The Revolution of Regeneration in Body, Mind, and Planet
The Revolution of Regeneration in Body, Mind, and Planet

“The decisions you make today in body, mind, and spirit are going to impact your tomorrow, and you need to take action."

- Jordan Rubin

Elizabeth welcomes Jordan Rubin, one of America’s most recognized and respected natural health experts. As the Co-Founder and CEO of Ancient Nutrition and founder of Garden of Life, Jordan is an eco-entrepreneur, best-selling author, and founder of Heal the Planet Farm and the Ancient Nutrition Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Sustainability. Jordan first shares his profound health journey of battling Crohn's and Colitis, and other illnesses as a young man, eventually healing himself through dietary changes, probiotics, and lifestyle modifications. He discusses the top superfoods that helped his recovery like grass-fed meat, bone broth, cultured dairy, eggs, and avocado. Jordan also highlights Ancient Nutrition's mission of using regenerative organic farming practices across their 4000+ acre farms to heal both people and the planet through nutrient-dense, sustainable products.

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    Elizabeth Stein 00:00
    Hi, everyone. I'm Elizabeth Stein, founder, and CEO of Purely Elizabeth. And this is Live Purely with Elizabeth, featuring candid conversations about how to thrive on your wellness journey.

    This week's guest is Jordan Rubin, one of America's most recognized and respected natural health experts. He's a New York Times bestselling author of The Maker’s Diet and 26 additional titles including his latest work Essential Fasting, and eco entrepreneur, author and lecturer on health and nutrition. Jordan is the founder of Garden of Life and co founder of Ancient Nutrition, where he currently serves as CEO. Jordan is the founder of Heal the Planet Farm and the Ancient Nutrition Center for regenerative agriculture and sustainability, located in southern Missouri and Middle Tennessee. In this episode, we dive into Jordan's incredible health journey to heal himself after battling Crohn's, Colitis, and a host of other illnesses and having a near death experience. He eventually recovered and healed himself for Ancient Nutrition, probiotics and lifestyle changes. Jordan shared some of his top favorite superfoods to heal and his mental health tips for overcoming illness and getting into a positive mindset. He also discusses the mission behind his brand Ancient Nutrition, one of the top supplement brands in the US whose mission is to heal the planet through organic regenerative farming practices. We talk about the importance of regenerative farming as it relates to soil health and our gut health. This was such an interesting episode, keep listening to learn more. And to try out their products, which I immediately went and bought their Trinity probiotic, use code PURELYELIZABETH20 for 20% off at Enjoy.

    Jordan, welcome to the podcast. It is such a pleasure to have you on and you are just doing so many amazing things in the industry. So I can't wait to pick your brain about it.

    Jordan Rubin 01:59
    Thanks for having me excited to chat.

    Elizabeth Stein 02:03
    Want to start with your wellness journey? It certainly had a profound effect on the trajectory of your life and your career. So let’s start with that wellness journey and take us back to the beginning.

    Jordan Rubin 02:17
    Elizabeth, I don't know if there's any other industry where so many founders of companies, so many practitioners, and wellness coaches, started their journey based on their health transformation. I think it's truly amazing that more often than not, we're looking to solve our problems. And then we're blessed to share the answers with others.

    Elizabeth Stein 02:40
    It's an industry filled with so many passionate people. That’s why it’s the best industry.

    Jordan Rubin 02:44
    With me was a little different because I was born into the industry. My dad is a naturopathic doctor and a chiropractor. So kind of a very early adopter. He was at the first naturopathic school in the second half of the 20th century, so naturopaths pretty much died out in the early 1900s. And then in the 70s, it came back. So he was a naturopathic student in Portland, Oregon at what is now National University, and the very first class I was delivered by four naturopathic students there, with their OB-GYN curriculum, so to speak, or practicum. My mom says she gave them a D-, but apparently, I was born, as I like to say, with a silver sprout in my mouth. So I did become a kid in the health industry in the mid-70s and early 80s. I gotta tell you, Elizabeth, your cereal would have crushed back then. The stuff that we ate as kids was awful. It was humiliating. I don't understand how bad it could be thinking back but it made you glad it was Christmas only once a year. I like to say that the number one health lie that hippie Health Nut parents tell their kids is carob tastes just as good because I did a whole different theme if you will. So I grew up in the health space.

