Teri: And so, these kids, actually, by eating healthily, are doing anything but helping their body. Also then further looking at the VDR and the APO gene, those are all fat metabolism genetic polymorphisms. You taking on a ketogenic diet would not be your best solution. It’s not that our genes have changed, it’s the epigenetics of the food supply that is tripping our genes. The foods of the past aren’t the foods of the present.
Ben: I have a master’s degree in physiology, biomechanics, and human nutrition. I’ve spent the past two decades competing in some of the most masochistic events on the planet from SEALFit Kokoro, Spartan Agoge, and the world’s toughest mudder, the 13 Ironman triathlons, brutal bow hunts, adventure races, spearfishing, plant foraging, free diving, bodybuilding and beyond. I combine this intense time in the trenches with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern science, search the globe for the world’s top experts in performance, fat loss, recovery, hormones, brain, beauty, and brawn to deliver you this podcast. Everything you need to know to live an adventurous, joyful, and fulfilling life. My name is Ben Greenfield. Enjoy the ride.
Howdy, howdy, howdy. Today’s episode is an interview with an author of a wonderful book I read. I think you’re really going to dig this one especially if you like to eat food. Who doesn’t like to eat food? I like to eat amazing food. It’s healthy for you. I learned a few cool things on today’s episode, so I think you’ll dig it.
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Hey, so I just read–well, I didn’t just read. It was actually a few months ago that I read this book that someone recommended to me knowing that I am not only a foodie, but I’m also a big fan of eating as ancestrally and as close to our roots as possible. So, I read this book called, “The Wildatarian Diet,” and you can probably imagine what it’s about just by the title. But the subtitle is “Living as Nature Intended: A Customized Nutritional Approach for Optimal Health, Energy and Vitality.” And the whole book is around this idea of the fact that a lot of diet trends offer a one size fits all approach, and they’re not really designed for our unique bodies and health histories. But then it takes it to the next level and ties it into almost like this wild way of eating, which I’ll let my guest, who as you’ve probably guessed wrote the book explain.
And my guest is Teri Cochrane. Teri is a nutritional counselor. She’s got a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida, and she practices everything from herbology to craniosacral therapy to nutrition counseling, and she works with a lot of folks over in Washington D.C., actually. She’s a nutritional counselor to Olympic athletes all the way to ballerinas and swimmers. Later on, in today’s show, I actually do want to delve with Teri into some of the ways that she maximizes athletic and exercise performance with some of the folks who she works with. But where I want to start is this whole idea of a Wildatarian diet. That name doesn’t quite slip off the tongue, Teri.
Teri: Well, you know, I wanted to go wild with a new way of thinking about what our foods are doing to our body. The Wildatarian diet was born from actually, “Patient Zero,” as I call him who had end-stage cancer and had this rare form of cancer by the name of amyloidosis. Amyloidosis is based on truncated protein structures. We know about the amyloids that people are talking about, the beta amyloids of the brain, but we really work about how amyloids can really affect our entire body. And in this case, his name is Glenn, he’s very public about his work with me. Those amyloids had really created an end-stage cancer scenario for him.
And so, I started to figure out what the heck are amyloids. It’s a rare form of cancer and when we figured out that these amyloids were coming from the food supply of chicken, pork, beef and turkey, and if you know with cancer, a lot of people are told after chemo to go high protein. And so, with him, in Glenn’s case, going high protein–
Ben: Is that best promoter to stave off the cachexia and sarcopenia and things that occur during chemo?
Teri: Yes, exactly. And so, because of that, they were saying protein load afterwards and his protein loading was actually creating more abhorrent cells. And two rounds of chemo had sent him into congestive heart and kidney failure. So, Glenn was very ill and had been given his last rites when he came to see me. We found that our food supply, believe it or not, contain amyloids. And so, through my research, I work with a genetics researcher. She was on my staff for several years and we’ve been nerding out doing a lot of clinical findings and also just making bridges between academia and the clinical outcomes that I see in my practice.
We’re constantly being iterative in how we look at the body and health and disease. And when we figured out that wild game in the form of bison versus beef, Cornish hen versus chicken, wild salmon versus farm-raised, and so on and so forth, we took those away. So, we took away the pork, beef, chicken and turkey and started him down this Wildatarian diet protocol. And initially, his kidneys were so really overwhelmed that he was a plant-based Wildatarian, and this is what I love about the Wildatarian diet. It’s a diet for everyone and a diet that’s specifically suited for the individual, and we’re equal opportunity Wildatarians. You can be plant-based, you can be sea-based, you can be land-based, you can be combo platter based. And it’s really based on your genetic blueprint and your current state of health.
Ben: I don’t understand exactly why it is that say like a wild turkey wandering around my backyard would have a lower number of amyloid proteins in it than say like a farm-raised chicken. Is that the idea?
Teri: Yeah, that’s a really good question. So, what we found through the research out of Cambridge and Japan is that the crowding conditions that we impart on these animals create these amyloids within their tissue. And amyloids are truncated protein structures that are indigestible. And when our bodies can’t digest them, the body doesn’t know what to do with it, so it can accumulate in specific tissue or it can be systemic.
Ben: So, it’s almost like an autoimmune type of issue when the amyloids build up.
Teri: Exactly. And amyloids, believe it or not, we now have linked it to reawakening viruses, because the amyloids feed the viral population in our bodies, and I call viruses puppet masters because most of us have been exposed to multiple viruses throughout our lifetime and a lot of us have been vaccinated against them. But what we found was that, for example, especially in the case of Hashimoto’s where that’s an autoimmune thyroid condition, that Epstein-Barr is responsible for over 80% of Hashimoto’s.
And Epstein-Barr, also the mono virus, is puppet mastering the thyroid. It may not be mono, but it’s puppet mastering the thyroid to have this autoimmune response. And what we found is when we stopped feeding the body protein in the form of these domesticated animal products switched to wild game and shellfish and seafood, we’ve had a lot of resolution of Hashimoto’s.
