Listen to this podcast or watch the video. CLICK HERE
- 02:41 About Donna Gates
- 14:02 The Importance of Gut Microbiome
- 19:11 What Damages the Gut Microbiome
- 22:58 Symptoms of Leaky Gut
- 25:34 Probiotics for Candida and Leaky Gut
- 32:26 Histamine Intolerance
- 35:14 Combining Probiotics and Antibiotics
- 37:57 Oxalates
- 40:00 Body Ecology Living Cookbook
- 41:54 Body Ecology Principles
- 45:26 Favorite Recipes in the Cookbook
- 52:49 Fermented Vegetables
- 58:40 Healthy Gut Summit
Wendy Myers: Hello. Welcome to the Live To 110 Podcast. My name is Wendy Myers.
You can find me at LiveTo110.com. And you can find this video podcast on the corresponding blog post on the website and on the YouTube channel at WendyLiveTo110.
I am so excited today. We have Donna Gates on the podcast. I met her at the Bulletproof Biohackers’ Conference. We were both speaking there.
I’ve admired her for so long. Her health book is one of the first books that I read about the Ecology Diet. And she has helped so many people, thousands if not millions of people in her 20 plus years in the health field.
We’re going to be talking today about gut health and the importance of having a healthy inner ecosystem. And we’ll be talking about her new cookbook, Body Ecology Living Cookbook. I’m excited for that one. I’m sure there are going to be lots of fermented food recipes in that book. She’s very famous for getting people to eat fermented foods to increase the amount of healthy bacteria they have in their gut.
Please keep in mind that this program is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or health condition and is not a substitute for professional and medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before engaging in any treatment today that we suggest on the show.
I am so excited. Also I’m always excited to announce my new online health program called Body Bio Rehab. You can sign up to learn more about it when it launches at BodyBioRehab.com. We’re hoping for a launch date of May 1st. There’s always more work than you think, utting something like this together. I like to make sure that it’s perfect because I want you to have all the information that you need to improve your health.
A program like this is very important to learn the basics of health. We’re going to be talking about diets, exercise, lifestyle components like improving your sleep, hygiene, reducing stress and of course, my favorite, detox. These are all the five components that are essential for you to live a healthy lifestyle and to reverse disease and eliminate health symptoms and to improve your energy and to improve your libido and get your mojo back, to reduce brain fog. You have to follow these five pillars that I talked about this program.
So go sign up at BodyBioRehab.com. And I hope you enjoy it.
Donna Gates is our guest today. She’s an international best-selling author of the Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity. She’s also author of the Body Ecology Guided to Growing Younger: Anti-Aging Wisdom for Every Generation and another book called Stevia: Cooking with Nature’s Calorie-Free Sweetener.
She’s an Advanced Fellow with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. She is on a mission to change the way the world eats. The Body Ecology Diet was the first of its kind, a sugar-free, gluten-free, casein-free and probiotic-rich diet.
In 1994, Donna introduced the natural sweetener Stevia to the US and began teaching about fermented foods and coined the phrase “inner ecosystem” to describe the network of microbes that maintains our basic physiological processes from digestion to immunity.
Over the past 25 years, Donna has become one of the most respected authorities in the field of digestive health, diet and nutrition. She’s a recognized radio host of The Body Ecology Hour with Donna Gates on Hay House Radio. Donna regularly contributes to The Huffington Post and The Daily Love and lectures at the I Can Do It! Conference, The Longevity Now Conference and Women’s Wellness Conference.
I’m so happy she brought Stevia to the US because I use it every single day. It’s my favorite sweetener.
Donna, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Donna Gates: Thank you for having me here, doing talks like this. I love to share information.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. And I’m so happy you came on the show. I’m so honored. It was such a thrill to meet you in person at the Bulletproof Biohackers’ Conference where we were both speaking.
Donna Gates: Yes. Yes. Yes.
You’re one of the greats. You’ve been doing this for so long. You’re the first person to bring Stevia into the United States, which I’m very thankful for. But why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Donna Gates: I feel I told this story so many times. It’s boring. I was sick like most of the people that get into this work. And I just started trying to figure out how to get well.
So I tried everything, macrobiotics for eight years. I did raw foods. I did International Hygiene. I took lots and lots of supplements at times. I realized I must have had $1000 worth of supplements in one month. There’s a lot of stuff. Some things were valuable and some things weren’t and I wasn’t getting well.
And then I certainly did learn a lot of stuff that was so important. I studied Chinese medicine. I started off for a year to be an acupuncturist. I thought I wanted to do that. But I didn’t because I realized that it’s just going and getting all your radiance open and balanced for the moment. They will just block right back up again if you’re not eating right or you’re under a lot of stress for example.
So I kept looking for answers. And then I guess the universe smiles down on me sometimes because maybe after all that effort, I began to find answers.
I met Dr. William Crook. He had just literally written this connection and it was his debut at something called The Natural Products Expo, which has been going on for years since then.
He was launching his book and I actually got him all alone to myself out, by the fountain out in the lobby. We just sat there for about 20 minutes and talked. And I just knew that this was it. There was something here.
So I brought his book home. I really had, by this time, known a lot about it because as I’ve said, for eight years, I went to Japan and studied a very high level of healing over there called Kaiseki. And I studied with Lima Ohsawa who started The Macrobiotic Movement.
So I knew that food was medicine. I knew a lot about that. And when I tried Dr. Crook’s diet, it wasn’t accurate enough, but it made me realize that I was going to or I decided that I just start from scratch.
Here’s this condition. I think everybody has it. I definitely did. At the age of 15, I took antibiotics because my skin broke out. And then right after that, they started prescribing birth control pills, the really super strong ones.
Those women, if they have the genes for diabetes – I mean not diabetes, but breast cancer, which I do. I have the genes for both of those unfortunately. But I’m never at risk at that because I know how to keep those genes silent.
But nevertheless, people that run just real high dose amount of birth control pills, most of them have died by now because they were just too high. And they got cancer.
