How the Wrong Food Swaps Can Hurt Your Health

Is your gluten-free diet actually making your health worse? Many folks who take this route don't have the right information on which foods to swap in, and they end up in the “healthy” food aisle loading up their cart with GF cookies and cupcakes thinking it'll make a difference.

Dr. Tom O'Bryan is a world-renowned expert on food sensitivities, environmental toxins, and autoimmune diseases. He joins JJ for a discussion on where people go wrong when they go gluten-free. You'll learn about surprising research that shows how a poorly executed gluten-free diet changes your microbiome and impacts your mortality risk, the five pillars in the development of chronic inflammatory disease, environmental triggers to be mindful of in your health, how some foods may impact fertility, and so much more.

But it's not all doom and gloom! Dr. Tom also talks about the tests you can take that are the most accurate for determining your intolerances to wheat and gluten. He also shares his recommendations for an actually-healthy gluten-free diet that provides all the probiotics and prebiotics your gut needs to thrive, including the right foods to eat and how to cook them.

You won’t want to miss this episode! It’s jam-packed with helpful, science-backed information to help protect your family's health for many years to come.

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ATHE_Transcript_Ep 496_Dr. Tom O'Bryan
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Welcome and thanks so much for joining me. This is Ask the Health Expert here. I put the Power of Health in your hands and give you access to the top people in health and wellness. In each episode, I share safe ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox and lots more. So if you wanna get healthy and get off the dieting for life merry-go-round, I'll give you strategies that will help you look and feel better fast.
I have my, like, I'm gonna say one of my very favorite guests back on the show and he's been on the podcast time and time again cause we've known each other, I think now like 25 years I've known him. And a couple other [00:01:00] of The old timers like Dr. Mark Hyman for years and years and years, and every time I talk to Dr.
Tom, we get new information and this is no exception, what we're gonna share today. And when he gave me the title, I'm like, Are you kidding me? Like how gluten free foods are hurting you? What? But we are gonna really unpack gluten-free, what you should be doing, the tests you can look at to find out if you've gotten a, an issue with gluten and, you know, wheat or gluten, and just some super critical information and more importantly information that's easy to put into practice, and that's what I love the most.
He's got the, the best way of explaining how things work. He's gonna explain leaky Gut in detail, but more importantly, he's gonna give you what you can do easily to heal it. So let me tell you a little bit about my buddy, Dr. Tom. He is an internationally recognized, admired, and compassionate speaker. I would say much loved, everybody loves him focusing on food sensitivities, [00:02:00] environmental toxins, and the development of autoimmune disease.
Dr. Tom's audience discovered that it is through a clear understanding of how you got to where you are, that you and your doctor can figure out where you need to, what will get you well. He is considered the Sherlock Holmes for Chronic Disease and teaches. Recognizing and addressing the underlying mechanisms that activate an immune response is the map to the highway towards better health.
He holds teaching faculty positions with the Institute for Functional Medicine and the National University of Health Sciences. He has trained and certified tens of thousands of practitioners around the world in advanced understanding of the impact on wheat sensitivity and the development of individual autoimmune diseases.
And he is literally my go-to on this, everything and anything gluten. And what I love that he's gonna talk about today, you're gonna. Five things that you can put into your diet is the 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Yes. That you can very simply put into your diet. Cause so much we talk about what not to eat. This is really like what are the key things that you can do that will accelerate healing [00:03:00] for your gut.
So I'll be right back with the amazing, fabulous Dr. Tom O'Bryan,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan, one of my favorite people on the planet. I, I'm like, I'm sitting here looking at this title that you, that you've put out here for this podcast episode. And I, I got off my chair, I fell over, got back up and I went, Wait a minute. And I went to my reading this wrong cuz it says, Navigating the gluten-free minefield, the dangers of a gluten-free diet and how to protect your family.
And I'm like, What? Glu don't you mean a gluten diet? So what, Okay. Tom . Well, let's, let's,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: yeah, let's, let's start with the numbers that are just jaw dropping to begin with. In the largest study ever done on mortality and celiac disease, they looked at 350,000 [00:04:00] endoscopies, and that's where you put a tube down the throat with a camera, and you take a look at the intestines, you snip out a little piece and you look at it under a microscope.
350,000 people. And they found 39,000 celiacs. Some had colitis, some had Crohns, some were undiagnosed. It was normal, but 350,000, 39,000 celiacs. They followed them for 25 to 30 years. This is in Sweden where they've got socialized medicine. They have records on everybody. And what did they find startling statistics.
The first one is that if you're diagnosed with celiac disease, you have an 86% increased risk of dying within. Fear of a cardiovascular incident or a 3.87 almost fourfold increased risk of dying in the first [00:05:00] year from cancer compared to the other 300,000 people. So the 39,000 celiacs, they compared them to everybody else that had some kind of gut problem, whatever it was.
And what they found was that the celiacs just by being diagnosed, Had increased mortality, and if you survived 15 years and if it went down from there from 86% after five years, it was 46% increased risk of dying compared to the other people. If you survive 15 years, then you're okay. But until that point, people at a are a much higher risk
JJ Virgin: of dying.
Those three, the 39,000 people, out of the 350,000, like the statistics all have been always what? Like a, I always think one in 133 people have celiac disease. But what you just showed there is more like. 11 out of a hundred have [00:06:00] celiac disease. Did they? Well,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: that's, that's right. That's right. But once again, these were people who re were referred to a gastroenterologist.
