Dr. Will Cole ON: The Foods You ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT Eat To Live Longer! | Jay Shetty | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Dr. Will Cole ON: The Foods You ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT Eat To Live Longer! | Jay Shetty".


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Intro (00:00)

continually eating foods that don't love you back is like staying in a toxic relationship. I'm wondering why you're still miserable. But avoiding foods that don't love you back isn't restrictive itself respect. - The best-selling author and host. - The number one health and wellness podcast. - On purpose with Jay Shetty. - Hey everyone, welcome back to On Purpose, the number one health podcast in the world, thanks to each and every single one of you that come back every week to listen, learn and grow. Now if you've been listening lately, you've been hearing me repeat this mantra, happy, healthy and healing. This is something I've been repeating to myself a lot recently, I'm happy, I'm healthy, I'm healing. It's been making a big difference in my life and I know that you're here because you wanna be happy, you wanna be healthy and you want to heal. Now today's guest is someone who talks about that in such a phenomenal way and everything from the gut to the brain, to what we digest every day, to our feelings and our traumas and how they affect the chemicals inside of our body and our mind. I'm talking about Dr. Will Cole, a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world over a decade ago. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Will Cole is also the host of the popular, the Art of Being Well podcast, make sure you check it out. And the New York Times best-selling author of intuitive fasting, the inflammation spectrum, and the brand new book, Gut Feelings, Healing the Shame Fueled Relationship between what you eat and how you feel. If you don't have that book here, I want you to go and order right now, Gut Feelings. We are gonna put the link in the show notes. Make sure you grab a copy as you're listening right now. We're watching Dr. Will Cole. Thank you for being here. - I need you to be my hype man. I love the great way to start your day. - Oh, thank you. Well, I always say to my guests, I'm like, you had to live all of that. So you actually had to do it. - Thanks, man. - But I also wanna, can I call you Will? - Of course. - I just wanna say, for everyone who's watching, Will took a flight this morning from Pittsburgh to New York City to be on the show. I appreciate him so much for doing that. - Of course. - I really, really value that. I love connecting with people in person. - Yeah, I'm happy to be here. - Yeah, and I can't wait to dive in. - Let's get this. - I was just saying to you earlier, that our community, our audience here are on purpose, really loves learning and really loves getting really practical, applicable tools when it comes to their health. I think one of the things that, by the way, I love the name of the new book, like Gut Feelings. I think the gut has often been so ignored in the conversation. We often talk about, how do you feel up here? What's your head saying? - Yeah. - And then we feel about the heart versus the head. And I feel like the gut was forgotten for so long.

Understanding Gut Health And Functional Medicine

Dr. Cole explains why we shouldn’t ignore our gut health. (03:04)

Why is the gut so important in that conversation? And why should it not be ignored? - You're right, and even, I think we've come a long way in the past 12 years since I've been in functional medicine, people growing awareness, but we're still scratching the surface. I realize I'm probably talking to more of the health nerds, and it's not the general population. So we have a far way to go. And our gut is a major part of our health, but you don't necessarily have to have extreme digestive symptoms to have underlying gut components to why you feel the way that you do. So your gut and brain are actually formed from the same fetal tissue. So when babies are growing in their mother's womb, they're formed from that same fetal tissue, and they're inextricably linked for the rest of our lives through what's known as the gut brain axis, or the connection between the gut and the brain. 95% of serotonin are happy neurotransmitter. It's made in the gut, stored in the gut. 50% of dopamine is made in the gut, stored in the gut. And if you think about it, the intestines kind of even resemble the brain. And the vagus nerve is what really innervates and connects both the gut and the brain. Researchers call the gut the second brain. We have to understand so much of what else modern society, we have to understand gut health. And it's no coincidence that most of probably your listeners would know, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, he said, all disease begins in the gut. Well, if disease begins in the gut, then so does healing begin in the gut. And it's also a home to 75% of the immune system. Inflammation is a product of the immune system. And you look at the epidemic rise of autoimmune problems and really inflammation is a commonality between just about every health problem. Autoimmune issues, metabolic issues, hormonal problems to really research looking at what's known as the cytokine model of cognitive function, how inflammation impacts, how our brains work. So things like anxiety and depression, fatigue, all have the roots and not only inflammation, but also the gut brain connection. So the far reaching implications of this is vast. We have to understand it to deal with it. And what are some of the biggest mistakes we're making when it comes to our gut? Like what are the things that I think you would say that we're just so unaware of or unsure about that are causing gut challenges? I think the interesting thing about gut issues is that when you figure out that you have something you're concerned about and you start talking to your friend or someone, you realize everyone has it, but no one talks about it. It's not like one of those things that people share very openly. But you start recognizing, wow, everyone has digestive issues, everyone's having some sort of inflammation, everyone's having this kind of thing. So what are some of the habits, traits that you think have kind of become widespread that is actually taking us down this road that maybe we're just not aware of enough?