Wendy Myers: And birth control pills, they cause candida also, right? They cause systemic candida.
Donna Gates: That’s really what began to happen. The antibiotics and the birth control pills together cause these overgrowths.
Of course, it would be many years from that age until I found Dr. Crook. I don’t know. Maybe I was 40 or something. But I knew then. And I knew there was something here.
So I put all the information I had together and I started creating what became Body Ecology. And then as I learned and put things together, people started showing up around me all the time, people that looked fine, but they were sick. And what I suggest that they do was working.
So I just kept perfecting it. Body Ecology has been around now for about 24 years I guess. So I continue to perfect it overtime. It’s evolved just more of my understanding.
For example, candidiasis, which I remember Dr. Crook saying, “I don’t think there’s a cure for it.” And I was naïve enough to say, “Oh yes, there has to be.” But I would actually go back to agree with him now because it never goes away. It’s in your body. It’s very, very easy to turn candidiasis into a very pathogenic infection.
But people don’t understand, including doctors. If they see from testing that the person has yeast overgrowth, they immediately go to a drug like nystatin, which is safer than some of the others. But it’s just suppressing the symptoms of the person. It isn’t really dealing with infection. You’re not getting to the root cause. You’re not really overcoming that infection, bringing it under control. That’s what we do.
But it’s just a serious condition. These yeasts are secreting toxins all the time. Acetaldehyde, which interferes with your brain, it interferes with your thyroid functions. So you don’t convert the thyroid hormones T4 into T3, which is the active form that gets into the cell. Every cell in the body uses T3 for energy. So that’s not happening if you have yeast and many, many, many things. I won’t spend time on that.
Children are born with it. People that are about 50 and under were mostly like born with it if they are born in this country. And maybe some underdeveloped countries where they didn’t use a lot of antibiotics wouldn’t have it, but our kids have for long generations now.
And every single child with autism is born with this infection. It’s something you need to know when you have a baby that your child will be born with one. And you need to help overcome that and build the immune system. That’s where the gut comes in.
So the way the whole thing just evolved was – I looked back now and realized there was some force or power behind the way things unfolded as we needed things. I began to see things that people have noticed before like this thing that we call the Gut Microbiome. Back in those days, 20 years ago, it was not in anybody’s radar screen and there was no terminology for it.
So I began to understand that wow, we have this world living inside our gut and it’s really important and it does things for us. And then I had to figure out what it did and try to find pieces of information and connect all these dots. But it was important and nobody cared.
I said what I’ve done all the years is try to make people wake up and say, “Look, this is important.” So now it’s really on everybody’s radar screens.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, it’s everywhere. It’s because of you. You brought this…
Donna Gates: I think it was going to happen, but I was certainly – the first person to – I have agreed on the term to call it inner ecosystem and explain about this garden, this world within us that it’s there for a purpose.
And then honestly no one even knew or thought to ask the question, “When does it start inside of us?” Eventually somewhere along the way, I started drawing children with autism to our work and found that we’re truly well for them.
But now I’ve gone on and I’m very, very concerned about that everybody understands about the importance of having an inner ecosystem at birth. But honestly, believe it or not, as well know as that is today, no one knew that back then.
Wendy Myers: Yeah.
Donna Gates: So this is happening. The baby comes into the world and everybody’s all excited. He looks like a really happy baby. And then the next thing you need to be really aware of is this baby has got to survive in this world. And so he needs an immune system and he needs his healthy gut and he’s got to be able to digest his foods.
All that is now happening because nature put this inner world in our gut. And we can’t live here without it. We can’t live well without. And we are now seeing many, many examples of what happens when we don’t have it there. So we develop pathogenic ecosystem.
So it’s just how it happens. And then I wanted there to be a time. I mean I knew we couldn’t continue to eat sugar. We just have to get rid of sugar in food’s use. And that’s where I just started saying, “Look. We got to have something better than sugar.”
And through a very amazing arrangement, I found Stevia over in a university in China, the white powder. I thought Stevia existed when I asked for it, but it was really rebaudioside with a little Stevia in it. But since they spoke Chinese and not great English and vice versa, I don’t speak Chinese, I just always called it Stevia. But it was really a rebaudioside that we had.
So the whole Body Ecology Diet is a whole way of life. And it’s more than a diet. It’s a way of life with very important universal principles.
It just has come together. I think that it has come together because we really need it. We need this information now because we were making mistakes for a very long time. And we just can’t survive without this information that we have right now.
Wendy Myers: Why don’t you tell us about the importance of the gut microbiome in a healthy inner ecosystem in gut?
Donna Gates: Initially, it’s set into a place that we can digest our food, which is mother’s milk hopefully or some milk. Whatever we’re eating, we have to be able to digest that.
The more you’re setting it – it’s just an amazing arrangement. For example, a mother’s milk is very rich in sugars. And those sugars specifically feed which bacteria should be growing in the baby’s gut. And then those bacteria start growing, working together.
In the first six weeks, the bifidus are the bacteria that are most prominent. There is no research on this, but from just my couple of experience and working with people, I know that these bacteria are powerful cleansers because I’m a good believer in doing the colon therapy at the right time.
What I’ve noticed is if you put people in a strong bifidus probiotic and they go for colonics, they really release a lot of black sludge that they weren’t releasing before. That makes sense to me that the first bacteria would help clean the baby out because babies have been eating in the womb. They drink their amniotic fluid.
I actually saw last night on TV – I was just really excited so I tuned into the news, which I try not to do. But I heard this is going to be on there. And they actually were showing how mothers – if they smoke when the baby was there, the baby literally covers his face and eyes and everything to protect himself from the smoke that’s coming into the lungs. Babies are very alert and very awake and aware when they’re in there.
And so what we’re eating of course is extremely important and the emotions of the mother and all that. But they also know that – this again was not available. I was always digging for this kind of information. Is there bacteria in the womb with the baby?
Everything, all research is indicating that no, there wasn’t. But there is. That’s the newest research. As we know, there are actually really bacteria in the placenta.
