Episode 91 | Dr. William Bulsiewicz M.D. | Optimize Your Microbiome
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We’re increasingly coming to understand that the way to bolster your immune system begins with the microbiome. Surprisingly, the microbiome in your gut is home to 70% of our immune system.
The human gut is complex and has a huge impact on whole-body health. A healthy gut supports a strong immune system, brain health, and heart health. A balanced microbiome can create easier weight loss and weight management and have a positive impact your moods and quality of sleep.
To help better understand the importance of gut health, I’ve invited Dr. Will Bulsiewicz lovingly known as “Dr B” on the show. He’s a respected gastroenterologist who has devoted his practice to understanding the microbiome.
Dr. B’s New York Times Best-selling book, Fiber Fueled: The Plant Based Gut Health Program For Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome is a must-read. It’s a step-by-step approach that shows a simple, science-backed process for optimizing your gut microbiome. And as you do, you will transform your health.
Today, we’re going to discuss how to identify weaknesses in the gut, what habits lead to a poor microbiome, the role of pre & probiotics, and some really valuable information you can learn from your bowel movements. Yes, that’s right… poop! We spend a lot of time talking about what goes in our body, but today we’re also going to talk about what comes out.
Get ready for some honest and straightforward discussion. It could just be the most powerful conversation that will empower you to change your health for the better.
Buckle up, here we go!
Follow Along With The Transcript
[KATHY SMITH]: Hi, Dr. B. How are you?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Hi, Kathy. It’s a pleasure to be here. How are you doing?
[KATHY SMITH]: I’m doing great. It’s been fun hanging out with you. For the audience, I’ve been taking a course with Will called The Plant Fed Gut. It’s a seven-week course. One of the bonuses is that every week, we get to sit down and ask him questions. There’s a whole big group. There are 600 plus in the group, and it’s been a fascinating journey.
Let’s back up, though, for the audience. Why is gut health so important?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: It’s quite interesting to consider how far we’ve come in a short period of time, Kathy. Because it wasn’t that long ago that we thought about our bowel movements or these microbes that lived inside of us as being inconsequential and, frankly, not that important. But now, here we are. It’s 2020. And there is a revolution underway where we are realizing the importance of gut health for health throughout the entire body.
And the way it works is like this. From the top of my head to the tip of toes, I am covered on all external surfaces with these invisible microbes – bacteria and fungi, things of that variety. Well, believe it or not, they’re most concentrated inside of our colon. And our colon is– this is kind of weird to think about– but our colon is actually an external surface, because it’s the tube that starts in mouth and goes all the way to the bottom. So, there, inside our colon, there are literally trillions and trillions of these invisible microbes. We have more microbes than we have human cells.
And we now realize that they are absolutely critical to some of the most fundamental biological processes that make us human, the way that our body works. They’re key for digestion, access to our nutrients, for our immune system, for our metabolism, to balance our hormones, for our mood, the way our brain functions, even the expression of our genetics. Every single one of these things is deeply intertwined with the balance of these microbes to live inside of us. And so, now we see that if you want to be a healthy human, you need healthy microbes. And that’s quite fascinating, because they’re not human. They’re not a part of us, but we need them. We need them if we want to thrive.
[KATHY SMITH]: So, it seems that unhealthy guts, leaky gut, all these kinds of terms, it’s in the news, it’s everywhere, everybody’s talking about it. And yet, I think people are a little confused about some of the terms. So, why don’t we just define? Like, what is a healthy gut? We talk about dysbiosis when you have an unhealthy gut. And then, continuing with this microbiome, just getting this idea of like, it sounds great. We need a healthy microbiome. How do we do that? How do we create this healthy microbiome that we all so desperately need?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Let’s start with defining a few of the terms. Because you will hear people tell us in these terms, so I think it’s important for each one of us. You don’t have to be a doctor to appreciate the value in this knowledge and this information.
Let’s start with some of the terms. First of all, many of us have heard the expression “leaky gut.” Leaky gut has been connected to many different symptoms, even many different disease states. And when you hear people talk about leaky gut, really what they’re referring to is what I would describe as dysbiosis. Dysbiosis basically means a loss of balance within the microbiome. The thing is, the microbiome, this community of these microorganisms that includes bacteria and fungi and potentially parasites, these things called archaea and also, even viruses, they live in harmony, they live in balance. They are truly an ecosystem in the same way that the Amazon Rainforest or the Great Barrier Reef– those are ecosystems too.
