Miki Agrawal (00:00:00):
The average toilet paper roll requires 37 gallons of water just to press down one single roll. And the average American uses an average of 57 sheets of toilet paper per day, or a roll and a half of toilet paper per week.
Kaya Purohit (00:00:14):
Hi, everyone just wanted to let you know that this episode contains some colorful language. So if you’re listening with kids, you might want to save this episode for later.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:00:26):
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, and that’s Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y. A place for conversations that matter. And today’s conversation should matter to you because it’s about doing things that make the world better in a way that’s pretty disruptive and fun and crazy. And we’re having an extraordinary guest who can teach you a little bit about how to think differently, change the world and have an amazing time at the same time.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:00:49):
So, this is a great conversation. It’s with my friend and extraordinary entrepreneur and broad thinker and disrupt-her, Miki Agrawal and welcome Miki.
Miki Agrawal (00:01:00):
Thank you. So happy to be here with you.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:01:03):
Yes. And so she’s the founder of several acclaimed social enterprises called Wild, which is an incredible restaurant, which has gluten-free pizza and healthy food and all kinds of great stuff, Thinx, which is an underwear company. Actually not just any underwear company, but a period free underwear, which is basically underwear you wear that wicks all the menstrual blood away and allows little girls to go to school in developing countries where otherwise they would have to stay home and not get education. We can talk about that.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:01:31):
Another incredible company called Tushy, which sounds a little strange, but we’re going to talk a lot about Tushy today, which are all valued at over $200 million. She’s also got another company and another company coming. So you’re going to hear a lot about those. One of them is a pretty extraordinary about how to save the world with diapers. So we’re going to get into that.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:01:48):
She’s also the author of the number one bestselling book, Do Cool Sh*t and Disrupt-Her. And she’s also was named Fast Company’s most creative people, young global leader by the World Economic Forum, and INC’s Most Impressive Women entrepreneurs, which I agree, she’s very impressive. She speaks passionately about her 16 years of entrepreneurial ventures from inventing products in taboo categories to creatively launching them to marketing and scaling them exponentially, to dealing with really bad setbacks. It’s not all an easy straightforward ride for most of us who are doing good things in the world.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:02:24):
And she shares her colorful, authentic revelations all on the way. Now, when I think of Miki, I think of two quotes. The first is a Chinese proverb that says, “People who say it can’t be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it.” And that certainly describes Miki.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:02:40):
And the second is a Bertrand Russell quote, which says, “The reasonable man/woman…” that was back in the days when it was man, but anyway, “… adapts himself or herself to the world. And the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to him or herself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man or woman.” So those are the quotes that I think of when I think of Miki, So welcome.
Miki Agrawal (00:03:06):
Oh my goodness. Thank you. I love you.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:03:09):
So you’re going to be peak guest, which is very rare. And the reason I’m having you on is not just because you’re one of my best friends, but because you’re one of the people who inspire me the most about how to be in the world in a way that’s creative, playful, intelligent, disruptive, and makes the world a better place in the midst of all of it. And that is a rare combination of features and plus you went to Cornell with me. So that’s also a bonus.
Miki Agrawal (00:03:32):
Yes. Go big red.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:03:35):
Yeah. So we’re going to talk about your companies, but I want to talk about what shaped you. How did you get to be this human that thinks differently? That sees problems, but actually doesn’t see the problem, sees the solution and how to get there. And then not only sees it, but is able to build companies that quickly scale and end up solving really difficult problems in ways that nobody’s thought about. How did you get to be this incredible human? That wasn’t on the questions that got submitted.
Miki Agrawal (00:04:08):
I love that, I love it. I would say that I grew up in Montreal, Canada. My mother’s Japanese, my father’s from India. And we just grew up in a very unorthodox household where, whenever there was a problem in the world, my parents, my father came to America with $5 in his pocket. My mom came here from Japan, speaking barely any English and anytime there was a problem, they took it upon themselves to solve it.
Miki Agrawal (00:04:35):
For example, growing up there wasn’t any gifted children’s summer camp and there were sports camp, there was day camps. There wasn’t any gifted children’s summer camps. So they decided to take it upon themselves to create the first one in Montreal.
Miki Agrawal (00:04:50):
And all of a sudden 500 children came every single summer. And it became a thing that ran for 15 years. And so it was a really powerful, just showing that you don’t have to have any resources. You don’t have to have any money. You don’t have to have any connections, nothing. If you see a problem, you can solve it, and so I think-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:05:10):
You and your sisters were the problem and they solved it by creating a gifted kids camp. That is awesome.
Miki Agrawal (00:05:17):
Yeah. And things like that, anytime they would see a problem, like growing up electronics in the ’80s were starting to percolate, my parents were like, “Oh, electronics are the future. Children should know about electronics.” So they created this, there was nothing that taught kids about electronics, and so they created this electronics kit called Tomorrow’s Professionals that basically taught kids about how a transistor, resistor, diodes, switches, red boards, how to put it all together, how to create little electronic systems like burglar alarms.
Miki Agrawal (00:05:48):
And my mom wrote the manual and drew the pictures, my dad made the kit and they sold it all over Canada. And so it was just a beautiful observation. They never threw it down our throats, but they just solved problems without any resources available to them. And that was really powerful to watch for when I became an entrepreneur down the road and started companies, it was like, I can apply the same type of energy to something. If I want it so badly enough, it could be in the world.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:06:21):
That’s amazing. And you’d literally put it all together in ways that are pretty disruptive. And the first company was a restaurant company. And you had your ups and downs with that, but it’s still going on. It’s Wild. It’s a new city. I don’t know how it’s striving or thriving or surviving within this crazy COVID-19 era. But that is an extraordinary, fun adventure that taught you a lot about being an entrepreneur, right, ups and downs.