Now when a mother starts to have a baby, there’s a mucus plug there at the cervix. It will come out about two weeks before she actually goes into labor. If the mucus plug isn’t there anymore, obviously the bacteria in the birth canal aren’t going to be able to come up into that area. So they haven’t seemed to catch that point yet.
But the babies are really beginning to be exposed before birth, heavily exposed say past the birth canal or if they’re going through a C section, immediately exposed with the environment of the people in the room, the hospital room and so on. So that’s not ideal. Maybe they’ll have more heavy breathings and we’re having too many C sections.
Unfortunately, many women today are going into labor. They’re not healthy even if they started eating well while they were pregnant, taking care of the baby. They themselves are not strong and healthy. So we’re getting too many young women that are not dilating and then they do a C section. So that’s not a good exposure.
Ideally, the baby needs that breast milk because those specific sugars are feeding for the bacteria. These sugars also coat the lining of the digestive tract and protect it from. They coat it so that things can’t get in through it that might kill the baby like a virus or another pathogen.
So the important things, invisible things that we can’t see are actually taking place. That’s important that we know that because if you start a baby off right like we’re able to do in gynecology with our programs that we have, they’re completely different children.
They’re extremely happy, consistently across the board. Every single one is just a delight. They’re charming, charismatic and very present in the world. They take in everything so their brain development is ahead of the game and vocabulary is excellent. Using vocabulary in a young age, they use it very appropriately. This is because of that gut-brain connection.
Finally, we’ve evolved to knowing that the gut, which is a big brain by itself – there are big massive brain cells and nerves in this region of our body that we think is just our digestive tract. We think it’s just the gut. There’s a huge lymph system there and the rest of the lymph is there.
So when we’re toxic, if we have toxic gut or a leaky gut, the lymph will be toxic as well. So the brain that’s there of course is connected to the brain in our head, in the whole central nervous system through our body or nerves and everything. So there’s so much awareness of that today fortunately.
But honestly, if you think it through, the command center is the gut. We don’t have bacteria in our brain. We have them in our gut and they’re doing really important things. And they’re affecting everything about our body including our brain behavior.
Wendy Myers: What are people doing today to damage their gut microbiome? I know that’s a very, very long list. But could you talk about a few of the things that people do?
Donna Gates: Well, I think probably the first thing that will pop into people’s mind today will probably gluten because there are so many – Tom O’Bryan with his Gluten Summit. And he’s always over the place. He’s a friend of both of ours.
And he’s always out there trying to get people to wake up and avoid gluten. And people are avoiding gluten by the way. But they’re still getting crummy food, not gut-healthy food. That’s for sure, but people will probably say gluten first.
Actually, a high fat, a high sugar diet is also going to destroy the inner ecosystem. For example, a high fat diet destroys the bifidus bacteria in your gut. And then it allows other bacteria like [inaudible 00:20:07] to spring up. [Inaudible 00:20:12] is a pathogen. So it causes a lot of inflammation. It secretes these toxins that are inflaming the gut lining.
So sugar too, high sugar diet. The typical American diet or processed food diet that we all eat and mostly are raised on is very inflammatory to the gut.
What else? Stress? Stress is huge. Infections in the gut like candidiasis are going to cause inflammation. The yeasts, for example, develop tentacles and they go through the gut wall. Then they create inflammation that they move on into the body that way.
I think that we’re all under stress today. So the gut stays very impermeable. Now one thing I think people don’t know is that we’re born with a leaky gut. All of us are.
That’s a good thing. Nature planned it that way so that when we enter the world, the first thing our mother is going to secrete is colostrum for a couple of days. And that colostrum is full of priceless nutrients that are going to help coat the wall, that get into the baby to protect the baby because it’s now suddenly going from this relatively protected world to this very potentially dangerously exposed world.
And so the immunoglobulins and the antibodies and peptides that are in colostrum go in instantly and the human baby has a little protection from his mother, antibodies from his mother that are protecting him. But most animals will die without that colostrum within the first week. It’s a very important first food, which some of us never even get.
But that colostrums isn’t very sweet in the beginning and then it becomes a little sweet. And then milk is very sweet. And milk changes all throughout the time the baby’s breastfeeding, two months, six months, eight months and so on.
The mother’s milk is always changing to feed the baby and to feed the baby’s gut microbes in there. So nature’s extremely got this together here. And we don’t know how to duplicate that real world. So it’s best to follow nature’s way.
So leaky gut. I always smile when people say leaky gut because it will leak. It will open up at times and then what you really want is you don’t want it open all the time. You don’t want it inflamed because that’s when these tight junctions now are not together, sealed so this pathogenic stuff can’t get through.
I think the first signs of probably that happening and inflammation and opening of those junctions are food allergies and feeling sleepy after a meal.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. Are there any other symptoms of leaky gut that people have?
Donna Gates: I think many, many symptoms. Headaches, brain fog, depression. You basically now have a gut that’s not functioning and it’s the command center of the body. So it can be aches and pains, fatigue, everything.
And of course, you don’t have the right bacteria. Now you have the wrong bacteria living inside of you signaling the wall, the brain, the nerves and everything, but I think too, they’re not – the ones that digest our food efficiently for us.
This happens at birth. This very, very important process is taking place as part of the birth process. We’re only going to have that happen to us once in our life. We’re not going to do that everyday.
So nature figured that out for us too and made sure that fermentation was alive and well in the planet before we humans and all the other animals got here. So human beings have always been eating things and drinking things that were fermented that allow bacteria to come into their gut and kept them healthy. They gave them a strong immune system and protected them, which is probably the number one job of the gut. It’s to protect us.
Wendy Myers: Yes. There’s a lot of new research. Dr. Vojdani and other people are doing research that people have a leaky gut. You have to have a leaky gut in order to have an autoimmune disease. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Donna Gates: Great. So these come together. I mean leaky gut is going to allow pathogenic things into the body instead of healthy good things.