    Elizabeth Stein 04:09
    So where are you growing up in Oregon? Or where did you grow up?

    Jordan Rubin 04:12
    I moved around a lot. So Oregon to New York, to Georgia, and then settled in Florida for most of my childhood. So that's where I was, or as my family would say Florida, it just depends on how you want to pronounce it. So I was there for most of my life kind of 6 to 35, something like that. And I grew up as an outcast when it came to healthy eating. And the food was horrible. The health food stores were sort of cobwebs and total weirdness. And I ate a certain way at home. But when I left home, I was all too eager to “cheat” on my diet. So I can tell you that as a youth I did not own the message. I didn't internalize the message And that may have led to health challenges as I became a late teenager. So I was extremely healthy, and athletic. I was on scholarship at college and my freshman year towards the end of it. I was at a youth camp in the summer as a counselor and I developed digestive symptoms, thinking about the 100-plus degree weather and the horrible camp, maybe it was food poisoning, but it was worse than that. And so I ended up getting very sick, losing weight. But for me being 18, turning 19 years old, there was nothing other than me going back to school for my sophomore year. So whatever it took, I was gonna go back, get some antibiotics, which was rare for me, go back to college, got increasingly worse, had high fevers, and had horrible stomach pain. And that even felt like I broke my hip, or it came out. I had like joint pain and all kinds of issues. And I called my parents in an emergency, I just said, “I haven't told you how bad I am, I need to come home.” And so I flew home, I had 104 Or five fever. My dad made an ice tub for me this was before cold plunging was cool, by the way, and just put me in there. I come from a Jewish family. And I think you might be able to relate, there's a lot of, let's just say, negativity might be some way to put it. But my dad left the bathroom with me and an ice bath down to 140 ish pounds, screaming, “My God, I don't want my son to die.” So not exactly the most sort of encouraging message. But that began Elizabeth a two-year journey that saw me lose everything important to me at the time I was ill and diagnosed with Crohn's Colitis, which was an embarrassing disease, that most hadn't heard of, at the time, we're talking about ‘94-‘95. So it was quite a long time ago. And I didn't want my friends to come around, I sort of was the life of the party. But then I became the death of every conversation, I feel like, and being taken care of by my parents, like an infant, multiple hospitalizations. I still kind of thought this was going to go away in a week or two, and I was going back to college, and you're going to live my life. But when the disease settled in, I cried out to God and I said, whatever this is, if you can heal me, I'm going to spend the rest of my life helping people even if it's just one person, avoiding disease or getting over an incurable illness, I realize now I'm not an immortal teenager, and your health is the most important thing you have. So I was in the depths of despair. I did one thing, Elizabeth, that I'm so thankful for. I asked my mom to take my photograph at my worst, which she did. And I don't know if you have access to putting that up. If somebody wants to just search for my name, Jordan Rubin. I'll warn you. There's another Jordan Rubin who writes horror films. And my kids call him the bad Jordan Rubin and his kids call me the weird Jordan Rubin. So I had that picture taken because I had enough faith that I was going to be healed. And I wanted the world to see that miracle. And Elizabeth, this was the days before Photoshop and digital photos. So we're talking about an old-school photograph that had a negative and the whole shebang. So that good old days was a, I would say, the spark that fueled my healing. It was amazing that I had the small amount of faith to do it because I was so miserable. So desperate, I visited 70 medical experts in two years. I tried everything, from macrobiotics to vegan to mostly animal nothing worked. It was about two years into my illness that I met a man who told me that if I followed a health plan based on the Bible, proven through history and confirmed by science, I could be well. And oddly enough, having read the Bible many times, I never remembered reading about carrot juice or push-ups but I was able to, with help put together, a plan that you would call today a real food animal-based diet. Not saying carnivore but very much consuming animal foods that you would consider, I guess, kosher. I don't use that term very much. But I avoided pork and shellfish. I started consuming raw cultured dairy, learned about A2, and all this stuff that is now actually becoming popular sprouted grains, and sourdough breads.