Truth is just because it’s common doesn't necessarily mean it’s normal. (05:47)

I'm always telling my patients is just because something's common doesn't necessarily mean it's normal. Just because it's your every day doesn't mean you should settle for it. And I really can't tell you how many times when I'm talking to somebody online and we're going through their systems of their body and they have these aha moments of, whoa, I thought that was just me. I thought that was just my lot in life because I have it every day. But I think they need to, we as a human race need to take inventory and kind of get in our bodies that know that you teach about this eloquently of just being aware and mindful of how our body works because it may be your every day, but it doesn't mean it should be normalized. So I mean, we could talk about digestion and you're right, people don't want to talk about it. It's very normal for me to talk about poop at my office. It's like, and then I look across the telehealth, across the internet and I realize it's not as normal as I think it is. I see their partner like, we've never talked about this before, you know, we get real, real fast, but it's important because it's a window into probably lots of other things in your body, but it's normal to have one to two, we say, snakes a day as far as bowel movements are concerned on the Bristol chart. Many people go to three days without a normal bowel movement or it's always loose or always really strained and like pebbles, that's not normal. Your bowel movements are a window into your overall health. So we start there, but then we look at energy levels throughout your day. Do you need lots of your sugar and caffeine to get through the day? That's not normal, but that's a lot of people's every day, certainly. Do you have ravenous cravings of food? Do you have trouble losing weight? Do you have hair loss? Do you have skin problems? These are all, we call them functional medicine. These are like check engine lights. Check engine lights on, but why? The body's telling us something. We have to go upstream or get to the root cause of why you have the problem in the first place. - Yeah, and I think for a lot of people it becomes hard because I found for a long time as well that as I became more aware of these things, and as I sought after help, it was really difficult to find good personalized advice because you'll see everyone say, "Well, you have to drink this one thing. "You have to do this one thing," right? It becomes this fad. And something's helping, something's don't, and you don't know how they're all interconnected. And I feel like people get quite stuck, and that's why I love books like yours and podcasts like yours because people can kind of follow along and go, "Okay, I'm dealing with this challenge." One of the things that I love that you talked about was the process you call shame-inflammation.

What is shame-flammation and how it affects our lives? (08:21)

And I wanted to talk about how can one begin to confront that? - So shame-clamation, you know this as writing books and educating people and speaking, you'll wake up in the middle of the night and be like, "Oh, that's a good way of conveying "what I'm trying to say." 'Cause you see it play out in people's lives all the time. I see it on an hourly basis when I'm consulting patients. People that eat really clean, they are working out, they're doing all the wellness stuff. They go to Air One, they do all the things you're supposed to do. That's me by the way. So I'm one of those people that I'm like, I eat cleaner than 9% of my friends. I work out, I stay healthy, I don't drink alcohol, I don't smoke. I have a very clean life, and I still had high forms of inflammation. I work with Mona Sharma, I didn't feel I loved Mona. So Mona's my health coach. - I love her. - And so my wife is my health coach too. She's been a dietitian and nutritionist and Ayurvedic health practitioner. So my wife and Mona kind of tag team on my life. - You're a good hands. - I'm very fortunate, but let's talk about that because I'm actually that person. I'm that person who's like, guys, I pretty much don't have any bad habits. So let's do our shameful mission. - Yeah, so that's 99% of my patients as well. You're not alone. You have very erudite people that are trying to do the best things that are probably most of them better off than they would be if they weren't doing these things, but there's these missing pieces. And what I explore with my patients and what I get to talk about in gut feelings is these missing physiological and psychological missing links to what is keeping you stuck at that plateau. What is keeping you back from leveling up how you want to feel. So shame formation is this convergence of the mental emotional and the physical. And really the conversation that I get to have with patients and I also get to have in this book in gut feelings is the fact that mental health is not separate from physical health. Mental health is physical health. And our brain is a part of our body just as much as anything else is. And as I mentioned earlier, the implications of the vagus nerve, the gut brain access and inflammation and its role in our health. But our thoughts and emotions on one end of that coin, stress, shame, trauma, even intergenerational trauma, that esoteric, non-measurable stuff impacts the measurable, meaning it will spike inflammation levels. It'll impact how your vagus do work. When our vagus nerve works, it'll impact how your hormones are expressed. So we have to look at what I call for my patients, shame formation. And what is our relationship with food? What is our relationship with our body? What is our relationship with ourselves? And start shifting paradigms around how we live life. Because you could be doing amazing things for your health, eating good foods, working out. But if you're going into it with such a sense of dread and obsession and something that I say in the book is you can't heal a body you hate. You cannot shame your way into health. And many people try to. And they're doing good things that even make sense on paper. But they're going into it with such a negative sense of-- - Intention. - Yeah, intention. It's sabotaging. It's producing a completely opposite result. So I wanna bring good things, but let's do it with a good intention. And that's what shame, and that's what shame, that concept is all about. - Yeah, I understood. What are some of the quick things that if anyone's thinking I'm feeling inflammation, what are some of the things in our physical, like things that we're consuming that are likely to cause inflammation?

The 4 food ingredients that are likely to disrupt the microbiome. (11:51)