The immune system sees those as foreign invaders and then it goes array, seriously array. It’s no longer a balanced the immune system. And then it does things like attack places in our body that might be toxic like our thyroid.
Women. Izabella Wentz is a dear friend and she has a great website on Hashimoto’s, a very popular website. In her book, she talks about Hashimoto’s. And 80% of people with thyroid problems today have Hashimoto’s as the problem. And that is an autoimmune. That is when your own immune system is attacking your thyroid.
Now why would our body attack the organ? It’s because the immune system is confused and the organs are toxic. It’s that simple.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. I have a question that one of my listeners asked. What is the best probiotic supplement for those that have a tendency towards candida and leaky gut?
Donna Gates: That’s hard to answer. I might go into different directions. You need balance and you need diversity. So I would say that very certainly.
One of the reasons I think it’s very important that we eat fermented foods is because they contain that diversity that you need. So it’s great that companies have come out with strains of probiotics because then you can choose certain specific strains to add into your gut. Today, we can do that.
But nature has it all set for us. Let’s say you go to your garden and you pick some cabbage and kale and some onions and fennel and mint or something like that. You bring them in and you shred all that up and pack it into a jar. Of course, we can do that in a minute.
Every single one of those things has bacteria growing on it and has since the beginning of the life of that plant. So let’s say the cabbage, when it was just a tiny little seed, it already had bacteria in it. And then it grew and it eventually became a big cabbage and it still had bacteria in it.
And all those weeks and months of growing, the bacteria that formed on it began to work together to protect that cabbage. They are in a very amazing symbiotic relationship with each other. So that is something human beings will never be able to probably ever in our lifetime in any way copy.
Wendy Myers: Yeah.
Donna Gates: That’s what I always say. If you eat fermented foods, you’re getting the wisdom of nature.
Then every single one of those has its own – the mint test – bacteria on it. And every single leaf – let’s say you had put six or eight leaves of mint in there. Well they have their own bacteria. So now you mix them altogether and you just got this extraordinary diversity.
And when you look at these few cultures left in the planet that are still out there like early primitive men, they have vast amount of diversity in their gut. And most of the bacteria aren’t even – they don’t have acidophilus and bifidus and the things that we have in our culture, but they are very healthy. And some of the bacteria they have in their gut are actually even – they probably would even kill us in great numbers.
So you can’t beat the way nature does it. You need that diversity. But then having said that, the one – so we have probiotic products. We have probiotic liquids that have that diversity in them. We have the probiotic liquids that we have. They come from many different grains and chick peas and rice and quinoa and so on.
We have one even that has from wheat and rye and oats and stuff. The thing is by the time you ferment it, that product is completely gluten-free because nature gets rid of the bacteria, gets rid of gluten basically and deconstructs it.
So diversity is amazing. And we can’t put on there what’s in there because we don’t know. And we still may have another batch of zillions of more bacteria coming in.
But we also have starters. We know specifically those starters. The starter that I like for people to put into the fermented vegetables is plantarum. It’s a real special bacteria. So you can add that in that way, add the bacteria in that way. Or you can go to the store and buy bacteria.
One of the ones that I like – acidophilus is just so easy to get in food sources basically with our products too and food. So I’m very permanent on plant foods.
But what you can’t get are the bifidus bacteria. So somebody’s got to have something – let’s say they only have so much money to spend.
I would set into a product like Flora-Baby, which is by ReNew Life. It’s all bifidus. It comes in a powder. And obviously from the name, you can tell it was great for babies. But we need the bifidus too. A lot of people that are constipated will find their constipation improves quickly on bifidus bacteria. There’s just a lot of research on the different strains of bifidus.
One of the things I’m into is nutritional genomics big time. And I look at people’s genes and I always check the gene called the FUT 2 gene. Many people have gut problems were born obviously with the gene. So they’re born with that gene not working.
Their blood sugar – if they’re an A or they’re an O, whatever blood type they are, it has sugar in it, sugar molecules. So I’m an A. I secrete my A blood sugar into certain places in my body. It would be your gut mucus, the mucus of your gut into your sweat, into your tears and into your mouth, your saliva. So that’s where the sugars show up if you’re a secretor.
If you got FUT2, it’s not a problem there. You’re a non-secretor. So you’re not secreting your sugars into your gut mucus or your mouth or tears. In mouth, it’s important because that means you’re not feeding the bacteria in your mouth, you’re not feeding bacteria in your gut. Bifidus bacteria are the ones that don’t get fed.
Now go back to the very beginning of someone’s life when they’re entering this world where bifidus is the most bacteria at the beginning of life, those people do not get a healthy inner ecosystems even if they’re breast-fed.
So it’s going to be the thing in the very immediate future. Really you can test for this now. And you will want to know this. If you’re a mother and you’re a non-secretor and you just choose to breastfeed, then you’re not going to secrete your milk sugars into your breast milk either.
So there are so many fascinating things to know and learn about the gut. But it comes down into the fact that we do have a gut with an inner ecosystem and we need a diversity of bacteria. And the bifidus is the one that’s mostly likely going to be though.
And sometimes you’ll get tested and your acidophilus bacteria seem to harbor. That’s because they’re out of balance. And you need more bifidus to bring them into balance. It’s just another part of our body where the principle of balance is really, really important.
Wendy Myers: Let’s say you have a person that has pretty bad gut issues and they don’t tolerate histamine foods very well. How do you heal the gut if you have a histamine intolerance and you can’t eat high histamine foods like fermented foods?
Donna Gates: I’m so glad your brought that out because I like to clarify that. I first got into understanding of this with our autism, the history. You learn amazing lots of stuff if you study autism.
So what I found was that ¬there were kids that would eat fermented foods and their ears would get red and their face would flush and their mother would say, “You just can’t do these foods.” And I think, “Why? Why just them? Everybody has a flourishing of them.” I mean, it was an important part of the recovery for most of them.
So I’ve got one with my friend, Dr. Leonard Smith and we started digging and digging and digging. And we’ve start to find little bits of information. But basically, it is a histamine reaction because they have a pathogen in their gut, in the small intestine.
