Natural Herbs and Foods to Help Fight Stress

When you’re stressed, what are the important things? Blood sugar stability is really important because most people get on a roller coaster when they get stressed, meaning they’re overly gravitating towards alcohol and towards refined sugar. Their blood sugar goes up and then it crashes down, and then it creates more nervous system stimulation via adrenaline, epinephrine, and cortisol being stimulated to bring the blood sugar back up.

Click here to consult with a functional medicine doctor for guidance on which foods to eat for stress relief.

So, I find just keeping it really simple and really easy with your meals. You may be more nauseous when you’re overly stressed because stress hormone does cause you to feel nauseous. So, this is where you may want to do a soup or a simple smoothie, something really easy where there’s not a lot of digestion but you’re still getting some proteins and fat in there, whether it’s some collagen and some coconut milk or just sipping on some bone broth. Something like that’s going to have some good fat and good protein, and it won’t be hard to digest. So, if you feel nauseous, just still know you should probably be eating but just try to make it something very easy on your tummy.

Then think what are some of the nutrients your nervous system is going to need when you’re more stressed. So, the low hanging fruit, B vitamins. B complex is going to be very essential. Magnesium is going to be excellent. GABA and L-theanine are good things that are going to help you relax and wind down. Valerian root or passionflower, which are all connected to GABA and that inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps you just relax a little bit. It kind of puts the clutching gear and disengages the gearbox, so you can downshift so to speak.

I always go to nutrients first and then I go to my favorite adaptogenic herbs second. So, Ashwagandha is one of my favorites. Rhodiola is excellent and there’s holy basil, which are my favorite very relaxing and tonifying herbs.

If you want to learn more about herbs for stress relief, click this link to schedule a chat with me!

Oils That Cause Gut Inflammation

There are various top-causes for gut inflammation but a big one is an oil. The oil you use to cook or bake into foods could be a major culprit to your very uncomfortable gut inflammation. Let’s look at the good and stable oils vs. the unhealthy oils. 

Click here for a consultation with a functional medicine doctor if you have questions about what oils to use for cooking!

If you look at the standard American diet, just even a hundred years ago, your grandparents or your great grandparents, they did not have access to these type of oils. They were cooking with traditional fats. They did a lot of lard and maybe some beef tallow.

If I asked my grandfather, “What did your grandmother cook you and what did she cook it with?” She was not using soybean oil. She was not using corn oils. She was not using rapeseed oil, which is canola.  She was not using peanut oil. If they did something fried, it was going to be fried in possibly bacon fat, which came from the pig in the backyard of the farm or it was going to be cooked in some type of like a beef tallow, where the cows were on the back part of the farm.

When it comes down to fats, most plant fats are not going to be the best unless they are cold extracted or unless they are minimally processed to extract the fats. Partly because of the processes of extracting, it tends to damage the fats because the heat and the extraction process also makes the fats rancid and taste bad. There’s a lot of like deodorizing and filtration and different processes to make it more palatable that you would never be able to have at a natural state.

So the best plant fats are:

  1. Coconut oil because it’s a saturated fat and it’s more temperature-stable.
  2. Cold-press olive oil and good-quality avocado oil, which is primarily a monosaturated fat.
  3. Palm oil, which is more in a kind of saturated state.

There are some nut-based and some seed-based oils, but then you start ramping up the Omega-6 and those may not be the best.  There are some supplemental oils that are more GLA-based that I’ll give supplementally, like black currant seed oil but we’ll give it supplementally and that’s coming from great sources that are going to be in capsules that won’t be oxidized and such.

Bad fats are going to create a lot of oxidative stress and they are going to deplete a lot of your antioxidant reserves because if those fats are oxidized, your body is going to need a lot of vitamin C and vitamin E to help with the oxidative stress that those fats may cause your body.

Now what it you find a good fish with gluten-free breading so it’s not covered in wheat with some type of non-gluten containing flour, but then you’ve got canola oil. Do you think you’re still going to be net positive in terms of nutrition because you’ve still got the good fish, but yet you’ve got the inflammatory oils or would you say, just get you some grilled fish and then if you want to bread it, you bread it yourself?

There’s a product that we like of sweet potato fries that my wife will do for my son because it’s really easy, but they have a little bit of canola oil in there. So you have this kind of convenience factor where ideally if you could you always would want to put your own fat on there if you could and my easy saturated fat or my easy fat for cooking that’s plant-based would be avocado. I like avocado because it tastes a little bit more neutral. I do not like olive oil as much. Olive oil is better for dressings, but I’ll do avocado for cooking. If you have control over it, you always choose the better fat over the junky fat if you can.

So the interesting thing is like coconut oil and avocado they’ve become kind of trendy and I would say avocado is not going to be a traditional fat meaning, meaning like traditional people were probably not doing it because you’ve got to have some heavy-duty equipment to extract the oil, but coconut oil would be super traditional.  I mean, this would be something that has historical use.

Your big fats that are going to be plant-based would probably be primarily coconut. But your biggest ones that I think are going to be used more long-term from generation to generation will be your tallows, your bacon fat, your duck fat, and those kinds of things because saturated fats don’t go bad. They stay good for a long time because the carbon is saturated with 4 hydrogen bonds between them, which makes the fat really, really, really temperature-stable.

Take note of oils are that bad for your gut because they cause inflammation and oxidative stress.

If you have any questions about what the best oils to use for cooking, please reach out to a functional medicine doctor to learn more.


How To Treat Toenail Fungus or Discoloration


How To Treat Toenail Fungus or Discoloration

Let’s go into like the most common things that you would see or hear of with complaints regarding nails. The biggest one is going to be toe fungus under the nail bed where it’s going to be a yellow or just a fungal-infected toenail.

Why Should We Address Gut Issues?

If it’s on the toenail, there’s definitely implications that it could be in the gut. The problem is you can address the gut a lot of times but that’s not going to be enough to address the toenails well. Just because the time you put herbs into the gut or whatever time it gets into the bloodstream, makes its way all the way down to your toe. Unless it’s a very minor fungal infection, most of the time you’re gonna need to hit it topically because your immune system and all these antifungals take a long time to get to the outer periphery of where this fungus is located. So in general, we should address the gut and then we should also address it topically on the nail. So we’ve got to hit it from both ends, inside and outside, to kind of put that fungus between a rock in a hard place.

Click here for a consultation with a functional medicine doctor to find out about treatments for toenail fungus and discoloration!

How To Treat Toenail Fungus or Discoloration

How Fungus is Treated Conventionally

Let’s just say you go to your foot doctor or your podiatrist and you say, “Hey, I’ve got a fungal infection on my toe.” They’re going to end up giving you Lamisil or some other type of a prescription or over-the-counter antifungal. But to me, I think that’s a shortsighted approach because that toenail is not having that infection for no reason.

How To Treat Toenail Fungus or Discoloration

How Fungus is Treated Functionally

If it’s really bad, you definitely want to be addressing your diet because a lot of the fungus or yeast, which is primarily that yellow-discolored nail is going to be fungus in that area.

  • You got to stop what’s feeding it. Look at the diet and stop feeding it all the refined carbohydrates.
  • You want to address the gut issues to begin with. The Candida, which is a kind of yeast or fungus, whether it’s Microsporidia Rhodotorula. You want to address and knock down some of these yeasts. More than likely we’re going to topically hit it as well.
  • Some of the Lamisil or the other medications that are antifungals are very hard on the liver. So if you’re going to go that way, definitely take some herbs like milk thistle and take some extra glutathione to help support and tonify the liver if you’re going to go that way.

How To Treat Toenail Fungus or Discoloration

Alternative Treatments for Toe Fungus 

  1. Topically, we can use things like Melaleuca or tea tree and/or oil of oregano and topically rub it on the nail.
  2. We can also do a fungal soak as well. The fungal soaks work phenomenal. There’s a herbal concoction that you mix it with apple cider vinegar which works amazing. You can do that and then topically rub something on after you soak your feet for 5 or 10 minutes. Some people they’ll just do the topical nail as well. I like doing the whole foot. That way if there’s any fungus between the toes or in the heel or wherever in the skin, you kind of get all of it versus just some of it. So nail fungal soak with also topically hitting the nail as well.

Anything that we can do to reduce that process of AGEing — the advanced glycation enzyme process — is also going to be one of the critical steps to this. The less stress in your body, the better. Nail fungus is really unique because once you fix a lot of the root cause stuff, that may not go away. So you gotta really topically hit it as well.

If you have any questions about toenail fungus and discoloration, please reach out to a functional medicine doctor and learn how to treat this condition.

Holistic Farming, Improving the Food Chain, Your Immune System Starts with Good Food – Joel Salatin | Podcast #290

For today’s podcast, Dr. J has got a treat for you! Joel Salatin, American farmer, lecturer, author, and owner of Polyface Farm. He is one of the most famous farmers with his successful, unconventional techniques (agricultural methods used at Polyface are “beyond organic”).

Dr. J is talking us through the food journey and how a strong immune system starts with our food. We open with segregation vs. integration in conventional vs. unconventional farming. The benefits are obvious, and Salatin chooses not to mass produce to maintain a holistic and environmentally friendly business model. We shift into a discussion about quality and nutrient density of foods. We look at how some recent studies, documentaries, and food movements sweep over the fact that organic grass-fed meat is of a far superior quality to fast food meat. The quality of mass produced meats, fast food “meats”, and organic grass-fed meats are all different, and Dr. J and Joel acknowledge and elaborate on this. Much is covered during this podcast, but stay until the end to learn how our food-spending habits are changing with the times. While we used to spend 18% of our income on food and less on health, now it is the opposite. Dr. J sees this need to spend more on health in direct correlation with the quality and nutrient density of today’s foods. Spend more money on good quality food that is high in nutrients and you’ll spend less on hospital bills, etc.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

00:00 Intro to holistic farming

07:01 Junk food epidemic

19:47 Food processing plants

26:16 Politics of food

31:10 Nutrient-dense food

37:00 Plant protein vs animal protein, bacteria, biomass and the climate

44:24 Food labels and grading system


Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And we are live! It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani here in the house with Joel Salatin, who is one of the most famous farmers out there who runs Polyface Farms, an organic natural farming association.  We’re gonna talk about all things farming, health, immune system.  Let’s dive in.  Joel, how are you doin’ today?

Joel Salatin:  I’m doing great and it’s an honor to be with you, Dr. J.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, thank you so much.  So, I first came upon you, how long has it—maybe 10 years ago now?  In the documentary, Food Inc?  Has it been 10 years?

Joel Salatin:  Yes, it has been 10 years.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow! I remember that movie.  There was a couple of things.  It really kinda juxtaposed conventional farming methods.  You bring in the cows then you bring in all the corn and then you have to move everything out.  Get the corn you know—get all the cow patties out because of all the toxins that happen in it and then you see this wonderful juxtaposition where you have these cows, you move them throughout the pasture.  You bring in the chicken to eat the remains of the stool they bring.  You have this beautiful synergy in your farming and it was like this complete circle where the conventional system was just so, let’s just say, it lacked that holistic nature.  Can you just kinda juxtapose, you know, the farming on the conventional side this with the more holistic farming just so the average person—

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s stepping into this, understands the difference?

Joel Salatin:  Sure!  Well, you’ve laid it out very well.  One of the big differences is segregation versus integration.  I mean—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  In the industrial system, the animals are segregated from their environment, from their feedstocks.  They’re cooped up in a house.  They breathe in their own fecal particulate all day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Correct.

Joel Salatin:  Their waste goes into whatever lagoons.  I mean, if North Carolina didn’t get a hurricane every 2 years, the whole state would be full like a toilet tank right now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Joel Salatin:  You know, from all the clogged lagoons.  Where—and then it goes to, you know, to wherever the food gets, to wherever it goes, into a great huge processing plant that’s also segregated with razor wire and no trespassing zones from its own community.  Whereas in our system, it’s a highly decentralized system, a highly integrated system where the environments of open land, forest land, and water integrate closely.  Wildlife is not considered a liability.  Wildlife is considered an asset.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Correct.

Joel Salatin:  Pollinators are encouraged and so the animals are each in a habitat that allows it to express its phenotypical distinctiveness.  We call it the pigness of the pig, the chickeness of the chicken, ah so that they can fully express their, you know, yeah, their physiological uniqueness.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Totally makes sense.

Joel Salatin:  The animals are moved from paddock to paddock.  The chickens come behind the cows.  The cows eat grass.  I mean, they are herbivores so they don’t grain and they certainly don’t eat dead chickens and chicken manure like the industry feeds them and the manure fertilizes the pasture like the bison did that built the great soils of, you know, America and then we process locally and we, you know, we feed our foodshed and so everything is this circle.  I mean, even our composting, we build compost with pigs.  So instead of using—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  Great big machines, you know, to turn these piles, we actually just put some corn in it, turn in the pigs and the pigs aerate it and stir it like a big egg beater and of course, the pigs love to do this.  We are not asking them to do something they don’t like to do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  100%, I like it and I’m not an educated farmer but I could just see the holistic in this and the synergy and it just made sense.  Now obviously, there’s business and, you know, the whole market type of feeds, this conventional type of way of living or producing animals in a conventional way, is it possible to still make money as a farmer and produce food holistically like this or is the profit mode of just really, really change the direction in how farming is moving?