Ben: Interesting. Now, just to back up a second with this amyloidosis, can you test for that? Because I know proteinuria, you can test for excess proteins in the urine and some of those can be amyloid proteins, but would that be how you’d actually diagnose or determine whether or not your diet is causing excess amyloids?
Teri: Really good question. So, there are multiple ways to test for amyloids. One, really protein in your urine. You’re not digesting the protein, but light chains in the form of cancer tests for amyloidosis. So, you can test for those light chains. Another way to know, and I’m really into body talk, I speak multiple languages including body. And the body has a lot of information that it gives us if we have trouble building protein, a muscle rather because we’re not breaking down those amino acids and recombining them to build tissue, then that could be a potential issue with protein absorption.
If you burp after you’re eating, that means you don’t have a sufficient hydrochloric acid to help support that protein digestion. So, really, back to your original question of why Wildatarian, it was Glenn, my Patient Zero, that we’ve figured out when we moved him to a wild type diet. His light chains, which was the marker for amyloidosis within three months, were stabilized, and then he was able to continue his chemo and he’s riding his bike to work almost seven years later, and he was–
Ben: And what’s a light chain?
Teri: So, a light chain is a marker for the concentration of amyloids in your blood.
Teri: It’s the form of amyloidosis form of cancer.
Ben: Okay. That would be a more accurate way to test though than say like a protein test in the urine.
Teri: Yes. That’s specific to cancer, but that would be the most accurate way to test.
Ben: Okay. Got you. Yeah. The only time I really come across like dietary management of something like reduction of amyloid protein, so this is all related to Alzheimer’s and dementia, as I believe I was talking with Dominic D’Agostino in a podcast, and he was discussing how a ketogenic diet can reduce some of the buildups of the amyloid beta proteins in neural tissue. And then I had come across one of the research studies that got into polyphenols and the ability of polyphenols to be able to bind amyloids. But what you’re actually implementing is basically a reduction of non-wild proteins.
Teri: Exactly, because I call food the alpha and the omega. We can get everything else right, the supplementation, we can use polyphenols, we can use digestive enzymes, but truly if we are feeding the beast then it’s a really upstream battle and amyloids, not only for amyloid’s sake, but amyloids that feed viral loads and then the amyloid structures actually make biofilm, and biofilm is so critical in Lyme disease. It’s so critical in strep and Candida. This biofilm, which I call it the donut, it’s a fat structure around these pathogens, which make the antibiotic therapy very, very difficult if not impossible to break into this bug. The amyloids, it is a cascading situation in the body, not just specific to amyloidosis.
Ben: Okay. So, in your book, and I have this part highlighted, I actually read it on Kindle, you described the Wildatarian diet as the consumption of generally wild-caught, wild-fed and sustainable animal and plant-based proteins that have not been industrial-raised, processed, genetically modified, hormonally or bacterially supplemented or in any way divergent from their whole and natural form, including wild game meats and fowl, bison, venison, elk, goat, lamb, pheasant, quail, wild caught fish and shellfish, ancient organic non-chemically altered or treated grains, organic non-myotoxic legumes, nuts, seeds and produce and organic grass-fed, non-hormonally treated dairy products, which are pretty straightforward. I think that spells it out pretty well.
But when you’re working with somebody, how do you determine whether you are going to have them just eat say, whatever, fish, quail, pheasant, lamb versus introduction of grains versus inclusion of legumes, nuts, seeds and produce. And of course, this question is important because so many people now with the popularity of books like Plant Paradox and the emergence of the popularity of the carnivore diet. Many people just say don’t eat plants and grains at all.
Teri: I think that’s a great question. And I have a clinical practice here in the D.C. area, and I have a naturopath that works with me. And so, our whole approach is we’re all different, we’re very bio-individual, and so using genetics as the foundation and understanding why those genes were tripped will really lead you to what type of Wildatarian are you, what wild type are you.
Ben: Interesting. Walk me through that. Walk me through the kind of genetic testing you do.
Teri: Sure. So, the genetic testing, typically, we have two forms of genetic testing. We look at 23andMe then we’ll run it through our own internal algorithm, and I developed a way to look at genes, because you can never look at anything in isolation because the body is such a complex highway of organized systems that speak to each other. But what I do is I put the genes, I will bucket them into what I call red, orange, yellow and green zones. And so, I look at where are your big–I call them the sharks versus the minnows, right?
So, if you’re in an orange zone of, let’s say you have a gene called the CBS gene, this has to do with sulfation pathway mechanism, and if you have an oxalate metabolism gene then it can be a SUOX gene or a CBS gene, that actually is a sulfur processing mechanism gene. Also, if you have the MTHFR gene mutation, and there are two alleles to that. One is the C677T, which actually has to do with bile salt production, which would make you a less efficient producer of bile salts, which makes you less sufficient in breaking down fats.
So, in that case, if you have that genetic polymorphism along with the COMT gene polymorphism, which has to do with fat metabolism catecholamines also then further looking at the VDR and the APO gene, those are all fat metabolism genetic polymorphisms. You taking on a ketogenic diet would not be your best solution.
Ben: Yeah, I’ve said that before. There are so many people that do not do well with fats for those reasons. Backing up to the sulfur issue, so would you say then that–because a lot of foods that are rich in sulfur are purportedly superfoods like garlic and cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli and cauliflower and even egg yolks, are there people that should be based on that genetic snip that you were talking about avoiding those forms of sulfur?
Teri: Yes, and I think that’s also an excellent question, Ben. And what’s happened is in the past, our genetics have been here for millennia and these nutritional diseases that we’re seeing of Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and this mental health epidemic that we’re having or mental ill health epidemic that we’re having, and this gluten intolerance epidemic that we’re having, why is that?
Well, it’s not that our genes have changed. It’s the epigenetics of the food supply that is tripping our genes. And so, there’s a whole new science of nutrigenomics, which is how food influences genes. And so, what we know, and I believe I’m a pioneer in this work related to sulfur along with Dr. Stephanie Seneff out of MIT, a biochemist, is that, guess what, our roundup is really deleterious to our body’s ability to process our sulfur. And so, those of us, myself included, with a genetic polymorphism of the CBS gene or the BH4 or the SUOX gene, because roundup, what it does is, roundup is a really dirty little thing not only as an herbicide that is poisonous to our fish and so forth.