And with any ecosystem, what you need is you need balance, you need diversity. And when you have those things, you have a strong, hardy resilient ecosystem. Those rules apply to us too. So, when we hear the expression “leaky gut,” really what we’re referring to is dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is when there is a loss of balance, when there is a loss of species, less diversity. And when that happens, what you end up finding is that there can be damage to the wall of the colon that allows basically things that should stay trapped inside the colon. They start to leak into the bloodstream. And so, that’s where the expression “leaky gut” comes from. People call it leaky gut. I call it dysbiosis.
The opposite of that – harmony and balance and having a diverse microbiome, the word that we would use for that is eubiosis. But most of us just refer to that as feeling healthy and thriving and being able to eat our food and not have to have fear that we’re going to have digestive symptoms or that we’re going to have food intolerances and things of that variety.
When it comes to the microbiome, this is what we’re referring to – this community. We want to try to harmonize it and have diversity. And when we think about how we go about doing that, it’s important to understand what affects the microbiome. And what truly affects the microbiome is the way that you live your life. It’s your day-to-day choices. It’s the food that you eat. It’s also your sleep, your exercise, your stress levels, your relationships, the people that you surround yourself with, the time that you spend outdoors, whether or not you have a pet. There are so many different things that are a part of our world, a part of our environment. And ultimately, that world and that environment that we surround ourselves with will echo inside our gut. So, when it is good, when we have clean, healthy food, when we’re getting plenty of rest, when we’re getting our exercise, when we have healthy relationships and low levels of stress and we’re spending time in nature, when you have all those things structured properly, then you will have a balanced, harmonized gut.
And when you start to take those things away, which unfortunately, this is the world that we live in. 2020 is not exactly the time where we’re free of stress. The reality is we’re all dealing with stress. Many of us don’t have time for exercise. Many of us are constantly on the go. Many of us have a disrupted sleep pattern. And the reality is that the average American right now gets 60% of their calories from processed food, so those are not healthy foods that are feeding the gut microbiome. And so, the reality, Kathy, is that we have accepted a lifestyle in our culture that actually is causing harm to our microbiome. And that’s part of the reason why many people are suffering with these issues.
[KATHY SMITH]: So, you wrote the book Fiber Fueled. And there’s other fiber books out there, obviously. But what’s interesting is the role that fiber plays in having a healthy gut. And a lot of times, we would think of fiber as we have to have our fiber so we have a good bowel movement. But talk about why it’s important to have this diversity in the plant and in what you eat. Because on the show, again, we talk a lot about exercise, sleep, and hit all those other– getting outdoors, reducing stress, meditating. What I really found fascinating, when I hear you talk, is what can we do when it comes to our food to start turning around our microbiome?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: I think it starts with having a basic understanding of fiber. When we think of fiber, most of us were raised to have this mental image of our grandma with an orange drink that she’s stirring so that she can have a bowel movement. And that’s not the way that fiber should be in our minds. We need to rethink this. We need to start from scratch.
The reality is that fiber is in plants, fiber is in all plants. And every single plant has its own unique types of fiber. It’s not just, “Hey, I should get a certain number of grams of fiber per day, and therefore, I’m going to eat these cereal bars,” or whatever it may be. Instead, we need to realize that we need fiber. Every single plant has fiber. But the fiber that you will find in each individual plant is unique. That’s what makes it special.
And each plant, because it has these unique types of fiber, will feed specific families of microbes – bacteria and fungi – that live inside of us. So, let me give you an example, Kathy. I hope you don’t mind. Pretend that you take away black beans. So, you say, I’m going bean free. And you stop eating black beans. There are specific populations of bacteria that will start to starve, because you’re no longer feeding them the fiber that you will find in black beans.
So, you decide one day that you want to re-introduce those black beans and bring them back. As you go through the process of re-introducing those beans, you will find that these microbes, if you were to check them, they’re starting to come back. And they’re strengthening and they’re getting bigger and more powerful because you’ve given them the food that they’re starving for.
So, the point is that every single plant feeds specific types of microbes. We want a diverse microbiome. And in order to achieve a diverse microbiome, the way that we do that is by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes – a diversity of plants.