    Elizabeth Stein 09:51
    And I think I've heard that this person was Perfect Bars.

    Jordan Rubin 09:55
    Yes, his name was William Bud Keith and when I left Florida to live with him in San Diego, he had a little army of children, he had 12, making these little bars in their kitchen with a rolling pin. He called them bud bars at the time or packs bars, which stood for peace in Greek. But later that family, his oldest son from that wife, this is a very interesting story, by the way. She was the founder of the perfect snacks that we know of today. So yeah, he was 12 years old. And he is about 42. We were just texting this morning.

    Elizabeth Stein 10:33
    How did you find his dad to begin with?

    Jordan Rubin 10:37
    my dad was desperate, and he had a lot of colleagues because he was in the health service. So he ended up talking to a financial person, a planner. And he said, “I need to keep a certain amount of money liquid because my son needs a lot of treatments. And most of them are not covered by insurance.” And this financial planner said, I know a man who works miracles in California with incurable diseases. So Elizabeth, believe it or not, there are many of these stories. It sounds crazy. But yeah, it was a miracle. So I met this man, I flew out to California in a wheelchair, and a combination of this diet. Plus, these probiotics that we would call soil-based organisms that I have been using for almost 30 years. I started my first company Garden of Life based on that, I'll say, technology and then followed on to Ancient Nutrition. And we still recommend SPO probiotics today. But that combination saw me get well in 40 days. And in 12 weeks, just like Bud Keith told me, I was working out on the beach in San Diego, back to my old self. I also have this photo online called the after picture. And it was amazing. Even though I had my “old life” back again, I had a new mission and passion. And that is to heal the planet, feed the world, and eradicate disease or in a compliant fashion, we say transform health. And I've been doing that for 27 years.

    Elizabeth Stein 12:13
    It's such an incredible journey that you've had. And, amazingly, you've been able to take that and you felt it at that young age that this was gonna be your life's calling and truly be able to now do that through both those companies. So we'd love to talk a little bit about some of those top superfoods that you recommend and also some of the lifestyle tips because it's not just what we eat, but also how we live. But before we get into that, I'm curious to hear for someone who goes to 70 doctors and you're having this really difficult time in your life where you're trying million things, ot's not working, you're not feeling well, it can be so easy to be hopeless, to give up. What tips can you share for really someone who's going through some health challenge. Not all of us are born with that, like optimism, and the ability to be positive any tips around how to best get our mindset and mental capacity there?