Miki Agrawal (00:06:46):
Oh my God. I would say the restaurant business taught me, first of all, deep work ethic, seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours every single day nonstop. Pretty thankless, overall. But I think it also taught me that my strength necessarily isn’t operations, but it’s really in the creative vision, it’s really in the marketing, it’s really in coming up with the actual concepts for it, but then having a great operational team to execute on it. So I learned a lot from being a restaurateur as my first career.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:07:21):
Then you started this company Thinx because you and your sister were semi-professional soccer players.
Miki Agrawal (00:07:28):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:07:28):
You went to South Africa and saw what was going on with the girls’ hair and that inspired you to think about this problem. So tell us a little bit about that experience and how that shaped your thinking and helped you start this company and what it is.
Miki Agrawal (00:07:41):
Yeah, I mean, so I just think that, first of all, when I was in the restaurant business, I would run from one restaurant to another. So I opened my second restaurant, it was so exciting, and I would ride my bicycle from the Upper East Side location to the [inaudible 00:07:54] location. It was such a moment. I had an imprinting moment when I was riding my bicycle down the West Side Highway and the sun was setting and it was spring and it was beautiful, and I was just like, “Wow, like we can really invent our own reality if we so choose.” Going from one restaurant to another and building it out was a beautiful imprinting moment.
Miki Agrawal (00:08:14):
But oftentimes when I would run from one restaurant to another, I would completely forget that I had my period, I would just have these crazy accidents all the time and it would just leak through everything and it would just interrupt my day. I’d have to run home and change and clean everything. I was just a very irresponsible bleeder.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:08:31):
And you liked to wear white.
Miki Agrawal (00:08:34):
I love wearing white. Oh my goodness, yeah. Then of course in the developing world, my father’s from India, my mother’s from Japan, and I’ve traveled around the world, and on my trips discovered that there are millions and millions of girls, half a billion girls, that don’t go to school because of their periods, and millions of those girls drop out of school because of their periods because they get so behind. Imagine missing one week of school every single month because of your period. I mean, it’s so hard to keep up, so a lot of those girls drop out and they just lose the opportunity.
Miki Agrawal (00:09:00):
There’s this great, amazing study called the Girl Effect that Nike put together, which basically says that they studied if there’s a man and a woman who are both working people, they learned that 90% of women’s money that they earned goes back into their family and their communities. Guess how much of the man’s money goes back into family and communities?
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:09:21):
Miki Agrawal (00:09:22):
Yeah. Like 10 to 15%, and the rest he squanders on himself, alcohol, gambling, whatever, but just on himself. So the idea is that if it’s a working woman that’s actually contributing to a village that needs to be uplifted, 90% of their money goes into uplifting the community, so it’s millions of those girls are dropping out of school, that’s billions of dollars of lost income potential that these communities could be receiving from these women.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:09:48):
That’s not the only thing. I mean, Project Draw Down, which lists the top solutions to draw down carbon from the environment lists education of women as one of the top solutions to climate change. So not only are you creating economic vitality by helping solve this problem, but you’re helping solve climate change by dealing with women’s periods and education.
Miki Agrawal (00:10:11):
There’s a mothering, right? There’s like women are just mothers, and mother earth, and just there’s a stewardship, a nurturing stewardship, that’s just innate, you know? I think that, yeah, it’s a huge thing. So when I started Thinx with my co-founders, it became an absolute resolve to weave the two businesses together to create an underwear that supports women here in the first world and then also solve a problem for girls in the developing world.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:10:39):
You hit a lot of resistance with this because no one wants to talk about women’s menstruation or periods. It’s a pretty taboo subject. Tell us about the adventure with the New York Public Transit and Subway System, because that was quite a story. They had these big ads for breast reconstruction and all these things in the subways, and I travel throughout the New York subways, and they really didn’t want to talk about your periods and show a grapefruit. Can you talk about that and how you overcame that?
Miki Agrawal (00:11:10):
Absolutely. So when we were finally getting past the digital marketing phase and wanted to actually go do some subway campaigns, we had enough money to do that, we submitted a proposal to the New York Public Transit System that just said underwear for women with periods, and it was a grapefruit as our sort of image. Halved grapefruit.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:11:35):
Miki Agrawal (00:11:37):
Yeah. I mean, exactly. It was a grapefruit, but they were like, “It looks like a vagina.” We were like, “Well, that’s up for interpretation.” Right? They banned our subway ads. They said, “What if nine-year-old boys sees these ads?” We said, “Wow, in the most progressive city like New York City, how is it possible that something as natural as the woman’s period, that creates all human life, without that blood no human being would be here, it’s not supposed to be taboo.”
Miki Agrawal (00:12:02):
I mean, if anybody listening finds this subject to be uncomfortable, it’s a really interesting subject to lean into because it’s to ask ourselves like why has society put such shame on something that creates human life? I mean, that’s in the womb, that’s the nutrients that fed all of us to be here on earth.
Miki Agrawal (00:12:22):
It became a big story. So we said, “Okay, if you don’t put our ads in the subway, we’re going to go to the press.” We went to press and the story-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:12:30):
The New York Times loved that, right?
Miki Agrawal (00:12:31):
Oh my God, that story went viral internationally and it put us on the map. Fast forward to my current company Tushy, which we’ll talk about in a second, but we when we tried to run our ads for Tushy in the subways, they banned our ads again, saying that bidets are sexual products, which was crazy. So we went and we said, “Okay, we’re going to run the same type of campaign and see if it works.”