Joel Salatin:  Well, absolutely.  It’s possible to make a living this way.  That’s what we do.  We’re not a non-profit.  We are a for-profit outfit and now, that said, it’s important to realize that much of the food sold in the supermarket is not honestly—the cost of that is not honestly gathered.  I mean, the fact that we have a dead zone the size of Rhode Island and the Gulf of Mexico, that is a direct external cost of industrial agriculture or the fact that half of all cases of diarrhea in the United States come from foodborne pathogens.  You know, what’s the case of diarrhea worth?  I don’t know what it’s worth but it’s not very fun and so we have all these additional costs that are not captured in the supermarket price and so we say, we’re the cheapest food on the planet because we are not polluting anybody.  We’re not, you know, we’re not polluting anybody’s, you know, backyard barbecue with a stinky air and we’re not giving anybody a case of diarrhea and we’re not giving anybody MRSA and C. diff with subtherapeutic antibiotic use.  So there’s—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I just wanna interject real quick.  You said, “A dead zone in Mexico or the Gulf of Mexico?”  Can you elaborate a little more on that?

Joel Salatin:  Yeah, well the Gulf of Mexico, of course, is the ocean and the right now, in the Gulf of Mexico there’s a dead zone which is a toxic—where there’s no oxygen and nothing grows and it’s the size of Rhode Island right now and all those trip fishermen—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  Fisherman that made a living in that large area, there’s no longer anything produced there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, wow.  I didn’t know that.

Joel Salatin:  Yeah.  So I mean, it’s big.  I mean, it’s the biggest dead zone on the planet right now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Interesting.

Joel Salatin:  And not mention the many that are just, you know, internal but no, that’s a direct result of industrial, chemical and you know, run-off down the Mississippi.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, I see.  So it’s caused by the pesticide run-off and it’s creating a dead zone where just life can’t happen because of all—

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The toxic soup that’s happening there essentially.

Joel Salatin:  That’s right.  That’s right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay, very interesting.

Joel Salatin:  That’s right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And you have really touched on it too much, I’ll dive into, I wanna get thoughts on it is there is an inequality in regards to junk food being cheap partly because of a lot of the government subsidy, right? 20 billion dollars or so for wheat and soy, so when you throw that on, it’s gonna make these foods artificially sweet so when you see the Dollar Menu for instance, it’s really not a dollar, it’s probably orders of magnitude above that.  Can you talk about the junk food epidemic with high fructose, corn syrup, soy, all these refined processed foods and how they’re artificially cheap?

Joel Salatin:  Well, sure.  I mean, the entire whatever farm program, USDA program, is dedicated toward subsidizing, concessionizing A) not only a large-scale enterprises to the exclusion of small-scale enterprises.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  And you know, amalgamation and centralization and all that, but also to certain products, certain crops.  There’s only 6 crops that get subsidies.  Now they call insurance because subsidies have become you know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:   Too politically incorrect.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Too politically, yeah, exactly.

Joel Salatin:  So now they call insurance.  But there’s only 6 products that have that you know, corn, soybeans, wheat and rice.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Granola?

Joel Salatin:  Uh, not granola.  Cotton.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Cotton.

Joel Salatin:  And the other one is sugarcane.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  Sugarcane.  So those are the 6 crops that are officially in that, you know that, kind of—well, the old subsidy program now the new insurance program, and so anytime you have incentives for just 6 commodities, guess what?  You’re gonna get a skewed cost structure and an inordinate amount of production in those particular commodities and so that’s exactly what’s happened.  And of course, you know, when you talk about junk food, you gotta realize that junk food is not necessarily less expensive than nutritious food.  I mean, a Snickers bar, the price per pound of a Snickers bar is more than the price per pound of our, you know, grass-finished beef for example.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I think I heard you once say this, I mean, you can correct me if I’m wrong.  I think you were talking about your organic eggs versus the conventional eggs and you’re like, “Hey, yeah. This is the twice the amount of cost but do you know that the amount of folate in here is 20 times more.”  Can you talk about the nutrient density?  And is that about correct?  Is that number about correct?  From the quote from before?  In regards to the folate and eggs?

Joel Salatin:  Yeah, so we participated with Mother Earth News Magazine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  In a study back, oh I don’t know, 5 or 6 years ago.  They got tired of people—of being whatever panned and excoriated for saying that there was a difference from carrot to carrot, egg to egg, you know, pork chop to pork chop and so they said, “Well, let’s do it.  Let’s take, you know, pastured eggs.  Let’s find some farmers and settle this dispute.”  And so they got 12 of us and we send them to a lab and they measured it for 12 nutrients.  One of them was folic acid and the official USDA, you know, nutrient label for eggs is like 48 mcg per egg of folic acid and our eggs averaged 1,038 mcg per egg.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  No, I mean, yeah, so your magnitude of 20—this isn’t a 5% difference, a 10%.  This is like, you know, magnitudes.  The same thing is true with like grass-finished beef compared to corn-finished beef.  For example, riboflavin.  Riboflavin is especially—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  B2.

Joel Salatin:  You know, yeah, and it was like 300% higher.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  And, and so you know, these products.  When you talk about a salad bar, you know, being able to exercise and fresh air, and sunshine and/or grass in a salad bar where they’re moved every day to a new spot and you get this fresh salad.  The keratins in that salad completely changed the fatty acid, the nutritional profile—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Joel Salatin:  Structure of the, you know, of the meat, poultry, egg.  You know, whatever it is on the protein.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And this primarily just has to do with the fact that the cows are eating a natural diet.  They’re getting lots of greens and then of course, the greens aren’t gonna be laden with GMOs and pesticides and then you’re cycling that through, and then you’re providing the synergy in with the chickens that eat the fecal debris afterwards, which then re-fertilized, and then it just creates this healthier microbiome.  Healthier microbiome in the soil.  Healthy soil microbiome creates more nutrients in the grass and then the circle just continues.  Does that—

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Sound about right?

Joel Salatin:  Right.  Yeah, you’re in the ballpark.  Essentially, the diversity in our microbiome can only be as diverse as the diversity that we’re feeding it in our food and that can only be as diverse as the soil food web in the soil.  I mean, every like tablespoon of soil has more beings in it—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  Than there are people on the face of the Earth.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Joel Salatin:  And so if we—so if we reduce half of the soil bacteria, you know, with chemicals and make it simplistic and then we only do mono speciation of plants and animals growing on that soil, and then we send that into a sterile processing facility and what comes out as sterile, there’s not much there to feed our microbiome.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Joel Salatin:  And so, you know, when I go pick a carrot out in the garden, I don’t even wash it off.  I rub it off on my pants and get a little bit of that dirt.  You know, I can always imagine these dirt like the acetobacter and mycorrhizae.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  They come in and they go down and I swallow them and they hit their destined cousins down in my gut, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  Like, “Oh, hello, cousin.  Where have you been?”  Yeah, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  And they have this family reunion of microorganisms, you know?  I can just–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That makes so much sense.

Joel Salatin:  Going on.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That makes sense.  Are there any bigger companies like Tyson or any of these bigger farming companies that are trying to do what you’re doing on a larger scale?  Obviously, they’re doing it because they feel like they can be more efficient in how much product they produce.  You know, we can argue about the quality aspect as you already just did with the nutritional density on the carrots, on the eggs, and I imagine that goes with the grass-fed meat.

Joel Salatin:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And the vitamin B2.  So there’s a nutritional density component that they are not measuring because I think they get paid by the pound, not by the nutrient, right?

Joel Salatin:  That’s right.  Nobody in the indust—nobody in the food system gets paid for nutrients right now.  Now that may change.  I mean, there’s some cool technology coming out with little handheld spectrophotometers.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  You know, which is Abby’s machine on NCIS, you know?  The mass spec that she’s always got.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yup.

Joel Salatin:  And so there’s some interesting technology especially now in produce where we’re trying to measure, you know, wavelengths.  So there’s some cool stuff coming but yeah, you’re right.  In the food system, nobody really gets paid for nutrition.  They get paid for pounds and bushels and of course, that is not a measure of—that’s not a measure of quality.  It’s a measure of quantity but it is not a measure of quality.  It would be like measuring the effectiveness of a college by the number of diplomas it produced rather than the quality of jobs that graduates got.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.  Great analogy.  So essentially, we have a system that is really good at getting animals fat and big, which then they get paid more because of the weight versus healthy and nutrient-dense—

Joel Salatin:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Which then provides more health to the consumers and I just—I tell my patients when they’re going out shopping, you really have to change your mindset when you’re shopping.  You have to say, “Hey, how can I get the best price?  No, “ How can I get the most nutrients for my dollar?”  And when you do that, the organic higher quality, more local foods will always give you more nutrients per dollar versus more bulk per dollar.

Joel Salatin:  Right. For example, in beef production, a lot of people are familiar with ionophore either implants or supplements in like a mineral box.  Well, these ionophores are basically steroids.  They don’t actually increase mass.  They increase the cell’s ability to hold more water and so you get more weight but you don’t get more nutrition.  I mean—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Ahh.

Joel Salatin:  The poultry industry right now, I think Tyson sells something like a billion dollars a year worth of water because they put chickens in chill tanks and agitate them so the birds take on water and the industry—like 10% of the weight of a bird in a supermarket is water.  And so there’s all sorts of little tricks and techniques to try to, you know, abscond a few more pennies for nothing out of the supermarket which is why we promote actually just circumventing the industrial food chain.  Whether it’s a Farmer’s Market, an on-farm store, a farm that ships to you, you know, directly to your doorstep.  I mean, there are now all sorts of alternatives to the mainline orthodox food system and all of those offers, in general, you know, better alternatives than you can find down at Costco and Walmart.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:   Where the only way to get into those places—several years ago I had a bunch of—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Joel Salatin:  Costco vice-presidents here and we—they spent the day.  They were excited about what we were doing and they asked me then at the end.  They said, “So how we get your stuff in at, you know, Sam’s Club and Costco?”  I said, “Well, the first thing you have to do is let a truck smaller than tractor-trailer back up to your dock.”  That was the end of the discussion.  They could not even—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  There wasn’t enough scale.

Joel Salatin:  No, they couldn’t imagine a system where a truck smaller than a tractor-trailer back up to their dock.  So, you know, this was the kind of—it’s a prejudice within the marketplace that excludes, you know, positive alternatives.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  Essentially, they’re looking for more scale and this is more of a decentralized way of doing it just because of, you know, it’s the big companies are kinda wetted to this conventional system because it’s all a weight-driven system not a nutrient-system so you kinda have to change how the system for it to make sense on the financial side to grow.  I mean, is it possible like if you had more money right now if someone gave you a hundred million dollars, could you scale this thing to the size of a Tyson, while producing the same food quality?

Joel Salatin:  Sure.  So what a great question and you know, our most questions and criticism is price and scale.  You know, can you actually feed the world this way and so the way I envision it is to explain to people absolutely this scale, in fact it scales just fine but it doesn’t scale like an aircraft carrier, it scales like a million speedboats.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  And so we believe in scale not by taking something—not by taking a stationary piece of infrastructure and turning it into a mega, you know, infrastructure but rather a whole lot of decentralized, democratized—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  Infrastructure all over the landscape so that instead of 150 mega-processing facilities worth 3,000 employees, the country has maybe, you know, 50,000 smaller scale abattoirs or canning plants or processing facilities scattered all over the landscape devoted to their own food, you know, their regional foodsheds.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  And so one is scaled by duplication, the other is scaled by whatever, you know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Subsidy or?

Joel Salatin:  Empire building.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The Empire Building.

Joel Salatin:  Build a bigger coliseum instead of building a whole bunch of little theatres.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  Now that makes sense.  There’s a quote by John Paul Getty, “You’re better off getting 1% out of 100 men than 100% out of 1 man”, right?

Joel Salatin:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So it’s kinda like that?  And it’s probably safer for our food supply.  I mean, you can go read—you read stories of Russia before the revolution where all the starvation and stuff would happen and you know, because you had one farm controlled by the government and then that went sideways, and everyone starved, right?

Joel Salatin:  Sure, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So it makes sense from a safety standpoint for sure.  Let’s talk about food processing plants right now.  There’s a lot of hoopla where things were closed off because of the COVID-19 thing and then they had this big supply chain that was moving and they had to kill animals off because that supply chain couldn’t move and the supply chain was so tight in how they brought animals in, fed them, brought them to slaughter.  If they couldn’t slaughter them on time, the whole thing got backed up and they had to kill them.  So you have this supply chain backup.  You have the whole food processing plant owned by a lot of companies outside of the country that are—it seems like they’re selectively choosing food from outside of the country versus inside the country.  Can you talk a little bit about those politics?

