Sandor Ellix Katz And Ashley James
- How fermented foods affect the immune system
- Vinegar pickle vs. fermented pickle
- Fermented foods and beverages are full of unique metabolic byproducts
- Pre-digestion of fermented foods makes the nutrients more bioavailable
- Can fermented foods be frozen?
Have you ever made your own fermented food or drink? In this episode, Sandor Ellix Katz, founder of wildfermentation.com, talks about what foods can be fermented and the basics of fermenting food. He explains the benefits of eating fermented foods. He also gives some tips on how to encourage kids to eat fermented food.
Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. This episode today is about gut health and fun things that you can do in your kitchen right now to help you build a healthier, happier gut. Before we get to today’s episode, I got to tell you about three resources that have been life-changing, not only for me but for many of my listeners. We actually have specials on right now that this company is offering us.
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What I love about chlorella is it provides a plethora of vitamins and it does have minerals in it, but it also contains readily available amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. So for someone who’s looking to heal the gut and get readily available nutrition from a food source, this is considered a superfood, then you would love ENERGYbits. Go to learntruehealth.com/energybits. That’s learntruehealth.com/energybits and use coupon code LTH to get the best discount.
I’ve really enjoyed them. I also interviewed several doctors actually who all talk about using chlorella to naturally and safely remove heavy metals from the body because it does something inside of us where it will chelate or bind to heavy metals. You can use chlorella as part of your very gentle detox, and in fact, it’s even safe for children. I’ve had Dr. Klinghardt talk about how he uses chlorella routinely with children, especially those children who have autism-like symptoms from heavy metal deposits in their neurology. That’s very exciting. You can absolutely type in chlorella into Learn True Health in the search engine at learntruehealth.com to listen to those interviews and learn more about chlorella. And to purchase it, go to learntruehealth.com/energybits. Again, use coupon code LTH.
The last company I want to tell you about is viome.com. I recently had both the founder and one of the chief science officers on the show—both amazing interviews. I’ve really enjoyed my results with Viome. It’s an at-home test where you give them a very small stool sample and blood sample and mail it to them. They test over 100,000 genetic pathways that are of your microbiome, of your gut bacteria, and of your mitochondria. And then from that, based on the chemicals that your microbiome produces from the food you eat, then they tell you what kind of diet you can eat to further enhance your health and what foods you should avoid based on the chemicals that your gut produces.
Basically, we have a six-pound pharmacy living in our gut known as our microbiome. What is healthy food to me might be actually toxic food to you based on the chemicals that your microbiome produces. They also give you superfood and supplement recommendations to optimize gut health, and it really, really works. I’ve been very impressed. So to learn more about that, you can type Viome into the search box at learntruehealth.com and listen to those interviews to get the test kit, which right now they have a great special on this month for Learn True Health listeners. Go to viome.com and use coupon code LTH. Check it out, I know you’re going to love it.
Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing this information with those you care about. I want to see absolutely everyone listening to this show producing amazing gut health and going into the new year with really healthy, strong guts. Let’s all focus on feeling great and getting to a whole new level of health and vitality for 2021.
[00:09:22] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 452. I’m very excited for today’s guest. We have with us Sandor Ellix Katz, the founder of wildfermentation.com. I’m such a huge fan of live culture fermented foods, and the best way you can eat them is when you do it yourself. It’s actually really easy. I was so nervous about fermenting foods because I thought maybe I’d give myself food poisoning. It’s really hard to mess up once you learn the basics, and I’m so excited that we’re going to learn from Sandor today the health benefits of eating our own homemade fermented foods. Welcome to the show.
[00:10:10] Sandor Ellix Katz: Thanks so much for having me. Happy to be with you.
[00:10:13] Ashley James: Absolutely. Go back to your life. Tell us your life story about fermentation. What happened in your life that made you become incredibly passionate about spreading this information?
[00:10:24] Sandor Ellix Katz: Well, I would say that there were a few steps in the development of my interest in fermentation. The first was as a kid, I loved pickles. My grandparents were immigrants to the US from what’s now Belarus. In our kitchen or in our refrigerator, we always had eastern European style fermented cucumber pickles. I just loved that flavor. I didn’t know how they were made, I wasn’t thinking about fermentation, but I was very drawn to the lactic acid flavor of fermentation.
I spent a couple of years when I was in my mid-20s following a macrobiotic diet and macrobiotics places some emphasis on the digestive benefit of pickles and other kinds of live culture foods. I started noticing that these pickles that I had always loved to eat that whenever I would eat them I would feel the salivary glands under my tongue squirting out saliva. I began to associate these foods in a very concrete way with getting my digestive juices flowing. I started really eating them regularly as a health practice, but still, I wasn’t making them myself.
The catalyst to learn how to make them myself was that in 1993, I moved from my hometown of New York City to rural Tennessee, and I started gardening. I was such a naive city kid that it had never occurred to me that in a garden, all of the cabbage would be ready at about the same time, and all the radishes would be ready at about the same time. The first year I was gardening—when I was faced with this reality that in retrospect seems really obvious—I decided I’d better learn how to make sauerkraut. I knew I loved sauerkraut. I knew that sauerkraut had something to do with preserving cabbage.
I looked in the most basic American cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, and I found out I’ve had a recipe for sauerkraut. I saw how incredibly simple the process was. I shredded a couple of cabbages, salted them, added some caraway seeds, smashed them a little bit, and packed them into a crock. I just fell in love with the simplicity and ease of the process, and then I started playing around with different vegetables, sourdough, country wines, and yogurt making. Before I knew it, I just was down the rabbit hole of fermentation.
At first, it was just a personal obsession, and then I got a little bit of a reputation. I was teased by my friends for always showing up with sauerkraut, but I did get invited—after a few years—to teach a sauerkraut making workshop at a local event that was described as a food skill share event. I just loved teaching about it. I loved demystifying the process for people. I mean, you mentioned that you were a little bit scared the first time that you fermented vegetables. That’s a very common reaction, and for whatever reason, I never had that.
But as soon as I started teaching about fermentation, I came into contact with people projecting their anxiety about bacteria onto the process. It turned out, it was really fun and interesting to figure out how to demystify it for people and make people more comfortable with it. The initial teaching experiences led me to self-publishing a small pamphlet of my recipes, and then I decided to expand that into a larger book. What began as a book tour in 2003 just became a way of life as an itinerant fermentation educator.
At this point, I’d say I’ve probably taught a thousand workshops. I have a few different books. Wild Fermentation is the original book that I wrote. The Art of Fermentation is a bigger book that came out in 2012, and actually, I’ve just published another book that’s not so much about how to ferment things but it’s called Fermentation as Metaphor. It’s sort of addressing how we use the word fermentation in the English language also to describe really any kind of phenomenon that would be bubbly and get things agitated and mixed up. Anyway, I have lots of different interests in fermentation, and I love to share them with people.
[00:15:05] Ashley James: Now, it doesn’t sound like you had any major health issues. Did you notice anything shifting in your body as you continued to incorporate more and more fermented foods? Did anything change about your health?
[00:15:18] Sandor Ellix Katz: Well, I mean I definitely have had health issues. I’ve been living since 1991 with HIV, so I’m approaching my 30th anniversary of living with HIV. The thing is that these foods have always been part of my life. Even before I was thinking about them as a health practice, I was eating pickles all the time, I was eating yogurt all the time. I would say what I notice more is sometimes in my international travels, I find myself in places where I don’t have regular access to live fermented foods. I notice the absence of them. I notice how sluggish my digestive processes become when I’m not eating these foods, and so that really affirms for me how helpful they are in our ability to effectively digest food.
[00:16:16] Ashley James: You said 30 years you’ve been living with HIV?
[00:16:20] Sandor Ellix Katz: Yeah.
[00:16:21] Ashley James: In your 30-year quest to maintain complete optimal health, and I think that you are such a prime example of what we really want to focus on is no matter what we’re faced with, let’s give our body absolute optimal health instead of buying into the fear-mongering that having a diagnosis tends to give us, especially in the mainstream. You are living in incredible health, and you’re looking every day at what you can do to give yourself that vitality. Have you seen studies or looked further into how fermented foods affect the immune system?
[00:17:02] Sandor Ellix Katz: Well, sure. Let me also just clarify for you and your listeners. I mean, I’ve been taking HIV meds since 1999. For the last 21 years, I’ve been on antiretroviral medications. I wish I could say that my story was that eating fermented foods prevented HIV from ever progressing, but I experienced the period of getting very sick and the meds completely shifted the situation.
But the one thing I would say is that almost everyone else who I’ve met who’s taken the HIV med cocktails has experienced digestive problems as a side effect of the medications, and I have never experienced that. That really affirms once again that it’s not always just a choice of one approach or another. You can be in a situation where you choose to do the medical recommendations, take the recommended medications, and still, your digestive processes are important. What you eat has a bearing on your well-being day-to-day.
Now, to answer your original question that you asked about immune function, sure, I mean there’s a lot of evidence that first of all, the bacteria of the gut are a huge part of what we call the immune system. That increasing biodiversity in the gut is a great way of improving overall immune function. In addition to the power of the probiotics and the bacteria themselves, fermented foods are nutritionally enhanced in a number of ways. Nutrients get broken down into simpler forms that are often more accessible to our bodies, so nutrients become more bioavailable. The bacteria that are fermenting the food produces various metabolic by-products, some of which have been found to have specific beneficial activity.
So for instance, fermented vegetables—which I think is the most basic, the easiest kind of ferment to make yourself at home—have these compounds called isothiocyanates, which were already of interest to cancer researchers because they’re regarded as anti-carcinogenic. Beyond ingesting the lactic acid bacteria themselves, which have this probiotic benefit, the metabolism of the organisms before you eat the kraut produces this byproduct, which is regarded to be anti-carcinogenic. The world of fermented foods and beverages is full of these unique metabolic byproducts, some of which have been found to have really powerful therapeutic potential.
[00:20:09] Ashley James: That’s so exciting. You mentioned that as part of the fermentation process, it’s almost like the plant becomes a little pre-digested for us making the nutrients inside the plant more accessible, for example, sauerkraut. Do you have any specific examples of what nutrients become more readily available to us through fermentation?
[00:20:31] Sandor Ellix Katz: Sure. The most dramatic examples of this are beyond the realm of fermenting vegetables because nutrients in vegetables tend to be fairly accessible to us but think about soybeans. The reason why nobody ever cooks and eats a bowl of soybeans for dinner is that all of that protein in the soybean—soybeans are regarded as the plant source food with the most concentrated protein, but our human bodies are not capable of extracting the protein from a soybean that has been simply cooked. That’s why people never sit down and eat a bowl of soybeans the way they might with lentils, chickpeas, or other kinds of beans. It’s just so dense that our bodies can’t access the protein.
The indigestibility of soybeans was recognized by the Asian cultures that pioneered soy agriculture thousands of years ago. They developed various ways of making it more digestible, and fermentation is the most straightforward way of making the protein of the soybean more accessible.
There are all these different methods that people use to ferment soybeans. There’s soy sauce, there’s miso, there’s tempeh, there’s natto, there are many, many other variations of fermented soybeans. They have different flavors, different methods, different organisms, different amounts of time, different environmental conditions they require, but what they all have in common is that that protein gets broken down into amino acids—the building blocks of proteins, and so they become more bioavailable to us and the soybean becomes more nutritious.
In grains and certain beans, the minerals get tied up in these chemical bonds that are called phytate bonds that our bodies can’t break down. But a long enough bacterial fermentation will break it down and so the minerals become more bioavailable. There have been all these interesting studies where—okay, I’m going to use the example of this south Indian fermented crepes called dosas that are made of a batter of lentils and rice. But if you just cook lentils and rice and send it to a lab for analysis and then you ferment it into this batter, make dosas, and send the dosas to the same lab made from the same lentils and the same rice, what you find is that the fermented food—based on the same ingredient—has much higher measurable levels of calcium, iron, and other dietary minerals. This is another example of the pre-digestion of fermentation making the nutrients in food more bioavailable.
[00:23:28] Ashley James: That is so fascinating. Do you ferment your own beans and lentils?
[00:23:33] Sandor Ellix Katz: Yeah, sure. I dabble in all the ferments. I mean, it’s not like I ferment everything all the time. But I actually did a workshop just the other afternoon demonstrating via Zoom how to make dosas. I have a jar of dosa batter sitting in the fridge. Every other day or so, I’ve been making some dosas and enjoying them. But I definitely ferment beans. I make miso, I make tempeh, I make natto. I do lots of fermenting.
[00:24:09] Ashley James: That sounds really cool. That sounds kind of advanced.
[00:24:13] Sandor Ellix Katz: One thing I’d just like to say generally is there is nothing that we can eat that cannot be fermented. If we can eat it, it can be fermented. It doesn’t mean everything has equally prominent traditions of fermentation. I mean, some foods have much more elaborate traditions of fermentation than others, but anything we could possibly eat can be fermented.
[00:24:40] Ashley James: That’s interesting because my friend has a really beautiful garden and he was disappointed to find out that kale shouldn’t be fermented. Because he had a lot of kale, there isn’t a good way to ferment it that makes it taste good. Do you disagree? Is there a way to ferment kale or preserve it that makes it taste good?
[00:24:58] Sandor Ellix Katz: Well, kale and any dark green vegetable with a lot of chlorophyll have a strong taste when it is fermented. Personally, I find the flavor of pure kale fermented to be kind of strong. I love kale as a minor ingredient if it was like 90% cabbages and radishes and 10% kale, I think it’s a lovely accent flavor. But I have met more than one person who’s told me that their favorite vegetable to ferment is kale.
So I have really learned not to assume anything about people’s taste or that everybody’s taste is going to be the same. You can ferment kale but you might or might not like the way it tastes. I encourage people to experiment and not be fearful to experiment but to experiment in small batches so if they try something and they don’t like it, they’re not discarding a lot of food. I mean, another question people always ask about is zucchini because so many people with gardens have a moment in the summer when there’s more zucchini than they know what to do with.
Yes, you can definitely ferment zucchini, but in hot weather, watery vegetables tend to get very soft and mushy during fermentation. The fermentation won’t really preserve the texture of the vegetables for very long unless you have a very cool root cellar to store it in so it might end up being soft and mushy. Yes, you can ferment zucchini, but if you’re planning to ferment lots of it for months, you’re going to end up with something that at least I would find very unappealing by virtue of texture rather than flavor.
[00:26:41] Ashley James: Now, I’d love you to dispel some myths. People often will go by pickles. They’re stored on the shelf, they’re made with vinegar. That’s not a fermented food, is it? That’s not a good probiotic. We want to look for the thing that says live culture, that has been made with lactic acid. Can you clear up some things about this?
[00:27:01] Sandor Ellix Katz: Yeah, sure. Okay, let me say two things. First of all, you can find sauerkraut in the store in a can. That was made by fermentation just the way if you want to make sauerkraut at home you would make it, but then it’s heat processed so it can be in a can on a shelf without refrigeration indefinitely. Heat processing kills the bacteria.
Now the word pickle covers a lot of ground. A pickle is anything preserved in an acidic medium. The old world mate way of making pickles in most places is you put the cucumbers or whatever the vegetables you’re using might be or the fruit in a brine solution, a saltwater solution. Then you add some seasonings if you like, but the acid that develops is lactic acid from bacteria on the vegetables breaking down carbohydrates in the vegetable and acidifying the environment of the brine.
What supermarket shelves are full of are the 20th-century pickles. When the process was developed around the middle of the 20th century, what we now know as distilled white vinegar—the vinegar that’s cheaper than water at the supermarket—ushered in a period of vinegar pickles. Vinegar pickles have been traditional, especially in wine-making regions of the world. But in most places in the world, the traditional pickles have been brined pickles and the acid is lactic acid, which is a different flavor than acetic acid which is what vinegar is. But if you make a vinegar solution and pour it over vegetables those are also a pickle. But generally, it’s a hot vinegar solution and it’s a strong enough vinegar solution that the heat and the high acidity will kill the bacteria of the vegetables.
Yes, if you want to have live culture pickles, you’re basically going to either be buying them fresh out of an open vessel—the old world way, or if you find it in a health food store or something like that, it is likely to be in a refrigerator. Because if it’s still alive, then you need the low temperatures to prevent a buildup of carbon dioxide in the jar which could make it leak or potentially explode.
[00:29:29] Ashley James: Now, when you have this bountiful harvest of cabbages in your garden and you go to make all this sauerkraut. You fermented it, it ferments for an average of six days. I hear some people do it up to two weeks, but then when you’re done, when you like the flavor, you finish fermenting, I’ve always been told that we put a mason jar lid on it and put it in the fridge. That kind of slows down the fermenting. How do you then make it shelf-stable, or do you need to store it in a fridge or in a cold cellar at that point?
[00:30:05] Sandor Ellix Katz: A cold cellar or you’re in a place that’s just where it just gets cold enough. I mean, I’ve seen people store sauerkraut outside if it gets extremely cold—that becomes problematic, but a cellar would be the traditional way to do it. In Korea, the tradition was you store the winter’s kimchi, you bury your ceramic crock in the yard so that you have the temperature modulation of the earth to prevent it from getting too cold and to prevent it from getting too warm. If you let it sit in your heated home, what happens is that it’s not that it would become toxic. I mean, you can ferment things for a very, very long time.
I’m down to the last pint of what was originally 200 liters—about 55 gallons—of radish kraut from last November. I’ve just made this year’s batch, but I’m eating up the very end of last year’s batch. Now it was just in my cellar from November until June, and then it’s been in the refrigerator since June. But if I let it get hot in the summer temperatures, what happens is that these enzymes that are part of all vegetables will break down the pectins and make it get really soft and mushy like I talked about a few minutes ago with the zucchini ferments.
That’s the main reason why you have to keep things cool. I mean, one week two to a few weeks, that’s a very contemporary interpretation of how you do these foods. In temperate regions, people would ferment it for months, and they wouldn’t wait months before they start eating it, but they would let it just keep fermenting through the entire winter because there was no refrigerator to put it into.
But then people would always try to finish it up before it gets hot because that’s when the texture will be destroyed. And then also, just in terms of the real practical necessity of it, by the time summer comes there are lots of fresh vegetables to eat. This historically has been primarily something that was about preservation, about getting vegetables and vegetable nutrients through a long winter where there was no or very little fresh vegetable food.
[00:32:37] Ashley James: I interviewed a Ph.D. in Anthropology who figured out—his whole thing is he goes back to humans a hundred thousand years ago. They find all the tools that they could possibly find fossilized. They try to figure out how we ate that long ago, how our ancestors ate. What he sees is that there’s so much evidence for fermenting. That we figured out how to ferment even back then to secure the nutrients out of foods. He says look at a duck, ducks have two stomachs—one grinds the grain, and the other ferments it and that’s how you access it.
For example, corn, we don’t access nutrients from corn very easily unless we put it through a process where we can grind it, ferment it, and fermentation allows those nutrients to become available to us. We figured that out a long time ago, which is really neat cause I feel like, in the last 100 years, we all have amnesia from our ancestral roots. We need to come back to how we have been eating for thousands of years, and fermenting is such a large part of that.
[00:33:51] Sandor Ellix Katz: Yeah, sure. I mean, fermentation is ancient. The current archaeological record suggests that people were fermenting at least 10,000 years ago, but personally, that tells us mostly about the history of pottery because the earlier vessels—before people figured out pottery to have vessels to ferment liquids in—were all biodegradable things. They were either animal membranes, hollowed-out trunks of trees, or gourds. But at some point, people realized that they could stabilize clay and get the clay to hold liquids. Those are the shards that we find.
Berries spontaneously ferment into alcohol without human assistance, and there’s a lot of interesting documentation of different insects, birds, mammals, and other animals being drawn to the smell of fermenting fruit. You can watch YouTube videos of elephants gorging themselves on fermenting durian fruits in Malaysia, then getting disoriented, falling over, and basically getting drunk. I think it’s safe to assume that our evolutionary forebears like primates—contemporary primates are definitely drawn to the smell of fermenting fruit. I think it’s safe to assume that our ancestors were drawn to this, and we did evolve with enzymes to enable us to digest alcohol. I mean, fermentation has been part of the landscape.
Really, if we want to talk about the deep evolutionary past, the earliest organisms were all bacteria, archaea, and all these anaerobic organisms that were fermenting. One of their byproducts was oxygen, and that the buildup of oxygen in the atmosphere has something to do with these fermenting organisms that are ancient. All the multicellular organisms that descended from the original single-cell life forms all live with associated bacteria. All the forms of life that the original bacteria and archaea evolved into—all the plants, all the fungi, all the animals—have microbiomes. They have associated populations of bacteria that enable them to effectively function. We’re not alone in this regard.
Fermentation is very, very, very ancient, and certainly, in the context of human cultures, it’s just been an integral part of how people in every part of the world figured out how to make effective use of whatever food resources were available to them.
[00:37:11] Ashley James: Absolutely. I want you to teach us. Pretend that everyone who is listening hasn’t fermented something. What’s your favorite beginner recipe so we can all go out and just start fermenting something today?
[00:37:26] Sandor Ellix Katz: What I almost always recommend for people as a first fermentation project is fermenting vegetables, for a few reasons. I mean, first of all, it’s really, really simple and straightforward. It’s just incredibly powerful and supportive of good health. And then to the degree that people might be projecting some anxiety onto the process. While all fermentation processes are safe and foods that are fermented are safer than the same food before they are fermented. But in the case of fermenting vegetables, there are no documented cases anywhere in the world of food poisoning or illness. This food is as safe as it gets.
We hear every year about people getting sick from raw vegetables. A couple of months ago, it was red onions. It was lettuce one year, it was spinach one year, it was cabbage one year. Clearly, there’s the possibility that vegetables can be exposed to pathogenic bacteria and make people sick, but if you took those vegetables—even if they’d been exposed to some potential pathogen and then you shred it, salt it, get it juicy, and pack it into a vessel to ferment, the indigenous bacteria will always dominate over incidental pathogens. The lactic acid bacteria that are always on the vegetables—in fact, always present on all plants growing out of the soil on planet earth—will dominate. And then as they acidify the environment, if there were some cells of salmonella, E. coli, or other things that we associate with food poisoning, what they all have in common is that they cannot tolerate an acidic environment. As that environment acidifies, they get destroyed.
Fermenting vegetables is the place to start. Generally, what I would say is pick your vessel. I would suggest the easiest thing would be a wide mouth jar. I like to use wide-mouth quart-size canning jars, but you could also just use a jar leftover from mayonnaise or something. Then you need to get some vegetables. You really could work with any kind of vegetables. I mean, any kind of cabbage, any kind of radish is foolproof. But you can also experiment with other kinds of vegetables. I like to mix a few vegetables together. Carrots are beautiful, turnips.
But for a quart jar, it takes about two pounds of vegetables and then adjust accordingly. If it’s a gallon jar, you probably need about eight pounds of vegetables. If you’re working with a pint jar, you might just need one pound of vegetables. Then shred it. It doesn’t matter how finely. You can do it super fine, you can do it in coarse pieces, they don’t all have to be even. It doesn’t matter, but you’re just trying to create some surface area. And then you salt it. It doesn’t matter how much salt. I mean, it matters in terms of how it tastes and I would say because people have such varied tastes for salt, salt it lightly, mix it all up, taste it, just evaluate it, and add more salt if you want. This is not rocket science. It does not rely upon some precise proportion of salt.
There are some places where the tradition is to ferment vegetables without any salt at all. There was even a commercial business in the US that was doing that for decades. The kraut wasn’t very good. I mean, I didn’t like it. I mean, the salt really balances out the flavor. The salt helps maintain a nice crispy, crunchy texture to it, but you don’t have to make it extremely salty.
If you’re from a Russian or German family where your grandparents were making sauerkraut, their grandparents were making sauerkraut, chances are the family recipe is extremely salty because going back just a few generations, this was an important survival food. But if your context is not so much making it to survive through a long harsh winter but rather making something that’s delicious, that’s going to support your good health, there’s no reason to make it super salty. You can just make small batches every few weeks. They don’t have to be preserved for long periods of time. They don’t need that much salt. I just salt to taste.
I use sea salts. A lot of the literature says to stay away from iodized table salt. I’ve done so many demos where the organizers handed me iodized table salt. I can tell you with confidence, it works even with iodized table salt. Don’t get too precious about thinking you need a certain kind of salt. Vegetables, salt, and season it as you like. You could put a little bit of garlic, ginger, or both, some chili peppers, some caraway, or nothing. Just have it be simple salted vegetables. But you can season it in any way you like. Sometimes people add a little bit of fruit. In the Korean tradition, often, there’s a fishy element—either little dried shrimp or a little fish sauce to add complexity to the flavor. You can do any of that, you cannot do any of that.
The most basic is shred vegetables, salt them, mix them around. What I like to do is spend a couple of minutes squeezing the vegetables with my hands when I’m doing it on a small scale. What this does is it basically breaks down cell walls and helps release juice from the vegetables more quickly. On a larger scale, people might use some big heavy tamping tool, or the story I hear over and over again—usually from people older than me who grew up in Eastern Europe—is people remember having their feet scrubbed as children and being put inside of a barrel to jump up and down on the vegetables that their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are shredding.
However, you do it, breaking down the cell walls a little bit just helps the vegetables give up their juice so you can get the vegetable submerged, which is the most important environmental factor—getting the vegetables submerged. Usually, I use some sort of little weight at the top. I’ve got these little glass discs that I sometimes use if I’m using a jar. If you don’t have anything like that, you can improvise. What I sometimes do is I save an outer leaf from the cabbage with a heavy spine and use that spine like a little spring to hold the vegetables down. Or sometimes, I’ll take the end of an onion or a fat carrot or something and let that be a top piece to hold things down. Sometimes people fill a little sandwich-sized bag with a little bit of water and let that hold everything down.
On a larger scale, if I’m working with a crock, I’ll put a plate that fits inside the crock that can sit on the surface of the vegetables and then a little jar filled with water holding that down. There are different ways to do it, but you want as best you can keep the vegetables submerged because the bacteria don’t need oxygen. Lactic acid bacteria are anaerobic. The place where it meets the air with the oxygen, that’s where all the funky stuff happens, and it’s not unusual. Don’t be freaked out if you get a film developing on the top of your vegetables.
There’s a yeast called kahm yeast that sometimes grows. Sometimes these hairy molds that are totally harmless grow. I just skim them off as best I can and discard them, but know that that’s a possible scenario. The warmer your environment is, the faster that’ll happen. The less salt you use, the faster that’ll happen. But that’s it.
Then leave it for at least three or four days and then start tasting it. Everybody’s taste is different. Some people love it the sourer it gets. The acidity accumulates over time. So to get very sour sauerkraut takes some time. The temperature will have bearing on that. The metabolism of these organisms is faster when it’s warmer, slower when it’s cooler. If you’re doing it in a place where it’s very warm, you’ll get a certain level of acidity faster than you will in a cooler environment.
In general, if you have a choice, a longer slower fermentation will generally yield superior flavors to a faster shorter fermentation. Taste it periodically, evaluate the flavor, and harvest it when it tastes right to you. But I’ve had people tell me that two-day-old sauerkraut was the best kraut they ever had in their life. I had someone tell me that two-month-old sauerkraut was very good for coleslaw.
People are all over the place with the flavor they like, and so rather than thinking that you need to conform to some idea of how sour sauerkraut is, just taste it periodically and monitor the evolving flavor. When you feel like you don’t want it to get any stronger—I should say, if you ever feel that you don’t want to get any stronger, move it to the fridge. I often have batches that never make it to the fridge.
[00:47:03] Ashley James: Because you just start eating them, they’re so delicious, and you start sharing them with your friends?
[00:47:07] Sandor Ellix Katz: Yeah, exactly. I mean, it never gets to the point where I have a reason to slow it down. Sometimes I just finish it before I move it to the fermentation slowing device.
[00:47:18] Ashley James: I got to share my two favorite recipes—super simple. Get fresh ginger—not frozen. Just rinse it lightly, put it in the food processor in the thinnest possible setting. Some food processors let you adjust the thinness of the cut. Then I just take just a spoonful of salt and I massage the ginger, like you mentioned, until there’s some juice, until it gives up its juice. And then I cram it into a mason jar, pack it in tight. Of course, the salt is now melted. The juice of the ginger has become a brine, and then I push it down with a fermenting stone like a glass disc you mentioned. Put a lid on it loosely and then put it in a warm dark place for a few days.
For me, the temperature of my house, six days seems appropriate. Oh my gosh, it is the most delicious thing. You just take a pinch of it and add it to every meal. It is so freaking delicious. It’s still raw ginger, right? It’s very spicy. It’s very hot, but the heat is so warming to the digestion. It’s amazing.
And then my second favorite one, there’s a little bit more work. I saw my friend make a fermented pico de gallo salsa on Facebook and I thought, oh my gosh, I never even thought that you could ferment a pico. I chopped up tomato, onion, and then pineapple—some fresh pineapple, not canned—and then a little bit of jalapeño. Mixed in some salt, don’t add any water. Put it in the jar, packed it down again. The tomato really gives up a lot of liquid, and then I fermented it for three days in a warm dark place. Then I add lime and cilantro, mix it together, and put it in the fridge. It was the most—I made two giant jars of it. I took them to all my friends’ homes that few weeks sharing it. I can’t tell you. It’s so much fun when you get into this because the fermenting changes the flavor and you’re making this new thing, and then you can add it to dishes. It’s very exciting.
[00:49:41] Sandor Ellix Katz: Yeah. Your two examples really illustrate perfectly the versatility of this process because both of those really follow the process that I just described generically that you could do with any kind of a vegetable. When you use tomatoes, they’re sugary, so the fermentation goes much faster. It would be hard to do tomatoes for six weeks. I mean, it wouldn’t be hard. You’d lose all of the sweetness, and it would get extremely sour. Like you, I love a short fermentation of anything tomatoey.
[00:50:19] Ashley James: Now, for parents that want to encourage their children to try this, it’s great to get children in the kitchen doing it with them. I hear that fermenting green beans is a good place to start to get kids excited about this. Do you have any suggestions for parents on what they could start fermenting with their kids to get them excited? My son hates sauerkraut but loves pickles, for example.
[00:50:40] Sandor Ellix Katz: I’ve seen so many kids who just go gaga for fermented vegetables. I think one key is introducing it young. I mean, if you wait until your kid is eight years old and then you put this food in front of them, they’re probably going to reject it. But if they’ve been around it since they were two, then it’s just normal and they’re always going to love it.
The other thing I would say is to always get kids tactile. Get their hands in it, whatever it is you’re fermenting. You’re fermenting ginger, you’re fermenting salsa, you’re fermenting cabbage, you’re fermenting radishes, you’re fermenting string beans—whatever it is, let the kids get their hands in it. Once their hands are in it, then they’re going to be impatient. They’re going to be when is that ready, when can we try it? I think getting tactile is really great, but I love to ferment green beans. I always make a little bit of dill and garlic in brine and make basically dilly beans, so delicious.
In my experience, a lot of kids love pickles, love sauerkraut but I think a real key is trying to introduce the food early. If you want to introduce your kid and they’re already a big kid, then I would say that getting their hands in it might be one strategy to get them more interested in it. Using it as a condiment on something they really like already might be another way to get them to think about it.
I’ve heard great stories from parents who have kids who have rejected the idea of fermented vegetables and their strategies for getting their kids to eat them. I remember talking to this one woman who would take the kraut juice, mix it with fruit juice, and freeze it into little popsicles that she would give to her kid.
[00:52:40] Ashley James: Freezing process, do the bacteria survive the freezing process? Can you freeze sauerkraut?
[00:52:46] Sandor Ellix Katz: Okay, it turns out that the issue with freezing bacteria has to do with the water content. When you freeze water into ice, it expands. If your ferment is watery, then you’re going to have some cells bursting, but they don’t all burst at once. Every freeze and thaw cycle, you’ll end up with diminished potency. Bakers often back up their sourdough starters in the freezer, and the typical process would be to thicken it up into a solid-state. You add more flour so it’s a thicker thing and there’s a lower water content so less expansion, so less diminished cell viability.
[00:53:44] Ashley James: Very cool. It has been such a pleasure having you on the show. Your website is wildfermentation.com, and you’ve shared that you have Zoom calls. People can learn from you and watch you. People can buy your books. Is there anything else that you want people to know about your website?
