Dr. Vincent Pedre: The Gut Smart Protocol and Getting Smart About Gut Health

In this week's episode, Dr. Vincent Pedre, the medical director of Pedre Integrative Health and founder of Dr. Pedre Wellness, joins Elizabeth for a great talk on how gut health is the gateway to optimal wellness and health. He explains how our gut affects every system in our body, why microbial diversity is essential to our overall well-being, and how soil health is linked to our gut microbiomes. Additionally, as a medical practitioner who integrates both Eastern and Western traditions, Dr. Pedre has some great tips for stimulating our vagus nerve including powerful relaxation techniques like breathwork and meditation. He shares the inspiration behind his new book, The GutSMART Protocol, where you can find your personalized gut health plan and start to make some big changes in only 14 days.

Order Dr. Pedre's new book GutSmart Protocol here to also receive some fun bonuses. If you aren't sure about ordering the book, you can download the first chapter free here before ordering.

In the realm of chronic degenerative disease, the gut is probably the biggest trigger for inflammation, and what you decide to put at the end of your fork and mouth. -Dr. Vincent Pedre

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Podcast transcript below:

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 Dr. Vincent Pedre, who is back on the podcast for the second time. You can check out his first episode, number 22. Dr. Pedre is the medical director of Pedre Integrative Health and Founder of Dr. Pedre wellness is a functional medicine certified practitioner with a private practice in New York City. He practices both Eastern and Western traditions and believes that the gut is the gateway to optimal health and wellness and is the Best-Selling author of Happy Gut. His newest book The Gut Smart Protocol, featuring a 14 day personalized gut healing plan based on the gut smart quiz, is the culmination of years of research and clinical experience as a functional gut health expert. In this episode, we dive into all things gut health and his latest book, including how to heal the gut with foods and relaxation techniques like breathwork, and meditation to help stimulate your vagus nerve. We talked about why the gut is so important and how it literally affects every single system in our body. Why microbial diversity is so crucial to our overall health and how soil health is connected to our own gut microbiomes. It was so great to reconnect with Dr. Pedre, he is such a wealth of knowledge. Keep listening to learn more. If you haven't had the chance to try our grain-free granolas yet, head on over to Walmart to now find them in the gluten-free Healthy Living aisle in select Walmart locations. Our grain-free granolas have crunchy clusters of nuts, superfood seeds, and creamy nut butters, all baked with organic coconut oil and sweetened with coconut sugar. They are gluten free paleo and keto certified, use the link in the notes section to find Purely Elizabeth products at a Walmart store near you. Dr. Pedre, welcome back to the podcast. I'm so excited to have you on today as we were just chatting, I absolutely loved your new book, Gut Smart Protocol. I feel like my head is spinning. And I have so many questions for you.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 02:22
Hopefully in a good way.
Elizabeth Stein 02:24
All good ways and all things I can't wait to dive into. So as we were just starting to talk about, you know, this is your next book after Happy Gut. And what made you write this book?
Dr. Vincent Pedre 02:35
Yeah, I mean, that's a really great question. Because you know, a lot of people, they write a health book on one topic, and then they just move on. And they write a second health book about a different topic. And I've just kind of decided that the gut is my jam, and that I really just wanted to go as deep as possible. And I think even just the experience of writing this book made me realize how powerful it was to really stick with the same topic because there's so much depth to what's happening with the research on the gut and the gut microbiome in the last couple of years. And what the best diet for gut health, and for the gut brain connection is that it needs another book. But not only that, but I think just taking everything that I learned from having written Happy Gut and seeing people go through that program, and also working with patients on their gut health issues for over a decade now. But really, over the last seven years since my first book came out, and realizing that no two guts are the same. So how can their diet be the same? They can't. And so I wanted to write a book. And conceptually, this was such a great idea. And then when I got into the nitty gritty, like oh, my goodness, this is not easy to do. I wanted to create a personalized program for people. And so it's one book, but it has three possible programs within it based on your gut smart score. So you get to take a quiz, find out what your score is, and whether you're mild, moderate, or severe in your gut dysfunction, your gut type. And then based on that you tailor the program and what you're going to eat by your gut type. And I think that's so powerful because most every health book out there is one size fits all.
Elizabeth Stein 04:29
I's exactly not that there is no one size fits
Dr. Vincent Pedre 04:31
My Mine is not one size fits all. And of course, even within that there are just certain macro concepts like too much sugar is bad, eating processed food is bad. So I understand why like books like that are important. But when it comes to the gut, I just realized if you have severe gut dysfunction, you can eat the same as a person who only has mild gut dysfunction. And if you you're in the moderate, you're somewhere in between and I wanted to be able to speak to all of those people and have them feel heard that someone out there gets them, and has found a way for them to eat in a solution that helps them choose what's best for them realizing that, yeah, you might not be able to eat the same as the person next to you. But that's because your gut score is different. And your gut issues are different. But you can get there by healing your gut by doing the program by doing all aspects of it. Not just the diet, but the mind body stuff. And I think this book is better than my first book.