- Yeah, so there's the physiological and the psychological again. So the physiological, let's go on that side. So that we start to the foods that we eat. I mean, every food we eat either feeds inflammation or fights it. So there's no neutral food. There's no Switzerland meal. It's serving your physiology. It's doing something. It's maybe an incremental waste, maybe a negligible waste, but it's some in very major ways. So we have to take inventory of every food we eat. Every meal is another opportunity to bring inflammation up or bring inflammation levels down. So what I call the inflammatory core for are the four foods or food ingredients that are most likely to disrupt that gut microbiome, all the trillions of bacteria in our gut that regulate our inflammation levels, regulate hormones, regulate our brain and neurotransmitters. So that's gonna be gluten containing grains would be number one. And I have a nuanced conversation about this. There are better versions of gluten. You can get ancient grains. You can get sourdough bread for men. Some of this, a lot of the foods that I'm gonna be talking about here are what we've done to the food, not necessarily the food in and of itself, but the sake of simplicity, gluten containing grains, looking at that in your life. Number two would be industrial seed oils, things I soybean oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, palm oil, exactly. Yeah. I've just been taking off a lot of those because that was somewhere where we hadn't got to yet. So I'm off palm oil, canola oil. I can only eat things in olive oil or avocado oil. Love it. Yeah. Thanks, Mona. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Thanks for that. Conventional dairy, I would say that, and added sugar, which is no surprise, I'm sure of people. But even the nice sounding euphemisms for sugar, you know, that are hidden very cleverly on labels, that they may be better for you options, and I'm not demonizing this entire sugar industry, but I'm saying, look at the amount of added grams of sugar you're consuming in a day. You may be surprised. So decreasing that, and if I could make the core four a plus one, I would add alcohol to that list, is people, oftentimes they eat cleaner, they clean up their diet, they know about the inflammatory core four, but they keep in alcohol in their life as like, oh, that's my one vice, but they are kept back. Their guts are still struggling. Their mental health is still struggling. Their energy levels, their weight loss resistance still struggling. So I would at least look at alcohols or roll into these as well, because it's becoming quite normalized within the wellness world specifically. And at the end of the day, there's no healthy amount of alcohol. There are better for you options, certainly, and I have to be pragmatic, but it's something that I would take into consideration. Yeah, no, that's great. I mean, that's so practical. And if the everyone is listening to that, I think we've all heard about a friend, I'm gluten free too, but I've heard about friends being gluten free. And just that, and we often laugh about these things. But it's interesting to hear just how simple it can be, right? These are not huge changes. None of these changes are like hard to find necessarily. These things are becoming more and more common at least at a grocery store. And we can start making healthier choices in a simple way. Let's talk a bit about gut microbiome, because so I recently had a surgery and I had to take a tramadol and a bunch of other stuff to let painkillers to try and deal with the pain. And Mona was like, "All right, we're gonna have to start "with your microbiome all over again after this is all over." What is that relationship between painkillers and all of that with our gut microbiome as well?

Be an empowered patient and know that you have a choice. (15:24)

Like, where's the connection there? Well, I mean, your gut is just a major regulator of so many different pathways in the body. So it is such a central role, but when you're taking either NSAIDs or antibiotics or other pain medications, they can really do a number on your gut. They can really impact the gut lining as well as the microbiome metropolis, this gut garden within our gastrointestinal system. So that doesn't mean we shouldn't be on those medications when they're properly prescribed. There are surgeries where you need to be on things like that. But just as Mona said, what are we gonna do afterwards? What's sort of the long game here to start supporting gut health again? Because pragmatically, those medications, just like certain foods and everything we do in life influences this gut garden. So there's some things that hurt it more than others. And especially people that are on medications, some medications long-term, specifically antibiotics, and some pain pill as well, they really can do quite good damage on the gut that we have to work on rehabilitating over time. - Yeah, and so that's just something to be conscious of as well. - Yeah, it's something to be conscious of. Talk with your doctor about, 'cause oftentimes there isn't a conversation about gut health when it's a no-take to see later. But I would just want to be empowered as a patient and be informed as to your options and have choice. - Yeah, and you've talked a bit about how the connection between alcohol and intuition, and I was intrigued by that.

What happens in your body when you drink alcohol regularly? (16:55)

