Gut health. Everyone’s talking about it. And for good reason. More and more science is emerging every day showing that your gut health and gut microbiome influences everything from immune health, to mitochondrial health and energy levels, to brain health, to your weight, to your hormone levels, to to countless diseases, to mental health. Unfortunately, the modern world wreaks havoc on our gut health. So how do we fix out gut? What are the best gut healing foods? And how do you restore healthy gut flora?
In this episode, I have with me Summer Bock, who is a Holistic Health Coach, herbalist, Fermentationist, gut health expert, and founder of the company Guts and Glory. Summer will share her journey to restore healthy gut flora with gut healing foods.
Bonus – Summer’s Gut Health Quiz: Also make sure to take Summer’s Gut Health Quiz to find out if gut issues are behind your symptoms. You can do that HERE.)
- How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora With Gut Healing Foods With Summer Bock (Guts And Glory)
- The most relevant health issues and mechanisms that affect gut health and energy levels
- Why many indigenous tribes have a strong diversity in the microbiome
- How certain gut conditions fit into health and energy
- How stress affects the gut microbiome
- How environmental chemicals can affect the gut microbiome
- How food affects your gut microbiome
- How to restore healthy gut flora and treat SIBO symptoms with gut healing foods
- Summer Bock’s view on studies on gut health and probiotics
- How to restore healthy gut flora – why abiding by nature is essential for health and well being
- How changing diet can affect gut health
- Are farts really a sign of dysbiosis
- What your poop is telling you about your gut health
- How to restore healthy gut flora with gut healing foods – the importance of fermented food
- How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora With Gut Healing Foods With Summer Bock (Guts And Glory)
In this podcast, Summer will cover
- How different foods affect your gut microbiome (and Summer’s favorite gut healing foods)
- The power of fermented foods (and a popular one she is not a fan of)
- How to restore healthy gut flora
- Summer’s take on SIBO and how to fix it (this will likely shock you)
- Why Summer generally doesn’t rely on testing when finding our what’s wrong with her clients
- The important bacteria that we are no longer exposed to (and why)
- Are all farts created equal and are they all a sign of dysbiosis? (Hear what Summer thinks about flatulence)
- How long it takes for the gut to adapt to a change in diet (and why your body can give you bad signals if you don’t give it proper time to adapt)
- What your poop is telling you about gut health (and “The Golden Doodle”)
- The best gut healing foods
Download or listen on iTunes
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How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora With Gut Healing Foods With Summer Bock (Guts And Glory)
Ari Whitten: Everyone, welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I’m your host Ari Whitten, and today I have with me Summer Bock, who is a Holistic Health Coach, herbalist, Fermentationist and gut health expert.
I’m going to read her official bio. She’s a trained herbalist and master Fermentationist and founder of Guts and Glory, which is probably the best name of a business I’ve ever heard. Her mission is for everyone to have stellar health naturally with healing their digestion, using herbs, ferments and food. Her background in microbiology and premed has given her the perfect skill set for integrating the modern research in the microbiome with her traditional studies in Herbalism and using food as medicine.
She’s certified in Integrative Nutrition through Columbia University. She’s the founder of Fermentationist Certification Program, the Probiotic Power Cleanse and Gut Rebuilding. She’s a three-time Good Food award winner for her sauerkraut recipes, and you can download her free book at summerbock.com. So welcome to the show, Summer, such a pleasure to finally get you on.
Summer Bock: I’m excited to be here. This is really, I mean, you have an awesome show, so this is going to be fun.
Ari Whitten: Thank you. Yeah. So, I would love… your background is fascinating. You have this mix of traditional Herbalism and fermentation skills combined with health coaching and kind of this modern research around the microbiome and you’ve kind of melded it all together and your unique take on things which I love and I think is great. How did this actually come about? How did you get interested in gut health, specifically in the first place? What’s the background story here?
Summer Bock: I mean for me, I was really sick. I mean to the point where I had… The list is crazy to be honest with you. I mean I look back, I’m like, “Really, that was me?” But I was covered in rashes and hives, itchy all over breakout. I didn’t know when I’d be like break out in hives, freak accident is what it felt like. Sometimes I would have panic attacks just randomly. They would come on and even in the middle of the night. I would wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing.
And I checked my BPM one time, it was like 188 beats per minute just lying in bed, woke up to that. I also was bloated and just not digesting my food well. I also had environmental allergies. My eyes would swell, like the whites of my eyes would swell bigger than the irises.
I don’t know how this is possible, but it was disgusting and very uncomfortable and they itched and, you know, my… I just felt like I was itchy and runny and like nothing was working right. And I would go to my doctor, various doctors. You know I tried naturopaths, everything and everybody tried to put me on different kinds of herbs.
And I was taking herbs for, you know, my adrenals because I was so tired. I was taking herbs for my liver to clear up the skin stuff. I was taking herbs for digestion and I mean literally just like trying to treat all these various symptoms. And then I ended up going to my doctor again, totally desperate because my eyes, this whole swelling, when the white started swelling up around the iris, I was like, “This is not okay.” And my doctor looked at me and she goes, “What are you doing here?”
I was like, “What do you mean? I mean, look at me, I’m a wreck.” She goes, “Yeah, but you know more about this than I do.” And I was working with her clients like I was health coaching all of her patients at that time and getting great results. I just felt like I had this weird body that wasn’t following the rules and I felt, you know, I’d get some progress, but there were just these weird, just disturbing symptoms. And she looks at me and she goes, “Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to write a prescription.
I don’t think it’s going to do anything and you’re probably not going to fill it, anyway. So what are you doing here?” And I was like, “Oh great.” You know, it was, it was a very pivotal moment for me because I felt like the train left the station and I was just stranded in the middle of nowhere, you know, and so I had to face that. And I went home and really felt like, you know, no one was going to save me and I had been holding out this whole time.
I just kept holding out, you know, somebody is going to fix this. And I just had to take full responsibility for my health. I really had to own it a hundred percent at that moment and just say, “Okay, like let that train leave and we’re going to figure this out.” And I committed at that point, you know, at that point I committed, “I’m going to heal myself of all of my allergies.”
I didn’t even mention I could only eat like 30 foods without having a reaction to those foods. I mean I was, I thought I was going to starve to death because I was going to run out of foods to eat. And so, you know, making that decision to just take full responsibility was big. And through that work, through that decision, through the clear, like “I will heal my allergies” moment, yeah, I just started uncovering some more information and this was back in 2005.
This was before we could just Google “gut health” or we even knew that any of these things were connected. But I came across a few studies and I came across a naturopath who was traveling through town and they were like, “Maybe this is all connected to your gut.” And I just went out on a limb and I just stopped doing all the herbs for everything and just decided to focus on my gut.