Elizabeth Stein 05:40
Well, I love both of them. But I think that there's a lot of super interesting aspects of this book, particularly as you're starting to talk about the mind body connection, and so many different facets just of understanding how the gut affects every system in our body, like there is nothing that is untouched by it. And I think for everyone to really wrap their heads around that is just huge. So what was maybe some
Dr. Vincent Pedre 06:06
I think people, I think people are just starting to realize that and when my first book came out at the end of 2015, I think it was the very beginning of the curb. So it wasn't quite people weren't quite getting how important. The gut was, I was a bit of a an early adopter. Sure, as you would say, like Malcolm Gladwell says of how things catch on, I'm one of those people probably are in the early part of the curve, realize this is the way but when my first book came out, it wasn't really in the collective consciousness. But look at what has happened over the last seven years. Now, people are really starting to get there like, okay, there, there's something about the gut, the gut is important. And now I think what I really want to drill down is what you just said, is to help people realize that everything is affected by your gut health, your brain, your skin, your lungs, your metabolism, your weight, all of that is affected by your gut health. So I want to help people realize how important it is, and to start paying attention to it, because that's where the secret lies.
Elizabeth Stein 07:16
Yeah, absolutely. I think, as we, you know, as a brand, think about, we're always trying to help our community thrive. And I think about you know, as I was reading this, it's like, you want to be the best version of yourself, and truly to be the best version, it has starts with the gut, if your gut is not balanced, you will not be the best version of yourself in any way.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 07:40
Just think of a day like when you've had a stomach ache, when you weren't feeling right in your belly, like you don't shine through as the best version of you, you're kind of, you know, you held back triple Yeah, you're not feeling so you can't radiate out to the world, the full potential of who you are, when everything here feels good. And it comes from my own experience dealing with gut issues as a child. But when everything feels good here, you can be more of who you are out to the world.
Elizabeth Stein 08:14
I love that. So in writing the second book, what were some of the biggest surprises or kind of biggest learnings? As you were saying, you know, there's been so much more research since 2015. What what connecting those dots? What were you like that kind of aha moments?
Dr. Vincent Pedre 08:31
There were some really big things that I think are starting to shift my perspective on how we should eat for gut health, and even some of the stuff that we've been talking about in functional medicine. You know, one of the catchphrases in functional medicine is eat the rainbow. And we thought, you know, the rainbow of vegetables is full of fibers prebiotic fibers, they're really good for the gut microbiome. And they're going to help promote diversity, right? And what is this word diversity. I mean, everybody knows what diversity is like. But when we're talking about diversity of the gut microbiome, all those little bugs that are living inside your gut, 100 trillion strong in the large intestine, with 500 to 1000 different species, and we're talking about diversity is the presence of a variety of species of bugs in there. And there's something about this diversity that seems to make our entire health more robust, more resilient. So we teach in functional medicine that eat the rainbow, and that's going to increase microbial diversity because you're getting a lot of prebiotic fibers and that feeds your gut microbiome. And it's like fish food. It's like helping them thrive. It's like fertilizer for the soil and your gut is that garden, that inner garden that we want to keep fertilized. And so then Stanford University decided to do a study and they divided people into two groups. And each group one group got instructed on how to eat a high fiber diet, five to eight servings per day, I think up to yeah, pretty high up there, six to eight servings, and another group got instructed on how to eat a high fermented foods diet. And during the, they had a ramp up period of four weeks. So for anybody listening, you don't go from zero to like up here. Like, if you haven't been eating a lot of fiber, and you suddenly start eating a lot of fiber, you're gonna look really bloated, you're gonna feel horrible. So they worked it up, because what's happening during that period, and same thing with fermented foods, is your gut microbiome is getting used to these changes. And actually, with the fermented foods group, during that four week ramp up, they did feel a little more bloated, at first. And once their bodies got used to it, they actually the bloating came down, they felt they felt fine. And then during a six week period maintenance period, the high fermented foods group was eating up to six servings of ferments per day. And that was six cups. Wow, that's, it's a lot.