[00:54:04] Sandor Ellix Katz: Yeah, sure. I teach lots of workshops, and I list them all on my website. I also have a page of media links where you can listen to previous presentations, interviews, articles, and such. I also have a section of links just of fermentation related resources, and it turns out, there’s just a vast array of resources for people interested in fermentation out on the world wide web. Definitely check out my website wildfermentation.com. My books are just full of practical how-to ferment different things at home. Fermenting vegetables is a great beginning but it doesn’t have to be the ending. There’s just such incredible diversity in fermentation traditions around the world, and I’m so glad to have this time to share a little bit about it with you and your listeners.
[00:54:57] Ashley James: Absolutely. It’s been such a pleasure, Sandor, having you on the show. Please feel free to come back anytime you want to teach us more about the benefits of fermenting and share more recipes with us.
[00:55:07] Sandor Ellix Katz: Great. Have a great day.
[00:55:09] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today’s interview all about how you can utilize your kitchen to make some powerful and delicious fermented foods. Start experimenting. Now is the time to go out and just experiment and make something that sounds delicious. Try something new. It’s so much fun once you start getting into fermenting. I’ll make sure that I put a link in the show notes of my favorite fermenting lid that you can get for wide mouth mason jars. It’s so easy.
I tried all these different kits, and honestly, so many of them are just flimsy, they break, they leak, they’re plastic, and then they’re kind of complicated. And then there’s this one that’s so simple. It has a spring and it has a lid that has a little valve and that’s it. It’s very affordable, and I will make sure I put the link to it in the show notes of today’s podcast at learntruehealth.com. Just go to the notes, wherever you’re listening. If you’re listening to this on iTunes, you can just go into the notes in the details of this episode and you’ll see those links. Or you can go to learntruehealth.com once we publish it there with the full transcript and you’ll see the links there. I’ll make sure I include the links to my favorite canning stuff.
Now, if you listen to the intro of this interview, I did talk about three companies that are fantastic resources for you. Viome.com, use coupon code LTH. They have a great sale for the month of December for Learn True Health listeners. You have to use the coupon code LTH to get an even deeper discount. This is a fantastic at-home test kit that you do the test at home, then you send it off to them, and they give you results. You can’t get this information anywhere else. It’s absolutely amazing, but it’s information that will guide you in a totally new way and help you make better choices that will speed up your healing. Not only for your gut but also for mental and emotional health. Most of our serotonin is made in the gut. We could be eating foods that are seemingly healthy but actually lowering your serotonin leading to—sometimes for people—anxiety, depression, lack of motivation. Things that don’t look like they have anything to do with the gut can be absolutely related to the gut.
As I shared in one of my interviews with Viome, we talked about my results actually in a recent interview. We talked about how certain foods I had been eating were causing heart health issues. These are foods that are healthy for other people, but because my microbiome converted them into unhealthy chemicals for me, that it was causing issues in other organs. This is what’s happening to all of us. The test results you get from Viome can be totally life-changing for you. So go to viome.com, use the coupon code LTH right now, and get their test kit.
Also, I really like their supplements. Their supplements are not a replacement for a multivitamin or a multi-mineral. Their supplements are specifically designed based on your results from your test kit, and they’re designed to support your microbiome to be the healthiest it can be. I started taking them and I noticed right away a shift. I thought that was really cool because I’ve never taken a pre- or probiotic in my life that I immediately noticed great results with, and with theirs I did. Theirs is genetically specifically designed for my microbiome, no wonder I saw results. It was very cool to see that.
And then, of course, you can go to learntruehealth.com and search Viome to listen to my two interviews with the founder, with the science officer, so that you can learn more about the science and hear more about Viome. And to get it, go to viome.com, use coupon code LTH, and check that out.
I talked about aloe and how much drinking medicinal aloe can help specifically for speeding up gut healing. You can search aloe when you go to learntruehealth.com and listen to my interview about it. To purchase it and get the discount that’s being given to us for the month of December, go to learntruehealth.com/aloe and then use coupon code LTH2020. He’s including a great discount for us, and on top of that, giving us also his aloe cream which is quite nice as a hand cream. I really do enjoy it.
And then last, ENERGYbits, which I’ve had Catharine Arnston on the show several times. Go type in algae or chlorella into the search bar of learntruehealth.com and listen to those interviews with Catharine Arnston. She shares a lot of science, a lot of stories, and a lot of very interesting information that was new to me, and I’m a health nut, this is my life. I love learning about this stuff. If you kind of consider yourself a little bit of a holistic health nut just like me, then you will absolutely geek out on listening to those interviews with Catharine Arnston.
Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing these episodes with those you care about. Almost every day, I hear from you guys either on Facebook or in email, and I hear that you have learned about this from friends, from family. It’s so great that this is a grassroots movement to helping those we care about to gain access to holistic health information that’s not readily available, it’s not being talked about in the mainstream of course so we have to go to the source. We have to listen to awesome interviews from these holistic health experts that want to get this information out there.
Please continue to listen, continue to explore, continue to go to learntruehealth.com, and utilize my website as a resource for you. And also, if you’re on Facebook, come join the free Facebook group. We have over 4000 members, and it’s such a wonderful active supportive community where everyone every day—I wake up every morning and one of the first things I do is log in and look at everyone’s questions. I help answer them as best I can throughout the day. So many other amazing health coaches, doctors, nurses, tons of holistic health experts, and just people like you and me who are also just like health nuts love to share, answer questions, give advice, give support, and give encouragement. It’s a great community to be a part of.
Just search Learn True Health on Facebook. Come join the group. We’d love for you to be part of our community. And if you have any questions for me, please feel free to reach out. You can email me at [email protected] You can also reach out in the Facebook group.
Thank you so much. Have yourself a fantastic rest of your day. Enjoy the holiday season. All the interviews I’ve ever done about mental health include gratitude. No matter how bad it is right now or how good it is, make sure that you take time even 30 seconds to focus on what you’re grateful for. Focus on what you do have in your life that you absolutely are so thankful for. Just that 30 seconds of gratitude shifts your body out of stress response and into a healing mode.
The more you do it, the more often you do it, especially if you can incorporate breathing, especially if you can incorporate, moving your body in a way—that brings you joy, getting outside into sunlight—this helps the body shift out of stress mode and into healing mode. Let’s focus on right now, what are you grateful for today? Have yourself a fantastic rest of your day filled with gratitude.
Get Connected With Sandor Ellix Katz!
Books by Sandor Elliz Katz
Ally Perlina And Ashley James
- No one good food is always good for everybody
- What does metabolites do for the body
- What does microbiome-induced stress mean
- How does Viome help improve our health
- What is the difference of Viome’s supplements
Are all foods, especially fruits and vegetables, beneficial for all people? In an ideal world, all fruits and vegetables would be good for everyone. But that is not the case. In this episode, Ally Perlina shares with us the revolutionary tests that Viome has created. She explains how they came about their food and supplement recommendations and how to interpret their test results. She also shares how their supplements are different from others.
Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. It’s been a few weeks since I did this interview, so I do have more updates for you. I discuss in this interview the results of the Viome test. You may remember a while back, I interviewed the founder of Viome. Viome is a company where they send you an at-home test kit. It’s very easy to use, and you give them a tiny sample of your blood and your stool. And then soon you’ll also be able to give them your saliva. They run hundreds of thousands of genetic expression pathways on the bacteria of your gut and your mitochondria.
What that provides is allows them to see what your bacteria do in terms of what chemicals it makes once you eat. So when you eat something, the bacteria turn it into chemicals. Some of these chemicals are incredibly harmful and cause disease, and we don’t even realize it. Someone could be eating a carrot and that’s causing them to have health problems because their microbiome is transforming something seemingly helpful into a negative chemical for them specifically.
For me, it was actually very interesting. My results were incredibly interesting. I have implemented their advice, and I also started taking their supplements. Right away, which really shocked me, I noticed a change in my gut. I have good gut health, but I noticed this entirely new level of gut health. I’m like holy crow, that was amazing. I’m really very intrigued by the results. I think that if you have the means to do so, everyone should do a Viome test kit. It gives you the information you could not possibly ever get from going to any doctor. It’s absolutely state of the art. Today I have on the scientist, the mastermind behind it all, so she’s going to explain.
This is why it is a longer interview because she does go through my own results and then explains. I try to have her explain it from the perspective of other people as well and how this would also pertain to reversing disease, preventing disease, increasing longevity, reversing age. You can actually reverse cellular age, which is phenomenal and quite exciting. So all this information is shared today, and I want to let you know that Viome does give us a great discount, both on their home test kits and their supplements. Go to viome.com and use the coupon code LTH as in Learn True Health. So always use the coupon code LTH every time you buy from them and you’ll get the discount.
I want to let you know that very soon, and for a very limited time during the American Thanksgiving Cyber Sale that’s coming up really soon, they’re going to be giving us an even bigger deal. So I highly recommend marking that in your calendar and checking it out.
You can also join the Learn True Health Facebook group because there are about six other wonderful health companies that have offered the Learn True Health listeners incredible deals for the cyber sales that are coming up during Thanksgiving. I’ll be releasing all that information into the Facebook group, and also email it out for anyone that’s on the email list. You can get on the email list by going to learntruehealth.com, checking that out. Thank you so much for sharing this with your friends and family. Continue to share these episodes. They are life-changing. I’m really looking forward to hearing about today’s episode. It’s going to be a great one.
[00:03:30] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 451. I am so excited for today’s guest. We have a very special woman on the show today. Ally Perlina, you and I have spent the last few hours talking about my results from my Viome test. Back in episode 441, we had one of the founders of Viome on the show—Naveen, and that was quite an eye-opener. I am really in love with Viome.
Now I’ve come to know that you’re this mastermind—I don’t want to say mad scientist, but you’re the mad scientist behind it all. You have such an amazing understanding of the expressions of our microbes. When we feed them certain foods, they produce certain metabolites, and how those metabolites affect the rest of our body and potentially create disease or heal the body. We could really use food as medicine on a deeper more individualistic level when we understand our unique microbiome and also understand our cells on a deeper level, which is what your company allows us to do—much more affordably than I ever thought.
I’m really excited to have you here today to teach us more about how we can understand—on a cellular level—how to gain health. How to really, really gain health, how to really support our immune system, how to support all of our hormonal systems, how to support our body’s ability to metabolize and to utilize nutrition all by making sure that we focus on what we can feed and what we shouldn’t feed our unique microbiome. Ally, welcome to the show.
[00:05:39] Ally Perlina: Thank you so much, Ashley. I’m so privileged to be doing this with you. I really enjoyed our conversations so far. I think it’s amazing how aware you are of all of the things that are important to look out for and pay attention to when it comes to your health. How curious you are about learning all of the different new technologies and ways of gaining insights about the biology of your body, which is what we’re here to do. I think it is really important to get this understanding and to spread this word, which is what you’re doing here. I’m more than happy to really delve into the results and the data and explain all of this because it’s not always just about talking about the concepts. Because I think to make it relevant, you have to put it in the context of the actual person’s results.
So here we are with your results, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to review it with you and your listeners.
[00:06:37] Ashley James: Awesome, very cool. Well, before we dive into that though, I want to learn a bit more about you and your background. What happened in your life that led you to become an expert in the science of the microbiome?
[00:06:52] Ally Perlina: What happened to me to make me such a mad scientist? What had to happen in my life? I will speak to that. I actually identify myself in a way as a systems biologist. That involves not only understanding the microbiome but really getting into the complexities and the mechanisms that turn all the knobs and all the different levels of our biological systems. From cells, even microbes are cells in a way. Some are unicellular, right? Our cells, tissues, and fluids to organs and organ systems. From the really biochemical levels of biology all the way to physiology, which is why at Viome, I’m a Chief Translational Science Officer. Translational science is basically about something I’ve been trying to do all my life is to translate the science of all of these different molecules, pathways, and the biology of the situation into something that is immediately actionable for health.
I’m a scientist that basically has all the background in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and human genetics as well, but who’s always worked in a clinical setting—clinical or pharmaceutical type of setting. I worked with many different pharma companies. I worked for clinical diagnostic labs that became part of Quest for four years. I’ve really worked on things from drug and target discovery to clinical trials. More recently, before Viome, I worked at Human Longevity with Craig Venter that has its own basically clinic component called Health Nucleus and is still there. I was there from early on.
In all of the different endeavors and efforts, I’ve always created new novel innovations to connect all of the data at scale to inform clinical healthcare and wellness, especially here in Viome with the wellness space. It’s more scientifically powered. I always felt like a lot of this expertise that we’re given when we get our education, our training as scientists stays in the early discovery, the academics, or early discovery phases within pharmaceutical tracks.
But sometimes, we have enough knowledge to take all of these different points of information and analyze it in maybe some novel and creative ways to scale it, deliver it, and do something really sensible with it to impact the health of people right now. Not all of it needs to go through 12 years of any molecular specific drug development process. When it comes to health and wellness like food and supplements, there are so many things that are well-known that we want to be able to just package and scale that knowledge.
I’ve always been extremely motivated in actually harnessing this power in information. You can’t do that without embracing the complexity. So in order to translate all that information to health care and to empower people to take control of their health, somebody out there needs to be able to get into the complexities of all the systems. Hence, the term systems biology where you really look at all of the different components and figure out what are the mechanisms of health versus disease.
What are the mechanisms that can give us these points of intervention that we know how to deal with? We can take nutraceuticals. We can take nutrients from drugs or supplements and how they all work together. Because when it comes down to it, it’s molecules in food, molecules in supplements, molecules in your drugs talking to molecules in your microbiome, talking to molecules in your cells, in your lymphocytes, in your brain cells. All of these routes of communication are what I basically specialize in. Those are some of the things we call pathways. That’s the essential part of systems biology, which is needed to embrace the complexity and deliver something actionable for your health.
[00:11:17] Ashley James: How many pathways does a Viome test when they look at the full RNA sequencing and expressions of your mitochondria and their very complex microbiome?
[00:11:38] Ally Perlina: Good question, Ashley. It’s about a couple of hundred thousand.
[00:11:42] Ashley James: Wow. Just a couple of hundred thousand. We went through a few of them, and we’re going to talk about a few of them in our interview today. But that was one of my first questions because as we were going through them, I thought just how many pathways are you looking at. And each individual, as you were going through my results, it was so interesting that you said, if I were to look at half your results, I would have predicted differently the other half. And this is why it’s so interesting how unique we are that we have to look at the full picture to see where each individual person is along their healing journey, and how we can help them right now.
My first time speaking with you I brought up that I had figured out that I could not eat eggs. That was the last thing to go to become whole food plant-based. I was still eating eggs, but I was basically like an ovo vegetarian. But I noticed I had these heart palpitations, and I didn’t know where they were coming from. I don’t know why they just presented themselves as they did. But I had completely changed my diet, and thus the microbiome changes I suppose. Because I’d shed all these other foods, it was the last animal product to go. And so these heart palpitations were so frequent they were getting kind of scary.
I consulted a cardiologist. I wore a device for several days and it monitored my heart. In the end, he said there’s nothing wrong with your heart, but that there’s a stressor. There’s some stressor your body is going through that is putting your heart in this position, your heart’s reacting to the stressor. He had no tools, of course. I mean, he was a great cardiologist, but he’s like listen, come back to me when you need cholesterol meds. There was nothing beyond that he had for me.
The frustrating part is MDs are trained to catch us when we’re ill and hopefully help us so we’re not going to die at that moment. But they’re not trained in how to take you from let’s say just slightly poor health and help you get to optimal health. That’s just not in their wheelhouse. Their wheelhouse isn’t systems biology, looking at the way that each individual person works, how their genetics are expressing, and the genetics of their microbiome is expressing. That’s where you guys come in.
I figured out, something just hit me. Why don’t I do an experiment, not eat eggs for a while then eat eggs and see if that’s it? I did that with other foods, but when I took eggs out, my heart palpitations stopped completely. And then about seven days later I had an egg, and by the time I’d finished eating the egg, the heart palpitations were back. And I thought this is very interesting. I attempted the experiment several times, and sure enough, I can give myself basically an irregular heartbeat by eating eggs or not.
You saw that in my gut biome. You saw it in my Viome results. You said, oh. When you said it, it was like watching a masterpiece. The way you explained how it all works and how that was feeding this particular microbiome, which creates this type of metabolite which then my liver converts to this, and then my heart reacts to it this way. All the pathways made complete sense from a to b. But as you and I talked, it became so clear to me. If we could explain to people who aren’t biologists what a microbiome is, the bacteria, the complex system that is in our gut, and how much we need it for life and health. I came to the conclusion that it’s like having a factory, having a pharmacy inside our gut. You like that.
Some people say it’s like having an animal because it’s about six pounds, so it could be like having a chihuahua in your gut. But it’s actually much more complex than that. It’s like having a pharmacy in your gut or a factory. What you put in is what it puts out, and the metabolites. So it’s not that you necessarily have a bad microbiome, but it’s that when I put in eggs from the choline, my unique microbiome is going to produce something that all these pathways then come together to irritate my heart and could lead to further heart disease down the road.
Whereas other people have no problem with choline and wouldn’t have that reaction. But there are other pathways that you put into the microbiome, not necessarily sugar. Everyone thinks you eat sugar, it causes diabetes. Someone could put cauliflower or whatever, they could put something that’s somewhat healthy for someone else, but because of how their pathways are expressing, they put that into their little pharmacy factory—which is their microbiome gut—into it, and then what comes out are the metabolites that would put the stressors on the body that could lead to diabetes, or either cause it or contribute to it. That you can see that many diseases that we’re suffering could be corrected by making sure we know exactly what we as individuals should and shouldn’t be eating.
[00:17:37] Ally Perlina: Right. So let me just get back to a couple of points you said that I think are really important, and maybe some of the listeners are well aware of them. But just to be absolutely clear, I think it’s important to emphasize that no one good food is necessarily always good for everybody, and sometimes it can actually be bad, so it depends. And if you know what it depends on, then we would not be doing justice to health care and wellness. If we didn’t actually delineate what it depends on, put it into some sort of logic, rules, and content, and scale it so it can help the masses.
That’s one of the reasons why when I came to Viome, I made it a huge point right away to make sure that when I developed the scoring system for the pathways or how we connect this to the personalization of the foods, that it’s something that does not need another alley or anyone from my team in the loop to be able to actually release the results. That it’s end-to-end automated. Because if we know what it depends on—whatever it may be—and when it’s good or bad for you, then we need to be able to inform people so that at least they can make more biologically informed choices when it comes to eggs or broccoli.
So back to your egg example, what you have are two things why egg yolk may not be good for you, and it’s actually on your avoid list. One of the things is TMA production by your microbiome. So your microbes actually use the choline that they would get from egg yolk, not so much from the egg white. That’s still fine and a source of protein and all, but egg yolk is on your void because it has choline and choline is what serves as a substrate for your microbes in the gut to take it and then convert it to trimethylamine also known as TMA.
So when we say convert, it means there are some of these sequences of events that happen, and that’s what we call a pathway. So a biological pathway is a sequence of molecular interactions or biochemical reaction steps that has a beginning, middle, and an end sort of tells you a story and says what is actively happening? What’s coming? What’s going? So in your case, in the egg case, that choline is coming and TMA is being produced and then it’s going. TMA is trimethylamine, so microbes use the substrate as choline converted to TMA. We see those pathways because we see RNA. So it lights up the gene expression values along these pathways that we reconstruct. We build them so we can score them. We can see, okay, you have higher than usual trimethylamine production in your microbiome.
So what that means is that now that you have this TMA and it’s made in your gut, it can actually then become available to the circulation. And through the portal vein, it can go to your liver where it gets naturally converted to TMAO. TMA as well to some degree is associated with harmful or no beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. So that could be some of the association. Again, I’m not claiming any causation and it causes multiple factors usually for something to actually go wrong, but it’s a very, very peculiar phenomenon that you’re sharing about your effects that you felt physically after eating eggs.
So this could be part of it or the main part of it that you have this TMA, TMAO pathway in which your gut microbiome plays a key role. And that is something that we can measure with our metatranscriptomics technology. That’s how we go from basically gene expression that we get from your stool sample, gene expression from RNA sequencing called metatranscriptomics technology. It tells us how much are those genes expressed, are they up or down. How do they factor into these pathways that we have put together so we can tell you then what? Then it’s like, okay, we get it that TMA is happening and more than what we usually see then it goes and can be converted to TMAO, which we know is not good for cardiovascular health.
So what do you do about that? One of the things is you can limit inputs into the TMA production pathway by the microbiome, so that’s why egg yolk is on your avoid, it has a lot of choline in it. Whereas for other people, choline is actually just fine. It can be good for rebuilding your membranes and maintaining them. It can be good for the gut-brain axis and support some of the neuronal-glial health. So for you, it’s good to basically stay away from egg yolk, and that’s one of the reasons. The other reason that could have something to do with cardiovascular health is that you just have another score in your report that involves multiple pathways—hundreds of them actually—that assesses overall gut microbiome induced stress. Stress response, in general, there are many different types and different reasons for it.
So one of the things that you have is you have a sub-optimal score on your microbiome induced stress. That’s a functional area score that involves many different pathways, and we’ll cover many of them or at least some of them, which include sulfide production, ammonia production, and those things that can contribute to overall stressors that may come through the gut into your bloodstream. In your results, they’re not enough to actually cause overall inflammation, we’ll talk about that as well, but it could be a slight culprit besides the TMA-TMAO story.
And then back to the egg example, another reason why it’s on avoid, it’s not enough to just have one thing necessarily off a little bit. Sometimes it’s more than one, many times it’s more than one factor that places food into your superfood, avoid, or other categories. In this case, there is another factor that placed your egg yolk on avoid, and it’s the fact that it’s high in sulfur. With your profile, sulfur goes into the sulfide production pathways a bit too much—more than we’d like. So sulfide is not necessarily a villain, it’s not necessarily absolutely bad, but when too much sulfide gas is produced in your gut, it can be disruptive to your gut lining and it can be—for apparent reasons—disruptive to your digestive symptoms and your gut health. It can also have a negative impact on your gut motility.
So because the egg has sulfur, it’s one of the two main reasons why egg yolk specifically is on your avoid. Because you have too much hydrogen sulfide gas production by your microbiome. So that’s another part of the story, and again, it’s many to many. So the other part of that piece—the sulfide story—is actually your cruciferous vegetables. When you see a score that says sulfide gas production pathways, a lot of times, people will ask well what does it mean? What can I do about it?
In our food recommendations, you can see when a food explanation refers to a specific score. You will see that in your egg yolk as well as broccoli and cabbage, it will tell you that the reason it’s on your avoid has—or at least one of the reasons has to do with—your sulfide gas production pathway score being too high. It means we have too much of that activity lit up with all of the gene expressions along these pathways saying your microbes are making too much sulfide gas. What they use as a substrate is something that comes from these cruciferous vegetables. It actually explains in the paragraph there that a compound class called glucosinolates—part of the organosulfur compounds—is actually what serves as in a way a culprit. It can be good for some people, but for you, it’s a culprit because it can serve as a substrate for the sulfide gas production indirectly.
First, it gets converted to sulfate, and then from sulfate, it goes and gets converted to sulfide gas by your microbiome. The thing that converts it to sulfate, Ashley, is myrosinase, and it’s an enzyme that’s in the vegetable and gets activated when you’re chewing it. So raw vegetable chewing actually activates this enzyme and gives you more of the sulfate, which is a direct substrate for more of the sulfide gas production. So do you know what you can do if you still want to have a little bit of those avoid foods but you want to minimize the effect of this sulfate substrate production for your sulfide gas?
[00:26:40] Ashley James: What can I do?
[00:26:41] Ally Perlina: You can steam it just a little bit because it will destroy the enzyme because it’s heat sensitive, so it will destroy or inactivate the enzyme in the food, myrosinase, which is needed to convert glucosinolates into sulfates. So you will diminish that action a little bit. It’s not going to completely get rid of the organosulfur content in the food, and it can still—in one pathway or another—feed your microbes, but it really diminishes these results. Based on what people report, they actually see or feel less of that bloating or gas production.
So I would ask you, do you feel any difference or do you feel any gas production effects with cruciferous vegetables versus other vegetables like arugula, kale, or something?
[00:27:33] Ashley James: I would say yes. But up until I got my Viome results 17 days ago, I ate cruciferous vegetables daily. Although gas was always around in certain amounts, it wasn’t smelly, so I didn’t think that there was a big problem with it. I just thought, okay. I also eat beans although I soak them and cook them in the Instant Pot. But I do notice, especially raw broccoli, raw cauliflower, or raw cabbage—I really enjoy raw cabbage in a salad. Especially in kale and raw purple cabbage in a salad would produce gas more so than if I were to eat zucchini, for example.
[00:28:29] Ally Perlina: How about arugula, just because it came to me?
[00:28:32] Ashley James: I don’t often eat arugula on its own.
[00:28:39] Ally Perlina: Spinach.
[00:28:41] Ashley James: Yup, I don’t have a problem with gas in spinach. I do eat raw spinach, I eat cooked spinach. The arugula I do eat is fermented actually in a really delicious fermented arugula pesto.
[00:28:56] Ally Perlina: Mmm.
[00:28:57] Ashley James: Yeah, it’s so good. If I have arugula, it’s usually mixed with other greens, but I don’t seem to notice quite a difference. But then again, like I said, up until 17 days ago, I was eating cruciferous vegetables for almost every meal. So gas was all the time. It wasn’t unbearable though. But then again, most of the time, I would cook those foods.
The reason why I wanted Ally to give a little bit of a deep dive into my results, your results are going to be different, everyone’s results are different. But just to hear how much information you get, how much guidance you get from a Viome test, and how unique each person’s experience is going to be is actually quite exciting because, in the last few years, I’ve been the healthiest I have felt in a long time. As much whole food plant-based as I possibly can, and of course gluten-free. Ever since cutting eggs out, I feel great, but I felt like throwing darts in the dark. I’m going to try this, I’m going to try that, and I do love doing that. I do love listening to my body and trying different things.
I felt like there was a missing piece, and I really feel like Viome has been, for me, the missing link to pulling it all together for me because I would have never considered lowering my cruciferous vegetable intake. Never ever would have thought that. In the other foods that were recommended I reduce, those are my daily staples as well like coconut. Since I have cut that out—really significantly reduced coconut—and I feel like I’ve come into a new chapter in my health because I also understand why.
Although everything that Ally says sounds quite complicated and science-based, I want her to explain the science behind it. When you get your Viome results, it’s very clear, simple, and easy to understand. And then you click through and there’s more detail. And then if you want to learn more, then you click through and then there’s even more detail when you click through, and there are scientific references. If you want to just stay surface, if you’re one of those people that just need to be told what to eat, what not to eat and that’s all the bandwidth you have, then you get those.
If you’re like me and you want everything, you want the Ph.D. version of your Viome results, then you get that too which is exciting. I really do like how you have set up Viome so that people have to click through and click through and click through to chunk down into more and more detailed information so they don’t get overwhelmed. The results themselves are not overwhelming, but at the first sight, I was disappointed I’m like, oh, this is it? And then I click through I’m like oh there’s more, click through again, oh there’s more. It is quite interesting. In the future, you guys are going to have even more coming out.
When I had Naveen on the show in episode 441, I had not taken the Viome test yet. And I have to share that I absolutely adore the test. It’s a home kit. It is in a beautiful little box and the instructions couldn’t be easier. They’re very simple. And when I sat down to draw my blood, it is as easy as just a prick of the finger, and then and then this little tiny plastic thing sucks the drop of blood up into it. It’s so easy to do. It’s not intimidating at all. I commend you on how beautiful and simple the system is. It’s not overwhelming. You just have to read the instructions in advance to know that you want to be fully hydrated, you want to do the blood sample in the morning. Just take some time to read the instructions and know when you’re going to do the stool and the blood when you’re going to do each one. And then you send it in. I really enjoyed the whole process of sending in my kit. I enjoyed the process of receiving all the information.
I then ordered your supplements, which we’re going to talk a bit about that as well because you make individualized supplements based on the genetic expression of our microbiome and mitochondria and all the results—the cellular health results that you have. I’m very excited to receive those, so I hope to do a later interview talking about my experience with your supplements because I’m already on supplements, but my supplements are more just for the whole body health—vitamins and minerals—but your supplements are specific to looking at the genetic pathways, like you said, a few hundred thousand pathways, and supporting the body and coming back into balance in such an individual way. That’s very, very exciting.
[00:34:12] Ally Perlina: We’ll talk about some of your supplements as an example, but I think that’s a good idea to actually review your supplements and everything you’ve been taking and the Viome supplements that you’ll get and then see how you’re responding to them. then drill into it a bit more as a follow-up if you’d like.
[00:34:32] Ashley James: I’d love that.
[00:34:33] Ally Perlina: I think we noticed there were some themes or some things that you were already aware of, which is great. So some of your digestive related components like protein fermentation and being able to digest your proteins and keep your stomach acidity levels at the right level and optimal. So all of these things can be adjusted or manipulated, to some degree, with supplements. Some of them are digestive enzymes that you already know about, and some of them can come from foods as well as supplement delivered nutrients. So bromelain, papain come from pineapple and papaya respectively, and then there’s betaine. Originally it got the name because it came from the beet.
Those are some of the natural ways to help your digestion, and in your case, the reason it’s specific to your pathways that we see is that we do see some of these a little bit more active than usual. Protein fermentation pathways, which means that the microbes are fermenting aka metabolizing different proteins more than you would expect them to in the gut. That means that you, the host, did not make enough of an effort or enough turns in there in your metabolism to completely process all of the different protein sources that you get.
Again, sometimes it could be the vegetable sources or the nuts and seeds that have a very dense protein that make it hard to process it all. Then it gets to your colon and then microbes go oh my goodness, a lot of unprocessed proteins. So you encourage those microbes called protein fermenters to be very active. So that means you encourage more and more of them to thrive. When there are too many of them, again, it’s not about the microbes themselves. But what they’re doing, they crank up these pathways that yield production of those types of—you could call it—the pharmacy is producing some of the chemicals that are not so good for you.
So what you see reflected in your report, not even something that is just behind the scenes that I’m sharing with you. But right in the report, it says you have high ammonia production pathways, you have high sulfide production pathways, you have high putrescine production pathways. All of these different things are byproducts of protein fermentation. So we talked about sulfide already. We actually just covered one type of pathway that came from sulfate or elemental sulfur in your foods, but we didn’t cover the other side which means that actually sulfide in your microbiome can also be produced from sulfur amino acids, which came from your proteins.
So that’s another byproduct of protein fermentation. So you’ll see a theme in what we talk about is that it’s always like many to many, so there are multiple types of pathways and inputs that can feed one microbial metabolite production like sulfide gas. The way to mitigate the sulfide could be from many different foods, and some of them have a high content of a certain nutrient, and some have low content. we have all that part of the knowledge base so that we can tell you from many to many which foods or nutrients supplements are best for you and are most important superfood or to avoid them.
For the pathways, you could see that sulfide for instance it’s part of the pro-inflammatory activity because it can have an inflammatory effect on your gut lining and overall, but it is also part of your protein fermentation theme. Those themes are like the functional scores that level in our UI you’ll see that you probably already have, those are the functional score areas. Then there are the pathway scores like ammonia, sulfide, and putrescine that I just mentioned. Those are pathway scores that feed into the functional area scores, and multiple functional area scores ultimately get aggregated into the health level scores.
So on the level of a health score, you have gut microbiome health, you have cellular health, immune system health, and stress response health. Those health scores, you have them actually for the most part in an average zone. There’s also mitochondrial health I forgot to mention. But once you start drilling into it, you will actually see how, just like you said, you drill into it if you want to know the details. Why is it not 100%? Why is this score not perfect? Then you see that on a more granular level, aha, it’s the protein fermentation, which is part of digestive efficiency. And then there’s the inflammatory activity, which both have the sulfide gas production and ammonia production pathway score.
So as you drill in even further and you say, okay, my food said something about this sulfide thing. I want to learn about that score. Then you learn about that score and you see that actually, even that is many different pathways that can lead to sulfide gas production, which is why even in that pathway score, it’s still plural. It’s called sulfide gas production pathways because there are many, many different routes like hundreds of them that can lead to the ultimate production of sulfide by your microbes.