Joel Salatin:  Sure.  So the idea there is that these processing plants, remember half, almost half of the US processing plant capacity right now is owned by China and Brazil.  They’re owned by foreigners.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  So, you know, these companies are above whatever national politics.  You know, they’re global in scope and loyalty.  They have no loyalty, you know, to a culture, to a country, to a place.  And so what happened was in these big plants, as the coronavirus came in, they started—they were unable to continue to operate.  They had a lot of workers get sick.  You gotta remember that right now, the only place in America where thousands of people are working shoulder to shoulder every day in wet, damp, cool, damp conditions is in these large-scale processing plants.  It’s not happening anywhere else.  And a lot of these workers are themselves living in difficult conditions.  They come from Somalia.  They come from, you know, all over the world and I’m not being xenophobic.  This is just a fact.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  Most of these workers are foreign workers.  They’re trying to save pennies to bring, you know, additional family members home.  So they’re crammed, you know, 10 people in a house that we would consider only big enough for 4 people.  They crammed 10 and 20 people in these houses and they’re scrimping pennies so they’re eating, you know, they’re eating out of the gas station and they’re eating SPAM, you know, to eat cheaply.  So the living conditions, they’re in a new culture, they’re under the stress of a new language, I mean, there’s a lot of stress in their life and stress of course, you know, reduces your cortisol, okay?  And so, then you become more susceptible.  My point is that these huge plants are incubators for sickness.  Whether it’s COVID or anything else and so when you have a very small plant, a community plant like we co-own one that has 20 employees.  It’s a small community plant and we—you know, we have 20 people and we’re spread out a lot more because, well, it’s small, you know?  And there are 2 guys over on the kill ford, 2 guys in the back pack machine, 4 guys in the cut room and they have a lot of room.  It’s just not shoulder-to-shoulder like these great, great, big plants that are basically assembly line.  We do stuff by hand with individual knives and individual workstations and there’s a lot of room and there’s not that many people and we’re hiring neighbors and so it’s better working conditions.  And so, the fact is, that the small decentralized plants are simply less vulnerable to pathogenicity of any type.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  Of any type whether it’s on the food or in the people.  They’re just less vulnerable to pathogenicity than the great big plants.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, 100% and I remember in Food Inc that you were slaughtering a chicken outside in the open air with the UV light coming through and, you know, we’ve seen data that a lot of these coronaviruses cannot really survive more than 1 minute in 75°F temperature, 40% humidity so it seems like the sunlight or the UVC rays are really powerful natural disinfectant that you’re utilizing to help keep your food clean.

Joel Salatin:  Yes, absolutely.  And so a small plant, you know, has more windows.  You know, workers can step outside for you know, for lunch or a break.  I mean, there’s just a lot of additional, whatever, resilience in a small facility.  So that was one of the big glitches in the food chain system.  The other big glitch that happened was that when the restaurants were closed down, the food industry has 2 very distinct, whatever, journeys of food.  It either goes into wholesale and you know, and restaurant trade or it goes into the retail trade.  And as you can imagine, those 2 trajectories are completely different kinds of packaging, completely different kinds of distribution, everything.  And so what happened when the restaurants closed down, everybody started buying retail, while the industry couldn’t adjust their packaging and their, whatever, their fabrication lines—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  Fast enough to adjust.  I mean, we even had it at our farm.  At our farm, we never ran out of ground beef.  We ran out of ground beef for 3 days.  People were going, you know, going ballistic.  We don’t have ground beef.  We had 5,000 pounds of 5-lb packages of ground beef for our restaurants but that was not for the ret—you know, our retailer customers didn’t want 5-lb, you know, 5-lb packages of ground beef.  They want 1-lb packages of ground beef.  And so—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  And so our retail customers saw us being “out” but we had plenty.  It was just in bigger packages for restaurants.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.  That’s—

Joel Salatin:  You know, so we encouraged people, we said, “Look, here’s how you can do it.  You can take this all home, cook it, and then what you don’t eat, freeze it, and you can use it another time.  Or you can take a hacksaw, you know, whack in quarters, you know and move.”  So we were doing all sorts of creative things with our customers trying to get them to understand the meat is here, you just might have to help us and you know, meet this glitch here for a little bit.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  No, that makes a lot of sense.  And just from a national security standpoint, you know, it doesn’t make sense allowing foreign people to own so much of our food supply.  I mean, the gateway of our food supply being these food packaging plants.  It just doesn’t make sense that they would—that such a large percent of them are owned by international companies.  That is so mind-blowing!

Joel Salatin:  Well, it is and you know, you can really see it right now in the last I think I’m right on this, in the last like 30 years, the US has gone from one—from roughly 1% to 5% of our food being imported to today, it’s 20%.  In other words, 1 out of 5 mouthfuls of food that an American takes is now coming from a foreign place.  We are becoming more and more vulnerable to these kinds of shocks within in the system.  Of course, you know, during this time, China for the year leading up to the coronavirus, for that year, China depopulated half of their pork industry.  You know, China consumes half of the world’s pork. Just the country of China consumes—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  Half of the world’s pork and in China, pork is the number one, you know, animal protein.  In America, it’s chicken.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  It makes sense.

Joel Salatin:  Chicken, but in China it’s pork.  So when the African swine fever came into China and by the way, it decimated the large producers more than the small ones, but when it came into China they began depopulating and so China was entering this whole COVID-19 thing short of pork, and so here we were with empty store shelves and Smithfield, which is owned by the Chinese, were sending 20% of our pork to China to help meet the African swine fever shortfall in China—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  While our grocery shelves were empty.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow, this is unbelievable and the politics of food I think are really important because it just—you gotta have common sense with a lot of these things.  And when you have a lot of these international companies running these food processing plants, they are selecting for their fellow international probably subsidiaries I imagine, so then they’re picking meat from these international companies and bringing it here and then leaving our domestic farmers in the hole, kinda empty-handed, with all these extra supply and they are just being given money for the—by the government to sit on it essentially, right?

Joel Salatin:  Yeah, well, I don’t know how much the subsidies, you know, go into those big outfits.  I can tell you that probably the single, you know, when you talk about the politics of food, probably the single biggest issue here is that it is not necessarily money if you will, but it’s regulatory where it’s very, very difficult for a small, you know, community abattoir to get in the business because of very scale prejudicial—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  Scale prejudicial requirements.  That’s one reason why Congressman Tom Massie from Kentucky—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.  Kentucky, yeah.

Joel Salatin:  Has put in the prime act to try to allow the intrastate, not interstate, but intrastate sale of custom processed beef and pork and so that a lot of these little community abattoirs can actually join the marketplace and aren’t excluded from the marketplace.  The cost of getting into this is extremely expensive in its primary regulations.  You know, you can go out and shoot a deer on a 70-degree day and feed it to your kids and give it to all the neighborhood and you’re a great American, but if you do one pig on an appropriate temperature day, you’re a criminal.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  And so this is not about food safety, it’s about market access.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  There’s some common sense or form that could be done, I mean, if I was the agricultural czar and I could do a couple of different things right now policy-wise to just improve the health of this country, I think number one, I would get rid of all farming subsidies.  Because I think number one is you have to show people, the Americans, what the true cost of food in your junk food is, number one.  Number two, I would adjust a lot of the food stamps/SNAP program.  People that need food, I think you give them a stipend to actually get the real food from their local farmer so you actually get the real food and you can’t spend it on junk food and crap and sugar, and anything else because I think if people need assistance, the worse thing we can do is give them crappy food and then they end up being on more drugs and—

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And they are drained on the healthcare system because then you pay twice and you know, chronic healthcare is actually probably more like 10x, right?  So I’d start with those first 2 things if I were to do anything just to let the free market, and then I probably would do more on the education side because I think people need to be educated about nutrients, not just how much their food weighs.  I think it’s about value.  People look at their food and they don’t have the value component.  They just kinda look at it as, “Okay, it’s you know, this chicken is the same as that chicken,” and they don’t have the value component and that takes education to people like you and people like me.

Joel Salatin:  Right.  Well, I’m with you.  I’ll vote for you.  When you run, I’ll vote for you.  But yes, I agree with all those things and in fact, one of the best ways to educate people is to actually put good food in their mouth.  Most Americans have never actually eaten what we call nutrient-dense authentic food.  I mean, this coronavirus has brought some interesting people into our farm store.  A guy came in last week and you know, he had never shopped anywhere except Walmart and so he, you know, with all this coronavirus stuff, he came to us and he got a couple of, you know, 5 chickens or something and said it would take them a month.  He called back the next week and he said, “I’ve never had anything like that.  We ate them all in a week.”  And what it was, it was his body telling him this is real nutrition, you need to eat this.  Just like—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  A little anemic 6-year-old came in with his mother.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  You know, this is little itty-bitty little child.  Mother said, “Oh, he’s such a picky eater.  He won’t eat anything.”  She bought a dozen eggs.  She called us the next day and she said, “He’s eating 6 eggs in a sitting.”  Well, the child he was eating, but he was starving to death.  He was starving nutritionally.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  And so when he got really decent nutrition, his body, you know, whatever, it woke up.  You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  That’s a better wokeness than the politically correct wokeness.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.  No, that makes sense.  That makes a lot of sense.  Yeah, when your body has the nutrients it needs, its metabolic systems run better and yeah, they literally will generate more energy which helps with the energy and focus and mood and everything.  Now I’m just curious to get your take.  I mean, I’d lecture my patient on whole food and how animal nutrients—animal bioaccumulate plant nutrients.  So when you have the vegan-vegetarian argument versus being able to eat whole food, healthy animal products, number one, the argument tends to—it tends to create a straw man.  The first argument is it tends to create all meat as conventional junk food McDonald’s meat and I think we have to be able to differentiate that.  I don’t talk about the organic broccoli in someone’s backyard and compare it to the soybeans on a monoculture farm.  So we have to be able to differentiate the quality of the meat, number one.  And then number two, we have to look at the nutrient density like you mentioned.  I know animals bioaccumulate plant matter.  I think it’s something like 8 lb of grass goes into 1 lb of cow meat.  So there’s bioaccumulation and when you look at the nutrient density studies comparing a carrot to liver or beef, or your egg yolks to any type of plant, you’re gonna see this increased nutrient density. Can you—what’s your argument on the plant-based nutrition side or the more the plant and animal-based side especially the animal side?

Joel Salatin:  Yeah.  Well, you’re exactly right.  You’re exactly right.  The problem is that with things like, you know, Cowspiracy and Game Changer.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Joel Salatin:  They refuse to differentiate that there can be a better way to raise a chicken or a cow—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Joel Salatin:  Than a poor way to raise a chicken or a cow.  I’m liking it to this.  It’s as if you and I, let’s say we live on Pluto.  We’re looking down at the Earth and Pluto says, “Hey, that’s an interesting-looking planet down there.  I wonder what their education system is.  How about we get 2 volunteers to do down there and check it out?”  So you and I volunteer, we jump in the flying saucer and we come down to Earth, and we happen to land in the schoolyard of the worst school district with the worst superintendent—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  In a school with the worst principal and we go visit the worst classroom with the worst teacher.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  Worst parents in the whole country.  And we watched this for 2 days.  We go back to Pluto and they say, “Well, what did you find?”  We’ll say, “Man, if education is like that, we shouldn’t have any education.”  You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Joel Salatin:  And that—so when you—when all of your data points are from a dysfunctional system, you’re gonna come up with a dysfunctional conclusion and that is what has driven the data points, the science, the data points of you know, Cowspiracy, the UN Long Shadow report, the EAT-Lancet report, all these, you know, anti-animal, anti-meat things are—they don’t come here to do their data collection.  You know, they go to feedlots, they go to factory farms, they go to, you know, desert irrigation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  And it’s all those systems rather than a truly holistic functional synergistic type system.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, anytime someone makes an effort to create that straw man and not let—and not really argue against the premises that you’re making, that’s sophistry right there at its best.  I mean, we see it all with a lot of the people talking about climate change and the methane produced by cows.  Well, okay, you know, well, let’s talk about the fact that methane is significantly reduced if not totally neutral with cows that eat grass.  And so, you know, we’re just supporting now an argument of cows eating more grass and keeping the grains and the corn and all that crap out of there.  But the argument still—the goal post constantly gets shifted in the plant versus animal argument and I think it’s a combination of the two but we gotta acknowledge there’s a different way to raise these animals in a healthy fashion and the results totally change.  And we’re not even talking about the bioavailability of plant—

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Proteins versus animal protein.