Like what have you seen as the connection there that you-- - Well, I think again, as I mentioned earlier, I think alcohol, people don't want to go there, right? That's how they socialize. That's how they hang out with their friends. That's how they wind down. That's how they deal with the background, anxiousness. And they don't really want to see how this drink can impact how they feel and how they truly can know what their body loves, what their body doesn't love. So alcohol can impact both your body on both the physiological and the psychological level. It's gonna impact your gut microbiome, certainly. - What's it doing? What's happening? - It could do a few things. It's going to disrupt the microbiomes. The microbiome is, depending on the study that you look at, it's upwards of 100 trillion bacteria, and we have about 10 trillion human cells. So we are all about 10 times more bacteria than human. And when we drink alcohol, it is really, especially people that are consistently drinking, it is quite disruptive to this microbiome balance, and it can breed things like bacterial overgrowth. People, a lot of the times people that I talk to, they have something called SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. And alcohol is a component, certainly not the only driver of that, but it is a disruptor and breeder of bacterial overgrowth by messing up the balance of this microbiome component. And it also can increase intestinal permeability or what they call leaky gut syndrome. It's when the things are passing through the gut that shouldn't be able to pass through the gut, like undigested food proteins, bacterial toxins called lipopolysaccharides. And then that's the seminal event that a lot of things, when the immune system sees undigested food and bacterial toxins in the bloodstream, then there's something called molecular mimicry. It's sort of the case of mistaken identity when the immune system starts this cascade of inflammation, and that's what can trigger autoimmunity. When the immune system loses recognition of self, which I think that's happening on a physical level, but then you think about what's happening on a mental, emotional, spiritual level with so many people losing recognition of self. And we have this epidemic rise of autoimmune conditions, 50 million Americans at the very least have an autoimmune disease, millions more are somewhere on that autoimmune inflammation spectrum. So alcohol's implication in that is it really is something that allows, it can be a trigger for a lot of people, not only on a mental, emotional level, we know, but I think people's relationship with alcohol exists on a spectrum. And you may not be a full blown alcoholic, people need to look at themselves and say, how am I using this tool in my life? And is it in alignment with how I want to live my life? Is it in alignment with how I want to feel? - Yeah, that's a great message to get people to reflect on. - Yeah. - What, that was the physiological, what are some of the psychological things to be aware of? - Yeah. Well, I think the research around stress is very fascinating. I mean, we know when your body is in a state of stress, and look, the stress is normal, it is good in measured amounts. What I'm talking about here is chronic stress. It's that I'm being chased by this tiger, but there's no tiger. Many people are stuck in various degrees of sympathetic, fight or flight stressed state, and their body's in overdrive all the time. And we need a balance, we need the sympathetic nervous system, just as much as we need the parasympathetic, the resting, the digesting mechanism. But many people are just an over-extensuation of a sympathetic nervous system response. And cortisol levels coming up because their body is in that fight or flight mode. Cortisol is not inherently bad, just like inflammation is not inherently bad. We need inflammation to fight off viruses and bacteria and heal wounds, but it's the chronic inflammation, it's a problem. Same with chronic stress. Cortisol being high for too long is not good. That is, cortisol by itself is an endogenous immunosuppressant, which means it's a natural anti-inflammatory. So inflammation comes up, cortisol comes up, to try to abate and attenuate the higher inflammation levels and to help you, to actually get you out of that stressed state. But it's just unsustainable because there's no real threat from many people. But they're not sleeping well, they are eating out of alignment with what's working for their body. And they are, I would say, unhealthy relationships with technology and all of this. It'll be what researchers call an evolutionary mismatch. There's a genetic epigenetic mismatch. Our genetics haven't changed in 10,000 years. The whole world has changed very dramatically in a very finite period of time and you're putting that into context with the totality of human history. So if our genetics haven't changed in 10,000 years, just think of how much our world has changed in a few generations, whether it's the foods we eat or the foods we're not eating, our stress levels, our exposure to toxins, collective and individual trauma, all of these things are the confluence of factors, the perfect storm of variables that are giving rise to these inflammatory autoimmune, brain health, mental health problems. So the psychological side of how I see these stressors play out in people's lives is chronic stress, but it's a lot more nebulous, right? It's a lot more insidious because it's easy to say, don't eat those four foods because they're gonna spike inflammation. It's another thing to say, well, don't stress. And then they're stressing about not stressing. So you have to really like bring context and practical tools. And what I call them in the book is metaphysical meals because you need to treat these acts of stillness just like you would meal time, which I know we're on the same page here. You have to, just like you show up for breakfast, lunch and dinner or you show up to the gym, you need to start feeding your head and your heart just as much as you feed your body. And it's very much a part of healing. And you have to deal with both sides of the coin, both the physiological and psychological. So stress and whether that be bringing healthy boundaries in or having a better relationship with technology or prioritizing your sleep or bringing in self-care practices in your life that are nourishing to you, that are feeding you on a mental emotional level. That's just one, but there are many levels to that, but we have to look at both sides. - Yeah, no, definitely. Thank you so much for walking us through those. And if anyone's like me while I'm listening to that, whenever I sit down with someone who's an expert in this space, I'm like, there's a part of you that just gets more stressed because you go, "Oh God, I'm doing all the wrong things." Right? Like, and I'm sure people are listening or watching at home or at work. Or if you're traveling and you're going, "Gosh, I need to change so much." And I think that's kind of where our problems perpetuate because we go, "Okay, I need to change everything." And then we end up changing nothing. And I think that's always the issue, right? When you feel you want to change everything, you end up changing nothing. And as people are listening to this, like where's a good place for someone to start? Like, and I'm sure you work with so many people on this journey. And I always say to people, like, I don't think we have the real crisis we have in the world today is a crisis of habits and conditioning. Because most people I know know what they want to change or know who they want to be or how they want to change, they just can't make it through that path, right? They can't stick with it.

To achieve positive results, you have to start with the right headspace. (24:25)