    Jordan Rubin 13:07
    This was not the result of me being a positive person. I would say that I am someone who now very much focuses on positivity and believing the best but back then for two years, I didn't smile. I didn't laugh. Literally a friend of mine, my college roommate came to my house and he played the Dumb and Dumber DVD for me or probably a fact that I didn't even laugh. Now sadly, I quote, Dumb and Dumber all too often. Like some of our '80s kids do. One thing that was really important to me is this concept of faith and then of hope. I had faith enough to know that I could get well. But I didn't have hope until this man Bud infused it into me. He said, “Jordan, not only are you going to be well, you're gonna be working out on the beach in 90 days. And together, we're going to change the world. We're going to start a farm we're going to start a business.” It was so amazing. And I literally look forward to talking to him almost like water in a desert. Because I was in my parents home being taken care of like an infant, I tried 69 medical experts all said they could help me, none of them did. I was on medicines for about a year and they didn't even work and they we didn't believe in them. But I was so desperate. I was down to 104 pounds and I'm six feet tall. I had a resting heart rate of 275. My adrenals were burned out I had every like 19 illnesses. So when I went to California, I was understandably negative and I also frowned a lot. My family being Jewish, we didn't speak a lot of Hebrew we spoke a lot of Yiddish and Yiddish has tons and tons of ways to say negative things, but ungabluzen. So I said, “Well, I'm just ungabluzen.” And he said, “No more uncle blues.” And in fact, I don't want to hear you say anything negative, I don't want my kids to hear it. You need to speak life. And something amazing dawned on me, Elizabeth, which I don't share off, and I'm so glad you asked. I realized that I was trying to get to this destination of healing, like I wanted to be healed and disease free. But the truth is, I wasn't feeling sick every second, maybe every five minutes, I would have a horrible cramp. Or I would have to run to the bathroom, again, embarrassing disease. But I started thanking God for the moments, I was not feeling pain. And it seemed like they extended from five minutes to 10 to an hour. And along with the diet, that mind shift of focusing on what you want, instead of focusing on the disease, and I've learned after coaching people in their health for the last 27 years, that most people who are sick, they're not as concerned about the immediate pain or the challenges they're facing, they're concerned about how much worse it's going to get. Am I going to die? Am I going to be incapacitated? Am I going to feel so much worse than I do now? What's going to happen to my family, and I had to take time to really relive the past in my mind, get over the fact that the past is the past that I wasn't going to just do everything I thought I was going to do. And I really started embracing a new life. And I realized that these challenges I was facing, weren't just for me to learn, but for me to share. I knew that there was somebody that I was going to be able to help. And that was really important. And I know this sounds aspirational. And people might say, well, Jordan, it's easy for you to say you've written books, and you've studied and got this degree of that degree. At the end of the day, I was a kid that exhausted all options. My family was devastated. I didn't want my friends to come around anymore. I had no money, I was living in a motor home by the beach illegally. I just knew what I wanted. I activated my faith with action. If you sit there and say woe is me, I'm going to sit here and hope a doctor is going to fix me or hope the government's gonna fix my situation, you're in trouble. You need to, first of all, believe that nothing is incurable. The decisions you make today and body, mind and spirit are going to impact your tomorrow. And you need to take action. I gotta tell you, Elizabeth, when you're in bed, feel like you're dying, when you look like a skeleton or what people would say a concentration camp, holocaust survivor. That's how I've been described in my before picture, you have every reason to mope, to be ungabluzen, as they say. But I had that one step of faith that my mom take my photo. And then when I really started getting well, my mindset shifted to believe that I should imagine what I want, instead of what I fear. If you have a cancer diagnosis, and you talk about cancer 1000 times a day, and when you're gonna die, according to WebMD, I believe you're going to aid in that demise. But if you talk about your healing, you talk about what you're going to do with your life and how you're going to use this, I'll call it tragedy for a testimony, then I do you believe that is so valuable in healing.

    Elizabeth Stein 18:39
    Yeah, I think that mindset shift is so key. I actually just had your partner on the podcast, Dr. Axe and talking about his new book about mindset. So anyone interested in that to go deeper, there's such great tips in there. And it's incredible what our mind can do to heal the body. And both taking those mindsets and then marrying that with the other lifestyle and food recommendations. So let's dive into some of that. Let’s start with food and what some of maybe your top five superfoods that really helped to heal you. And that today, you really recommend for people to be incorporating in their diet.

    Jordan Rubin 19:19
    Absolutely. And by the way, I've lived these principles and consume these foods and fed them to my family of eight for the last 27 years. So they're the same today as they were. I'm going to start with grass fed or wild meat. I do believe it's having a renaissance moment, which is great. I think it's critical for rebuilding tissue that is damaged or degraded. I'm gonna go right along with that and say bone broth, or chicken, beef or fish soup, very critical to healing the gut joints, etc. So those are obviously two animal based options. I do firmly believe that many people can thrive on raw, pasture-raised dairy products and/or low temperature pasteurized A2 fermented dairy. So think of sheep milk, yogurt, goat milk, yogurt, or cheeses, or there's dairy that is specifically labeled A2. Our friends, the Alexanders have that with their amazing brand, and there are several others. So I think that that is critical room as a source of protein, including peptides that can rebuild the body. You also have excellent forms of fats, including butyric acid, and it's delicious. Now, mind you, not everybody can tolerate dairy, even raw grass fed A2 cultured, but more people can tolerate it than they believe. And in fact, Elizabeth, your granola on some sheep milk yogurt, with some honey. Darn delicious. I'm sure some people have told you that. And number four, I'm going to animal that I'm going to go with one plant.

