It’s exactly like starting any other exercise program. I got news for you. Unless you practice, you’re not going to go out and run a 5K or a 10K or a marathon just running out the door. You have to build up to that, and it’s the same way with metabolic flexibility. You have to build up to making your mitochondria flexible again. And this program, slowly but surely, asks your mitochondria and learn how to switch between burning sugar for fuel and burning fat for fuel.
Now, the great news is, by the end of five to six weeks, this would become second habit. And programs that have been done in humans, and certainly in my practice, if we give you the ability to relax on the weekends, anybody can do this for five days in a row, and it makes it a habit that you can live with literally and figuratively. Okay. So that’s getting your metabolic flexibility back, and it’s absolutely important for long-term health of every part of you. All right. Third project.
I love hearing from all our great fans about your experiences on The Plant Paradox diet and your amazing creations in the kitchen. But I’m a realist. I know it isn’t always easy or even possible to find all of the ingredients you need. And this goes for many diets out there, be it dairy-free or even keto. With the holidays coming up, it’s probably getting even harder to buy that loved one with a strict diet a special treat.
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You know, when it comes to gut health, I don’t mess around, because taking care of your gut microbiome is the best thing you can do for your health, which is why I love Pendulum. Pendulum is the first and only company to offer probiotics containing an important strain I’ve been mentioning for years. I’m talking about Akkermansia, my favorite good gut buddy. It’s that miraculous mucus-producing, lectin-blocking strain I rave about in all my books.
As we age, we begin to lose Akkermansia, and that unfortunately, it’s not something that we can get through food, which is why Pendulum probiotics are truly a game changer. And right now, I’m offering a 20% discount on the first month of an Akkermansia membership with code GUNDRY20. Just go to www.pendulumlife.com and use my code GUNDRY20 at checkout. That’s P-E-N-D-U-L-U-M-L-I-F-E dot com, and use my code GUNDRY20 for a 20% discount on your first month.
I want you to really start thinking about limiting or even eliminating red meat. Now, most Americans have red meat almost every single day, from burgers to steak, to bacon, to pork chops. You name it. It’s part of our American diet. And don’t get me wrong, I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. There’s several bad things that happen, and it has nothing to do with cruelty to animals. We’re not going to go down that road today. But I’m talking about cruelty to ourselves, our animal that we are.
First of all, as many of you know, who’ve read my books, beef, lamb, and pork all contain a sugar molecule in their blood vessels that’s called Neu5Gc. Humans, fish, and poultry have a different sugar molecule called Neu5Ac. It turns out that those sugar molecules are very, very similar, but we make an antibody to Neu5Gc when we eat these animals, and that antibody is very interested in the sugar molecule in us. And there’s very good data that the reason there’s more heart disease among red meat eaters is that we actually have an autoimmune attack on our blood vessels.
The other worrisome factor is that cancer cells use Neu5Gc to hide from our immune system. Now, there’s a problem. We don’t manufacture Neu5Gc. So the only way a cancer cell can acquire Neu5Gc is for you to eat it. So think about that. The next time you’re having a juicy steak or a burger or keto bacon, you’re actually eating a sugar molecule that gives cancer cells in you an advantage to evade your immune system. Puts bacon in a whole new light.
Now, the other thing that’s important about animal proteins in general is the development of advanced glycation end-products, which are better known as AGEs, because advanced glycation end-products age us. There are two contributing factors to developing AGEs in us, and we do it 24 hours a day, folks. The amount of sugars that we eat and the amount of protein that we eat, and these sugars and proteins are actually bonded together in the presence of heat, and I got news for you, there’s heat in our bodies, to create one of the strongest chemical bonds that’s ever been described, which is advanced glycation end-products, AGEs.
We actually measure a blood test for how many AGEs are occurring in you, and that’s hemoglobin A1c. And that actually looks at how many of these compounds you’re generating for about the two months prior to the test. We have a recent test that’s either called fructosamine or glycated proteins, there’s that word, glycation, that looks for about two weeks of how many sugars and proteins you’re eating. And I can tell you, my patients are flabbergasted now that we’ve been using that test routinely to see, in the two weeks prior to their blood test, the amount of glycated proteins present in their bloodstream, and this is going on, whether we know it or not, and these things make us stiff.