So where's a good place for someone to start? They're listening right now and they're saying, "Dr. Wilkall, I can hear that I have a ton "of those physiological and psychological challenges. "I need to figure this out. "Where does someone start?" - I would first start with your headspace because it is, you do not have to be perfect, quote unquote. You don't have to have it all together to start making positive action in your life. And if you're waiting for the right time, it's now. 'Cause there's always gonna be some reason why we should put it off. 'Cause there's a vacation all the day around the corner. There's a birthday party. There's a whatever holiday around the corner. And that is many people have that paralysis of analysis. Oh, I'll start at the new year. Oh, I'll start at this state. But the reality is I find that there's exceptions to that rule of maybe there's a certain date within the next few weeks that's practical for you. But if you're looking at really putting it out in the calendar, I very rarely see people need to do that. Because I need you to realize that how are we gonna navigate through those times? 'Cause there's always gonna be something goes. And I would really, what I say is just lean into it. You don't have to have it all figured out because what I find is when you get the ball rolling and people get their head a little bit above water, they wanna keep doing the things and make them feel good. And they start to realize what I call in the book and for my patients, I call it food piece and body piece. Because I want people to not come into this wellness thing, whether improve their energy or improve their digestion or improve their brain health. I want them to see this as a form of self-respect. Using self-care as a form of self-respect. Because it's the sort of toxic dieting culture that tells us, well, you can't have that. There's a lot of shame around that, right? That's like very much breeding ground for shame, inflammation. That's the antithesis of sustainable wellness. The genesis of sustainable wellness is really realizing that you get to do things that make you feel good. And I said recently on social media that I think I think is the paradigm shift that I wanna say here is that continually eating foods that don't love you back is like staying in a toxic relationship and wondering why you're still miserable. But avoiding foods that don't love you back isn't restrictive itself respect. And that's, if you wanna talk about the first thing, it's having that pivotal paradigm shift to say, look, oh, I thought it was about all these things I can't have. No, have whatever you want. But I want people to love feeling great more than they thought they were gonna miss something that dimmed their light. So from that place of self respect, I find people make better choices for their life because if they're an algae that I use in the book is like if you realized you were a Lamborghini and not an old beat up gelopy, how would that impact how you fueled yourself? Owners of luxury vehicles know how to take care of their car. They don't need to be taught that. They're parking it way in the back. They are cleaning it, they're fueling it appropriately. Many people see themselves as the old lemon and not the luxury car. And that's the paradigm shift that I want people to have 'cause then all the rest falls in the place. They don't have to be perfect because they just wanna continue to pick themselves up and they have their why is bigger than their excuses. - That is such a good point. I'm so glad that you went there because there were a few points that I just wanna unpack for everyone. The first was, you said, to start with the headspace. And I think that's really powerful and everyone who's listening to on purpose right now is already naturally doing that by being here is because if you're stressed, you eat badly. And when you eat badly, you get more stressed and you get inflamed and then everything else they're using. And then you get more stressed and it's just this never ending cycle. And so when you figure out what's going on up here and then you can start changing what's happening here, it's a great way. So I think that was a fantastic point. The second thing that I really took away from that is this idea of self-respect and how we see ourselves. And it took me a long time to recognize what that really meant personally. So I grew up addicted to chocolate. I ate sugar, obviously. So I ate a chocolate bar, a chocolate biscuit, a chocolate yogurt and a chocolate ice cream, pretty much every day while I was a kid. Up until when I went to university where I would eat a chocolate bar and it's like a liter of Sprite every single day. Like that got me through university. And I was healthy and I was lean and whatever that meant, and you thought I'm fine. And then you start to see things not catch up with you, but you start to see the impact of certain things. And I think people still have this in there. Well, I just want to have fun. I just want to enjoy life. And I don't want to have to think about this. And I think what's so interesting is what you're saying is that that actually isn't enjoyment because it's damaging. And when you start realizing that the fun you are having is actually not fun genuinely for what's happening inside, you just can't see that part. And I think that took me a long time to connect that it's not like starving yourself and what you want. It's actually like your body doesn't actually want that. Which takes so long to kind of fix our mind because we're so conditioned to believe that. Oh, I love pizza and I love this and I love that. It's like, well, you don't, you've just been conditioned through your tastes. Like I always talk about one of my friends, their kids look forward to blueberries and grapes as their reward. 'Cause that's how they've been brought up. Like for them, like blueberries are like sour patch kids. Right. Right. Like that's their sour patch kid. Because for me, it was sour patch kids. It's actually sour patch kids. Which are terrible for me. And I still love them. And when I go to the theater, my wife really has to like, and so my wife was the one who helped me change my habits. When she met me, she goes, you can't eat chocolate every day. Like you can't have that. She was like, once a week, you can't have every day. And it took me ages, and then we got there and then she replaced it with monk fruit. And I used to eat these cacao nibs, sweetened with monk fruit. Now I've got to a point where if I'm at home, I'm barely, I don't remove refined sugars from my diet. And it took a long process. And now I found actually when I go back and have an indulgent dessert, it doesn't taste as good to me. And that was a huge journey for me. I was like, oh wow, it's not. And sometimes I'll still crave like a burger. I really like juicy fried burger and I'm plant based. So I'm talking about plant based burgers. And when I have it, I'll actually not enjoy the feeling afterwards. I'm like, I actually didn't miss that at all. And so I don't know if that aligns with what you've been saying, but I was just trying to give a very genuine reflection of dealing with a lot of these vices myself. - Absolutely. And I think a lot of people can resonate with that.

Here’s the trick to using food as a mindfulness tool. (31:14)

And like that's that repairing that gut feelings connection that I'm talking about. You know, the gut and the feelings, those things that were changing on a physiological level when you start cleaning up your diet, eating nutrient dense foods, regulating your blood sugar, lowering inflammation levels, supporting your gut health. And then also when you make that connection, you go back to those foods and you may not like them at all. I hear that many times for patients and they're shocked. Like these things that they loved, things that they thought they couldn't live without, they couldn't, they say, I could take it or leave it. - Yeah. - That's food piece. It's like that you're not bound by that food. If you want to have it, have it. But I would just say use all food as a mindfulness tool. - Yeah. - Eat it consciously. Did it love you back? Maybe it didn't love you back. But you love socializing with your friends or it brought you some enjoyment in the moment. And it was worth the payoff of maybe the bloating or the inflammation. Then eat it and move on. Shame is worse than any food. But maybe you take it and eat it mindfully and realize afterwards, no, it actually wasn't worth it. So maybe next time I'll have less of it or I won't have it at all because like you said, like cacao nibs and monk fruit, there's so many better options that taste really freaking amazing. - Absolutely, yeah. - You don't have to eat like a boring rabbit to be healthy. - Absolutely, yeah. I've been loving the Who Kitchen bars as well. - Oh, that's so good. - They're so good, like. - That's one of the sad parts of New York City's Hugh Kitchen closed down. I mean they had a restaurant here. - Oh, no way, yeah, I remember that place, yeah. - The pandemic took it out. - Oh, wow, their bars are amazing. - Yeah, they're still alive and strong with the chocolate bars. - Yeah, yeah, yeah, they're chocolate bars, great. But yeah, I feel like they're, you're so right that there are so many other alternatives, so many other places that you can discover new things. And even spending time with friends, like recently, I've been trying to, and of course, there's access here and things that are in your city, but I found like, like my wife, she'll go to a workout class with a lot of her friends and that's like their way of socializing together. Or me and my wife will go do a cold plunge together or go find an infrared sauna together or something like that where even doing health and wellness with friends has actually become a fun way of socializing where it was easy to be like, "Oh, let's just walk out for dinner." Which by the way, I still love to do it. It's not that we don't do it, but it's the idea of there are so many alternative ways to spend time together where your friendship actually improves too. It's now you're not just doing dinner in a movie every time. So I think there's, I just think the idea of experimenting is healthy. Whether you went to a cold plunge and enjoyed it or not, that's up to you, but the idea that you want to try something new with your friends, I promise you, whatever you do, trying something new with the people you love is gonna be a win either way. - Yeah, absolutely. And I think that that's a key point too. When people want to start making healthy choices, they're afraid of it changing their, what they do for fun. Or changing their relationships. I mentioned alcohol. Well, everything I do with my friends is centered around unhealthy food and alcohol. What's that gonna look like? You know, if they're your true friends, they're gonna be there for you. And I've seen so many people start bringing the healthy food to the party and really being a light. - It's my wife. - How do you guys describe it in my life? - And people are like, wait, what? This is healthy? What the heck? Because it really shifts hearts and minds around this, or maybe you go to the cold plunge. And they never, they thought it was weird at first. But now they all want to do it. People want to feel good. It's just because it's been done over and over again, doesn't mean you have to keep doing it. Like start leveling up and be the leader for your friend group. Because it really... - Everyone, thank you in the long term. - For sure, for sure. And I've seen whole family and friend groups change because of one person deciding, I want to live a different way. I want to start doing things that love me back. - Yeah, trust me, in the beginning, my male ego with my wife telling me, my wife would see me like grab a chocolate by putting my mouth in my mouth. She'd just give me the look. And everyone would be like, "J, are you literally "gonna let her do that?" And I'm like, she's actually doing it for my own good. Like, I feel so much happier since I've let go, you know, of refined sugar. Like, it's made such a big difference in my life. And I've still got a long way to go. I'm working on lots of different things, but yeah. No, I love that. I wanted to ask you because I feel like you're one of the few people that actually talks about this connection. How are hormones the internal communication system for the body?