Miki Agrawal (00:12:51):
We basically went to press again, and the story again took off. Michael Che from Saturday Night Live ran a three-minute rant on why New York City should have kept our Tushy ads on the subways. So it was definitely a fascinating study.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:13:04):
Incredible. So fast forward, Thinx is an incredible company doing great things. Being a woman entrepreneur is not easy because you’re often in a man’s world. You were dealing with men from Southeast Asia who notoriously are not the most forward-thinking when it comes to women’s rights and women’s place in the world and you experienced a real setback. How did that affect you and how, then, did you come out of that?
Miki Agrawal (00:13:36):
Yeah, I mean I think what I learned was a couple of things. One, don’t give away control too early of your business, or give a big chunk away. At the time we knew we really needed the money, so that was one big thing. But I think for me, I think it’s just like finding that spine within ourselves. For me, I had to really go in and say like, “Wow, there’s some crazy shit that went down.” When money came into play, when power came into play, I had to restructure the business and the company and it was a really, really challenging time. When people react in a really challenging way, when sometimes you have to let them go, I didn’t protect myself enough. So, there was a lot of learning that happened from that experience, how to really protect myself better and then how to also hire really effectively, and how to take my time hiring.
Miki Agrawal (00:14:35):
So, fast forward to Tushy. It took me seven months to hire my CEO. So, I probably went the other direction. But sometimes in business, when you scale really, really fast, and you’re just like, “Oh my God,” hanging on for dear life, you sometimes have to hire a bunch of people. So, I think one of my big mistakes was I appointed one person to hire 10 people. It was very shoot from the hip, as our coach [crosstalk 00:14:58] would say, and it wasn’t a thoughtful process. So, when I had to look at my company and say, “Whoa, this is not the culture or the business that I want to build,” I had to restructure the business. And in that restructuring, there was a lot of angst that came from that.
Miki Agrawal (00:15:17):
So, I think from that experience was just like, okay, hire slow, fire fast. Hiring people is like a marriage. So, I learned that. It was an important lesson to learn.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:15:29):
Yeah. So often what seems like horrible things that happen to us, often turn out to be the best things. And if that hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t have been free to do what you’re doing now.
Miki Agrawal (00:15:39):
Correct. And I think the other thing for me is that when I was a hard charging entrepreneur trying to live in a man’s world, I had to keep up in that tone and just be tough. And what I learned from that experience was, I can be a softer, gentler human and not have to compete for respect in a man’s world like a man. But, I can just be myself. And if people want to say, “Oh, she’s soft,” then turn around, and if she’s too tough and she’s soft, just eliminate all that noise because it’s so much whiplash. It’s like, you’re too fat, you’re too thin. Your butt’s too big, your butt’s too small. Your boobs are too big, your boobs are too small.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:16:26):
Miki Agrawal (00:16:26):
It’s like you’re too intense, you’re not intense enough. It’s just all the things. And so, to really wipe out that noise and just ask myself what kind of leader do I want to be? What kind of human do I want to be? What is fully integrous with myself. And to ask myself those questions and sit with that and write out what those are was really important to me for my next company, to just what kind of structure do I want to create for my business. That was [crosstalk 00:16:51].
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:16:51):
Kaya Purohit (00:16:52):
Hi, everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the episode. Before we continue, we have a quick message from Dr. Mark Hyman about his new company pharmacy and their first product, the 10 Day Reset.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:02):
Hey, it’s Dr. Mark Hyman. Do you have FLC? What’s FLC? It’s when you feel like crap. It’s a problem that so many people suffer from and often have no idea that it’s not normal or that you can fix it. I mean, you know the feeling. It’s when you’re super sluggish, your digestion’s off, you can’t think clearly, or you have brain fog or you just feel run down. Can you relate? I know most people can. But the real question is what the heck do we do about it? Well, I hate to break the news, but there’s no magic bullet. FLC isn’t caused by one single thing, so there’s not one single solution.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:17:34):
However, there is a systems-based approach, a way to tackle the multiple root factors that contribute to FLC. And I call that system the 10 Day Reset. The 10 Day Reset combines food, key lifestyle habits, and targeted supplements to address FLC straight on. It’s a protocol that I’ve used with thousands of my community members to help them get their health back on track. It’s not a magic bullet. It’s not a quick fix. It’s a system that works. If you want to learn more and get your health back on track, click on the button below or visit getfarmacy.com. That’s Get Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y.com.
Kaya Purohit (00:18:09):
Now back to this week’s episode.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:18:10):
All right. So, let’s talk about your next adventure called Tushy, which is a provocative name. And it’s a company that seems a little bizarre, but actually solves a big problem, both for the environment and for our health. So, what inspired you to think about creating Tushy, which is a little attachment that goes on your toilet called a bidet, which most people don’t know what that is. It’s kind of French. And I remember growing up in Toronto and in my parents’ bathroom, there was a bidet. So it was like, “Oh, this is what you do after you go to the bathroom.” You sit on this thing and turn the water on. They had it all over Europe. I’ve traveled all throughout the world. And in most parts of the world, toilet paper is just not a thing. They use water and they have a little hose in the bathroom, you spray yourself, and that’s it.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:19:04):
I remember I was in Bali and I went to the bathroom at this gas station. There was this giant tub of water and this little bucket. And I’m like, “I think they need your little Tushy thing as this is really awkward. I don’t know how to do this. Where’s the toilet paper?” I think it’s just a brilliant idea. What made you start thinking about this?
Miki Agrawal (00:19:26):
So, I’m half Japanese, half Indian, and both cultures grew up with bidets. In Japan, they’re those fancy toilets that when you walk by, it sings to you and it’s so expensive and thousands of dollars plus plumbing plus electrical. So in Japan, it’s pretty much ubiquitous in every household.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:19:41):
Yeah, you walk in, the seat goes up, the toilet paper, the toilet-
Miki Agrawal (00:19:43):
They’re singing to you.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:19:46):
It warms up. the seats are warm. it’s like-
Miki Agrawal (00:19:48):
It’s a whole experience and it’s magnificent.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:19:50):
Wash the front, wash the back.