    Elizabeth Stein 21:00
    Before we move on from that I want to touch on bone broth, because you guys obviously have some amazing bone broth products. So just touching on that. And I think there's a little bit confusion and I feel like around bone broth and collagen. So if you can just kind of dissect the two of those and then assuming we should be having that every day.

    Jordan Rubin 21:16
    Yes, Bone broth contains collagen. And there are primarily two types of collagen superfoods and powder form. One would be a bone broth protein, which we developed in 2016. And created that concept and the other would be a collagen in our case with Dr. Axe and I. It's multi collagen protein and that is more of a collagen extract. And ours has 10 types of collagen from 10 superfoods. So either one are amazing. But if we're talking about food in a diet that you can make it home or buy a bone broth from the store, that's where I'm getting into the superfood side of things, but either of those are great. Number four eggs, particularly egg yolks. This was a huge part of my healing. And I have been giving my kids copious amount of eggs. We have farms, which will I'm sure we'll talk about. Love eggs from chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese. The yolk, which we used to throw away in the 90s Sadly, when the egg white things happened, they are a powerhouse. So they are absolutely amazing and wonderful. I'm going to cheat your Elizabeth because my number one meet really should include organs as well. So I'm going to say meat and organs which are super nutritious. Then I'm going to say bone broth, then I'm going to say culture dairy, then I'm going to say eggs. And lastly, I'm going to throw in a plant based option. I have to go with avocado. The humble the wonderful, fiber, potassium and vitamin E packed avocado. And those are five that I think work so well together for someone who needs rebuilding. And as I said, I have followed for 27 years an animal based diet protein is the center of my diet. And it has been for a very long time, I was deathly ill. I was wasting my muscle was gone. I needed to rebuild. And animal proteins and fats were essential. And today I'm raising some athletes and I've got some musicians and I believe for their body in their brain, it is absolutely awesome to consume those superfoods. And by the way, I have plenty more. But those are ones that come to mind as being extremely powerful.

    Elizabeth Stein 23:40
    How do you think about your plate and or your overall diet today? So you're talking about having lots of meat having protein having fat, keto? How do you think about grains and things like that?

    Jordan Rubin 23:52
    I am not on a keto diet. I do practice intermittent fasting. I've been doing that since 1999, believe it or not. It wasn't even called intermittent fasting then, but it made so much sense to me to eat the bulk of my calories in a time restricted window. So that is something that I have done. Do I create ketones as a result? Probably. But I've always been a fan out backing. I'm just not the type to be able to fast, easily for 1, 2, 3 and five days. So daily, restricted eating or intermittent fasting works well for me. For example, this morning, I haven't eaten a lot so far, but what I have consumed I get this 48 hour sourdough einkorn bread does contain gluten, but it's a lot softer gluten, if you will. It's a non hybridized grain. It's fermented, it's amazing. And I had a couple of duck eggs over medium cooked in butter and then I'm eccentric with my eating I'll warn you but I have some farms so that's how I can do this. I had some raw water buffalo butter with this really cool ayurvedic blend that is black. But it's got everything from honey to ghee to ashwagandha to shilajit. Today was just an interesting day so far, but I do prioritize protein. I love fruits, particularly very colorful fruits. I like veggies, herbs and spices. And fats are a big part of my diet. So I am not technically on a keto diet. I'm not on a carnivore diet, but I do prioritize nutrient-dense animal foods. And then I guess I would say fill that plate in with some of the healthiest fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and properly prepared grains.

    Elizabeth Stein 25:44
    I think it's a really good thing as you talked about spices because it's one of those things I think that people think, oh, it's just adding flavor. But really, spices are incredible healing foods that really ate in that diversity that we're eating and has such incredible health benefits.