The science behind the condition we often refer to as hormonal problems. (35:40)

Because I feel like hormones are not talked about enough. And there's not enough of a conversation about them, but that's been something you've been leading. - Sure. And that's part of the psychological, sorry, the physiological side of things that the psychological impact. So hormones are kind of akin to biochemical emails. And if you look at your body as this sort of corporation, the different systems of the body are not always communicating appropriately. They're either communicating too much because the body's in that sympathetic nervous system overdrive, where it's cortisol levels is being really secreting quite a bit. We have what's called the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. So this is something that we can quantify with patients via labs and see cortisol levels and cortisol circadian rhythm issues. Cortisol is too high when it should be low. It should be a nice S-shaped curve where it's always low or it's always high. And it's that imbalance, that breaking of the Goldilocks principle. It's homeostasis. It's, you don't want hormones too high. You don't want hormones too low, but you want them high when they should be high and they should be low. Just like our gut microbiome bacteria, just like inflammation levels, it's all subject to this love of Goldilocks principle. So it's really hormones are a major influencer in how we want to feel, but both the physiological and the psychological will impact how hormones are expressed. So if somebody has an unhealthy gut, if they have things like chronic infections, I deal a lot with people that have chronic Lyme disease and people that have mold toxicity quite often because they have different genetic variants that make them more sensitive to things like auto and immune problems. So we can find and measure this on labs, higher levels of mold toxins, Lyme bacteria, different environmental toxins like glyphosate in the body, that's shifting their nervous system in that stress state as well. That's gonna really impact hormones tremendously. So then I can measure hormones on a hormonal test, which I would, and you'll see cortisol levels all off. You'll see typically estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, very low, sometimes estrogen will be high with estrogen dominance. But for the most part, when you're in a sympathetic fight or flight stress, say most hormones will be sluggish, they'll be in the low end of normal or really low. But then if you just saw the hormones happening in a vacuum, you'd think, well, it's a hormonal problem. Well, no, there's a bigger context as to why the hormones were off in the first place. So that's why context matters when it comes to all these different aspects of health, but supporting hormones are certainly imperative when you're talking about somebody's mood, when you talk about somebody's gut feelings, hormones are those biochemical emails. So I have to measure them, I have to optimize them. Thyroid is another major player too, because many people, they're just getting basic thyroid labs. They're not really getting complex thyroid labs. So we have to really look at the complexity of thyroid hormone metabolism. - But is this something that like, at least, and I'm asking as somebody who was born and raised in London, obviously, like how much of this is accessible in the United States or across the world? Like, how do people ask for these labs? Where do they get them? Because I was one of those people for years that got check-ups done and got my blood test done and things like that. And they'd always be like, "J, you're fine." And I was like, "But I don't feel fine." Like, I know something's going on. And they were like, "No, you may be a bit stressed." And I'm like, "Yeah, I'm sure I am, but it's more like I can feel something." And it took till I started working with Darshan at Next Health. I don't know if you know, Next Health. - I've heard of that. - Yeah, Next Health's an incredible facility in LA, but again, it's something that requires like access and it's expensive. It's not easy, it's in LA, it's in Miami, it's not something that everyone can access. And so I go, "Well, how does someone get those tests?" And the same as me, I was just told for ages, I was told, "Oh, maybe you're stressed. Just relax a little bit." And I'm like, "No, I don't feel right." So how does someone get those tests?