Miki Agrawal (00:19:51):
Yeah. Yeah. And in India they have those, like you said, the buckets with the spray guns, or don’t even have a spray gun. You just throw water in your butt with a water bottle that you just spray. So, I really knew about bidets growing up and I’ve had an obsession with it.
Miki Agrawal (00:20:07):
In 2013, for me personally, I had a very intense hyperthyroid condition, which is when you became my doctor. It was 2013/2014 was when I really started seeking your help and support. That hyperthyroid condition was so acute that my endocrinologist… Well, that it made me poop up to eight times per day. I was pooping up to eight times per day because my body was just working in overdrive. And because of that, just wiping my butt became such a painful experience because you’re going to the bathroom so much, and you’re wiping and wiping. So then I tried to go in the shower and it was just such a frustrating experience that for Valentine’s day, my boyfriend, now husband, Andrew got me this crappy Chinese bidet product.
Miki Agrawal (00:21:00):
And I was like, “What’s this?” And he attached it to the toilet. I was like, “What’s this?” And it completely changed my life. And I was like, “Oh my God.” It was like this ding, ding, ding moment where I was like, I am going to create the best in class version of the bidet attachment and bring it to America because every single American human needs to try this. Everybody in the world needs to have one of these. And what we created is a modern bidet called TUSHY, which looks like a beautiful iPhone next to your toilet. You have a couple in your house, you get it.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:21:30):
Miki Agrawal (00:21:31):
Three, yes. And it basically clips on to your existing toilet in 10 minutes, turns any toilet into a bidet and it just, it saves 50 million trees from getting flushed down the toilet. It saves your health and hygiene for anybody who’s cost conscious. It’s just like, the average family spends $500 a year on toilet paper and that adds up really fast.
Miki Agrawal (00:21:53):
And so from a cost savings, from a hygiene and health perspective; UTIs, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, anal itching, bacterial vaginosis. You name every ailment down there, just washing it properly with water is like a duh solution.
Miki Agrawal (00:22:09):
The analogy I always give is, imagine if you jumped in your shower, didn’t turn the water on and just use dry toilet paper to wipe down your dirtiest bits. People would call you crazy, right? So, why are we doing that to the dirtiest parts of our body? We would never just use dry toilet paper to clean any other thing in our lives and call it clean.
Miki Agrawal (00:22:29):
And so it’s been such deep indoctrination, which is why I’m so excited about the idea of a disruption and disruptive innovation, is because we’ve been indoctrinated to believe things to be true, but they’re just illusions. And so if we can just wake up to, oh wait, let me wash instead of wipe. It was just an obvious thing.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:22:50):
So it’s good for your health.
Miki Agrawal (00:22:52):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:22:53):
It’s good for your wallet.
Miki Agrawal (00:22:54):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:22:54):
And it’s good for the climate because you’re not cutting down all these trees.
Miki Agrawal (00:22:58):
Yes. It’s just-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:22:59):
It’s a triple threat.
Miki Agrawal (00:23:02):
It’s just so obvious, right? People don’t know about it and people find it to be weird. They’re like, “Is poop going to spray everywhere?” And the answer is no, it pulls it down super precisely into the toilet bowl. People around the world have been doing this for so long. The other question is, “Is it pulling water from the toilet bowl or toilet tank?” The answer is no. It’s coming from the wall, the same water you brush your teeth with. So all of these things, people just are afraid of it.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:23:27):
Well, speaking of water, we use a ton of water to actually make toilet paper, right?
Miki Agrawal (00:23:33):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:23:33):
So not only are we affecting trees, but we’re affecting our scarce water resources. Only about 5% of the world’s water is fresh water. 1% of that is in Lake Baikal controlled by Putin. That leaves 4% for the rest of us. And we are using a ton of it for growing food for animals through industrial agriculture which I’ve talked a lot about. And water scarcity is a big deal; there’s a half a billion people every year that suffer all year long from water scarcity. And there’s two billion people that suffer periodically throughout the year from water scarcity.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:24:09):
Recently Cape Town, which is a modern industrial western city in South Africa almost had a complete shutdown because they almost ran out of water. And literally they’re saved at the last minute by some rain. But they were literally on water rationing. California had a massive drought. So we’re seeing real water scarcity issues. How does this help solve that problem?
Miki Agrawal (00:24:29):
Well, so the average toilet paper roll requires 37 gallons of water just to press down one single roll. And the average American uses an average of 57 sheets of toilet paper per day, or roll and a half of toilet paper per week. It is an unbelievable amount of toilet paper-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:24:48):
Yeah, someone in my family uses probably three times that. He just likes to use a lot of-
Miki Agrawal (00:24:52):
Just wiping and wiping and wiping and wiping. And by the way, wet wipes actually cause anal fissures because it strips away the natural oils from your behind. And so by stripping away the natural oils over time, it breaks down your skin and causes little lacerations. And so, we’ve had so many customers who have had anal fissures, anal fissure operations, and they were like, “TUSHY has saved my life and there’s no more pain. They’re gone and it’s over.”
Miki Agrawal (00:25:18):
So you’re using 37 gallons of water to press down one toilet paper roll versus one single pint of water every time you use TUSHY. And so net, net, you’re actually saving 55 gallons of water per week by using water to properly clean yourself.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:25:33):
One pint. Man, you must leave your TUSHY on a long time. I don’t leave mine on…
Miki Agrawal (00:25:38):
Well, one is not even that much. It’s like a beer, right?
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:25:40):
That’s two cups.
Miki Agrawal (00:25:41):
It’s not bad, you know. Yeah.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:25:44):
But I think, I use less than that.