JJ Virgin: Okay. So they had some kind of GI stuff. So they were, there was some kind of complaint possible predisposed already, right. Right. So, so now we have 39,000 celiacs, and now you're gonna start dropping some really horrendous stats.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: I bet they, they, they are horrendous and it, it startles me that our experts don't talk about it and it's because they don't know what to do.
Mm-hmm. that they, they think it's the best they can do. And it's not. It's not. We're gonna talk about how do you do it safely, right? Right. So within one year of diagnosis, it's an 86% increased risk of dying from a cardiovascular incident and a 3.87 fold, almost 400% increased risk of dying from cancer.
Just by being diagnosed with celiac disease and if they live 15 years or [00:07:00] so, then the numbers are even with the rest of the 300,000 people in terms of deaths. All of that's true except for children. Children have a higher risk of mortality at an earlier age. So children don't have this first year risk of cardiovascular disease, but the average age of a person diagnosed in childhood with celiac disease is 36.
They die by the age of 36. And that's because of suicides and accidents. Mostly suicides because it, they're not taught how to do this correctly. Holy smokes. I, it, it's horrid. It's just horrible statistics. That's the, you know, the skeleton in the closet. That no one wants to talk about. So what is it that happens when you're diagnosed with Celiac that would put you at such an increased risk compared to someone with colitis or
JJ Virgin: Crohn's?
Yeah, you would think [00:08:00] Crohn's and Colitis, you'd be at a way bigger risk
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: than Exactly, exactly. What is different after you're diagnosed with celiac disease? You're put on a gluten-free diet. What else? Nothing. People are not taught how to do a gluten-free diet correctly, so they're eating all of the crap.
Oh boy, that's labeled gluten-free. Now, here's the reason for that. Between 78 and 81%, depending on the study you read of the prebiotics in the average Western diet, come from wheat, 78 to 81. Of all the prebiotics we get for the average person comes from wheat. Not everything in wheat is bad for you.
There are some really good things in wheat, and these are called the Arabinoxylan in wheat. They're the FOD maps of wheat, but they're prebiotics. So here we have a [00:09:00] person, 22, 28, 30 years old. For the first 30 years of her life, she's been eating wheat all the time. She got sick, she got diagnosed with a wheat related sensitivity.
So she gives up wheat. And now she starts eating gluten-free bread and gluten-free pasta, which has
JJ Virgin: no fruit, cookies and cupcakes and all. Not good yummy stuff.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: and no, no prebiotic value whatsoever. None. And so what happens is the probiotics in your gut. Who have been completely dependent, not completely 80%, not a hundred percent.
Com mostly dependent on the food from wheat, for them to prosper and to populate the probiotics, The good guys in our gut. Now they start starving. Because they're not getting the prebiotics anymore, and now the bad guys start rearing their ugly head and within a year you have an [00:10:00] 86% increased risk of dying.
From a heart condition, a cardiovascular condition, and almost fourfold increased risk from cancer because the microbiome changes at first on a gluten-free diet, you lose weight, your energy goes up, your migraines go away. Your seizures stop your skins better. All those great things that we know happen when you go in a gluten-free diet.
But the slow deterioration of your microbiome, creating a more inflammatory microbiome, creating more intestinal permeability, leaky gut, which, which is the gateway and the development of any autoimmune disease. That's the gateway Fasano from Harvard taught us all of that. So now you've got this mechanism cuz people were never taught how to do it.
Correctly. Right
JJ Virgin: when there's so much marketing, I mean, worse now than ever. Oh. And when you really look at these foods out there that they're marketing to it is, I, I call [00:11:00] these ultra process foods, dirty process food, but they are like, you know, high sugar impact, bad seed oils. Yeah. Just. Garbage
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: really tastes good.
They taste good, because, Because the PhD biochemists who got hired by the food companies, they create the chemicals to stimulate the taste buds. So we get that addictive desire for more of that taste. And it's so very common. You know, we could go down that track, but yeah, not,
JJ Virgin: Not necessary. So. So then is the answer.
From what I'm hearing, the logical thing is, huh, Well then we need to make sure that we're getting prebiotic foods in our diet. Is that, is that the big bingo answer? Is that the light bulb or
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: part that's, that's the bingo answer to this part of the danger of the gluten treatment. There's, there's a couple.
There's more. Okay. There's more. And it's really important because people get sick and die from this and they don't know, Oh no,
JJ Virgin: I'm laughing, but I'm not laughing. I am like, Like, you [00:12:00] know, I am so thankful for all of the work that you've done over the years and courageous, brave work, right? Like you've come out and been saying this for decades when people are like that.
Dr. Tom, he's a nut case. He's a, he's a nut case right now. He's a genius. Go figure, .
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Right? Right. It's critically important, you know, and doctors or healthcare practitioners put their patients on a gluten-free. The patient feels great the first couple of months. Oh, my belt's a notch tighter or two notches. I have to buy new pants.
You know, I'm complaining. Haha, you know, you're all happy and grateful that you found out that wheat's a problem for you. And then nine months later the guy die dies of a heart attack and you hear about, oh say, That's too bad. He was a really nice guy and you, you don't realize that we set that. We set that up for them because we create the highly inflammatory microbiome in that person, which is the gateway in the development of every chronic inflammatory disease.[00:13:00]
This is what they're teaching at Harvard Medical School right now, you know? And it's the five pillars in the development of chronic inflammatory disease. Now, how important is this? 14 of the 15 top causes of death in the world today are chronic inflammatory diseases. Meaning when we go down, whenever that is, it's gonna be a chronic inflammatory disease.