Elizabeth Stein 11:10
It's not like a little tablespoon of kimchi on the side.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 11:13
No, no, it's not like yeah, just add a little tablespoon of kimchi with the rest of your meal. A lot of it was in the form of yogurt, and vegetable brine drinks, which are quite easy to make at home, you can make your own vegetable brine. So drinking one cup, a bit easier than eating, I was thinking like, oh my god, they were eating six cups. So that was during the study period. And then at the end of these 10 weeks, they looked at their microbiome, and they were looking at things like what happened to the immune system? What happened to microbial diversity, and what happened to 19 Different inflammatory markers, including cytokine release immune cell activation, so they were looking for intracellular activation of immune cells. So how reactive were they? And what they found was really surprising. Because it wasn't the fiber rich group that showed an increase in microbial diversity. The trend towards increased diversity was found in the fermented foods group. And that was really surprising to me, because when you're having fermented foods, yeah, you're having probiotic rich foods. But is that what's increasing diversity, because they're only a few probiotics in a fermented food, it's not going to have this big wide array of diversity. But what they found is that there, there are different qualities of these probiotics, and one of them is cross feeding. So they actually go in there, and they support the terrain, and they cross feed and help support the growth of other bacteria in the gut, that aren't in the fermented food. And with some of these, like the spore based organisms, like I know you have a chocolate probiotic granola that has a spore based organism in it. And they have something that they have an ability called quorum sensing where they kind of sense each other. They create a community, they take territory, so they take territory in your gut, and protect it from colonization. Imagine, it's just like real estate, like you've got a good neighborhood, bad neighborhood. So they're coming in, and they're making sure they're cleaning out the neighborhood. They're making sure that good guys are in the neighborhood, and they're supporting the more healthy immune response. So microbial diversity increased with the high fermented foods group, and inflammation dropped. I think that's even more important. You know, so when we see high diversity, we see lower inflammation. And we saw this in the high fermented foods group. Now, if you want to break down the study and think but this was a small study, it was only 18 people per group. Yeah, we need to repeat the study, it was 73% women in both groups. So maybe we need to have more varied, studied men, women, and different ethnic groups. And the other thing is that maybe the fiber group needed more time to see what happened. But interestingly, they didn't notice something about the group of people in the fiber rich group. They divided them into three groups, because they found that they could actually divide them by microbial diversity at the beginning of the study. So they divided them into low, medium and high microbial diversity within the fiber rich group. It wasn't like it increased in the same way that it did with the other group. But what they did find is that the group with the highest microbial diversity that was put on a high fiber diet had a drop in inflammation, whereas the group with the lowest microbial diversity actually had an increase in inflammation. So the fiber rich group, what they concluded is that fiber modulates the immune response. And it does so better when microbial diversity is better at baseline.
Elizabeth Stein 11:17
So you need both fermented food and fiber?
Dr. Vincent Pedre 11:33
That was my conclusion, you know? So I said, you know, how do we put all of this together? Are we going to vilify fiber versus permit. And honestly, one critique of a study like this is you always want a control group. And this study did not have a control group, they really needed a fiber rich, fermented foods group, and a control group that was just eating a regular diet, not high fiber, not high fermented foods. And actually, so there was another study that came out in October of last year, where they took a group of people, they divided them, again into two groups. One group got a control diet, so just healthy eating guidelines, but no, not anything about eating more fat fiber or more fermented foods. And then the other group actually, was told to eat more fermented foods, but not as many as in the Stanford study. So two to three servings, not four to four to six servings. And they were asked to eat five to eight servings of fiber per day. So now, we got a study where we're combining fiber and fermented foods, which is what i i recommend at the right level, because if you take the Gut Smart quiz in my book, and you find out that you have severe gut dysfunction, well, guess what, you can't have ferments. They're not going to agree with you. They're going to make you feel sick. It's too soon. You got to heal your gut a bit. And then you can start testing the waters and adding some fermented foods. So in this study, these were healthy people.
Elizabeth Stein 16:33
And that's a really important point, I think, that you just made because I think someone could go out and hear right away like, oh, ferments are good. They don't have a good gut. And then they don't feel great.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 16:44
But then they eat the ferment. They feel sick. And then they wonder, well, but I heard that ferments are good, but they don't work for me. And now they're confused. Well, that's part of why I wanted to write this book and create a quiz that allows people to know like, okay, yeah, you're not crazy. There's nothing wrong with you. It's just where your gut is right now. And it's not the time for fermented foods just yet. But we can get there, you know. So, so in this study, they looked at, like, what their stress scores were in the beginning versus at the end. And guess which group had a significant drop in their stress levels?
Elizabeth Stein 17:23
The ones with the better guts.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 17:25
So it was the group that had the fermented foods and the fiber rich food that had the biggest drop in stress scores, the placebo group did not have any change in their stress scores. So you know, there we're seeing the gut brain connection and how our diet can actually shape what's happening inside our brains.
Elizabeth Stein 17:45
That's amazing. Okay, let's dive into that piece of it. Because I love how you say the gut health is not just about what's happening inside of you, but also what's happening outside of you.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 18:00
Yeah. And I say like, unlike Vegas, or like in Vegas, or unlike Vegas, what what happens in your gut doesn't stay in your gut.