If that’s happening to you, you see it as a diagnosis that something is wrong there. A pathogen has entered into the small intestine or the colon that is causing a problem and you want to get rid of that first. That’s where the step by step principle comes in that we teach.
First, you can’t do this until sometimes you do this first. And that’s an example when I wiped that pathogen out. There are different ways to do that on our Healthy Gut Summit, which was a very successful summit that we did a few months ago. I interviewed Allison Siebecker. And you can go to her website. It’s Siebecker. She talks about her specialty at SIBO.
There are certain antibiotics like rifaximin that will wipe it out. I have no qualms anymore about taking antibiotics because you want to get rid of this nasty little pathogen. And then you restore your inner ecosystem, but you’re going to have a hard time doing that if it’s there controlling everything. So wipe it out.
But rifaximin is the last thing I would do. There are other choices. I recommend the combination of berberine with oil of oregano capsules. And you have to be pretty aggressive. Take three about four times a day. Just don’t keep it after an empty stomach.
You can use the enzyme serrapeptidase too. And then the bifidus bacteria are the one bacteria that you can take during that time. They do not cause the reactions. It’s really the acidophilus that the people are reacting to.
Wendy Myers: When you’re doing a candida or parasite or a gut and bacteria SIBO cleanses, can you take probiotics with some of these natural antibiotics or how do you work that out?
Donna Gates: Yeah. That’s a good question too. Let’s say that you’re in the vast number of people that can’t eat the cultured vegetables and you’re on an antibiotic, absolutely eat them.
I had a mother who had three children. And I just inspected them and they’re all recovered now. But her son was really skinny and he looked like he had been in a concentration camp for his whole life. And we were at a conference when she mentioned that he had synthetic pathogens. “Why don’t you just wipe it out? I mean just use antibiotics.” I said, “No, no, no. Then this yeast infection will get really bad.” She’s been dealing with this yeast infection for years to getting well. So she didn’t want to go down that road again.
So I realized that people think automatically that the antibiotics caused the yeast infection, but the prevention for the antibiotics is to eat the fermented foods, particularly the way we teach people to make them.
So you’re going to take your antibiotic and wait for everything. And then take it with food. You can take it with food, but then later on come back with a spoonful of fermented vegetables. The antibiotics want to kills things but there are so many trillions of bacteria in a spoonful or two of fermented vegetables that they can’t kill them. They’ll remain,
The technique that I developed for making the vegetables extra robust and powerful is to put the starter in it. And plantarum – that’s the bacteria that I mentioned – is an amazing bacteria. It survives most all antibiotics. You’re not going to wipe plantarum out.
It’s anti-histamine. This is research on the things I’ve seen. It’s also one that will help you not have histamine reactions in your gut to foods. So the histamine is a reaction to the food like an allergy reaction.
And then it’s also anti-viral. If you have a tendency to have breakouts of herpes all the time, Epstein-Barr and so on, you’re going through a bout of shingles, you definitely with these vegetables with the plantarum.
And obviously, it’s in oxalate either. People don’t know about oxalates, but it’s a serious problem. They’re getting way too many oxalates. And plantarum eats the oxalates. We need to eat enough so we can eat plant foods safely.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, that’s really, really interesting. I have a few clients with the oxalates that we’re addressing. It’s a big issue. Anyone with pain syndromes or kidney stones, whatever they have, they have obstacles…
Donna Gates: [Inaudible 00:38:07]. Yeah, pain. Lots of pain, pain in the legs in particular. Dry eye and COPD. There are so many things that clear up when people lower the oxalates.
They can go off of high oxalate foods like chocolate, which is popular. Spinach, people put spinach in their almond smoothies. Nuts and seeds are extremely high and all those sweet potatoes which I know a lot of Paleo people are not eating to get a little resistance to starch.
But again, if you’re going to have a sweet potato, like I tell people to do, food preparation is always important. Let’s say you love sweet potatoes. And they are actually better for blood type O than the other potatoes.
Let’s say that you want to eat one. Instead of baking it in an oven where it can be very sweet, if you would instead cut it into cubes and put it in water and boil it until it’s tender. Then you pour off that water. You just poured a bunch of oxalates down in the drain.
Now you can mash it and put a little ghee or butter in there. Use CT oil or whatever you want. And then salt of course.
And then enjoy it that way. But you just got rid of a whole bunch of oxalates and you’ve also reduced – by cooking it that way, you don’t have a lot of sugar.
Then you come along and you have something fermented in the meal, like a little glass of one of our probiotics or a few ounces of that or a few scoops of fermented vegetables with the plantarum in it. And there aren’t going to be oxalates in that meal.
So there’s a way to make balance. It does the principle of balance at work. You could look at something and see the others have problems with these foods because all foods have different [inaudible 00:39:52]. And then they go, “Okay. How do I balance that?” And there will be balance most all the time.
Wendy Myers: Let’s talk a little bit about your book. This is what I want to talk about. It’s your new cookbook The Body Ecology Living Cookbook.
Donna Gates: Okay, great.
Wendy Myers: Let’s talk a little bit about that. Can you tell us how your cookbook came about?
Donna Gates: I have a copy of it. I don’t know if it’s going to show for the camera. Does it show?
Wendy Myers: Yes. Yes.
Donna Gates: Okay. Anyway, it came about over many, a couple of decades of just putting recipes into my computer and thinking someday I’m going to do a cookbook. And people say, “Are you going to do a cookbook?”
So finally about, believe it or not, two years ago, we started it because it is a lot of work to do a cookbook. So it’s so detail-oriented. I’m detail-oriented. I’m overly detail-oriented, but it still drives me crazy. It was like a book that would never ever come to an end. I’m just checking it, checking it.
There’s a million ways to do a cookbook, I’m going to say again. But it has a lot of information. It’s not just a cookbook. It’s got the most updated information on Body Ecology.
Body Ecology is really a living system of health and healing. We’re always learning more. I’m certainly learning more. And there are few things along the way I would change. If they are, I’ll change them because I want people to be aware of them.