Most likely the only exception is unintentional injuries or accidents. Mm-hmm. , right? Everything else is a chronic inflammatory disease, and what they're teaching at Harvard is the five steps in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases. So if you understand this concept, it starts to make perfect sense where those numbers come from about going on a gluten-free diet incorrectly.
Number one,
JJ Virgin: I think the operative thing is incorrectly. Incorrectly. Yeah. We're not saying don't go on a gluten-free diet. Oh no, we're saying incorrectly. And you know, when I hear this I go, This [00:14:00] is why. It is so important that when you put someone on this, you are giving them these swaps that they should be going for.
Not just saying what they're gonna Exactly. Cause if you just say, Hey, just pull these things out. It was one of the first things that I learned, Tom. I was like, Hey, pull these things out. And I remember the gal coming in, she goes, I found gluten-free cupcakes and cookies. And I was like, What? ? That's right.
Right. These five steps, what are they?
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: The first one is genetics. And you really, Genes, That's the deck of cards you were. And doctors talk about turning off gene, you can't turn off genes. It's impossible to turn off genes, but genes operate at a dimmer switch and you can dim down the genes of inflammation and turn up the genes.
For your brain is because they turn up the genes of anti-inflammation and they calm down the genes of inflammation and many other foods. So the first one's genetics. And our goal here is just to dim down the inflammatory genes. There's 1200 genes that [00:15:00] are inflammatory genes, and so we just want to dim them down as much as we can.
And the way you do that is by number two of the five, which is environmental trigger. The things in our environment that get inside of us have their fingers on the knob of the dimmer switch of your genes, turning them up or turning them. Doesn't mat, and the most common is what's on the end of your fork.
That's why you have to identify what's causing the inflammation in your food. But it's also the air that you breathe. You know, the chem trails that we think have no meaning, or, oh, that's too bad, but we're breathing aluminum when we do that. And you know, we're not gonna do politics. But , environmental triggers.
Mm. Environmental triggers have their hands on the genes. That's why it's so important that you learn over time. What environmental triggers are good for me? Which ones should I be avoiding? Number three is that the environmental triggers [00:16:00] causing this inflammation create dysbiosis, meaning not enough good guys, too many bad guys in your gut.
And that creates that inflammatory environment in your gut, which creates number four, the leaky gut.
JJ Virgin: I can't, I am like, like so excited that Harvard. Is teaching this. Exactly. This is exactly like, I still think back 20 years ago when this didn't exist, it was not a thing. We were crazy humans. Like leaky gut was leaky gut and adrenal fatigue were made up stuff.
So you and I
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: actually had a conversation, in the first, in the first weekend of yours that I went to. We had a side note conversation about, I shouldn't care that they call me a nut case. And I said, Well, I really don't. Right? But , I remember
JJ Virgin: that conversation. , you should celebrate it.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: that has been just go for your Passion.
your, your message was, go for your passion. [00:17:00] You know, you clearly know what you're talking about. And thanks to you, jj, and you know, your, your support over the years. It's been a kick in my pants more than once. ,
JJ Virgin: I'm always happy to, to put my foot where where it needs to go. But that's cause thank so much.
Your message is like, Oh my gosh. You know, it just has to go out to the world. And what I love the most is that you can take complicated things and make 'em super actionable, and that is really a huge skill. So we have leaky gut. Then that's number
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: four. And so let's pause for a minute. What is a leaky gut in case there are people that don't know?
Mrs. Patient, your intestines are a tube starts at the mouth, goes to the other end. It's one big long tube winds around in the center, about 20, 25 feet the inside. So when, when you swallow food, it's in the. It's not in the body yet, it's in the tube, and it's gotta go through the walls of the tube to get into the bloodstream for all the vitamins and minerals and proteins to [00:18:00] make new bone cells and brain cells.
But it's in the tube. Digestion is breaking it down. Really, really small. Smaller, and smaller and smaller. Like if you think of protein like a pearl necklace. Our digestive system is to cut that pearl necklace into clumps and smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller clumps until you have each pearl of the pearl necklace that's called amino acid.
Now the inside of the tube is lined with cheesecloth. And only really small molecules can get through the cheesecloth to get into the bloodstream. Anything that tries to get through the cheesecloth, that's too big. It's moving further down the tube and being snipped apart by the enzymes until it's small enough to go through the cheesecloth.
Leaky gut is tears in the cheesecloth. When you have tears in the cheeses cloth, now bigger molecules get called. Macro molecules get through into the bloodstream before they're supposed to be [00:19:00] able to do that. And when that happens, your immune system. Trying to protect you, your immune systems. The Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard Navy, iga, I G G I G E I gm.
They're just branches of the armed forces trying to protect you. They say, What is that thing? That macro molecule, , We can't use that to make new muscle cells. I better fight that. And now you make antibodies to tomatoes or to strawberries or to be or to ch. It doesn't matter what it is. It's your immune system trying to protect you.
So those people that have done food allergy tests or food sensitivity tests and it comes back in their allergic to 20 foods and you say, Oh my God, that's everything I. Well, of course it is cause you've got leaky gut and your immune system's just trying to protect you. So that's num number four is a leaky gut.
These macromolecules get through and now in the bloodstream, the immune system trying to protect you, [00:20:00] attacks these macromolecules, that systemic inflammation. That's where the inflammation comes. So the goal here is numbers two, three, and four. These, we have control over the environmental triggers. You think having a little mold on your shower curtain's, okay, it's not, It's going right up to your brain.
Every time you're in that room, you're smelling it, and those spores are going right up to your brain causing inflammation in the. So the environmental triggers, the dysbiosis rebuild a healthy gut and the leaky gut. Those three, those are the areas where you focus your attention and you change the dynamics of your health
JJ Virgin: dramatically.