Elizabeth Stein 18:11
And as I'm sitting here listening to you, I'm also conscious of my breathing, because I just finished going through your breathing exercises. So let's dive into a little bit about, you know, all of that gut brain connection, whether it's breathing, meditation, vagus nerve, you know, what were some of those interesting tidbits that you think really affect how we heal our gut, and how they're connected.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 18:36
Yeah and this is also based on my work with patients in New York City coming in with gut health issues. And you know, you can imagine New York City People working pretty high stress jobs type a type personalities, overachievers, you know, go getters, and they would come in and they're doing, they're checking off their diet, their supplements, but their stress, they're not checking that off, the stress is up here. They're like inhaling their lunch at their desk at work while working, then rushing to meetings after work, never having a moment to breathe to rest. And I realized, you know, because I would put them on, they were doing everything, right, the diet, the supplements, you know, they're they were following everything to the letter, and yet they weren't getting better. And it made me realize that you cannot out diet, you can't out supplement a stressed out lifestyle. And we know, by studies that they've done that meditation, breathwork and relaxation techniques can actually have a positive effect on the gut microbiome and shift the microbiome towards a microbiome that has a more anti inflammatory effects in the body helps balance blood sugar levels. So I really started looking at that and looking at the vagus nerve, our connection between the gut and the brain that a allows them to talk to each other. And how that affects things in both directions. Because the gut is speaking to the brain through the vagus nerve, and telling the brain, the state of the gut, but also kind of controlling brain activity, based on what types of signals are being sent from the gut to the brain, an up to 80% of those fibers are actually pointing up. So this week I was talking about, we always think of this as our first spring. But we never think about the gut as perhaps it's our first intuitive brain. Because that's where we feel things our intuition, there's actually more neural connections in the enteric nervous system. So the nervous system that's inside the gut has more neural connections than the brain. You have to think about that for a moment. Because a lot of times people are trying to think up here, and they're overriding what their gut is telling them and their gut is usually right. But it goes the other direction, too. If you remember the the time of the the old telephones when there was a dial tone, yep. And you would pick up the phone. And if there was a dial tone, you knew the phone was good. And if the phone was dead, you didn't hear dial tone, you know, you can't call anyone. Well, that's how the brain and the gut communicate. And there's a certain tone that's been sent impulses down from the brain, to the gut. And that vagal tone, helps with stomach acid secretion, the production of digestive enzymes, and gut motility. So when you lose that vagal tone, you your stomach acid production drops. So think of like when you've been so stressed, that you eat and then the food just sits in your stomach and doesn't sit well. Well, that's low vagal tone. So you've lost vagal tone, because you're really stressed. So now you're not able to digest food as an ending the way it should, it's sitting in your stomach for long hours, maybe you get constipated. Also, you're not able to go to the bathroom, as often. So part of the breathwork and meditation and exercises that I talked about, like deep diaphragmatic breathing, are designed to reengage the vagus nerve to reactivate the vagus nerve to get you into that parasympathetic, relax and digest and also into that state where your body feels safe. Because if your body does not feel safe, then you're not going to heal. It's just not possible. And a lot of people who are running their lives, you know, with a lot of stress, sometimes we get, we almost become numb to the stress. It's like you adapt to it, and you just learn to live with a high level of stress. Yeah, you just you stop registering it because it's just the way you're living your life. But I tell I've, over the years, I've told my patients, you know, do you realize that your body is stressed that your bio physically stressed, like even if you're not mentally stressed, this here is feeling stressed. And it's registering it by making your stomach sick, by your digestion is not great, you're constipated, or maybe you're having diarrhea, you have a leaky gut. All these things because stress is like an attack on the gut. We want to do things to reactivate the vagus nerve because the majority of people out there are probably walking around with low vagal tone.
Elizabeth Stein 23:30
Smoothies are one of our favorite meals or snacks here at Purely Elizabeth. But you know what we love even better? A smoothie bowl. That's why we've partnered with Smoothie King to add our organic or original granola on top of their new smoothie bowls. For the perfect salty, sweet crunch. All six new smoothie bowls, features an acai or pitaya base with a variety of fresh ingredients such as locally sourced fruit, dried coconut, goji berries, honey or peanut butter and our granola. It's super easy to order directly through the Smoothie King app, or you can order in store starting April 6, I can't wait for you to try it. I know you're gonna love it. Enjoy. So as I was reading this part of the book, and as you're describing it, it made me think about, you know, that connection to really being able to have like the good gut instinct and really being able to tap into your intuition. And for me, I was reflecting back to like, the time in my life when I've been able to be most intuitive, which was right when I started the company. And at that same time, I was doing a yoga teacher training. So I was doing yoga every day for it was a 45 day program or whatever it was. So as I was thinking about the book, I was like, Well, you know, I was in a relaxed state. I was doing breath work every day. And that probably played a huge role into being able to tap into feeling my best and feeling intuitive and really at the top of my game.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 25:02
How cool that reading those chapters triggered that memory and that kind of like that cellular memory of remembering how you felt at that time. I also did a yoga teacher training, long, long ago.
Elizabeth Stein 25:18
Yeah no, honestly, that was the first time that that dawned on me in my 13 year journey. So thank you for giving that information and allowing me to connect those dots.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 25:27
Did was there any, can I ask you, was there any breathwork exercise that particularly spoke to you?