Miki Agrawal (00:25:46):
Probably less. And then you use a couple of squares to Pat dry. So you use 80% less toilet paper. We have organic bamboo toilet paper. So rather than killing this big, beautiful 100 year old tree, we sent you some beautiful, soft, bamboo tissue. It feels like the same or softer even.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:26:01):
Yeah. You also have the bamboo cloth, which are reusable. So you can have a little…
Miki Agrawal (00:26:04):
Yes. We have bamboo butt towels. In Italy, they don’t use toilet paper at all they use butt towels. And so you just have your towel for a couple of days or a day, whenever you want to use it. So you’re taking a mini shower and you just pat dry. And so you only have toilet paper for your guests or whatever. And then you just have a couple of squares to pat dry instead of using 57 sheets of toilet paper per day. So it’s just an obvious solution.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:26:27):
That’s obvious. I remember living in China and there was quite a scene there. They didn’t have toilet paper, but what they did have was the People’s Daily, which was used as toilet paper. So if you ever tried to wipe your butt with a newspaper, it’s not that fun.
Miki Agrawal (00:26:39):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:26:42):
But it’s probably a good use of that propaganda machine.
Miki Agrawal (00:26:44):
Americans are that too. Americans used phone books’ pages when they were free as a wiping tool.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:26:54):
Phone book pages. Who invented toilet paper? How did that even come to be?
Miki Agrawal (00:26:58):
Well, so in the late 1800s, the Scott brothers and Charmin were sort of like the first ones to popularize-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:27:03):
Oh, Mr. Charmin.
Miki Agrawal (00:27:04):
And the Scott brothers, Scott Paper. And they’re the ones that they were like, hmm, what do humans do every single day? Oh, poop. Okay. What can we market to the American consumer that just makes them use something over and over again? They call it consumables.
Miki Agrawal (00:27:18):
And so they can consume it over and over again and not considering the damage to the planet, the water damage, how much bleach goes into the processes to make the toilet paper and then to use the petrol to bring it to a store, packaging with plastic, shipping it to a customer. That whole system is just so resource heavy and it’s just back in the 1800s, they weren’t thinking about that. They were just thinking about making money and how to create resources and build a huge, huge business. And now it’s like, whoa, the ramification, the damages are really severe. So-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:27:51):
Yeah, we even have a term for that. It’s called CPG; consumer packaged goods.
Miki Agrawal (00:27:55):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:27:58):
And what did Thomas Jefferson and George Washington use to wipe their butt?
Miki Agrawal (00:28:00):
Oh my God, that’s a good-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:28:01):
What did they use back then?
Miki Agrawal (00:28:03):
Probably cloths. Plain cloths. So they would just use and they probably had people cleaning them over time. But cloth, just cloth.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:28:10):
Yeah. It’s pretty crazy. I think that-
Miki Agrawal (00:28:13):
Do you know why Americans have not adopted the bidet?
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:28:16):
No, because it’s French and we were against everything French, because-
Miki Agrawal (00:28:20):
That was one of the first reasons.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:28:21):
Miki Agrawal (00:28:23):
Okay. The second reason is during World War II, when American soldiers went to Europe and fought in World War II, the American soldiers would go to French brothels in France. They would see bidets in the French brothels, and they associate bidets as something sexual. When they came back to America, to puritanical America, they were just like, “Oh, we were never in brothels. We think bidets are disgusting.” They actually imported pizza, because they went to Southern Italy and discovered Southern man’s poor food, called pizza. They brought pizza, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, came right after World War II. All those companies ballooned after that. But then they shunned the bidet. It was a really fascinating-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:29:04):
Miki Agrawal (00:29:04):
… historical study. Yeah.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:29:06):
We got pizza, which makes us sick, and we didn’t get bidets, which make us healthy. That seems like a dumb idea.
Miki Agrawal (00:29:11):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:29:14):
This whole idea of bamboo is interesting too, right? Because you’re using a renewable, quickly-growing product that can be turned into towels or paper products. Right?
Miki Agrawal (00:29:28):
Yes. Bamboo grows up to 39 inches per day. It takes a bit of time for it to kind of percolate in the soil. But then when it breaks through, it grows 39 inches per day. It’s like, it’s the most, it’s like a weed. Instead of it being like a tree, it’s like a weed. Because of that, it’s a much more sustainable product to use, than killing this beautiful tree that sucks in the oxygen… Sucks in the CO2, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, all the nitrogen dioxide. I mean, trees are the most brilliant technology that we just literally cut down and wipe our butts with. I mean, how disrespectful could we be of the most important thing that gives us life? That gives us oxygen? So-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:30:16):
So true. I was a little, honestly, a little skeptical when you started TUSHY. I was like, “Hmm, is a little weird.” I mean, how is this little attachment that doesn’t cost very much, going to actually be like a real bidet? It’s going to create a mess. How’s it going to work? You sent it to me and I put it on the toilet, actually my wife did because she’s better at handy things. I’m like, “Wow, this is so easy. It’s so simple. It’s so clean. How could I have even doubted you?”
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:30:48):
Then you sent me this toilet paper. I’m like, “All right, this is going to be like bamboo toilet paper. It’s going to be like sandpaper. It’s going to be good for the earth, but bad for you.” I’m like, “Wow, this stuff is so soft. It comes in this beautiful packaging.” I was like, “This is so great.”
Miki Agrawal (00:31:04):
Like opening a present.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:31:04):
Yeah. It’s like great. I was like, “Wow, and I don’t have to feel guilty about using up all this water and using up all this trees.” It’s probably not good when you flush it down the toilet, either, right? It probably goes into… What happens to the toilet paper, actually?