You know, I'm thinking back You know, you and I had been around this in this world for decades and I remember you know, I don't know, did you ever go to an event? I, I did an event with Elson Haas [00:21:00] and you know, it was funny cuz he's the detox doc, right? And everyone thought he was just a lunatic , you know?
You know. And now it's so interesting cuz I was thinking about it. I go. Did we all a sudden get a lot more mold or is just people finally realize, I remember the scariest lecture I ever went to. It was an A cam lecture and it was a lecture about mold and it, this was at least probably 12 years ago. And I, and I walked out and I'm like, Oh my gosh.
You know? And it's still so amazing to me to hear, just like you said, you've got a shower curtain with mold. , You know, ?
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Yes. Or or the grout? The grout in the shower. It's a little darker in some areas than other area. You, you gotta clean that stuff. You've gotta clean it all up.
JJ Virgin: Yucky. Alright, so, so then are we gonna unpack these three that you can really do something about?
Like what are some of the key things wanna be focusing on there?
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: So the Fasano. [00:22:00] At Harvard and this guy, we think he's gonna win the Nobel Prize. He and his team are the ones that identified the mechanism of leaky gut back in 1997 and the protein called zonulin. And they've mm-hmm. , they're the ones that have been publishing for 20, 23, 25 years now about this.
And it's, it's the contributing gateway. and chronic inflammatory diseases. Is this leaky gut that's the, for
JJ Virgin: you on On the leaky gut and the zonulin. So, and I just love that this is, you know, I mean, you can't ignore it now, is it? But these things take so long to get into practice for the, the typical doc in an office.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: 17
JJ Virgin: years is the average, you know, so, For, for, you know, for functional medicine. It's like, okay, do an IgG test and they've got loads of food sensitives, you know, you have leaky gut, but it makes sense to me that really part of your basic workout should be looking at your zonulin levels. Like what would that be?
The [00:23:00] predictor of how leaky your gut is? Like, how would someone
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: know? Yeah, that's a really good question. You know, I tra travel the world. I just came back from a European tour and lectured. Dublin and London and Milan and Switzerland, and at the breaks, I always go down to look at the vendors, the labs and look at what they're offering.
So I know what I'm talking about here. The best tests in the world are called the Zoomers. There is because you zoom in on the problem, the. Zoomer is the most accurate test to identify if you have a problem with wheat of any type. I don't care if it's celiac or not, it doesn't matter. And they included the most comprehensive test for leaky gut.
in the wheat zoomer. Mm. They put it all together as a marketing thing. That was really smart of them because they, they were competing with the top lab at the time that had tests for leaky gut, and they said, Well, we're gonna go one step higher. [00:24:00] And they did. And the wheat zoomer is the most comprehensive test you can do.
It'll, it'll identify a sensitivity to wheat and to leaky gut. And the good news on the wheat zoomer, it's a blood test, you know? But you can do a finger prick on it. Oh, nice. It's just as accurate. That's great. It's just as accurate.
JJ Virgin: That's. Yeah. So, so then here's the next question around that. So let's say that you do this and you do not have leaky gut and you don't have a wheat or gluten sensitivity.
Do you eat gluten or not?
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Yeah, well you can. It's rare that someone does not come back positive to wheat, but it happens about one out of 25 times. It'll happen that someone's just not crossed the line of tolerance. See, because we know, Here's an example, the genes for celiac disease. There are two genes that almost every celiac will have one or both of these genes.
And 98, 90 9% of all celiacs have one of these two genes, or both of them, [00:25:00] Well, a third of the European population has these genes. But how come only one out of a hundred. We'll get celiac disease or some countries it's two to four out of a hundred. But how come one to four out of a hundred will get celiac?
But 33% of the population have the gene. So the gene doesn't mean you're getting the disease. It means you've crossed a threshold. You know, if you pull it a chain, it always breaks at the weakest link. Always. It's at one end, the middle, the other end, your heart, your brain, your liver, wherever your weak link is, that's where the chain's gonna break.
When you cross the threshold, you've been pulling too hard for. For too long, that's where the link's gonna break. And the pull is inflammation. So our, the, the, the smartest thing we could do is whatever it takes to live as much of an anti-inflammatory lifestyle as possible. Now that means structure and chem, [00:26:00] biochemistry and emotions and spirit.
Mm-hmm. , you know, an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. That's the big kauna goal.
JJ Virgin: So here's a question before, cause I wanna unpack both prebiotics and that anti-inflammatory lifestyle, but looking at gluten and wheat, if you're eating them, aren't you triggering the release zonulin?
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: You do, Every human gets transient, intestinal permeability every time they're exposed to wheat.
JJ Virgin: Well, so why would that, why would you want to ever do that?
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Well, you know I just won't say no one should eat wheat because then I sound like a nutcase. And
JJ Virgin: what I, but, but like, you know, if, if we know like, Hey, sugar does this, if it's. You know your birthday, but I mean, Right. You couldn't in good con like, like is there a positive of sugar?
I can't really think of one. Maybe I, I don't, I was like, I don't know of one. Yeah, I don't know [00:27:00] anything. Maybe you're a marathon runner and you need to use some glucose goo, but like the reality is, Sugar doesn't do good things for us. Right? And then you look at it and go, Okay, well wheat always triggers the release of zonulin.
Zonulin makes your gut wall transiently and per more permeable. Why would you ever want that?