And you know, I learned about probiotics, started taking those and I noticed a difference. But then I had to ask myself, “What’s the whole food version of probiotics?” You know, “How did my ancestors get probiotics into their diet? If this is essential, I know they weren’t taking these little pills that were made in a laboratory. What were they doing?” And that’s where I discovered fermented foods. And then I started fermenting literally everything and totally went to another extreme. So that’s the beginning of the story.
Ari Whitten: The end of the story is you ended up with severe other health problems from mending everything.
Summer Bock: No, I mean I learned about histamine through fermenting everything and realize that like you can absolutely get too high in histamine levels if you are already prone to that, already sensitive and then fermenting everything. So I had to chill. I learned moderation. I mean, I didn’t do anything in moderation prior to that. But no, I mean through food and through herbs and just fermented foods and really just paying attention to my body and learning how to listen to what my body is telling me and trust that, I’ve figured out how to heal myself from all of those issues and it’s been really cool. I mean it’s been great.
Ari Whitten: Awesome. So you were able to eventually, you know, kind of eliminate pretty much all of those symptoms?
Summer Bock: Oh yeah. And I mean, you know, I don’t eat gluten or dairy currently and I won’t because they just, they mess with my system. Like if I do a test for it, even if I eat it for a period of time and I test for it, I’m not allergic according to any of the tests. But I know that it will mess my body up so I just don’t touch it. And as long as I don’t eat those, I’m doing pretty good. And, you know, just learning how to get a diversity of foods. And I’ll tell you all about more stuff at the end, too.
The most relevant health issues and mechanisms that affect gut health and energy levels
Ari Whitten: Cool. So one of the things we chatted a bit about prior to doing this was the whole, you know, obviously this is the Energy Blueprint Podcast. So we’re talking about gut health and specifically in relation to kind of low energy levels versus high energy levels.
So how, what’s the connect there for people? And I know there’s obviously probably five to 10 different mechanisms we could potentially go into here, but what’s your take on some of the most relevant gut health issues and the mechanisms by which they impact energy levels.
Summer Bock: Yeah, there are many. But I’ll just say basically, you know, your gut is your most intimate interaction with nature because it’s the one place in your body where you’re only one cell away from the environment. When you’re bringing that environment inside of you and your ability to absorb what you’re eating is crucial to the level of energy that you’re going to have each day.
So I mean, I think that’s something that just is aware of on this basic level. Your nutrition, what you’re feeding your body. But then there’s this whole group of organisms, thousands of organisms, you know, probably they say two to three pounds living in your gut alone, which is like the equivalent to another organ. These organisms are working really hard for you. They’re digesting that food that you put in your body depending on what you eat, determines what grows there.
And then whatever they excrete as they digest that food determines what organisms will grow off of their excretions. It’s just like this whole, it’s an ecosystem. And if you understand ecology on any level, you can apply it to the gut. And I think that’s where I’m most fascinated by this because gut ecology is really about a community of organisms that are living and feeding off of each other and creating the environment in which they can live. And we have some control.
But then there’s a place where we know our real control is in our stress levels and in the foods that we put in there for them to digest. But then the rest of it that I find fascinating is that… so some people might have heard of this, but gut bacteria, a lot of them produce short chain fatty acids. And I read this study that said that eight percent of your energy production comes from these short-chain fatty acids, like eight percent.
So if you take antibiotics and wipe out all of the organisms in your gut, then you’re missing out on a massive percentage of your daily energy allotment. And this is the kind of energy that’s like… it’s things like butyrate and acetate, that’s the names of these short-chain fatty acids. And what’s interesting is that they feed the intestinal cells and they’re also easily consumed by other organisms.
I mean, there’s just a whole cycle of, I guess, the circle of life happening in there. And, for example, there’s Bifidobacterium, it’s one of the bacteria that you get when you’re breastfeeding. And so it’s really important bacteria to fill your system with. I mean, you’ve got to get it in there and it’s actually harder to get it into your system later on because it’s not, it doesn’t occur in a lot of other places besides breast milk.
You know, I’ve looked at it to find, “Okay, where can we get this in our fermented foods?” It’s not that prevalent in fermented foods actually. So once you’re past the breastfeeding age, then you’re going to have to figure out how to get, you know, your Bifidobacterium and probably through some form of supplementation. And the Bifidobacterium, they make acetate. That’s what one of their big byproducts is.
And acetate feeds these other organisms that then produce butyrate. And you know, these short-chain fatty acids, not only are they producing energy for you, but they are, like I said, determining what grows there because you’re creating more food for some of the other really good organisms that we don’t make probiotic pills for. Yeah. There are things like, it’s called Roseburia, like even Akkermansia. There are these various bacteria that are essential for our health. Can’t get them in pill form. You can’t get them in fermented foods. So the only way you can get them is to feed the right organisms so that they excrete the right things to feed those organisms.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. One quick comment and then I have a question for you. There’s one interesting layer of butyrate and energy production or subjective energy as well. Not even necessarily the sort of objective measure of how much ATP is being produced by yourselves, but actually just one subjective sense of mood and energy levels, which is butyrate actually affects a neurotransmitter or neuropeptide in the brain called orexin, which relates to sleepiness versus wakefulness. And by boosting butyrate levels, you boost orexin. And that enhances your subjective state of energy. So that’s another kind of layer by which butyrate is not only providing energy substrates, but also modulates neurotransmitters in the brain.
Summer Bock: Oh, I see. This is where it gets so fascinating to me because there’s also, you know, that’s just, that is a great example. I haven’t actually heard that one, but there are so many other examples like that of these excretions, these metabolites that are created by bacteria that then gets sent out through the body and our body reads it as if it’s a hormone or a neurotransmitter.
Like it stimulates, you know, the balance of all of our hormones and neurotransmitters and controls the way we feel and the way we function. And we think that we have a really strong understanding of it. And I think what’s key for people to take away is, you know, a bottle of probiotic pill, like a probiotic supplement, that is not enough to do the job under any circumstance.
Taking that probiotic pill and thinking that you’ve done everything that you need to do today to have your whole ecosystem flourishing and your gut be fine, especially if you’ve taken a ton of antibiotics throughout your life, which most people have at this point. But to think that is really to lead yourself astray. I just don’t want people to think that, “Okay, I’m doing everything I should be.” There’s more. Let’s just do it all.
Ari Whitten: So, I want to talk a bit about that bifidobacteria aspect of things. You alluded a little bit earlier to kind of a naturalistic notion of like, “Well, our ancestors didn’t take probiotic pills made in a lab.” What was the ancestral sort of way that they had enough bifidobacteria? Is it something that we only, we don’t have enough because of antibiotic use, or what’s going on there? Why don’t we have enough bifidobacteria?