But this is more than just a theory. They’ve actually done studies. There was a study called the American Gut Project. The American Gut Project is probably the most well-positioned study out there to give us insights into the connection between our dietary choices and the health of our gut microbiome. The American Gut Project is not just an American gut project, it’s actually international and includes people from around the world. And when they performed their analysis, they asked the question, “What is the number one thing that tells us that a person is going to have a healthy gut microbiome?”
And when they performed their analysis, what they found clear-cut above all the rest, it was the diversity of plants in their diet. That was the most powerful predicter of a healthy gut microbiome.
So, the bottom line is this. I don’t care who you are and what your dietary preference may be. You could be paleo, vegan, keto. You could be agnostic. Whoever you are, one of the foundational principles of your healthy dietary pattern should be to ramp up the variety, the diversity of plants within your diet. Because when you do that, you will be supporting a healthier gut microbiome. And then, your healthy gut microbiome will turn around and reward you in [inaudible 00:13:46] and make you a healthier human.
[KATHY SMITH]: When you say plants, a lot of times, we think of fruits and vegetables. I’ve even had to shift into fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, the whole plant kingdom, plant world. That’s one point, because one of the things I’m doing with a girlfriend right now is we are having a little how many different plants can you eat in a week? Because we read somewhere that you should shoot for 35. I don’t know if there’s a number that you have. But it’s interesting when you start thinking that every spice from turmeric to salt, your peppers, all of your spices and your herbs, all count as plants. When you start counting those in and then your sprouts and all the other things you’re putting in your salads, it’s pretty easy honestly, to get to that 35 in a week.
But I’ve read studies that, for the average American, is probably pretty low. Have you read many studies about what’s an average American diet like and what should we be shooting for?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Most Americans are taking iceberg lettuce and a tomato cutting it four ways and then, piling on blue cheese, bacon bits, and croutons and calling that a salad. The average American is typically 15 or 20 different plants per week. The key, Kathy, is that it’s good to have goals of where we want to go with this. And we should set expectations that are reasonable that a person can actually do. But at the same time, there is no limit, and there is no magic threshold that’s going to be a total game changer.
And what I mean by that is this. When they did the American Gut Project, in that study, the magic number was 30 different plants. So, a person who ate at least 30 different plants in a week was the person who had the healthiest gut microbiome. But that’s not to say that there’s a difference between 30 and 29. It’s not that there’s this magic cut off. Really, what it is, is it needs to be enough. There needs to be enough diversity so that we’re feeding as many of these different microbes as possible.
And more is better. If you’re getting 35, I celebrate that. Let’s shoot for 40. Let’s see how far we can take this. And let’s keep going with it. And so, at the end of the day, really, what we want is there are sort of are these numbers, these goals of 30, 35, 40, somewhere in that range. But don’t get to that number and stop and kind of say, “Ah. I did it. I’m good. I’m done.”
To me, every single meal is an opportunity to feed these microbes. It can be the simplest thing. When I have a smoothie in the morning, I could just throw walnuts in my smoothie or I could throw in walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flax. That’s four different plants instead of one.
When I make tomato sauce, my tomato sauce could literally just be tomato sauce, or I could throw in mushrooms, onions, garlic, maybe zucchini, maybe spinach. There are so many different plants. I’m sure the people at home– I’m sure you too, Kathy, have specific things that you would throw into your tomato sauce to kind of spice it up and make that delicious primavera sauce.
But I guess the point, from my perspective is every single meal, if this is at the back of your mind, it’s an opportunity to feed those microbes and make yourself healthier in the process.
[KATHY SMITH]: I appreciate that little prompt. Because for me, I started doing that. I was doing it before, but I’ve upped my game since I’ve been taking your course. And one of the things I do is, for instance, oatmeal in the morning. I now put chia, hemp, and flax. I also sprinkle on some pumpkin and sesame seeds. And then, I make an almond milk fresh in my Nutribullet that I pour on. And then, I’m also sometimes even going with a few sprouts on top. But what I found is in that one meal, not only am I feeling satisfied. Before my workouts, I feel energized. I’m going for two-hour bike rides. It is sustaining me.
At the same time, my brain is working. So, what I find is– and I want to get into this later– a little bit about time-restricted eating and how if effects the gut. But right now, let’s switch over into a subject because I get a kick out of it– you discuss so openly. And that’s like, what can we learn from what comes out the backside – a bowel movement? What can we learn from that that will tell us where we stand with our gut health?