It’s more than a cookbook. But it’s got really good recipes. I always forget to tell people, “By the way, our food is delicious, not just healthy. It happens to be really delicious. It’s beautiful and colorful.”
When people come over, they know they’re going to get a Body Ecology meal on my house. But I think they’re almost always surprised at how delicious it is. And they’re pretty full of different textures and colors and new taste that maybe they haven’t tried before. But I always try to give people a little taste of something unusual like a sea vegetable that they didn’t know about. Or they didn’t know about sea vegetables at all.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. So why don’t you talk about the seven Body Ecology principles that you talked about in the cookbook?
Donna Gates: Probably, the most important one right now – I mean they’re all important, but the principle of uniqueness because there’s a lot of – something’s scratching on my leg. Hold on a second.
Wendy Myers: Your dog.
Donna Gates: He wants to get invited into our conversation here.
Wendy Myers: He’s so cute.
Donna Gates: Yeah. And he seems very – I don’t know – persistent here [inaudible 00:42:29]. Okay.
Wendy Myers: My dogs are locked in the bathroom. They’re prisoners.
Donna Gates: They do. Yeah. I guess many people who have dogs don’t like interruption.
So the principle of uniqueness is really important. But I think honestly years ago, no one ever, ever mentioned that we were unique.
If people are into macro, they thought we should all be macrobiotic. If they are raw, they thought we should all be raw. There are even times where we have to change.
If you have cancer, a raw vegan, totally sugar-free, high in fermented fruit diets, gluten-free, casein-free and sugar-free would be where I would start you. But what I’ve even found is when someone is on a diet like that, they actually do really well on raw fermented kefir, goat milk kefir. So they can have that as a source of protein for them.
And then let’s say somebody’s pregnant. Oh gosh, it’s a whole different thing. Now you’re eating for two people and you need more minerals, more fats in your diet. Your baby’s going through different stages of development in the womb. It’s a very different diet, so it’s ridiculous to come up with this concept.
When you tell someone that we should all be Paleo, we should all be raw, that’s ridiculous. When you think about it, it’s ridiculous. But honestly, that’s what we’ve been doing for ages.
Now I’m seeing lots of functional medicine doctors and other people saying, “We have to change.” You might have cancer right now. And next you’re cancer-free. So you don’t have to stay on that same diet.
Let’s say you live in Chicago and you’re thinking you’re on a raw vegan diet because you have cancer. Well if you’re freezing up there in Chicago, you got to bring some warm cooked foods into your diet. So we’re always changing. The weather changes, our activity changes.
So the important thing that I’m hoping eventually that people will be interested in learning is how to look at a food and decide, “You know what? This one is maybe appropriate for this condition but not for this condition. And it isn’t digestible. So we can do this to make it digestible or whatever.”
So we start to look at foods individually. People say food is medicine. They’ll never be able to do that, to use food as medicine, unless they understand how to do that.
Or they know the food, know its front and back, positive and negative side and fix the negative side. It’s like to balance it. That’s the principle of balance. Whatever is wrong, you have to look at what’s wrong and think “Okay. How can I balance that off?”And most of the time, there is something that will bring balance, either into that food itself or into the meal to balance it off.
Wendy Myers: What are some of your favorite recipes in the cookbook? I was looking through it. You’ve got so many good recipes. What are some of your favorites?
Donna Gates: Let’s see. I think in the beginning, if people really have gut problems, they’ll find a lot of benefit from the pureed soups.
I don’t think I have a favorite because it depends on a person’s needs. Let’s say you are into deserts and you just know that you can’t give them up. So I would suggest people start on making the fermented vegetables and they’re sour.
So what you’ll find surprisingly as you eat them or drink coconut water, suddenly sugar is not so important to you. And you don’t need it. So you can really be perfectly satisfied in a glass of water with lemon and some Stevia in it. Then you bring things that got something sweet and you’re fine.
So I think that fermented foods are really important, that whole section on those. But if you want to get more minerals into your body, then you want dark and leafy vegetables.
We have a great powder called Super Spirulina Plus. It’s very rich in iron. You would be amazed on how many people are deficient in iron today. But you don’t want take iron as a supplement because it will feed the infections growing like in candidiasis or cancer.
So you don’t want to take iron, but you get it from foods like dark green leafy vegetables, fermented spirulina, it’s a great way to build it back up.
And then the sea vegetables are fantastic for getting the minerals in. I wish everybody would make one or two dishes a week and work that into their diet.
Or at least put a strip of kombu into some water with maybe some shiitake mushrooms and boil that. And get the energy of the minerals out of that kombu and put in things like mix soup at it or drink it or add a broth or something. So they’re important too, lots and lots of vegetables.
I break the book up into sections so that people can understand that food combining really does matter. If you’re super strong, young, athlete, digestion works great, then don’t trick your mind if you don’t want.
But if you have digestive problems, food combining is a very important principle because your body doesn’t digest. The stomach is not working. The small intestine is not going to process that food it’s supposed to. The colon is the storage of all that undigested food.
So you want to help your digestive tract out by chewing really, really well, swallowing, using digestive enzymes, but also food combining. So you put your protein with your vegetables, non-starchy vegetables.
So I have the book divided that way, non-starchy vegetables, starchy vegetables. They’re really good to have in the evening because they will help us sleep better at night. They make more serotonin and they make more melatonin. So I talked about all this throughout the book.
The principles are in the book. So understanding the principles of balance that are woven into the recipes, you don’t really even need to know those if you just pick a recipe or two and have that for dinner. They are delicious.
I think that the dessert section is really important because we use Stevia and Lakanto that you do have to get off of sugar. And we have a lot of really delicious recipes for that too.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, I actually taught a class on how to bake fermented vegetables. I had to watch your videos a few times before I teach the class.