What it does is it stops the body’s ability to convert sulfur foods to its end game which is sulfate, which is what we need as athletes and even just your typical average human for collagen matrix structure for tendons, for gut health, for mental health, for hormone production. And so, this glyphosate interrupts our end game with sulfur. And so, it becomes this intermediary metabolite in our gut not being able to be processed, and so now this garlic and egg yolk and broccoli and cabbage and cauliflower, and I call it killer kale actually, because kale also has some oxalate properties, it is actually leaking our gut and it is tripping those genes. And so, those of us with impaired sulfur mechanism handling, what can happen is we’re more likely to get Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis or have some anxiety, some depression. We can also be more likely to have arthritis. Seventy-three percent of rheumatoid arthritis has been linked to impaired sulfur processing. That’s a big deal. RA is one of my things and arthritis in general, but–
Ben: RA, rheumatoid arthritis for people listening in.
Teri: Yes, it’s the autoimmune version of an inflammatory arthritis. She came in and she was saying, “Teri, I can barely walk, and I don’t understand because I’m making my juice every morning with kale and garlic and cabbage.” Well, that was kicking her butt. It was inflaming her joints so dramatically. She walked in here as her follow-up, she’s like, “I feel like a 2o-year-old.” This is a big deal. The foods of the past aren’t the foods of the present. And so, because of the way that our environment has shifted our own gut biome, for example, we no longer make the gut bacteria that helps us break down oxalates.
And what are oxalates? Oxalates are really healthy foods such as spinach and almonds and black beans and coconut. And one, if we have that genetic polymorphism; two, if we have a susceptibility to Candida, then we’re really screwed because Candida helps increase oxalic acid. We can’t break down oxalic acid because we don’t have the gut bacteria. Oxalic acid can ache us manic, can make us depressed, can make us self-harm. Big deal. It’s very big in the autism community, the inability of these kids to break down oxalates. And a lot of moms have been told, “Well, your child has Candida. Don’t feed them cow milk.” I don’t hate cow milk. If we do cow milk, it’d better be A2. But feed them almond milk instead of coconut milk. And almond is a huge oxalate. And so, these kids, actually by eating healthily, are doing anything but helping their body.
Ben: Now, this sulfur metabolism gene, you mentioned CBS, that’s cystathionine beta-synthase, that will play a role in, like you mentioned not just homocysteine metabolism, so you’d want to take into account your intake of folic acid and folate, and perhaps, prioritize things like methyltetrahydrofolate in a multivitamin, but you’d also want to limit sulfur groups if you wound up having a version of that gene that would limit your ability to be able to metabolize sulfate, and you’d be one of those people who would want to especially mitigate consumption of glyphosate-containing grains or plants.
Teri: Absolutely. And you know, one of the things that really helps that CBS gene is vitamin B6 in the form of P5P. It helps up-regulate that genetic polymorphism. And also, what we have to watch out for, it’s not only our food but there are so many sulfa-based supplements out in the marketplace today that are touted as being amazing antioxidants, for example, glutathione. That’s a sulfa-based antioxidant–N-acetylcysteine, as you mentioned. NAC, which has been touted as such a liver detoxifier, that can really be problematic for those of us that can’t convert the sulfur. Alpha-lipoic acid, another sulfa-based supplement.
So, again, it’s really looking at how do we navigate that. And to your audience, am I saying never eat a piece of broccoli again? No, but what we have to do is we have what I call center length foods and then we have our fringe foods. And once we heal and seal our gut, because we’re eating to our genetic blueprint and our state of health, then we can navigate in and out. And that’s why I feel like body talk is so important.
If you had broccoli with some Cornish game hen then you did some wild rice, that’s great. But if you had broccoli with guac, which had raw garlic in there and then you had eggs for breakfast, that may have tipped you into symptomology. And so, it’s really important that we take back and empower ourselves to know what our body is telling us because the body is a constant communicator, but we’ve never been taught how to interpret those body signals. I don’t believe we’ve been taught sufficiently, and that’s what I do in my practice.
I’m not only a clinician, but I am an educator, because I believe that it allows us to come from a place of an informed decision. And sometimes you’re going to say, “Well, I’m going to go ahead and have that tequila,” because tequila is sulfur. Anyway, but I’m okay, because I’m going to do something. I’ll do my green juice the next day or I’ll mitigate it in other ways, or you’re just going to say, “I’m just going to have that Saturday night and really deal with it because my gut is pretty sealed.”
Ben: Hey, I hope you’re enjoying the show. I want to interrupt real quick. I wanted to tell you about this thing called the psoas. So, you have this psoas muscle that goes up by either side of your gut. And when that thing is tight, it can cause constipation, it can keep your glutes from activating, it can cause back pain, and a ton of people walk around with an extremely tight psoas. It’s a difficult muscle to massage or to target, but there’s this device that I’ve been using. It’s called Pso-Rite. P-S-O Rite, very simple device that you could travel with. I keep mine in my living room and just get down on your stomach on this thing, and it allows you to release your psoas within like 15 seconds.
It’s like having your own little plastic massage therapist right there on your living room floor or wherever you keep this thing. And if you have not yet released your psoas or gotten into psoas deep tissue muscle work, you probably are pretty bound up in your hip, in your back, and this thing does the trick. They’re going to give anybody a 10% discount on this thing. It’s called the Pso-Rite and it’s very simple to grab one. You just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/feelpsorite, like S-O, feelpsorite. And the code is BEN10. So, it’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/feelpsorite. It comes with all the instructions. The cool thing is you can use it on your hips, your knees, your adapters, your calves. You could use it on any part of your body, but the psoas is the bee’s knees if you’re able to reach that muscle, and it’s hard to reach, but this thing does it.
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Now, another question here kind of stirring back away from the deep science of sulfur and back to some of the practicalities of this Wildatarian diet. How are your clients and your patients, especially those living in urban areas getting their hands on a lot of these foods that are wild, that are not farmed, that are non-chemically altered and that would be considered in many cases just game meat or wild plants?