It stiffens our heart muscle, it stiffens our joints, these things occur in our brain, and I don’t particularly want a stiff brain. So there’s some for pretty powerful reasons that we should at least lessen the contribution of animal proteins into our diet. All right. So how do we do that? Well, swap out red meat portions for grass-fed, grass-finished poultry. We’re beginning to find it more readily available, granted it’s still hard to find, or better yet, wild-caught fresh seafood or shellfish.
There’s actually plenty of available frozen wild shrimp at markets like Trader Joe’s. At Costco, there’s wild frozen salmon pieces at Costco. This is becoming much more easier to find. Now, the other important thing is, let’s think about portion size. Really, you only need about a four-ounce piece of animal protein in 24 hours. That’s about the size of a deck of cards.
If you want to use the palm of your hand and the thickness of the palm of your hand, that’s okay. And guys who are giant football players, your palm doesn’t count. But the more we can kind of think about diminishing that portion, the better. Often, when my wife and I are at a restaurant, we’ll split the fish portion. And there’s still plenty for both of us. The other thing to remember is, I want you to think about eating for two people, simultaneously. I want you to think about eating for your pleasure, your taste buds, as one for me, and then I want you to think about two for them.
So for every bite of animal protein, I want you to take two bites of plant fibers for them, the more important guys, your microbiome. Yeah. Have a piece of animal protein if you want, but make sure that the vast majority of what’s going through your mouth is actually going for the real workers, and that’s your microbiome. So I don’t want you to give things up, but I want you to make room in your stomach and in your intestines for what really matters, and you’ll do yourself a favor in two ways.
When I was growing up, we actually used to have Meatless Mondays or Tuesdays, where the whole nation would give up meat. And there was a lot of pasta, I can tell you, but it doesn’t have to be a pasta dish to replace, but start with one day a week where you just don’t eat any animal protein. It’s really easy to do. If you can’t do that, then one day a week, give up beef, lamb, or pork for one day a week, and work your way down.
Now, for me personally, I eat red meat or poultry actually a few times a quarter, and I have shellfish often on the weekends, but the rest of my week is pressure-cooked legumes, lectin-free grains, like sorghum and millet, tons of vegetables, and of course, everything is smothered in olive oil, including the shellfish, including the poultry. And it’s a great way to go. So just challenge yourself at the start of the New Year at least one day a week. Just eliminate animal protein and see how you do.
Restaurants. Restaurants, as you know, I’m friends with many James Beard Award-winning chefs, and they will tell me, and they will tell you that they tend to give you, as the showcase of the meal, a large protein, animal protein portion. And that’s where they make their money. That’s where they make the name. They actually tell me that they have much more fun doing appetizers and vegetable dishes, where they can actually be far more creative.
So what I’d like you to do is look at all the greens, look at all the fresh vegetable appetizers, choose those and build a meal around those, and we call it grazing. And if you follow me to a restaurant, you’ll see often that the grazing is most of the meal, and my wife and I may have four vegetable dishes that we share and one fish dish that we split, or not even a fish dish. So just think about maximizing your options in a restaurant. They’re actually hidden there for you.
Okay. Next project, monitoring your health. Now, most of us have been told we got to track our spending habits. You’re much more likely to be committed to your health goals if you’re accountable for tracking those. And one of the best ways to monitor this progress is a fitness health tracker. There are wonderful devices on the market. I like the Oura Ring and the WHOOP band. My WHOOP band is hiding under here. Just got my new next-generation WHOOP and Oura Rings. And they both get better and better. The Apple Watch is good. It’s a good fitness tracker. There’s lots of other really good fitness trackers, Fitbit just as an example. Polar makes some great fitness trackers. Get one and just start using it.
Now, they’re not perfect. They’re not 100% accurate. They’re, how shall I say, designed to over-reward your effort, so don’t necessarily believe the number of steps are real. But they’re great for looking at trends, and they’re great, for a lot of these devices now give you feedback, and they applaud you and give you, “Great job!” And they’re very useful, and they’re fun to play with.