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s a totally different argument.  The assumption is that all plant proteins are absorbed and assimilated the same way and the anti-nutrients aren’t affecting any of it and also that the amino acid profile is the same.  We know that animal-based amino acid profiles are gonna be more sulfur-rich and the plant-based profiles are a lot of times are gonna be incomplete and you have to combine different proteins like rice and beans, etc.  Your thoughts?

Joel Salatin:  Yes.  So yeah, exactly so a lot of people have never heard of a bacteria in the soil called methanotrophic bacteria.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Joel Salatin:  Methanotrophic bacteria lives in pasture.  It doesn’t live under corn.  It doesn’t live under asphalt.  It doesn’t live in feedlots.  It doesn’t live on factory farms.  It lives under perennial grasslands.  Methanotrophic bacteria in a healthy grassland, there’s enough methanotrophic bacteria.  Methanotrophic is it’s a bacteria that eats methane.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Eats it.  Totally eats it.  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  Yeah, it eats methane and metabolizes it and feeds it back to plants, okay?  And so in a healthy pasture, you know, perennial grass situation, there’s enough methanotrophic bacteria in the soil to eat up all the methane from 2,000 cows per acre.  That’s how constructive and regenerative nature is.  Now, nobody is gonna have 2,000 cows per acre.  The point is that nature has all the mechanisms necessary to make sure there’s no waste stream.  That everything has a place of reconstruction and regeneration that there’s no landfill in nature.  There’s no away.  There’s no waste stream.  Every waste stream is the beginning of something else.  And so that’s—so methanotrophic bacteria—so you don’t hear in Cowspiracy, you don’t hear them talking about methanotrophic bacteria, they just talk about, you know, feed lots and factory farms and things.  And so, you know, it’s important to understand that there’s a lot in the system that they’re not talking about. Even to the point that how much water it takes to make a T-bone steak.  Well, they don’t measure the urine that comes out of the cow or the bacterial exudates of the biomass when healthy biomass exudes bacteria, that’s the number one coalescent for water vapor in the atmosphere.  Water vapor can coalesce around ice particles.  It can coalesce around little pieces of chemical or it can coalesce around bacteria.  90% of it coalesces around bacteria and bacteria just is exhaled by the biomass, trees and grass and shrubs and things.  And so, when a cow stimulates through proper grazing measure, when a cow stimulates biomass production in the forage, it actually comes alive with additional exhale bacteria that allows the clouds to form, rains to come, and stimulates water.  I mean, this is all out of Walter Jehne from Australia, probably the, you know, the world’s foremost, you know, climatologist, climate change guy talking about how atmospheric moisture is the Earth’s radiator and the problem is that none of these climate changers are talking about, how do replenish the radiator of the Earth?  You replenish it with biomass-induced bacteria exhaling from the plants.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Joel Salatin:  And how you do that is with the proper animal pruners around the land and not continuous grazing, not overgrazing, not desertification, but proper animal management to stimulate the abundance of the biomass on the landscape.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Can you just re-say that like in 15 seconds again?  It was a lot—I wanna be able to connect those bullet points because there was so much said there.  Can you just kind of reiterate that just a little bit more succinctly again?

Joel Salatin:  Okay, so moisture in the air, water droplets condense.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  They condense around ice particles.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  They condense around little pieces of chemical, cloud seeding.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  And they condense around bacteria.  They’re favorite one and the one that’s most conducive is the bacteria.  The bacteria comes from the exudates of biomass, green material, vegetation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.

Joel Salatin:  And so it’s the vegetation that stimulates the condensation that makes the clouds that helps to create functional water, you know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Joel Salatin:  Water cycle, you know, hydraulic cycles in the world.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And is it just vegetation and the vegetation that’s coming from the cow’s actual food that they’re eating in the grass.  Is that where that vegetation’s coming from?

Joel Salatin:  Yes. Because if you don’t prune biomass, then it tends to become stale and dormant and doesn’t—I mean, a grass plant goes into senescence.  You know, in like 60 days, a grass plant goes into senescence.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  So if something doesn’t come along and prune that grass plant, you know, it turns brown and the bioaccumulate—the, you know, the photosynthesis stops.  And so it’s the herbivorous pruner, that’s why the planet has so many herbivores—zebras and elephants and you know, llamas and alpacas and caribou.  The reason for all these herbivores is to keep this vegetation freshened up like pruning an orchard or pruning a vineyard to make it, you know, to make functional.  So the problems associated with domestic livestock and herbivores is not the problem with herbivores, it’s the farmers and ranchers who manage them incorrectly to not allow them to do the job they were supposed to do as freshening up, you know, pruners.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It’s excellent.  It’s such a holistic cycle and everything is affected.  Everything affects everything.

Joel Salatin:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  From the soils to the plants, to the cows to the atmosphere, to the gasses being produced and you know, I always tell my patients, old foods can’t cause new disease and I don’t think we can—I don’t think new farming methods will ever beat the old farming methods that have always been there because it’s just the closer you are to Mother Nature, it seems like that’s the better way to do it.

Joel Salatin:  Well, that’s for sure.  And nature always fills, you know, we believe here at our farm that nature’s default position is fundamentally wellness.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  And whereas in the industry, they consider the fundamentally default position as sickness.  So we’ve gotta make pharmaceuticals and drugs and GMOs and all these things to override nature’s propensity towards sickness.  Whereas we believe nature’s fundamentally well and if it’s not well, my first question is what did I do to mess it up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Joel Salatin:  What did I do to override the immunological terrain?  And so we’ve actually—I’ve actually co-authored a book with Dr. Sina McCullough, it just came out 2 weeks ago.  It’s, the title is Beyond Labels and it’s all about going beyond, you know, beyond just the labels in food and understanding how foods produced from a, you know, a practical standpoint.  How do we make food decisions, proper food decisions and get beyond just being stuck on, you know, paleo, keto, organic, whatever it is, but you know, and labels of sickness?  You know?  I have this.  I have that.  But just going all the way beyond labels in life and I would encourage folks to, you know, to see it and it’s written like a dialog from a farmer and a PhD.  So it’s—and you know, it’s—so it moves, when you get tired of me, you get her.  When you get tired of her, you get me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love it.  That makes so much sense.  That’s great.  And on the conventional side, you see grades like select or choice or prime, right?  How does that correlate to your meat?  Like where does your meat kinda plug in to that typical grading system?  Obviously, that grading system does not—I don’t think look at the hormones, the antibiotics, the grass-fed or grass-finish nature of that.  Can you talk about that grading system and compare it to kinda where yours plugs in?

Joel Salatin:  Sure.  So that grading system was started in the early 1900s when everybody was using candles, you know, tallow for candles and so the grading system was developed so that the fat content could be measured because cattle received way, way more value if they had enough tallow to make candles.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hmm.

Joel Salatin:  This was before electricity.  And so the select choice in prime—that whole grading system has nothing to do with nutrition, it has nothing to do with taste, it was nothing to do with eating quality.  It’s strictly a measure of fat percentage in the animal based on—well, okay, so now we got enough fat to you know, boil down to make candles to light our houses.  That’s how archaic it is and yet it—this is what happens with government programs.  As you know, government programs they start and even when they are, you know, a century out of date, we got electricity, they still keep them functioning.  You know, one of the things with eggs for example.  You know, you get a carton of eggs, it says Grade A, Grade A large eggs.  I’m having trouble with my bud here.  It keeps falling out.  You know, when you get a carton of eggs, it says Grade A large eggs.  So what does it mean?  It has nothing to do with nutrition.  It only has to do–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Joel Salatin:  With appearance and the size of the air cell and the viscosity of the albumin.  It doesn’t have anything to do with—but people, they see this, you know, stamp of Grade A or whatever on an egg and they think somebody has checked it for Salmonella or Campylobacter or something.  But nobody has checked them for any of that.  It’s strictly an aesthetic grade in the market so that we don’t get crinkly and extra-long or extra fat or whatever you know, eggs in the marketplace.  And so, this is one of the big—this is one of the reasons—this is what Sina and I are bringing out in our book, Beyond Labels, is some of this background stuff, people look at these labels and they assume it means all this.  I mean, like if somebody is checking all these unpronounceable things.  Doesn’t the FDA check monosodium glutamate?  No!  It’s generally regarded as safe.  GRAS.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  And GMOs.  Who’s checking GMOs?  Nobody.  They’re considered equivalent to non-GMOs, GRAS.  Generally regarded I think it is—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  Generally regarded as safe.  You know more about that than I do.  But generally regarded, GRAS.  And so there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of unnatural fake compounds in our food that if they get GRAS designation, nobody checks them.  Any company can add them to food without any check whatsoever.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and there’s no real safety studies behind it or anything which is kinda sad.

Joel Salatin:  No.  There’s no safety studies behind it or anything.  And so many of these stamps and inspections and labels, they have nothing to do with nutrition.  None of these labels has anything to do with nutrition.  And I think if you and I could get all the listeners here today to understand that none of the labels has anything to do or measure either A) nutrition or B) pathogenicity, you know, they don’t measure antibiotic residue.  None of this stuff.  That all the things—here’s the thing.  The thing that consumers fear, the things that worry consumers that they would like to know, none of that is on the label.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.  Exactly. The toxicity, the drug residue, the GMOs.

Joel Salatin:  The nutrient density.  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Maybe even mycotoxins.  Exactly.  The nutrient density which is the most important thing and that kinda comes back to one other thing that, you know, I first learned about in the documentary where I first found you, Food Inc was I think it was Michael Pollan was talking about it is that the percent of our income that we spend on food today is about 8% or 9%.  It used to be 15% to 18%.  So we used to prioritize a lot more of our income to food quality and that prioritization has shifted and of course, the disease management and all the drugs that are being taken I think directly correlate with the lack of investment in our food quality and then we end up investing in drugs on the other side to kinda balance out the other end.

Joel Salatin:  Absolutely.  You know, 30 to 40 years ago, the average American spend 18% of their income—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  On food and 9% on healthcare.  Today, we spend 9% on food and 18% on healthcare.  Those numbers have completely inverted in the last 30 to 40 years.  That’s truly profound and in fact, that inversion really accelerated in 1979 when the US—I call it the US-Duh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, USDA.  US-Duh.  Yeah, that’s a good one.

Joel Salatin:  Their first food pyramid, remember the food pyramid?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  And they put Cheerios and Twinkies on the bottom as you know, the most important stuff.  You know, the grains and we can track our diabetes, our, you know, our obesity.  We can track all these things directly to the consumption of the way the USDA had told u to eat.  The fact is, the sobering fact is, if the government had never told Americans how to eat, including hydrogenated vegetable oil and demonizing butter and lard back in—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  You know, if the government had never told Americans how to eat, we would actually be healthier today.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  100% and because special interest lobby and they get their piece out of that food pyramid or that my food plate—

Joel Salatin:  Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The recommendations are based off on financial interest, not about what makes us healthy.

Joel Salatin:  Absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and it kinda goes back.  I think people need to look at it from this perspective—old foods don’t cause new disease.

Joel Salatin:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And if you kinda go into that kinda model, that gives you the foundation to move forward for sure.

Joel Salatin:  Right and a kind of a corollary to that is that we didn’t get this pandemic because there was a lack of a vaccine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Joel Salatin:  It’s not like a sickness fairy floated over the planet and said, “Let’s see what are they lacking down there? Oh, they’re lacking a vaccine to COVID-19.  So we’re gonna sprinkle some of that down there.”  You know, we didn’t get this because we lacked the vaccine or lacked something.  It’s always a result of some sort of mismanagement or you know, misapplication of things and nature doesn’t like vacuum.  You know?  If you’re not getting enough good bugs, they’re gonna put in some bad bugs.  Nature doesn’t like a vacuum.  So nature’s gonna fill the void with something.  So if you’re eating junk food and if you’re, you know, if you’re drinking Coca-Cola instead of, you know, good water for that matter, nature’s gonna fill that deficiency in your cell structure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  100% and also, I saw a study recently, because how vaccines work is, they’re stimulating the TH2 branch of the immune system that makes antibiotics.  I saw a study talking about the TH1 branch of the immune system and how other coronaviruses that we’ve been exposed in the past, our TH1 immune system has kinda been primed so a lot of the high amount of asymptomatic cases, these are people that get the infection, show no symptoms, are infectious maybe for a week but then develop antibodies long term.  A lot of the reason why they were asymptomatic is because they have a TH1 immune response to the virus and the TH1 is like our natural killer cells, right?  This is like in the army, there should be like the Navy Seals or the Delta Team.  These are the first responders to go in first.  Think of the antibodies as the infantry that comes behind alter, so you take a vaccine to increase the infantry but the TH1 immune system which is typically ignored—part of good health, good nutrition is gonna help increase that TH1 immune response and that’s part of the immune system we totally forget about.