Teri: Yes. So, we’re lucky that we have a lot of resources that provide us for that. D’Artagnan Foods, which I use personally. They ship to 50 states overnight.
Ben: What’s it called?
Teri: And we can give your listeners a link after the show if you’d like it. But really, they have phenomenal bison, wild boar, venison, elk, lamb, New Zealand lamb, fish. And then we have living in the Metro D.C. area, there’s an outlet called The Organic Butcher. But also, you’d be surprised, the major grocers are carrying New Zealand lamb. They’re carrying bison. Harris Teeter here in the mid-Atlantic carries elk, ground elk. So, it’s becoming more and more available now.
In my book, we talked about that everybody goes wild and we start feedlot type farming methodologies for this wild game, and they will no longer be wild. So, part of the Wildatarian movement truly is that we opt for a sustainably raised approach to our animals. But what I’m finding is we’ve had hooved animals on our planet for millennia. Why is it now that the methane is finally becoming an issue? And one of my considerations that I’m talking about in terms of why methane is such a problem now is that we’re feeding our feedlot cows and our hooved animals foods that they cannot digest. And so, just like us, if we can’t digest a food, we’re going to produce methane gas. If these animals can’t digest the corn, they’re going to produce methane gas. They’re herbivores.
Ben: What about vegetables? How are your clients getting their wild vegetables?
Teri: The vegetables, I call them Wildatarian grains. So, that’s sort of “Wildatarian.” So, what we look to is we look for small and medium-sized farmers, local farmers that aren’t necessarily organic. We have to look at what organic standards are because the organic standards have been deluded. But the FDA has deluded the definition of what organic is. But what I call Wildatarian grain or vegetable is those vegetables that are suited to your wild type. For example, you may do very well on spinach, I can’t because I also have an oxalate issue. But instead, I’ll look to asparagus or I’ll look to my Japanese sweet potatoes or I’ll look to my artichoke, my wonderful Bibb and Boston lettuce.
Those are what I talk about. They don’t necessarily have to be wild. It’s just that they fall under the Wildatarian umbrella because the big definition of Wildatarian in that category is low mycotoxin. Mycotoxin is a fungal metabolite that fire starts again the biofilm, and the biofilm feeds the amyloids, and the [00:31:23] ______ virus, and it’s like this ping pong effect. What we’re looking to do is we’re looking to minimize the intake of those foods that are deemed to be “healthy” that are no longer being able to be metabolized in our system appropriately as nature intended and it’s doing a multiple effect on the body. One, it’s tripping the genetics, so now we’ve got symptomology, but it’s also then feeding these bacteria and viruses that coexist in our gut biome.
We know that 8% of our DNA is viral. We know that we are outnumbered by our bacteria by trillions and trillions and trillions of bacteria versus ourselves. And so, trying to eradicate them is not working. We will completely be outnumbered. So, we have to be what I call, get them out of becoming bullies in the sandbox by our food supply. Everyone has a seat at the table, so that can be a diverse population. But when we’re feeding the wrong things through corn and through peas and through peanuts, and we can talk about that in a little bit how deleterious those things are, those aren’t the right types. Those are non-Wildatarian legumes and grains.
Ben: Now, in the book, you said that you drink celery and cucumber juice every day. I know you mentioned you got the sulfur issue, so you’re trying to avoid sulfur intake, but when it comes to celery and cucumber juice, is that not an issue or are oxalates an issue at all with those?
Teri: So, actually, I like the cilantro and cucumber, and then I add a little bit of celery. Cilantro is a great liver detoxifier. What I like about celery is celery has a little bit of sulfur, but celery has been known to break down oxalates. I don’t use it as often, but I do the cucumber. If I have to do a base juice, it’s cucumber because it’s great for silica, and silica is great for bone health and for ligament health. It’s an alkalizer. It’s wonderful. It’s really rich. And the minerals through stress would become demineralized because we leach calcium and then our mineral balance gets a little bit out of whack, and it’s a great liver detoxifier. Cilantro and cucumber, and then I throw some celery in there. But cilantro and cucumber, I love it. It’s my base drink every day.
Ben: Okay. And the oxalates aren’t an issue with celery? Because I know some people, I’ve heard, bring up an issue with oxalates and celery. I haven’t done that much research into it though.
Teri: Yeah. It’s really interesting. Celery, it can be a high oxalate or low oxalate, again depending on your genetics. So, with me, my celery, I’ll do a four to one ratio. So, I’ll do one stock of celery, two for cucumber. So, it’s a much more deluded. And even then, I dilute it with water. But I find that for my gut biome, that’s a good combo platter. Also, celery is rich in minerals, but everyone is different. I think that the most hypoallergenic is just the cucumber. And then adding cilantro is wonderful because it’s also a liver detoxifier unless you have the cilantro gene that makes it taste like soap for you.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now, you also mentioned peanuts. I think most people are aware that peanuts aren’t really a legume per se and they have some issues. But what specifically do you take issue with for peanuts?
Teri: So, peanut is an aflatoxin. So, I call it the devil on steroids. A mycotoxin is–
Ben: You’ll be ruining the experience of all this popular peanut butter powder that a lot of people are eating nowadays.
Teri: Sorry, folks. We’ll get you some other powder that may be better for you. So, as an aflatoxin, it is carcinogen, it is a massive oxalate. And again, because of our food supply, we no longer make the reverse bacteria to really be able to break down oxalates but it’s highly, highly fungal. And so, as we know that fungus feeds cancer, fungus feeds Candida, it feeds the strep. Again, I call that the major fire starter for a dysbiotic gut. Very few people that I know of can actually consume peanut butter long-term. If somebody had to tell me or ask me, what is absolutely never on your plate? Peanut butter would be it.