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: That's a really good question. And the answer is you wouldn't. You wouldn't. But my standard response is everyone that has a health concern of any type whatsoever just needs to test accurately to see if their immune system is fighting wheat.
If it is, it's non-negotiable. You can't have it. If it's not fighting wheat, right? You've not crossed the line of tolerance. Check again next year. But
JJ Virgin: then, but then you look at it and go, All right, you haven't crossed the line of tolerance yet, yet. So keep going cuz next year you probably will. And then we're gonna like, So I look at it and go,[00:28:00]
If you're a reasonable human, you'd go, Huh, probably this isn't a good thing. And I haven't crossed the line. Okay, So maybe I'm somewhere and I'm gonna have the sourdough in San Francisco, but it as a daily thing, this would be not a good idea.
So we've gotta unpack the statement of these gluten free foods. So we're pulling. the gluten foods. I don't know why people all of a sudden go reach for junk food. Like, I was like, Wait a minute, you weren't eating. I remember when this gal came in after I pulled her off gluten and she came in very happy about the cupcakes and cookies and stuff she found, but she hadn't been eating them before.
I'm like, You didn't eat those before? Just cuz they're gluten free doesn't make them a health food. They're cupcake. That's right. It's still a cupcake. That's right. You know, so That's right. You know, I look at like, what sort of gluten free foods should you, should you replace them? Real food. Real food. Like doesn't have to have a label that says gluten-free because it's gluten free, you know, like, you know, wild rice, [00:29:00] it's gluten free, you know?
Right, right. And squash is gluten free. And beets are gluten free. And potatoes are gluten free. Like,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: so our goal, our, our goal is the rainbow diet. The colors of the rainbow. And you want to train yourself so that within a few months you're eating 50 different vegetables per week.
JJ Virgin: 50. 50. Okay. 50. So, hang on.
Cause and, and, and this is where I want you to coach me because reality is okay. Besides the fact that we just went to Italy and now I'm obsessed with arugula.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: That's great, isn't it? I know, it's,
JJ Virgin: Oh my gosh, I'm so obsessed with arugula. And finally I got Tim, my husband to eat arugula cause he wouldn't eat it.
And I was like, well this is not gonna work. Like we have a major relationship problem here, . But I'm thinking about it like, okay, so, so I made a salad that we'd have for a couple days and had tomatoes and cucumbers and celery. And I got some fennel and I didn't know what to do with it, so I put it back in the fridge and then had two different types of deep green [00:30:00] leafys.
So, And some red onion. All right. There's, yeah, that was seven. But then the reality is we probably get maybe 15, like, like we are in such a rut between broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, those things, carrots, mushrooms, you know, there just isn't the basics. Yeah. Like so. Dazzle us all with some new ideas here.
And I also would love you to, to talk a little on prebiotics and root vegetables.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Yeah. Critically important. Yeah. So berries, berries are not so much
JJ Virgin: strawberries, but berries are not vegetables. No, they're not. They're not.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: They count in the 50. They do count in the 50. Okay, good. , but, But it's vegetables and fruits, not fruit and vegetables.
JJ Virgin: Right. And I, I tell people, I think we should be having two servings of fruit a day. We gotta be very, like I separate non starchy vegetables. And then slow low carbs, fruit fruit, two servings a day at like five as your bare minimum floor of [00:31:00] vegetables, Prefer 10 and above. You know, I haven't gotten to the Dr.
Terry Walls level yet. And then your non your starchy's are things like squashes and, and tubers and that kind of stuff. And so that's where I kind of roll 'em out. That's a,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: that's a great system that's easy to understand and begin implementing. Okay.
JJ Virgin: So yeah, it works. That it works. Then let's talk about some great ideas, because, you know, we're, we're stuck over here and I know you've said, you said something in another one of our interviews.
I was like, Okay, I'm gonna put that in place. You said something about your kind of prescription of roots and,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Root vegetables. Yeah, yeah. When, when you go shopping, always buy organic. Critically, critically important. This is not like a good idea anymore. This is a. I'm gonna segue for a moment to tell you about this.
This is so unbelievable. In the Journal of the American Medical Association, they did a study looking at couples going at to assisted fertility centers. And as you know, they're spending tens of thousands of dollars to go to assisted fertility centers. And the [00:32:00] editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association said this is an elegant study using sophisticated biomarkers to prove their.
The editors of the journal, the American Medical Association, don't do that very often where they give a stamp of approval to the quality of the study, but they were able to isolate all of the factors in these couples lifestyle. And narrow it down to how many fruits and vegetables they ate a day. How many servings and were they organic or conventional?
So they took each group and put 'em in fourths, the lowest, the next, the third, the highest conventional, the lowest, the next, the third, the highest organic. And they compare the highest quartiles of conventional and organic. Just those two groups. And the results were shocking. If you were eating the highest amount of fruits and vegetables conventional, you had an [00:33:00] 18% less likelihood of getting pregnant, 18%.
JJ Virgin: And if 18% compared to
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: the organic couples, the couples eating organic, whew. and if you did get pregnant, you had a 26% less likelihood of a live birth. Oh my goodness. I mean, that's jaw dropping. That's just, it's like, wait a minute. What,
JJ Virgin: what? Well, and then what, Then the big question, next question of that is, okay, so you, you're having 18% bigger challenge not getting pregnant.
You do get pregnant 26. Not gonna have a live birth of the 74%, What was going on with those babies in terms of, you know, the Right
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Okay. In the, in their future. Yeah, exactly right. Exactly right. So first about organic versus conventional, it's [00:34:00] not a discussion anymore. When you see the science, it's just shocking the difference.