The other thing that’s really fun to play with is, try varying your activity and then looking at your sleep patterns. I can tell you for one that when Penny and I were out hiking 10 to 16 miles a day in the mountains of Italy last month that my heart rate variability, which I track on both the Oura and the WHOOP band, went up, and this is not going to mean anything to you, to about 150 to 170, whereas my normal heart rate variability during normal working is maybe 70 to 90.
And if I take the dogs, for instance, on a longer walk, say, a three and a half-mile walk instead of a two-mile walk, lo and behold, my heart rate variability that next night will be much higher than if I took them on a two-mile walk, which would be normal. The point of all this is, there’s very, very, very good, strong evidence that the more heart rate variability you have, not only the longer you live, but the longer you live well. And so, if, for no other reason, you start tracking your heart rate variability and start watching whether it corresponds to your activity level, and if it does, talk about a motivator. Let’s get out there and walk.
Okay. Remember, why do we want to invest in these things? Well, just like you’d invest in your bank account or your stock market, this is the only house you’re ever going to live in as far as we know. And so, if we spend the amount of time and attention into taking care of this that we do to our homes, that we do to our bank account, that we do to our credit rating, imagine the possibilities, and that’s how we got to approach this house.
All right. Also, more and more insurance companies are now offering discounts or even free fitness trackers if you sign up for their health programs, so check that out too. And if you’re a senior, a number of the Medicare programs now offer free gym memberships. They vary depending on what program you sign up for, but it’s free. Take advantage of it. Okay. You can’t afford a fitness tracker. I understand. Get a journal and just write down how far you walked, you know how long a block is, and just track your progress. And even just journaling still works really well.
Okay. Next project for the New Year, I’ve alluded to this all already, fill up on fiber. Did you know that 98% of Americans are walking around starving their gut buddies to death? That means that 98% of Americans are not getting enough fiber or prebiotic fiber into their diet. Now, did you know that just committing to supplement with fiber daily can make a dramatic impact on your overall health? You get the fiber of your choice, but please, please, please, don’t look for insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber comes primarily from whole grains. And if you see grains as the source of fiber, like in wheat, like in oats, like in barley, like in rye, run the other way. That’s not the fiber that your gut buddies want.
Instead, they want soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is in root vegetables for instance. It’s in the chicory family of vegetables, like Belgian endive, like radicchio. Almost every grocery store now has that round red and white head of what looks like lettuce. That’s radicchio, and it’s fantastic. And believe me, your gut buddies think it’s the best thing in the world. The cruciferous vegetables are full of fiber. I just had a bunch of Brussels sprouts. Pressure-cooked lentils and pressure-cooked beans have very important fiber, and the pressure cooking destroys the lectins, so they’re safe.
For instance, Thursday night, I had… Actually, Wednesday night. Wednesday night, I had pressure-cooked borlotti beans from Jovial, and Brussels sprouts, and olive oil. That was my dinner. And I mixed it all together, and it was phenomenal. Put in a bunch of Tuscan, Italian herbs on it and went to town, and that was dinner. Now, who benefited most? I can tell you, first of all, my taste buds were really happy. But more importantly, my gut buddies were so delighted that I can tell you that, and I’ve talked about this before, you should have seen the anaconda in the toilet bowl today. Magnificent. Terry Wahls would be so impressed.
Okay. That’s what we’re talking about. Taking care of them. Now, Jerusalem artichokes, we’re seeing those more and more in grocery stores. Mushrooms, a great source of prebiotic fiber, and the prebiotic fibers in mushrooms actually strengthens your immune system. Garlic, onions, leeks. As you know, we feature leeks a lot. So get these guys into your diet. And again, if you take away nothing from this entire hour, think about, “Okay. I’m going to eat one thing for my taste buds, and I’m going to eat two things for my gut buddies.” And if you can just kind of follow that rule, you can make a huge change in your health in the coming year without making drastic steps.
So that’s it for today. It’s a lot for you to chew on, so to speak. But taking these little steps rather than saying, “I’m going to run a marathon this year,” or “I’m going to the gym one hour a day this year.” You know that that’s going to fail. Now, for those of you who are going to do it, bless your heart, go for it. But the vast majority of Americans stop their resolution by February 5th. So this year, let’s make some tiny changes, tiny changes that we can live with, and you watch these tiny changes become slowly part of your routine. And it takes about six weeks to develop a new habit. But once that habit is developed, it’s actually very hard to break.