Ben: Yeah, peanut butter used to be like crack for me. I’ve switched to almond butter. And then even almonds, once I started to go a little bit more towards really taking into account the quality of the seeds and the nuts that I ate, I even found that almond butter, especially almond butter that’s been blended with the skins, that’s also a pretty high oxalate food. I do a little bit of walnut butter now and occasionally a little bit of cashew butter and some of these newer coconut butter, nut butter type of mixes that don’t have a lot of almond butter in them. A lot of them use macadamia nut butter. Even almond butter, I’m careful with it nowadays, but peanut butter is a much bigger issue in my opinion.
Teri: Peanut butter, no way. Almond butter for me because I have an oxalate sensitivity, especially since I went post viral. I became very ill 18 months ago, stress strip, seven viruses in my body and I had encephalitis in the brain, I had liver damage, and I had complete neuropathy. I was able to pull myself out of it. That’s another component of Wildatarian. We can talk about stress and the fat metabolism issue and how really just stress can turn on everything we’ve ever had reignited. My post-viral condition and I’m 100% well now, I’m very sensitive to oxalate. So, almond butter is not my friend, but I really love sunflower butter. I love the macadamia butter that you mentioned.
Ben: Yeah. A lot of people, they’ll–sunflower butter with safflower oil and canola oil and things like that. Why would sunflower oil not fall into that category?
Teri: Safflower oil or sunflower oil?
Ben: Sunflower oil, I think a lot of people consider that to be an oxidized vegetable oil, is it not?
Teri: Yes, it is. But again, this is where I call the body’s hierarchy of needs. And so, if I’m going to be getting some really good mineral, in fact, from that sunflower butter, then I’d rather get a little bit–or sunflower oil, I’d rather get a little bit of that and actually take a canola oil which is sulfur again and it’s man-made over that. Ultimately, olive oil for me is my best oil because even coconut has moderate oxalate properties. And so, again, getting back to that bio-individuality. I say you have sharks and you have minnows. And for me personally, my sharks are sulfur and oxalates and protein, non-wild protein, and the minnows I can deal with because it’s again where’s the body’s tipping point on the variety of foods, and it’s really navigating that food on my plate, which I do very handily, and I travel all the time. So, this is very doable for your audience who’s thinking, “What the heck I’m going to eat?” Extremely doable.
Ben: Yeah. And sunflower oil, it does kind of depend, too. I know there are different types of sunflower oil. Some are low oleic acid, some are high oleic acid, and I guess the idea is that with sunflower oil, you’d want to look for like a cold-pressed, unrefined version of it or get a sunflower butter that’s got a cold-pressed, unrefined version of it. I think that’s going to be a lot better from an oxidated standpoint. I know some of them are non-GMO, expeller-pressed, and you’d also want to look for high amounts of oleic acid. That means it’s going to be lower in the omega-6-polyunsaturated fatty acid. Those rules go towards any type of oil that’s been extracted from a seed or from a vegetable.
Now, the other thing that you talk about is bean preparation method. A lot of people eat beans and it’s been a while since I’ve talked about how to properly prepare them, and you get into how beans are one of your go-to meals. But how do you actually ensure that the beans aren’t causing any type of digestive distress or gut damage or bloating?
Teri: Well, I find two things. Pressure cooker is one of my staples in my kitchen. My pressure cooker is actually over 40 years old. It was donated by my mom and I love it. It’s German-based. I wish they still made them. But pressure cooker-ing helps to really break down the indigestible what I call exoskeletons of the beans, the hemicellulose and the phytic acid that it contains, and also the beans contains some lectins. So, doing that, and I also put apple cider vinegar when I prepare my beans. That helps to break down and allow for digestibility.
And then really interestingly enough, what I have found personally is that when I add green pepper to the beans, especially I don’t eat a lot of black beans anymore because those are high on oxalates, but that seems to break them down a little bit as well. And I don’t know if it’s because green peppers have such a high vitamin C constant that that would help break it down, but that’s what I’m finding out. Usually, the pressure cooker, the apple cider vinegar and the peppers.
Ben: And for people who haven’t cooked beans before in a pressure cooker, what’s the actual recipe? How do you do it?
Teri: It’s so easy. I call it being wild in five where I can make a pepper meal in five minutes or less. And so, it’s really pretty easy. If you’re going to do a bag of beans, you’re going to do eight cups of water to that bag of beans, and you’re going to put a little sea salt and pepper, or without the pepper, just a little sea salt, and the green pepper you can put in there, a quarter of green pepper. You close the pressure cooker, bring it up to where it pressurizes and then put it on seamer, and you can get some beans done. And lentils, you can get them done in less than half. The other ones will take a little bit more. But actually, the pressure cooker is doing all the work for you. So, the other slow as you go route is to soak the beans in water overnight, and then you’re cooking them for several hours on the stove. But the pressure cooker, I believe it helps the digestibility, it speeds up the cooking process and it’s super easy.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now, you’ve mentioned stress and fat loss resistance with stress, which I’ve talked about before, but you actually get into an interesting component of stress in the book, epinephrine. And specifically, you talked about something called ballerina syndrome. Can you describe what that is and why you talk about it in the book?
Teri: Yes. Well, I work with the Washington Ballet. I work with a lot of professional ballerinas.
Ben: Were you a ballerina?
Teri: I wasn’t, but my daughter is pre-professional. Yeah. She danced with the Princeton Ballet for summer and she dances at Duke right now for collegiate experience. So, what I found was that a lot of elite athletes, and we’ll get more into the question about athletes in a minute, but I do work with a lot of elite athletes in different sports. And what I found was, and particularly with ballerinas, because of the rigorous dance schedules where they’re out on the dancefloor for hours at a time, they’re pushing their bodies through epinephrine to help manage that sugar regulation, because as you know the glycogen that stored sugar in our muscles or any elite athlete that uses endurance in an endurance sport, you’re going to deplete those sugar stores. And so, the body as a natural response to let’s stay vertical and not pass out, we’re going to push epinephrine.