And it may be, at first, you can only find organic. Tomatoes and potatoes, that's all they've got at the store. But if every week you ask for the produce manager at the supermarket, say, Hey, where's the organic carrots? Well, we don't carry those. Oh, if you carry 'em, I'll buy 'em. And if 20 people a week ask for the produce manager.
Do you know how short a time it'll be before they're carrying more organic produce that, you know, it's, it's a nuisance to take two min or five minutes to ask for the produce manager to say, you know, if you bring more organic in here, we'll buy it. It's a nuisance to do that, but that's the only way you're going to affect change in your local area.
If you ask for it, it will come. Right. Right. I mean, that's the bottom line on that. So that's why organic is [00:35:00] so important because these chemicals in our food chain. Are accumulating in our bodies, and that's the primary reason why every autoimmune disease is going up four to 9% a year every year, four to 9% for every autoimmune disease.
People are getting sicker at younger ages. Alzheimer's. Blue Cross Blue Shield came out and said there was between 2013 and 2017 in four years. There was a 407% increase in the diagnosis of mild Alzheimer's in 30 to 44 year olds.
JJ Virgin: 30 to 44 year olds.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Yeah, in four
JJ Virgin: years, 30. So wait a minute. In four years,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: in four
JJ Virgin: years.
So is any of this that they're looking when they didn't look before? No, no, no. This is not, No,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: is Blue Cross, so I just wanna, Blue Cross is having to pay out. Yeah. Blue Cross [00:36:00] is having to pay out
JJ Virgin: and there's 40. So now, Okay. That's crazy. Now, I know that that sugar can be a huge trigger for that. I'm just assuming that the combination are toxic soup of, you know, all the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides.
The outgassing, all of that combined with bad seed oils, combined with you know, the sugar that was put into everything. You go into a freaking health food store and they've got agave and, and apple juice concentrate combined with canola oil as if it's like this health food that makes me wanna scream,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: like right, these kombuchas that have more sugar
JJ Virgin: than pop.
Right. You know, it. You know, how dare you do that? You companies, you know, you should, you should have like, I don't know how you sleep at night, like bad enough, but at least when you're going to get a Coca-Cola, you know what you're getting. Yeah. No one's saying, Hey, you know that Coca-Cola is a health food.
[00:37:00] Well,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: they, they say things are better. They tried it once. Yeah. .
JJ Virgin: But you know, you do think when you're buying that green drink that says loaded or, you know, you're giving your, your child pure apple juice, that you're doing something good for them and that just. So upsetting. So,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Wow. It's, it's, it's horrific.
It's horrific. These are the numbers right now, JJ and no one's talking about this, and Blue Cross Blue Shield just said this is gonna bankrupt us. If this continues, we got a
JJ Virgin: problem here. So here's the thing, I mean, you know, like you don't wanna talk about a problem if you don't have a solution, And the interesting thing here is the solution is so clearly obvious.
However, I'll, I'll, I'll tell you. So when I was on Dr. Phil for those two years, we decided that we were gonna do two things. One, we were gonna help do a teen weight loss show. And what we realized quickly is that the, they had two big problems, those teens, one, some of their parents weren't helpful. [00:38:00] So then we had a problem cuz they actually had to get food and they couldn't, and two, their schools were a problem.
Then we went over and tried to take over a town in Texas and the food industry had such an in to the schools with the different bad stuff that there was no way to get. Good stuff in, you know, when you've got food contracts with the big companies and when they deem that two servings of vegetables or tater tots with ketchup, , Right.
You know, and the tater tots, by the way have wheat flour on them and they're deep fried in bad damaged oils, and then they're given with ketchup, with a high fructose corn syrup in it. You know, you're basically. Like poisoning children.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Right? That's exactly right. Exactly
JJ Virgin: right. You look at it and go, Cause you know what they're gonna say.
Cause I've heard, you know, this is what I heard back then. It was like, well, it's too expensive. No. What's expensive? Are these, these, the medical bills were like the number one thing bankrupting our country. And it's not just the cost of [00:39:00] the emotional cost, right? Is all of this. It's just, you know, I mean it just, it's just
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: gluten free.
Expensive. Gluten-free is vegetables.
JJ Virgin: Right. Gluten process, processed foods are expensive and don't eat them. They're They're garbage.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Yeah, they're garbage. You know, they, they're
JJ Virgin: white paste. Yeah. They're just white paste. That's, that's just, you know, it's like you look at things that are posing as health.
Food out there that are just junk food and, and all that gluten free stuff is basically, I'm
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: really sorry you know, that people have to hear this in one way cuz it's a bummer. It's a bummer to have to hear this, but I hope that we empower you so that you say, Well, you know, I'm gonna put my toe in the water here, I'm gonna start to learn a little bit more.
And you know, over time you just start learning a little more and it's. Drop your job as you learn this stuff.
JJ Virgin: You read my books too? Yeah. Your books are amazing. You've put a lot of information out there. You're gonna give everyone a gut reboot so we're not just presenting all of this doom and gloom. You can turn this around and that is the important thing [00:40:00] here.
Like, you know, what do you do not talk about it and let this continue. No, right. This can be turned around, and that's what's super exciting and it can be turned around anytime when you have things that are happening because of diet and lifestyle. That means that you have diet and lifestyle to turn it back around.
And so that's what you're gonna be giving everyone as a free gift. I'm gonna put it at, but don't think that, Oh my gosh, we're all doom. The big point is you become aware, you're listening to the show because you are aware and you wanna do something about your health. And you know, one of the big things I've been pushing out, Tom, is that, you know, I started in weight loss, but the big, the big fat lie in weight loss is that you need to lose weight to get healthy.