Joel Salatin:  Well, absolutely.  You know, that’s so fascinating they way to hear you describe that which is really cool because I was just on a podcast not long ago in person and they tested every guest for coronavirus antibodies.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  And with a blood test and so you know, the doctor came and he pricked my finger and took my, you know, took my blood and it was like a 15-minute test and he said, “Well, you know, you haven’t had it.”  I said, “Well, have I been exposed to it?”  He said, “Well, the antibody test only tests your secondary immune system because if your first—like if your first, like if your skin, if your exterior immune system was good enough, it will never even get into your antibodies.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s the thing.

Joel Salatin:  So he said, “I can’t tell you if you’ve been exposed.  All I can tell you is did it get through your first immune system, not your second immune system.”  He said, “That’s all I can tell you.”  And I thought, my goodness, as much as we can’t even tell that, that’s incredible what we don’t know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  100%!  We forget about that TH1 immune responses.  There have been studies with people that if they have gammaglobulinemia, meaning they don’t have the ability to make antibodies and if these people have gotten exposed to infections and have been able to fight it off because of the TH1 immune system, which we don’t really have a great way to measure because it’s not like you make a natural killer cell specific for the COVID-19 where you can go test it.  Where antibodies, they’re a specific locking key that you can test for herpes or for chlamydia or for COVID, right?  You can test it.

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Because there’s a specific shape of it.  You don’t quite have that same, you know, I’m not an immunologist but you don’t quite have that shape recognition on the TH1 immune system where you can go look for it specifically.  So it’s a little bit tough—

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  To measure.

Joel Salatin:  Right, yeah.  And you know, and that just shows how trying to reduce everything in life—to reduce everything in life to some sort of empirical hard, whatever, formula, ratio—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  Material is just—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  I mean, this was the problem with the Human Genome Project.  You know, remember when the Human Genome Project launched?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Joel Salatin:  And they said, “This will take, you know, this many years and we know based on mathematical statistics that based on genetic variability, we know there will be a 100,000.”  I remember it like yesterday, “There will be a 100,000 pairs on the DNA strand.”  Well, goodness.  This has to be the only Federal Government-funded project that ever finished at half the budget in half the time.  The reason isn’t because they only found like what 24,000 pairs.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Joel Salatin:  I said, “That’s mathematically impossible.”  And that launched the entire new, new sphere of study called Epigenetics, which is how—which is the hanky-panky, the hanky-panky going on up and down the DNA strand.  Nobody knew that before and so it’s amazing how we—as we western empirical, you know, Greco-Roman Western reductionist linear compartmentalized thinkers try to break apart these pieces, life becomes more magnificent, more mysterious, more awesome, more complex, more beautiful than anything we can imagine.  And so why don’t we just—why don’t we just back up and enjoy the beauty?  And let’s drink water instead of Coke and let’s eat, you know, real carrots instead of make-believe carrots and real cows instead of make-believe cows, and let’s just back up and enjoy that nature is way more beautiful and complex than we can ever try to break apart anyway.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Totally.  I think that really just summarizes everything.  Just to kinda piggyback on the whole DNA project.  I remember this.  I was in college at the time and I remember what, 98% to 99% of all DNA they labeled as junk DNA because they didn’t understand it, right?  Junk DNA are these DNAs that are non-encoding, right?  They’re not essentially encoding proteins.  Turning off right? And turning on.  And that’s where I think a lot of the Epigenetics plays into.  They just labeled 98% to 99%–

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Of all DNA they didn’t understand that wasn’t encoding things as junk, which is unbelievable.  The hubris in science to just label—

Joel Salatin:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  99% of something junk but I think that’s where a lot of the Epigenetics play in and we know nutrition and sleep and hydration and managing stress—

Joel Salatin:  yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Really control a lot of that DNA that we don’t understand and we just label junk.

Joel Salatin:  Yeah, that’s right.  I mean, it’s similar to black hole in the cosmo—in the cosmic, you know, physics to labeling black hole because somehow when you don’t appreciate the electrical components to the universe that you can’t mathematically justify all this just with gravity and mass and so well, we gotta have a placeholder to make the math work so we’ll call them black holes.  We have never seen one.  We don’t know if they exist but the math doesn’t work and so we humans in our finiteness, you know, we’re always coming to this big thing trying—we try to make the complex too simple and we try to make the too simple to complex.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yep, I 100% agree, Joel.  I think you did a wonderful job summarizing that.  How can listeners support you?  I mean, can they buy your food online?  Do you ship it?  How can they support you?  How can they support other people like you?  What’s that next step?

Joel Salatin:  Okay, so yeah, there’s an entire, you know, network of people like us and yes, and we do ship.  We do ship now.  We started it last year.  We ship nationwide.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Excellent.

Joel Salatin:  So yes, you can call us up and now, I’ll tell you right now we’re struggling to keep up, okay?  But we’re, you know, we’re growing more.  We’re doing some things so we can try to meet the demand because we’re very cognizant that this whole coronavirus thing has stimulated for the first time large-scale cultural discussions around immune function.  And that’s an exciting—that’s the exciting silver lining to this whole cloud is that people for the first time on the street talking about building immune systems.  That’s an exciting thing.  So yes, our website is and you can, you know, you can order food there and you can get information, books, you can see where I’m speaking, of course, most have been canceled but now they’re coming back.  I’m actually gonna be—July 9th I’m gonna be doing 5 presentations.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Joel Salatin:  For, it’s called A Day Up The Creek With A Lunatic Farmer in Orlando, FL at the national—Libertarian Party National Convention in Orlando.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Cool.

Joel Salatin:  How about that?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s awesome.  Very cool.

Joel Salatin:  Yeah, yeah, so anyway, yeah. is our website and I’ll be glad for anybody to visit that be glad to help anybody that’s trying to get some help.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And also, you’re an author, you have many books.  You have many books as well so I imagine getting some of the books—

Joel Salatin:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Would be very helpful.  I think you had a book you should recommend that kinda dovetail with this topic?

Joel Salatin:  Well, certainly the book by Dr. David Montgomery on—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Joel Salatin:  On soil, that’s, yeah, that’s a powerful, powerful book.  I mean, there are, there’s a new one just coming out.  It’s just been literally just been released by Diana Rogers called Sacred Cow.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.,

Joel Salatin:  In fact, I—it’s so new, I just—she just sent me it.  Yeah, here it is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it.

Joel Salatin:  Here it is.  Sacred Cow and of course, our new book, Beyond Labels is just out and it’s too far away to reach.  It’s over on the other counter, but yeah, these are all books that really speak to this—you know, the whole message that we just talked about today and will help, you know, dig in a little deeper.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Is there any other ways people can donate or help besides that?  I know there’s like farm to legal defense funds for some of these—

Joel Salatin:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Farmers that are really getting hit hard with some of these lawsuits.  Is that a good method?  Is there a site you recommend for that?  Are there any other ways people can help?

Joel Salatin:  Oh yes, Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund is my number one recommended, you know, kind of charity in this.  What people don’t realize is that as soon as you stepped out of the orthodox seat today, you step into a hearsay and hearsay is not liked by many of the government regulators and I mean, for example, they don’t even like that we love customers to come to our farm.  You know, they think that they’re gonna bring disease.  And so that’s why, you know, all your industrial farms, they have big, you know no trespassing signs and you know, they don’t want people—and so what has happened is we’ve disconnected so much from our food that in the industrial food, when you invest in that meal, it’s like prostitution food.  It’s a one-night stand.  There’s no romance or no—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Joel Salatin:  There’s no understanding of that food and so we want people to come and visit the farm.  See the cows, touch the chickens, you know, pick a cherry off a tree, okay?  And actually have a memory.  There’s actually information that indicates if you sit down for a meal and what you’re eating, if you have a memory—if you have a memory that goes beyond that meal, then it actually helps your digestive enzymes to digest it better if there’s a memory that goes with that food.  And so, you know, we’re all into building those connections of wanting people to do, but Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund is a wonderful organization that’s providing legal help for those of us who dare to question the orthodoxy to hold us by the hand and work us through to either fight in court or to create workarounds so we that don’t have to get a license or comply.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You know, I’m a huge fan.  I donate money to that every single year.  I think it’s great and I just urge people to shift the values of food and don’t look at just price.  Look at the nutrient density when you go to purchase and remember that study that Joel did there, 10x, 10 to 20x on the folate and the pasture-fed organic high-quality eggs versus the conventional.  So you really get a bargain even if you’re spending you know, twice the amount of 10x more.  I’ll take that deal any day.

Joel Salatin:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Awesome, Joel.  Thank you so much.  Is there anything else you wanna leave the listeners with?

Joel Salatin:  No, you’ve been a delight.  We’re, I think we’re two peas in a pod here and I can’t thank you enough for taking this issue and for giving me an additional platform here and just bless you, bless you for what you do.  We need a thousand like you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Thanks so much, Joel.  Really appreciate it.  Love to have you back anytime you have anything else important you wanna share.  Thanks again.


Audio Podcast:

Why The Weight Won’t Come Off

Why Weight Wont Come Off

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

If you’re past your 20’s, you’ve probably noticed your weight has gone up with time. The truth is, most people are on a gradual course of gaining 1-2 pounds of weight with each passing year. In your teens and early 20s, it seems relatively easy to stay in good shape, and your metabolism is working at full capacity. However, as the years go by, good and bad habits start to catch up with us. Just as compound interest works in your favor when it comes to investing and saving, the compounding of bad health habits will affect your metabolism negatively over time as well.

The underlying cause of abnormal weight gain is a sluggish metabolism. As the years go by, most people’s metabolisms start to slow down. With a slowing metabolism, your body’s ability to metabolize fat for energy becomes impaired, and metabolically the body tends to start burning carbohydrates for fuel instead.

If a sluggish metabolism causes weight gain, then the best place to start to prevent or reverse this would be to address the underlying factors that caused your metabolism to slow over time.

Toxin exposure and its effect on our hormonal system has strong adverse effects on the metabolism, and is extremely common.  It has been shown that the thyroid and adrenal glands work together to help regulate both metabolism and energy. When the body is exposed to high levels of toxins, the adrenal glands becomes stressed and an increase in adrenaline and cortisol is secreted to help buffer the inflammation and stress.  A chronic surplus of cortisol will eventually result in fatigue, belly fat, and decreased muscle mass. You have probably noticed that most people who are overweight carry the bulk of it around the hips and tummy, with very little muscle.

There are many other interconnected causes of weight gain, as you can see in the graphic below, but today we will be focusing on the thyroid-adrenal-toxin connection.

The Fat Loss Web

Need help losing weight? Click here for help from a functional medicine doctor.

The chart below demonstrates the connection between toxins and fat mass. You can see that the people with the highest body fat have the highest level of organochlorines.

Organochlorines are the chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides.  These chemical are used in conventional and GMO produce.  These organochlorine compounds are known to mimic estrogen; and excess estrogen actually causes you to gain and hold onto fat, and also promotes tumor growth and cancer.

Obesity Reviews

It’s interesting to note that one of the proposed mechanisms for how these pesticides increase weight gain is through decreasing our active thyroid hormones. T3 helps our metabolism remain active.  If you look at the graphic below, you’ll see that as T3 function reduces, the chance of weight gain increases.

Weight Loss

Mycotoxins are toxins produced from fungus and commonly cause abnormal weight gain and infertility. They can be found in foods such as peanuts, grains, and coffee!

Mycotoxins such as zearalenone are compounded into pellets and placed into cattle’s ears to increase weight gain before going to slaughter.  The interesting thing about zearalenone is that farmers can decrease the amount of food they feed the cows, yet the cows still gain weight. How many people do you know that keep cutting calories but still can’t lose weight?  This is a common result of mycotoxin intake.

Did you know fungal overgrowth in our intestine can secrete mycotoxins as well?  I personally lost 15 pounds by going on an anti-fungal protocol, including cutting peanuts out of my diet.  The amazing thing with this weight loss story was there was no real fundamental change in the diet or the amount of calories either.

Avoiding common mycotoxins that was see in grains, organochlorines, peanuts, and conventional coffee can be a great way to supercharge your metabolism and help you lose weight effortlessly.

Easy swaps include ditching the peanut butter in favor of almond butter, and seeking out high-quality coffee that tests for mycotoxins. My favorite kind of coffee is Bulletproof coffee, it is mycotoxin-free and can be found here.

Click here if you need help in losing weight!

Nutrient density, eating local and grains – Podcast #120

Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand discuss about nutrient density and the different benefits of going organic and local when it comes to produce. They explore the nutrients of juicing, how our body processes such nutrients and its effects on our health. 

Find out how sugar and insulin affects our body when it comes to burning fat. Discover other nutrient dense sources that are available in the market. Learn about grains, anti-nutrients found in plants and how they are related to gut issues facing some of us. Gain valuable information about organic food sources, how our body reacts to it and  how it affects our health.