And epinephrine, I call it the cupcake because it is a fat and a sugar. And so, epinephrine that’s oversecreted over time, the reason I coined the ballerina syndrome is that epinephrine has multiple deleterious effects on the body. Epinephrine is a stress hormone. It’s signaled by the pituitary and it is secreted by the adrenals. And epinephrine, a neurohormone, meaning that it helps with neurology, it pushes sugar but it’s also fat. It’s a hormone. And so, what we found is through clinical studies that we found, and also through our clinical outcomes in our practice, is that epinephrine opens the tight junctions of the gut effectively leaking your gut, making you more fat malabsorbed, one. Two, epinephrine, these little bugs are super smart. It actually increases the pathogenicity, meaning, the strength of our Candida, of our viruses, of our streptococcus that reside in our gut and the little flagella which is what I call the little caterpillar antenna.
They come together and they group together making them more robust in our system, robust against our favor. And then the third thing is that it dysregulates insulin because as you push epinephrine, the body thinks–and that’s why I call it the cupcake. It’s like, “Oh, my gosh. I just had sugar effectively,” so in goes insulin and then we become hypoglycemic. And so, this ballerina syndrome is an overexertion of epinephrine over time as opposed to as our bodies were intended to from our whole prehistoric go fighter fly, go fight that battle or flee from the bully mammoth that you can’t win.
It’s just the stress response, and you don’t have to be a ballerina to be part of the ballerina syndrome. Any kind of event that makes us push and secrete epinephrine over time will make us fat malabsorbed, will lower our immune system by increasing the pathogenicity of our bugs, will increase the space between the tight junctions of the gut making our gut leaky, and also makes the fat metabolism, the fat malabsorption goes to hormones as well, so then we can become hormone dysregulated. And I see a lot of women that are hormone dysregulated. And in that case again, back to keto, that wouldn’t be great for them, especially then if you have, back to the genetics, if you have any one of those polymorphisms that don’t make you an optimal metabolizer of fats.
Ben: Right. Interesting. Now, speaking of epinephrine and stress, how would an athlete incorporate like a Wildatarian diet, because a lot of athletes, they’re still using things like supplements, protein powders, energy bars, some of these convenient packaged foods that just because it’s difficult to eat quail while you’re running a bicycle preparing for an Ironman or difficult to put beans in a pressure cooker and wrap those in an aluminum foil for Spartan Race or something, so how are you tackling that aspect for people who do need to eat on the fly so to speak?
Teri: Yes. That’s a great question. What we do is we work with again many athletes, and let’s just look at a Spartan Race. Well, you can have that–if you don’t have an oxalate issue, almond butter in the single packs, we have them packing sweet potato rounds, which is great because it’s great for a quick sugar hit, and also it helps with regulation of insulin, and also we’ve got the Epic Bars which are bison jerky that you can do. I’m coming out with a new supplement called Wild Lights, which is an electrolyte powder made out of watermelon, cilantro and sea salt. They’re incredible for managing that electrolyte balance in the body for these maintenance athletes.
But we can navigate from a Wildatarian perspective. People can have fish or lamb if you’re on the road, if you’re overnight, if you will, or the worst case scenario, we say turkey is the least of the worst options that you can have some free range turkey because it doesn’t seem to be as deleterious as chicken. I call chicken the dirty bird, it’s got the highest amyloid count of all the animals that–
Ben: Really? Because I have chickens, what about just like a backyard chicken? You’re talking about chickens raised in a traditional, what do you call it, like a [00:48:04] ______ type of situation, right?
Teri: Yes. But what I have found, Ben, which is really interesting is that the aviary communicates by sonar. I haven’t been able to prove this scientifically yet, but I hope to one day. I do know that genetics get transferred through sunflower. I don’t know if you’ve seen that research, but they actually look to one another and their genetics get transferred, and because the aviary and chickens, in particular, communicate by sonar, what we are finding is that there is a transference of DNA. And so, that’s why I call it the dirty bird is that what we have found, and I’ve tested in-house even Polyface Farm chicken, which I love, Joel Salatin is incredible, and he has created a utopian farm out in Swoope, Virginia.
But even there, there’s still something with the chicken. So, I would say chicken is the least best option. Of course, if you have a Heritage-breed chicken that you’re growing in your backyard that’s never been tampered with genetically, then that might be okay. We find that Heritage breeds are better. But what we’ve also found is through the clinical outcomes in my practice, even when our clients, we say, “Well, your gut is better now. You can try a little chicken.” And they try organic and pasture-fed. They still don’t feel as well. The chickens are really not what they used to.
Ben: Okay. What do you mean when you say they communicate by sonar?
Teri: Well, so we know that birds, when they fly, they communicate. That’s how birds communicate and chicken being part of the aviary. And so, just like the sunflowers where they actually communicate in an interesting way, my hypothesis is that they are having some level of communication that is transferring DNA. Now, I haven’t been able to prove that yet, but what I do know is genetically, we have multiple generations of DNA that are transferred. So, at a minimum, you don’t know if that chicken was a feedlot chicken two generations ago or four generations ago. I wrote an article about that in my blogs, one of my blogs about how the birds communicate through sonar and I can send that to you, and my hypothesis around that.
Ben: That would be very interesting. I’d love to see that.
Ben: Okay. That’s interesting. And what were you saying about the–were you talking about sunflower seeds?
Teri: Yes. There’s a study that shows that sunflower seeds actually transfer DNA when they go in and they turn towards one another. They’re actually transferring DNA properties. That’s really fascinating.
Ben: What do you mean they turn towards one another?
Teri: So, the sunflower seeds, not the seeds, excuse me, the sunflowers. Excuse me, not the sunflower seeds. Pardon me. The sunflowers, they’ll turn.
Ben: Okay. I understand what you’re saying now. Yeah. And I’ve seen some of these data on plant communication mechanisms and how one tree, for example, is being fed on somehow transmits. I didn’t know if it was some type of polyphenol or essential oil release or communicating through the network, what’s it called, the fungal network. Why am I blanking on the name of the fungal network below the plants? It’s the–
Teri: It’s the rhizome.
Ben: What’s that?
Teri: The rhizome?
Ben: Yeah, yeah. The word isn’t rhizome. That’s the largest living organism on the planet earth. The mycorrhizal network.
Teri: There you go.