So understanding which ones of those are most lit up and how active those pathways are is what helps us to connect on the molecular level this whole system of many to many from scores on different levels to nutrients in either food and or supplements.
Anyway, bringing it back to the whole point is that you have various health areas, You have your digestion, and you have your protein fermentation. So to address the protein fermentation and the other route of sulfide gas production, that’s why you see some of the digestive enzymes, which you’re already getting in your supplements. You will see some of the foods that give you more bioavailable elemental amino acids, so some of the sprouted foods. I think you have the grapefruit and some of these like betaine and papain sources.
And then you also have to stay away from cruciferous vegetables for the sulfide reasons and things like that. So that tells you how many different areas of superfood and avoid recommendations, enzymes, and other types of nutrients in your supplements all have to do with various aspects of multiple scores. There’s protein fermentation, there’s sulfide reduction, there’s an inflammatory activity, and all of these different components.
Sometimes, when people say, okay, just tell us exactly what is this one thing or how to improve this one score. A lot of times, there is more than one way to improve them, and to different people are different foods that will actually do the trick. So one score can influence many foods, and one food can be influenced by many, many different scores before it’s actually placed into your minimize or avoid. So if you want us to like spell out every single piece of the logic that is taking place for your results, then it’s almost like you have to be careful what you wish for because it could be hundreds of pages of different lines of code that took all these things into consideration and said okay, it’s really avoid for you.
[00:42:20] Ashley James: Just avoid it.
[00:42:21] Ally Perlina: That’s how it goes. Just avoid it, or just get these supplements, it’s good for you. Now, when we can, we highlight that. If you get your report and just even find on page—Control F or Command F—and you say score, then you will see all of the references in your food recommendations pages to any score. Whenever it’s a very obvious one that you can pin it more or less on that one score to focus on, we do tell you that except you’ll see more than one food most likely that alludes to that score when it needs help. That’s just the thing.
We try the best we can and thank you for the kind words saying that we’ve done a pretty good job, but we need to do probably even better to strike that balance between giving people all that information because we truly want to empower them with all this knowledge. But at the same time, not overwhelming them and making it very simple and clear. Okay, some of these things, they’re not optimal so you see it in the red. These are the foods you need to focus on, these are your superfoods, these are your avoid foods, and these are your supplements.
So at least, if that’s all they want to get out of this, they don’t want to be burdened with all this extra info, they can get that and take it to action immediately on that day because that’s extremely important. If you overwhelm people, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, it’s not about that. You’re not helping them if it loses them. We need to be very much mindful of this concept of balance.
[00:43:52] Ashley James: It’s interesting talking to you, I think I identified that I have been eating less and less protein from plant sources because it does—in large amounts—give me quite a bit of bloating. Even with too much tofu, it’s upsetting, and just thinking about beans, I think I just have gradually been eating less and less or smaller portions, I should say. That and I’m very satisfied with how many grams of protein I consume. Although now I’m pregnant and my midwife has made it abundantly clear that she wants me eating more protein. But as far as the average female, 40 grams of protein for the average female is quite sufficient, 60 if you’re an athlete, which is easily doable from multiple plant sources.
However, if I were to consume a great deal of any kinds of protein powder like pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, or edamame. Any large amount I would get bloated and that is interesting that you say that it’s because you can see it in my microbiome that it is fermenting, it’s not properly digesting, it’s fermenting, and then it’s leading to metabolites. What do these metabolites do to the body?
[00:45:32] Ally Perlina: Great question. So in your case specifically, I mean, I want to put it in the context that there are many things they can do, but there is this aggregate functional score called microbiome induced stress. I know it sounds quite general until you drill into it and you see exactly what it is. It will explain to you that within microbiome induced stress, which you have in the red zone so it’s not optimal. it’s not terrible or anything but it’s in the suboptimal zone. You’ll see that is where you have that ammonia production, uric acid, sulfide production, and even TMA production I believe as well. All these pathway scores are part of the microbiome induced stress.
So what does it mean microbiome induced stress? I mean, there are so many different types of stress. So microbiomes can secrete those or produce those metabolites, which are small molecules, and they can cross the gut lining, the intestinal barrier pretty easily even if you have a pretty good gut lining, which according to our test seems like you do. But some of these really, really small molecules like ammonia it’s pretty tiny. It can really cross easily and go into the bloodstream, and in the bloodstream, it can really cause its own pro-inflammatory or stress response type of reaction. In a way, it can be somewhat of a toxin. Again, not to sound scary or anything like that, but it’s all about the relative amounts.
So sulfide, ammonia, putrescine, cadaverine, the byproducts of protein fermentation—that’s one source. The other source of microbiome induced stress or potential pro-inflammatory type stress is your uric acid production, and that’s something that can actually be felt or experienced by some people—to some degree, depends on how much of it you have and how quickly your body gets rid of it, mitigates it, or clears it.
All of these different pathway scores actually tell you well why you need to even know about this pathway? Because if it’s not insightful for your health or it’s not actionable, then who would want to log in just to learn biology, right? There are textbooks for that. Of course, we’re learning something new about biology in this new context, but still, we only give you something that is insightful and actionable. You can read about it and there are references, but just to summarize, all of these different small molecules, the microbes make. If they make too much they cross the gut lining, and then they go into the bloodstream. And they can actually inflict a little bit of the damaging response to certain cellular membranes or stress your system to be able to keep up with clearing or detoxing some of these different molecular entities.
If you don’t have your entire system up to the task, it’s somewhat of a warning sign to make sure that you mitigate that. That’s why for the overall health level of stress response health, you’re still fine, You’re in the average zone. But when it comes to microbiome induced stress, that’s where you can read more about these pathways like ammonia, sulfide, and the other ones that I just mentioned so you could see what it does to your body. We already talked about some of the foods and digestive strategies that you need to focus on that are part of your recommendations and foods and supplements so you can be prepared and mitigate.
So even if nothing really palpable is already happening, the point is to keep you in the wellness space and keep as much illness optional as possible so that you can take action on your biology. Like you said, you don’t want to just throw darts at some fad diets or trendy supplements. You want to be able to make biologically informed choices that are smart for you, that are informed by your own pathways, your own biology with molecular-level precision. That’s basically what we’re all about. I hope that answers your question, or if you want, we could go more specifically.
[00:49:49] Ashley James: Well, I love that you said biologically informed choices. I mean, that’s a writer downer right there. I told you about my history with the ketogenic diet, the paleo diet. I’ve been on at least 25 diets. I’ve read every diet book you could touch because I’m a seeker of health, though. I was trying to figure out what my body best requires. Everyone that writes a diet book says that theirs is the best and they have the science to back it. When I went through the institute for integrative nutrition—it’s a year-long health coach training program—you learn a hundred different dietary theories, and every week we’re trying a new one. Once you learn one you want to try it.
Within the first week or so, we’re doing the raw vegan diet. I lasted six days on that. I felt fantastic, but boy was I gassy. I expected the gas to go away because all the raw vegans say that’ll go away, that’ll go away, and now I know why I was gassy, first of all. Luckily, the gas is not smelly, it’s just plentiful. So when I was doing the raw vegan diet, that was just like I could have powered a vehicle. Each experience with different health routines showed me just how wrong it is to listen to one expert and do one diet that’s apparently supposed to be for everyone. Because if I can’t eat cruciferous vegetables because of the genetic expressions of my unique microbiome, then any diet that incorporates cruciferous vegetables is not going to be beneficial to me as an individual.
But with the ketogenic diet, which many have touted as being just a miracle for them, left me in such a bad state of health that it took me a few years to recover. And it left my husband in such a bad state of health that he was immediately put on two medications—actually three I believe and then he was down to two—because it damaged his kidneys. We were actually under the supervision of a naturopath while we were doing this ketogenic diet, but it destroyed my husband’s kidneys. It took him a few years, but he was able to completely recover using natural medicine. That’s when we adopted a whole food plant-based diet, that was right around that time. For me, it damaged my liver and I had such bad digestive distress from the ketogenic diet.
Again, if we apply what you’re teaching, which is making biologically informed choices based on the unique complexity of the own expression of the bacteria that are in us and part of us, then we can craft the most healing diet for us. If someone leans more towards eating paleo, more towards eating the Mediterranean, more towards eating their native diet—maybe their South American, Central American, or Asian diet. If they lean more towards looking at their ancestors and eating more what their ancestors ate in that way and they feel good, then they take your kit and they get the results back. Your kits give you lots of foods you can eat. You give lots of foods that are superfoods that are incredibly healing for your body, and then you give a dozen or so or two dozen absolutely avoid these, and here are the reasons why.
Someone could take that and adapt it to any way of eating that best suits them. But since I have removed all of the do not eat that you have on my list, and since I have increased the superfoods—which I’m so excited about, I’m absolutely loving them—without guilt, I am avidly eating my avocados again, and all the other things in the superfood list. You even give how much of each one to reduce. Here, just have half a cup of this at most. I’ve taken that so seriously and I really feel—in the last 17 days—a huge shift in my digestion, even though I am going through the stages of pregnancy that would actually leave me in worse digestion. I’m feeling the least bloated I have in a very long time.
I came to Viome without any real health concerns. I just wanted to take it to the next level, but people come to you who have major health problems, who have MS, have Hashimoto’s, or have major gut dysbiosis. I have several listeners who have expressed concerns that they now can only eat a dozen foods or less because most foods make them sick. They feel very pinned into a corner where they now only have just a small handful of foods that they can eat because they’ve done an elimination diet and they’ve really discovered that almost everything makes them sick.
Well, if they had this information at hand it would help them to understand why. Maybe something as simple as the supplements that your results show because you show here is the different digestive enzymes you’re low in. If you were to incorporate those, then maybe they would have been able to then eat a larger variety of foods. Because it’s not always about what we’re allergic to, it’s about what metabolites our microbiome produces, and those metabolites can cause damage.
Now just to get back to some very specific examples because this is all wonderful information you’re sharing, but I want people to be able to relate it to their life specifically. Can you give a real-world example of a metabolite or metabolites that are created in the gut, and what symptoms or illness could people have as a result of specific metabolites created by the microbiome?
[00:56:42] Ally Perlina: Yeah, absolutely. So we talked a little bit about a few of them. Just to say that look, if you have microbiome-induced stress or inflammation, then you may have all kinds of feelings of either a toxic burden where you feel a little unwell, tired, queasy; or you may have more brain fog because it can also cross. Those things can cross the blood-brain and gut blood barriers. That could be one of the themes but, I didn’t touch on the other themes.
There are really well-known pro-inflammatory molecules that are produced by the microbiome like LPAs—lipopolysaccharide. Specific types of lipids and carbohydrate subunits, that’s why the lipopolysaccharide. Saccharide is for the carbs, and lipo is the lipid part. They get together and in slightly different conformations based on what microbes are there. they can be actually found in the blood especially if you have more of a leaky gut. The reason I didn’t bring it up right away, especially in your context, is because you don’t have an LPS score for LPS biosynthesis. The production of this LPS molecule, you don’t have it in the red, you don’t have it as suboptimal. So you’re more or less fine on that, and you also have a good gut lining health score.
In general, we do see quite a few. It’s a pretty common case. I would say 30% of our Viome population, quite a few people have LPS production on the higher side. And if it goes hand in hand with your gut lining score being suboptimal as well, then you’re really at risk of triggering an immune response. The way it happens is this LPS molecule, which is just part of the normal outside coding of some of the microbes, not all. It goes into the bloodstream and it elicits this immune response. The blood cells start to notice it and recruit other blood cells, say hey, come over here. We’ve got an issue. So to do that, they have to secrete certain molecules themselves, and that’s the signaling that happens now on the blood side of things, which we also test with the health intelligence kit. The service gives you this kit to test the blood that you mentioned already.
So you collect your blood. We look at gene expression, not only within your microbiome now, but now we look from the blood side to see are those pathways on, and are they really active that tell us that you have immune triggering happening a bit too much? Do you have it really high? Because that’s exactly what can happen if some of the pro-inflammatory metabolites can cross the gut lining and actually instigate some of this reaction. So that the T cells of different kinds will start to get overly active and secrete these proinflammatory molecules in order to combat the foreign type of substance that has entered the blood. And those molecules are called some of the cytokines or pro-inflammatory cytokines. Maybe some of you have heard of interleukins and TNF alpha.
It can cause other types of molecules to be elevated. And ultimately, if they don’t come down, so to speak, then some damage can be done to cellular components and membranes. And a lot of the cellular energy can be expanded towards mitigating this inflammation, which really should not even be there in the bloodstream, as opposed to healing and rejuvenating itself. In that sense, we’re waiting to get to the point like okay, well, how do I sense it? How do I feel it aside from testing it?
That’s the tricky part because depending on what you’re doing to yourself, what you’re eating, what you’re susceptible to, and what else is going on, inflammation can actually take residents in different parts of a human body. some people, like I said, the inflammation can actually be manifested in the brain, in the mind, in such a way that is just subtle enough that you won’t think of it like aha, I feel inflammation because you just might experience a little bit of irritability, insomnia, brain fog, confusion, or anxiety.
Actually, some of the pro-inflammatory pathways that can stem from the gut microbiome have been implicated in lowering dopamine levels, which can make people feel depressed. They have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases because if enough of these molecules or the microbes themselves like the small viruses from the gut can actually go all the way through the blood into the brain, they can activate now inside the central nervous system. They can activate pathways to where the glial cells actually overreact, and then they start to get destroyed and inflammation in the brain can cause neuronal damage, which then contributes to—like you were mentioning—a mess and other things. They can be part of the entire picture of some of the neurodegenerative, cognitive, or mood disorders. So that’s one set.
And then another set of inflammation examples that we all probably heard of a lot is the autoimmune joint conditions. There’s the more local, obviously, IBD—inflammatory bowel disease, which is right there in the gut. And then there are a lot of customers that say that following our regimen really helps them who have joint, skin, and other types of inflammatory conditions where you can really see it and feel it. Because inflammation is not created to be equal in any one organ. Whatever you have going on, it depends on the ecosystem and the system’s biology of the entire body of all the systems. Wherever you have the weakest link, that’s where inflammation will take residence and manifest itself first and foremost and then all the other places.
Some people may not feel it or may not realize that aha, this could be some low-grade inflammation, and some people may truly feel it. Where you feel it completely depends on you, but some of the top symptoms that seem to have improvement in time within our customer base—and we have over 100,000 customers now—deal with mood and autoimmune inflammatory conditions from psoriasis, to rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel conditions, to mood and sleep, and cognitive and digestive disorders in general. Like I said, it can be different places where it manifests itself.
I wanted to ask you, so far, when we talk about any of these pathways. We talked about TMA a little bit, but then there was a set of pathways you had suboptimal like ammonia, sulfide, and uric acid. Would you say that any of them—even just from reviewing the information—ring a bell with something that you know you had before or you could feel before?
[01:04:25] Ashley James: In regards to?
[01:04:32] Ally Perlina: So uric acid, for example, is something that can come from either purines or protein fermentation, but it’s something that people may not feel and other people may feel it if a lot of it accumulates. And that’s what’s causing gout usually, so I’m just curious.
[01:04:42] Ashley James: Got it. Okay. Absolutely, yes. My blood results from the last few years have shown higher levels of uric acid, especially when I ate meat. Especially back when I did a ketogenic diet, my liver was incredibly angry at me. It was actually sticking out. It was quite inflamed. I had to get an ultrasound and they said I didn’t have a fatty liver, I didn’t have a cirrhosis liver. I just had an inflamed liver, very angry from the ketogenic diet, and then a very high uric acid level.
I didn’t experience gout like the typical person does where it’s in their big toe. I had this pain at the base of my foot almost like plantar fasciitis. I was like, I wonder is this plantar fasciitis, is this a bone spur? And just on a gut instinct level—and this is long after I had left the ketogenic diet but right before I transitioned into eating no meat at all. I grabbed some tart cherry juice from the health food store, and I started drinking between two and four ounces a day of the concentrate, and I’d add it to water. And very quickly, within a day or two, the pain in my foot was gone. I know that tart cherry juice is also very anti-inflammatory. It helps the body produce more melatonin, so people get great sleep when you take it. It’s a wonderful whole food supplement to take, and it’s quite delicious. But knowing that the pain went away immediately I thought, that must be basically gout in my foot manifesting.
At the time, I never really cared for organ meat, so I wasn’t gorging on any kind of meat. But my naturopath did say that based on looking at my diet and looking at my blood work, I tended to lean more towards having a build-up of uric acid. That’s something though that I feel like I’ve gotten under control because I don’t eat any meat so there’s really a low purine diet. And then I avoid the other foods that contain purine. And then if I ever do get that feeling in my foot, I just start drinking the tart cherry juice. Although, I haven’t had it lately, which is quite exciting. But my liver is getting healthier and healthier. It’s interesting because that actually came up in my Viome results, which I never thought that there could be a link to the metabolites produced from the bacteria in my body.
[01:07:36] Ally Perlina: So that is actually very, very interesting because it can actually accumulate to some degree in different tissues, and you may feel a little achy or a little bit of stiffness or limitation of movement, and that could be due to uric acid. Uric acid is something that can be pro-inflammatory, and it’s interesting what it’s made of by the microbiome. The pathways can come from either the urea cycle, which is from the different amino acid inputs, so back to your protein fermentation protein digestion patterns. Or it can come from purines and purines are high in different meats, fish, seafood, and also some of the vegetables as well.
You could see in your results the haddock, for instance, is to be avoided because of the purines in it, the uric acid potential to promote those pathways. For you, if you did want to eat some fish maybe once in a while, salmon would be a much better choice. Whereas I think it’s also halibut, haddock, and trout would not be good because they have a lot of purines. It’s not just organ meats and you’ve done yourself a great favor that you avoid that because of the TMA issue that we talked about and the protein fermentation and digestive efficiency issue. But also now because of the purines.
Some people feel absolutely great eating all kinds of meats, and they cannot take all of these different vegetables. They get so bloated and they feel awful, right? Just like you said, some people feel absolutely great on a ketogenic diet and it’s like the biggest blessing that happened to them. But it’s not just one type of diet that works for all. Unfortunately, it’s usually some complexity of different mixes of things that work just for you. You are your own personalized menu that you need to work out for yourself, and there’s just no shortcut around that.
In your case, you’ve done so great that even before having this information, you’ve avoided all of these different meats, organ meats, and those types of foods because you naturally just don’t have the biology to deal with them in the best way where something beneficial would happen to you. It’s actually on the contrary. Plus they come together with all of the TMA, the lipids, and the fats, which could be also tough for your liver. And we also see some of these bile tolerant organisms in there.
So together with that and the uric acid pathways, it’s really painting this more comprehensive picture now that especially that you’ve shared some of these things with me that you won’t do well on this high protein, high-fat diet. Whereas other people I know personally and based on the stats as well, they do so and they report that they feel great on even a really greasy protein diet. But they cannot take all of these different starchy vegetables.
Again, no healthy food is healthy for everybody, and no specific source of protein or whatnot is necessarily a villain either—or good or bad. It all depends on personalization, and that’s the real trick. The key is in that that you have to basically deal with the complexity to do what’s right for you and to be biologically informed about it.
[01:11:30] Ashley James: I feel like the next question that’s on everyone’s mind is, is it forever? Because we’re taught that the microbiome is always changing and that we could take probiotics. Although that’s been disproven that probiotics drastically change the microbiome. But we could eat fermented foods, go gluten-free, eat organic, get a variety of different prebiotics, and nourish a more diverse microbiome. Over time, can we change our microbiome so that it would create different metabolites?
[01:12:17] Ally Perlina: That’s a great question, actually. In terms of changing the microbiome, people are taught to think about microbiome as this list of microbes and seeing how much of who’s there do I have. What we’re doing is a bit of a paradigm shift in that you care less about who is there and how much of them are there. You care about how active they are, but most importantly, you care about what they are actively doing? So that’s the microbiome part. And then you care about the host because in your case, you have a microbiome actively doing some of this pro-inflammatory activity in your gut. That’s why you have a microbiome score called biofilm chemotaxis and virulence pathways are not optimal.
That would make somebody worry and think well, they’re making something that signifies that there is some harmful pro-inflammatory activity. But then you also look at the closed part and you see that actually your immune system activation score—which would tell us if you have ultimately a high level of inflammation or not—is actually on the good side. Whatever happens in your gut stays in your gut. So you still need to take care of it, right? But you need to see what is being produced, what is being actually excreted, secreted, and made that I need to worry about.
On the level of the gut microbiome, you don’t want to necessarily make it a super task to completely rebuild it because you have to actually get the most out of the hand that you’re dealt. The microbiome that you have, the easiest way to reap rewards from it is to get the microbiome you have to do what’s right for you. You figure out, okay, if I give it so much of this sulfur, cruciferous vegetables, organ meats, or salt, your microbes are stressed out by too much salt or whatever and that’s bad for your probiotic microbes. You want to lower that a little bit.
You figure out, based on our recommendations, what are those things you need to optimize in your diet. Even with the microbes you have, you get them to give you the best nutrients. With all of the greens that you eat—and it shows, all of the really beneficial complex carbs that you ingest—turn into really nice butyrate production. Not everybody has that. That’s actually not a given that just because you eat vegetables you have high production of butyrate. It’s a very beneficial short-chain fatty acid, and it may just be one of the main reasons why your gut lining is pretty happy because it’s a very good nourishing component that colonocytes use for energy and it helps the anti-inflammatory effects. Even if you have your microbes secreting these virulence factors and things like that, you have some of the mitigating strategies in place as well.
When you ask about how do we take this to action and what does it all mean? You have to see—on the grand scheme of things—first of all, are my microbes really doing something bad? Not so much who is there, but are my microbes doing something bad? Is there something that tells me this is what you need to improve the score? Because if you just do that, you may already have some really beneficial outcome of that, even if who is there—the microbes themselves—have not drastically changed. And then you basically end up with a story that is not about rebuilding the entire microbiome because most of it is neither good nor bad. Most of the microbiome is just that’s your normal at this point. Completely trashing it is not necessarily a good thing, and you’re not going to take antibiotics to do that either.
What’s important is to reach a balance, and by balance, I don’t mean just a balance of good versus bad microbes because, again, most of them are neither good nor bad. But the balance of these beneficial versus harmful activities and functions. Balance of good versus bad pathways that give you good versus bad biochemical outputs—these metabolites, these molecules that then go into your bloodstream or can protect or harm your gut lining.
That’s a different way of thinking because you’re thinking what is happening, that is what matters. And what’s happening is telling me what I should do to my system. So it becomes less about treating a microbe and looking at the microbiome more as a means to an end, not the end game itself. Microbes tell us something about the host like your digestion, your patterns of what’s happening with your fats and bile acids, and things like that. They can tell us those secrets about you in a way, and so we need this very important readout from microbial activities.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that based on it we’re going to expect to overthrow our entire microbiome. Actually, we should expect to reap the rewards of our microbiome that we have, and then if some changes are needed, the way you go about it is not with some antibiotics or anything like that, but by enhancing your probiotic and prebiotic activities so that you get the right ones. And even for probiotics, yeah, I mean there’s some controversy out there, but the thing is these probiotics do have different actions even down to the strain level. So not all the lactobacilli are the same. Not all acidophilus species are the same.
So even strain by strain, they have different benefits and they produce different things. Some can actually have histamine promoting effects. Yeah, and people can get this sensitivity when they get certain probiotics. Whereas other people need more of a boost to their immune system, and they need that very much so they’ll take those probiotic species and they’ll feel great. It’s just that people haven’t figured it all out, and they’re trying to go black and white again to go quickly. Probiotics: good, bad. And doesn’t it remind you back to how we were talking about ketogenic: good, bad? Meat: good, bad? Or paleo: good, bad? We just want to hear that because it’s really easy to act on.
What I want to remind people of is that it’s not all good or bad, it depends, and it depends on your personal biology. The key is in personalization, and you can’t personalize if you don’t have the molecular level details to do it with molecular-level precision. We try to do that work for you, and hopefully, that helps.
[01:19:02] Ashley James: I love it. You said earlier before we hit record that your goal is to help people embrace complexity and do something good about it. Health is complex. You just totally threw a few listeners for a loop that some of them could have actually developed further histamine problems, meaning increase their allergy symptoms by taking what they thought was a very healthy probiotic. Everyone knows that we should all be in some form of probiotic. This is the thing that everyone says, be on probiotics.
I am quite fascinated because you brought me back to when my son was an infant and he developed food allergies. We were trying to figure out why, but we did have him on a bunch of probiotics and he started to express more of a histamine reaction. And I just wonder if that was one of the things? Of course, it’s never one thing only, like you said, it’s an accumulation of several things. But if we can look at a few hundred thousand pathways of the genetic expressions of our very complex microbiome that creates all of these pharmacy-grade chemicals in our body, some of which masterfully. Some of which help us to feel happy. Some of which help us to have healthy thyroid function.
25% of our T3 is converted in the gut. 90% of our serotonin comes from the gut. We keep hearing these things from health experts, but you take it way deeper by going let’s look at your individual gut microbiome.
Now you have so many clients now that you can see the metadata as they do, and I’ve actually had some listeners reach out to me and say I’ve been doing Viome for the last few years and they shared their experience. And my Naturopath, I came to her for my annual physical after I had submitted my results and I was looking forward to receiving them from Viome. She said, oh, Viome. Obviously, she didn’t mention their names, but she said I have had several patients who couldn’t figure. We did allergy testing, we did everything, and we went through all the tests that naturopaths have, which is so much more complex than most physicians because they’re looking at the body as a whole system.
They couldn’t pinpoint, but Viome—your test—was able to get the person the different cases that she had, was able to help them get exactly the information they needed that they couldn’t get from other tests because you’re not looking at a food allergy or an immune response. You’re taking it to a whole new place that is not looked at from anywhere else. It’s quite exciting.
Coming back to the real-world application. If someone is tired, they have brain fog, they have the laundry list of symptoms that they’re not incredibly happy with—weight gain, the stress in the body like high cortisol, and fatigue. How much of that can be corrected by knowing what to feed your microbiome? How much have you seen corrected? Since you can look at the meta-analysis of so many clients, as they retest and as they share their results, what have you seen accomplished in people’s health as they’ve utilized the Viome results in their life?
[01:23:21] Ally Perlina: Well, it could be on a level of these pathways and microbial communities and how active they are, and it can also be in terms of the symptoms. Some of the common responses in terms of improvement that people see—besides the ones I mentioned about just mood, some of the pains and aches, and things like that—are sleep, brain functioning, and just overall energy. That’s another one I did not mention, but it’s energy, performance, stamina, and endurance.
I’m not just talking about athletic endurance because we do have a number of really professional athletes that turn to us and they really like our program, but it’s more about actually just endurance of going through the stresses and burdens of life. Some people have it really tough and some people maybe have it even tougher with all of the COVID times, unfortunately. It just helps the body rejuvenate itself and protect itself, and some of that can come from microbes just simply making more of the short-chain fatty acids. That can help on even the epigenetic level and it can help reduce some of the inflammation.
And then other people, it could be more of the immune-boosting effects. Certain microbes can promote immune stimulation but in a way that you need it, not the inflammation to be lingering or anything like that, but the immune-boosting effects. And can promote epithelial cell turnover in the gut, which helps your gut lining be healthy. You seem to have a good gut lining, but certain communities of the microbes start to produce these nutrients that are basically like your B vitamins, vitamin K, and things that you may think you’re getting from your pills or your diet. But at the same time, when it’s made naturally in the gut from something that is already part of your biological ecosystem and it’s in that right place basically at the right time, then there’s nothing like it that you can just like swallow as a pill.
So they can make antioxidants for you, which can then protect your cells, give your cells more energy, and that is something that you can even feel on the overall system level. Even some of the lipids and things that can enhance the functionality of your mitochondria and cellular membranes can also be promoted from the pathways that get turned on by a microbiome.
So back to the real world, it’s really just a number of different things that can be responsible for the success that we see. Even B12, we see a lot of that being produced by the microbiome. We see if there are glutathione and selenium pathways activated in the microbiome that can be part of the antioxidant theme. We can see if microbes are helping you detox in a way and help you mitigate any of the reactive oxygen species, which is part of the oxidative stress, and then we measure that in the blood test now with the Health Intelligence Service. That gives you that blood kit and helps you understand your stress levels and your mitochondrial health. Your mitochondrial health is actually pretty good, but it’s not perfect, so maybe you need a bit more of that boost.
Back to foods and supplements, you could see that you’re recommended some of the resveratrol, nicotinamide riboside, but it may not be good for everybody. For people who have high senescence, NAD may actually promote that if you also have high inflammatory pathways. But if you don’t, it may be great for you.
Now if you take that and if you take some people to take Metformin just because they read something about it, but you may need to supplement as well with some of these polyphenols that nurture the microbiome and the gut lining and also have the anti-aging and antioxidant effects like quercetin, curcumin, and resveratrol. Because without it, you don’t know when some nutrient that is just like being buzzed about is good for you or it’s actually harmful to you.
If you take things that inhibit some of these pathways, you may need to supplement with CoQ10 so you don’t deplete your energy because having too much NAD in a certain context without supplementing with CoQ10 may not be the most optimal mix for you. So that’s where we get to this whole next chapter which I’m sure we’ll talk about some more that I’m really proud of is the personalized supplements where we take the nutrient level precision even farther and give you your own personal blend with your name on it of exactly what you need and nothing that you don’t. Because there’s so much of the good stuff that can actually cause harmful mixtures for some people—but not others—that we want to actually simplify for you and deliver it so that you just need to stick to these capsules and a stick pack per day with pre- and probiotics.
You will get exactly the dosages that are specific for you, exactly what you need and none of that extra redundant or harmful stuff that you don’t.
[01:28:54] Ashley James: Right. I can imagine that there are supplements that I’ve taken that have choline in it because that’s healthy for some people, but not for me based on my microbiome. You’ve actually cued me to want to go and look at all my supplements and see which ones may have choline in it because I’m going to chuck those, for me. I could give them to my husband, maybe they’re good for him. It’s so interesting.
When I got my Viome results, I remember I was sitting on the couch with my family. We were all hanging out. I opened up the app. You can do it in a browser. My husband, he’s all thumbs so he doesn’t like using his phone. He used the website and he quite liked that, and then I used the app. I thought that when I did the kit that I wouldn’t buy the supplements. I thought I’ve got enough supplements, I’m just going to follow the food recommendations.
I think within five minutes of receiving and reading through—I hadn’t even finished, I mean, there’s a lot of information. I remember having been going to read it to me, what does it say? And I’m like, there’s a lot of information here. I’m going to have to digest this in chunks. As I’m going through all my information, of course, it’s so easy because you start off by just giving—here are the foods to eat, avoid, and eat less of, and here are your superfoods, which is simple. But then, of course, I want to know more and want to know more and go deeper and deeper into my results. At each turn, it would explain why my microbiome is expressing in this way which produces this and these pathways are happening. Here are the supplements that can help to mitigate that or help to push it in this direction. I thought, how comprehensive is this? It’s amazing.
One of the supplements they’ve wanted me to take was the tart cherry, basically, a cherry extract, which you say comes from tart cherry juice. That’s my exact experience, my body really resonates with that. Your test shows that my unique and individual supplement that you guys would create for me—I looked through and I recognized some of the ingredients as foods, superfoods, or extracts that I have really resonated with. And then there’s a laundry list of different wonderful probiotic strains and explaining why these for me specifically.
You compile them together and ship them off to me as a monthly supply. I thought it was so funny that I opened up the app, sure I would not buy supplements from you, and within five minutes, I’m like, I want to try this. This looks so cool. It’s made just for my body and just for me, and it’s going to help me come back into balance even more. It got really exciting especially because most of it’s from whole food sources that are very specific extracts.
Now, you guys give a discount, which thank you so much. The coupon code is LTH as in Learn True Health. When you buy the Viome kit itself, you can use the coupon code LTH to get the listener discount, but you can also use the coupon code LTH when you order the supplements, and that’s nice too. I got a little bit of a wonderful discount, so thank you, and I placed my order and I’m looking forward to them arriving.