All right. That’s your empowerment for 2022. Baby steps. That’s all we’re asking for, and feed your gut buddies what they need and, as you know, they’ll take care of you. All right. It’s time for our audience question. From [Bulletproof Coconut 00:39:58], based on the belly fat episode, number 184. “If you have a fair amount of body fat to lose, is it possible to gain muscle by working out on an extended fast? So is it technically possible for the body to recycle cellular proteins from other issues, like fat cells, and then use them to build muscle when given the stimulus on an extended fast?” Hey, that’s a great question. And in fact, yes, that’s quite possible.
So even fat cells contain protein, and protein, quite frankly, is not wasted. So you can absolutely borrow protein from other sources during an active exercise program, even if you’re losing weight. One of the best recent examples that I’ve alluded to in The Energy Paradox, and also in the upcoming Unlocking the Keto Code, is the Italian cyclist experiment. They took well-trained Italian cyclists, put them on a training regimen of 12 weeks, and as you remember, they were all given the exact same food to eat.
One group of cyclists ate their three meals over a 12-hour period. Breakfast at 8:00 AM, lunch at 1:00 PM, finished dinner by 8:00 PM, 12-hour eating window. The other group of cyclists got breakfast at 1:00 PM in the afternoon, lunch at 4:00 PM in the afternoon, had to finish dinner at 8:00. A seven-hour eating window. The cyclists who ate in the seven-hour window lost about 10 pounds during the three months, even though they ate the exact same amount of calories that the other group ate. The other group lost no weight.
But what’s really exciting is, the cyclists who lost weight preserved and strengthened their muscle mass, even though they were losing 10 pounds. So you’re right. Even though they lost 10 pounds, they actually preserved and improved their muscle mass. And you’re right, they just borrowed that protein from the other fat cells. So it’s a great question. So you can absolutely build muscle during fasting. Great question. Now, it’s time for the review of the week.
Heather Dubrow (42:59):
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 Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music.
Dr. Gundry (43:27):
From Apple Podcast, Hazeree or Haze R-E-E. “Saved my life! I have suffered from multiple autoimmune issues my whole life. When I was a child, they went undiagnosed, and it was just assumed the pain I felt was from various sports injuries. I did a primal diet nine years ago and really healed myself. I was amazed at the impact that food has on health. Unfortunately, being a vegetarian, the amount of time and effort needed to sustain wasn’t possible with two small children. I’ll never forget the healing power of food though. Now, I have three children, was 50 pounds overweight, and feeling sicker than ever.”
“I knew something had to change, and I found Dr. G. Six weeks in, and I am already down 18 pounds and feel amazing. My joints are no longer swollen and I have so much energy. Dr. G makes starting and following The Plant Paradox as a vegetarian, or anyone, so accessible and quick. I can do it with no stress, and I could not be more grateful. Listening to the podcast while food prepping and cooking is now my favorite way to spend my me time. Keep up the great work.” Well, thank you very much, Hazeree.
Again, this is why I do this. Just yesterday in my office, a young woman and her husband from Florida flew in to see me. She has a story very similar to you. Her autoimmune issues started as a young child. She was basically house-ridden. When she stepped outdoors, she had to carry an EpiPen. She had so many things that she reacted to, and they flew to see me because they actually got The Plant Paradox book. She followed it. She’s now completely healed. She doesn’t carry her EpiPen anymore. Flew on an airplane and walked in to tell me, “How did you know that this would help me?”
Well, I can tell you, I’ve been doing this now for over 20 years, and you guys have taught me what works and what doesn’t work. And again, the reason I show up every week here is to tell you what I know from you of what works and what doesn’t work, and it’s notes like this that I’m going to do this next year and the next year. And as long as you’ll have me, we’ll keep doing it.
And we find out new, exciting stuff from you guys every year. And I’m still like a kid in a candy store because I can’t go to the candy store anymore, so you’re my candy store. So thanks a lot for writing. Again, it’s the New Year. Send us something on iTunes or YouTube and let us know what’s going on with you. All right, everybody. This is Dr. Gundry. Have a great New Year, and I’ll see you next year because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you even in 2022.
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.