And if you wouldn’t mind, if you could give us a topline. But then, I’d like to ask you kind of very specifics for our audience. So, what can we learn from our bowel movements?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Let me first lay out a disclaimer which is that I talk about poop for a living. This is literally what I do from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. And then, I go home and I play with my four-year-old son. And guess what a four-year-old boy wants to talk about? He wants to talk about poop. And then, many times, I’ll be teaching a class after that, and we’re talking about poop again. So, the bottom line is I am immersed in this world where this is what I talk about, and I feel very comfortable with it. And I hope that the people at home don’t judge me for it or whatever. It is what it is. This is what I do.
I think it’s interesting, and in all seriousness, I understand that we’re not necessarily going to have open conversations with people that we barely know about what our bowel movements are like. But every single one of us poops. I’m not sure if my wife poops, but other than that, the rest of us poop. And the reality is that this is a window of insight into the health of our gut microbiome. 70% of the weight of our stool are actually microbes, which is crazy. Because I went through medical school, and if you asked me when I was done, I would have told you that our stool is made up of the excrement of the food that we eat. Whatever waste we don’t need, we just discard it.
That’s not true. That only constitutes 30% of the weight of our stool. 70% of it are the gut microbes. And so, what that means is that the poop is our window, our insight into the health of our gut microbiome. And just like we have the vital signs – our heart rate, our blood pressure, our respiratory rate – in the same way, we should be looking at this. Because if you think that gut health matters – and I do – I think that gut health is revolutionizing the way that we think about human health.
If you think it matters, then we should be paying attention to this. This is something that is a great opportunity. All it takes is literally a basic understanding of what to look for in the toilet bowl.
[KATHY SMITH]: Okay. So, it seems that a lot of people, a lot of the population, even judging from nightly news and the ads that come on, a lot of people are constipated. So, let’s talk about constipation and maybe get into how many times a day or a week should somebody take a poop? And what constitutes constipation. And then, I’m just going to add what would you do, first line of defense, if you had constipation. I know there’s a lot of pills and drugs, whatever. But what’s the first thing you would do if you had constipation? Backing up, how many times a day or a week should we be pooping?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Let me prep this by saying this, that I am always a little bit reluctant to assign a number per se. Because, to me, I don’t define constipation by a number in terms of how many bowel movements you have per week. I define constipation based upon whether or not you are having complete, regular evacuations of your bowels.
And as a result, your gut is thriving, and you are not suffering any symptoms. So, to me, constipation is the opposite of that. Constipation is the inadequate release, the inadequate evacuation of our bowels. And because it’s inadequate, we are suffering symptoms as a result of that.
So, Kathy, there are people who poop every day. And they are constipated. And the way that that works is that while they may poop every day, they are not completely evacuated. And if they poop 70% of it out, but they trap 30%, that 30% will compound day by day by day, and very quickly, within a few days, they will be completely full of it. And they will be suffering with constipation.
So, to me, it’s not a number. That being said, the average person in the United States typically poops once a day. I actually feel like we have normalized abnormal. And that actually gets back to our low-fiber diet. The average person in the U.S. is only consuming 15 grams of fiber. That’s actually pathetically low. For women, we recommend 25 grams, for men 38 grams. 97% of Americans are not even getting the minimal amount of fiber in their diet. And when you get more fiber, what do you have? You have more bowel movements. Why do you have more bowel movements? Because it goes back to, Kathy, 70% of our bowel movement is our microbes.
And so, when you consume more fiber, you are breeding more microbes. And when you breed more microbes, you have more bowel movements. So, if we were all consuming an adequate amount of fiber, I do honestly believe that we would have two to three bowel movements per day. But that being said, you could have a bowel movement every other day, and if it is a complete, total evacuation, and you feel well, you are thriving, you have no digestive symptoms, then you are not constipated even though you go every other day.
And on the flip side, the person who goes every day and has symptoms – gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, nausea, acid reflux, they get full very quickly, they lose their appetite – those are the symptoms of constipation. That person’s constipated even though they’re pooping every day. Because they’re not completely emptying.
So, when it comes to treatment of constipation, I think that probably the most important thing that I can get across to your audience when it comes to treatment of constipation, is to be wary of the treatments that are available over the counter for constipation – particularly– I hate to say this, because I’m a big believer in natural therapies– but particularly the natural therapies. Because those are stimulant laxatives. So, what I’m talking about is senna, senokot, smooth move tea, aloe vera, cascara, triphala. All of these things are actually stimulant laxatives, and what stimulant laxatives do is your body becomes habituated to them. You, then, need them in the future to have a bowel movement. You’ve become addicted in a way. And the problem is is if withdraw this laxative after taking it chronically, you will be more constipated than you’ve ever been in your entire life.