Elizabeth Stein 25:35
I don't remember to be honest. I think it was just like the constant daily practice of it versus it being you know, in my world today, maybe it's I'm going to yoga once a week, and I'm trying to do more breath work, but it's not that daily practice.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 25:52
Yeah, I mean, I think the one message that I really want to get across in the book is that that type of self care is non negotiable. And people need to look at it as essential as picking up a glass of water and having to drink. Because you can't get through a day without hydrating. Right. But you should think of also meditation and breath work as an essential for getting through the day, because it makes you better at everything else.
Elizabeth Stein 26:20
Yeah, I definitely, I definitely walked away being I need a daily practice, I need to be dedicated to this get my parasympathetic system in a good place and activated and out of the sympathetic system zone.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 26:34
Yeah, and, and for that, I mean, I teamed up with different meditation and breathwork teachers, and we have breathwork exercises to do before, even before you start eating, like if you sit down, and you just take a quick scan of yourself and realize, Oh, you're I'm really wound up right now. If you start eating in that wound up state, then your body's not ready to assimilate food, you know, so taking a moment, Sachin Patel contributed that the physiological sigh where you just take a really deep breath in, and you let it out with a sigh. And you repeat that three times. And by the end, by the time you're done with that, and that spy kind of like that, ah, or even like you can hum, all of that is going to activate the vagus nerve by vibrating the big the vocal cords, that's gonna get you into more relaxed state, and then you start eating. It's a whole different experience for your body.
Elizabeth Stein 27:33
It's great. So I'd love to take a step back a little bit, we talked about how there is no system that is untouched in the body by the gut, and it affects everything. yet. I think a lot of us still, when we hear gut health, we think like stomach ache and, you know, GI related issues, I think so many of us aren't even understanding what we should be looking for, or what are symptoms. So it'd be great if you could touch on, like, what are those gut related symptoms that are affecting us that we're not really thinking about?
Dr. Vincent Pedre 28:06
Yeah, I mean, we can just start on the surface, the gut and the skin are so interrelated. So if you suffer from eczema from psoriasis, from skin, rashes, from acne, all of these things have to do with the health of your gut, and they're showing up on the surface, or even rosacea here, like redness and pimples in the middle of the face. But also the brain headaches, especially migraines are very much interconnected with what's going on in the gut. As well as just mental clarity, focus, the ability to get stuff done, a lot of that has to do with the health of the gut. When you have leaky gut, you will have a leaky blood brain barrier. And then that leads to all sorts of things being able to get into the brain circulation that can make you slow and dumb when you shouldn't be. So everybody thinks of like they typically they're thinking of gut centric symptoms, but all these other symptoms, these are gut related symptoms, like in the airway, getting asthma, allergies, can actually be related to gut health issues. But also even just getting sick all the time, like used to happen to me when I was a teenager. And preteen I got sick all the time. And the more antibiotics they gave me, the more they destroyed my gut microbiome, the more leaky my gut gut got, the more my immune system was affected and weakened. So another important, really important interconnection with the gut is the gut immune connection and how it affects our immunity, because 80% of the immune system is all along the gut lining. And if that part, that interface is not balanced, and it's over activated, then it's actually going to make you more susceptible to getting all sorts of infections than we have the metabolism connection, because one your metabolism is going to be affected by How efficiently you're absorbing nutrients. And if you have a leaky gut, actually, when you have a leaky gut it even though it sounds like because it's leaky, things would get in more easily, but there's certain nutrients that don't get through so easily. So you can actually start becoming a bit nutrient deficient, and even vitamin deficient because we depend on some of our gut bacteria to make vitamins like vitamin B, 12, and vitamin K, which are so important for health. And then there's the metabolism, connection, and energy. So important for weight management and for blood sugar regulation. And for insulin sensitivity, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels, you know, it's so interesting, because when I went to medical school, we learned that diabetes happens when your pancreatic beta cells stopped being able to produce insulin, so then your blood sugars rise. And then 20 years later, or actually not that long later. Not that long. I'm not that old. But I am, maybe like 10 years later, when I discovered functional medicine, I'm learning about how the gut microbiome actually can regulate insulin sensitivity, and play a really strong role in how we're sensing our blood sugar and how much insulin is being secreted and how much fat we're packing in the middle. So, you know, the gut is also connected to autoimmune disease. And there's so many people out there who suffer from all different types of autoimmunity, especially like autoimmune thyroid disease, very much connected to the gut, and leaky gut and inflammation coming from the gut, that the way I see it is autoimmune disease for many people starts in the gut, by a dysregulation of the immune system. Autoimmune Disease is basically an aberrant immune response, where your immune system just stops, being able to recognize the difference between self and non self, and then turns on you and starts attacking some of your own self tissues. And it can be triggered by a number of things. You know, theories are viruses. There's a researcher that believes that gluten is a trigger for autoimmune diseases, especially for thyroid, and possibly for others. Yeah, I mean, the gut is related to a lot of other bodily processes. I mean, the curious thing is you don't have to have gut symptoms, to have a gut related health issue. You know, so I had a woman who came in with joint pains, hives, and pretty severe fatigue. And she had zero gut issues. And trust me, as a doctor, you know, you kind of learn to ask the same question different ways, because sometimes people say no one way, but then they'll say yes, and other way. And so I asked her as many ways as they could, she had no gut issues. But she had all these issues, these autoimmune markers coming up, her joints were hurting, she had inflammation, she had severe fatigue, I just looked at her. And I said, Well, you might not have gut issues, but all the symptoms you're having are very much related to your gut. So we tested her gut, and she had a parasite, and she had a yeast overgrowth. And of course, she had a leaky gut, and she had sensitivities to wheat and gluten. And when we fixed the diet, and we got rid of the parasite and took care of the yeast, energy came back, joint pains disappeared, inflammation disappeared, you know, all these things, in a person who had no complaints whatsoever. Part of what I hope to educate people with in this book is to realize how many ways your gut can affect your health, but also that you could have a symptom that's gut related. But you don't have to have gut symptoms. You don't have to have stomach aches, you don't have to have bloating, you don't have to have constipation or diarrhea, to have an issue that is still arising from your gut.