Summer Bock: Breastfeeding. So we, you know, you… I mean, if you look at cultures throughout history, people would breastfeed until at least two years old. I mean, that was common and in our day and age, I mean we’re lucky to get people to breastfeed at all and if they do six to 10 months, you know. And the child, their immune system and their digestive system aren’t done developing until they’re age three. So I mean, if it was up to me, I would tell everybody to breastfeed until they’re, your kid is three and that’s a long time for a lot of people and I think there’s a lot of social stigma around that. But if you want to ensure that your baby is getting the right Bifidobacterium, that’s key. And then you also have to make sure that you have it as well. So it’s tricky. I mean we’ve reached this point in time where generation after generation we’ve been taking antibiotics, we’ve been altering our microbiomes through the pesticides and chemicals that are in food and in our environment and the kinds of foods that we eat have changed.
Summer Bock: The amount of certain kinds of foods has changed. And so we are actually passing on less and less healthy microbiomes to our babies. So I really believe that, you know, men and women both, I mean we need to be working really hard to do our best for our microbiome to pass on something that is going to determine our baby’s future and their overall health. I mean, otherwise we’re just, we’re declining generation after generation with this. And you look at it now, too, I mean there are some bacteria that we may never know existed, you know. I mean, they find various bacteria when they look at like the Iceman’s, you know, intestines and then they find like petrified poop and things like that and they find bacteria that they’re like, “We don’t know what this is.” You know, that’s probably going extinct because of the ways we’ve changed.
Why many indigenous tribes have a strong diversity in the microbiome
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Did you see the Hadza microbiome study. Are you familiar with that?
Summer Bock: I am, absolutely.
Ari Whitten: Okay. Well, I think it just came to mind because you’re kind of talking about this unexpected level of diversity at finding stuff that we don’t really expect to find. And they found all these things that we thought were pathogenic and they found them commonly in the gut microbiome of these Hadza people who don’t experience any of the gut problems that we experience. So there seems to be some magic in just diversity, and some of it’s not necessarily this organism is pathogenic all of the time and this organism is good all of the time. There seems to be some magic in just having a huge amount of diversity.
Summer Bock: Well, one way that Hadza people get flora into, like various diversity of bacteria in their guts is the men will often go hunting and then after they like cut up the meat and they are about to like take it all back with them. The way they wash their hands is they take the contents out of the stomach or I guess out of the intestines of the animal and wash their hands with that. So they’re using this natural hand sanitizer, which is a whole bunch of probiotics out of the gut of the animal.
Ari Whitten: Wow.
Summer Bock: You know? And so that’s how they sanitize themselves. And guess what, they aren’t going and washing their hands in the water, they’re going back to their village hugging and kissing everybody and being like, “Yeah, here’s the food.” You know, and so now they’re spreading all these new organisms into the whole entire village.
And one of my friends who studies Kombucha, she says community, she says “Community means common immunity.” Like that’s her little play on words because that’s exactly what it is. When we share these organisms throughout a community, then we get to share the benefit of having a stronger immune system. So I mean, that’s just one example, but they’re all over the world.
There are fermented foods. If you look at the majority of cultures, I mean it’s so cool that we use that word cultures. We find cultures of bacteria that those people protected and carried with them and held sacred and fermented foods have always been a big part of life until we reached an era where we grasped onto this concept of pasteurization and the germ theory by Louis Pasture and he really changed the tide. I mean, he was essential in bringing about this idea that… with the germ theory, that a germ comes in and it takes hold and that’s how you get sick. But, you know, supposedly on his deathbed he changed his mind and he said, you know, “It’s not the germ, it’s the terrain.” You know, so it’s weather….
Ari Whitten: Was that attributed to him? I didn’t know that that was supposedly attributed to him.
Summer Bock: And that’s, here’s, I mean, that’s what… If you look it up, that’s what it says. And there are many sources for that. I always just, I, you know, I can’t tell if that’s just the people that stayed alive, if that was their way of getting their message out in the world would be like, “Hey, guess what he said to me on his deathbed. He told me I was right.”
But you know, that’s what it’s attributed to. And so a lot of people are more embracing this bio-terrain theory, this theory that it is the environment that matters. And you know, truly, I don’t think the germ theory is 100 percent accurate. I mean it’s, it partially explains it, but not totally. But that germ theory is what we developed, pasteurization and so then we started canning everything so that it would last a long time on the shelves. And, you know, even canning things like sauerkraut and when you do that, you kill all the live probiotic organisms that are essential to our bodies.
Summer Bock: You’re killing those before you put it in and so you’re missing out on a big part of why that product is good for you. And I think that we’re, we somehow placed a value on longevity of food. And I think we should place a higher value on, you know, quality of food and you know, who grew it, you know, what kind of soil was it grown in and where did, maybe, where did you get your kefir grains or that various culture? Where did it come from? Who passed that onto you? I think that’s more interesting and I think we should get back to that.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. One quick thing, you mentioned this, your friend’s kind of idea around common immunity and community. It made me think of that common sort of axiom that you hear in self-help groups where they say you become like the three or five people that you spend the most time with. And it makes, it just made me like, I had a vision of somebody who’s not very healthy, just going and finding like three or five people who are super healthy and just rubbing up against them. Just I want your microbiome.
Summer Bock: Yeah, give me a kiss.
Ari Whitten: Exactly.
Summer Bock: You know, I mean, do you want to nerd out on that for just a second?
Ari Whitten: Yeah, totally.
Summer Bock: Because there is actually a Radiolab episode that talks about shaking hands and what happens to the bacteria of the hands when you shake hands. And what they have found is that there are some people whose bacteria, whose sub microbiome never changes no matter how many hands they shake. And then there are other people whose just get, they are affected. And so then my curiosity is, “I wonder if it was the empathetic people who get affected.”
Ari Whitten: Spoken like a true empath.
Summer Bock: I know. But, you know, I mean there’s a lot more to it is all I’m trying to say. It’s like yes, and, depending on what you have going on, you might need to get a lot more exposure than just rubbing up on people. But that is key for babies. I mean that is actually a key part of how they develop their microbiome even internally.
How certain gut conditions fit into health and energy
Ari Whitten: So when it comes to gut and health and energy specifically, obviously the gut is involved in absorbing nutrients from food. We have the microbiome and having the right mix of microbes in there to digest the food and produce various nutrients and produce compounds that are affecting the other organisms around them. And those are kind of two important layers.
Then there’s also this layer of the short chain fatty acids and how that’s affecting energy levels. What other layers to this story are there when it comes to gut health and overall health? Like where do things like gut permeability or SIBO, which is a controversial condition now and some people are kind of claiming that it doesn’t exist as well, where do some of these… or IBS and some of these other gut conditions, how do those things figure into health and energy specifically?