It’s only eight capsules. You and I have talked about this because I thought how could you have eight capsules for anyone regardless of their size, but then again, it’s not about all the cells in the body. It’s really about the microbiome and about the metabolites it creates and about supporting cellular health on a different level. Plus these are very refined extracts that are quite concentrated, so you assured me of the potency. Tell me about the results that people are getting from these supplements. Have you had any feedback, or have you performed studies? I know that even gold medalists are part of your program.
[01:33:17] Ally Perlina: Yup. Precision supplements is a completely brand new program. We just started it, and we’re going to do all kinds of studies to report our results, but until this moment in time, for all these years we’ve been recommending off-the-shelf branded supplements before we started making our own, and that’s a completely different type of setup as you can probably imagine. You’re limited to only what is formulated and commercially available to suggest to people. We would still operate on the level of nutrients. Look for any supplement that has the following ingredients, but we have no partnerships or we don’t endorse any brands. We don’t even talk to them. It’s completely unbiased. What that left us with is basically the impetus for this whole precision supplements program.
Yes, we’ve heard of some really good feedback and good results that we’ve collected and we have the numbers to show it, but they were so limited and hampered by our inability to choose to just get the nutrients from the available formulations that you need in the amounts that you need so you don’t have to take 200 pills if you don’t need them, and none of the extra stuff that comes with it that you do not need.
If you know that these are the only providers of this particular ingredient, and whoever makes the ingredient is selective about who they give it to sell the ingredient, then you’re stuck with whatever those providers formulate. If they formulate it with magnesium stearate, silica dioxide, and all of these different things in high amounts that are not good for you, there’s very little control you have. You basically cannot have the flexibility to just pick out the active ingredients in the best concentrated potent form without all of the extras, without the fillers, with picking the right sources and types of the capsule itself, or what should go in the stick pack. We just wanted that flexibility.
Even though we do have some preliminary reports to tell us that yes, we are on the right track with supplements, this program is completely new. We just launched it and are very excited about it, but that doesn’t mean that there is no evidence behind our recommendations. Actually, my team and I spent so much time on all of the different rationales and references so that even to the point that it could be overwhelming to some people because we don’t want to make it look like we just list some ingredients and we just think it’s going to be good for you.
We actually specify exactly which mechanisms of action are being targeted by these ingredients, and which scores are tied to these mechanisms of action. We also give you this bibliography that tells you, okay, it has been shown that this ingredient has antimicrobial effects.
For instance, for you, Ashley, you have some of these oral microbes, which are not necessarily pathogens, but they get into your gut and they are overly active. They’re more than you would like them to be. That means that maybe some of the nutrients that solve your stressors’ types of pathways that also have antimicrobial effects would be great for you. We try to shoot most birds with fewer stones and give you just those nutrients that you need. You have ginger, I believe, in your foods, and you have mastic gum in your supplements—among other things—that have some of the beneficial polyphenols and carbs. But also have the antimicrobial effects that you need to keep these populations of microbes at bay, and the other ones that are also responsible for the biofilm and chemotaxis types of pathways.
We try to address all of these different things giving you exactly why this is recommended for you and giving you the references. It’s the summary that you don’t get anywhere just by googling an ingredient. You’ll get some high-level things. But in the actual recommendations for every food and supplement ingredient, you’ll see exactly why it’s recommended for you.
Back to the eight capsules topic, it’s actually the dosage that is very custom-tailored to you. Just because everybody gets eight capsules does not mean that everyone gets the same dosage whatsoever. Actually, everybody gets a completely different dosage. So cherries are something that has actually already worked well for you. For you it’s 879 milligrams in your supplement mix of this cherry powder, other people will only have maybe 300 milligrams of cherry powder, and many people won’t have any of the cherry powder. You need the cherries and not just because of the uric acid and other of the pro-inflammatory pathways, but because it also helps to feed some of your microbes associated with beneficial metabolic fitness pathways. That’s one of the scores that you need to improve.
In every single one of these nutrient explanations, you will see what scores it helps improve, it also helps with your cellular stress, and then basically why you need to take them and the evidence is there. For our program, we will show in more formal clinical studies what the evidence will be, but for now, the evidence for every single one of them is there. The dosage is there to fit perfectly within eight capsules the things that are most important for you in a dose-dependent way to address your biology.
[01:39:03] Ashley James: I love it. I’m so excited. Ally, do you take the supplements that Viome creates?
[01:39:09] Ally Perlina: Oh, I take everything. I’ll try anything twice.
[01:39:14] Ashley James: I mean, you’re part of this system. You’re the Chief Translational Science Officer. Who came up with your title at Viome? Did you come up with that?
[01:39:29] Ally Perlina: It’s a team effort.
[01:39:32] Ashley James: it’s a team effort, I bet. When you first started taking your own supplements based on your unique Viome results, what did you notice? Did you notice anything different at first when you started taking them?
[01:39:50] Ally Perlina: Yeah, the ways that stress and inflammation manifest in my body are headaches. I’m such a headachy person. I’ve had headaches since 10 years of age, and I have all kinds. The works, basically from migraines and some of the hormone-related ones to things that I think are more because of my protein fermentation issues. I do eat animal products and things like that. I’ve gone through phases in my life when I went completely vegan and vegetarian and somehow I keep going back to having more of a variety including the animal products in the diet. I think that I’m actually not doing well for myself with those things. When I take bromelain and some of the protein proteolytic types of enzymes, I notice that it helps me. It does better for me even with headaches and things like that.
Also just in terms of stress, and I do have a little bit of a histamine thing coming and going depending. I had asthma as a kid, so when I take quercetin along with other things, I know that’s one of the ingredients that seems to make me feel better. Without it, it’s not the same. I do notice that some probiotics, I swear they do make me feel—I get itchy eyes. I don’t have it all the time, but I get itchy eyes from some probiotics. I don’t want to give any probiotics bad names, but there are some probiotics that have even been published to cause a bit more of this histamine sensitivity, or even in the gut, they bring about like the Th17 response. Which for some people could be good because with just a little bit of inflammation in the colon environment, you will stimulate the rejuvenation and proliferation replenishment of colon cells, which you need for your gut lining to be young and active. But if too much of that happens, then you don’t want to elicit that response.
I’ve learned a little bit from all kinds of trials and errors, and I try branded supplements too. I try so much, I rotate them, I forget them, I order new ones, and I try our own, and I try all the packets from our suppliers, obviously. I noticed that some of the probiotics just cause a little bit of the itchy or whatever response in me, and some things will illicit headaches. If I have too much B12, I’m done. I can have just excruciating tension headaches, debilitating ones.
[01:42:37] Ashley James: This is when you take over-the-counter supplements, not your unique Viome supplements?
[01:42:44] Ally Perlina: Actually, for me, if I take too much B12 from anywhere, I’m going to be in trouble. But having said that, methylcobalamin is much better for me than cyanocobalamin for B12. And I hear that’s also true for other people. So the type of formulation, the chemical formula that you pick to get your active ingredient in is also very important. The source, where you derive, what is the natural source of the supplement, how is it extracted, how is it prepared, what are the excipients in the formula? Are there any fillers used? Is the capsule vegan or vegetarian? What’s it made of? All of those things actually play a role.
Yes, it’s very important to make sure that all of that is well selected and quality control because not the same B vitamin is the same in all the sources. But just in my example, with B12, I just know that if I take too much B12 some people think that more is better and it clears because it’s water-soluble it’s no problem. But I’m really sensitive to it and I’m sensitive to some of the bifidobacteria. I just am and other people are not.
[01:43:55] Ashley James: That makes a lot of sense considering if you had the MTHFR expression mutation snip. I’ve heard it called different names, but basically if you have MTHFR issues that non-methylated—sorry?
[01:44:16] Ally Perlina: Sorry, just some polymorphisms that can come up that make those issues more or less—the variance in your DNA that can make you a poor metabolizer or not.
[01:44:28] Ashley James: Right, polymorphisms. Thank you. I was reaching for that terminology. Do you know if you have the MTHFR polymorphism?
[01:44:39] Ally Perlina: Not the kind that’s well documented. More like benign, not the kind that’s really debilitating. I get messed up with B12, whether it’s methylcobalamin or cyanocobalamin. Too much B12 messes me up.
[01:45:00] Ashley James: Can you see in your Viome readings? Is it a gut thing? Is it a microbiome issue, or is it something else that has you specifically sensitive to B12 when taken in excess?
[01:45:19] Ally Perlina: I’m not sure, that’s a mystery. But I have read on some, just browsing reviews of commercially available products that have high dosages, there’s always a subset of people who gave one star who say, oh terrible headaches. Of course, it’s a subset so the product can still have high ratings. But if you go to the one-star reviews, especially for products that have 45,000 reviews, you get a really nice sampling. So you get to see those people who really suffered, what did they suffer from? Except my package didn’t, pills were broken, that’s the usual. That happens sometimes.
[01:45:52] Ashley James: Right. What were their symptoms?
[01:45:54] Ally Perlina: Yeah, that’s how I learn. We really try to do our absolute best to do no harm. Even when it’s something that is not a known medically-documented fact, we still all do our research—going to Amazon and other things. We have our PubMed phase, which is the bulk of it. And then with my team, we actually have this thing—we call it like the industry market perspective research. When we’re done doing our sciency, geeky stuff, and then we put it aside, and everybody in the team owns their condition and owns their ingredients and say, for your ingredient, your condition you own. Now go to Amazon and then search all of the reputable brand products where there are tons of reviews and search the one-star reviews and see what people are hurting from when they’re taking this product. Because maybe, it could be related to the active ingredient, maybe not, but it’s good to be aware of that.
That’s part of the research that we do. You got to do it. That’s the reality check because you may have PubMed saying how great everything is, but then what if you’re about to give it in a certain default dose for a certain score or biological area, and then you see actually all the bottles that happen to have it above one something milligrams have more reviews reporting like debilitating headaches, your eyes twitching, or insomnia.
There’s a lot that talks about palpitations, by the way, that has to do with ginkgo, ginseng, and some hidden caffeine sources and things like that. Some people are sensitive to it, some people are not. The fast metabolizers can be sensitive to just about anything. Just a little bit of that can make somebody feel really wired and not able to sleep. People even have anxiety sometimes. It’s good to see those reviews, and it’s really revealing.
Then you go back to PubMed and you search all the different results reports from either case studies or actually broader types of research work, and then you realize, aha, now it makes sense because it puts it more in the sciency geeky way again. But what prompts it sometimes is actually people’s anecdotes and personal reviews. It’s really important to keep that reality check and the perspective of how people actually feel so we don’t do any harm.
[01:48:13] Ashley James: I love that you go and use the reviews as market research to collect data. That’s so smart. I’ve actually done that. I’ve actually looked at one-star reviews of supplements myself. It’s very interesting to collect that information and then wonder why. Why is there a percentage of people that have this issue where the large majority doesn’t, but there’s going to be a small percentage that do? Why is that? And then digging deeper. I love that you did that.
You are so in touch with your body. You’ve figured stuff out. So you’ve had headaches, and now the root cause. Have your headaches diminished, or do you feel like you completely have control over them now that you have implemented your Viome results and you take the supplements that are recommended by your Viome results?
[01:49:13] Ally Perlina: Well, yeah I think it really helps, I just don’t always do my best. Sometimes it’s the basic things like I don’t go outside, drink enough water, or something, and that can mess you up no matter what.
[01:49:32] Ashley James: Wait a second, you’re human? You ate a big piece of chocolate cake last night, what?
[01:49:39] Ally Perlina: I don’t have a sweet tooth, thank goodness because then I would be even more in trouble. I mean, I eat anything and I try to be more mindful of what’s good for me. And I know, by the way, for me I cannot do raw broccoli. I mean, not so well or raw cabbage, but I can do the sauerkraut. I’m okay with that, also not too much. But our servings, actually if you see the one you have on superfoods for sauerkraut, it’s not actually a really high amount. That’s why for you, with all the fermented and probiotic type of components, it’s really good. Same for me. I’m actually the same way in that regard.
I cannot do really high amounts of raw cruciferous vegetables, but if it’s sautéed like the brussels sprouts and things like that then they do better. I actually feel better. I feel really great with kale. I can do spinach, you can do spinach too by the way because your oxalate pathways are fine. You have the microbes that help you process your oxalate, which is you’re not as likely to be facing gallstones or kidney stones as some people are who don’t have that extra helping from the microbiome actively processing oxalate.
I know what I need to do. I’m just saying it’s a matter of me knowing how to control all this stuff and then me actually taking control on a daily basis and sticking to it. That’s a little bit harder to control, but I do my best. I know exactly and I’m guilty of being my own enemy.
[01:51:14] Ashley James: I love that you brought up the oxalates. So my friend Naomi and I—she went whole food plant-based after I did, but I was easing into it and she went 100% overnight. The two of us have shared wonderful meals together, and we even film ourselves cooking in the kitchen together. We created a membership called Learn True Health Home Kitchen where we teach all kinds of delicious meals that are super wholesome. She got a scare because she realized that she was eating a ton of spinach. We became a little obsessed with a few of these dishes that are so spinach heavy and so delicious.
In between the huge amount of spinach and kale she was consuming, there began a concern in her family about how much oxalates she was consuming. I don’t think she’s ever had a stone. She’s never had a scare of a stone—kidney stone or otherwise—but of course, we hear about this. We hear that spinach is healthy but you shouldn’t eat too much of it because it’s high in oxalates and you could get stones from it. She never had any symptoms. I kind of laughed because I’ve gone through phases where I ate pounds and pounds of spinach and I’ve never had any problems. It is interesting that my microbiome processes it for me so that I could manage to eat a lot of spinach on a regular basis.
[01:52:47] Ally Perlina: Not a lot, not a huge amount.
[01:52:49] Ashley James: Okay. Eat a nice bowl of it. I’m lucky to have never had that problem, never had stones—kidney stones or any stones in my body. I’m quite happy that I haven’t had it.
[01:53:05] Ally Perlina: Good, that’s great to hear.
[01:53:07] Ashley James: She hasn’t either, so the two of us who have been heavy on spinach at times in our lives have not had that problem. I wonder if she also has that same aspect in her microbiome where it helps to process oxalates. Whereas other people may not and they may be super sensitive to spinach and just have to avoid high foods with a lot of oxalates in them. It’s interesting that we could look at that and we could see why some people get kidney stones and others don’t. It could actually be their gut biome, which is one of the contributing factors to preventing kidney stones. I mean, that’s fascinating, right?
[01:53:54] Ally Perlina: Absolutely.
[01:53:56] Ashley James: And there’s so much we could talk about, get into, and understand how the body works in relation to the metabolites the microbiome is producing.
[01:54:07] Ally Perlina: Right. Speaking about microbiomes, we didn’t really talk about probiotics. Well, we talked about some of the potential side effects. But some of the probiotics ones you have I believe like lactobacillus rhamnosus gg. There are different strains of it, but some of the strains that you have are actually known to counter the sulfide gas producing activities in your gut. It’s like the microbes that you put in as probiotics can also counter the effects of microbes that are already in your gut.
Instead of always thinking of let’s say just getting that nutrient to manipulate the pathway, to take something away, or to supplement with something, one of the things we supplement with is this specific lactobacillus is just one example. But there are also microbes that actually help counter ammonia production in the gut that happens to be activated by other things you do like protein fermentation that you have. You have ammonia production and sulfide gas production, and these microbes will counter the effects and the activities and suppress the effects of these other microbes that are engaged in these pathways making the sulfide and ammonia.
All these things we do explain in those narratives the explanations, but I think that’s very important to be mindful of because it’s slightly a new science. The effects are stemming from that all the way to the hypothalamus-pituitary axis. Also, you brought it up several times in the conversation, but the endocrine balance that’s a whole other story altogether. We see the connections with microbes and then your own cellular health and foods from the endocrine perspective as well. In some cases, you need more of the hormone boosting type of microbes like Tribulus Terrestris, and I think you have that one. There are also other nutrients that we have that boost some of the specific hormone levels or just help you modulate them. In a way, they help the body adapt and tune to its own best levels.
Then there are those activities that we see where microbes actually go and recycle some of the estrogen metabolites into more powerful potent forms of estrogen, which could be great for women who are entering menopause or postmenopausal but may not be so good for people who don’t need even more estrogen because that can contribute to some of the sensitivities. It could contribute to weight gain, it can be pro-inflammatory, it could even potentially be carcinogenic.
We can see those pathways, and then we can see in the blood side—we’ll come out with those scores really soon in the near future to actually show it to the users as well. We will see if on the blood side we see a lot of this androgen receptor or estrogen receptor ESR1 hormone stimulation of the transcription factor program that then turns on a lot of the different cellular signaling pathways. That is something we can see from this blood test as far as the Health Intelligence Service. Then that can be modulated appropriately with some of the nutrients that we have.
Then when it comes to the foods, for instance back to cruciferous vegetables, you might know that you don’t want to have a lot of those if you have an underactive thyroid like hypothyroid function. That is something that traditional regular western medicine has accepted I think for a while because even for those who have hyperthyroid people who need to lower the activity one of the drugs, I think that’s one of the older drugs that used to be given, maybe still is given. Now it’s called PTU, propylthiouracil. It was actually made from an extract of cabbage. It’s one of those components, among others, that makes cruciferous vegetables responsible for lowering the thyroid effects.
It’s basically one huge interwoven circle cycle complex system there that we’re deciphering at the moment.
[01:58:29] Ashley James: Right, interesting. Some functional medicine doctors have shared with me on the show that they do not limit cruciferous vegetables for their hypothyroid patients. In fact, they don’t see any difference if they have their patients eat it or not eat it. They think the benefits—for those whose microbiome can handle it—of cruciferous vegetables far outweigh any thyroid diminishing effects. It’s interesting to look at. We have to myth bust at every turn these old beliefs that have been the health system for so long. We have to come back with a fresh look and go, is this true for everyone? Is this true for every hypothyroid case? Especially when we can take our Viome results and look at someone, okay, you have a hypothyroid but it shows that you actually do really well on cabbage or broccoli. It would be very interesting.
[01:59:40] Ally Perlina: Right, benefits outweigh the risks, in which case you may have some. Maybe it’s still not going to be a bucket of broccoli that for some people could be good, but I agree. You could also do it in different ways with steaming, without steaming, and figure out the way that works best for you. The fermented cabbage could be better than raw cabbage and all these things.
[02:00:00] Ashley James: Right, absolutely. There’s a well-detailed questionnaire that we fill out after we mail in our test kit. One of them is asking what supplements or medications we’re on. Do you take into account people’s medications when creating the individual supplements to make sure that they don’t interact with each other in a negative way?
[02:00:28] Ally Perlina: Absolutely. Especially for supplements, we needed to make sure that we work it out absolutely right. We still, of course, put a label that just like with any dietary supplement, if you’re on medications and have certain medical conditions, you need to consult your healthcare professional. We’re not trying to replace the need for medical guidance, but at the same time, we’ve taken care of all of these different interactions.
For people who are let’s say on SSRIs and some MAOIs, they will get tryptophan for instance not on their list or it would be an avoid food equivalent, but for supplements. It’ll be on their to avoid. In terms of nutrient recommendations, they won’t get that. Then for people who take ACE inhibitors, there’s going to be a specific potassium limitation or avoiding potassium in people who take blood thinners, vitamin K, and many other rules. People who are taking metformin and statins, will get extra priority to make sure we get them the CoQ10 or PQQ that they need to make sure that they replenish that mitochondrial energy production activities and all these things. We take all that into account.
[02:01:57] Ashley James: Yes. Over 20 years ago, I was put on Metformin and it made me sick as a dog and I immediately stopped taking it. I had every symptom. Anytime I have a client that’s on medication, I like to go down the list of all the side effects of the medication just to make sure they’re not experiencing it because it’s very concerning. I’m a health coach, I’m not a doctor, and I always tell my clients that you definitely want to work with a holistic doctor like a naturopathic physician that’s licensed to be a physician because they have a deep understanding of how the body works and also how the body interacts with supplements and medication. I’m really concerned that doctors do not sit down with their patients and really scrutinize over every symptom that appears after they get on medication.
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with where they tell me they’re on Metformin, for example, and I say, okay, let’s just go through and read the actual list on the Metformin website of the complete list of potential side effects. I had a client in the hospital for eight months with acute appendicitis caused by being on Metformin. That in rare cases, Metformin can cause appendicitis. She lost over 80 pounds because she could not eat. For over a year, she could only con sip tea and bone broth, and this was all stemming from.
Now, this is, of course, a rare event, but medication can, in some cases, have a detrimental effect. I’m really looking forward to the day when like Viome, the pharmaceutical industry could make a unique and realize that based on your DNA and based on all of your body’s biology, that Metformin would be a horrible drug for you because they could tell. Could you imagine the day when they could make a special exactly what you need? Oh, your body just needs this pathway and needs this just to go in this direction. We could incorporate holistic medicine so much smoother just like Viome is doing.
But anyway, I’ve had several clients who realize that they’re, after talking to them and going through the list, if you look at what Metformin does—I mean, we’re picking on Metformin as an example but it could be any pharmaceutical, over-the-counter or prescribed drug. That one of the side effects is hypoglycemia and another side effect is hyperglycemia. What they’re taking to treat could actually exacerbate, in some cases. But you’re right, any medication we take can reduce nutrients in the body because it’s something that the body has to metabolize.
In the case of cholesterol medication, either cholesterol medication depletes the body of CoQ10, and it is mainstream knowledge that those who are taking—now I do not know why they don’t just put CoQ10 in with the cholesterol medication, but they have to supplement with CoQ10. I think that people should supplement a lot more CoQ10 than they’re told to take. But Metformin depletes the body of certain nutrients. Magnesium is a nutrient that is often depleted by many over-the-counter and prescribed drugs.
[02:05:25] Ally Perlina: Exactly, yeah. And B vitamins.
[02:05:28] Ashley James: B vitamins, exactly. Selenium or glutathione. We’re looking to help bring the body back into balance. We want to go to medicine because we’re sick and we want to feel better. In some cases, it’s a matter of life and death and these meds are going to save our lives, and in other cases, we’re going to the wrong doctor. The doctor that’s not going to actually tell you how to heal or reverse disease, but just going to put you on a med to manage certain things but are going to have a bunch of other symptoms pop up. This is where I get so frustrated because medicine should be personalized like Viome provides.
I love that you guys do take into account the medications people might be on, the supplements people might be on when constructing their unique supplements for them. Is there any feedback that you’ve gotten? I know it’s a fairly new program. You guys have really bet-tested it a great deal. Is there any feedback that you’ve gotten from taking the supplements that are specifically designed for people that just pops into your mind that you’d love to share?
[02:06:36] Ally Perlina: You know what, let’s table this for when you have taken yours and we will have more feedback from people just like you who’ve already experienced this. Because I don’t want to stretch it based on one-off internal examples or anecdotes from ourselves, basically. It just won’t be a fair representation of information.
[02:07:00] Ashley James: I’m curious. I want to know what everyone in the lab because I’m sure all of you guys are your own guinea pigs, and I want to know. I know that Naveen has shared his results and his wife’s results and how amazing—they’ve had such a great experience. And of course, everyone in your lab is having fun experiences. Okay, I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to having my own experience with the individualized supplement for me and then coming back and talking more about it.
This has been so much fun Ally. We could really talk a long time, and you did touch on several times that the metabolites that come from our microbes—based on what we feed it—can actually stress the body to the point of cancer, could create carcinogens, and could even increase unhealthy estrogen levels, which is absolutely linked to breast cancer and in men is linked to prostate cancer.
[02:08:00] Ally Perlina: Yes, androgen pathways of all different kinds actually. That can come from the microbiome, not just estrogen.
[02:08:08] Ashley James: And they say, statistically, one in three people—the average standard American diet eating person—will have a diagnosis of cancer in our lifetime. My mom died of liver cancer, my dad died of heart disease—two major illnesses that we look to correct with diet and prevent with diet as well. Anything you can share about how Viome can help people to live so healthy or correct certain things in their life that we could prevent cancer?
[02:08:41] Ally Perlina: I guess this is not surprising if it comes as an answer from me, but we really just invest all that we got, not just from our own brains and expertise, but from all of the published clinical trials in literature and from the internal studies that we have to empower you with actionability in your hands. You don’t have to yourself, or your Naturopath or any other doctor read 200,000 pathways because even ourselves—as uniquely positioned as we are—we’re not doing this manually day in and day out. It would be impossible to keep it unbiased and objective.
What we do is we pour every single bit of actionable information and insight into our entire infrastructure that gives you these recommendations for foods and supplements. I mean that’s part of a mission. That’s always been the driver in my mind and my heart. What I do is to make sure that we can scientifically power the medicine, and that stems from specific functional areas that we cover today to the overall wellness, and illness prevention, and longevity. It stands to actually revolutionize, not only the wellness space but also how we approach pharmaceuticals, not just nutraceuticals. Because we do collaborate with pharma, and we’re going to do more of that. That is something that brings me back to the eight years that I spent working with various top pharma in the world to help understand these pathway outcomes of drugging different targets.
What are some of the off-target effects or opportunities for repositioning from one disease to another? And also, what makes one person respond to Metformin, for instance, quite well, whereas other people have quite detrimental effects. What can be done to ameliorate that? Anything from companion diagnostics to adjuvant therapeutics and new therapeutics can actually come from this platform that we built because it all comes back to the molecules.
If your molecules are telling you that from the microbiome this is what’s happening, from the blood side this is what may impact your hormones, your health. This is what the immune system is stressed. Then you know these intervention points, which can be targeted with not only food or supplement nutraceuticals, but it can be targeted with actual drugs that can be already in development, or it can be a new generation of drugs that are made with this information. I feel like that’s just part of the bigger future vision.
As for now, I think that this is for wellness. Taking the holistic approach, which we’re all very passionate about food and supplements. If you get these tests, get familiar with your body, and don’t shy away from grabbing this knowledge and seeing what it can do for you. Being more in tune with the information and with what your body needs. Because the more you get into it, the more prepared you will be to really shield yourself from various conditions and to augment this whole healthspan and lifespan. As you know, we have this aging score, which is a unique thing and a relatively new thing itself that you can also track over time and see if you are getting younger. You’re younger than your chronological age, so congratulations on that.
[02:12:38] Ashley James: Thank you.
[02:12:40] Ally Perlina: But that’s also one of the things. It’s a very important area called longevity. You think it’s one area but actually, to extend longevity—like a healthy lifespan, that means you need to address all possible illnesses and prevent them or reverse them in order to prolong human health. Longevity is not actually just this one area just like any one disease. It’s actually getting all the diseases, plus helping you stay at your best, your optimal, and your youngest feeling and looking. That’s longevity, it’s all the diseases taken care of and then some.
So now, we have—more than ever—this mechanistic insight into aging, and we publish that. I will send you actually the links to this publication and our glycemic response prediction, which is part of our recommendations that we discussed before. I’m very excited about it because our machine learning efforts—very proud of our AI—it’s given us something that our data science group actually proposed for us to look at. My group, the translational science, we looked at it and was like, oh my goodness, this is a gold mine. The things that go up with age are those things that are more of the pro-inflammatory microbiome activities.
Like methane production, some of these gas production pathways actually happen to be going more and more and more pronounced with aging, so more associated with age. It makes sense because it can be harmful for your digestive system and therefore can contribute to your aging. Therefore, for some people who have really high methane production pathways—it’s not the only thing, but they may also sometimes see a less favorable aging score. But what’s fascinating is that we’ve seen the T cell deterioration and senescence, and all kinds of other types of gut-neuro and not so gut neurofunctional decline signatures as part of both GI—the gut intelligence, and also the blood transcriptome test features that were part of these pathway and functional knowledge nuggets within our aging model.
When we looked at what this AI machine learning model produced and we really dug into those features it was like these—sorry for the noise. When we look at all the features, it’s like the mechanisms of this multi-functional, multi-system progressive decline started to just resurface in a new light. I’m quite excited about what we can do and to see how that score—along with all the others that are on a functional level telling you what’s happening—may change when you take not only food recommendations into account now, but also take our precision supplements.
I think we should probably have a follow-up because so many new things were just delivered this year. The Health Intelligence Service, this aging score, and now the precision supplements. They’re so new. They’re all built on the foundation of something we did before, but they’re so novel and new that I want to follow up with closing that loop. Maybe in a few months.
[02:16:12] Ashley James: Okay, sounds great. You say new, but it’s by no means not supported by science. You’ve beta-tested it. There’s a lot that’s gone into it. It’s years in the making, and now it’s finally available to the public, which is very exciting. It’s everything you’ve built upon like you said. It’s new that it’s now finally available to us. Because I’ve talked to you guys several times and learned more about Viome. It’s something that’s been built upon for years, and I love that at the core of Viome is just a bunch of really geeky scientists that are very experienced and very excited about this. As am I, I’m very excited about it.
I love that you guys do your own studies. You’re going to give me links to some of the studies. But you’re constantly tinkering in the lab with a lot of guinea pig people, which is really exciting. One study I’m particularly excited about—we’ll wrap up the interview by talking about this because I’ve taken up so much of your time. I’m so thankful you’ve been so generous with sharing with us. This is the cutting edge. I don’t fully know if everyone completely has grasped how cutting edge this is. How unbelievably amazing this is.
This would have cost over 10,000 or more even something like six or seven years ago to have these tests done in such a detailed way. This is something that Naveen talked about in our interview—episode 441, but that because of the AI, it’s something that people can afford. You might have to save up for it, but it’s equivalent to a lot of other lab tests out there. Just the cost of it is something that the majority of the market can do, which is exciting because it’s giving us access to information about ourselves, which is absolutely revolutionary. The fact that then we can take that one step further and look at a list of specific food extracts, of superfoods supplements—based on hundreds of thousands of pathways—understand why our body uniquely will respond in an excellent way to those foods specifically or those supplements specifically. And then why we should avoid others because of the metabolites that are created. Whereas other people could thrive on our do not eat list. It’s so brilliant that this is really going to be the key or the answer, that missing piece of the puzzle for many people who have been seeking health for so long.
Now what I love is one of the studies you did was you did a continuous glucose monitor on a group of people, and then you took in a detailed account of the food they ate and how their body uniquely responded based on a glycemic index. I’ve read the book The Glycemic Index Diet. It was created by a cardiologist in Toronto who noticed that he actually had some patients completely reverse heart disease by changing their diet, and that got him really curious. He went through and saw that some foods will metabolize very quickly into sugar. You can eat fruit, it would metabolize quickly, whereas something slow like a complex starch would take longer. But I thought that everyone would react to potatoes the same way. I just thought, okay, it’s on the glycemic index here and everyone reacts to it the same way. You guys found something very different. Share with us.
First of all, how many people were part of the continuous glucose monitor study, how long did you do it for, and what were the results?
[02:20:17] Ally Perlina: Well, the whole study, it took us like a whole year to actually carry it out. That’s also part of the enrollment. For several months, it was several hundred people, and a total of I don’t know how many tens of thousands of meals ended up being tracked. We actually tracked the sleep and all of these things as well. We looked at their glycemic response. Every 15 minutes there would be a reading that gets electronically taken basically by the glucose monitor. In the end, we analyzed all of this data. Our AI team I did all these great analyses and built our own machine learning model so that we can predict if a white potato is good or bad for you, or the yams are actually good or bad for you. Because there’s this never-ending argument. Which ones are more glycemic? Good or bad in terms of glycemic.
Being overly glycemic is something that you want to avoid. The more of these spikes you have of sugar spikes the more you’re on the track to insulin resistance. Your insulin sensitivity really starts to diminish with those types of patterns. You want to avoid that. Also, this whole insulin resistance is part of a bigger inflammatory pattern that a lot of times just goes hand in hand.
Long story short, as a result of the study, we have our own model. And as features of the model, those things that the model takes as input, we have all the different levels of the data. The gene expression, the microbes that are active, and also some of the scores like scores that assess your metabolic fitness pathways and some of the inflammatory pathways. They can go on with their own outcomes for each individual once we process your sample along with other features to help us tell you if a banana is too glycemic for you or not. Because if it’s not, actually it has some inulin, and it can feed your butyrate producers to produce more of that beneficial short-chain fatty acid for you. But if it’s too glycemic, then you might see bananas on minimize.