Miki Agrawal (00:31:17):
It goes to the pipes and it goes through the system and it’s processed in a plant. It’s a very, very challenging… I mean, New York City, we met with the New York City Department of Sanitation. They were just like, “How can we support you?” I mean, bidets, literally, if every New York City household had bidets, it would save them from getting these fatbergs. Fatbergs in New York City is basically when Wet Wipes and toilet paper and food particles, the oils and all the disgusting things in food, all clump up together and create these like multi-thousand tons of cloggings in these huge New York City pipes. It costs millions of dollars of our taxpayer dollars for people to go into those things-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:31:59):
Miki Agrawal (00:32:00):
… and clean out the most disgusting sludge. If we just simply use bidets and just flush out the system. You’re using less water, less paper, less everything. It’s just resource-related for the cities. It just creates a bigger breath of like, a sigh of relief, for cities to just not have to deal with the processing of so much shit and toilet paper.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:25):
Miki Agrawal (00:32:25):
Literally. Like literally.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:29):
Miki, what are some of the biggest myths? We’ve talked a little bit about it, but tell us more. What are the myths that we have about bidets? What are the obstacles that we have to get over in people’s minds? Because, even me who is pretty open to this stuff, it was a bit of a hurdle to get over the idea of actually wanting to get one of these things.
Miki Agrawal (00:32:44):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:44):
How do we help people understand? What are the myths and how do we break through those?
Miki Agrawal (00:32:47):
I mean, it’s actually funny because we have our little, we have a book that we’re… That’s coming out. It’s called-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:32:54):
This #2 Shall Pass.
Miki Agrawal (00:32:54):
This #2 Shall Pass. This is going to go in every single one of our TUSHY boxes. We actually have a chapter which is called, Truth or Derriere: Bidet Myths Debunked. Actually it’s so-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:33:13):
Truth or Derriere.
Miki Agrawal (00:33:15):
Truth or Derriere: Bidet Myths Debunked. The first myth, “Is it dirty toilet water you’re spraying your butt with?” And the answer is of course not. It’s not dirty toilet water. It’s literally the same water you brush your teeth with. It’s pulling from a wall. Our product actually comes with a little splitter and a hose, that pulls the water right from the wall, from the splitter. That’s the first bidet myth.
Miki Agrawal (00:33:34):
The second one is, Um, using a bidet seems a waste of water to me. Actually, we talked about that already. It saves like 55 gallons of water. Net net you’re actually saving water.
Miki Agrawal (00:33:44):
Myth number 3, Toilet paper cleans just as well. I splurge on the extra soft stuff. The truth is toilet paper is playing you, and actually leaves germs behind. It’s actually like, imagine cutting up a raw chicken in your kitchen and then it’s got E. coli and all the bacteria and all the whatever it is that… And then you take a piece of dry toilet paper and you just wipe the plate down and put your plate away. People will be like, “Shouldn’t you wash the chicken bacteria off your plate?” I mean, it’s literally what we’re doing to our butts. It’s like we’re wiping this bacteria infection, E. coli, with dry, smearing dry paper around. Then sitting on that all day long. For women, it creeps up your vaginal canal and that’s what causes bacterial vaginosis-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:34:35):
Miki Agrawal (00:34:35):
Bladder infections. It causes all just the infections-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:34:40):
I mean it-
Miki Agrawal (00:34:40):
… that you get. UTIs, yeast infections, all those things.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:34:44):
Yeah. As a doctor, one of the main problems with women getting bladder infections, is how they use toilet paper and wipe. That actually introduces bacteria up into the urethra, which leads to these bladder infections. Why women get so many more bladder infections.
Miki Agrawal (00:34:57):
Yeah. Water is the universal solvent. It’s not laced with any kind of chemicals or anything. We’re not saying, “Use soap,” because you don’t use soap down there, because it messes your pH. But just flush it out with a lot of water and you’re good.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:35:14):
Yeah. Well, it’s a medical thing. We have a saying for that in medicine. We call it the solution to pollution is dilution.
Miki Agrawal (00:35:21):
Yes. Thank you. Exactly. That’s another myth that bidets are too expensive, it’s for rich people. Our product is $79. It’s for everyone.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:35:30):
And $79 is one time and that’s it.
Miki Agrawal (00:35:34):
You buy it one time it lasts for years, versus spending hundreds of dollars every single year. You’re saving thousands of dollars over the course of the years. It’s just so obvious. It’s just, people don’t think about it. And so I think for us, this whole Corona thing, the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 happened. Everyone just cleaned out all the stores.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:36:00):
Yeah. You go to Walmart, every store there’s no toilet paper. And there’s like one roll, or there’s a box of like single rolls and it says, “Only one per customer.”
Miki Agrawal (00:36:09):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:36:10):
Created a mass fear and hysteria about toilet paper shortage. And I don’t understand that.
Miki Agrawal (00:36:15):
It was crazy. And all of our customers were like, “We got our TUSHY, we’re good.” And it was so interesting because we spent the last six years getting people to kind of like peer over the edge. The analogy I always give is the Cornell analogy, our alma mater. I don’t know if you ever jumped off Lover’s Leap before you graduated from Cornell? But there’s this big gorge that you jump off called Lover’s Leap. And it’s sort of like a bit of a rite of passage when I was there. You have to jump off the 30 foot drop and it’s so scary, you know, [inaudible 00:36:45] lakes. The freshman year and sophomore year you kind of go and you get to the edge and you peer over it.
Miki Agrawal (00:36:49):
It’s like so long and you’re like, “Ah!” You run away from it. And then by the time you’re senior year you’re like, “Screw it, I’m just taking a leap and I’m going for it.” The kind of same thing happened with Tushy and bidet. People were like kind of getting, “Should I buy one? I don’t know. It feels weird. Is it like awkward? It’s water shooting in my butt.” I don’t know, it’s just weird. And one of the big stigmas is like, “Is it gay?” Back in the day.