But I use your Body Ecology culture starter and it was great. We made just tons and tons of all kinds of recipes, purple cabbage and some sort of seed and fermented kimchi with black sesame seeds, all kinds of wonderful…
Donna Gates: That sounds delicious. That’s important to know that there are sauerkraut, which I stopped using that term years ago because people would go in the store and buy pasteurized cabbage in a jar. And I thought this is not what we need. So I changed it to cultured vegetables or fermented vegetables.
But sauerkraut, you can buy. It’s in the store. Gold Mine makes a really good one. They’re really just mostly cabbage or cabbage and garlic, maybe [inaudible 00:49:58] or something.
Over the years of doing this, I like the variety of other vegetables. I also found in a research study, believe it or not, that the bacteria love anise, that spice over [inaudible 00:50:10].
So I have a recipe where I put in cabbage and onion and anise. I think that’s all that’s in there. It’s so delicious. It’s not much an easy beginner one, but they love that.
Now it’s important to know. Think about the bacteria that you’re growing. So a lot of us can’t garden. There’s nowhere around me that I could garden. But this is my substitute. So I’m thinking, “Okay. That is a little bacteria in here. What will I do to take care of them and how can I help them grow and multiply?”
So the first things I recently had are some vegetables, exactly the same veg with our starter and without our starter. And with our starter, this count was 160 billion in every spoonful. And this one was 570 billion as we started the plantarum starter too. So that’s one thing, but then you’re going to have a starter.
But the other thing is if you add humic minerals, which we sell. [Inaudible 00:51:17] so we can open it up, put it in the brine. They love humic minerals. Chocolate would be great for many people. If they’re all excited and peppy and they’re eating like crazy and there’s plenty of food for them, they’re going to multiply out, way, way out.
So we put in more to begin with. And then we give them food. We put in [inaudible 00:51:40] eco bloom, which is to create Inulin. I love that. That particularly feeds the bifidus bacteria that might be in the veg.
Some people put a few ounces of one of our probiotic liquids in there. It does change the taste. I never do that myself, but you could do that. So think in terms of that too. Think in terms of starting to make your fermented vegetables way more robust and hardy with bacteria because we can do that with fermented foods.
They can’t do that and provide a capsule because as soon as they make it, a bunch of them start dying. They’re reproducing in that capsule, but they are reproducing while you’re fermenting.
Then after fermentation, you put them in the refrigerator to slow a bit down. And they’re still in there eating away. But unfortunately, some begin to die, little by little, different ones. There’s not enough food for them and they die often. They’re not reproducing.
So I really encourage people to try and make a fresh batch every say three months or so, and you’ll have plenty of bacteria in your food put into your garden, in your garden.
Wendy Myers: How often should people eat fermented vegetables?
Donna Gates: They help digest a meal, so if you’re having a meal – let’s say you’re just having a smoothie. I don’t put the cultured vegetables in my smoothie, but you could. It would make them more savory. If you want a savory smoothie, for sure put them in there.
But if you’re drinking something pureed like a smoothie, it’s going to digest really easily. A bone broth would digest really easily.
But other times where you need assistance for digestion, a regular meal definitely. Now put them on top of – let’s say you’re still out there eating hamburgers. Well, put them on top of your hamburgers like a pickle. You know how McDonald’s puts a pickle on the top. Sorry for the dog.
Wendy Myers: That’s okay.
Donna Gates: Yeah. Eat them all the time. Think about this. If you eat them with a meal, they’re traveling down through your digestive tract. They’re in the stomach, in the small intestine and the large intestine.
And then right there with the food, they’re breaking it down, extracting the minerals, breaking down these proteins and these fats. They’re helping with digestion.
And then they’re in the food. So they’re going to look for parasites. They’re going to look for heavy metals, eggs, larva, things that we don’t want to grow inside of us. That’s their job too. They’re scavengers of bad things.
I’ve even had experts that help people chelate out the heavy metals say that when people are eating the fermented foods – because even if you’re going through a chelation program and you’re pulling these heavy metals out of your body, they’re going to end up in the gut. They’re going to the liver. They end up in the gut. And those bacteria there are holding them into check to make sure that they leave. And they leave. So they’re really, really important.
Again, I just can’t seem to get people to understand their importance and maybe people don’t care to understand. But if they start eating, then they’ll notice they feel better. They have more energy. They digest our food better. They definitely make you happier.
The first fermented food I ever worked with is milk kefir. And I know people can’t do milk. So I created the coconut kefir with the same concept of using the starter and all. But millions of people around the world do yogurts, so a lot of people can do kefir. And kefir is better for you than yogurt.
But the word kefir in Turkish means “feel good.” It came from Turkey. Kefir came from Turkey. It’s a Turkish word and it means “feel good.” And honestly, they do really make you feel good. So you want to put them in there and feel better.
Now if you’re still feeling super, super depressed – food isn’t everything by the way. Some people think food is always the issue. Use histamine for example if someone used fermented foods and they have a lot of gas and bloating and histamine-type reaction. Then they immediately say, “Oh, bad food.”
Wendy Myers: Yeah.
Donna Gates: And I’ve seen the mothers do this years ago when I put butter into the program. I put butter into program for just the kids.
They would eat the [inaudible 00:56:05]. And most of all, they thrive on it because they didn’t get breast milk. They had soy formula and they need that milk, that fat that they would have gotten in the breast milk. So it’s in the program. They thrive on it. Their brains are still developing and so on.
But then along comes the mother who e-mailed. And she says, “My son can’t do the butter.” Like bad butter.
Wendy Myers: Yeah.
Donna Gates: It’s not the butter’s fault. It’s just being butter. But “What’s wrong? Is there something happening in our son? Maybe his liver can’t handle that kind of fat? It’s way too much.”
You should back off and fix the gut first step by step. And then try the butter. Try ghee over butter because the ghee has the milk solids and milk from it and it’s easier to digest. And just use a tiny amount.
See. That’s another thing too. When we introduce new foods, we got to give the gut bacteria time to learn how to digest that food because they have to reorganize themselves and say, “Wait. Last week, she was a meat eater. Now she’s vegan. What do we do guys?”