    Jordan Rubin 26:00
    100%. I usually say this when it comes to the hierarchy of plant foods, I really think spices are the bomb. I think herbs are amazing. Certain vegetables are awesome. I think we conflate starches with vegetables. We think corn and potatoes in particular are vegetables and french fries are vegetables. But colorful fruits and vegetables are truly excellent as a food source. But herbs and spices are awesome. And we as a country consume less herbs and spices per capita than I believe any country in the world. As being a first world country where we can count on sanitation, hygiene, medicine, etc., other countries they're forced to consume certain spices with their meals and unknowingly they're preventing certain infections. Think of pickled ginger with sushi, for example. Difficult to digest foods, such as a hot dog, perhaps the way that it's processed, but then you have sauerkraut with it that was not first combined at a baseball game. But those are really good ways to think about it. I am a fan of plant foods. But while I was ill, I went on a raw vegan diet, macrobiotic diet and clearly didn't work for me. And today, if I were to go on a juice cleanse, I would lose a lot of weight and not look great. But if I went on a bone broth cleanse, I would look a lot better. So I am not suggesting every single person on the planet is like me, but I believe more and more people are realizing that conscious omnivore-ism is a good way to eat. And clearly, there is no environmental benefit to consuming plants only. Just like in certain cases, only animal consumption is not ideal for the environment. I think there is a path forward for you to eat as a conscious omnivore and see your food choices make a big impact on healing the planet.

    Elizabeth Stein 28:12
    Absolutely, I'm right there with you. I definitely was not eating very much meat or any animal protein for many, many years. And now it's definitely a big part of my diet having a lot of protein. And it's that consciousness of where you're sourcing it from, and how it's impacting the environment. So let's actually hop into the amazing things that you're doing at Ancient Nutrition. So as you start off saying you started Garden of Life, then you started Ancient Nutrition, you have such an amazing mission with the company, we'd love for you to talk a little bit about what the vision is with the company and then what you're doing on the farm from a region standpoint.

    Jordan Rubin 28:49
    Our mission statement and Ancient Nutrition is to save the world with super foods, and it's definitely meant to be a double entendre. So we believe that superfood nutrition is powerful for humans. And we believe the way you raise and grow said super foods can be powerful for the planet. We have two farms that we operate. One in Tennessee, and one in southern Missouri, over 4000 acres total. And we've been doing this since 2009. I have at least this is before Ancient Nutrition was Ancient Nutrition. And so Dr. Josh Axe, myself and a great team have been practicing regenerative agriculture since 2009. And over the last several years, we have become the first regenerative organic certified or rock farms in the states of Tennessee and Missouri. I'm sure, Elizabeth, some of your listeners have heard about rock and certainly some of the groups we're collectively a part of. We are moving up the ranks to rock gold, which we're excited about. We're also Savory Institute hubs, and we partner with the Rodale Institute to be facilitating our science. So we decided to go all in. And we are undergoing a 14 year research project to definitively show that regenerative agriculture can produce the greatest abundance, most nutrient dense foods and heal the planet simultaneously. And we're only just about year two. So we started in 2022 on April 22nd, which is celebrated his birthday, I should say, the week of April 22. This is going to be our two year anniversary of our 14 year ranch project, which stands for regenerative agriculture, nutrition, climate, health. And we have some great partners and organizations, retailers that have come around this message. And Ancient Nutrition has introduced the first and only regenerative organic certified supplements. In fact, we helped write the standards for the first ROC mushrooms and then the first ROC capsules and tablets and formulated powders. And actually, very shortly this year, we're introducing the first shelf stable regenerative organic certified probiotics. And we're launching exclusively into Whole Foods with an offering of regenerative organic certified mushrooms, and probiotics, which will be in the spring and then in the summer. So we are really excited as a supplement brand to take part in what I believe to be the future of food. I know you and I have talked about regenerative, the different certifications, how important it is to build on the foundation of organic, unfortunately, and expectedly there's going to be a lot of regenerative messaging, but I think it's important to align with something that consumers can understand and has a strong meaning because you can't just throw around the term regenerative like organic was thrown around before the USDA organic standards where it was a wild west, if you will. So this is something really important to us. We ha

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