And then for potatoes, actually, potatoes can really enhance fecal and bacteria and [inaudible 02:22:47], which is another beneficial microbe that’s a butyrate producer. You don’t have that available as a probiotic, so you can’t just take it. Plus, as you know, probiotics don’t always stick around or colonize well. You want to be able to promote these beneficial microbes and their beneficial functions by having the right type of diet. For some people, white potatoes—I mean, not deep-fried of course—may be quite good. But for those people that have this predicted glycemic response outcome by our model that says it might be too high for you, they won’t see the white potato in their enjoy or superfood list.
those are the types of things that help us personalize with much better precision. And it’s very true about the berries. It’s quite interesting. For some people, strawberry, raspberry, or blackberry maybe on the minimized list because of the glycemic response, versus for other people, they have no predicted high glycemic response and they actually feed your akkermansia, which for you is good. That’s part of the reason you have all these berries—the strawberry, the blackberry I believe, and the cherries as well. Akkermansia is good for metabolic fitness and usually is associated with a leaner phenotype. Also, some of the berries—and you have pomegranate—feed some of the ellagic acid metabolizers that take ellagic acid and can turn it to urolithin A, which is a very powerful antioxidant that you would benefit from if you feed them those berries versus others don’t. Plus, we also discuss the uric acid production and mitigating strategies with the sour cherry. For some people, it would be too glycemic so you cannot have it. But we will try to mitigate it with other strategies through food or supplements.
Taking all that into account, just to summarize, just another example that came to mind, what if you do need help with overall insulin sensitivity and sugar control issues? For some people, they cannot have some of the berries or they cannot have some of the beneficial prebiotic type foods. But let’s say in supplements, we can suggest that for them, berberine might be good because it has sugar-lowering benefits. If you have these microbial opportunistic activities and some pathogens or the oral microbes, maybe for those people, berberine is especially good because it has antimicrobial properties. Whereas in food, you will get slightly different things recommended for you.
And then another example that I think Naveen likes very much but I think it doesn’t even know that it came from my personal anecdote as well is with strawberry—just speaking of berries—may not necessarily be just a glycemic issue. It could be for some people that it’s histamine inducing, because it’s histamine inducing, you may not reap the rewards that strawberry has to offer. But you may get a lot of the anthocyanins and fisetin, which is a senolytic and basically anti-aging compound. Back to the whole longevity topic, you can get that as a supplement in your nutrients. In a way, that’s your super ingredient. You take it and extract it, then you don’t have to deal with either glycemic or histamine promoting properties of strawberry.
That’s just another example of personalization. The supplements are there to literally supplement what you can and cannot have in terms of the foods, and on both supplement levels, it’s really this beauty of this systems biology dynamic interplay that we can see with our RNA data that we address because it’s many-to-many. You could see many reasons why something can be avoided superfood for you, and many reasons why you may need a combination of foods and specific nutrients in your arsenal of this nutrient diet and recommendation plan. You have your own precision food and supplements that are made for your unique biology.
There’s just no simple way to summarize it all or display in like five bullet points because it is years and years of work that’s based upon years and years of knowledge and evidence, and this new data that makes it all possible. I really truly believe in that. As we come up with more studies—we’re constantly working on a lot more than we got a chance to cover—I will be happy to talk about it and then send you links for all of the things that we put out there so far.
[02:27:45] Ashley James: Wonderful, exciting. For those who don’t have blood sugar as a concern, although one-third of those in the United States—and similar for other countries that follow the similar diet and lifestyle of those in the United States—have pre-diabetes or are diabetic type two, meaning more of insulin resistance, more of a problem at the cellular level not at the pancreatic level, which is type one. But the problems at the cellular level utilizing insulin and metabolizing carbohydrates, and there’s a lot that goes into that. There are 16 minerals required to make insulin work correctly with the cell and when they’re missing—chromium being the major one, vanadium being another—that insulin cannot work correctly with the cell.
And then there’s evidence showing that eating a high-fat diet from oil or animal products actually promotes insulin resistance. Those that cut out oil, cut out animal products, see almost within a week increase in insulin sensitivity. I mean, all this stuff is coming together. Like you said, it’s not just one thing. And then we have to take into account the metabolites created by our unique microbiome based on what we’re feeding it and those metabolites will have an effect on the blood sugar and on our ability to metabolize the blood sugar.
But looking at, why is it important for people who are not even remotely diabetic or pre-diabetic, and that is that Dr. William Davis, who I interviewed all the way back in episode 167—it feels like a lifetime ago—he’s the author of Wheat Belly and also the author of Undoctored. That was a great interview because he explains that he gets people—in order to heal heart disease and reverse it and even prevent it—he has them monitor their glucose and everything they take in.
Let’s say you do not have any diabetes at all. And even what you did with the continuous glucose monitor, if someone could wing that and get their doctor to prescribe them one. But he has them eat a meal, write it down, and then one or two hours later take their glucose and see—even though they’re not diabetic—how does their body react two hours later? Is their blood sugar 140, 130, or is it 97? Where is it at?
If you eat a meal and then you see that two hours later you still have high blood sugar, even though you’re not diabetic, he says you got to look at what happened in that meal. What is in that meal and you need to write that down? Are you able to dial in your meals and eat foods that then you see a beautiful blood sugar, a nice rise up and then down, and the body comes back into balance?
You notice that you can maintain your blood sugar in a very healthy way, then keep eating those meals. He says that has for him has been—and of course, he says everyone should avoid barley, wheat, rye, and in some cases oats. He’s able to help people reverse heart disease and prevent heart disease by making sure that even those without diabetes have healthy blood sugar, and have a healthy glycemic response to all the foods they eat.
Your specific, based on your study, when someone gets the Viome kit from you and gets their own results, some of the foods they’re told to avoid or to minimize are because their unique body and their unique metabolism microbiome will have a high glycemic reaction to those specific foods. Thus eliminating so much of that guesswork, and also setting them up. If they follow the Viome results as best they can—because we are human—they could be preventing heart disease and other diseases because they’re keeping their blood sugar in balance as much as possible.
That’s really exciting that these are the biomarkers you’re looking for, and you’re looking to promote as much health as possible. Not looking to replace doctors, but really looking to change the health system by diving deep into the individual’s needs. That was such an eye-opener for me because I thought based on—I loved studying the glycemic index diet—everyone reacts to potatoes this way, and everyone reacts to strawberries this way. Not true. What a wonderful revolutionary study that you have published that you’ve done. That then you can take all that information and put it into the Viome experience as someone goes through.
I highly recommend listeners go to viome.com, use coupon code LTH, get the listener discount. Get the test kit, it’s really fun, and it’s such a great experience. The question that I was left with is how many times a year do I do this kit? Should I do it once a year? Should I do it every four months? If I take the supplements that are recommended, eat the diet that’s recommended, how much should I see change, and when would be the best time to then test again? So that, okay, don’t eat bananas, or now you can eat bananas. How many changes when you get the retest and how often should people retest in order to achieve optimal health?
[02:33:45] Ally Perlina: That’s an important question to cover because many people say, okay, well I don’t want to be bothered to do this too often. I also don’t want to miss the changes that my body goes through as I follow the recommendations. We used to say every quarter, so basically three, four times a year. I think that may still be a good idea for the first year, or maybe just two times a year may be enough because we don’t want to make people feel forced or burdened by multiple many, many times a year testing. Although some people like to get all of the digital data on their biology so they retest many, many times a year.
Just as a rule of thumb I’ll say for the first year, if you’re especially going through a lot of changes, then at least two times would be good. And then from that point on, unless you just experienced something, you had a surgical procedure, or you had a huge change either huge good or huge bad—hopefully not bad. But when you see that there are some really big changes in the environment, you’re trying a completely new lifestyle or whatnot, then you might want to retest just to get the before and after and see what it’s doing to your body so you don’t miss that moment of changes. But in general, twice a year would probably be a good overall benchmark to aim for. Does that make sense? One more part of the question that I didn’t answer is how much change do you expect?
What we’ve noticed from our just internal observations is that when what we recommend for you to do is not that different from what you’ve been doing, so down to specific details like what do you use to target your TNF alpha or whatnot, that may change actually. But if the ultimate outcome is there is this action, this action, this action that you’ve already had covered with your food and supplement before whether you knew it or not, or if your diet is very similar like you did not eat animal protein or almost did not before, and now it’s the same with the Viome diet. You did not eat milk products or dairy altogether, now it’s the same, then your changes will not be maybe huge and drastic right away.
Whereas those people who were eating drastically different diets before, got the recommendations and said, I’m going to change everything about my life. I’m going to follow this and this is a huge difference, then you do see more of the difference in their microbiome and their human blood transcriptome happening because you would always anticipate that. You know that there is a link between molecules in the food and your supplements and the molecular patterns in your body. When the change is drastic, you’re going to see the change reflected in your body as well. You would expect to see more, and that’s what we see.
If you’re more or less the same, then it will just take longer to move that needle, especially on these bigger aggregate scores that cover hundreds of pathways, and it may take a little bit longer. But that’s okay, we still see those changes. Just keep up the good work. Some scores don’t need improvement and they’re not in the red zone, but you want to still get the more perfect score, or you want to maintain a good score that you have. That’s why you should follow these recommendations. Just because you don’t see earth shattering huge changes doesn’t mean that it’s not good or it’s not working.
Testing a couple of times a year and expecting some changes because RNAs is dynamic and it helps us to be as dynamic as you are, but expecting them to be basically in a way dependent on how big is the change that you’re implementing with Viome recommendations. That’s how big of a magnitude of a change that you would be likely to see, and that’s how fast it may or may not come.
[02:38:10] Ashley James: Exciting. Well, I’m excited. I’m excited to see this unfold. We’ve already had several listeners share in the Facebook group those who have been working with you and implementing results for a while shared that it has been amazing. They’ve gotten great results, something as simple as removing one food and adding in a few more can be life-changing for some people, but they just didn’t know and they didn’t know the science behind it. And then also, by following your system, by following the unique recommendations, it is going to alter the microbiome in a sense and create a more hospitable environment for the gut, for our hormones, and for everything. It’s exciting.
Thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all this information. I can’t wait to talk with you again in a few months after I have been on your supplements for a while, after I’ve really had a few months to incorporate. I’ve been incorporating the results of the feedback that I got from the Viome test for the last 17 days already. I am not bloated. There were times when I really couldn’t pinpoint what meal it was that I would feel like my belly button’s about to pop off. It would come and go, but I always felt like I had lots of energy. Everything was good, it’s just that was that one last piece.
I haven’t had that problem in the last 17 days, and that’s very exciting. I can’t wait to try the supplements. I’m so excited to hear from more of the listeners who are going to go to viome.com, use coupon code LTH, get the test kit. And then when they get the results, use coupon code LTH again to get the supplements and try it out. Come to the Learn True Health Facebook group and share your experience with Viome and share your experience with following the product, their recommendations, and what happened in your health.
Just the fact that you’re able to now control your headaches that were a lifelong problem and so many people suffer from migraines that aren’t able to just put their finger on it. If they could get this information, what quality of life changer that it could be for so many people. The aches and pains that people have can go away because of the metabolites that the dysbiosis in their gut is producing based on what they’re eating. Their aches and pains can go away. This is so exciting that the quality of life will really go up.
It’d be interesting if you could—maybe I’ll just put this in your thinking cap for you to gnaw on. What if we could somehow measure the quality of life index? Some kind of improvement score based on the quality of life—a decrease of pain, a decrease of inflammation, an increase of energy. And there’s some way that you could score to see—over the course of a year, for example, that someone was working with Viome—how much of an improvement in the quality of life that they were experiencing. Have you thought of doing that?
[02:41:20] Ally Perlina: Yes, absolutely. We have these things called progress questionnaires, which you will probably see and you can fill them out every week. Some people fill it out less frequently, and you also have a bigger questionnaire when you re-test. After several months when you want to repeat the testing and you order your new kit you will also tell us about what things changed.
Some of the things that we put into the questionnaire are actually some of those known standard medical questionnaires that are used by different medical systems. Alternative medicine, Naturopathic medicine, and integrated functional medicine are specifically geared at assessing your overall satisfaction with life. It’s just different compilations of different questions that actually make up the core of such known questionnaires that have been validated to do exactly that. It’s just a matter of actually coming out with the final ultimate score, and somehow displaying it or communicating it back to our users. That would probably be great at closing that loop.
I really like that you put that thought in my head because we’re actually reworking our questionnaires right now. I know it’s a lot of questions, we all know that. We’re trying to make it a little bit more smart and savvy on how the user experience goes with that. This could be a great time that you brought it up because we may think of how best to deliver some of the outcomes back to the users of what we learned about their progress and how we see them tracking along. Because for some people, they may not see improvements in scores really fast, but they may start feeling better. For others, it’s fascinating, they may not feel better. Some even feel worse in the beginning. It’s hard to change so much and stick to the new diet. But then we see after several months their scores improve.
It’s very interesting to have the biological metric as well as the overall wellness and lifestyle satisfaction metrics that we want to be able to analyze and meaningfully communicate back. I believe that would be a great way to close the loop.
[02:43:39] Ashley James: Exciting. Awesome, well thank you. I love hearing about all the work that you do. I just geek out on it. It’s just so exciting just imagining where we’re going to be 10 years from now, 50 years from now because of the work that you’re doing. Do you ever think about that? I know you and I could talk forever, this is going to be my last question. But do you ever think about the future of medicine and how you and the work that you do with all of the wonderful co-workers in your lab that you guys are going to help shape medicine?
[02:44:18] Ally Perlina: Yeah, all the time. That’s basically the big mission. We all come from different walks of life, but the same mission that Naveen actually puts out there as our tagline it’s in a way my mission and mission of people in Viome is to make illness optional. It just sounds like it’s too grand and huge, but you got to take some steps on how you’re going to get there. If you don’t have a route even planned out at all, then you’re never going to get there just because you’re going to say it’s too ambitious of a goal. We actually imagine that it will get us from the wellness space to something that gets more accepted by the healthcare systems that hey, this is actually really important. It’s changing people’s lives. We’re going to be showing this in as formal of ways as needed with double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials, which we already have geared up.
We’ve launched supplements, now we’re getting into the more formal trials. I’m not going to say disrupt, but at least augment, enhance, and add to the health care system. One is from the health care practice, the other one is back to pharmaceutical industries like I said because you need to understand what drives these different patient cohorts to respond or not respond because that can be a make or breaker for the next big drug that can help people. But what if it only helps 45% of people marvelously, and some of it is actually defined by your microbiome-driven or the human cellular pathways that you can measure? And 45% would do just absolutely great, but the other—more than half the population—may not do so great. If you figure out what are these culprits and what are the different ways from food and supplement to help the future pharmaceutical trials succeed, that would be a huge breakthrough.
And then the ultimate breakthrough is to have new engineered probiotics and prebiotics that help us modulate our health and completely new chemical pharmaceutical compounds. Maybe it’s a small molecule, maybe it’s a monoclonal antibody, that is designed having this information in mind that is the ultimate next step. And then doing it in an integrative and again, biologically informed ways because we already know that. The medical system knows that there’s no one drug that fits all perfectly. They almost just don’t exist, or the ones that happened to exist. It was more like a lucky break and still, people have these side effects that we all know about.
To actually take control of all that, you have to embrace the complexity you have to actually figure it out. I feel like we’re at the cutting edge of this and we’re as close as anyone has ever come to this point in the world. When it comes to envisioning this life may be a decade from now, I think that first of all, people will be a lot more informed. The medical system will be a lot more equipped with these latest scientifically and technologically powered methodologies to serve you best in your health journey. The pharmaceutical companies will also adjust their ways and embrace these new perspectives to design new drugs and improve the drugs that maybe have failed at some point before. And all of that is to bring the different levels together to give you these ways to extend your healthy lifespan and reverse your already existing conditions with molecular level precision.
[02:48:03] Ashley James: I love it. Ally, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us. You’ve been so generous with your time. And this is the cutting edge. We’re hearing it first here.
[02:48:21] Ally Perlina: Thank you so much.
[02:48:22] Ashley James: We’re willing to throw the old system out and help reinvent this new system that is more specialized, more personalized, and you guys are working on that. Thank you. This is awesome. Please, listeners, go to viome.com, check it out. Use coupon code LTH and join me in finding out exactly what you should and shouldn’t be eating and supplements specifically for you and just see what happens. You never know. Even if you feel healthy, you never know. You could be taking it to a whole nother level just like Naveen shared in his interview. He and his wife were pretty healthy, and then it was like oh my gosh, that was health? I can’t believe it. This is like a whole new level. It’s quite exciting
I am very much looking forward to the coming months and seeing the results that I personally have as well as hearing from all the listeners. You’ve said so much already. Is there anything that you’d like to say to wrap up today’s interview or anywhere you want to point us, any directions you want to point us in?
[02:49:28] Ally Perlina: I just want to basically say that you should keep learning and seek the kind of knowledge that will empower you to take control of your health. I think, Ashley, what you’re doing is just absolutely wonderful, you’re brilliant at it, and you’re so curious and you should stay curious. You’re teaching others how to go about this. I actually appreciate that you said, my listeners, they want to know some of the geeky details. Maybe some will want to know even more so don’t hold back, and some may skip through this and that’s okay.
I like that you’re encouraging this, so you have this attitude of why don’t you reveal a little bit more of the interesting facts that really make it what it is. What’s it like to take this approach and then have it make a difference for your health because if you don’t understand it, you don’t seek to, and you don’t make people curious about it, then they’re not going to be as empowered because they won’t know. How does it matter? It’s all the same, or it’s all you never know what’s really right. Tomorrow it’s going to be wrong. But then when you really, really start to understand, it’s like you feel more in control because knowledge is power.
I just want to say good luck on your health journey and, thank you so much for sharing this and for encouraging your listeners to be part of this journey of actually improving their knowledge, their health, and really taking true control of it. I’m not going to say just point you to one place and go to viome.com. You already did a great job about that. There’s just so much unbelievably interesting fascinating information, and you can start by even googling something that is related to you, that’s fine. But read the journals, read the news, stay informed, and stay curious. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and give up. Just little by little, we’re all on this journey together. Every day we’re learning something. None of us have everything figured out. We don’t have all the answers for everything. We’re all learning all at our different levels one step at a time.
I just want to say, thank you, Ashley, for doing this. I just want to encourage people to keep at it and go along in your wellness and your learning journey together with you, Ashley. Thank you so much for having me here. I really enjoyed spending this time with you.
[02:52:03] Ashley James: Awesome. Thank you too, Ally. Stay curious.
[02:52:09] Ally Perlina: That’s right.
[02:52:12] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today’s interview. Be sure to use coupon code LTH when you visit viome.com to get the at home test kits. After you get your results with a test kit, then you can order their custom made supplements. I definitely encourage you to just try it for one month and see what changes you notice. I was very surprised at the changes I noticed in such a positive manner. And then all the science behind it and how much information you get about you specifically and how your microbiome and your mitochondria are working and how you can work with them to support your optimal health. It’s just absolutely so fascinating how much unique information you get from this test kit. I highly recommend checking it out.
So use coupon code LTH at viome.com and then come to the Facebook group and share your results. We’d love to hear and learn from your experiences and learn from other listeners’ experiences as well. Have yourself a fantastic rest of your day and enjoy the holiday season.
Get Connected With Ally Perlina!
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Dr. Vienna Lafrenz And Ashley James
- What remote Biofeedback is
- What therapeutic ultrasound is
- Self-love and healing
- Emotion has a huge impact on healing
- Different modalities for healing
- How food choices affect our body and mood
Did you know that you can get remote healing? In this episode, Dr. Vienna Lafrenz shares how she helps her clients heal by using different modalities. One amazing tool that she uses is the SCIO machine, which works through remote Biofeedback. She explains what the SCIO does and how it helped her clients. What’s fascinating about Vienna’s healing approach is that she helps her clients heal holistically—emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and energetic. She explains that if we don’t have self-love, it hinders us from healing fully, so having self-love would be the first thing that needs to be worked on to heal.
Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. You’re in for such a ride today with Dr. Vienna. I can’t wait for you to hear today’s episode.
You know, there are 53 days left until Christmas if you’re listening to this the day I publish it. If you’re listening to it later, Christmas is just around the corner. I love giving holistic presents to my friends and family. I’m going to tell you a few that I absolutely love.
The Magnesium Soak, you can listen to my interviews. Just type in Magnesium Soak at learntruehealth.com and listen to those interviews. Absolutely amazing. Kristen Bowen, I think she said she was 97 pounds, having 30 seizures a day, in a wheelchair, and unable to talk. Now, she’s in perfect health. One of the biggest things that helped her was her magnesium soak that she sells on her website, livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Be sure to use the coupon code: LTH when you go to her website, livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Coupon code: LTH.
I love the Magnesium Creme. I love the Magnesium Soak. You put it in a foot bath or put it in your bathtub for you and your kids. I also love the Magnesium Muscle Creme, which is amazing for aches, pains, and tension headaches. That absolutely must be on your Christmas gift list, your holiday gift list.
The other great gift I love giving my holistic friends is ENERGYbits. Go to energybits.com. Grab a few of the bags of ENERGYbits for your sister, your mom, your best friend. They’re fantastic snacks. Kids love them too because they make your tongue turn green or blue, depending on whether you get the chlorella or spirulina. They help to detox the body. They’re filled with readily available protein and tons of vitamins. I think I have seven different interviews about chlorella and spirulina, specifically about the ENERGYbits brand. I’ve interviewed the founder of that company.
There are only two companies I know of that do not contain any lead in their chlorella. If you buy some over the counter, go to some health food store and buy chlorella, there’s going to be that little warning on it that says, in the state of California, this causes cancer. That’s because there’s actually lead in those bags of chlorella. But in ENERGYbits, in their chlorella, there’s zero because of their process of how they grow their crop and how they then turn the crop into little edible tablets.
So listen to my interviews on the Magnesium Soak with Kristen Bowen. Listen to my interviews about algae, the healing benefits of algae, and how it’s such an awesome superfood snack to carry around with you. Listen to my ENERGYbits interviews and use coupon code LTH at energybits.com and coupon code LTH at livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Those are two amazing websites to check out for your Christmas gift ideas. I always use coupon code LTH.
I try to get companies who I absolutely love and adore and recommend to always use the same coupon code. Just always try coupon code LTH on all these health websites, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you get a great discount. Awesome. Enjoy today’s interview. Come check us out in our Facebook group if you haven’t already. We have such a supportive and wonderful community. You can ask your health questions there and support the other members as well. Just search Learn True Health on Facebook and come join the excellent community of very supportive holistic community there. Awesome. Have yourself a fantastic rest of your day and enjoy today’s interview.
[00:03:41] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 450. I’m so excited for today’s guest. We have Dr. Vienna Lafrenz on the show, a Ph.D. in Integrative Medicine. Vienna, you and I met through my friend Jennifer Saltzman. You have a beautiful clinic. Oh my gosh, just a gorgeous clinic in one of the most beautiful parts—remote parts—of Washington state. You’re near is it Republic, Washington? Is that where you’re near?
[00:04:21] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes, I’m actually in Republic.
[00:04:25] Ashley James: That was Republic that we drove to, okay. Gosh, it’s so beautiful out there. You’re just in probably the most beautiful part of the world. I just couldn’t believe it. It’s hard to drive the car because you just want to stare at nature, the mountains, and the scenery the whole time. It’s really beautiful. You have this gorgeous clinic and what a gem in the middle of nowhere to stumble upon you and all the work that you do.
You gave a Biofeedback treatment to our son. That was amazing, the results we saw. And then I was quite sick back in February—just fever, gasping for air, burning lungs, sore throat—the works. I was just suffering for days. I did telemedicine with my Naturopath. I was on all kinds of supplements, and then you did a remote session with me. This was days into just high fever, sore throat, really burning lungs, and hard to breathe. At the end of the session, it was like the suffering had ended. My fever broke, and I slowly recovered after that.
About a week later, I was back to my normal self, but that was the point where the suffering ended. I thought that was really interesting. I’m always kind of skeptical but open-minded about things we can’t see like oh, energy work. Long-distance energy work. We can’t see it. I don’t think I could say it’s placebo because I didn’t believe in it. I’m like, okay, I’m open to it, but I didn’t have a strong belief like yes, no matter what, I think this is going to work. Because I w
as sitting there suffering pretty badly or lying there pretty badly, and it was quite amazing that for a few hours of the session, I felt my body shift into super healing mode.
That was my experience with it, but I’ve actually talked to others who have experienced the type of remote feedback that you do, including Eric Thornton, who I’ve had on the show several times. Everyone I talked to that has experienced the SCIO, which is one of the machines that you use, have all told me that they’ve had incredible results.
I’m really excited to learn more from you today about what remote Biofeedback is because I’ve had a personal experience. I’ve seen my son, I’ve talked to others. What a great tool to have in our tool belts especially when we’ve exhausted all the other resources. We’re eating healthy, we’re taking our supplements, we’re getting plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and walking. But if there’s still something not getting better in our health, we should absolutely look to energetic medicine. I’m really excited to dive into this.
Before we dive into what remote Biofeedback is, specifically the SCIO and the work that you do, I want to learn a bit more about what happened in your life that made you want to become a Ph.D. in Integrative Medicine and work with people using these types of therapies?
[00:07:52] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, I’m glad you asked. Prior to that, I was an occupational therapist for 30 years. I was working in nursing homes. I was traveling all over the United States. I was a consultant where I worked for the largest rehab provider in the whole United States. I would go to all these different nursing homes, hospitals, acute care hospitals, long-term care hospitals, all these outpatients, and things like that. I would go to where they needed me, and basically it was where either clients weren’t making progress and they were plateauing, or where business was really short, the therapists were having a hard time identifying clients, or just knowing what to do with them.
They would call me in and I would spend the week there. During that time, I would consult on the clients, I would teach the therapist. They’d be sitting right there with me while I’m working with the patient, and then have them do it so there’d be a return demonstration so that the client would get better and they’d be able to go home. I would also spend that time doing some continuing education where I would provide courses that I would teach and things like that, and I loved it.
About 10 years into my OT practice was when I first got involved with reiki. I learned reiki from a reiki master. That just opened up the whole new perspective of what energy is and how it works. How you can do distance healing, and how you can change somebody’s energy just either hands-on or remote. That opened up my eyes. Then I went into aromatherapy, then acupressure. So it just started developing, I started going to all these courses, getting certifications, and things like that.
I started implementing that into what I was teaching through OT, through all the places that I’ve been going. I really specialized in pain management, so I would bring different modalities from the eastern world of medicine into the western side and started to integrate those two. When I started doing that, I started seeing a huge improvement in the clients’ outcomes and how they were responding in the healing process overall.
[00:10:13] Ashley James: You were using reiki, which is energy work, and you’re using essential oils and acupressure. Acupressure is a form of energy work in a sense that you are stimulating the nervous system, but also, you’re stimulating the meridians, which is more of an energy work. You could even consider aromatherapy, although aromatherapy is herbal medicine. There is an energetic frequency component to it. Along with your many years of experience and rehabilitation as an occupational therapist, you’re bringing in this energy work and herbal medicine to your—is it the senior patients that you were working with already?
[00:11:05] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes. At the same time, I was teaching the therapists how to use this information. See, when it came to the acupressure, I also used ultrasound, electrical stimulation, infrared, and all different types of modalities that we’ve always used in therapy in OTPT. We’ve used those types of types of modalities in our practices. Bringing those into the eastern world as well was really nice because a lot of people have a fear of acupuncture because of the needle. Whereas with ultrasound, you get the same result as if you’re using a needle.
[00:11:48] Ashley James: Now, when you say ultrasound, just to clarify—I apologize for interrupting you. The listener might not know this but because you’re on satellite internet, there’s a delay. When we talk there’s a delay, and sometimes we sound like we’re interrupting each other. We don’t mean to be. When you say ultrasound, could you clarify because a lot of people think ultrasound is imaging and not. That it’s actually using deep heat or a wave of energy that creates heat in deeper tissue.
[00:12:19] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: This is considered therapeutic ultrasound. It does not diagnose like when people go in for an ultrasound to find out if they have a baby or not. This is actually called therapeutic ultrasound, and there are two settings. There’s a heating setting, and there’s a non-thermal setting. The one that I use with the acupuncture points is a non-thermal. Basically what it is is there’s a little sound. There’s like a little crystal within the sound head that vibrates and so it creates a frequency. That frequency then interacts within the person’s energy and it gets the energy to flow through blood, through lymphatics, through the nerve system, through the musculoskeletal system, and through all of those different systems, and it gets it to move.
How it works with the acupuncture point is that when you use acupuncture as in a needle, you have to be very precise where the acupuncture point is. With the ultrasound, because there’s this sound wave that is vibrating within the sound head, when you get it over the acupuncture point, it will either flow into the body or release the energy from the point. It’s similar to when you’re using a needle. You either tap it or twist it to get the result you’re looking for. Whether you’re trying to push energy into that point or whether you’re trying to release it.
I use the non-thermal, which doesn’t go deep into it because the acupuncture point is so superficial to the skin that you don’t have to go deep.
[00:13:58] Ashley James: Fascinating. Tell us about these results that you started seeing. You’ve got these clients. Have you been working with them for a while? You were traveling, were you always working with new people, or did you come back to the same patients? And then what kind of results did you see when you went from just regular occupational therapy rehab to occupational therapy rehab plus energy work, acupressure with therapeutic ultrasound, non-thermal with essential oils? When you added those three modalities in, what kind of results did you start seeing?
[00:14:39] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, first of all we started seeing results right away, I mean during that session. What I mean by that is and actually, because I was an educator for the company, I was able to go to so many different types of continuing education so I could actually open up my toolbox and have as many tools available to work with clients as I needed. It was wonderful. I got my myofascial release training. I got some craniosacral lymphatic. You name it, I was able to get all these different types of tools in my toolbox. I just started implementing them every time I would learn something and master it.
When I would work with a chronic pain patient, for example, I’d be just into the facility for the first time, meeting this person for the first time. The therapist is giving me as much information, I read the medical record, and then I start to work with them with the therapist. Literally, I would say 98% of the clients that I got to see while I was traveling would show an immediate, if not significant improvement, within that first session. Which is why it started becoming so popular for me to come to different locations and help some of the most sick or chronically disabled people.
What evolved from that was just an excitement within all the therapists that we have other tools that we can use. We have other theories, we have other philosophies that we can implement. It also stayed within their scope of practice. They were able to expand their scope of practice within their scope and get the best results that they could from their clients.
[00:16:19] Ashley James: Can you remember early on a specific client that had this incredible before and after that you can share with us?
[00:16:31] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes, it actually happens to be one that I reiterated in my book. This was a gentleman, I want to say he was in Indiana. He was there because he’d had a really bad stroke, and he was combative as well. When the caregivers would try to help him, he would just either strike out or just get really angry. Part of it was because his body wasn’t working the way he wanted it to, and he would get really, really frustrated with it.
[00:17:11] Ashley James: It also depends on where the brain damage is because brain damage can cause that kind of erratic behavior, anger, and outburst just depending on where the inflammation or damage is in the brain, right?
[00:17:24] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Absolutely. Within this particular situation though, he was becoming more frustrated with the fact that his body wasn’t doing what he wanted it to do to the point where he didn’t like his body anymore. He wasn’t finding that he could even rely on it to do what he wanted to. As a general, he’s used to commanding things and wanting things to work like they’re supposed to. When his body was giving up on him, he was extremely depressed, frustrated, and took it out on everybody. It was preventing the healing process of where he needed to go, and he wanted to go home. So they called me in.
I had the therapist show me exactly what they’ve been working with him. I actually have a certification in what’s called NDT, which is neurodevelopmental treatment. It’s a specialized process for people who’ve had strokes or any kind of neurological deficit. I went to go work with him. While we’re getting him to do certain things and perform certain tasks, he starts getting frustrated and he starts yelling. He starts yelling at his leg and he says, “See, it’s worthless. It doesn’t work. It’s broken. I just don’t need it anymore. Just cut it off.” I’m like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute.” Basically we just stopped right there and I just said, “I need you to repeat this phrase for me.” I said, “I want you to repeat, I love my body and my body loves me back.”