The reality is you have to get metabolically healthy If you. You'll lose weight, you'll have more energy, you'll reduce your inflammation. All those things happen. So the focus really is getting metabolically healthy. And the first place you do that is changing what's at the end of your fork, and then it starts to do all these other [00:41:00] things that we've already just talked
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: abouts.
So That's right. That's right. So how do we do this? How do we rebuild the gut? By the way Fasano, who is so. Full of everything. He says, a paper they published two years ago, all disease begins in the quote, Leaky gut. , All disease begins in the gut. This is what they're teaching at Harvard now. So every practitioner coming out in the years to come, they already know all this stuff in much more detail, but for us, we just need the big picture concepts here.
Mm-hmm. . Okay. I want less inflammation. How do I do that? Well, the number one food is wheat. And so you do the wheat zoomer and it'll test you. Also for leaky gut, most comprehensive tests for leaky gut that's out. So you do that test, you go to my website,, and just look at the test and then download the information, take it to your doctor and say, Please order this test.
JJ Virgin: Is there a way to get it without [00:42:00] having to go, like, does your lab work do it?
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Yes, Yes. If, if your doctor won't do it, you can order it on my site. Okay, great. We'll send you the test kit. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: Okay, cool. So, So we'll put all of that in the notes too,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: because Yeah. So you'll find out how to do it, right? Yeah, right.
Easy peasy to rebuild the gut. The steps to rebuild the gut. Critically important. If there's only one thing you're gonna work on in your life and you wanna be healthy, it's a healthy microbiome. The good guys in the gut, most important. So how do you do that? Well, you've taken wheat out of there. You don't wanna starve the good bacteria, so you have to feed the good bacteria.
So how do you do that when you go shopping for your fruits and vegetables? Always buy organic. Buy a couple of every root vegetable in the. Don't be selective. Mm-hmm. , get rutabegas and turnips and parsnips and radishes and carrots and sweet potatoes. Not so many white potatoes because of the [00:43:00] glycemic index of those, but the others.
And every day you have one root vegetable and you say, Well, I don't know what to do with a turnip. Well, neither do I. So I just dice it up. I slice an onion, peel some garlic, little coconut oil in the pan, cook it all up till it's soft, and then I put some sauce on it and I eat it. Okay, but what about parsnips?
I dice 'em up, slice an onion, peel some garlic, right? You don't have to be Julia Child here. You just have to get it down because the fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut. And the fiber of every root vegetable is a little bit different. So you don't wanna just eat carrots, you wanna switch out the root vegetables every day, have one root vegetable a day.
Next you go on Google and you type in list of prebiotic foods, print it out, put it on your refrigerator, and every day you have two from the list. And what are some of. A banana [00:44:00] is a prebiotic, Garlic is a prebiotic. Onions a prebiotic. My favorite are onions and garlic. Those ones I like really?
JJ Virgin: We, we've already figured that out in the
Yes. , but not onions and garlic with banana. Yeah.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Uh,
JJ Virgin: Not that one. Not that I, I have been doing, I've been getting bananas and. As they're going from green, like they're just nice, purely ripe. I freeze 'em so they can put 'em in my smoothies and get that resistant starch too.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: So that's, that's exactly what we're doing now.
We've got bananas growing outside here. And we just got some, a few days ago, a big bunch, and I, and I had them say, peel them, put 'em in the freezer, just
JJ Virgin: like that. Yeah. Perfect. And all right, so then
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: roots, root vegetables one root vegetable every day, and two from the. Next, get five different types of fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kim chi, miso, curry flavored fermented beets, whatever you like, and every [00:45:00] day you work up to a.
A tablespoon a day of fermented vegetables, and you alternate them because every vegetable, when it ferments, produces different families of the good bacteria, and you're inoculating at one tablespoon a day. You increase your inoculation 10,000 fold Wow. Of the good bacteria in your gut.
JJ Virgin: This was so good till you said that.
So . You know, I just if, if wine counted it, we would be in, in chocolate, it would be so amazing. . I've been doing like getting at least tablespoon or two of almond yogurt every day. Cause I was like, at least I. Man, that is one of the tough things in, in the US is, you know, I was not raised on fermented anything.
Neither was I. It was like ewey. Ew,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: ew . Yeah, but listen, listen, you can just put a spoon in the bottle of sauerkraut and put the juice in mashed potatoes. You don't have to taste it. You don't have to [00:46:00] taste it. You don't need your taste buds. Register, eat the juice. Yeah.
JJ Virgin: Hi. You don't have to do the actual other stuff.
You could just do.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Well, the juice is better than nothing. Yes, and it usually is a transition into having some of the fermented vegetables themselves. But certainly if you're not gonna eat the vegetables, at least do the juice. All right. And put it in your salad dressing. Put it anywhere you want. You don't have to taste it.
You don't have to taste it. Next, by 15 to 20 apples always organic. When you go home, wash them. Don't peel. Dice em get, get rid of the seeds, put 'em in a pot. And if the apples are this high in the pot, you add one third, the height with water, add a little cinnamon, maybe a few raisins, turn it on high. In 14, 15 minutes you got apple sauce.
It's that easy. And apples are very high in pecten. Pectin [00:47:00] feeds arguably the most Important enzyme in your gut. Intestinal alkaline phosphatase, iap. It increases IAP dramatically, which, which feeds the good guys, helps the good guys to grab onto the walls of your intestine fights the bad guys, reduces LPs dramatically.