They got to figure that out and change their whole approach down there so they can start to digest these new foods that you certainly turned down their way. I consider them highly intelligent and you should realize.
For example if you have a fish tank or a little dog to take care of. Add them to your list and think about taking care of the bacteria inside of you too. Of course you got them on your skin and everywhere, up in our nasal passages and lungs and everything. Anywhere there’s an opening to the outside, we have bacteria inside of us.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. I feel bad for all the germophobes that are so afraid of bacteria because we’re covered. And there are many good bacteria that we need.
Donna Gates: And the thing is there’s a good and bad thing that we can’t see them. It’s a really good thing that we can’t.
Like for you, for example, Wendy, I couldn’t see you [inaudible 00:58:09] shape. Nope, I can’t see what color your hair was, your lips, your eyes or any shape like that. You’re just this screaming little wiggly blob.
Wendy Myers: Yeah.
Donna Gates: And how would I recognize you? Or how would I be able to identify a beautiful flower or something? Fortunately, our eyes can’t see them.
Wendy Myers: Yeah.
Donna Gates: But unfortunately, we always think that if we can’t see them, they must not be there when in fact, a lot of things we can’t see are present. Energy, for example.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your Gut Summit? I was a big fan of this gut summit. I think it’s so important. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the guests that were at the summit, what they were talking about?
Donna Gates: Not every single one talked about the gut, but most, 98% of them did, I’d say.
Dr. Jeffrey Bland talked about his new book that would come out and it’s about functional medicine. He did talk a little bit about the gut. But the rest of them are completely focused on things like the biofilms.
Bacteria are not just loosely floating around inside of us or in our gut. As soon as they bump into another bacteria and then another one and then another one, they get together and say, “Hey. Let’s protect ourselves here.” And they form a little wall around themselves called the biofilm and then you can’t get to them anymore.
The antibiotics don’t work and so on. So Steven [inaudible 00:59:38]. It’s really important to know. By the way, fermented vegetables and healthy bacteria can dissolve the bio films and some other things can.
Gosh. Suddenly, I can’t remember. I will say this over and over and over again. When I hung up the interview, I’ve been talking to them. I was always struck by how much these people cared.
Leo Galland talked about parasites. He’s been dealing with parasites for over 30 years. Louis Gittleman gave a brilliant talk about parasites. And so did another man on the [inaudible 01:00:16] parasite, which is a new emerging parasite that we didn’t see before. But now many people, even little children are finding – in the autism community, their parents do enemas and they’re getting these rogue worms out of their little children. So where are they coming from?
Jeffrey Smith gave an absolutely brilliant talk on GMOs. I thought we might run out of things to say about GMOs in the gut. I was just stunned by his talk. And then Datis Kharrazian who’s a brilliant genius gave a great talk on the gut-brain connection. Martha Herbert, also gut-brain.
It just was an amazing cast of characters. And it’s a field of course that I know more about than fixing my computer. I don’t know too much about that.
So I guess what I did realize I was doing was asking pretty high level questions. They were very high level guests. And then the questions that I thought to ask them really allowed them to provide a lot of information.
I remember often as they hung up, they said, “Wow. I love doing that interview.” It’s because they got to express things that were important that they wanted out.
And then of course once the gut summit launched, we were just inundated and our sponsors were just packed with people calling them to thank them for the sponsors. Nobody expected that.
We had over 80,000 people sign up. And many people said they’ve never heard of this kind of information before. It was helping them so much. It’s like getting a PhD in the gut.
Amazingly, I talked to a woman yesterday who has a 24 year old son with autism. And she was wanting to take it further and all, but she’s listened to every single one of those talks. I have to give people credit that there were so many of us out there devoted to this work and what we do.
“Fix the gut,” people are saying. If you fix the guts and so many things that we think are wrong with us to fix themselves or begin to fix themselves.
Wendy Myers: Good listeners, if you want to learn more and attend the Gut Summit, there’s a link for it below. In the podcast or the YouTube channel, there will be a link to the Healthy Gut Summit.
But Donna, I’m so excited that you came on the podcast. I’m just thrilled that you agreed to come on. And you want to tell the listeners any more about yourself and where they can find you.
Donna Gates: We’re at BodyEcology.com. We’re pretty easy to find. I guess the book isn’t out yet. It will be out shortly. About 50 people already have copies of the book because I signed them and gave them away at the expo. But we’re going to launch it soon. So I hope people will come back and get that one when we launch it.
Now I just do think that that summit was one of the best things we’ve ever done because there are so many experts participating.
The other thing that really shocked me – I didn’t even ask for this. Over and over and over again, they comment on my own work and the fact that I’ve been out there for a long time trying to make a difference in the world. And they knew who I was and knew about Body Ecology. Many of them ate fermented foods.
I maybe even would have to say, “Hey, Mark Hyman. Do you eat fermented foods?” He said, “I eat them all the time.” But he doesn’t – he isn’t out there.
Todd Lepine. Todd Lepine is partner with Mark Hyman. Todd talked about mouth, the microbiome in mouth and the effect that it has in pregnancy and all. His whole family is dentists.
It was just a great, great summit. I love people that still go and listen to it because it’s just amazing information.
We are always updating our information. So hopefully, they’ll stay connected to us as much as they can. And Wendy, I’m going to have you on our podcast.
Wendy Myers: Yes.
Donna Gates: So now, we’ll get to turn this around and I get to ask you questions.
Wendy Myers: Yeah. I would love to. I would be honored.
Donna, thank you so much for coming on my show. I really appreciate. All the listeners were really, really excited when I told them that you were coming on. So again, thanks for coming on the show.
Donna Gates: Wendy, thank you. I love that when we met each other, there’s an immediate
And we live so close. We aren’t together more often. But if I live there in San Diego and you live here in LA, we would be. But at least, thank you, we can work together this way.
Wendy Myers: Yeah, absolutely.
Listeners, thank you so much for listening to the Live To 110 Podcast. You can find me on LiveTo110.com. Thanks for listening.