Well, okay, so imagine this general. He’s looking at me like are you crazy? Seriously? He does this very sarcastic I love my body and my body loves me back. I’m like, “Not good enough. Say it like you mean it. And he goes, “Okay, well I love my body and my body loves me back.” And I went, “Okay, really mean it.” And I leaned into him and I looked him straight in the eye and I said, “Say it like you really mean it.” He literally started to cry and he goes, “I love my body and my body loves me back.” And I said, “Now let’s do it.”
We started doing the same exact task we’ve been trying to do over and over and over again and failed and he succeeded. I mean to perfection. He was like, “Oh my gosh, this is crazy. Can we keep going?” I said, “Absolutely.” So we perform that task over and over and over again, which is of course creating muscle memory and also decreasing the neurological exchange that’s going on, that is a deficit. He sits down on the mat completely exhausted, and he’s like, “You’re a miracle worker.” And I said, “No, you are. Once you started to believe in your body and to love your body back it rewarded you back by saying it loves you too.”
Why I bring that up is because that’s one of the things I’ve learned throughout the time that I’ve been an integrative medicine doctor as well as a therapist. It’s the mind, it’s the emotions, it’s the psychological, it’s the mental that gets in the way many times, and if we don’t look at that whole person and address all of that, then we’re not going to get complete healing. You wouldn’t learn that until you go through energy work, until you start to learn some of these different modalities and different methods to help people heal. We can’t just heal the physical, we got to address the whole person.
[00:21:19] Ashley James: That is so true. We cannot just address the physical. We can’t just take our bag of symptoms to a doctor and get given drugs. That’s not health care. That’s disease management, that’s sick care. Health care is really holistic care, looking at emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and energetic. Getting that they’re all connected, and there’s not one that’s more important than the other. They all need to be addressed and they all affect each other. Sometimes, when we’ve tried doing physical and we’re not getting results, then we need to look at energetic, spiritual, or mental, and emotional, and come in from that angle as well.
[00:22:08] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yeah, his mind was getting in the way. That’s one of the things that I would say that 85% of the clients that I see currently, truly there’s an emotional and a mental deficit that is preventing them from healing. Part of that is the knowledge and the belief system that they can heal themselves, that they have that potential.
[00:22:36] Ashley James: Especially if they’ve been told by an MD, this is the way it is. This is as good as it’s going to get. You can’t heal. I was told by an endocrinologist when I was 19 that I’d never have kids, never. I was told by MDs that I would have diabetes the rest of my life. I can’t even tell you how many countless times I was told by medical doctors that I would always be sick. This is as good as it’s going to get. We’re going to manage your disease with drugs, and there’s no hope of a cure, no hope of getting healthy. And if you believe that, then all your behavior is going to reinforce that. Luckily, I go against the stream. I’m one of those stubborn people, and I’m going to completely do the opposite. I was like I’m not going to believe you and I’m not going to let my unconscious mind believe you either. But we have to catch ourselves.
[00:23:33] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: I’m going to prove you wrong.
[00:23:34] Ashley James: Right, but we have to catch our belief system and go what is in my belief system that has me sick, that has me staying sick, or has me not looking for answers?
[00:23:47] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Like I was saying, about 85% of the people who come to me, they come to me after they’ve been to every single specialist there is and every single one of them say there’s nothing wrong with you. Here’s a psych eval. Go get a psychological evaluation because there’s nothing wrong with you. We can’t find anything wrong with you. Yet this is a person who is showing up with so many chronic diseases of autoimmune, of thyroid, of lack of appetite, depression, anxiety. I mean you name it, and then of course, hearing that they don’t know what’s wrong with you only adds to the anxiety, only adds to the hopeless despair that is being created. I get a lot of that.
[00:24:33] Ashley James: So people come to you after, it’s kind of like you’re their last hope. Luckily you have a bag of tools to address everything—all the different angles. And you have a lot of experience with working with—I don’t want to say hopeless cases but people who feel like hopeless cases, or people who the medical system has given up on them, or they’ve fallen through the cracks, or they’re sick of being sick and they’re sick of just being drugged and just having their symptoms managed instead of actually getting better, actually getting healthier.
There you were working with all these tools, realizing that there was a psychological, spiritual, and energetic component to rehab, to healing, in addition to all the physical manipulations that you can do to support people in their healing. What next? I love that reiki was your gateway into all this because reiki’s awesome. I’ve been doing it since I was like 16 years old, I think. What happened next that had you go fully into becoming a Ph.D. in Integrative Medicine?
[00:25:44] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, the difficult thing for me was as an occupational therapist, you had to always have an order from an MD to do what it was that you wanted to with a patient. When they don’t believe in what you’re doing, then oftentimes, those orders wouldn’t be approved. Therefore, you couldn’t deliver it to that client or to that patient. If you say you want to do essential oils for pain management, they’re like well there’s no science in that so no, we’re not going to do it. Or there’s no science in the acupuncture, acupressure, or anything like that. We’d get turned down a lot of the services that we wanted to provide, and so that was very discouraging because I knew that these modalities would actually help these clients.
When I would see that happen a lot, especially with particular physicians or something like that, I would always invite them to come and observe a session or let me teach you. Let me show you exactly what this is about. Or I’d say give me your worst client that you have. The one that you’ve either been struggling with for pain management or something like that and just let me do what I do and then you can tell me whether you find that this is valid or not.
In fact, I’d have some of the physicians come and attend some of my classes, and they would stay afterwards and I would show them because they’d say there’s no evidence that these acupuncture points exist. I said, “Yes, there is and let me show you.”
[00:27:19] Ashley James: It’s only a 5000-year-old system of medicine. No evidence—5000-year-old system of medicine.
[00:27:28] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Exactly. I would hook them up with an electrical stim unit and allow them to feel the acupuncture points. When they would be over an actual point, they would feel the intensity move up their finger as they’re tracing the meridian. When they would go over a master point, which is an extremely powerful acupuncture point, the intensity would go up even higher. Then they’d be like, “Oh my gosh.” And I said, “Follow that meridian all the way and they would feel every single point.” And then they’re like, “Okay, okay, okay. I get it, I get it. Who did you want to see?” So they would start giving me the list.
That got me to start thinking about what I want to do? It all started with my niece who she was diagnosed with a very bad cancer, a tumor in her brain. It had been misdiagnosed for almost a couple of years. All they kept looking at were the symptoms. She was having pain in her head, she’d have weakness, she’d have some issues with cognition to where she would forget where her classes were, which when you’ve been going to school for a couple of years at the same school you don’t forget where your classes are. She’d have a hard time concentrating. She’d have some visual deficits and things like that that would just show up.
They kept treating her as if she had allergies, if she had sinus infections, or things like that, and they would just give her medications. Until the day that one whole side of her body went paralyzed and then of course parents took her in the emergency room, instantly got a CAT scan and they found a tumor about the size of a grapefruit in the back of her brain. She instantly went in for surgery and I loved her surgeon. This neurosurgeon was amazing. He had the best bedside manner. He was really, really good.
She went through the surgery, they got about 98% of it out, and then she was a candidate then for chemo and radiation. They got enough of it out but it grew so fast that she never got to have that. I mean, she did take some radiation and stuff like that but the side effects were so horrific.
[00:29:52] Ashley James: Of the chemo and radiation?
[00:29:55] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: The chemo and the radiation. She was basically on every kind of trial there was to try to overcome it. Every single one of them just failed and made her feel worse. She gained over 150 pounds because they put her onto a steroid, that steroid just packed the pounds on her, and she basically became immobile. She basically was stuck in her bed for the last, I’d say, six months of her life. This was a very active, vibrant, vivacious young girl and to see this happen.
I would go down to her house every weekend for the whole two years that she was sick, give her mom some relief, and just have fun with her. I would use some of my modalities. I would use some of the reiki. I would use some of the acupressure. I would use some of the aromatherapy with her and found that she was getting some really good relief. She wasn’t having the nightmare. She wasn’t having the painful episodes, the difficulty with cognition, things like that, and it gave her some quality of life. So that in itself told me that this was working.
After she had passed, she did pass away when she was 18. She actually passed on her mother’s and my birthday. We consider that her new birth, but that actually got me motivated to want to do more and to use more of the holistic way of healing. I started looking for universities. That’s when I decided to go back to school. I want to say I was 54 or 52 when I went back to school. I thought you’re never too old to go back and get your Ph.D., just do it. So I did, and I’m so glad I did.
[00:31:52] Ashley James: That is so cool. Her death and her suffering, at the hand of the medical system, showed you that you really wanted to explore tools that could have helped her.
[00:32:15] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes, and as a Ph.D., I don’t diagnose and I don’t treat. I know that sounds strange, then how do you work with clients? Well, I don’t treat because when you talk about diagnosing and treating, that’s more of the MD side of things—the medical doctor side of things. When it comes to a Ph.D., I’m allowed to be able to identify energetic imbalances in the body that cause disease, and then train the body, train the person on how to overcome those imbalances or those that lead to the disease state.
I always make that really clear with my clients is that they get a little confused with the treatment part, but what I’m doing is training the body to return back to homeostasis. Training sticks, treating doesn’t. Treating is really just treating the side effects and it’s really just, like you said, a maintenance type of program. Whereas I truly feel that the training piece, which includes education of that client; which includes resources; which includes training the brain, training the muscles, and training the neurological system to do what it’s supposed to.
As a Ph.D., I’m allowed to do what I want to with my clients. I don’t have to have a physician’s order to do what I want to, and that’s what really drove me into the Ph.D. program was to be able to say what it is that I want to do with this client and not have someone telling me I can’t do this and manage it. That’s where the true empowerment came from.
[00:33:59] Ashley James: In studying integrative medicine, you have many tools now. You gave me the tour of your clinic—and in this room, and in this room, and in this room—you have a lot of tools, and it’s really cool. You can work long distances with people. You can also do work in person, if someone wants to come to Republic, Washington, which is a beautiful place. Do you feel now that you have tools that could have helped your friend? I mean, this is all hypothetical. But had she not chosen chemo and radiation, do you think you have tools that could have helped her?
[00:34:44] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: That’s hard to say because originally, I didn’t even know she was having any symptoms or anything going on with her until the diagnosis came. And at that point, it was so huge and so big at the time that it’s hard to say whether I could have. Now, with the remote Biofeedback, yes, I can work with degeneration, which is a form of the cancer and the use of the modality, but I’m not sure if I can actually say that I would have been able to cure her. I feel sometimes we have to go through a process. I know this is going to sound terrible, but I think we had to go through this process with her so we could learn how to live because that’s the one thing that she taught us was how to live. How to live while you’re dying.
She had this wonderful phrase where she said, she would always say that she had a really great sense of tumor versus sense of humor.
[00:35:55] Ashley James: Oh my gosh. That’s really beautiful. My mom passed away of cancer, and she did not do chemo radiation She chose not to. By the time they found it, it was end-stage. I guess she was just so healthy. When you look in Naturopathic medicine there’s an idea that we have a strong vis or the body has a strong will to be healthy. Some people have a weak vis or their constitution is weaker. Those who have a strong constitution, which my mom did, unfortunately, those kind of people will push their body to the point of breaking before they know something’s wrong, and that was my mom. She was healthy, healthy, healthy, dying of cancer. It was just like that—one or the other.
It was Easter of 2002, Easter came late that year, it was like late March. Easter 2002, she was having pain in her side, went to her chiropractor because she thought she threw her rib out during yoga. She called me and I was having the same pain. I’ve got that intuition thing where if someone’s injured I feel the pain in the same area. I called my mom and I was telling her about my pain. She’s like, I have the pain in the same area too, which is like the liver radiating and she thought it was a rib.
She goes to the chiropractor, the chiropractor immediately sends her—he’s such a good chiropractor—says, “You are going in today for an ultrasound of your liver. Something’s wrong.” She was in Florida. She got an ultrasound. That day flew to Ottawa, Canada, got into an MRI that night, and by that night was diagnosed with liver cancer. She passed away July 26 of that year. She was just doing some natural medicine, which the doctors actually think extended her life by a few months because of the size of the cancer and how it had metastasized to her lungs, her colon, and all these other areas.
But watching her go through that emotional process of knowing you’re dying, accepting it, and also—living while dying. Yeah, I can understand that. There was a lot of sadness and regret, and also a lot of love and surprise. She couldn’t believe how supportive my dad was during that time because my dad was always one of those people that’s just like, suck it up. You’re not sick. Stop telling your body you’re sick. Suck it up. He was by her bedside 24/7 and there’s so much love pouring out of him.
My mom never in a million years would have thought that he would be so nurturing, and he’s like of course, this is real. He never wanted to give any mental power to feed into an illness. When you have a fever, just tell your body you’re well. That was his thing, mind over matter. But she thought he would just tell her to suck it up. You have cancer, suck it up. It’s just really funny watching that they actually healed their marriage, and it was really beautiful to watch. There is so much love and healing going on.
Yeah, I can look at aspects of her final weeks and months and see the emotional beauty in it. We’re all going to die, and if we can gain those lessons, those learnings, if we can spread that love then, then that’s beautiful.
[00:39:52] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: She also knew where she was going as well. She had a very strong belief system. She was able to share with me what it was like, where she was going. That also gave her some of that comfort as well and that strength. What was so beautiful was just that she maintained her humor through the whole thing. She would make us laugh even when she was hurting. She also helped me understand how I can help others when they’re going through that process as well. Everybody has a to-do list, something that they’ve wanted to accomplish, something that they wanted to get done. That was my job was to help her with the things that she needed to accomplish before she passed.
One of those was we wrote letters to every single one of her family members that she wanted to leave information to, her friends and so on. When she was having some of those lucid moments where she could keep some make some really good language and express what she wants to, I wrote so quickly what it was she wanted them to hear and say and kind of her last memories of them. So on the day of the service, I was able to give those letters to each of these individuals, which was one of the greatest gifts that she’s given to any of them because she lived on. We recorded every session that we had together. We videotaped things, just so that we could share the memories.
She has two younger sisters that are twins. I interviewed her for all the moments that she was going to be missing like prom, graduation, and things like that that the kids would be involved in. I said, “Okay, so the twins are getting ready for their prom. What’s the day like and what are you guys doing?” I recorded that so that they could have that memory too because I know. It’s not just us that’s losing this wonderful person, it’s the family too. She got to live on, and she still does.
[00:42:06] Ashley James: And really, healing is about not just our body. We’re not just a meat sack. We have to look at the impact we have on others and our family and go beyond that. That’s really beautiful to take into account as part of healing. To take into account those around us that both impact our life and that we impact their lives. I love that idea of recording for future events. That’s really beautiful.
What comes to mind is Dr. Hamer’s work with Meta-medicine. Where do you stand on that? I’m sure you’ve studied that as one possible way of understanding cancer. Where do you stand on that now as a perspective with your experience with your friend who passed away of brain cancer?
[00:43:06] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, I truly feel like whatever the body creates the body can heal. When we have a virus such as cancer that invades our body, I truly feel we can heal it, and it’s on the way in which we approach it. With my niece, the way we approached it was the way that she was able to manage some of her pain and also to try to decrease that tumor as it was starting to grow is we started using visualization techniques where I said, “Okay, act like it’s a Pac-man and that Pac-man is eating that tumor.” She’d try it and then she would go, “Yeah, it doesn’t work.” I said, “What would work?” And she goes, “How about Alka-Seltzer? I’m putting this little Alka-Seltzer tablet in a glass of water and it’s just sizzling, and as it’s bubbling away it’s destroying the tumor.” I said, “Go for it.”
She was even using a form of meditation at that point. I feel like when we can actually identify that there is something foreign in our body, because we all know we have cancer that resides in our body. It’s just not active at this point. When we identify and it’s starting to show some symptoms that we do have it, then let’s destroy it through our body. Let’s identify it and use all the means we can.
I feel that that’s where this integrative medicine comes in is identifying it, using the body’s potential to heal itself, and to get rid of it. Some medications won’t work. I agree that sometimes we do want to use medications, and that would be in the acute episodes of a distressful situation such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, or something like that. Get people to a point where they’re stable, but now we have to take them off the medication.
I think that’s where we are not really doing what we need to in the medical field right now is getting people off the medications that got them to a point where they’re stable. Get them to a point where they’re able to manage it through their diet and do these drastic changes that need to happen in their lifestyle changes and then let’s get to work. But get them off the medications because we’re not designed to be on them.
[00:45:19] Ashley James: Yeah, no kidding. I know cancer’s a tough one because if we’re looking at everything that led up to it, the terrain of the body and the years it took. There are holistic oncologists and naturopathic oncologists and they say it can take somewhere up to eight years before it actually appears as a tumor right. Some cancers and some forms of cancer take many years to get to the point where the body’s gotten sick enough, worn down enough, or toxic enough to create that cancer.
There are different schools of thought like with Dr. Hamer’s work, the belief that that it’s an emotional event so jarring that the person could not comprehend or overcome it, and the body’s neurological and hormonal response to a major emotional event, which he did over 30,000 case studies on and was able to actually help some of those people reverse the cancers by working on the emotional component of what triggered it.
I’m sorry, I’m having a brain fog. I interviewed him, I’m having a brain fog at the moment. His last name is Dr. Simoncini in Italy. He believes all cancer is a form of candida basically. He’s been able to, with over 70% success rate, kill tumors—even brain tumors—by making a—and this is a great interview to listen to by the way for anyone who wants to listen to something just totally freaky. He creates a port, but he’s a surgeon. He creates a port going into the vasculature that feeds the tumor and then makes a solution of sodium bicarbonate, which he says everyone knows. Everyone knows that’s how you kill candida. You kill yeast with sodium bicarbonate solution.
He would just basically mix these two together in a very specific solution and pour it into the tumor. It’s not going to damage the body. The body just has a buffer system to bring up or down the pH as needed. But he pours this into the tumor and most of the time, that day or within days the tumor is dead—gone. He has over 70% success rate, which means maybe in some cases it’s not candida. But we’re looking at this, for these holistic doctors who have exceptional results with cancer, that on some levels, there’s an emotional component and people’s cancer goes away after that. On some level, we’ve heard of some people who had like skin cancer just completely fall off and go away when they used a concentrated form of cannabis topically. We hear these things.
[00:48:38] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yeah, Rick Simpson.
[00:48:39] Ashley James: Right, Rick Simpson oil. There are some great videos that are like 15 years old on YouTube of Rick Simpson talking about these or about 12 years ago. It’s all fringe because of course with the way our medical system is now, the only acceptable form of medicine in the United States and in many other countries that follow suit is surgery, chemo, radiation. But if we go to Europe, a standard form is also used, in addition to those. They also use hyperbaric chambers, ozone therapy, and hyperthermia. Those treatments are not allowed to be used by oncologists here, but are regularly used by oncologists in Europe with success.
And then we have the more fringe stuff like Dr. Simoncini putting sodium bicarbonate. Can you imagine if all the oncologists in the United States just started off by using sodium bicarbonate solution directly poured into the vasculature of the tumor through a port, just to see if that could kill it first. First of all, how many lives we could save, how much money the pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t make right. Unfortunately, there’s that money component.
But looking at this, there’s also a belief that tumors are related to parasites. Just this summer there was some great research that came out where they were able to isolate the microbiome of tumors. They discovered that specific tumors have a different microbiome than the rest of the body, and now they’ve started creating diagnostic tools that they can actually detect—either in blood or saliva—the microbiome of tumors. Specifically identify before the tumor ever gets big enough to show on a scan.
They’ll be able to detect the tumor because the microbiome, which then leads us to think if the body is so out of balance that it has these kinds of bacteria in it. The body’s like a petri dish. It’s going to give this bad bacteria a home. Is that the cause of the cancer, or does the cancer itself then create? What happens? Does the cancer create the microbiome? Does the microbiome create cancer? There’s so much to explore here, and we’re really limited in the holistic space because we’re up against the pharmaceutical industry that really wants to protect its dollars. But we have to be open-minded.
You have, at your fingertips, the tools that support the body’s ability to come into balance. You can work with nutrition, you can work with energy, lifestyle changes, detoxification methods. Your whole thing is not treating the disease but actually just supporting the body’s ability to come back into balance. Because if the petri dish of the body is so healthy, it cannot support the candida. It cannot support the parasites. It cannot support that disease from living in it. This is where we are. We have to rise above the pharmaceutical philosophy where they’re just treating symptoms, and come at it from your perspective.
Since you graduated and you became a Ph.D. in Integrative Medicine, you’ve been working with all kinds of amazing clients doing this kind of therapy. What have you been really happy to achieve? I know you don’t do the work, the person does the work. I get you’re not treating them, but what are you really happy about? With the results that your clients have received, what are you really, really excited about?
[00:52:34] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, first of all, to go back to what you were talking about, I agree with everything you said about the emotions, about the bioterrain, about parasites, and candida. I have found that candida has been a leading cause of many of the people that I see related to cancer. We started working on getting rid of the candida through diet and through different supplements and stuff like that, as well as through detoxing. Found that they started to show a decrease in those symptoms as well. I agree with everything you said.
Louise Hay actually talks about how emotions have a huge impact on our disease process and looking at some of the unresolved emotions that may be leading to those diseases and causing them. That’s one of the things that I always recommend to my clients is that they read that book, for example, because oftentimes, there is an unmet emotion or unresolved emotion that is causing some of this disease in their body.
But to get back to your question, yes, I have these resources that are available, and I love it. What I love the most about what I’m able to provide to my clients is giving them their power back. What I mean by that is giving them their power to heal themselves, to know that they can, to love themselves again—that’s a big one, to resolve some of those hurts, and to realize that we don’t have to always look for other people’s approval of who we are, what we’ve become. It’s really only our own approval of what we are doing, who we are, what we want to become.
I think because of the advent of social media and how much social media people are involved in and just media in general, we’ve given our power to so many other people that now they own our power. The medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, they own our power because they basically say, I can’t heal you unless you take this, or I don’t know what’s wrong with you therefore you need to have a psych eval, or all of this. Yet the power is within. We just have to help them find it.
That’s what I love when I see my client say, oh, aha. They have an aha moment or they go, so this is why, and then they resolve it and they’re feeling so amazing. All the symptoms that they were having are gone and they’re actually having a joyous life. Then they’re like is this supposed to be what it’s like? Because they’ve been living in this world for so long of lack, of feeling that they’re not worth it. One of the questions I always ask is what do you love about yourself? If it takes 10 minutes to come up with one thing that they love about themselves, we need to work on that self-love first because healing will have a hard time happening if you don’t love yourself.
That’s what I like the most is what I’m passing on to most of my clients is that ability to love themselves and knowing that it’s okay to do it. That you don’t have to do this brainwashing, and really work with the children now too. I am working with younger children and helping them realize to love your body, to love your mind, love who you are. Don’t let others turn you into somebody that you aren’t because of getting their approval, wanting them to be liked, or something like that. Just shine bright and live very comfortably in that light.
[00:56:28] Ashley James: Can you share with us some specific results that clients have achieved through working with you?
[00:56:38] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: How long is your show?
[00:56:44] Ashley James: Stories of success. Any that come to mind that you want to share.
[00:56:48] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, I actually have several. One of the first ones is a lady who had come in to see me mainly just because she just wanted to feel better. Really had no real specific illness or anything like that. Just didn’t feel quite herself and just wanted to feel better. As I’m doing my assessment on her and I’m reviewing her symptomology and the things that she wants, one of the first things I always ask is can I look at your tongue? As she’s sticking her tongue out I notice that half of her tongue is paralyzed. I’m like, “Interesting, what happened here?” She goes, “Oh, I had a surgical procedure. It was an endarterectomy and they nicked a nerve. Basically, this half of my tongue has been paralyzed ever since.” I said, “Well, how long was that?” She goes, “About three years ago.”
I went, “Really? And it hasn’t regenerated?” She goes, “No, they said basically, there’s nothing they can do.” She’d gone to speech therapy, she went to different things and nothing changed. I went, huh, okay. I’m thinking to myself, I’m going to look at that and see if I can address that with my Biofeedback. So I did, and I worked on her for a total of three sessions. After the first session she came back the next week and she said, “Is it my imagination or is my tongue getting better?” I said, “Well, let me look at it.” So she sticks it out and there is some movement. I’m like, it does look like it’s getting better, but I didn’t want to give her false hope so I said, “Well, I think there is some improvement.”
So I worked on her again, and the next time she comes back and she goes, “Oh there’s definitely some improvement.” I said, “Show me,” so she showed me again. The last time I saw her she had full function of her tongue. The one thing that we were working on was the slurring of the speech because as a result of the tongue being paralyzed for so long, she had developed these behaviors or these patterns within her speech where it would come off as slurred speech, so she sounded like she was always drunk.
She had called me one day and left me a message and said, “You’re not going to believe it but now I have full function on my tongue. I actually got to eat a hamburger for the first time without having to chop it up into little bites. And I didn’t have to take my finger and sweep the inside of my cheek to get the pocketing of the food out. I was actually able to use my tongue. Now, when I speak, people don’t think I’m drunk all the time because I’m not slurring my words.” When I see her in town I’ll ask her, “Stick out your tongue,” and she’ll stick it out very sassily with a lot of flair because she can because it’s working.
Did I anticipate that that would work, or that I would see an improvement in that? I didn’t, but the belief system you know is a strong thing. Sometimes we’re giving miracles like that, and she was one of those miracles where I really didn’t think—I mean, not that I didn’t think it would work. I was just keeping it open. Letting the universe do the work that it needed to.
[01:00:13] Ashley James: You didn’t have expectations. The way you do the Biofeedback, which you can do in person or remote, which is my experience. The remote worked. It’s helping whatever the body needs to correct. It goes through every system of the body and whatever the body needs to correct it does. It’s so interesting. I’m a master practitioner and trainer of neuro-linguistic programming. My teacher worked with a client who was in a fire and had half of his face scarred. He did emotional work called timeline therapy where he healed from the emotional scarring of those events, and the man’s skin—this is years before. The doctors are like you will always have a disfigured face, you always have these scar burns.
What I think is really interesting is how the skin remembers to keep creating scar tissue. I’ve taken anatomy in college. I understand. There are layers of the skin. You damage the layer deep enough, you damage that third layer, and you’re done, you’ve always got a scar. This is what the medical system says. But the body has to keep creating scar tissue because we constantly are shedding skin. The body has to remember to not produce healthy normal skin and instead produce a scar over and over and over and over and over again long after the scar isn’t needed anymore. The scar isn’t needed, but the memory, the body keeps doing it.
This is what I think is funny because we’ve learned now in more recent years that even adults have stem cells. If our body has the ability to produce stem cells, we can recreate healthy skin. What’s going on? But there’s a belief to hold on to scars. After he did this emotional work called timeline therapy, which I’m a huge fan of and also a master practitioner and trainer of, his face started having the scar dissipate over time because it takes a few weeks or whatever for new skin to rise to the surface and he no longer had the scars on his face of the fire. That’s just one example. There are so many other examples or stories where the body, whence the emotions are healed, the belief system changed, the body follows suit.
For your client, was the nerve actually damaged three years later, or was she holding on to them—the body on an energetic level is holding on to the memory of the injury and continuing to perpetuate the injury into the future? You’ve seen this in occupational therapy because people will hold on to a holding pattern in their gait. You watch them walk in their gait as they walk away towards you, and you’ll see where the body is holding on to an old injury or compensating for an injury that’s no longer there.
Z-Health is a great form of medicine designed by a chiropractor where you wipe away mentally by working on the nerves in all the joints. You wipe the slate clean so your brain resets back to normal. I’ve seen people who have been holding on to old injuries after doing even one session of Z-Health walk differently, move their bodies differently like more freely. Again, you cannot separate the unconscious, the mind, or energy or energetic body, from the physical. It’s all connected. But how much of our illness is being perpetuated by our belief system? How much of our illness is being perpetuated by a memory that our body has to continue to hold on to it?
I love the work you do because you’re resetting the brain, you’re resetting the belief system, you’re resetting the body back to homeostasis.
[01:04:54] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, it’s also finding out how this disease serves this person. That’s one thing that is a hard question to ask because most people will say what are you trying to say? That I’m coming up with this on my own and that I’m manifesting this? I said, “Well let’s talk about that.” Because some of the really big breakthroughs that I’ve seen as well with clients is when you realize that they have become their diagnosis. Now they associate themselves with it.
For example, I learned this in some of the work with Dr. Joe Dispenza. When we keep referring to our diagnosis of let’s say fibromyalgia. He calls this the water cooler conversation when all the people at work get together, they start talking about their weekend, and they’re standing at the water cooler. Everybody will be talking about the fun that they had, and then you have that one person that says, well because of my fibromyalgia I wasn’t able to do this, because of my fibromyalgia I wasn’t able to do this, and because of that, I wasn’t able to do this.
So basically, they’re making their fibromyalgia much stronger in their body. It’s wherever you place your focus you place your energy. The more energy they put towards that fibromyalgia, the more symptoms that they would have. So then, you have to ask what do you gain from telling people you have fibromyalgia or even acknowledging that you have it? What’s the gain that you get? Oftentimes, this is where I’ve seen some huge breakthroughs with my clients because that’s a question that’s really hard to ask because then they have to ask themselves that same question about what am I gaining from it?
In many cases, what they’re getting is the attention of people. They’re getting the love from, let’s say, a spouse that because you have this pain I’m going to take care of this for you, or not having to do the housework, or not having to do this or what. So internally, there is a return on that investment of fibromyalgia.
Once you can actually identify, and I’m not saying this happens with everybody, but in some of the most chronic conditions that I’ve seen where it’s really been debilitating when we can do that level of work and get that acknowledgment or even who hurt you when you’re a child? Or going to the ancestral piece of healing and going back to that child and healing the child from all these traumas that they may have experienced that now is starting to manifest as an adult.
When we can go back and do that, that’s when you get that aha, you see it, and it’s like wow. And then they come back and they say, ”You’re not going to believe what happened. I went a whole week without any pain because I didn’t need it anymore. It wasn’t serving me anymore. I didn’t need it anymore.” And that’s a beautiful thing.
[01:08:03] Ashley James: Fascinating. You’ve worked with people who have the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
[01:08:12] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes. I work with all different types of pain.
[01:08:16] Ashley James: Oh, yeah. Absolutely, I bet. But specifically, fibromyalgia is very invasive. I have a friend—this was 10 years ago, 12 years ago. She showed me two drawers in her nightstand, two nightstand drawers full of meds to manage her fibromyalgia. She also had a morphine pump. She had some kind of pump attached to her body that would constantly drip a pain medicine. I think it was morphine. I was talking to her about nutrition and how Dr. Wallach, who’s one of my mentors, says that fibromyalgia is a nutrition deficiency—largely mineral deficiency—and a lot of times, even just incorporating selenium really helps.
I talked to her about wanting to get her on all 90 essential nutrients—vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids. I think she just went out to any old store and bought selenium. I don’t even know if it was good quality selenium or whatever, but she got on it. I was talking to her like, “Okay, please, take some vitamins, take some minerals.” I was showing her the ones that I’ve been using for the last 10 years, and she reported to me that she cut her pain meds in half. Literally, an entire nightstand drawer of meds is gone. That’s just by incorporating one of the 60 minerals that the body needs. That just goes to show.
Now, of course, you have to look at the mental and emotional component, the spiritual, and the energetic. You have to look at everything, but man, if you can have just that much leeway—cut your meds in half by incorporating one mineral. That would be the gateway. Okay, I’m all in. Let’s do holistic medicine. Let’s see how better I can get. But when we have a secondary gain from a disease—like if it really is on an unconscious level—giving us something that we’re lacking, then then we’re not really motivated to fully heal it. Because maybe it’s part of our identity at that point, or maybe it’s how we compensate for wanting love or attention.
[01:10:34] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: I actually got to see this with my dissertation that I did for my Ph.D. My topic was on chronic pain, and I was using ultrasound over acupuncture points as my intervention. I was using qEEG, which is qualitative EEG, to map the brain prior to the intervention and after the intervention to see how the brain would change as a result of this intervention. I would do the EEG first and see where the pain manifested itself in the brain based on the brain wave activity. And then I would do the intervention. The intervention was based on whatever their pain was and everything else. I used the same five points with each of my clients, and then I used five different points based on their specific level of pain. That way, I could do a really good analysis of how the points work.