Summer Bock: Well, you know, the way that I look at the whole ecosystem in the gut is, you know, I see it as like a rainforest where you have all these various organisms that are working nicely together. And when you think about what happens in a rain forest, it’s like these animals are eating the food and everything’s turning back into the soil and it’s naturally like it naturally composts itself.
Things aren’t just rotting. They’re getting consumed, you know, versus a city where you drop something on a city sidewalk and it just rots and turns into slime. It doesn’t get consumed in the same way. It doesn’t turn back into dirt. It literally turns into slime and then just kind of… I don’t know where it goes, you know, but it’s not, it doesn’t end up as dirt. So compare that to your microbiome and what happens after you’ve taken antibiotics, which, that’s the main one that I say because there are many factors.
There’s stress, that’s a big one that will affect the organisms because just like we talked earlier, they can send out these metabolites and these chemicals and it can communicate with our body. Our neurotransmitters, our self-made chemicals, communicate with the bacteria and tell them what to do as well.
And stress, you know, all the neurotransmitters, the adrenaline, the cortisol, all of these things that come on board during stress totally affect the bacteria. And sometimes, in a lot of situations there, they’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is a bad situation.” You know, they start doing survival mode, type tactics, which changes what they’re producing, it changes, you know, everything, and can change the community numbers and it can make it easier for even pathogenic organisms to grow. So stress is a biggie. There’s also…
How stress affects the gut microbiome
Ari Whitten: I want to digress a moment on that. Are you aware of any kind of evolutionary reason why that’s the case? So like there is some research showing, as you’re talking about, that psychological, emotional stress can influence, you know, the gut microbiome. And even I’ve seen some that show it can influence gut permeability. Is there some sort of reason why we’re designed that way that you’re aware of? Like is there a… obviously it’s almost always talked about in a negative way. But is there, in the context of short-term stress, is there a positive side to that?
Summer Bock: I haven’t come across anything, but can I tell you my theory?
Ari Whitten: Yeah, please.
Summer Bock: Because I’ve thought about this exact question. Like, “Why would that cause intestinal permeability, for example?” My thought is that one of the biggest stressors in history was famine. And so if you increase your intestinal permeability, you’re going to absorb way more nutrients. You’re going to get more of that food into your system more quickly. So that’s my theory. I don’t know if it’s true. So don’t, nobody like quote me as like, this is scientific proof. But that was the closest thing I had come up with. Because I think our bodies are really smart. Our bodies aren’t self-sabotaging, actually. We think they are, but we’re misinterpreting the messages most of the time.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah, I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve never really encountered anybody trying to come up with any sort of explanation of a positive side to it. But there’s even research showing that like just even short-term exercise can increase gut permeability. Like you go for an hour-long run, something like that, and then you measure gut permeability and it will have significantly increased. And that just never really made sense to me, that we’re designed that way. That’s a really interesting theory.
Summer Bock: Yeah. I don’t know water like, yeah, just like why would we need to absorb more? That’s just what, the question that I ask myself when I think about it.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Well, I kind of interrupted your flow there and you’re going to talk about some of the other aspects…
Summer Bock: Yeah, so stress. I mean it’s a biggie. It really does affect what’s going on there. It does change the makeup of your microbiome. But then there are things like, you know, industrialized chemicalized nutrient lacking foods. That’s also going to change your microbiome. And I think that’s a biggie. You know, I mean, that’s, we’ve been dealing with low nutrient foods for decades and generations now, so again, we’re affecting our microbiome that way. Those are really big ones.
And then also, I mean I’ve said this a number of times, but antibiotics. The difference between antibiotics and these other ways of changing and manipulating your microbiome is that we’ve always been able to bounce back from stress. We’ve actually been able to bounce back from famine, you know, which I would consider similar to like low nutrient intake. Right? So we’ve been able to bounce back, but we have never really been able to know what it’s like to bounce back from antibiotics.
That’s like a new development. So my concern there is that, you know, we’ve taken the rain forest and now we have turned it into that city street. So our ability to now compost these things and absorb and turn it back into this, like really use up all the energy from that food and turn it into everything it was meant to be and supposed to be, were impairing that majorly.
So I think that’s something that people have to think about, and I call it the human sewer situation. This is kind of gross, but when you get the whole microbiome imbalance and you have dysbiosis, then all of a sudden all of these metabolites that are being produced are toxic. And so what do they do? They’re absorbed into our bloodstream just like the nontoxic one from the probiotics. So they’re just running through our bloodstream and where do they go there?
They go straight to the liver. Now the liver is having to detoxify and break down all of these toxins and the liver gets overwhelmed. And I really think that’s such a big part of autoimmunity, of IBS, of all these symptoms that people are seeing, where now we’re seeing the expression of toxins out of organs and channels of elimination that are backups. You know, like our colon is a really good channel of elimination. But the liver is a big part of that.
But when you get those inundated and backed up where else is it going to go, you know? And I just think it’s so scary. It’s so problematic, but I do think that it’s like this little metropolis and they’ve got this little sewage system, and that’s your bloodstream. And they’ve got a water filtration, you know, and that’s your liver.
So, you know, I really, I guess I’m a huge advocate for people not taking antibiotics whenever possible. And I’m also a huge advocate for people figuring out what they can be doing each and every day as a practice to rebuild their gut. Because with the stressors of our everyday lives and the chemicals that we’re exposed to and the antibiotics that most people have taken or that their parents took. You have a lot of work to do in order to get our energy levels back, you know?
How environmental chemicals can affect the gut microbiome
Ari Whitten: Yeah, absolutely. You’ve just mentioned chemicals. That was actually going to be my next question. Are you aware of interactions between specific environmental chemicals or chemicals that are in our personal care products or in our food and water supply and how that impacts the microbiome?
Summer Bock: Well glyphosate is a big one, Roundup, and it’s one of the most heavily used pesticides. And you find it in wheat, corn, soy, all the really popular food staples in the United States. And glyphosate, I’ve read some amazing studies on this that were shocking to me when I first read them on it, It’s just like, “Oh my gosh.”
It kills off probiotics. And you know, it’s basically not a friend. So it’s killing off all the probiotics in your system or lowering their numbers or impairing their functioning in some cases. And then the glyphosate is not very effective against pathogenic bacteria. So Salmonella is a good example. Some of these other pathogenic bacteria are able to survive the impact of glyphosate.