In this episode, we cover:

4:00   Juicing and how it affects our bodies

11:18   Other nutrient dense sources

14:26   Anti-nutrients in plants

17:00   Grains and how it affects our bodies

25:18   Eating wheat







Evan Brand: Justin, how you doing?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Evan, doing great brother. How you doing today?

Evan Brand: I’m pretty. Well- hey, our audio quality assuming everything goes well should be increased by 200% on the listener side of things. So looking forward to that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. So if you guys are like in the better on audio quality let us know so we can keep doing it. If not, feedback’s always great.

Evan Brand: Yes sir. So you brought up nutrient density which I think is a good topic to discuss. Something that’s helpful, that a lot of people are promoting online purchasing of meats. There’s a lot of these different companies out there where people are buying subscriptions of this and that with their food, which is great. But to me when it comes to your produce and especially your meat, I’m a huge fan of going organic and local, not just organic or not just grass-fed. If you’re getting some subscription box of meat from California and you live in New York, yes it’s frozen, yes it’s probably still gonna retain a lot of its benefit but think of the carbon footprint you’re adding to transport that stuff via two-day air to get it to your house so that the ice doesn’t freeze. For example, so I mean just from a total overall ecological perspective, you’re probably could be much more, much more cost-effective and double more eco-friendly to go with a local organic source.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, absolutely. I mean it’s always better to shop local if you can. We also have to understand that there’s a convenience factor too, right.

So if it’s easier for me to get my fridge all stocked up with meat and have it cryovac and sealed that I can put in there actually access what I want, that’s great. If you have a good farm nearby that you can reach out to. You know what, I do it both ways, personally. I have five farms locally where I can acquire stuff, put in my fridge. Ideally I like it cryovak, cryo-sealed. It last longer I can put in the fridge and not worry about it going bad, it getting freezer burned. But is also the aspect of, you know, wanting to support people locally. So I think it’s a fully double edge sword and you have to figure out. Number one, the most important thing is that your compliant, right. Coz you have to eat the food to get the benefit. So number one is making sure you’re actually consuming that higher-quality food coz you get the nutrient density you get all the quality nutrient, that’s number one. And then number two, I consider- well, how do you get it right, you know, if you can buy from sources locally that’s better support your local economy. Number two, you’re not buying meat that has been shipped around which is gonna get a more gasoline, more fumes and all that kind of stuff. So definitely local is better but I always want to make sure that those nutrients in my body first, what do you think?

Evan Brand: Sure, true. That makes a good point if you get a freezer full of bison meat like me, but I got to McDonald’s then what’s the- what’s the whole point? So yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Yup, that’s totally- we’re on that. Now regarding nutrient density, I think a lot of people when they think nutrient density, they always get into their head juicing or vegetarian nutrients regarding vegetables, kind of stuff which I think is good that you got a lot of stuff nutrients via vegetables. But people forget meat is incredibly nutrient dense. Cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins, these foods are really really important to up nutrient density and a lot of people I think that are vegetarian or vegan think that plants are kind of the uhm- the monopoly on nutrient density that they juice. They’d be good to go which I think that can be good but juicing is a double-edged sword because you can also get a whole bunch of sugar after throwing carrots and fruit in there and people forget about the fat-soluble nutrients which necessarily snuck in a calm in your juicing. You’re not gonna get the vitamin A, D, E and K. You get beta-carotene but a lot of people may have a hard time converting that over. So nutrient density is also a really important piece of the puzzle.

Evan Brand: Yeah. Well, let’s talk about that a little bit further with the juicing aspect is you’re also gonna to be removing a lot of the fiber which is gonna act like a sort of a slow digesting product that’s going to help you not spike your blood sugar in your insulin levels up as much. And so you and I both had people we work with that are juicing. Maybe they eat some grass fed beef too. But if they are juicing and they’re unable to lose body fat, for example, well if you don’t have any fiber because you’re just juicing it, you’re not making a smoothie. For example, instead where you’d preserve the fiber content and that blood sugar goes up which causes the surge of insulin you’re gonna be in fat storage mode. And no matter how much you exercise, no matter how much grass fed beef you get, if you’re dumping 80-90 g of sugar into your gut and bursting the morning with your morning juice. Then to me I don’t think you’re gonna get out of fat storage mode through the entire day. What’s your thought?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. I mean the big thing the burning fat is keeping your insulin levels relatively low. Now insulin is a storage hormone that’s also a good thing because we need storage hormones to put on muscle, right. People think insulin is just terrible. People in the in the low-carb world think it’s terrible. But go talk to a bodybuilder, a lot of them are actually injecting insulin to help increase uh- protein synthesis. So there’s good and bad. We can use insulin to our benefit the build muscle but from an every day perspective, we want to keep insulin lower during the day on average because that will help us tap into fat. The better and the more –uh – the greater ability we have the tap into fat, the better our mood’s gonna be, the less hunger pangs, the less cravings for bad junk and the more you’re gonna be stable. My analogy to my patient always is this – when you’re burning fat, it’s equivalent to putting logs in the fire right. Everyone has the baby memories of childhood camping and they throw logs in the fire. So you throw logs into the fire maybe throw little bit of kindling and lighter fluid to get it going and you’re good to go. Best logs in the fire that’s being a fat burner know a lot of people they are sugar burners and what that means is that’s like relying on kindling paper and or gasoline. Gasoline being refined sugar right kindling a paper being carbohydrates. The more your rely on paper, think about it, you gotta sit there and you gotta feed the fire every couple of minutes. It’s kinda like people to graze all day because you’re not getting enough protein and fat and so we want to be fat burners. Logs in the fire versus the sugar burner which is the kindling the paper and even the gasoline for refined sugar. So we wanna on to the logs and away from the kindling as a mainstay the staple were doing.

Evan Brand: Yeah. And there’s a lot of research about insulin and food and all of that I think it gets personally pretty boring and so I go to the first-hand experience and when I chatted with Dr. Mercola on the podcast about a month ago he’s actually using that – I can’t remember what it’s called. It’s that device were you injected into your skin and it keeps your blood sugar you can track your blood sugar like hundreds of times per day. I’m not sure if it does insulin levels too or just blood sugar but either way he found out that the only way the he was able to consume fruit without causing a significant blood sugar, which therefore to me would signal insulin spike, was if he ate fruit while walking. And so when we were doing the podcast, he is like, “Oh Evan, you know I usually don’t do Skype like this”. He’s like “I’m- I’m you know shortcutting my daily walk on the beach for you”. And I’m like, “don’t do that. Let me call you on your phone.” So he gave me his phone number and I called him on his phone and then he was walking and he’s like “Yeah, I’m actually eating on these berries I grew in my backyard right now. It’s like this is the only way I can do it. As I tracked it every other way”. He said, “I’ve done berries before walking I’ve done berries after walking and all causes too much of a blood sugar spike.” So while walking blood sugar spike does not happen which is interesting but at the same time it makes sense. Because if you and I were hanging on the woods together 50,000 years ago we were hunting and gathering together today. Maybe we would camp came across a wild blueberry bush and would’ve ate those berries and kept walking. So kinda makes perfect sense really you wouldn’t be just sitting there eating them, you would’ve been moving at the same time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely and again I think it’s unrealistic to think, though eating food at all to create no blood sugar spike.

Evan Brand: The question is how do we keep it within a normal variation so our body can adapt to it right. And that’s kind of the key thing that Dr. Mercola probably was was getting at there. He’s- he’s fanatical right. He’s doing everything to the umpteenth degree, which is great, I love it. It’s great to be at that high level but the question is how do we extract that information and make it applicable to my patients. With devices, you will go eat your fruit while walking they would look at me like I have 10 heads. Seriously they wouldn’t- it would not be something that we can apply but what could we apply is- Well, let’s eat that fruit after our meal so it’s the- the absorption is slower or let’s try not to eat fruit on an empty stomach or let’s try to do a post workout or let’s just use lower glycemic versions. And just the glycemic index unto itself isn’t that important. Because it’s looking at sugar and its effect going into the bloodstream and how fast it goes into the bloodstream which again by itself isn’t a big deal because we eat fruit with other types of food, right. But we know higher glycemic index goes into your body faster. Lower glycemic index food goes into it slower. So if I eat lower glycemic index types of foods or in this analogy fruit like berries or grapefruit or green apples or those kind of things. It’s gonna go in slower and if I eat it with some high quality fats and proteins and veggies, it’s gonna go on even slower because the absorption in the stomach slow down because of the protein, right. Things slow down, your stomach take about an hour to pass through once proteins there. So we do these natural things we can slow it down. And also if for exercising and putting on muscle, the more muscle we have, muscle is a reservoir site for carbohydrate in the form of glycogen so that’s great. Because that means it’s a bigger sponge so imagine you’re going to sop up the mess that your kid made on your table and imagine you have just like one small paper towel. You’re gonna wipe through it in that paper towel’s gonna be saturated and you’ll be stuck just pushing around water, right. Whatever they’re still, right? So you go back, so now you get a handful paper towels and now you’re absorption ability is so much higher that’s what muscle does. So simple movements like walking and those things that are good for burning sugar but they’re not good for making the cloth that you’re using bigger. So resistance training, high intensity interval training put on the muscle and burn the sugar. The walking will just burn the sugar and ideally burn the fat as well. So we want to make that that rag bigger so we can clean up that mess and sugar.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Good point. So you kinda transition into talking about building muscle then, which is – which is a great point. And I believe all people should have muscle for sure. I’m still building myself back. I’m actually, I bought a mountain bike this weekend and I’ve been riding that. And I feel really good. I already feel like my legs are stronger and more engorge with blood that feels more heart-pumping mountain bike workouts than before. So, for me that’s kind of goal 2017. Pick up all the muscle I loss when I had those infections in my gut. And maybe we should talk about other nutrient dense things too. Something that I’ve been into is broccoli sprouts and I actually have some other sprouts that I haven’t grown yet. I have some sunflower seed sprouts, as in others. But apparently, broccoli is kind of the brand that yield them all because of this sulfurophane. I believe you’re getting something about 35 times the amount of sulfurophane as you get with actual broccoli. And So I’ve been doing a lot of those cool anti cancer benefits of those. But for me it’s just a great easy thing. And it’s fun, too. So basically, me and my wife will grab the – it’s like uh – they call it sprouting jar or basically it’s just a giant, oversized mason jar with uh – meshed lid. You put a little bit of season in it, put a little bit of filtered water. And you put in the darkness for about a day. You take it out the next day, you rinse it, you put it back in the darkness, you lay the jar on the side and then within 2-4 days, you have sprouts that are couple to few inches tall. And we just basically take in the – I need the little shells too. It’s like a nice little crunch, only the shell of the seed. And I just throw those on salad or even I took a seed the other day, I did a bison stew with sweet potatoes. And I threw sprouts on there. And it was incredible. To me, I think if people are looking for what’s one little, cheap, easy, fun hack that you can do at home to get anti-cancer too. And if it’s – you wanna feel awesome and cooler than your friends who are not eating sprouts. Then that’s it, you can go on amazon and you get organic broccoli sprouts. Broccoli – that’s what they call, broccoli sprouting seeds. It’s like 10 box. So – that’s my seeds. Have you done sprouts like that? Have you tried them?

Evan Brand: I have not done it too much just because of the extra bit of time that it’s involved putting, putting into it. I mean, Doctor Mercola has talked about the nutrient density of it. And they’re also very cost-effective so definitely if you’re on a budget when it comes to food, but you don’t want to compromise the nutrient density, I think it’s phenomenal way to do it. If I was back in school again I would definitely look at making that staple again. But for me right now, I’m just trying to keep it simple so I get a lot of my stuff at whole foods locally. And the whole foods that I use usually do procure a lot of their producer meets locally from different farms in the Texas Austin area, which is great. So I can get a bit of the convenience of going to one place and also still supporting some of the local farmers. And there are still places locally that I do get the meat. I get a lot of my stuff the grass-fed meat or US wellness meats. But again their farms are located in Texas too which is really cool so I do feel like that I’m still supporting a lot of my uh – farms locally and getting stuff pretty close by.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cool. And you’re in whole food head quarters so that’s gonna make a difference compared to some of the brands that we have here.