Every single person in my study showed a significant reduction in their pain just from one session of the ultrasound over acupuncture points. But what I did find—I was expecting to see this but I wasn’t sure if I would—is that the people who had an emotional attachment to the pain. What I mean by that is whether it was brought on by another person’s accident, an injury, or let’s say a physical abuse of some sort, if there was a huge amount of emotional attachment to it, the pain symptoms went down, but the pain response moved from the sensory-motor cortex of the brain to the emotional part of the brain.
That showed me how strongly the emotions hold pain in the body. That also opened up a whole new avenue for me to address pain and really look at the emotional attachment to it. The ones that had no emotional attachment to the pain, their pain completely went away. That showed me, first and foremost, that this intervention works.
The second thing that was a wonderful experience was to see how emotions have a huge impact. That’s why when we’re giving pharmaceuticals, why the pharmaceuticals don’t work. When someone who is in so much pain wants to get an increase in their pharmaceutical medication or another one, and they’re being considered a drug seeker or something like that from the pharmacy or from the physician or whomever, it’s because we are not actually getting to the root cause of the pain. We’re just covering it. It’s up to the practitioners to identify that, and we haven’t. That’s where we’re failing our clients.
When I saw this study, when I actually saw it with my own eyes, I looked at pain in a whole another way. That in itself has helped so much with my clients getting better. Because one of the things with the Biofeedback—when I am assessing somebody on that—it will always bring emotion to whatever we’re looking at, and it’s a subconscious unconscious emotion. When I see this emotion come up, I’ll ask them, “So this is showing a resistance to change. Let’s talk about that.” They’re like, “Oh, yeah. That’s totally me.” Or there’s some anger, frustration, anxiety, or something associated with it. Let’s talk about that. Let’s resolve that so that this condition has a better potential to heal.
[01:14:27] Ashley James: Oh my gosh. Your Ph.D. dissertation sounds amazing. What an incredible experience to actually see that for those who were holding on an emotional level, the pain was there. Physical pain was there actually because there was emotion around it. That you could actually see it move into the emotional centers of the brain. Were you able to help those people? Did you work on healing emotions? And then did you see in the brain scan that it was gone?
[01:15:07] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, for the time of the study I didn’t get to actually do any additional testing afterward because I was leasing the equipment and it was quite expensive, so I wasn’t able to do that one. But when I was able to share the results with these individuals—as far as the emotional component to it—then that actually started the work of the healing of really identifying that when it came to that. The ones that had the healing from just the points and no emotional component, I just showed them which points to use and how to press on those points and to help relieve their pain if it should ever come back. That gives them their tools as well. That gives them their power back. But yeah, we did address the emotional piece to it.
[01:15:56] Ashley James: Normally I don’t glorify pharmaceuticals, as you can imagine. I did this really interesting interview with a psychologist who works with ketamine for healing emotions. He has a clinic that has an incredible success rate. I think it’s over 70% success rate in helping people with addiction. Whereas I think Betty Ford, for example, is 30% or less than that success rate—in terms of people quitting alcohol or drugs and then never getting back on them. They have an incredibly high success rate, and that’s because of the ketamine—much like LSD but half the half-life in the body. LSD maybe you’re tripping for 12 hours or something, whereas ketamine, they can dose it so you’re only in that state for about four to six hours. And then during that time, they do therapy.
But what it does, and these are people who have huge emotional wounds. People who have come back from war, they have post-traumatic stress, they’ve been in abusive relationships. They’re using substances to just numb and cope with the horrors that their brain keeps reliving. The ketamine, like LSD—and they’ve done studies on this for many years, and also microdosing psilocybin—magic mushrooms. Some psychologists do that as well. They all pretty much do the same thing where it has the critical faculty melt away and allow us to gain positive learnings from those experiences without being triggered and traumatized while working through them.
What’s very interesting—so this doctor has a clinic and he’s working with the ketamine basically helping people open up so they can do the therapy, and then they really get to the root cause, and they have incredible results. But he himself had chronic, chronic, chronic shoulder pain for years that was debilitating shoulder pain. He didn’t want to get addicted to pain meds, and it was because he tore a bunch of stuff in his shoulder from martial arts years before. He kept re-injuring it. It was just a really messy deal. He did one dose of ketamine without any therapy—just one dose of ketamine—and the pain went away for six months. One tiny dose, and then he says every six months he takes a microdose. He takes a microdose every six months.
It’s interesting because he said some people get emotional healing by themselves. They just do this one dose of ketamine, and of course, this is all in a therapeutic setting. They take away cell phones, they don’t have the TV on, there are no magazines, there are no books because your mind is open now and anything could come in. But some people go through huge healing just by being in that state and working out stuff, working out stuff on their own. That’s what he did.
[01:19:19] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: I love it.
[01:19:20] Ashley James: He has had people who no longer have post-traumatic stress, no longer have major psychological episodes, and no longer have an addiction. The side effect of this treatment is also people who are in chronic pain for years no longer have chronic pain. Again, I don’t love to glorify any kind of medication, but there are tools that we can use when we need it. But looking that it sped up the process so they could actually do the emotional work, and the emotional work was able to then have them no longer have chronic pain, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, fear running their life, and substance abuse, which is fascinating.
If we can heal and really acknowledge that our pain and disease can be at the root, in the emotional centers of the brain. When we work on that in conjunction with eating a healthy diet and all those other things to just support the body as a whole, but that acknowledge that mental and emotional health is incredibly important and that we can address it with these amazing technologies like remote Biofeedback, which is really cool.
[01:20:40] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, you know what, Ashley, I learned a lot from this one client pertaining to this particular topic. As we were doing the emotional work when it came to her pain level, she was basically saying, “I have all these friends and family that never come to see me, but the pain is something I can rely on every day that will come.”
[01:21:05] Ashley James: Whoa.
[01:21:07] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: I was like, yeah, exactly. I had the same response. I was like, wow, that really showed a lot of work on her part to acknowledge that, to notice it, and then to say this is why I have it. This is why I keep it because it’s the one thing I can rely on every single day that will show up at my door is pain. I never looked at it that way, but that was quite mind-blowing for me. The pain had actually become her friend.
So it made me look at it in a different light, and then we just needed to identify something else. That was really her own sense of self-worth, and that you don’t need outside people to provide you the love and all of that. Let’s work on the love inside and let’s work on that own self-esteem, that self-love to where you don’t care if people call you, want to speak to you, or whatever because you have the joy in your heart. You have that joy.
But that was kind of an aha moment for me as well. I love it when I get to learn from my clients because I feel like every opportunity that we are with clients is a learning opportunity as well. As far as how we can help others, as far as how we can help even ourselves in our own personal life. That was pretty profound for me to hear that.
[01:22:27] Ashley James: That’s amazing. I’m still blown away by your work when you did your Ph.D. dissertation. What an incredible experience and also to then turn around and show the client like see, here’s your brain. Look, the chronic pain moved into these emotional centers. I know several people with chronic pain who there’s no medical reason for it. They do scans, oh there’s nothing. There’s nothing there. There’s no medical reason for it. Go for a psych eval, whatever. They just get on stronger and stronger pain meds, which the body adapts to and can basically override. The medical system doesn’t answer for them because they don’t see anything on a scan.
When you show someone here’s your pain—in your brain here’s the pain—and look it moved now because of the acupressure. Here, the root of it’s actually over here in the emotional center, and you’re showing them. First of all, you believe them. There’s actual evidence. There’s a reason for it. You’re not crazy. It’s not all in your head. It’s in your brain, but it’s not all made up.
It’s very validating. I just remember feeling so sick for so many years and the doctor’s really not having any answers for me until I went to natural medicine. It was very validating 12 years ago when I went to a holistic—she was an MD who actually gave up her MD-ness, gave up her license when she realized she was just a drug dealer. What she really wanted to do was be an integrative functional medicine practitioner and really ahead of her time.
She showed me in labs that no other MD had drawn because they all said, okay, there’s nothing really wrong with you. She showed me in labs why I was so sick and that I needed natural medicine to get better. She showed me that path, and that was so validating. Oh, here’s why you can’t get out of bed. Here’s why you are so tired. Here’s why you are like walking dead every day. She showed me on those labs and she could validate it instead of all the other doctors that basically just wanted to put me on drug after drug and said there’s no evidence for it. And then natural medicine got me well so fast that I dedicated my life to wanting to share this information, you have as well.
So helping someone who has been suffering for years, to show them that their suffering is valid—it’s real—then help them heal from it, and then help them come back into balance. Can you tell us more about the remote Biofeedback, specifically the SCIO—the work that you do? How does it work? Can you just walk us through or paint the picture so we have a deeper understanding of it?
[01:25:45] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Absolutely. Well, first of all, I have the pleasure and the leisure of being able to have as long of a session with the client as I want. My minimum amount of time that I spend with a client is two hours, and that’s almost unheard of these days. But in those two hours, you get a lot accomplished. What I see is that most of the time, within the first 15, 20, 30 minutes, the client is just getting warmed up.
What I mean by that is they’re just getting comfortable with someone actually sitting there actively listening, hearing what they have to say, believing in what they have to say as well, and validating. Like what you just said, that their symptoms are real, that they’re not going crazy, that they know their body better than anybody else, and they know when it’s not right.
Intuitively, they know there’s something wrong with their body. For me to be able to spend the two hours that I want to with a client allows me that opportunity to really get to know them, not only the emotional, but like you, I do the neuro-linguistic programming as well, and I look for that non-verbal language that’s telling me things that they’re not ready to tell me yet but their body’s telling me. That helps me identify areas to look into when I go into the Biofeedback.
The way that the Biofeedback works, especially remotely, is they send me a sample of hair or saliva and a questionnaire that I sent to them to complete that I can actually then enter that data into the computer. Most of the time, I like to have them on the phone with me on Skype or in other means so that they can also see the same screen that I am using with the Biofeedback because I feel education is so important. Especially educating them as to how their body works and how it responds, and looking at it in a different perspective, not as a computer, but that this is a live being that is full of emotions and psychological issues and so on.
The way that the Biofeedback works, with the hair sample, it’s not a cut sample. It is actually hair that is pulled from the scalp that has the root ball. Because anybody who’s ever had a hair analysis, you want to pull the hair and get a root ball because that’s your DNA and so it reads your DNA. Similar to a cell phone, with a cell phone you have a specific phone number. You can be anywhere in the world and you can be located. That’s how this Biofeedback works.
When I put that hair sample or the saliva sample on the SCIO box, it has this metal plate on the top that reads things. If somebody wants their water tested, for example, they just bring in a water sample and I place it on the box and it’ll read their water to tell me if there are any pollutants in there that are not working for them. It’s going against their own constitution and things like that if there are any heavy metals things like that in there.
The same thing with their hair or their saliva, it reads it. It’s being able to then to find them wherever they are in the world. They can either be on the phone or just be completely laying on their couch with no connection with me whatsoever, it’s still working. Like the phone, it picks up their frequency, their vibration, and then it reads it. On my computer then with the SCIO, it’s reading everything energetically from the lymphatic system to the blood, to hormones, to scanning the spine, the nerves, the cranial nerves, teeth. I can actually do a dental assessment to see five different areas of decay and things like that’s going on, which is absolutely amazing. The chakra systems, the auras, I mean everything. Literally, I don’t know if there’s anything that I can’t touch at this point, and it reads it.
As it’s reading it, it does a three-minute assessment, and then it comes up with this record. It’s literally 10,000 options of symptoms as well as training that you can provide to that client. And then it grades it on a scale of the most acute, to the next acute, to the third, and to the fourth, and then what’s considered chronic. Maybe hanging around for a while and undetected. That’s where I find a lot of things that have not been detected by the medical side of things because all the symptomatology is taking all the attention where the root cause is sitting behind the scenes. That’s typically where I’ll find some of the root causes of their disease process, and then we look at it all.
It’ll tell me about allergies and sensitivities. It’ll tell me if they’ve got parasites, if they’ve got worms, if they’ve got pathogens of some sort that is causing this disease. And then we start identifying it as a team. What I mean by that is I say, “What is on this screen that you’d like to look at further?” Then I educate them as far as what it’s doing, how this is working. As we identify, I can actually test each particular area even further to see just how reactive their body is to that particular thing. That’s when it actually will show me what it’s linked to. Is it linked to blood, is it linked to the liver, is it linked to organs? And it’ll also give me an emotion that it’s linked to.
For example, if it’s a parasite, then I’ll say, “There’s this one particular parasite it’s taking a while to rectify, and what I mean by rectifying is that rectification means that you’ve been able to switch the energetics of that particular thing to where it’s no longer reactive in the body. Once I get it to this rectification, then we move on. But prior to that, that’s when I can actually test it individually to say what else is going on? That’s when the emotions will show up, and I’ll say, okay there’s this emotion showing up. What do you think about this?” And they said, “Well, I thought I resolved that a while ago.” “Well, it’s probably still hanging around a little bit.” It’s absolutely fascinating.
Like I said, somebody could have a pain in their body, for example, like sciatic nerve pain. Anybody who’s had it it’s painful. As I’m doing the spinal scan, they could actually see the picture of a spine, and it’ll show a little box where they’re showing the most energetic issues going on within the spine. I’d say a good 95% of the cases that’s exactly where the pain is actually coming from, which part of the spine is it coming from.
What most people don’t realize is that a lot of the pain symptoms we have, most of the time either come from the spine or the nerves that are coming through the spine and through the spinal cord. When we can identify that, we can get to the root cause of what that pain is and then, therefore, resolve it.
That’s where I think a lot of the aha moments go for the client is to be able to see, oh, so it’s not actually the muscle that’s damaged or hurt, it’s the nerve that feeds the muscle. Absolutely. So we’re going to work on this nerve—give it some good energy, give it some good frequencies and some vibrations because we can actually raise the frequency in each of these different modalities within the SCIO to where we’re raising it to where now the body has the potential to heal. That’s a beautiful thing.
Many people will say, are you working on my eyes right now? I can feel you in my liver, I can feel you in my gallbladder, or I can feel you in the bladder. Wow, I actually feel really good right now. I feel like I’m getting this big jolt of energy. I love it when people can actually feel that energetic exchange that’s going on between the SCIO, myself, and them. That’s how it works.
[01:34:19] Ashley James: Have people had something really overt happen around parasites after working with you doing remote Biofeedback where dead parasites have come out of their stool or something? You’re laughing. Can you share some stories of success with parasites?
[01:34:37] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Oh, yes. I have some pretty horrific stories.
[01:34:42] Ashley James: I can’t wait. Tell me, tell me.
[01:34:45] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Actually, a couple of people, not just one in particular, but this one really stands out. She had come to me because she wanted to lose weight and was very stagnant. Everything was stagnant in her body. Just really didn’t feel like she had any energy and all that. One of the first things I found was parasites and a ton of different types of parasites. It wasn’t just one parasite. It was several that were residing in her body.
[01:35:08] Ashley James: It never is. It’s never just one parasite. It’s so true. All the doctors I talked to that work on parasites, it’s never just one because the body has created this environment where they’re all invited to the party.
[01:35:26] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes, and the more types of food that we feed it that it likes then it’s like yeah, we’re going to stay here because they’re feeding us well. But in this one particular case, I was working on her parasites on the Biofeedback. She’s in the room with me, so she’s got the harness on, she’s got the wristbands on, they’re all connected to the computer, and they’re all reading it. As I’m working on her—okay, this is going to freak you out, but I saw something moving in her eye.
[01:35:59] Ashley James: I knew you were going to say that.
[01:36:03] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: I looked in closely and there’s this parasite coming out of her eye—the eyeball itself, and it was just wiggling around. She could feel it. She’s like, “I feel like I have something in my eye.” That’s what made me look at her eye closer. “Let me see,” because I didn’t see her rub her eye or anything so I didn’t think she could have gotten anything in it. As I get closer, there’s this parasite and it’s wiggling around. I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s so disgusting. What do you say? “You got a parasite hanging out of your eyeball.” That’s pretty much what I told her, and she’s like, “Oh my gosh.” Of course, she wants to look at it, so she’s looking at it through a mirror and she could actually see it. She goes, “That is so gross.” Then the parasite came out and her eye went back to its normal healthy state.
Then later she called me because that pretty much freaked her out, and of course, I came home and was a little freaked out myself. She called me and she said, “That didn’t stop.” I said, “What do you mean?” She goes, “I had more.” And I said, “What do you mean?” She goes, “I had one actually come out of my stomach.”
[01:37:13] Ashley James: What? Like her skin?
[01:37:17] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes.
[01:37:18] Ashley James: Her belly button or her skin?
[01:37:21] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes, out of the skin.
[01:37:21] Ashley James: Oh my God.
[01:37:22] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: It was out at the side of her belly button. And then her first bowel movement, she said she just saw a ton of them just writhing in the bowel, in the excrement. She had been eliminating them for quite a couple of days after that. But the whole idea is that we made the environment inhospitable for the parasites and so they decided they wanted to leave.
[01:37:51] Ashley James: Any means necessary, exiting her body in any way they could.
[01:37:58] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes. Where the parasite had exited from her stomach a blister had started. It did leave a little behind. We monitored that for quite a while, but she continued to get rid of the parasites. She had lost eight pounds in one day.
[01:38:24] Ashley James: Oh my gosh.
[01:38:25] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Is that all parasites? Maybe not. Some of that may have also been that she was constipated and there was Ebola stuck in her intestines for some time, and it needed to go. Then all the other toxins that were residing within the gut. That’s one of the things I like to work on a lot with my clients is gut health because I find that gut health is the key to the majority of the autoimmune issues that we have, as well as a lot of the chronic illnesses that we have, is gut health. What are we feeding it?
Also, for people who have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any kind of cognitive like brain fog, oftentimes it’s what we are feeding the gut because the gut-brain connection is huge. The gut-heart-brain connection is huge as well, so it’s really addressing the gut. When you can address the gut and what we’re feeding it and also getting it cleaned out, then we’re going to get a much better response and a longer-lasting response.
[01:39:24] Ashley James: How many sessions did you do with her, and did you get to the point where the Biofeedback machine was saying that she was parasite-free?
[01:39:33] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yeah. I still work with her because what happens is once you resolve one thing, then it’s like, oh, can I work on this, can I work on that, and can I work on that.
[01:39:49] Ashley James: Once you have worms crawling out like it’s running for the exit doors in every possible way, I’m coming to you every week for the rest of my life, no kidding.
[01:40:02] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Exactly.
[01:40:03] Ashley James: You still work with her, she no longer has parasites, right? The machine said she doesn’t have parasites. She’s accomplished what she wanted with you? Did she get to the point where she’s got her weight loss, and now she’s just working on maintaining optimal health with you?
[01:40:20] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yeah. Now she just comes once a month just for a little pick-me-up or maintenance, not everybody needs that, but I think she also likes the interactions that we have together. I think it’s more of that emotional-spiritual connection that we have. That entangled hierarchy that happens between the clinician and the client. I think that’s the majority of it. While we’re at it, we’re pretty much doing an overall test to see how she’s doing physically, with inside—everything. Emotionally and energetically too. It’s like you’re taking your car into the shop for a tune-up, and that’s what she comes in for.
[01:41:05] Ashley James: You’ve worked with thousands of people, both remotely and locally. How many clients have you had where the machine said this person has parasites, like on a percentage? Do you think most people have parasites or 70% percent? What percentage?
[01:41:22] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: I would say most.
[01:41:24] Ashley James: Really?
[01:41:24] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: I would say a good 89%. It really depends on what they eat.
[01:41:36] Ashley James: Yeah, it’s so huge. Everyone thinks, oh well, I don’t eat sushi so I probably don’t parasites. But I’m telling you, it’s about the environment of the body. They’re in our environment, they’re in our food. But I’m working with a health coaching client for the last six weeks, and she has gotten such great results.
She came to me for—same with you, for weight loss. I’m just helping her like health coaching. I got her on some supplements, changed some things in her diet. She had heartburn so bad that it was constant. Constant heartburn, wake her up in the middle of my heartburn really, really, really bad. I think she said on the sixth day of being on my protocol, her heartburn was gone, and she couldn’t believe it. Then it came back a few times when she went off course, so it’s like the body’s talking to her. She’s like, oh, okay. Feedback. Not going to do that again.
She’s changed her diet completely, changed her routine completely. Going to bed earlier, wearing blue-blocking glasses. We went down the whole list, and I’m not really addressing anything specifically with the gut, although she’s eating very healthy, lots of fiber, getting lots of nutrition into her, doing lots of fun little detox things, going for walks, jumping on rebounding for lymphatic—that kind of stuff. Haven’t really gotten into any herbs or anything. Just generally getting the body cleaned up, and now she just started passing dead eight-inch long parasites. I’m not even doing the work like you do the work. Within an hour of the work that you do you’re getting parasites coming out of people.
All I was doing was helping her clean up the environment of her body. Detoxify, eat healthily, take some general supplements for overall nutrition, clean up the stress in her life. Just very, very, very basic like foundation building a strong body. That was enough—within the last six weeks—to change the environment of her body where it’s becoming an inhospitable environment for the parasites.
That is so cool to see that if we just get the body to the point where it’s an inhospitable environment to parasites, that means it’s a hospitable environment to our cells. It’s like the best environment we can create for our cells on an energetic level, nutrient level, and oxygen level. That is the most inhospitable environment for cancer, candida, parasites—all that kind of stuff. But you get results much faster because you’re using this Biofeedback machine.
Do you want to tell us what it’s like working with you? Let’s say listeners—who are all around the world by the way—decide they want to have a session with you. Can you walk us through step by step what it looks like? So we mail you saliva and our hair pulled from the root, which I did with you, by the way. When we visited you, my husband and I and our son gave you samples, and you keep them. I don’t want to be paranoid, but I’m always cautious that companies don’t sell my DNA. This is in-house, you don’t sell the DNA.
You have it, so you put it in the machine, and the machine, like you said, is like a phone number. The machine energetically links to us no matter where we are in the world. This is very quantum physics level stuff.
[01:45:28] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: It is.
[01:45:30] Ashley James: The client—who’s anywhere around the world doesn’t have to be local to you—sends you their stuff— their hair and their saliva—and then what? Can you just walk us through what the experience is working with you?
[01:45:45] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yeah, absolutely. The first thing is they can actually get to my website, which is www.natural-therapeutics.com. There is a contact form where they can actually send me an email saying that they’re interested in wanting to receive some Biofeedback, even reiki, or even just like you said, health coaching. Once I get the email, then I send them a form to complete, which is basically a medical form that tells them what the Biofeedback does. It has the HIPAA information as well as their history so that I can get a good idea. And then I instruct them to either send me a hair sample in a baggie. If they don’t have hair because I’ve had some that say well my husband’s bald and they would want to send me hair from another part of the body and I would say no, saliva would be fine.
[01:46:45] Ashley James: Is it hair or saliva?
[01:46:48] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Hair or saliva. It does not have to be both.
[01:46:51] Ashley James: Got it. It’s not hair and saliva.
[01:46:54] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes. Hair from the head and/or saliva. Some people have really short hair and they can’t get a good hair sample, so they will then send me a saliva sample in a plastic bag.
[01:47:11] Ashley James: Got it.
[01:47:12] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Once I get all of that and I get the form that’s been completed, then I contact them to set up a time where we could get on a remote session. Whether it’s through Skype, whether it’s through Zoom, whether it’s through other means, or in some situations some people will say I just don’t have time. Can you just run it and then let me know. I prefer our first session as always together because there is a lot of interaction and exchange that occurs during that time. But in a situation where that’s not possible, then I could do it without them.
Then we set up the session. I say please allow two hours. Drink plenty of fluids before our session because that will enhance the outcome of the session, and try to be as free from any type of distractions as possible. If you can get into a nice comfortable position that would be good, and just plan to be available for two hours while I work on you. And then if they’re on Skype or Zoom where they can actually see my session, then I explain everything to them. Because the more they know and understand their body and how it works, especially how it works energetically, then that makes them more of a steward for their body and gives them that power back.
Then the first part is I enter information from them, which is on the form that they complete that has their demographic information, it has post health issues such as how many surgeries, how many amalgams that they have, how many medications are they on if they’ve had any steroids, how much coffee, sugar, or alcohol do they. How much fat is in their diet or processed foods? How much water do they drink, those kinds of things? How much weight would they like to lose if they want to, that kind of thing?
Once I get that information, then I start the assessment. That information then will give them a score, and that score is called the SOC, which is suppression and obstruction to a cure. It’s basically all of those things that are preventing them from being their ultimate and allowing them to be healthy. Then I let them know what the score means, and that score is their potential to heal themselves. Then it goes through what is considered the VAR HOPP panel, which is the voltage amperage resistance hydration oxygenation proton pressure, which is your pH balance electrons. And then also some other numbers that make sense as far as their healing potential and what’s preventing them from healing.
Then the screen comes up with all of the 10,000 different remedies and symptomatology that is identifying for them, and then I explain what each of those levels means. The acuity levels, what they mean for that particular person. If there are particular ones, this is when I start to ask for feedback from them. Okay, is there anything on this screen that you’d like to investigate further that doesn’t quite make sense to you or what? If they don’t have anything, then I go ahead and pick some that I feel has a lot to do with how they’re feeling, what they’re complaining about, and so on, and then we start the testing.
Once we finish the testing on that particular thing, as far as what is the acuity and how much reactivity it’s having to them, then I train. Basically, the system starts to train the body to return it back to its homeostasis and return it back to normal. Then we go down different categories, so I can go into the allergies and sensitivities. We can go into parasites and the blood and look at some of those things as well to see what’s going on. I go into the spine. The computer already picks a couple of programs that it wants to run based on the way in which the assessment was completed. I run those and then we go down particular areas that they’d like.
If somebody’s having some pain issues, then I’ll scan the spine and the spine will then tell me where their energetic blockages within the spine, then let’s resolve them, and then what emotion is holding that. We could look at the chakras and all that. If they have teeth issues, which oftentimes if I see there’s a ton of bacteria going on, or if there’s resistance, which means how much energy is flowing through the organs. If I see a really low resistance meaning that it’s probably a lot of the organs are very toxic because they’ve even either had a lot of heavy metal exposure, mold exposure, yeast, fungus, parasites, that’s going to make that number really low. So then I look into that further. The whole idea is let’s evacuate as much of that as possible so that we can get you into a really healthy state.
Now, what most people don’t realize is that when we’re talking about detoxification, especially when it comes to heavy metals, candida, or some of those is that oftentimes the organs are already toxic so they can’t filter like they’re supposed to. For example, the liver is what filters all of the prescriptions that people are on. If the liver is already toxic and it’s not able to filter or release all of those toxins, oftentimes, people will see skin eruptions happening to where now they have psoriasis, eczema, or some kind of acne that is occurring because their liver basically can’t filter like it’s supposed to, so it’s going through the skin instead, which is the largest organ we have anyway.
There’s usually a correlation between skin, liver, and detoxification. I usually like to get them started on high levels of essential fatty acids so that the detoxification process can happen better. What I mean by that is one of my favorite recipes I like to give people is bulletproof coffee. The reason I like it is because of the MCT oil, which is a medium-chain triglyceride, and the ghee, which is a really wonderful organic clarified butter. When they place it in a regular cup of coffee like a black cup of coffee and they blend it and they drink it, what happens is that those essential fatty acids then allow the organs to—it’s kind of like they grease the organ so that things can flow through it easier.
You’ll actually see people showing a huge change in their cognition where they had brain fog before. Now they’re like, oh my gosh, I even remember my locker combination from high school since I started bulletproof or things like that. They have greater energy. Then it’s really looking at dietary changes too to help that process.
Once we finish the SCIO and we’ve finished all of the different programming and all that kind of stuff that’s going in there, then I create a customized plan for them. This customized plan is basically every morning do this, every afternoon do this, every evening do this, and then the resources to help them with that. I give them what their allergies or sensitivities are so they’ll know which foods they should avoid for a little bit.
Homework, I give them homework because they need to be just as motivated and involved in their healing process as I am, if not more so. I give them homework, and that homework is going to be let’s change your diet. Let’s do some energetic work. If you don’t do meditation, grounding, or something energetically let’s work on that. If I need to have you write a love letter to yourself we’re going to do that so we can actually start to improve some love in you. Identifying some of the stressors, things like that. It’s really a whole body, a whole person type of program.
And then we set up the next session. Typically, when I start somebody, it really depends on what their level of chronicity is, how sick they are, and how stagnant their energy is. If it’s really bad, then I would usually recommend that we do a session once a week just for a couple of times just to see how their body is engaged in it and how they’re responding to it. In some situations, it might be once every other week, and in some sessions, it might be once a month. It really depends on the individual person. That’s how that works.
Once I finish the first session and they get their customized plan and then we meet the next time, then they get an updated progress report after each session. That’s so that they can track their progress. I’ve had some people who’ll actually put their progress report on their refrigerator because they’re excited because they see the numbers improving, they see fewer things that they’re having to address, they see the pounds going down, or whatever it is. It’s kind of like they’re taking credit for their homework that they’ve been doing. That’s how that works.
[01:56:28] Ashley James: Very cool. I love it. I had a very interesting experience. I remember our son had his session in person, but we didn’t end up hooking him up to the machine because he is…
[01:56:48] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Very active.
[01:56:50] Ashley James: I think he was still four at the time. He’s five and a half now. I think he was about to become five. Yeah, that’s right. He was four turning five. That’s right because it was just after Christmas. He was still four, very active, and wanted to run around. You actually did a remote session in a sense. He was in the building, but you basically were doing a remote session. It took about two hours, give or take. Maybe a bit longer. What’s interesting is I felt it, and it’s because the mom has the energetic cord attached to their children. The second you turned on the program I felt my body vibrating. I’m like, oh boy. By the end of it, I felt drunk. I could feel it. My husband couldn’t feel it.
Our son started to talk very clearly. He doesn’t have a speech impediment, but like a four-year-old, they’re not enunciating like an adult. He started to talk incredibly clearly, very sophisticated, and he actually has an incredible vocabulary. I remember at two or two and a half he could say the word avocado, and I’m like that’s a lot of syllables for a young kid. But he says some very sophisticated things. His grandfather, who’s a master’s in linguistics, is constantly surprised by the stuff coming out of our son’s mouth because of how multi-layered the sentences are.
Anyway, as the session’s going on, he starts talking much clearer, even more, complicated sentences. He started talking like really deep thought patterns about crystals and healing, and he’s just going off on all these interesting things that are coming to his mind. But then after the session, he went to the bathroom. He eats a pretty clean diet, actually, his bowel movements don’t really make a smell. I’ve never noticed a smell. I mean there’s nothing, it’s not even a smell.
He made a smell so putrid, so horrible I thought like there was roadkill in the bathroom. I mean it was the most horrible, but his body was just expelling whatever it was expelling. It was just right after the session, and he actually normally doesn’t have a bowel movement at that time of day. He’s pretty much clockwork. His digestion is really good like clockwork. He expelled whatever it was. Just amazing came out of him, all those toxins, and then he fell asleep. He just went boom, fell asleep in the car.
He didn’t have any major health issues other than he was struggling with high histamine and allergies to a lot of foods. Anytime he was exposed to one of his allergens he would have a major asthma attack. Since that time, he has only needed his inhaler twice in the last 10 months. So just looking back, really, he’s only had one session from you, but he was at the point where he was like he was needing his inhaler a lot because he would be exposed to it because he’s allergic to about nine or twelve different things.
There’s a ton of fish he’s allergic to so I just kind of say okay, that’s fish. He doesn’t eat any fish, but he also has weird allergies like garlic, which garlic is in everything, so I make everything from scratch for him pretty much because garlic is in everything. But he’s also allergic to dust mites. If he goes over to a friend’s house and they didn’t vacuum every day, basically he comes home with an asthma attack. He did, but after his session with you, he only needed his inhaler while his body was working through a cold or flu, which has been two times in the last 10 months. His reaction to what he’s allergic to has really diminished. I didn’t really think about it, but I saw that there was that turning point in his health after he had one session with you 10 months ago.
And then my session with you, my one session, was also remote. I was unconscious at the time. For most of the session, I wasn’t on the phone with you because I was incredibly sick, lying in bed, in and out of consciousness. But I felt you working on me. I kept waking up and then going back to sleep, I felt it. Like I said when I woke up and the session was over, my suffering was gone. All of a sudden I knew that now I’m going to be in recovery. The sickness is over, the suffering is over. Now I’m going to be in recovery.