Elizabeth Stein 33:49
So is it right to think of this as like, inflammation is the root of all problems, diseases in the body. And if you go one step further, below that, the gut is the root of inflammation, like 100% of the time, most of the...
Dr. Vincent Pedre 34:08
The gut is probably one of the biggest roots of inflammation and the inflammation is coming through. You know, if you think of your gut as like this supercomputer that's processing all of this information, and the information it's processing is in the form of food that you feed it. And that information is either going to increase inflammation or reduce inflammation, and it's gonna alter the gut microbiome and when that gut barrier gets leakier, then we've tested this, you can find bacteria in the blood. You can find bacterial DNA, you can find all sorts of inflammatory substances that get through the gut lining, and then they trigger an immune response. And then that inflammation then triggers all sorts of diseases now, is the gut the only one that gut is probably one of the biggest sources of inflammation through the foods we eat. There are other sources like in infectious disease can cause inflammation, chronic diseases like Lyme disease, like other tick borne illnesses that can get into the body through a different vector through a tick bite or respiratory illnesses. But in the realm of chronic degenerative disease, the gut is probably, I would say, is the biggest trigger for inflammation by what you decide to put at the end of your fork and into your mouth.
Elizabeth Stein 35:29
So I love how you also connected in the book that what we put in our mouth and our gut, correlating to what we've done agriculturally over the last 50 years, which really has a direct correlation with our health over the last 50 years, and so much of that stemming from the health of our soil. So I'd love for you to touch on a little bit of how that's all connected and really explaining, like the Maria Rodale quote that you have in there that the soil is like the gut of the earth.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 35:59
Yeah, yeah, I was, I was reflecting on that, quote, the other day, because I saw a post by Maria Rodale on Facebook, and she has a book that just came out, I think it's called Love, Nature, Magic. She's been such a proponent for organic farming and her family her grandfather is, is attributed as being the founder of the organic movement and the United States. And the thing is this, we're not these isolated systems living in isolation from the rest of our world, what we're doing to the soil right now with over spraying of pesticides, like glyphosate. If you think about, you know how important it is to have microbial diversity, to keep our bodies healthy. In the same way, like a healthy soil is a microbially diverse soil with earthworms with bugs, and with a whole bunch of bacteria that you cannot see with your naked eye, but it's keeping the soil healthy. And what they find in these fields where they've sprayed, you know, like GMO crops that are sprayed with Roundup Roundup Ready crop with glyphosate, is that you start decimating the microbiome in the soil, and you start growing some bad bugs in that soil that are not good for the plants. They're not good for the soil, and you start destroying the soil. And the scary thing is, is that we are rapidly consuming our farmable soil at the rate that if we continue like this, and we don't start regenerating soil, which is very possible, we're going to run out of farmable soil in 65 years or less. And I quoted Rob Herring. He's a documentary film producer who created a documentary called The Need To Grow, that's incredibly insightful on what's happening to the soil and how that affects us. But for me, what was really impactful was going to Africa while I was putting together the concept for this book, and spending time with the hodza, hunter gatherers, who are still living off of the earth of just hunting animals, gathering root vegetables and honey and berries, and seeing how they live and realizing they have no heart disease, no diabetes, no obesity, no cancer, no dementia. And their gut microbiome is incredibly diverse. Now, they haven't been on antibiotics for the most part. And the other thing I think that is the missing element is they're also not washing their hands with antibacterial soaps, and they're touching the ground. And they're exposing themselves to the microbiome of the soil, which I tell people look if you have your own organic garden, and you pick some produce from the garden, and it's got a little bit of soil on there, like, yeah, wash it a bit. But some of that soil is not bad for you and your gut, like it's going to help improve microbial diversity the same way that pets are really good microbiome amplifiers, by, you know, licking your face, like a dog licks your face. And yeah, they've been in a lot of different places, but they can, they can also help
Elizabeth Stein 39:06
So I shouldn't feel badly when my dogs are licking like my entire face, my legs.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 39:13
It's good for your microbiome. But getting out in the soil is really important. And and part of the point I make in the book is that look, we are affecting what's happening macro by the choices we make. And those choices are going to affect what's happening in the micro inside of us. So if we continue to support pesticide ridden produce, that is destroying our farmable soil but also destroying our guts with harmful pesticides, then we're just continuing to empower an industry that is actually causing a lot of the chronic disease out there. So we need to think about that. You know, there's a lot of layers to this, but I think, you know, really supporting local farmers like buying organic when you can. And if you can't afford to buy everything organic, then at least look at the Dirty Dozen lists I included in the book and the clean 15 and try to buy organic if it's in the Dirty Dozen. And if it's in the clean 15, you can, you know, be more discretionary about how you spend your money. But I think, you know, you either pay now or pay later and later, you might pay more in terms of like chronic health problems that are going to be very expensive to deal with or they're going to destroy your quality of life.