What ends up happening is you’re kind of spraying pesticides inside your gut on all the good bacteria and all the bad bacteria are just like, “Woohoo, this is so fun.” You know? And again, you’re just amplifying and fast forwarding that human sewer situation, just adding one more layer to the antibiotics and stress and everything else.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, interesting. Are you aware of any interactions with like heavy metals and, and even like just regular water? This is a huge thing that I’m shocked by how few people are actually aware of this. But just standard water supply, especially if you live in the United States is terrible. And there are so many people who are just drinking… they’re either drinking out of totally inadequate filtration systems, or you know, like the pitcher style Brita style filters that literally just don’t filter out a huge variety of some of the most potent toxins that are in that water supply.
But there’s obviously chlorine, there are chlorine disinfection byproducts, which are even more toxic than chlorine. There’s fluoride, there’s ammonia in there, and then ammonia mixes with chlorine and creates other stuff. And I mean there’s just, there’s a wide variety of very nasty stuff in our water that a lot of people are consuming every day because they’re not consuming adequately filtered water. I just have to imagine that pouring water into your gut tube, you know, multiple times a day for years or decades that has small amounts of these toxins, has to do something pretty profound there.
Summer Bock: Absolutely. I mean, I just actually tested my water not that long ago. And we have a new house so we know that there’s, all the plumbing is brand new which means, I guess, it’s like some sort of plastic probably, you know. And so I know there are no heavy metals coming in from the actual plumbing. And, yeah, I mean it was not good. It was, it had unacceptable levels of… I actually don’t have it memorized, but I was shocked at it.
And people are always asking me, “What if my water is bad? Is it better for me to drink out of plastic bottles, buy water or whatever?” Obviously getting a water filter is ideal. But if, I mean, I personally would choose a plastic bottle of water over tap water at this point. I know that’s the wrong answer environmentally too. But like from a self-preservation standpoint, I mean heavy metals are hugely impactful to the gut microbiome, heavy metals and various chemicals that you’re talking about.
The best way to describe them is like that they attract the cockroaches of the gut microbiome, right? So they attract the critters that want to like eat all the crumbs, you know. So you end up with raised amounts of, you know, I mean candida is a big one. Candida is a yeast that comes in and is already living in the gut microbiome and you give it the right food and then it’s like, “Oh, oh, I have a cleanup job to do.”
And that, it’s happy to do its job. And I really think it’s a big part of bringing balance back in. You know, but if we don’t handle the source of the toxicity, we end up with an ongoing imbalance.
How food affects your gut microbiome
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So we have the food supply, processed foods, the water supply. What were some of the other factors you mentioned that are influencing our microbiome? Stress, and was there anything else?
Summer Bock: Well, I guess, yeah, low nutrient food as well.
Ari Whitten: Okay. So a couple of specific questions on specific gut issues. SIBO, what’re your thoughts on that? And this is an admittedly a… It’s not a trick question, but it’s a question where regardless of what your answer is, somebody going to accuse you of being wrong. Because some people are advocates of this and other people say it doesn’t exist, there are too many holes in the theory.
Summer Bock: I mean I’ll tell you how I work with my clients around SIBO. So I have people who come to me who have tested positive for SIBO and I have people who come to me and ask if they should get tested for SIBO. And you know, my general recommendation to everybody, and you know, I get so scared saying this sometimes.
My general recommendation is that for my clients I’m like, “You don’t need to test for it. This is, you know, this is just like a transient issue that we can resolve through food and through stress.” Those are the two major factors for me with SIBO. And so I’m able to help people reduce their symptoms. I’ve worked with some people, there are two people in particular.
One who came to me with like severe symptoms of SIBO and a diagnosis and then within 24 hours we had her symptom free. And I had another one who it took her a week, and within a week she was symptom-free. And these are two people who all we did was handle the stress component. Because I was like, “You are like freaking out, you know, like you’re ruining your life around this. Like calm down, just chill out. Let’s listen to your body. Let’s really get grounded here and move forward from a place of trust and not be so afraid.”
They were just like spitting out all these chemicals throughout their system just from the level of stress from the diagnosis and from the diet and all the protocol. And I’ll be honest, I’m not a low FODMAPS recommender. It doesn’t make sense to me. That’s not what our ancestors have ever done unless you were like in a few tribes in various remote parts of the world. And so I just am not a low FODMAPS person either.
How to restore healthy gut flora and treat SIBO symptoms with gut healing foods
So I treat my SIBO people through just a really good lifestyle and really good diet and we see the symptoms recede rather quickly. And, I mean, if we really need to go on an antimicrobial, it’s usually because there are other bigger problems at hand.
And, you know, also SIBO, I also consider it something of just being slow transit time. Where things have time to ferment. I really see it as actually a low fiber issue. It’s something that I’ve seen in a lot of people who have done keto and maybe I’ll stop there. I feel like I’m bashing the heck out of it. That’s my approach. That’s my approach.
Ari Whitten: First of all, you didn’t offend me in any way, so you have no reason to feel like you’re stepping on my toes. I completely agree with everything you said. I’m curious, you hesitated initially and you said, “I’m scared to say this.” Was that the part about the fact that you generally don’t test for it?
Summer Bock: Yeah, because I’m not a doctor. You know what I mean? So I think that I have to be really clear. It’s not my job to diagnose people and it’s really not my job to like “cure diseases” and things like that. But I just, the way that I work in my approach with people is I look at their symptoms and I say, “Okay, our goal is to reduce your symptoms.
So how do we do that? Let’s just go back…” It’s the same. It’s my Gut Rebuilding Program. I do it the same with everybody. It’s just the tenants of living a life where you pay attention to the organisms living inside of you, like you actually care that you’re affecting not just your own health, but the health of all these organisms and you need them in order to support you. Because they’re creating vitamins like B9 and vitamin K. These are vitamins that you can’t absorb through your food. This is why when you do like B supplements, the RDA always says like 10,000 times, 10,000 percent of your daily recommended allowance.
And same with vitamin K. It’s like these amounts are a lot higher than what we’re supposed to get because they don’t pass through the digestive system very easily. So we need to produce them onsite so they can be absorbed through that very thin layer of intestinal wall right in the bloodstream so they can be used.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Well, I want to comment on a couple of things. I love what you said actually about that you don’t test for this. This is actually a huge pet peeve of mine and something I want to bring a little bit more attention to. But there are a number of tests out there. SIBO is just one example of many different things we could potentially talk about here, that seem to somebody who is the average patient going to a physician’s office, a naturopath’s office, whatever, that seems really scientific and cutting-edge and that actually gives the impression to that person that what that doctor is doing is way more advanced than what someone like you, for example, is talking about here.
That you’re just doing this sort of standard Gut Healing Program that’s not uniquely tailored to their specific test findings.