That was really a very interesting experience. Both of those are remote, I mean he was in the vicinity, but still not attached to the machine. We saw results both times—remote. We could talk for hours.
[02:02:17] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: When I have children in my clinic, I tend to do them remotely because it’s very hard. The youngest I worked with is two, so far. The youngest has been two, and they can’t sit still for two hours. I’m sorry, they just can’t. If I need to, then I will have them wear the harness for the first 10 minutes. Let’s keep them occupied and all that for the first 10 minutes. Basically, that first 10 minutes is the device doing the assessment, the calibration, and all that. Then I can release the child and they can just run. I have tons of toys in the clinic so they can have some fun with that.
This is the thing that I like to make sure that most people are aware of is that with a remote or even in person, the person that I’m working with has to give permission for the device to work. A lot of people get a fear factor going thinking, oh, she’s just going to work on me no matter when I’m not even thinking about it. No, no, no. The reason I contact people and say can we do this on this date at this time is because then, they’re giving me permission to work on them. This device works so much better when you have permission from the client.
I won’t ever work on anybody without them knowing it, plain and simple. That goes against my own ethics, but it also goes against the ethics of the system as well. That’s what I really love about it because a lot of people will think, well, if things go sour with us as a relationship, then she could do some bad things to me. No. First of all, that’s not in my heart. That’s not who I am. But the device also won’t allow me to do that either.
[02:04:13] Ashley James: Right, it’s a healing device.
[02:04:15] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: It’s a comfort, yes.
[02:04:17] Ashley James: It’s a healing device. It can’t be weaponized.
[02:04:23] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Vindictive.
[02:04:28] Ashley James: Unless the person doesn’t want to be healed, right?
[02:04:32] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes, and then that will come up as an emotion, subconsciously, in one of their systems, whichever one it’s impacting. Usually, it’ll show up as resistance to change as an emotion, and then we talk about that and say, okay, the resistance to change is showing up what is this meaning? Or there’ll be another emotion that’ll show up that will identify that they’re wanting to hold on to this for a reason.
Sometimes, this is another piece—it’ll pick up psychic attack information. If there is someone within your energy field who is not wishing you well, who is vindictive or just left their energy on you. For example, you go to someone’s house and you could actually feel the negativity in the house or you can feel something, and then you go home, that psychic attack number could be really high. So then we have to clear that aura. We have to clear that energy out. I do it through the Biofeedback, but then I also give them tools that they can use to also do it as well because if they’ve been attacked once, it’s potentially been attacked again and again and again. So let’s teach you ways in which you can actually resolve that and protect yourself.
I also teach people how to do muscle testing on themselves to see what food is good for you and what food is not good for you. When they’re in the grocery store—in my little small town, I could be walking through the grocery store and I see people muscle testing themselves. I’m like yes.
[02:06:09] Ashley James: I love that. I love that. That happened to me. There’s a store near me, it’s a gluten-free store, which is so cool. We’ve been gluten-free for 10 years—no barley, wheat, rye, or oats. This store is celiac gluten-free. Everything is certified for celiac. There is this woman who was like I don’t know if I’m going to react to this or not. I think she was choosing all the different breads. I can’t remember what she was choosing but there were a bunch of different ones that she wasn’t sure which one to go with. It was her and I was the only customer in the store at the time. I was like, “Have you ever heard of muscle testing?” I had her drop her purse and her cart. The owner, who’s the only employee at the time in the store, is staring at us kind of looking at me like I’m crazy. I showed her how to muscle test, and it was very clear about one product.
I had her close her eyes so she didn’t know which one it was, but I showed her and then it was really clear which one. It was just a really strong signal. This is the one, the other two were weaker. I showed her and she was just like, “Oh my gosh. That is so cool.” It’s pretty interesting when we listen to our bodies when we check in with ourselves. Even if you just check in yourself after a meal. Do I feel weakened? Do I feel tired? Do I feel energized? Check-in with yourself even emotionally.
How do I feel emotionally after a meal? Because my husband and I both noticed that with certain foods we’ll feel angry afterward, or we’ll feel really easily irritated. I’m fine but everyone else is pissing me off. It’s just interesting that we’ve been able to correlate that with certain kinds of food or certain kinds of meals. That it affects our energy, it affects our emotions, it affects our hormones. There are so many things beyond just digestion that are affected by what we bring into our bodies.
[02:08:17] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Not only that but there’s also how we eat with intention. Because sometimes, I would say the majority of our population is very distracted when we eat. We’re either watching TV, we’re reading, we’re having conversations, we’re drinking way too much water, or we’re drinking too much of something while we’re eating. We’re not chewing our food enough, so we’re wolfing it down. We’re eating a meal within 30 minutes and it’s done, or sometimes 15 minutes because that’s how long you have for your break. But that’s a leading reason why people have acid reflux and acid indigestion is because they’re not chewing their food enough.
Like I mentioned with you before is that 50% of the digestive process happens in the mouth. That’s where the digestive enzymes start. If people aren’t chewing their food enough, then the stomach then has to produce so much acid to break down that food so that it can actually go through the whole rest of the digestive process. People aren’t chewing their food enough, really tasting it, enjoying it, and loving every moment of it, then they’re not getting the true essence of that food. That also goes for smoothies.
We’re into these smoothies of nice, wonderful plant-based smoothies that have wonderful greens, vegetables, fruit, and all that in it, and protein powders, and we’re gulping it down. Well, the same thing happens. The gut still has to process that, it still has to break it down. We need to go through a chewing motion even with smoothies and just activate the digestive enzymes when you’re starting to drink that smoothie and you’ll get more nourishment. You’ll get more nutrients. You won’t have as much acid. As we know, alkaline is the way we want our bodies to be. The more alkaline we can get our body the better. Less disease process, less breakdown, less degeneration.
If you eat slowly, eat with intention, eat with love attached to that food. Also, there’s another trick that I learned when I was in nursing homes because oftentimes, appetite would be a big issue for us where we couldn’t get them to eat. Serve food on a red plate. Use red in your utensils on the serving plate because red actually increases appetite. You could tell that through all the advertising. Think of all the fast-food restaurants. What color is very prevalent in their advertising? Red.
[02:10:58] Ashley James: Yeah, red, yellow, and orange. I remember in the ‘90s, any fast food restaurant you went to was all variations of red, yellow, and orange. They’ve kind of come away from that. Well, people aren’t eating in anymore, they’re all drive-thru. But a lot of their logos are that color, and like you said their advertising and their packaging is that color.
[02:11:22] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Look at the size of our plates.
[02:11:27] Ashley James: They’re huge.
[02:11:29] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes. Back in the olden days, the plates were about the size of our butter plates now or our salad plates. When you would fill up that plate you would look like, okay, that’s a lot of food. Well, now, if you look at most of the plates that are in our homes, they’re platters. We feel like we need to fill that platter. So then we fill it up and then we are eating not consciously, so then we eat that whole platter.
[02:11:58] Ashley James: And we’re not chewing. Like you said, we’re not chewing. When we don’t chew enough, we’ll eat twice as much volume until the satiety mechanism is triggered in the brain. But if you don’t chew enough or you eat too fast and not chew—which is what almost everyone does—you’re not triggering the liver, the pancreas, and the stomach. All three of them need to be told to start producing their enzymes, the hydrochloric acid, and the bile—just start producing all of it for release into the stomach and into the small intestines. Chewing is turning on the whole system. It’s like you don’t put your clothing in the washing machine and just leave it. You have to turn it on, program it, and set it, but that’s what turns on digestion.
But when we have a huge serving, which like you said, we’ve gone from a 6-inch plate to a 12-inch plate, we’re doubling the amount of food we’re consuming each meal and eating it so fast the satiety mechanism isn’t triggered. That and the food most Americans eat is so low in fiber that it doesn’t bulk up, plus we’re not drinking enough water so we’re chronically dehydrated. All these things lead to digestive disasters and creating that perfect environment for all the worms and parasites to live.
[02:13:31] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Also, when you think about how long does it take for certain things to digest? For example, fruit takes about two to three hours to digest, vegetables three to five hours, meat could take up to three days to digest. And then you add the heat of the digestive process, which is all the acid that’s breaking it down like you said the hydrochloric. If you think about the food choices that you make as well, the longer it sits in the gut the more bacteria it will grow, which is why we get a lot of constipation, why we get a lot of digestive issues.
Think about how long it takes for things to go bad if you were to leave it out on your counter. For example, if you were to leave an apple on your counter for two to three hours, do you think it’ll be fine for you to eat?
[02:14:23] Ashley James: Sure.
[02:14:26] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yes. As it’s going through the digestive process, it’s clean food to eat. The vegetables, if you put a piece of broccoli out on your counter for three to five hours, will it be safe to eat? Yes, if it hasn’t started to break down yet. Raw.
[02:14:44] Ashley James: Yeah, raw. Totally raw.
[02:14:45] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Raw, it’s going to be a little limp possibly. It’ll be fine, but it’ll go through the digestive process. Now, put that nice piece of red steak out, and I’m not telling people they have to be vegetarian or vegan. But if you put that red steak out on a counter for three to five days raw, will it still be good?
[02:15:02] Ashley James: No.
[02:15:03] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Okay. So then, as it’s going through the digestive process, why are we assuming that it’s going to be okay and that we’re not going to get any bacteria or, let’s say, parasites and stuff like that coming from that meat? When we make our food choices, we need to keep that in mind as far as how quickly does it dissipate? How quickly does it digest? How quickly does it go through the digestive system? If it doesn’t go through quickly, then we know we’re going to have some digestive issues. So let’s do some things that are going to help the digestive process—mastication. Eat it, chew as much as you can.
I remember the first time I heard about this whole thing about chewing your food 30 times per bite. My husband and I were at a seminar, and what was so funny is that night we decided let’s do this. Basically, we made this dinner. He took the first bite and he holds it up and he goes, “This bite is going to improve my eyesight.” And then he chews it and he chews it 30 times. So then I take a bite and I say, “This bite is going to give me the best bowel movement ever.” As we were going, we kept saying with intention what each bite would do, and we had the most fun at that dinner. We basically took almost two hours to eat. We ate half the food, and we were very happy with the amount of food that we got.
[02:16:23] Ashley James: Satiated.
[02:16:24] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Satiated, yeah. We just had so much fun with that meal. If people just did that, they would actually see a huge change in their whole digestive process plus lose a lot of weight as well.
[02:16:36] Ashley James: Yes, I love it. And then eat food with lots of fiber like fruits and vegetables. That’s something I learned when I was about six years old. My mom and I were both very sick from the standard Canadian diet, standard American diet, and my mom took us to see Dr. D’Adamo. He gave us this poster on food combining and it hung in our kitchen until we moved when I was 19 years old. I have it memorized in my brain because I saw it for so many years. This concept really stuck with me early on. I’ve been fascinated with natural medicine since I was six. Just wanting to—like yourself—absorb everything I could possibly get my hands on. Just having an insatiable curiosity.
As a child, just that child-like desire to consume knowledge. This idea that an apple—and you said digestion takes two to three days. What you meant was the entire from beginning to end, but in the stomach itself, an apple takes about 20 minutes just give or take. A steak could take about one to three hours just give or take how much you ate, how much you chewed. Dr. D’Adamo’s point was if you ate a steak dinner with an apple pie, the apple only needed to be in your stomach for 20 minutes before it should have been passed on to the next phase of digestion and absorption through the small intestine. But because you also ate steak in the same meal, so it’s food combining, your body is now fermenting the apple for two hours.
Beyond digestion, it’s fermenting at this point, which is unhealthy for the body to have any large amount of fermentation of food while it’s trying to digest the apple. Different enzymes are used for apples, and different juices are used for digesting steak, and so they’re combining. And then finally gets passed on to the small intestine, but at this point, it’s just fermenting the entire way down, which can actually and what I’ve learned more recently, feeds the microbiome of our gut—the very complex microbiome—feeds it sort of unhealthy nutrients, which then the microbiome turns around and makes things like ammonia, and makes other chemicals in the body, which then go into our bloodstream and affect our brain. Food combining is a huge thing.
[02:19:14] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: And we become inflamed.
[02:19:16] Ashley James: Right, the whole body. It’s even more so what we eat, when we eat, how we chew all of that, and then what our microbiome will then turn it into. We have to really consider when you eat meat, how long does it stay in your body? That’s rotting flesh that is creating that petri dish for the bacteria. And if you don’t chew, then it really is doing a number, and your microbiome actually then turns it into other things that are unhealthy for the body as well. If someone says, well, meat’s not necessarily unhealthy. The microbiome will turn into chemicals that are unhealthy for the body, especially if you didn’t chew, especially if you don’t have strong digestion.
It’s all those things we have to take into consideration. I think you may have answered this question already, but just to be very clear. When you work with people, does the remote Biofeedback look at this specifically? Look at digestion at this level?
[02:20:28] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Not as far as where it is in the digestive process. Part of that is the information that we exchange together. First of all, one of the first questions I ask—well, several questions down the road—is how many bowel movements do you have on a given day? If they say, oh, maybe one every other day. Then I’ll say, that’s not enough. Especially how many meals do you have? If you have three meals a day you should be having three bowel movements a day. And if they’re not, then that’s basically saying that their digestive process is too slow, and so, therefore, it’s growing bacteria, it’s growing all these different things in the microbiome that is not healthy for it.
That could be leading to why they’re so fatigued because that food, basically if you’re not getting the nutrients, you’re not getting the food you need to fuel your muscles, fuel the blood, fuel all that, plus whatever disease process we’re starting because of that rotting flesh or whatever.
But then, I also ask, what is the quality of the food you eat? Here where I live, most of the people here grow their own, they have their own cows basically. They’re grass-fed. They love them all the way to the slaughterhouse all that. But when you’re buying the meats from stores that may be having these farms of cows, chickens, or whatever where they are not living in a very good environment, and then the stress hormone is released as soon as they go into the slaughterhouse.
Then if you see a change in your mood like you’re mentioning sometimes you’ll eat certain foods and all of a sudden you’re irritated, irritable, angry, or whatever, oftentimes people who are very energy sensitive meaning that they may be an empath or they may be taking on other people’s energies or other souls. They may be actually feeling or consuming that soul of the cow, the chicken, or whatever was killed. If it wasn’t killed in a kind way or in just the general slaughterhouses, then the stress hormone gets released into the meat. And then when they consume the meat, they are then consuming the stress of that animal.
I always say, just be careful and cautious and really think about what it is that you’re eating and what did that part that that animal go through during their life process, and was it healthy? If it was one that was created on those manufactured places where they have no quality of life, they’re just in a stall, then that meat is going to be very stress-related, there’s not going to be a lot of nutrition in it, and therefore there’s probably more hormones and things like that’s been added to it, so you’re not getting good quality. Just be really careful about your food selection, where you get it.
If you do eat from farms and stuff like that where they love their animal all the way to the slaughterhouse, then you can pretty much rest assured that there should be less stress-related hormones in the in as well. But that’s a consideration to think of too.
[02:23:47] Ashley James: I’ve heard that from other people who are empaths as well that they’ve had that personal experience. My husband and I had that experience when we lived in Las Vegas long before we became plant-based. We were 100% meat-eaters, carnivore diet all the way. Meat at every meal. Sometimes just meals with only meat.
We went to a place called Roberto’s, which had the best or Mexican food. We got home and we ate the same thing we always eat there. It was a carne asada burrito or something. We had had it 50 times before, but this particular time for, whatever reason, both of us had pounding hearts. We felt like we had done—I haven’t done street drugs but it was kind of like cocaine or something. Our hearts were pounding out of our chest, we’re both sitting there in our chairs just sweating, breathing heavily, feeling incredibly scared. We don’t know what’s going on.
If only one of us had had that experience we would have been like take me to the hospital, I’m having a heart attack. But both of us felt terrified and our hearts were pounding. We’re like, this is from the meat. Something happened to this cow. This happened, Duffy and I, 12 years ago, and that really stuck with me, that memory, and it lasted for hours. We’re just sitting there with our hearts pounding and just in total fear, both of us like we had taken some crazy drugs. That was just really clear to us that there was something about that cow that we felt, that was imprinted on us.
We just have to think of energy is so powerful that you, Vienna, can do energy work across the world and help someone gain health back, then energy from our food could heal us or harm us. Bring us closer to being in balance or further away from being in balance. We have to take that into consideration. I love that practice you developed with your husband where you chewed each bite 30 times and talked about the intention of what each bite would heal. Now, I’ve met you in person. You look like you’re in your 40s, but how old are you, may I ask?
[02:26:17] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: I’m actually 58. I’m 58.
[02:26:19] Ashley James: Did you notice that as you did all this work with integrative medicine that you got younger, that you looked younger, that you felt younger? Did you notice that?
[02:26:28] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Absolutely. And also, what adds to that is I do a daily practice. Every morning and every night I do my meditation and my yoga first thing every morning, I don’t miss it. And then I also do the same practice in the evening as well, and I don’t miss that either. That’s me loving myself. Since I’ve started that, oh my gosh, the change has been so phenomenally different. First of all, sometimes I could have a lot of people after me, for whatever reason. I don’t feel it, I don’t give it attention. It doesn’t affect me. Minor stresses like things that are happening in your life that could typically be a major stressor, it doesn’t stress me out anymore. I’m just in this wonderful little vortex of love, gratitude, and blessings.
One of the things that I do that is really good homework for everybody is to start your morning with at least five minutes of gratitude. Be grateful for whatever it is that you have in your life or what it is that you want in your life and assume that it’s already happened. Let’s say I’m wanting this vacation, for example, and wanting the airways to allow us to fly again and all of that. I’ll just say thank you so much for my trip to Hawaii or whatever. I’m enjoying it so much or whatever, but I’ll spend some time in gratitude in the morning as I’m starting my day and saying what I’m grateful for that’s going to happen that day.
And then in the evening, I spent another five minutes in gratitude for what I was grateful for, what happened that day or what’s going to happen throughout the evening. That I’ll sleep well, the pain that I have in my back will go away, or whatever, and just spend that time and just sharing out the gratitude.
Right now, in this world that we’re in right now, there’s so much division, there’s so much anger, there’s so much resentment. I believe that if we just approach each person with love, with understanding, with gratitude, with blessings, with the highest level of energy and frequency that we can, that we can change this world. But right now there’s so much anger, and there’s one word in the vocabulary that I don’t allow in my vocabulary that I don’t even say, but it’s the h-a-t-e word.
I don’t include that because it’s used so frequently in vocabulary these days. You can hear somebody talk and say how much they don’t like this one thing, and you’ll hear them use that word 25 times within the conversation. That is such a strong word, and it’s not only the words that we say outside, it’s the words that we say internally. What is our own internal monologue saying?
We’re always comparing ourselves to other people, that we’re in lack, we’re not good enough, or whatever. If you just start your day out with the blessings, the gratitude, the I am powerful, the I am phrases, and things like that, then we can change our own internal bio terrain without medications, without lots of intervention. It’s just what we say to ourselves because our own self-talk can be very toxic in itself, and it will make us toxic. That’s what’s made me younger is that daily process.
I’m also plant-based, so I don’t do meat. If I’m at somebody’s house and they’re serving meat, I will just bless it rather than make them feel uncomfortable about serving me that. There’s only one that I typically won’t, and that would be pork. I pretty much will stay away from that just because most people don’t realize that pigs do not have sweat glands. Whatever they eat is in their meat, so I avoid it.
[02:30:35] Ashley James: And the horrible, horrible conditions that the poor pigs are raised in. I’ve said on the show before, I loved eating meat. I was really into it and then I just kept learning over and over and over and over more and more about the benefits of not eating it, and the benefits of eating plants. My husband, actually, was the biggest carnivore in the world. He just woke up and said, “I’m never eating meat again.” And I’m like okay, I guess I’m cooking that way since I’m the one that cooks for everyone in the family.
I was very afraid of not eating meat. I really thought that I would become weak, frail, that I would be sick because I tried being vegan before, I tried being vegetarian before. Doing it all wrong—eating a lot of processed food in the mix and just really feeling sick. I tried to go vegetarian when I was a teenager, and I ate just like vegetarian pizza and subs. Obviously not healthy choices, but in my mind, it’s like oh I’m not eating meat. I should feel great. Oh, I feel worse. Apparently, meat makes me feel good.
In my mind, I had this belief, and I met a lot of people with this belief that meat gives you energy, meat makes you feel healthy. Whole food plant-based is not vegan, it’s not vegetarian in that Oreos are vegan. A whole food plant is I’m choosing to not eat processed food, but also it’s not black and white. I really like that you acknowledge that you’re not 100% never ever ever ever eating any animal product. Because I think that in our minds, it’s like a black or white issue like. I either—for the rest of my life—can’t eat any of that. Oh my gosh, too much restriction, I can’t do it.
You’re just doing your best every day. You’re just making really good choices every day. If once in a while you have an animal product like you said, you bless it, you’re grateful for it, you’re grateful for the life it gave you, and you move on. But you focus on eating as many plants as you can, and nurturing your body as best you can. Because that guilt and shame that comes with feeling like I can’t do it, oh my gosh I failed, or whatever, all of that are toxic.
[02:32:54] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: That’s the self-talk we were talking about.
[02:32:56] Ashley James: Right, yeah. There’s this idea about being vegan is like it’s all or nothing. I’ve met even vegans they’re like no, no, no. There’s vegan shaming out there, so it’s like you start getting shamed by a vegan, and there’s a lot of negative emotions around it. And then people get really turned off by it. It’s not on or off. It’s do as best you can—good, better, best. If everyone just did as best they could. Just how long can you go just eating an amazing variety of plants? Great, you made it two meals without meat, great, you know what I mean? That’s sometimes what it starts with. Sometimes it’s just meatless Mondays, two meals a day, or a whole week of meatless meals. Maybe only at Thanksgiving or whatever.
It’s your ability to just choose healthy foods for you. I think as a society, we’re over-consuming meat products and totally under consuming plants. I think we need to switch it up. We need to over-consume plant products in the most balanced and healthy way.
[02:34:06] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: It’s also looking at how we prepare it too. Another thing that we do in our home is when we are preparing our dinner or our meals, we have wonderful music playing in the background. We are putting love into our food. We’re purposefully putting that love of intention into the food. That this food that we are preparing with our own hands is going to provide so many nutrients and so much love to this person who is consuming it, and we surround ourselves with it. We have these nice essential oils going on, we have the music, and therefore we’re influencing it with our own energy as well. And then oh my gosh, the taste is amazing after that because like wow.
Versus if you’re making a meal in anger. Let’s say you’re angry at your husband or you’re angry at your wife and you’re making this meal, then they’re ingesting your anger in that meal as well. It’s similar to that animal going to slaughter. If you’re making a meal in anger, frustration, resentment, or even just sheer fatigue, then how does that influence your food? It influences a great deal, even if it is a plant-based food because plants have energy as well. They actually communicate.
There was actually a lie detector expert who was testing his plants one day on his lie detector equipment. He found that they respond to his thoughts or his words, and he tested them. He was testing them by adding cold water to see how they would respond. The needle would move but they would recover. Then he would add hot water, and the needle would move even further but it would recover. Then he clipped the plant. Yeah, okay. It didn’t like it. The needle would move but the plant still recovered. Then he had this thought, I wonder what would happen if I burned the plant. The needle moved and the plant never recovered from that. The needle stayed where it was.
[02:36:06] Ashley James: Just the thought of burning the plant.
[02:36:08] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Never even burned the plant. Just the thought of burning the plant. Those people out there that say they don’t have a green thumb, change your perspective, love that plant, put a lot of love into it when you water it, when you talk to it, and all that kind of stuff and you will be a green thumb. But the same thing goes with the preparation of your food, put love into it.
[02:36:26] Ashley James: While you’re preparing and loving your food and loving your body, that’s actually turning on digestion even then. Maybe an hour before you sit down to eat, you’re chopping the food, you’re sautéing, your steaming. All of that you’re seeing it with your eyes, you’re smelling it with your nose. Maybe you’re even tasting things as you’re seasoning it with the herbs, and you’re in a state of not stress. You’re in the autonomic nervous system’s parasympathetic response of rest and digest, and not in the state of fight or flight right because you’re listening to the music, you’re in a state of love.
So now you’re turning on digestion with the nervous system response, getting out of stress mode. So you’re prepping, you’re spending an hour before you even eat the food. Your body is preparing for and getting ready for and excited to help you digest, and then you sit down, you have gratitude and prayer, and you chew your food slowly and plentifully. The entire time, your body is going to get the most amount of nutrients out of that food because it’s in parasympathetic nervous system response to rest and digest. All your hormones are in alignment with taking that food and turning it into nutrients.
It really does come back to the holistic approach that our lifestyle choices matter. That your meditation and gratitude, daily yoga, all of that really does matter. That you intentionally cook, prep, grocery shop, plan, and eat with intention of love and healing your body. That matters and that the amount of stress that we go under. Think about people who are stressed out, go through drive-thrus, wolf down their food, hardly spend any time digesting or prepping the body for digestion, don’t even chew very much, and are choosing foods that sit in their body and rot. No wonder we have the nutrition nutrient deficiencies we do and the state of disease we do when we’re not really taking time to energetically, emotionally, and physically nourish ourselves every day.
You’re such a wealth of information. I’d love to have you back on the show. You have a segment where you’re going to teach us how to read our tongues, but I’d like to save that for our next interview.
[02:38:56] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Perfect.
[02:38:57] Ashley James: I’m going to make sure the links to everything that Vienna Lafrenz does is in the show notes of today’s podcast at learntruehealth.com. Now you also have a book you wrote a chapter in with many other very famous healers and holistic practitioners. The link to the book is going to be in the show notes as well. The book is called Wakeup: Miracles of Healing From Around the World. Can you tell us a little bit about that book and what people would get out of reading it?
[02:39:27] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Yeah. It’s a compilation of about 40 different authors, and they’re all healers of some form or fashion. Basically, we were asked to write a chapter on the miracles that we have experienced whether in our own lives or through the lives of our clients. It’s really a complication of all of that.
I think it’ll give some people a really nice fresh perspective of the potential of the body to heal, as well as the mind and all of the different stories. There are some really amazing healers out there, different modalities that are being used. I truly feel like it’ll open up a lot of people’s minds and perspectives to just the potential of the body to heal, the number of amazing stories that were shared, and the different types of healers that are out there, and just the sheer love that they have for the healing process.
[02:40:19] Ashley James: Awesome, Vienna, your website is natural-therapeutics.com, and of course, that link and the link to the book is going to be in the show notes of today’s podcast at learnsharehealth.com. I want to have you back, there’s so much more we have to talk about. After you and I spoke, you got a Platinum Energy System, which I’ve had Kellyann Andrews on the show several times. Many of my listeners, I think at least a hundred of them, have purchased a Platinum Energy System and are using it for themselves and their family, and some of them for their clients.
I keep getting some amazing feedback coming back from one of our listeners. I believe she says she’s an ophthalmologist. Her family was diagnosed with COVID actually, all positive tests. When they used the PES, their suffering ended, and that it sped up their healing. It was really cool to see that. I’ve had that experience with the PES before or any time I have a cold or flu, which I don’t often. But when I do, I jump in it and I really feel it sets the body back into healing mode quickly. You’ve had some great experiences with that in your clinic, which would be cool just to hear about because I love hearing stories of healing and success, especially with natural medicine.
And then you have all other kinds of therapies. Of course, today, we focused on remote Biofeedback. One of the reasons why I really wanted to focus on that is that obviously, many of my listeners are not near Republic, Washington. How you can help them, and you can, is by working with them remotely. You do that on a holistic level. You’re looking at emotional, mental, spiritual, energetic, and physical while working with people around the world.
And then it’d be really cool to talk more about the other therapies that you have in-house, especially because so many of my listeners are either in the holistic space, in one way or another, or want to become a practitioner. You’re inspiring future generations with what you’ve shared today. I’d love to have you back. I also really am eager to learn from you about the tongue and how to read it, and what we can do with that information. We’ll have you back and you’ll share with us all about that. That’d be really cool. Is there anything you’d like to say to wrap up today’s interview?
[02:42:39] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Well, first of all, I love your interviews. They’re very thorough, they’re fun, they’re exciting. Obviously, we could go on for hours, and it’s always nice to be able to talk to a friend like that. I love the fact that they’re also widespread as far as different topics. I feel like we need to have more of this type of stuff going on so that it meets more ears that are open and that are kind of at that desperation stage of what do I do now?
I think even more so now with the whole COVID-19, one of the things that really opened things up for me was this remote healing piece because of the lack of potential to go to people in person and the way in which it helps to heal. Also, the other pieces of it with the emotional frustration that people are having of not being able to see their loved ones and stuff like that, so it’s even more so.
But I love what I do. I love giving people their power back and helping them realize that they don’t even need me necessarily to heal. I may be working myself out of a job, but the more empowerment that we could give our clients to where they are able to then see their own potential and their basically limitless potential of healing themselves, then that’s where I feel like I’ve done my job is getting them to that level and not needing me anymore.
[02:44:11] Ashley James: Yes. You work yourself out of a job by helping people get to the point where they don’t need you anymore. But it’s fun to do the check-ins. I know I definitely want to have a few more sessions with you. It’s so cool because it’s layered, you peel the layers away. Thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s been such a pleasure having you, and I can’t wait to have you back.
[02:44:35] Dr. Vienna Lafrenz: Thank you I appreciate it, and I appreciate your listeners as well.
[02:44:42] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today’s interview. You know, there are 53 days left until Christmas if you’re listening to this the day I publish it. If you’re listening to it later, Christmas is just around the corner. I love giving holistic presents to my friends and family. I’m going to tell you a few that I absolutely love.
The Magnesium Soak, you can listen to my interviews. Just type in Magnesium Soak at learntruehealth.com and listen to those interviews. Absolutely amazing. Kristen Bowen, I think she said she was 97 pounds, having 30 seizures a day, in a wheelchair, and unable to talk. Now, she’s in perfect health. One of the biggest things that helped her was her magnesium soak that she sells on her website, livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Be sure to use the coupon code: LTH when you go to her website, livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Coupon code: LTH.
I love the Magnesium Creme, I love the Magnesium Soak. You put it in a foot bath or put it in your bathtub for you and your kids. I also love the Magnesium Muscle Creme, which is amazing for aches, pains, and tension headaches. That absolutely must be on your Christmas gift list, your holiday gift list.
The other great gift I love giving my holistic friends is ENERGYbits. Go to energybits.com. Grab a few of the bags of ENERGYbits for your sister, your mom, your best friend. They’re fantastic snacks. Kids love them too because they make your tongue turn green or blue, depending on whether you get the chlorella or spirulina. They help to detox the body. They’re filled with readily available protein and tons of vitamins. I think I have seven different interviews about chlorella and spirulina, specifically about the ENERGYbits brand. I’ve interviewed the founder of that company.
There are only two companies I know of that do not contain any lead in their chlorella. If you buy some over the counter, go to some health food store and buy chlorella, there’s going to be that little warning on it that says, in the state of California, this causes cancer. That’s because there’s actually lead in those bags of chlorella. But in ENERGYbits, in their chlorella, there’s zero because of their process of how they grow their crop and how they then turn the crop into little edible tablets.
So listen to my interviews on the Magnesium Soak with Kristen Bowen. Listen to my interviews about algae, the healing benefits of algae, and how it’s such an awesome superfood snack to carry around with you. Listen to my ENERGYbits interviews and use coupon code LTH at energybits.com and coupon code LTH at livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Those are two amazing websites to check out for your Christmas gift ideas. I always use coupon code LTH.
I try to get companies who I absolutely love and adore and recommend to always use the same coupon code. Just always try coupon code LTH on all these health websites, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you get a great discount. Awesome. Enjoy today’s interview. Come check us out in our Facebook group if you haven’t already. We have such a supportive and wonderful community. You can ask your health questions there and support the other members as well. Just search Learn True Health on Facebook and come join the excellent community of very supportive holistic community there.
Get Connected with Dr. Vienna Lafrenz
Book by Dr. Vienna Lafrenz
Recommended Reading by Dr. Vienna Lafrenz
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza
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