Miki Agrawal (00:37:17):
First of all, that’s so stupid. The stigmas and all these old pre-conceived nonsense like that. Anyways, and so by the time the toilet paper shortage happened, people just leaped off and we had our first million dollar day during the toilet paper shortage. And it was like a really, really powerful showing that people were finally ready and they just were like, “Okay, toilet paper’s not available. I’m going to try Tushy and just see what happens.”
Miki Agrawal (00:37:45):
And the results, the people, the feedback … I mean, people were just like-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:37:48):
What are people saying?
Miki Agrawal (00:37:50):
People are just like, “What have I been doing my whole life? It took a pandemic for me to try this obvious solution.” New York Times wrote a headline that said, “Is America ready to adopt the bidet?” And it was just a really, really powerful moment for us as a company. And just for me, just to be like, “Wow, people laughed for so long at this business idea.” No one’s going to invest and one’s going to try it, no one’s going to use it, no one’s going to talk about it. It was such a moment of just again, imprinting where it was just like, “Okay, we’re on the right track.” And people’s lives are better because of it. The earth is smiling more because of it.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:38:31):
So 2020 is not only the year of COVID, it’s the year of the bidet.
Miki Agrawal (00:38:36):
It is. We call it bidet 2020, instead of Biden 2020. We’re cut out the N.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:38:41):
This is amazing. What you do is not just solve problems, help people, reduce climate change and create jobs, you are also giving back. And for every single Tushy sold, you fund a group, an organization in India that builds clean latrines for the urban poor, who have access to nothing and are literally pooping out in the open on the street. So tell us a little bit about this organization and how you’re helping families get access to clean sanitation? Because sanitation is a big issue in the world. A lot of people just don’t have access.
Miki Agrawal (00:39:17):
Thank you for this question, because it’s such an important thing for us to kind of also … And everyone listening to really let that sink in. We just go to the bathroom and we don’t think about it. It’s just a basic human right that we just don’t think about. But, there are 3 billion people globally who don’t have a consistent, safe place to go to the bathroom. And almost a billion people practice what they call open defecation when they’re just pooping outside in broad daylight. It’s a separate thing for women. But, open defecation is a problem when people just poop outside. It gets into the water systems that people are drinking, people drinking bacteria, infection-filled water. They’re getting diarrhea, and a lot of these people die of diarrhea. I mean, there’s half a million children under the age of five that die of diarrhea every single year.
Miki Agrawal (00:40:06):
It’s a really, really solvable thing. What we’ve done is a lot of research on what is the best way to attack the global sanitation crisis and to approach it. There’s a lot of non-profits that kind of go to a village, build a toilet and then leave. And then all of a sudden that toilet, people don’t know what it is, why they need it. They kind of use a couple of times, then it becomes disgusting and dirty. And then that toilet becomes a deeper cesspool of infection for people to use. Now it becomes this eyesore in the village. And so, the reason why we partnered with this incredible organization called Samagra based in India, is because what they do is a teacher teach a man/woman to fish methodology.
Miki Agrawal (00:40:48):
And I’m always in the business of creating an autonomous sovereign village and a sovereign human, versus a handout model, sort of like the welfare model of just waiting for the savior to come and save me and give me a handout. People don’t want handouts-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:41:06):
They want to feel empowered.
Miki Agrawal (00:41:07):
They want to feel empowered, autonomous sovereign in their lives. What Samagra does is they build these clean toilets in India. And then what they do is they teach the local community members … They spend six months there and they incentivize the villagers. “Hey, I’ll give you a free bar soap if you come and use the toilet.” “Hey, I’ll give you free minutes on your phone, if you use the toilet.” Hey, I’ll give you all these little gifts and things that you need for your household, if you use this toilet for the next six months. All of a sudden the village smells less gross. All of a sudden the water systems clean up. All of a sudden their children are not getting sick. All of a sudden they’re elderly are not getting sick. All of a sudden they’re not getting sick. All of a sudden people are living longer. All of a sudden they’re feeling much better.
Miki Agrawal (00:41:55):
So what they do is they’re teaching the local villages during this time to clean these toilets. They’re actually paying a couple of villagers $2 every day to clean these toilets. They hire people locally. And so then all of a sudden what they find out is that then by the end of the six months, these villagers are so excited about all the results. They didn’t even know what these results would be because they were just so not used to what would happen, that they then appointed two people, each family then pays about $1.25 per family per month for them to pay for someone to clean the toilets.
Miki Agrawal (00:42:33):
So it becomes an empowerment model and then they become an autonomous village that takes care of the toilets. They hired two people to take care of the toilets, they get paid for it and then we can move on to the next village. So not having to stay there forever, they then understand why it’s important. They end up paying $1.25 per family per month, which is totally reasonable. Most of these families make between $2 and $3 per day and so paying $1.25 per family per month is totally, totally manageable. So we move on to the next village and create again the same sovereign autonomous thing. So we go from village to village and it’s an obvious choice.
Miki Agrawal (00:43:06):
So what I’m doing now for TUSHY is I’m so, so, so excited as we finally created a Hello TUSHY Foundation, and what I’ve been really inspired by and excited about is the closed-loop model, closed-loop systems. What I’m creating for Hello TUSHY Foundation is what I’m calling the Village Regeneration Starter Kits.
Miki Agrawal (00:43:29):
So the first thing is we partnered with this really epic organization called Ecofiltro, which basically makes these water filter systems. They could take the dirtiest, most disgusting, putrid water and put it through its filter system and it’s $30. That’s all it cost per family, $30, and it produces that into perfectly, absolute, clean, purified drinking water.
Miki Agrawal (00:43:52):
Then I do a partnering up with this toilet company called Ecozoic, which basically makes these toilets that have enzymes and microbes in them that break down the poop-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:44:04):
Kind of like composting toilets.