Ben: Yeah. Like the rhizome network. The mycorrhizal network, I didn’t know if it was communication via that or what, but other plants will up-regulate their antioxidant mechanisms in the general area or flowers will fold in upon themselves. These plants are somehow communicating. But with sunflowers, they’re turning towards one another. So, you’re saying the sunflowers are communicating, and what does that have to do exactly with the chickens?
Teri: Well, I’m just using that. I’m a solution seeker and I’m a constant nerd in trying to understand science that hasn’t been illuminated fully yet. And so, if sunflowers can communicate through some sort of mechanism, sonar allows for some level of communication between the birds. And if they’re communicating and transferring DNA, is it possible, I’m not saying that it’s proven, but would it be possible that these birds are also by sonar communicating some transference of DNA.
Ben: Okay. Interesting. Yeah. It sounds like a lot of that is hypothesis, but regardless, I guess the big picture here is that, and I guess this is the big picture of the Wildatarian diet as a whole, is you need to take into some pretty serious account what you’re eating ate.
Teri: Absolutely. And again–
Ben: And how it’s raised, the stress conditions on which it was raised.
Teri: The stress conditions on how it was raised, and we know that beyond the amyloids when these animals are raised in stressful conditions, they’re releasing adrenaline into their tissues and so we’re effectively taking that in as well.
Teri: So, this hypothesis, even if we put that hypothesis completely on the background or into the side, we know that chickens, for the most part also because their life spans are so fast, so short rather, that their DNA transference from one generation to another is almost becoming this mutant DNA that keeps transferring generation beyond generation.
Teri: And that’s why I deemed the chicken the dirty bird.
Ben: What’s your take on supplements like the use of capsules and pills and things like that? Where would they fit into a Wildatarian diet?
Teri: I believe that because our food supplies, you know 90% of the topsoil and the nutrients from the topsoil has been depleted, we just don’t have the nutrient value that we did in our soil as we used to. So, ideally, it will eventually come from food, but we just don’t have the nutrient-rich food to give us what we need from a nutrient perspective. And so, I believe that we supplement strategically. If we have a deficiency, then absolutely we need supplementation. If we have genes that have been expressed, so for example, if you have that COMT gene then [00:54:22] ______ is going to really be helpful in managing that genetic polymorphism.
As I mentioned before, the CBS gene is very good for sulfur processing. If you have the methylation gene, then some level of folate may be helpful and some methylated form of B12. So, I do believe that supplements are part of the picture, and I developed my own supplement, a few of my own supplement lines based on the bio-individuality because a lot of these supplements out on the marketplace today have certain constituents that can trip what I call the big needle movers in genetics. There’s a lot of sulfur in there. If there is something that down-regulates the cytochrome P450 gene, I know turmeric has become very popular of late, and it’s very good for many people as an anti-inflammatory.
But if you have some of the polymorphisms that the CYP450 gene and turmeric can be pro-inflammatory for some people, myself included. Again, it gets back to who are you and how are you. Who are you from a genetic perspective, how are you presenting from a health perspective, and how you navigate that.
Ben: Yeah. And people could go to your website. What’s your website? Tericochrane.com.
Teri: Yes, sir.
Ben: So, people could go there if they wanted to have you take their rod, 23andMe results and run those through and see what type of diet they should be eating.
Teri: Yes, absolutely. And what we’ve done for the consumer that can’t see us, there’s a quiz on our website that allows you to figure you out what kind of Wildatarian you are, and I developed four wild types. The basic Wildatarian, which is we’re just going to be better off eating wild game because the amino acids are so much more digestible. You’ve got the low sulfur Wildatarian, low-fat Wildatarian and low sulfur, low-fat Wildatarian, and then there’s a little side quiz that you can see if you have an oxalate sensitivity. But you are eating to those basic wild types.
Ben: Right. You’re taking your genetics, you’re figuring out what you can and cannot handle from a nutritional standpoint, and then you are regardless of what the diet turns out to be for you choosing any elements of those diet from as close a form the nature as possible.
Teri: Exactly. The great thing about the Wildatarian diet is you can take the quiz over and over again, and because our lives are not static, we can’t expect our bodies to be static. For example, let’s just look at a mom who’s just had a baby. Well, she’s just done a bunch of hormone dumping for nine months. She may not have been a low fat Wildatarian prior to getting pregnant, but now after the baby, after she has finished nursing, she may need to be low fat for a little bit because the dynamics of her hormones have changed, and so she’s going to have to go cut back on that sun butter for a little bit, or cut back on that heavy lamb. And so, you go and be low-fat Wildatarian for a little bit to let that fat be better assimilated in the body, not dumping a lot of the nutrient fat into the system. And so, this is why I love the Wildatarian diet because it is a diet that has momentum, and it is a diet that is not static. It can shift along with you and how your body shifts based on your life.
Ben: Yeah. I do a lot of that similar approach with my clients. I’ll typically take the raw data and typically I’ll use Promethease or StrateGene to get my hands on some of the more important so-called dirty genes as Dr. Ben Lynch who developed that one calls them, and then that gives me along with their stool data, their blood data which I especially use for filling in the gaps for supplementation. And then typically, like a Genova Diagnostics, NutrEval to look at all the little things like the amino acids and the fatty acids and everything. And you can get a really good idea. I use a little bit more than genetics. Do you do any of the blood or the urine or the stool testing as well?
Teri: Yes. We do the comprehensive digestive analysis from Genova. I love the organic acid test. That’s a really good one. It looks at neurotransmitter. It really gets into the biome. I love the SpectraCell intracellular test for what are your vitamins and minerals really doing inside your cells. We do a lot of that. And in my practice, I use applied kinesiology to really help get us really granular. And this is where I feel there’s a beautiful science behind it and I’ve developed my own form of applied kinesiology within that world. And so, what it does is it helps us figure out is that individual, let’s say, for example, you have that CBS gene. And so, clinically, you would need that form of B6 and the form of P5P. However, if that client is highly demyelinated, and we work with a lot of MS in my practice, then that B vitamin, instead of a helper bee as I call it, can be buzzy bee because bees tend to be enervating.