Evan Brand: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And for me, nutrient density is super important. I think a lot of people who were vegetarian and vegan think that they may have the monopoly on that. But I think it’s really important that plants don’t quite have the same level of privacy protection as an animal does. They don’t have the claws and the ability to run and fight and flee. But plants have antinutrients most antinutrients are, are there for a reason. And they’re so seeds pass out through the stool so then it can sprout and create more of that plant. That’s important but those antinutrients also can disrupt digestion. They can also affect the gut lining whether it’s various lectins or various compounds. Whether it’s mineral blockers or mineral binders, whether it’s phytates or oxalates or various lectins. There are lots of them and there are different ones for each compound. Each kind of plant and cooking can help decrease some of that as well which is great. So a lot of people have digestive issues – digestive issues to get better absorption by cooking and also a lot of fiber in plants that can bind up a lot of nutrition. That’s why one of the things we talked about with juicing is that you can cook some of your vegetables down, you can steam, it sauté it. That’ll break down some of the phytates and oxalates but also liberate some of the fibers that are trapping up nutrients and then from there you can throw that food into like a Vita mix or magic bullet blended up. That way you at least get some of the fiber so some of the fiber that will blunt that sugar from getting into your bloodstream as fast. Remember, the faster your sugar gets in your bloodstream, the more insulin your body has to make the buffer it. So the more you can slow that sugar into your bloodstream, the less insulin the body makes. It’s like push-pull. If we’re doing tug-of-war and I pull back really hard you’re gonna pull back the other way probably just as hard. If I pull back a little, you’re in a pull back a little. Imagine me as the pancreas and you are – well, here. The pancreas is the insulin and then your blood sugar is you. So I’m the pancreas, you’re the blood sugar, right. The faster I pull, the more sugar that you put out, the faster – the more I have to pull back. So think of the first pull is the blood sugar. The higher the blood sugar goes, the more you pull, Uhm – the pancreas, I, make the insulin. The harder you pull, meaning the higher the blood sugar is, the more I gotta pull by producing insulin. Does that analogy make sense?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, it works.

Evan Brand: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I just sent you an article that Mercola wrote. And so it sounds like we may have to interview the author of this book that we got here. The author, this guy John. But basically in terms of grains and and antinutrients and all that, Mercola is kind of – he wrote his No grain book like a decade ago.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Actually more that that and now, after talking with this guy, he’s kinda changing how he’s feeling about grains. And so this guy is saying basically in terms of seasonal eating and looking at genetics and history, blah, blah blah. That we were eating grains potentially a million years as oppose to meat, we’re only eating for like 500,000 years. So now this, this long story here is that he’s basically saying that you should be able to get fat, adapt it first. After you regained your fat burning ability, then add back in grains in the right manner and you should be okay to tolerate them. So that’s pretty interesting coz it’s kind of an antigrain diet community out there. And typically you and I see much better results when we tell people to go away from grains. I think there maybe some validity to this. But to me it sounds like – if you’re up against leaky gut issues, if you’re up against infections, if you’re up against the general stress – to me, you’re not healthy enough to handle that. So I would like to look at this information like, “Oh, yeah maybe your ancestors did this, but at the same time they didn’t have the type of – and 24-7 stress test that we use.” So maybe our ancestors were able to tolerate what would’ve been “Organic Grains” a million years ago. Our modern life is different. And typically there’s GMO or the hydrodize or the spray with chemicals. So I don’t know. This is an interesting uh – wrench to throw into the no grain – no grain, what do you call it, bandwagon.

Evan Brand: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Well, here’s my take on it, okay. Playing sports when I was younger, you remember like watching like there was a quarterback or a baseball player they would do things differently. They would show off in a way technique-wise, that maybe wasn’t something that you consider to be a fundamental thing. Like you guys going to the plate and doing all these crazy movements or you get people in the field doing all these different flips and such. And I always tell my patients that’s like you being healthy so when you’re healthy, that’s like being a professional athlete. To be a professional athlete, have to get to that high level with the fundamentals at the highest level intact. But you have to have the best fundamentals. Once your fundamentals are 100% dialed in, you can show off and do different things that someone starting out would never be able to do, right. So that’s akin to someone being healthy. When someone’s healthy, they can go and add little bits of cheat here and there and honestly have no problem with it. Now the question is, how do we lessen, how do we decrease the amount of damage that a cheat does. And that’s where I think some of these things can be added and whether it’s sprouting grains or whether it’s choosing sourdough bread or whether it’s choosing breads that are higher in nutria – nutrient density and less got your tuning compounds. That’s a great starting point. But again, most of the people that I’m seeing and you’re seeing, they’re sick or they have some kind health challenge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup. So my goal as uh – a physician is I don’t want to add variables that’s gonna make my job harder when I’m working with my patients.

Evan Brand: Yup, I agree.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I wanna cut all the variables out so I know I’m working with a tabula rasa. It’s a blank slate and then from there we can build them up. And once they write a letter to like, “Doctor J, I feel great. My mood’s great. My period’s better. My brain fog’s gone. My libido’s better. I’m sleeping good. My energy is great. Then we could say, alright – let’s you know, if you wanna have a cheat this weekend, it’s your kids birthday party, fine. But if we have an option to choose a grain or starch or tuber, that’s gonna have less issues. I’m all about doing the thing that could have the least amount of damage. Does that make sense?

Evan Brand: I agree, yeah. Like you and I talk about last weekend. You were telling me about those taro – what was it, taro pancakes or taro fruit waffles.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Evan Brand: – that you had they were freaking amazing. And that’s grain free.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I was at a picnic last weekend and I had for dessert I had the blueberry pancakes with the – with yucca root. It was yucca root.

Evan Brand: Okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Which is great. It’s a starchy tuber. It’s like in the same family as sweet potato. That’s much better for my gut. And how I feel afterwards is so much better. My skin thanks me. I don’t get the breakout. I don’t get the inflammation but there’s we can also ignore the research that gluten even if you’re not necessarily having a gluten-sensitive reaction can still increase gastrointestinal permeability. And that’s really important.

Evan Brand: I know. I agree. Go ahead.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani I agree. It’s how do you – it’s like okay, you can take research on this point and say okay, ancient people would’ve eaten more than just meat vegetables. Ancient people would’ve had grain but then we look at what you say. We look at research between uh- gluten and zonulin and tos- permeability and all that stuff we already talked about. And you got all this leaky gut thing leaning over. We got this big leaky gut elephant in the room. And so I think it’s interesting that you and Mercola kinda talk out. Because I wanna address the perceived conflict between this guy saying in his book Eat Wheat and then Doctor Perlmutter in his book Grain Brain and other books. And so basically, long story short, these guys kinda talk it out between each other and then say exactly what we discuss which is yeah, once your digestion is properly restored, maybe you can reintroduce the grains. So really this is the basic of what we already said in 200 episodes but I like how its- the head honchos of, you know, the biggest anti grain guy our there versus the biggest pro guy grain out there. And they’re kinda going head to head. And sounds like they will come to the same conclusion, which is what you said. So eloquently with the analogy of the athlete which is once detoxification is in the hands, once gut health is taken care of, once leaky gut is addressed, maybe you can add the stuff back in. Me personally, I’m not really gonna go that way because I’ve noticed the difference in my skin health. And for sure, even if it’s an organic grain, to me if I know this can contribute to leaky gut, do I really wanna do that? In our ancient world, where we would’ve had less chemicals, maybe intestinal permeability wouldn’t have been a big of a deal. But to me, in the modern world, I don’t really wanna a leaky – a leaky gut world, leaky brain due to all these other chemicals out there. So for me, I’d rather be more protected and just be grain free. And I think that’s gonna help me sleep at night better, both emotional and dietary perspective. What do you think?

Evan Brand: Oh, a 100%. And then. uhm, Dr. Mercola and Dr. – the other doctor that he interviewed here talked about the one of the Italian studies were the gluten-free sourdough bread, uhm – tend to cause no intestinal inflammation. So I think if we can look at good, better, best, right. In my opinion, my biased on my autoimmune condition and dealing with thousand of patients who have autoimmune conditions and also just facing the fact that a lot of a large percent of the population has silent autoimmune conditions. I would say the majority and again the question is, it’s the tincture time, it’s the tincture of stress chemical physical and emotional that causes these things to express so looking at that I always say, try to keep it grain free but if were going to space good sourdough bread to be a great option if you want to introduce them bread in there and not have some of the deleterious effects or just let myself find places that will have the yucca flour. Like I’ll go to uh – Estancia or Fogo de Chao and get some of the yucca rolls or I’ll do the yucca pancakes, right. Or the sweet potato or pumpkin pancakes. So I try to use starchy tubers to get the same kinda molly feel as I would get from the grains without having the same kinda inflammatory response.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Agreed. Yeah. And I guess at then end of the day it goes back to the clinical application, too. Because we don’t this guy who’s – who’s proposing this now. We don’t’ know what his clinical experience is. I mean, has he worked with – with people with uh – autoimmune disease, very complex disease like you could have thousand of times or I like what I have a thousand of times now. I don’t – I don’t think he probably has that clinical takeaway where he’s actually worked with people where they got Hashimoto or other disease and they got parasites we’re looking at and adrenal problems. I mean, for us, I don’t know – Obviously we’re biased. But to me, the functional medicine background that we both abide to this whole conversation, it supersedes the conversation of wheat or no wheat because there’s all these other factors that are tied in. And when those factors are tied in, they change the conversation to me.

Evan Brand: Absolutely. I mean frankly when someone sees the title book that says, “Eat wheat”, what’s your response? I mean, for me, I think what that does for most individuals, it justifies them continuing to eat a lot of the crap they eat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Agreed. And if you see wheat, that’s gonna say, okay that means I could go back – back to my burger. I can go back to the sandwich at lunch. I can go back to the pasta at dinner. And I think that is a slippery slope and I think if we were to get this author on the show and I think he clarifies, he’s definitely talking about whole food sources. I think he would even clarify the GMO organic sources coz we know 90% of wheat in this country is not organic and it’s prayed with tons and tons of pesticides. And they’re typically genetically modified which is an experiment unto itself when the human studies on GMO really don’t go past three or four weeks. I have a strong suspect of always going to all foods over new foods when the research is not in-depth and very long and extensive.

Evan Brand: Agree. Yeah people will probably think we’re ganging up on him if we do a 3-way interview. But I think it would be a fun conversation. And the clarification is there were says refined grains and blah, blah, blah – those are bad and you want whole grains, etc. But to me, if we’re talking and kinda wrapping up the nutrient density dot. For me the top of the food chain in terms of what do you best think for your buckets can be good quality, organic, pasteur-raised animals. You’re gonna have a good organic – Even if you could do like organic wild blueberries apparently wild blueberries get sprayed. And if they’re not organic, wild blueberries are sprayed, not good. Uhm – so you know, organic berries, your organic veggies, your good organic butters, if you could tolerate it, your coconuts, your avocadoes. One thing I’d like to say now is do avocadoes or avocado, do macadamia or macadamia oil, you know, you have to go through all these processed products. Avocado oil is more processed than the avocado by itself. So if you get actual food of avocado, do that. Your macadamias, your leafy greens and that’s your nutrient density. And maybe, maybe – 5% that you can have some of these organic sourdough bread like you mentioned. And maybe you’re okay with it. If your gut’s clean, you don’t have infections, your adrenals are healthy. Maybe if you worked on chemicals, you worked on heavy metals, maybe you could get away with that. At the end of the day, what is the whole purpose of our show? It’s to help people be healthy. It’s to help people be happy not to hear our conversation like this and leave feeling more confused than before. So this is not us changing our stance on anything. The same things still apply. Get yourself tested, look for infections, make sure you’re clear, make sure you have healthy adrenals. Your detox pathways are working. You have a primarily organic meat and veggie and a little bit berry –focused organic diet. With maybe a little bit of starches like sweet potatoes and some organic white rice in there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.

Evan Brand: Does that summarize it all?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I think it’s really important. And the last piece I wanna kinda harp on, if someone is not a clinician, I mean, they haven’t dealt with the thousands of patients that have these issues or they don’t have an issue like that themselves, it’s really easy to lose the empathy for the cheat. A lot of times people talking about a little bit of this is okay. Well, it depends. You know, what’s the consequence of that? How many days are you setback? How exacerbated is your autoimmune condition? How much, how bad are the breakouts? How bad are the symptoms that arise from it for days or maybe weeks later? So I think you really have to look at that in the equation and you really have to make your decision based on that. I think it’s really important that if you’re a patient or your someone listening to this and want to use that info to justify eating more of these foods always have someone on board whether it’s a functional nutritionist or functional box or functional medicine doctor that can kinda walk you through it and go to the pros and the cons just to make sure you warrant maybe making a decision that’s a little bit hasty. Uhm – because you get those cravings going on there and make sure you’re doing – your health should be the ultimate goal in there. Not to have a quick short-term satisfaction of some bread but to make sure your health number one And again if you need to reach out to someone, Evan and myself are available and If you want more information, get in your diet dialed. And then obviously, the last piece is if you gut inflammation and leaky gut and you already have G.I. symptoms, the last thing you want to be doing is showing any bread or grains into your diet right now.

Evan Brand: Awesome. Well said. And people may guess and check the inflammation, words that are around a lot. You don’t have to guess and check whether you have inflammation. If Justin and I are looking at organic acid testing with you, we can look at that. We could clinic 5 HIAA ratio on – planes. That’s a great marker for your inflammation. And also on the GI mock that we use, you can also see how protected levels there for testing inflammation. So even just for that perspective, if you’re curious, “Do I have this inflammation?” “Should I be taking this –cumin supplement – wasting all my money on it?” Well, why don’t you just get tested? Figure out what’s your inflammation levels are. You know, number on a piece of paper. Go to a more clinical route and then you’ll know. We’re huge fans of testing, not guessing because in the long term it will save you money. And you’re not buying 20 supplements that may help you but may not be the really needed as much as you previously thought.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. Excellent, Evan. Very good. Any other thoughts?