So, I would really encourage people to not use these types of laxatives routinely. What do I do in my clinic? To me, it is about rhythm. It is about getting my patients into a good bowel rhythm. So, many times, I’m able to accomplish that by using a combination of magnesium, which I will typically have my patients take before bedtime. Because magnesium is also good for sleep, it’s good for anxiety, it’s good for migraine headaches. It is not a stimulant laxative. It is not addictive. So, I have them take magnesium before bedtime, and then, I will typically also add in a fiber supplement in the morning – many times with their morning coffee. So, that’s the typical approach that I’ll take.
[KATHY SMITH]: Do you have the name of the brand of the fiber supplement that you’re recommending?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: I don’t love endorsing specific brands, but I will tell you that I have multiple fiber supplements that I use at home. Some of the ones that I use include acacia powder, wheat dextrin, partially hydrolyzed guar gum. I tend to avoid – and this will surprise some people – I tend to avoid inulin. Inulin is extremely gas producing. And so, I want people who are at home to be conscious when you are looking at fiber supplements, particularly if you pick up the gummies.
Many people want to get the gummies. We all love the gummies. They’re fun. But the issue is that the gummies usually contain inulin, and if you have a gas problem from your constipation, it’s going to get worse. So, you need to be very careful with that.
[KATHY SMITH]: So, if you’re eating– which I know you are– a plant-based diet and all these variety of plants, why are you taking a fiber supplement in the morning?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: It’s very interesting that you ask, because I eat a 100% whole-food plant-based diet. I practice what I preach. Living this way, Kathy, I lost 50 pounds, reversed the blood pressure and anxiety issue, lifted my self-esteem and my energy levels. The plant-based diet has done remarkable things for me and allowed me to thrive. That being said, when I take a fiber supplement, I notice the difference to my bowel movements. And it is a good difference. I find them to be even more healthy, even more regular. And so, as a result, that’s part of the reason why I am a believer in fiber supplements.
The other part of this is that these types of fiber that we’re talking about – acacia powder, wheat dextrin, partially hydrolyzed guar gum – they have a unique property that we call prebiotic. What that means is that they feed and nourish the healthy microbes that live inside of us. So, I eat this broad, diverse diet filled with multiple different types of fiber. But then, I also am able to boost my gut even more with a fiber supplement.
I’ll just tell you that it has worked well for me. And I have had hundreds of patients who have improved– perhaps even thousands– that have improved simply by adding a fiber supplement to their routine. It’s incredible how powerful it is.
[KATHY SMITH]: Let’s talk about the physical act of sitting down on the toilet and going to the bathroom. Because this is something that I learned from your course, that a lot of people are having trouble with just the pelvic floor, I guess – the sling down there and letting things just release out. What I found interesting was when you were answering the question about whether you should use a Potty Squatty. But with that, what happens to the walls of the rectum and how does the whole process work? Because that was the first time I had heard that. If you could explain that and why it’s important to be able to release down there, I don’t think a lot of people have heard about this subject.
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Thank you for bringing attention to this, because honestly, this is a very, very important issue for the people who are suffering with constipation. Because they need to hear that in recent years, we have now, grown to understand that it’s not– we used to think that constipation was just slow motility. Like, if people were constipated, they’re all the same. They all have slow motility. It’s not true. It’s simply not true. There are many potential forms of constipation.
And one of the most common that I come across is what we call pelvic dyssynergia. To use it in an analogy, I would say this. Imagine a bathtub filled with water, and we want to drain that bathtub. But the drain is closed. We all know that if you want to drain the bathtub, there’s only one way to really drain it, which is you have to open the drain. And you could mess around pouring Drano into this water, and it’s not going to do anything until you open the darn drain. And that’s true in constipation too.
You have to be able to relax your pelvic floor. You have to be able to allow the poop to leave your body. And if you can’t do that, you could take all the laxatives, all of the MiraLAX, all of the stool softeners in the world – you could do it all – you could turn your poop into liquid. But if you can’t relax the bottom, it can’t come out.
And so, we have discovered that there’s this form of constipation called pelvic dyssynergia, which basically means that when the pelvic floor is supposed to relax and give way so that things can come out, it paradoxically is doing the opposite. It’s actually clamping up.