That's the toxins that get into our. Bloodstream lowers cholesterol, lowers triglycerides, increases insulin sensitivity. IAP is one of our best friends in our
JJ Virgin: gut. Is there anything to cooking the apples that changes it, that makes it better, or does it not matter? ,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: not that I know it matters at all. Just don't peel them because of a lot of the pectin is on the inside
JJ Virgin: of the peel.
Don't peel 'em and don't juice them. Do not drink that apple juice or apple juice. Concentrate.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, no. And, and have at least a tablespoon a day of apple sauce. Well, can I have more? Of course, you can have more, but at least a tablespoon a day. It's the consistency over time that makes [00:48:00] the difference.
Next one cup a day. Bone broth. Bone broth is high in something called gelatin tanate, and when you've got a leaky gut, imagine the, just remember the last time you were in a pair of shorts and you slid on the floor and you got a carpet burn. Then you try and put your pants on and it really hurts your knee because you, you've got a carpet burn on your knee.
That's what a leaky gut is like when food's going by. It keeps irritating. The leaky gut. Gelatin Tanante in bone broth is a seal over the leaky gut, so it heals so much faster when it's not being irritated all the time. So just a cup a day of bone broth. Make your own at home.
JJ Virgin: It's a great description by the way.
Oh, so good. So good. Yes. Oh, great. Thanks. Well, I love when someone can take this stuff and go, Okay, here's what you do. And, and then give you really good visuals so you can understand what the [00:49:00] heck is going on. And, and the nice thing with all of this is this is very doable.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: It's simple, you know, it's just little things.
JJ Virgin: It fits in. The fermented veggies are, you know, I'm still the pulled out there. However,
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: and for the first couple of months, when you begin gluten free, you don't wanna starve the good guys. And so you're learning about root vegetables and, and other prebiotic foods. But for a first couple of months, take some supplements.
usually for about two to three months is enough. And I recommend the spore based probiotics that that's what we like to recommend called MegaSpore. But there are many, many good supplements out there. But just take some every day for a few months, not for the rest of your life, but you just don't wanna build a deficit.
when you're transitioning off of eating wheat, right? So you take a supplement for the probiotics, you can take a supplement for prebiotics for a few [00:50:00] months and it's just going to help. And the only other nutrition that I recommend almost all the time to people in this transition phase is mother Nature's way of healing a leaky gut, and that's colostrum.
There's nothing in the world that's as potent as colostrum and you know, there are many different supplements that, well, this will help heal the gut, or glutamine will help a little bit. Or fish oils help or Vitamin D help. And they all do. Only colostrum plays the entire symphony. It's mother nature's way, cuz every newborn baby has severe leaky gut.
It's normal to have severe leaky gut when they're born. But now, and the job of colostrum, one of its jobs is to say, okay, let's turn the, let's turn the genes on down there in the gut now to heal and close those tight junctions. Okay, let's close up guys. Tighten up now, cuz food's coming down pretty soon, so we need you to tighten up here.
So that [00:51:00] is a simple protocol that's going to give great results for most people.
JJ Virgin: Yeah, that, and that's a simple protocol, not expensive. , you know, easy to do. These are things you prepare and like, very doable. And I do all of these except for fermented veggies, but I'm going to, that is going to be my focus. Well, you
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: know, there's one more thing I'll recommend here, and that is from our friend Suzanne Bennett.
Dr. Suzanne Bennett.
JJ Virgin: Oh, oh. She brought Kimchi so she, we have a female founder's group and she brought kimchi to. And, and cleared the room. I'm like, What is that, Suzanne? You know, cuz she wrote the kimchi diet and she brought it in and I'm like, Oh man, open it outside.
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Stink , you know? And it's, it's a great book.
The Kimchi Diet is a, Suzanne is fifth generation South Korean healer. Her mother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother, they all are in, [00:52:00] Healthcare. And so she's got it down and the recipes mm-hmm. To make Kim Chi, they're, and she brought some of her coup de gras her. Very famous. Really difficult to make. Kim Chi, I assume, but you can make simple stuff in five days.
That gets the job done.
JJ Virgin: Do this. Yeah, I'll give this to my son, Grant, who likes I have him making all, you know, doing my broccoli sprouts right now. .
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: Yeah. Great, great. That's a good start.
JJ Virgin: Okay, well this has been amazing. Again, you will get his Dr. Tom's three-step gut rebooting program because again, we brought all this information, this information.
To make you aware that this is not something you can ignore. And I think that's the really important thing. Yes, it's scary stuff, but it's scary if you don't do anything about it. There are simple things that you can do that make a huge change. And we'll put all this resources there along with the Zoomer test, and I know you've been really good about getting that information out.
So I'm excited about that. And I'm gonna [00:53:00] put it into my next book too. I made. To make sure I get that in my next book. Yes. So thank you so much again. I can never get enough
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: of you. It's always a I know, I know. It's so much fun to hang out. It always
JJ Virgin: is. . Yes, yes, yes. So thank you. Thank you. Thank
Dr. Tom O'Bryan: you.
JJ Virgin: All right. Thank you so much for joining me. I told you he would be amazing. Now, here is the important thing. Go to All the information will be there. How to get to him. The Zoomer test, and you'll be able to get that gut reboot freebie, and he will have the three different ways you can reboot your gut.
And then again, you've got those five different things you're gonna put in root vegetables, fermented veggies, prebiotic foods. At least the tablespoon of apple salsa day and a cup of bone broth. Easy peasy to put in place. If you have not yet subscribed to the show, so you never miss an episode, and I will see you next time.[00:54:00]


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