Evan Brand: I don’t think so. We’ll talk next week.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Anyone listening that’s really enjoying this show. Feedback is great. We’re getting a lot more emails and were getting show ideas up in the queue. And also show us your love. Give us a five-star rating on iTunes. Click below the link and give us some love. We appreciate it.

Evan Brand: Take care.




Gluten’s Devastating Effects and How To Test For It

Glutens Devastating Effects And How To Test For It

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Gluten sensitivity is a state of genetics, just like your genes cannot be changed, what we have control over is the expression of our genes. Gluten is one of those food products our genetics have not adapted to well.  If you are a person that have genetics that predispose you to gluten sensitivity, the way  in which you can control  how your genes are being expressed, is to avoid gluten.


Lets review some terminology that is used to describe people who react to gluten and or grains. Many people with gluten sensitivity can be gluten intolerant or have a gluten allergy as well.

The terms “allergy” and “intolerant” have come to mean different things in conventional medicine, so the more excepted terminology in gluten circles like this is the term “sensitivity”.

Sensitivity is referring to the fact that your immune system is hyper responsive to the gluten proteins. The byproduct of these hyper-immune responses is inflammation and if prolonged, autoimmune conditions are a strong possibility.

Gluten Allergy

Refers to your immune system creating an IgE immune response (anaphylactic in nature) to the gluten protein, these allergies are inborn and are usually known at birth.  With new cutting testing we know allergies can also be delayed in nature via an IgG or IgA response; this is closer to what we see in gluten sensitivity.

Gluten Intolerance

Refers to the inability to break down the gluten proteins in the digestive tract. Just like with lactose intolerance, some individuals have a difficult time breaking down lactose (milk sugar), but with specific enzymes (like lactaid) this is possible. Most people who are gluten sensitive have a difficult time breaking gluten down too, but taking enzymes alone will not be enough to avoid the inflammation and autoimmune destruction from consuming it.

In science today gluten sensitivity has been primarily connected  with celiac disease, so the misconception is if you don’t have celiac disease, you don’t have gluten sensitivity.

This couldn’t be further from the truth! The testing used to diagnose and assess celiac disease can miss many people. Essentially you can have all of the telltale signs and symptoms of gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, and still be misdiagnosed.

The typical mainstream diagnosis for celiac disease is a sample of your micro-villi from your small intestine via endoscopy. The micro-villi have to be worn down 80% for you to be considered celiac.

There are a couple problems with this diagnosis criteria:

Glutens Problems And Diagnosis

1. What if we do not collect a sample that was affected by gluten?

2. What if the  micro-villi have not been worn down 80%?

This method is analogous to pulling a bucket of water out of the ocean, examining that there is no fish in the bucket and then concluding the ocean must have no fish. This may not be a perfect analogy, but I think you know what I’m getting at.

There are other blood tests that can be used to confirm celiac disease. These blood test includes transglutaminase antibodies, endomyseal antibodies, deamidated gliadin as well as gliadin antibodies. If you come back positive with one of these test markers, you can be confident that you have celiac disease. The problem is, many individuals come back negative with these markers and still may have  gluten sensitivity.

This is where genetic testing comes into play, if you have a gene that predisposes you to gluten sensitivity it’s just a matter of time till those gene expresses itself. The more physical, chemical and emotional stress you  are under, increases the chance that your gluten sensitive genes will react and start creating symptoms. As you well read below, the symptoms for gluten sensitivity are all over the map!

Want to know if you have gluten sensitivity? Click here.

What are the best tests out there?

Glutens Tests

I think genetic testing is a good tool to assess if you have the genes for gluten sensitivity.  The problem with other testing is it’s very easy to have false negative result (the test comes back negative  but in reality you may still have gluten sensitivity). If you come back with a gluten sensitive gene, you can be confident that it’s just a matter of time before that gene expresses itself if you keep eating gluten.

The primary genes that are involved in celiac disease are HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8.  There are other HLA-DQ genes involved as well; HLA-DQ 1, HLA-DQ 3 and HLA-DQ 7 are also genes that predispose you to gluten sensitivity.

When you’re looking at genetics such as HLA-DQ testing, you get one HLA-DQ gene from each parent.   If you receive two HLA-DQ 2’s or two HLA-DQ 8’s, this increases the risk of celiac disease (the same goes for gluten sensitivity). According to the genetics, the only people that are immune to gluten sensitivity are people with the genetic sub-types HLA-DQ 4 (which are less than 1% of the population). There needs to be more research done validating gluten sensitivity and its connection with the genetics (1).

The percentage estimates surrounding gluten sensitivity regarding the population are a point of contention among  experts. Dr. Alessio Fasano at the University of Maryland medical school, who is a pioneer in gluten research, feels that only 6 to 7% of the population are gluten sensitive; while Dr. Ford a pediatrician in New Zealand and the author of the book “The Gluten Syndrome,” believes  30% to 50% of the population are gluten sensitive.  According to Dr. Kenneth Fine over 50% of the population is gluten sensitive. Either way you look at it, the new estimates that are coming out surrounding gluten sensitivity are showing a significant increase than the original 1% estimates of celiac disease.

The information that we have now shows the majority of the population are gluten sensitive. The problem with gluten sensitivity, is the majority of symptoms that come from gluten are not necessarily correlated with digestive issues (symptoms that are gastrointestinal in nature like bloating, gas, diarrhea and IBS). With gluten sensitivity you are actually 8X more likely to have extra intestinal symptoms, (symptoms not related to the gastrointestinal tract, like headaches, depression, lupus and thyroid disease).  This is the main reason why gluten sensitivity is so easily glossed over today.

Most patients with gluten sensitivity complained of 2 or more symptoms (2).

gluten symptoms

The symptoms of gluten sensitivity

Celiac disease is a form of gluten sensitivity, so essentially if you have celiac disease you are gluten sensitive. At the same time if you are gluten sensitive, you don’t have to necessarily have celiac disease.

There are many common manifestations of gluten sensitivity, I call this the web of gluten sensitivity:

This includes:

Various anemia’s, type I diabetes, Hashimotos and other thyroid diseases, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, there is gut infections, skin issues (psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis herpetiformis), psychological and mood disorders (schizophrenia, depression).

Gluten Sensitivity

I challenge you to Google scholar or pubmed search gluten or celiac disease with any disease of your choice. You will see many results come up in your search, proving the connection cannot be ignored.

My favorite method to assess for gluten sensitivity!

The problem with many of the tests that are out there, is that similar information can be received through a simple elimination provocation diet (this is where  inflammatory foods are cut out for a period of time and then added back in). The only time I conduct testing on patients, is if patients are resistant to changing their diet. Then the lab test be very useful, because they can quantify to the patient in an objective manner that these issues are real. Some people  need to see that type of evidence before they cut out some of their most favorite and addicting foods!

I find almost all individuals who are suffering from some type of chronic illness benefit when they cut gluten out of their diet. The foods that contain gluten, which are all grains, tend to be very low in nutrition, have a high glycemic index and create inflammation. It’s always better to eat foods that are nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory and low in toxins.

My recommendations are for all of my patients to start off with some type of anti-inflammatory, autoimmune paleo or bulletproof style of eating. The focus with this type  of eating is to be consuming foods that are anti-inflammatory, low in toxins and nutrient dense. This allows us to put our body into a state of healing  so we can start recovering from all of the damage created by the gluten exposure. Macro-nutrient ratios including carbohydrate, protein and fat can always be adjusted to meet the needs of the patient. I deal with these macro-nutrient ratios on individual basis per patient.

What Do You Do If you Aren’t Feeling Better After Going Gluten Free?

When dealing with patients that are chronically ill,  making the above dietary recommendations may not be enough. The inflammation created from years of stress and gluten consumption, may have caused damage to your adrenals, thyroid and gastrointestinal system. This may have weakened your immune system to the point where chronic infections like parasite, bacterial, fungal and viral infections have gained a foothold. I find removing these infection can be the missing barriers that are preventing people from getting better.

If you’re not getting better  from going gluten-free,  feel free and schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking here to review what your options are.


1.A. Fasano et al. Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. BMC Medicine 2011, 9:23. doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-23.

2. New understanding of gluten sensitivity, Umberto Volta & Roberto De Giorgio, Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology 9, 295-299 (May 2012).

Paleo Taco Salad

Paleo Taco Salad

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Here is a great paleo recipe that you can make that only involves a few ingredients. All you need is a head of romaine lettuce, 1 to 2 pounds of grass fed meat, 1 avocado, 1 tomato, organic fresh salsa and spices and seasonings.

This meal is a great balance of protein, fat and carbs from lots of good vegetables.

1. Brown ones 2 pounds of grass fed meat in a skillet or find them.
2. Cut up the tomato and lettuce while the meat is cooking.
3. Add 1 teaspoon of cumin, chili powder (depending on how spicy you want it) and sea salt.
4. Put the fresh bed of lettuce on a plate and add the meat on top.
5. Put the tomato and salsa on top of the meat.
6. Cut up the avocado in place on the very top.
7. Enjoy!

Organic Grass Fed Meat:

Easy 10 Minute Chocolate Muffin (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy free)

Chocolate Muffin

Easy 10 Minute Chocolate Muffin (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy free)

Thanks to Caitlin Weeks – for this awesome receipe!

You can find the recipe here:

Why The Weight Won’t Come Off?

Why Weight Wont Come Off

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

There are many people out there who are on a gradual course of adding 1-2 pounds of weight every year, with no real end in site.  When you’re in your early 20’s  the average persons metabolism is in good shape but as they enter their 30’s and 40’s the bad habits of their teens and 20’s starts to catch up with them.  Just like compound interest works in your favor when it comes to investing and saving, the compounding off bad health habits will affect our metabolism negatively as well.

The underlying cause of abnormal weight gain is a sluggish metabolism. So over time your body’s ability to metabolize fat for energy becomes impaired and metabolically our body tends to burn carbohydrate for fuel instead.  So if a sluggish metabolism causes weight gain, then the so called “cure” would be to address the underlying factors that have weaken our metabolism slowly over time.

A strong underlying factor that affects metabolic activity is toxin exposure and it’s effect on our hormonal system.  It has been shown the thyroid and adrenal glands work together to help regulate metabolism and energy.  When the body is exposed to excess toxins the adrenal glands becomes stressed and an increase in adrenaline and cortisol is secreted to help buffer the inflammation and stress.  Excess cortisol over the long term will eventually results in fatigue, belly fat, and decreased muscle mass.   And as you notice many people are walking around carrying the majority of their excess weight around the hips and tummy with very little muscle to show for it.

There are many other interconnected causes of weight gain as you can so by the graphic below, but the focus of today’s post is mainly on the thyroid, adrenal and toxin connection.

Fat Loss Web


Need help in losing weight? Click here and ask a doctor about it.

The bottom picture demonstrates the connection between toxins and an increase fat mass.  It was apparent that people with the most fat mass had the highest level of organochlorines.  Organochlorines are the chemicals used commonly in pesticides and herbicides.  These chemical are used in conventional and GMO produce as well.  These organochlorine compounds are know to mimic estrogen and excess estrogen helps promote fat growth as well as tumor growth and cancer.



It’s also interesting to note that one of the proposed mechanisms how these pesticides increase weight gain is through decreasing our active thyroid hormones, T3, which helps keep our metabolism active.  As you see in the graphic below, as T3 function reduces, this increase the chance of weight gain in the future.


weight loss


Mycotoxins are toxins produced from fungus and commonly cause abnormal weight gain and infertility.  Mycotoxins like zearalenone are compounded into pellets and placed into cattle’s ears to increase weight gain before going to slaughter.  The interesting thing about zearalenone is farmers can decrease the cows feed and weight gain still occurs.  How many people do you know who continue to cut calories and still can’t lose weight?  If so, mycotoxins could play a role.

Did you know fungal overgrowth in our intestine can also secrete mycotoxins as well?  I personally lost 15 pounds by going on an anti-fungal protocol as well as cutting peanuts out of my diet, too.  The amazing thing with this weight loss story was there was no real fundamental change in the diet or the amount of calories either.

Avoiding common mycotoxins that was see in grains, organochlorines, peanuts and conventional coffee can be a great way to super charge your metabolism and help you lose weight effortlessly.

My favorite kind of coffee is BulletProof Coffee, it is mycotoxin free and can be found here.

Click here if you need help in losing weight

The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Justin Marchegiani unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Justin and his community. Dr. Justin encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Marchegiani’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using any products.