Dr. Will explains the different conventional tests incorporated in functional medicine. (39:39)

How does someone get that detail? I know Vyum's a great source, the gut test that they send to your house and you do the stool test. But yeah, how do people get access to that? - Yeah, I think we're living in a time where there's still a massive gap to democratize this where it should be. But in the past 12 plus years, I've seen a lot improving. And the reality is most of the thyroid labs in the hormonal tests actually are conventional tests, meaning their mainstream tests that if you ask your doctor, your conventional PCPGP-- - They will do it, they have to do it. - They can do it, they can decline doing it. But if you have a decent relationship with your doctor and if it's clinically appropriate, they should be able to run this panel, even if it's slightly outside of what their routine labs. 'Cause look, the conventional model of care is largely trained to diagnose the disease and match it with the medication. So it's the extra labs, the other labs that we run in functional medicine is slightly superfluous to a conventional medicine doctor because if it's not gonna change the treatment, why would they run it? For example, to use the thyroid as an example, they just need a TSH, a thyroid stimulating hormone and maybe a T4 to give the person that levothyroxin, that's in-throid, that pharmaceutical thyroid replacement hormone, okay, so that's all that they need. So if we want to look at all the other conventional thyroid labs, they are available, but if the end result's still gonna be that medication, then why would they run it? So I understand it from a model side of things. But these are conventional tests. Most of the ones that I'm talking about are very widely accessible and offset through insurance are completely covered by insurance. They just have to be ran and coded appropriately and be clinically appropriate for you. So full thyroid panel, something called thyroid stimulating hormone like I mentioned, T4, but then what we would add in functional medicine is total T3, something called free T3, free T4, and then what are called thyroid antibodies. The leading drivers of low thyroid function in the West are autoimmune in nature. Hashimoto's disease or autoimmune thyroiditis is the most common autoimmune disease as a whole, let alone the most common driver of low thyroid function. So we have to run thyroid peroxidase and thyroid globulin to see because in that case, it's not truly a primary thyroid problem. The thyroid problem is because the immune system has lost recognition of self again and is attacking it. So engraves disease is the other type of autoimmune thyroid problem. And then I have to run with called reverse T3, which in states of inflammation, your body can make these basically thyroid break molecules that slow down thyroid function. So the point being it's a lot more complex than just a TSH and to make it more accessible. And I mean, that's what we've done for the past 12 years is try to make this as democratized as it can be, to decentralize this so people can have agency over their health and be empowered with this information. It's their body. They have a right to know. So we have different telehealth models to make it accessible for people. And there's a lot of direct to consumer labs to be honest with you. Even if you don't have access to a functional medicine doctor or if you don't want a functional medicine doctor, there are great labs. There's one called Inside Tracker. I have no connection to these brands. Inside Tracker and base are two that I've had them on my podcast before. They are brilliant and you don't need a doctor for it. So you could just order it yourself. - And it's just good to know, right? This is so useful because I think it's good to know what to ask for, what to look for. I think as someone, I consider myself, someone who's fairly uneducated as a recipient, as a patient of these things. - Yeah. - Because until you study yourself, I would say, until I started studying myself and reading myself and interviewing people that I wanted to learn from, I had a very limited understanding because that's how I grew up. And so I think for me, at least I find it very interesting to be like, okay, well, these are the tests I need to ask for. These are the tests I can do. Because even the other thing I want to ask you is, what are the most missed, healthy food intolerances?

What is the approach to food when it comes to functional medicine? (43:39)