And if that person is highly demyelinated then through the muscle testing, we can see that that supplement is not great for them yet. And so, there’s a very intentional process and protocol as to when these supplements get started. And the way that I work in my practice even when we say this is the right combo platter of supplements for you, I don’t start them all on the same day. And there is a process like, for example, if we’re working on somebody with Lyme or with Hashimoto’s that has an Epstein-Barr kind of under layman of Epstein-Barr, then we’re not going to try to manage that virus until we open up the methylation and sulfation pathways. Until we open up the liver detoxification pathways, we’re not going to try to the neutralizer or kill something that has to be then detoxified by the body if those portals of detoxification are not open.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. That makes sense. Interesting. Well, I thought the book was absolutely fantastic. I got a lot out of it and it just makes sense. And I think that if you put the right resources together and you shop at the Farmer’s Market, you join a local CSA, you even consider doing things like hunting, going to a meetup and learning things like plant foraging, using some these websites, you talked about that D’Artagnan. What’s it called, D’Artagnan?
Ben: Yeah, D’Artagnan website or I’ll use US Wellness Meats a lot for that type of thing. And there is a way you can string all of these together without necessarily going to Overton’s or Safeway or Costco, and I think it’s a really good idea. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to link not only to the book in the shownotes for today’s show, which are going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Wildatarian, just like it sounds, it’s Wildatarian. So, remember, it’s spelled with an A like Wildatarian. But I will also link to a lot of the other things that we talked about, that quiz that you did, and then some of the studies if you want to send me some of the studies you’re talking about, and I’ll just put that all over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Wildatarian.
There’s a lot in the book in terms of some of the practical nitty-gritties that we didn’t get into, so I think it’s well worth going out and buying this book. It’s still available in Amazon, right?
Teri: Yes, it is, absolutely.
Ben: Okay. Cool. Yeah. I just got the Kindle version, but there’s a print copy too, and check it out. It’s well worth a read. So, Teri, thanks for writing this book and for making me aware of its existence and also for coming on the show and talking with us about this stuff.
Teri: My great pleasure. We’re ever learning, and science keeps evolving, and that’s one of the things that is staying open to what might be out there that science has yet uncovered, but our bodies are telling us.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Awesome. All right, folks. Well, it’s going to be over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Wildatarian. And until then, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Teri Cochrane signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today’s show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I’ve ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
Most diet trends have one thing in common: they offer a one-size-fits-all approach and are not designed for your unique body and health history. Yet society insists time and time again on ordering the “diet du jour,” from low-carb/low-fat to the latest low-carb/high-fat diet. For many, it is not working – and, in some cases, it is harmful.
But I recently read a book about a new approach to diet and living that is always on trend and in style, because it is customized to you and only you: The Wildatarian Diet: Living As Nature Intended: A Customized Nutritional Approach for Optimal Health, Energy and Vitality. This book introduces several evolved and sustainable concepts that are backed by science and supported by thousands of clinical outcomes from author Teri Cochrane, my guest on this podcast.
Teri is an integrative practitioner and thought leader in nutritional counseling. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida, and she is a graduate of the Huntington College of Health Sciences and the National Leadership Institute.
She also has extensive practices, such as healing touch, craniosacral therapy, and herbology. She has developed her own methodology, “The Cochrane Method,” which integrates a multi-level nutritional approach, including observation and listening, to develop a bio-individualized plan for her clients.
Teri is currently in private practice in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, where she specializes in complex health conditions and elite athletic performance. She serves as a nutritional counselor to ballerinas and Olympic hopefuls, including one of the most promising young swimmers in the country.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-How Teri came about the name “Wildatarian”…6:15
- “Patient Zero” (real name is Glenn) had a rare form of cancer called amyloidosis
- Glenn was told to eat lots of protein after chemo; after two rounds, had congestive heart and kidney failure
- Realized the amyloids were coming from the food supply
- Took away pork, chicken, beef, and turkey; gave him wild game (bison, Cornish game hens, etc.)
- Wildatarians can be plant-based, meat-based; based on your genetic makeup
- Amyloids develop in farm-raised meats but not in wild game; they are indigestible
- Similar to an auto-immune issue
- This approach has helped treat Hashimoto’s disease
- How to test for amyloids:
- Protein in urine
- Light chain (more accurate)
-How Teri determines the appropriate diet for a patient…15:00
- We’re all bioindividual
- Genetic testingused:
- Many variants done in house
- Who should avoid sulfur in their diet
- Roundup (the pesticide) prevents sulfur in our food from becoming sulfate
- Kale is problematic
- Beware of sulfur-based supplements touted as antioxidants (glutathione)
- Center lane vs. “fringe” foods
- Focus on genetic blueprint first
- The body is a constant communicator; we’re not learned in its tells
-How Teri’s clients access wild game, especially when living in urban areas…27:55
- Dartagnan Foods
- Major grocers are carrying bison, New Zealand lamb, etc.
- Opt for a sustainably raised approach to our animals
- Why is methane an issue today, after millennia of cows on the planet?
- They are being fed food they cannot digest
- Look for small and medium local farmers
- Organic standards have been diluted
- Wildatarian veggies are those which are suited to your genetic makeup
- Cilantroand cucumber juice is Teri’s favorite drink
-Why Teri frowns upon the intake of peanuts…34:35
- An aflatoxin: “it’s the devil on steroids”
- It’s highly fungal (feeds cancer, candida)
- Peanut butter is the one food she’ll never have on her plate
- She recommends sunflower butter
-Why Teri loves beans and the best way to prepare them…39:22
- Pressure cooker breaks down the “exoskeletons” of the beans
- Apple cider vinegar
- Green pepper helps break down the beans
-What is “ballerina syndrome”…41:53
- Teri works with the Washington Ballet
- Elite athletes push their bodies through epinephrine to manage the sugar regulation
- Epinephrine is a stress hormone, secreted by the adrenals
- It opens the gut, causes leaky gut syndrome
- It dysregulates insulin
-How an athlete, who consumes supplements, bars, etc. would do the wildatarian diet…46:00
-Where supplements and pills fit into the wildatarian diet…53:35
-And much more…
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