What they would get in that physician’s office is something that appears to them as way more advanced and cutting-edge and scientific. In fact, when you dig deep enough here, you find out that a lot of these tests that are being used are not even scientifically validated, that there are huge inconsistencies. And SIBO is a good example of this where like the testing for SIBO is not even that accurate and there are a number of tests where you can look at, you know, the hydrogen or methane breath testing and compare people who have SIBO, you know, who are diagnosed with SIBO versus normal healthy people.
And there are a number of studies that have found no detectable differences in hydrogen or methane output. So in other words, you can go to a lot of people’s offices, they will tell you to spend hundreds, if not sometimes thousands of dollars to get tests which are not even really scientifically valid.
Summer Bock’s view on studies on gut health and probiotics
Ari Whitten: And then give you some specific protocol that’s unique to your specific issues or at least appears that way. And then oftentimes it is not even nearly as effective as what, you know, the sort of “more primitive” approach that someone like you or me is taking that sort of, “Hey, here’s the shotgun approach. Let’s just address your diet and lifestyle in as many ways as possible to build up the overall metabolic health of your system and that’s going to translate into symptom reduction.” So it’s kind of this weird dichotomy or a weird sort of irony that drives me crazy.
It’s one of my biggest pet peeves is like so many people are doing these totally scientifically invalid things that have the impression, that give people the impression that they’re super advanced and scientific when they’re in fact not. So, I love what you said and thank you for saying that. And you don’t need to be afraid to say it. I hope that you’ll say it more openly.
Summer Bock: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. I’ve definitely hesitated to teach a class on it. I have people asking me about it all the time, like “Where’s your SIBO class?” And it’s like, it’s similar, it’s like I… because I don’t want to bait and switch people. I don’t want to be like, “Come here and learn how to heal SIBO. You don’t have SIBO!” You know. Like, I don’t know, I’m just still a little bit on the fence with that one. But, I mean, in terms of, you know, yelling it loud and proud, but I’m happy to talk about it. I think it’s so fascinating and what you’re reminding me of with this conversation is, what my, one of my tenants of my work in terms of the microbiome, which is that no one knows.
We’re looking at the relationships between thousands, hopefully thousands of different microorganisms that are changing. Their relationships are changing on an hour by hour, day by day basis based on so many factors that are even outside of our control. Even if we were in a perfect environment, still would be doing that. Right? And for science to come in and say, here’s this study, here’s what we figured out, here’s what we know about the microbiome. And then people to take that study and turn it into, now here are the answers for you.
Here’s your probiotic supplement based on this study. I get really hesitant about that because first of all, when you look at how many people that were studied in those, I mean the biggest one right now that people keep talking about is about how when you eat red meat, it causes the certain bacteria to grow and it’s a big deal and it messes with your microbiome. That study was based on five men that ate meat and their stool was tested and their blood levels were tested over the over a short period of time.
That’s it. That’s not enough people. The diversity, we don’t know anything about the diversity of those people and where they come from. It’s just not enough period. So there are problems with the way that people take the science and turn it into proof. And then I think that ultimately what I have to go back to is this is ecology. It’s nature.
If we practice the laws of nature, then we can work with it and create harmony. So you know, is the law of nature taking a probiotic and trying to manipulate something? No, the law of nature is like creating this beautiful, bountiful ecosystem where everything’s happy and working together and not trying to interrupt it, not trying to block that flow. And I think that takes a lot of trust. You know? I mean I myself, like I’ve rarely, I mean I haven’t taken antibiotics in a very long time and I’ve gotten sick where I was prescribed antibiotics from every practitioner, I went to because they said you have a viral infection, here are your antibiotics.
And I was like, it just doesn’t make sense, you know? And it’s so tempting because it makes us feel better emotionally. It makes us feel better mentally because we are scared. We’re all scared of dying. We’re all scared of getting sick. I mean, a lot of people are and I think it affects their ability to make these decisions in the short term.
How to restore healthy gut flora – why abiding by nature is essential for health and well being
And people are really scared when it comes to their kids. You know? And ultimately I just want to see people figuring out how do you abide by these laws of nature, how do you view what you’re doing to your microbiome or what food you’re eating in a bigger expanse so that you can understand what’s missing? I mean, and I’ll just say like, can I say a couple things I really think are missing.
Ari Whitten: Please.
Summer Bock: So I think that, you know, one we’ve talked about fermented foods is missing from most people’s diets and I just don’t think yogurt is enough because yogurt is just laboratory produced. Probiotics stuck in some milk and, you know, made to be a fermented food. It’s just not enough. We need wild fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi that are not pasteurized. I also think that fiber is a big one. I mentioned a little bit about that.
Our ancestors ate probably over 100 grams of fiber a day and we are a recommended by the FDA to eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day. And I actually probably get about 75 a day myself. And I feel so much better when I do. And I just think that fiber has got to be a main source of our focus of our diet. Fiber is what feeds the bacteria and it’s what feeds a diverse array of bacteria. So not just one kind of fiber and not the kind that you mixed in a drink, you know. You want to be getting fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and as many kinds as you can. Diversity of food is key.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. And, actually, can I interrupt you on that point? So, you know, a lot of people just talk about fiber or insoluble/soluble. People don’t realize that, as you were just alluding to, that there are lots and lots of different specific types of fibers and that they feed different types of bacteria differentially and can influence the diversity of the gut tremendously.
So like diversity of fiber types has a big impact on diversity of gut microbiome, of the gut microbiome bacteria. And, you know, this is also a problem because so many people are, even if they do eat vegetables, not enough people eat vegetables, but even the people who do have a few specific vegetables that they’re always eating. So they always eat broccoli and spinach and lettuce and tomatoes and those are the four things that they eat and they don’t really have any diversity beyond that. So I just wanted to kind of mentioned that diversity of the fibers is so critical.
Summer Bock: It is. And then I mean, you know, I think everybody’s done a really good job going organic and getting their food from farmer’s markets and things like that. But I’m going to just, I’m going to give you one more step-it-up moment. You can step-it-up and start to find out what kind of soil was your food grown in? Because if you’re eating all these vegetables from the grocery store, that have been sitting there for weeks, sometimes months, you know, and weren’t grown in the greatest soil with microbial diversity in the soil, then you’re not getting the microbial diversity in that food.
And if you really want to feel what it feels like to have diverse microbiomes, you’re going to go out and eat freshly picked fruit and vegetables. The white bloom covers grapes and blueberries and it’s like in the little divots in apples. Picking that and eating it right off the vine or right off the tree.
You’re inoculating yourself with bacteria that are coming from the environment and some of them are going to benefit you in that moment. Some of them are just going to pass through and be like, “Ooh, that was fun.” But some of them are really going to make a big difference in that diversity and just even that exposure is huge. So these are biggies for me.