Elizabeth Stein 40:29
Yeah, it's certainly an investment to make today. And one that we are really excited to be beginning our regenerative journey with, we're actually beginning of research project with a farm in Montana, where we're going to be sourcing our oats that are grown regeneratively, but also doing a three year research project to test the soil for many different things, but one of which is the nutrient level, so that we can validate to say, okay, when you're farming this way, it's increasing the nutrition of the oats, and then we're consuming that which is ultimately then going to help our gut because not a void oat that has no value to it.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 41:08
Absolutely. And when they've looked at the level of antioxidants and nutrients and organic produce, it's much higher than non organic produce, and talk about like non diversifying, when you create genetically modified crop, you're basically creating a uni culture, like there's no diversity there. If you go down to Peru, like I, I couldn't believe when I went to Peru, there's over 100 different species of corn, just corn. And there's over 100 different varieties of potatoes. Like, and here, we've got the white potato crop, the yellow corn, we've got the soybeans, and But historically, this is actually not in my book. But this was another trip I went to Machu Picchu and learned a lot about how the Incas did their agriculture and what they were studying in Machu Picchu, they were actually taking plants. The reason they have those terraces going up the mountain, yeah, that are right below Machu Picchu is they were taking plants from the Amazon and adapting them to a cooler weather condition. So they did that by growing them in the lower terraces. And every year, they would bring them up one level. And little by little, they were taking plants that were adapted to the Amazon, to adapt them to higher altitude growth in different environment. But what they were really doing is, it's almost like a hormetic stress for the plants. So they were creating resilience in their plants. They were creating diversity in the plants. So part of the reason for it was that some of the plants were more resistant to drought versus getting more rain. So they were actually hedging their bets to make sure that they always had food to provide to the people by creating more resilient. Yeah, yeah, but if you think about it, like, that's how our food supply should be. It should be diverse, it should be a uni, uni culture. You know, that's it. And we can I know, just from speaking with Maria Rodale that we can feed the world through organic regenerative means and probably do it better. And at the same time, save the soil. So I'm excited that you're doing this study. And this is so great that you're teaming up with a farmer
Elizabeth Stein 43:29
More to come more to come. So we're gonna move into some rapid fire q&a. What are your three favorite gut superfoods?
Dr. Vincent Pedre 43:39
Ooh I'm gonna say ginger is up there. Yeah, ginger, I love ginger. I love turmeric. Both of them are anti inflammatory. Although whenever I use ginger, like I mean turmeric ground I'll always make sure to add black pepper because it in increases the absorption of the curcuminoids which are anti inflammatory. And god three, three gut superfoods. I want to throw in sauerkraut in there. So let's throw in a fermented food because that's so important for the gut and I just love the tanginess of it the the acidity that it adds to a meal so I love adding sauerkraut to dishes when whenever I make a meal, especially when I'm making like a platter and like to have my my greens a little sauerkraut, my complex carbs and protein.
Elizabeth Stein 44:28
So for somebody who doesn't have a severe gut, and then they'll go and read your book and take the quiz to figure that out. But if you have mild or just normal, like how much fermented foods do you try to include in your daily rituals? I'm assuming not six cups or maybe I'm wrong.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 44:44
Um it's a little tough right to include that although I think I'm gonna make it a goal. I'm thinking like, you know, reduce inflammation as much as possible. But I I probably range like to maybe max three and maybe I don't hit it every day of the week, you know, because I also kind of feel like I eat intuitively. So I based on what my body's asking for, and it may not be asking for ferment on a particular day, maybe one day, I just don't. Maybe one day, I'm more into soups, you know. But yeah, it could be an average of anywhere. I'm gonna say, between one and three cups, but not always every day. But ideally, you know, if I was going to do an experiment and do this study, I would have to work up to six. I would be drinking vegetable brine, because yeah, I mean, I can't have six cups of yogurt in a day.