And we can find it in some of the testing that we do. And the treatment for this loss of synchrony in the pelvic floor, the treatment is not laxatives, the treatment is not medication. These are the people who fail laxatives and fail medication. The treatment is physical therapy.
It’s kind of like this. If I hurt my shoulder, I can take medications to dull the pain. But those medications are not going to bring back the functionality of my shoulder. If I want to restore functionality to my shoulder, I find myself a good physical therapist. And they work with me so that I can start to lift my arm above my head. And then, eventually, I can grab two pounds, and I can take those two pounds and I can lift that above my head. And I work my way towards five, and then 10, and then 15. But you have to ease your body into it. You have to restore that functionality.
That’s also true with our pelvic floor. If it’s not working the way that it’s supposed to– and by the way, this is far more common in women. It tends to be most common among women past age 50. But we believe that it actually comes back to the birthing process and delivering children. Nonetheless, if you want to restore that functionality to the pelvic floor, the way that you do it is by working with a good pelvic therapist to re-orient the muscles so that you can get them to relax when they’re supposed to relax. And then, bowel movements come back to being effortless once again.
So, with regard to the Squatty Potty, Kathy, you mentioned that. I would just say that our body was designed for us to be in a squatted position when we poop. Cavemen were not sitting on the commode the way that we currently do – certainly not at the angle that we do. Cavemen were squatting down so that they could release their bowel movement. And there’s actually a physiologic reason for that. There is a muscle down in the pelvis, down at the bottom, called the puborectalis, that is like a sling muscle. That sling muscle is basically folding over the rectum so that things don’t come out when you’re normally going about your day.
It’s protecting you. It’s protecting you from having an accident. But when you actually squat, that sling muscle will actually create alignment of your rectum to create a straight line so that there is no resistance on the path towards releasing that bowel movement. So, the Squatty Potty is a simple concept with fantastic branding, which is that simply by lifting your feet and getting your body into more of a squatted position as opposed to a seated position, you are able to bring that puborectalis muscle into alignment. And you will actually find it easier to defecate. It’s so simple.
[KATHY SMITH]: So, I know we’re getting along here, and I want to let you go because I know how busy you are. But let’s just finish up with I know that you have recommended keeping a poop diary. And if I was going to do that, would you recommend doing it for a week or two weeks? And what exactly am I looking for to put in my diary?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: We’re looking for insights– we’re looking for information that we can gather from our bowel movements. And keeping a poop diary is a way for us to compile that information over the course of, say, a week. There is no magic threshold, but you want enough information that you can actually look for patterns.
What’s the scoop here? What’s going on? What you would do is you would record, during the day, when you have your bowel movement. Particularly, if you have more than one bowel movement, what time of day are you having it? What is the shape of the stool? What is the form? There’s this thing that, Kathy, I know that you’re familiar with, but I would bet that 99% of the people who are listening at home have never heard of this – called the Bristol stool scale.
Now, I don’t know who this person, Bristol, is. But their legacy is that we have seven patterns of poop. You can literally see the pictures of poop, and you will see that there are specific different types – anywhere from type one up to type seven – and you could record that in your poop diary. And recording how it looks based upon the Bristol stool scale will provide you with insights into what’s going on with your bowel movement – whether or not you’re a little bit constipated, a little bit diarrhea or just right where you’re supposed to be.
Beyond that, we could look at things like the color of our poop. There are definitely things that you can learn from that. And we could also look to see whether or not there’s any evidence of any bleeding. So, those are some of the things that we would look for in that poop diary over the course of a week.
[KATHY SMITH]: I don’t want to let you go having your last question be about poop. But I do want to mention that we will have in the liner notes and we will talk more about not only your book, Fiber Fueled, but also getting on the wait list for your next course. But as your parting remarks, probably of poop, what would you say is our big take away today on gut health?
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: The beauty of it is this, Kathy. You have a fitness savvy audience. They’re already doing many of the things that they need for a healthy gut. They’re doing the exercise. They’re getting the sleep. They’re meditating. They’re spending time with people that they love, spending time outdoors. So, let’s go back to the number one core principle of a healthy gut. There’s only one thing– I know that I’ve already said this, but I will say it again. The single greatest predicter of a healthy gut is the diversity of plants in your diet. And no matter what dietary pattern that you ascribe to, and bearing in mind that there’s a lot of different ways to eat a healthy diet. But no matter what dietary pattern you take, I would really encourage you to make diversity of plants one of the key principles.