I’m really just a big fan of people trying to get their food source to be the highest quality possible and I think more people need to learn how to garden and I think we are going to have to up our game on soil quality and soil diversity. Majorly.
How changing diet can affect gut health
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I actually have a right outside this door behind me. I have a big vegetable garden myself, so I’m on board. One more thing on this point of diversity. You mentioned briefly keto earlier. Which is obviously hugely trending right now for the last year or two. Tons and tons of people are going keto. The more recent trend that’s just started, I’d say this year, maybe just the last six months, it’s sort of really starting to become more popular. Not nearly as much as keto because it’s much more extreme, but it’s out there. It’s the carnivore diet. I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet.
Summer Bock: I haven’t seen the carnivore diet.
Ari Whitten: Okay. So it’s still in the infancy of its popularity, but the carnivore diet is becoming popular and it is exactly what it sounds like. There are people out there who are, it seems, from what I can tell, not only is it like meat specific, but a lot of these people seem to be eating nothing but beef or… I’ve seen reports of people saying “I’ve eaten nothing but ground beef for the past two months.” And I’ve also seen reports of people saying, they will often say that their gut, you know, their digestion issues, their bloating issues, feel much better now that they have basically a no fiber diet, an all meat diet.
But I am seeing some reports now of some of these people saying, “Well, now when I go back to eating plant foods, I’m highly reactive to them and they cause a lot of digestive distress and bloating and gas and things like that.” And so they take from that experience, “I feel better when I don’t have plant foods in my diet and don’t have fiber in my diet. So I’m just going to keep avoiding plant foods and fiber.” I’m just curious since you haven’t seen any carnivore diet people in your experience, but you’ve seen keto people, I’m just curious what your experiences around that and if that’s causing any gut disturbance when done long term.
Summer Bock: I mean, I think it can work for a period of time because our bodies were meant to survive off of anything for short amounts of time. Our body is willing to do what it takes to step in and make it, you know, as long as we’ve got some food coming in, our bodies going to do everything it can. But you’re going to… I think you’ll end up with nutrient imbalances over time.
If you aren’t feeding your body fiber, you’re not feeding your good bacteria and so you will end up with, I mean some major problems in terms of, you know, your own ability to produce vitamins internally. Right? So I do think you can get deficient in certain vitamins. And then I think the other thing that I’m concerned about with that is that when people go, “Oh, I’m eating these vegetables now and it’s causing me to have bloating or whatever.”
Of course, because it takes six to eight weeks to really, of eating something, in order for your body to develop the exact right enzymes and microbial makeup to digest what you’re eating. There’s always a transition time. But if you’re taking all of those out, sure, I mean, you aren’t fermenting anything anymore. And this is just, this is another area where I just don’t know a lot about. I just look, right?
And when I look at some of these cultures and these tribes that are indigenous that have not been altered by, you know, like development and our culture today, these people are not running around with six-pack abs. I mean some of them maybe. But like it’s not uncommon for people to actually have like round bellies. How much of what’s going on with them, this round belly, how much of them are like they producing some gas in there.
And like maybe there’s a part of bloating that could be a normal part of digestion. You know, you look at any healthy animal who is a ruminant, and their bellies are firm, you know… And I’m not saying that’s exactly who we are, but I think that there are some standards that we have around what a healthy belly looks like that might not be correct.
Are farts really a sign of dysbiosis
Ari Whitten: Yes. Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up because I’ve seen, you know, this whole idea of gas and bloating really be pathologized tremendously. And obviously it can be an extreme where it’s really uncomfortable and painful and a sign of something clearly wrong. But there seems to be a lot of people who are under the impression that any degree of bloating or gas is a sign of like fermentation and that, in the gut, and that things are fermenting and producing toxic byproducts and that that’s bad.
And you know, I mean, I have a two-year-old son who is super healthy and has eaten a wonderful diet since he was.. Well about as good as an infant can expect to eat, and he has gas. You know, there are farts that come out every now and then. To me, just if you’re a naturalist, just observing that simple fact, healthy kid growing up in a healthy family eating a really healthy diet has some gas, probably means that gas is pretty normal, you know.
Summer Bock: If it seems really bad, then I think you do have an issue. Like if there, if everybody, if it’s like room clearing gas thing. But yeah, normal, healthy fats, like I 100 percent agree with that.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. And I’ve actually seen recently in my member’s group from my Energy Blueprint Program, someone saying something to this effect. Like he’s so worried because he has some bit of gas. And that, you know, some physician, I won’t mention the name, but this physician is saying that any degree of gas, if you have any gas, it’s a sign of gut fermentation and toxic byproducts being produced. And I’m like, “No, just relax. You have a little bit of gas. You’re fine.”
Summer Bock: Well, it’s actually a sign of, probiotics when they digest fiber they produce two things. They produce lactic acid and they produce carbon dioxide every time. So I mean, that’s why, you know, farts shouldn’t be stinky, there should just be made up of carbon dioxide.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So, there are a few other things I know you wanted to cover. I don’t know if you, do have 10 more minutes?
Summer Bock: A couple more minutes, yeah.
What your poop is telling you about your gut health
Ari Whitten: So there’s, one aspect of things is looking at your poop can tell you a lot about your gut health. Can you go into that a bit?
Summer Bock: Absolutely. I think this is a key thing. We have a piece of biofeedback that we can look at every single day. And biofeedback, I think it’s just one of the most helpful ways to move forward in being healthy. And poop is probably my number one way of figuring out how your digestion is doing, how your microbiome is doing.
So there’s a couple of things to look at. One is making sure that there’s no undigested food present. I think that’s big. And if you start eating more and more fiber, you will see undigested food at first. But then over time that will start to go away. Once your body gets more and more used to it, your bacteria grow and you’re getting more enzymes to break that down from the bacteria. So there should not be undigested food. Secondly…
Ari Whitten: That doesn’t include corn, right?
Summer Bock: Right, yeah. I mean there are a few exceptions, sure. But if you have seen corn whole, then you didn’t chew it well enough. So that’s also a digestive issue. You really should be chewing your food better. And then another factor that you want to look at is ease. It really should take like less than 30 seconds to go to the bathroom. Like you should just be able to sit down and there should not be a lot of strain. It should be very effortless, it should be very quick.
And then you also should have what I call a clean break. We’ve actually named this entire process, the golden doodle. So you have a golden doodle, you also have a clean break. There’s no residue on the toilet paper. That’s key. And that means that you have enough bacteria producing bile conjugates. Like they’re actually converting your bile into this slippery substance that then coats your poop and makes it slip through easier and it makes it sticky and it holds it together.