Because that's a whole nother thing that I think we're not aware of. - So the inflammatory core four that I mentioned, that's an obvious one. But I wouldn't even call those healthy foods, right? I mean, most of them are really processed, refined, boxed foods. But I would say the healthy food sensitivity is the food intolerances, the food reactions. And this is really pertinent to most of the people that I talk to because they are eating better than most people, but they're still struggling. So the number one, and let me bring a caveat to all of these foods. It's not necessarily these foods fault. The heart of what I do in functional medicine is bio-individuality. And even healthy foods, what works for one person may not be right for you. And I would say also, what serves you today and what your body loves now, if we're actually fixing the problem of why you had the problem in the first case, then over time, you'll be able to do more things. So I'm gonna say these foods with that preface. 'Cause don't be fearful of these foods. Don't become orthorexic, which is a massive problem within wellness. That's orthorexia sort of disordered eating around healthy foods. That is not what I'm trying to convey here. So that's important to know. But also, for the people that are struggling with these issues, it could be a massive game changer for them, 'cause they may be thinking, oh, I've been doing what I thought was healthy, but I was unintentionally sabotaging my health. So number one, people that have SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth that I mentioned. It's linked to things like anxiety and depression, it's linked with other autoimmune problems. It's also the leading cause of things like IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, it's linked to bloating, uncomfortable bloating. People will tell me they feel like they're nine months pregnant, even though they're not pregnant, as far as uncomfortable bloating, and things like acid reflux and GERD. So there's a class of foods that are known as higher fod map foods. Fod maps is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which is just a verbose way of saying fermentable sugars. So things like onions and garlic, really healthy foods, right? Christopher's vegetables, like broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, really healthy foods, but they're all higher in these fermentable sugars. So people that are thinking they're doing the good things with SIBO. - I've done that for so long. - Yeah, we want those people. - Onions and garlic, and they're getting so bloated, they're getting so much gastrointestinal upset. So look, is the problem, the iPod, - No, I get it, yeah. - You need to heal the SIBO so you can bring those high fod maps in. - Yes, yeah. - So fod maps to be a lot for our people that are probably a lot of our listeners right now. It's just people that are very well-read, but they're still struggling with these problems. They're eating healthier, but they're still struggling. So look at higher fod maps and potentially look at SIBO as the driver of that fod map intolerance. And then I'm mentioning a lot of people that have mold toxicity, mycotoxins is what they're called. Higher mold foods can perpetuate flare-ups too. So a lot of grains, even healthy grains, like gluten, even gluten-free grains, can be higher in mold, coffee can be higher in mold, wine. Other alcohols can be higher in mold. And people that have a sensitized immune system should look, if they have a mold problem, look at foods that could potentially contain mold. And then another one that I see are higher histamines. Foods that are higher histamines or histamine liberators or histamine releasing foods can definitely be problematic for people that have SIBO, these gastrointestinal gut problems and people that have, I mean, there's other symptoms of histamine and tolerance, like anxiety, because you're gut and brain, there's gut feelings connection again here. People that have lots of kombucha, people that have lots of bone broth, people that have lots of fermented pickled foods, even avocados can be higher in histamines. So these are the gray areas that we need to look at. - Yeah, but that's why you need to diagnose yourself effectively. - Right. - And or if you're doing all the things and still struggling, these are the areas you need to look at to say, what are these check engine lights in my life? Why is my body reacting to kombucha? It's not kombucha's fault. But is it the body telling me that this is releasing histamines right now? And then I have to ask the question, why do I have histamine intolerance in the first place? Which unresolved trauma can be part of that? SIBO, mold toxins can be a part of that. Chronic Lyme, the psychological and the physiological. So this is what I see sadly play out in people's lives, but it's only sad until you find out and give it, when you give them answers, then it's anything but sad. Cause then it's this ahauma and I'm like, "Wow, I can do something about it." - I mean, that's exactly how I feel. Like everything you've been talking about, like this is the journey I've been on, because it's that feeling of I feel healthy, to that feeling of recognizing, wow, there's so much about health that I did not understand, then getting accurate tests that actually tell you what's going on, because I think there's a lot of like, oh, you just need a bit of this, or you need a bit of that, and that doesn't work. Like the accurate testing is such an important part of this, because then the recommendations can be healthier. I think a lot of recommendations are just based on basic symptoms, and that doesn't necessarily always go the right way. And then of course, consistency in the recommendation, that feels like the full journey. - Absolutely, and I think, look, if what you're doing is working for you, and you feel great, don't look for problems where there isn't any. - Of course. - But I think we have an epidemic rise of people that are doing all the things that are really compliant, people that are doing things that doctors are telling them to do, - Totally. - But they're still spinning their wheels. That's what I'm talking about here. We have to do better here. So I think that these are what I find clinically to be missing links for people, then they fix a few things, and it really kind of allows their body to take their health to the next level, and start feeling the way they want to feel. And when you start repairing these things, whether it's repairing their gut health, or regulating their nervous system, or whatever we're talking about here, all of those foods I just mentioned, almost all of them can be reintroduced. So temporarily, maybe avoid them, but longer term, let's fix the problem that drove it in the first place. - Yeah, everyone make sure that you grab the book, gut feelings, and subscribe to the Art of Being Well podcast by Will. Doctor, what call, I just wanted to ask you, is there anything that you haven't shared on today, or something that is on your heart, your mind, or in your gut that you feel like you need to share, that we haven't touched upon? - No, man, I really appreciate the opportunity. It's been great. I have to have you on the art of being well. - I'd love to, I'd love to. But no, this has been so useful, because I think you've given us a very 360 degree approach of so many different aspects of our health. Of course, everyone can read the book, gut feelings, to go in depth on all of this, and listen to the podcast, to understand more about everything we've discussed today. And I hope this is the first to many times, we'll sit down and get to do this. But thank you so much.

Closing Remarks

Dr. Will on Final Five (50:34)

We end every episode with a final five, which are the fast five rounds. So you have to answer these in one word, or one sentence, maximum. So you can do one sentence. - All right, one word in one sentence, kind of nervous, let's go for it. - Okay, question of all one, what's the best health advice you've ever received or heard? - It's what I actually said earlier, it's one that I'm always telling myself, and I'm telling my patients, is you can't heal a body you hate. It's a pointer to work that we need to do. It's reframing our relationship with our body, and with food, and with wellness itself. - Love that. Question number two, what's the worst piece of health advice you've ever heard or received? - Well, the antithesis of that, that somehow you're going to shame your way into wellness. It's not gonna work. - Yeah. - Question number three, something you used to value for your health, but you don't anymore? - Probably taking tons of supplements. I have a simplified version, I know what I feel the best on. So to me, food is first, supplements are a great bonus, targeted 100%, but food is primary. So I think streamlining and figuring out what are the biggest needle movers for myself is definitely that for me. - That's a great answer. Question number four, what's your current purpose in life? - Mm. It's hopefully being a light for God, and it is, and what that means for me, is just hopefully staying in my lane in the best of ways, and just enabling me to bring hope to people that are really struggling with silent health problems, and I get to see it play out all the time. This is more than a sentence, but I love what I get to do. - That's beautiful. - That's a fifth and final question. If you could create one law that everyone in the world had to follow, what would it be? - Be kind and think before you speak. - A health law? Have any health rules? - That will help people's social diseases, right? And social relationship disorders bring about physical disorders too, but if you want something a little bit more on a micro level, I would say a law, you said a law to people should live by. I would say use food, eat foods that love you back, and find out what they are, be curious about what they are, because when you focus on that, the rest of the stuff kind of is put into perspective. - Yeah, I love that. Dr. Will Cole, everyone in the book, is called Gut Feelings. The podcast is called The Art of Being Well. Dr. Will Cole on Instagram as well, make sure you follow him. Everyone has been watching or listening. Make sure that you tag me and Dr. Will Cole on Instagram on TikTok on Twitter. Let us know what resonated with you, what you're gonna try, what you're gonna try and shift. Remember, you don't have to change everything all at once. Just gonna try to put one thing into practice and watch how your life changes. Thank you so much for being here, so grateful for you, and I love this conversation. - Likewise. - If you love this episode, you will enjoy my interview with Dr. Daniel Ayman on how to change your life by changing your brain.

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