What I want people to take away is this. It’s not just diversity of plants. It’s thriving with abundance. It’s liberating ourself from the restriction. We need to get away from the pattern of reducing, reducing, reducing and get into the pattern of exploring and trying new things and acknowledging that the quality of our food is empowering. When you eat healthy food, when you eat a predominantly plant-based diet, you can literally eat until you are full. And that is a healthy diet. And you don’t need to count calories. Because you will achieve a healthy weight by simply eating high-quality food. And it can be food that is delicious and that you love. That’s what I love about a plant-based lifestyle.
[KATHY SMITH]: Great words. And I will just tell you that it’s been an honor to have you on the show. I will admit that I am a super groupie, because what you’re doing, how you’re bringing this information out, I think will honestly change the health of the whole country. It’s a conversation that needs to be had over and over and over again with our friends, our families, our kids. And this information shouldn’t be something new that I’m learning in my sixth decade of life even though I had bits and pieces of it. But bringing it together the way you bring it together, you’re doing such a service. So, thank you so much for that.
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Kathy, I literally can’t tell you how much that means to me to hear that from someone like you. That is incredible. It is a huge honor to hear that from someone like you. I’m grateful for the opportunity to come on your show and talk about it. And I feel like there’s so much more that you and I could talk about.
[KATHY SMITH]: Yep! I haven’t gotten to gas and bloating and gluten and food sensitivities. I know. But that’s why people– by the way, all these conversations, the course, the book, and we’ll talk more about it– but just make sure you check out all the liner notes, because there is so much information there. So, thank you, Will.
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Just tell me, Kathy, when you want to get together and do another recording. I’m more than happy to come back and do another one with you. It’s such a privilege. Thank you.
[KATHY SMITH]: Okay. Thanks, Will. Bye, Dr. B. Thank you.
[WILL BULSIEWICZ]: Thank you.
[KATHY SMITH]: So, my big take away is that making peace with your microbiome is one of the biggest steps you can take to improve health and wellbeing. When you take care of your gut, just about everything else in your body from your immune system to your moods, your brain, your heart health, all of it’s impacted. It was such a pleasure having Dr. B. on the show. I love him. I really enjoyed taking his seven-week course – The Plant Fed Gut – and it’s really been a big life change for me.
The course has been powerful. We’re working on identifying weaknesses in our gut as well as learning which foods help create a vibrant and healthy microbiome. So, Dr. B.’s New York Times best-selling book, again, is called Fiber Fueled. It’s a must read. It’s a step-by-step approach that shows a simple science-backed process for optimizing your gut microbiome.
When you start changing your gut, you can transform your health. So, if you want to learn more about Dr. B. or if you want to sign up for his wait list on the seven-week Plant Fed Gut course or pick up his book, just go to his website. It’s called ThePlantFedGut.com.
Now, I want to give a big shout out to all the folks listening from Fit Over Forty. You guys, hi to everybody. If you don’t know my Fit Over Forty, it’s a free program that you can join at KathySmith.com. For 14 days, I’ll show you and send you a workout every day. You’re going to get it in the email. You’re going to have cardio and strength training and walking and bar. You can feel stronger every single day. So, check it out.
Now, if you enjoyed this episode, I’d really appreciate if you would come and join me on Instagram. That’s @KathySmithFitness. I look forward to connecting and hearing all your questions.
Also, as a quick reminder, these podcasts are great to listen to while you’re walking. I call it walk and talk. You walk. I talk. You get to burn calories while listening to something new. And don’t forget, there are dozens of other episodes that you can pick up and check out in the archives.
So, if you’re interested in separating the fact from fiction when it comes to aging, discovering what’s the best way to lift weights (heavy or light), finding out about the importance of nasal breathing, then check out some of the other shows.
The podcast is available wherever you listen. So, just search The Art of Living with Kathy Smith whether you’re on Apple podcast, Stitcher, Spotify. And you’re also going to find all these other episodes. So, take those in, play them, and while you’re there, don’t forget to leave a review. Just check in and leave a review.
For those of us who do these podcasts for free, it’s kind of our lifeblood. We are beholden to you and love to hear what you have to say. What did you like? What did you not like? Who else do you want to hear on the show? So, if you’ve already left a review, thanks a lot. And for all of you out there, here’s to your health until next time.