So I think that’s really important to notice. And then also it really, it should be the size of your descending colon. So from here to here to here [wrist to elbow]. I mean, and you should be doing that two times a day, maybe three depending on how much fiber or how much food you’re eating. So that’s the biofeedback. Check off all those boxes. Are you doing that every day? If not, work toward it. Like make it your goal because people think that their digestion is normal.
They think it’s normal to have diarrhea or have some of these digestive issues or have to take over the counter meds for it. And you should not be taking over the counter meds for digestive issues. You should be dealing with it, fixing it, figuring it out and getting it handled so that you are making sure that your bacteria are where they should be.
How to restore healthy gut flora with gut healing foods – the importance of fermented food
Ari Whitten: Do you have any other key tip for rebuilding gut health. And I know you’ve mentioned fermented foods in passing. Do you have any specific tips on that? And I’m also curious what you think of Kombucha.
Summer Bock: Oh, okay. Yeah. So my tip for fermented foods is eat the ones that taste good to you, smell good to you, that feels right. You know, don’t force it. And I don’t think you need a lot. It’s always eaten as a condiment. It doesn’t have to be eaten every single day, but you know, if you want to try 30 days having it with each meal. I really only recommend like two fork fulls.
You don’t want to overdo it. I think, again, we live in a culture where we’re like, “Oh, this must be good for me. Well, let me eat a lot.” And we have bowl fulls. No, don’t do that. And not only that, you have a lot of bacteria in there. You don’t need to inundate your system. Let your body get used to it slowly. And for some people who have maybe reactions or symptoms to it, try doing just a tiny amount. Like maybe even the equivalent to like a half a teaspoon to start daily and just slowly progress.
Some people will notice some gas and bloating from just that that die off and that change of bacterial, the bacterial makeup. So take it slow. In terms of Kombucha, I think it’s a great gateway ferment. So, you know, if it means that somebody is going to get turned on to the sour flavor of fermented foods and start heading down that pathway and listening to their body and really…
So I started a sauerkraut company years ago. And I started it because I realized that while I was making these fermented foods, my roommates would come over and try it. Their friends would come to try it. And you know, most people liked it immediately. It was very different. It’s like fresh, raw and unpasteurized, mostly vegetables that I made. And they would just be like, “Whoa, I’ve never tasted anything like that. That’s amazing.” But then every once in a while there would be somebody who was like, “I really don’t like that.”
But then they would come back a week later and they’d be like, “I have not stopped thinking about your fermented vegetables. And I know I didn’t like it a week ago, but can I get some?” And so what I discovered over years of doing this was, “Oh my gosh, I’ve created like, this is a healthy, addictive food. This is amazing.”
And so then I realized that these organisms, they are communicating with your system. So your acquired taste changes to make room for the things that your body knows it needs. And we see that often with ferments. So with Kombucha, it’s a great gateway into that. But there are some issues with Kombucha. It’s filled with sugar, it’s filled with caffeine and it’s got some alcohol in it. And if you’re making it at home, it might have even more alcohol in it. So you have to be a little bit careful.
I also just think that those three substances are very addictive. So I think a lot of people get addicted to Kombucha. And I know that it also is, there are some bacteria fermenting in there, but there’s a lot of yeast fermenting. And so the byproducts that are in that Kombucha, like that sour taste and some of these other flavors are actually the metabolites created by yeast.
When you drink that, if you have Candida overgrowth or some sort of other yeast imbalance, I think that it can help feed that yeast imbalance. Because, you know, you’re giving information to the yeast community, “Hey look, metabolites from yeast, your friends live here.” You know, and that’s how organisms read this stuff. And so in my experience, I’ve worked with a lot of people with Candida and various kinds of dysbiosis and we’ve just seen that taking out the Kombucha was a really good step for them.
So, you know, I work mostly with people with digestive issues. So generally I’m telling people to stay away from it. I also don’t think it’s good for people who are prediabetic or diabetic. But then there are a few cases where I’ve seen it work well. People with gout, people who aren’t, don’t really have a sweet tooth. You know, I’ve seen it be like a good balance for people who are more salt eaters. Who really just like, they literally do not eat dessert.
They don’t eat candy or anything like that. So you know, you got to just look at the individual. And I think people need to decide. But historically, people drink small amounts of Kombucha. They didn’t drink 16-ounce bottles. They probably had four-ounce shots at the most. And then the final thing I’ll say about it is that the bacteria, like the probiotic content of Kombucha is questionable. Because most of the companies just add back bacillus coagulans, which is in most cases like a genetically modified organism or at least a patented organism that’s owned by, there’s a couple of companies that are the main ones at the front of this.
And so they’re just like buying this organism and then adding it to their food so that they can call it probiotic. Because what they found when, like microbialfoods.org is a great website for some really cool information about fermented foods. They found that in Kombucha there was only about 30 percent that showed lactobacillus strains. And the rest of them didn’t have any lactobacillus at all.
Ari Whitten: Very interesting. I’m sure we could geek out a lot longer.
Summer Bock: I know this is really fun.
Ari Whitten: I’ve really, really enjoyed this. I have probably 12 more questions that I want to ask you, but thank you for hanging out a little longer than planned with me and this has been super fun. I hope that I can have you on again and we can go over these other questions. And I’m sure I could probably think of 20 more in between now and then, too. So thanks so much, Summer, it has been an absolute pleasure. Do you want to direct listeners anywhere in particular?
Summer Bock: Yeah, I mean I would recommend checking out my Gut Health Quiz. And we can send them to summerbock.com/energy. And I’ll just have this great quiz there for you guys. And the benefit of taking this is to just know what factors you’ve encountered in your life and how much of an impact have they had on your gut health and where do you stand right now.
Ari Whitten: Awesome. Perfect. Thanks so much Summer. This has been a blast and I look forward to doing it again soon.
Summer Bock: Thanks.
How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora With Gut Healing Foods With Summer Bock (Guts And Glory)
The most relevant health issues and mechanisms that affect gut health and energy levels (7:22)
Why many indigenous tribes have a strong diversity in microbiome (15:50)
How certain gut conditions fit into health and energy (21:32)
How stress affects the gut microbiome (24:16)
How environmental chemicals can affect the gut microbiome (29:17)
How food affects your gut microbiome (33:43)
How to restore healthy gut flora and treat SIBO symptoms with gut healing foods (36:18)
Summer Bock’s view on studies on gut health and probiotics (38:28)
How to restore healthy gut flora – why abiding by nature is essential for health and well being (44:20)
How changing diet can affect gut health (48:29)
Are farts really a sign of dysbiosis? (52:30)
What your poop is telling you about your gut health (54:49)
Learn more about your gut health. Take the test here.
Studies And Research Mentioned In The Podcast