Elizabeth Stein 45:36
The best advice you've gotten in the past six months?
Dr. Vincent Pedre 45:40
Oh, God. So many pieces of advice that come through, like these beautiful wisdoms on Instagram. Ah, you know, the word that comes up is, there's so many words that come up. I'm like, I have balanced trust. But really, I think just knowing that, intuitively, we know what's right for ourselves. And not losing touch with our intuition, but most importantly, trusting it. So trust your inner voice, because it's usually right. Even if your reasoning mind might think that it's wrong.
Elizabeth Stein 46:31
I love that. Yeah. On the heels of that, we'll say in order tapping into your intuition, what are three things that you do to stimulate your vagus nerve? Is that the right way? stimulate it?
Dr. Vincent Pedre 46:42
Yeah, yeah, stimulate the vagus nerve. One of the things that I love to do so I'll say a number of things. So a very simple, simple thing, like anybody who's listening to this could just listen to this podcast. And then just do this at home, set a timer. So could be one minute could be two minutes, I'd prefer five minutes. And just do deep diaphragmatic breathing. And with every exhale, you're going to take a deep breath in. And on the exhale, you're going to hum. Now, the cool thing about it, is when you do it, the hum actually slows down your exhale. So the best way to exhale is to exhale twice as long as your inhale. So it's automatically going to extend your exhale, which is going to put you into more relaxed state. But also, the vibration is going to activate the vagus nerve. So that's one way. I also kind of like to sing. So I think that my voice is good in a certain register some, some good in certain registers, you know, maybe a little bit falsetto. But, you know, like, I'll listen to music and sing. And again, that's thinking vibration. So activating your vagus nerve or stimulating your vagus nerve doesn't have to be like work, it can be fun. Who cares if you have a good voice or not just sing along to some of your favorite songs. And then the other stuff that I do is, is meditation, other types of breath work, I like to do meditation with rapid breathing. So kind of like a Kundalini breath, like in out in out really fast for about a minute to 90 seconds, then a really big exhale. And then I just stay and hold for as long as I can. And I savor that moment. Because when you don't need to breathe, when that whole desire to breathe disappears. It's almost like your mind calms down your entire body is in this relaxed state. And then take a deep breath in. And then you can hum it out, on the way out. And then hold again, sometimes breathe in, fold hum out, fold, and then keep breathing and then do another cycle of rapid breathing. And sometimes I do that here. I'm in Miami for a couple of weeks. So I'll do that on the seashore in the morning as the sun is rising. It's like the best thing.
Elizabeth Stein 49:18
That's a nice way to start the day. Last rapid fire. What do you wish more people know about you?
Dr. Vincent Pedre 49:27
Oh, what do I wish I wish that they knew more about me. Geez. I think there's a lot of pieces of me that people know and I think a lot of it comes across like I'm very heart centered and have a big desire to help people. Kind of what do I want people to know more about me? Feel really like everything that I do is done with purpose and there's usually nothing accidental about anything that I do. So if you see me talking on social media, if you see me posting on Instagram, all those things are intentional. And they have a lot of heart behind them, because my desire is to help people heal their, their health through the foundation of gut health, for improving both their physical and mental wellness. So yeah, there is a purity of purpose and a strong mission behind everything that I do, even when I'm being silly on Instagram and doing a funny reel, but all of it is, you know, I have a strong desire to help people find the way to their healing journey.
Elizabeth Stein 50:47
Well, thank you for that. And you certainly given the gift of the new book and helping people heal. And so in closing, where can everybody find you, everyone has to go out, get your book, feel your best
Dr. Vincent Pedre 51:01
Couple of things. So they can go to gutsmartprotocol.com G-U-T smart protocol.com. And they can actually preorder the book there and get a whole bunch of bonuses. And if they want to just test it out, and they're not sure they can go to gutsmartprotocol.com/gift. So for any of your listeners, they can download a free chapter of the book, plus a few little surprises that give you just kind of a big overview of what the book is about and what you can expect to gain from the book. And so you can kind of dip your toes in the water and see is this right for you. I think anybody who gets the free chapter is going to want to preorder the book because they're going to realize that this is this is one of those programs that you're going to want to do.
Elizabeth Stein 51:47
Yeah, I feel like every single person should read this book. Honestly, it's such a great foundation. So thank you so much for your time today. This was such a pleasure. Great to see you.
Dr. Vincent Pedre 51:56
Thank you. Thanks for having me back.
Elizabeth Stein 51:58
Thanks so much for joining me and Live Purely with Elizabeth. I hope you feel inspired to thrive on your wellness journey. If you enjoy today's episode, don't forget to rate subscribe and review. You can follow us on Instagram at purely_elizabeth to catch up on all the latest. See you next Wednesday on the podcast.