Miki Agrawal (00:44:06):
Yeah, and then turn the poop into fertilizer. So basically the water, people drink the water, they’re pooping not disgusting poop, they’re pooping cleaner poops and drinking the water there. So then that feeds the toilets.
Miki Agrawal (00:44:19):
The fertilizer then feeds the little farms. We’re giving each family a vertical farm, which then grows up to 12 varietals of fresh foods and basically in eight weeks, they’re going to have all this produce that grows really fast, that’s nutritious. So then each family gets the food that they fertilized for their poop, fertilizes the food, and the water from the filter waters the food and so it’s this closed-loop system.
Miki Agrawal (00:44:45):
Then we’re creating these solar cells that can power fans because lot of these children and elderly are dying because these huts don’t have access to airflow. So we found these solar cells, they’re $95. We can have these solar cells that can power these air fans and these fans just then now save and then powered by the sun. So it’s this full-on closed-loop system where all they want is access to food, to clean water, to clean toilets and to basically energy.
Miki Agrawal (00:45:16):
So this Village Regeneration Starter Kit that I’m creating is going to be the foundation for the Hello TUSHY Foundation and I’m so, so excited about that.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:45:24):
It’s so great. So great. So you’re not only helping the people who are actually buying TUSHY, but you’re helping people who are struggling.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:45:30):
And I think people should understand that, most of the advances in our life expectancy had nothing to do with modern medicine. Very, very little. I mean, if we eliminated heart disease completely, we’d add four years of life expectancy. However, it’s the social conditions. It’s the public health and sanitation issues that are often at the root. That’s really why we’ve seen this massive increases in life expectancy is sanitation, is toilets, is clean water. It’s not having literally millions and millions of kids and people die every year from diseases which should not kill us like diarrhea.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:46:08):
And I’ve been in these countries, I’ve seen it, and it’s just heartbreaking. So I think the work you’re doing both in terms of sort of dealing with the dumb idea of toilet paper and creating a better solution and addressing some of the public health issues that are keeping, literally, billions of people down in the world is just so awesome. Thank you for that, Miki.
Miki Agrawal (00:46:28):
Thank you. And I think that what’s so exciting and I think this is why I love you so much is that we’re creating the world we want to see. And I think through business, through business, we can actually take the profits and take a part of the profits.
Miki Agrawal (00:46:42):
I believe in profit and purpose go hand in hand. I sit on the board of Conscious Capitalism with founders of Whole Foods Market and the president of Grameen Bank and all these really epic leaders and it’s really about conscious businesses that will save the planet and save the world and save humans. It’s not necessarily for-profit companies or necessarily nonprofits. I think it’s for-purpose conscious businesses that’ll do that. And I think conscious businesses, if created right, we can create the world we want to see through the profits that we make.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:47:15):
Yeah. And this is actually a very important thing, Miki, because conscious capitalism sounds like a little bit of a fringe radical left thing. But at a Business Roundtable, which is the leading businesses in the world, came out with a statement last year that said, “We need to reframe value from just being about shareholder value to stakeholder value-”
Miki Agrawal (00:47:37):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:47:38):
… meaning everybody who is affected all along the chain of supply and all along the course of their products, how is everything being affected? The environment? People-
Miki Agrawal (00:47:49):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:47:49):
… employees. Yeah.
Miki Agrawal (00:47:50):
… suppliers, the planet and share holders. that’s the basis of conscious capitalism. John Mackey wrote the book Conscious Capitalism and it’s about the stakeholder model. It’s a win-win-win-win-win model. Everybody wins. And actually conscious businesses outperform major S&P 500 indices by up to 14X so financially-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:48:08):
Miki Agrawal (00:48:09):
… it’s actually way better investment to invest in conscious capitalism.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:48:12):
Right. Then the head of one of the largest investment companies in the world who writes a letter every year out to the world said, “Hey, all you business leaders, unless you incorporate climate thinking into your business model, you are going to have a problem, not just from an immoral or ecological point of view, but from an economic perspective.”
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:48:36):
So I think this is really shifting and your solutions, whether it’s THINKX or TUSHY or the next company, which you’re already launching I think before this was even fully off the ground, is also part of that solution.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:48:49):
Before we close, I just want you to share a few minutes about this incredible idea because another problem is diapers, right? I lived in China for years and there were no diapers. They had these special pants for little kids that had no crotch in it. So it was just like pants with no crotch and the kids would just go wherever, which isn’t a great idea either, but it’s sort of what they did because they just didn’t have diapers. And these kids only had these pants with no crotch in it and just everything hanging out and they just went whatever.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:49:21):
So tell us about this new idea, which is pretty brilliant and not only solves the crisis of all the waste, but it’s actually solving a big problem.
Miki Agrawal (00:49:32):
Yeah. So the idea of closed-loop systems have been really interesting to me. And also the idea of using innovation, using product to actually solve, not only solve its existing problem, the first problem, but also be able to solve a secondary problem as well. And so I really like the idea of a product that can solve multiple solutions at the same time.
Miki Agrawal (00:49:55):
And so for me, the next invention is … I’m not a new mom now, my son just turned three, I can’t believe he’s just getting so much more … just the lights are turning on in his brain. I mean, his newest thing is, “Mama. Hmm. I have an idea.” You know, just [inaudible 00:50:12], “I have a hypothesis.” You know, “A hypothesis.” Just so cute.
Miki Agrawal (00:50:16):
Anyways. And he’s a boy, and boys take a little bit longer to potty train. And the first year I went through about 20 diapers a day. I tried the cloth diapers, I bought every single cloth diaper on the market. The minute he pees, there’s no moisture wicking aspect of these cloth diapers, so he just starts crying immediately and he gets diaper rash. And so I had to change over, and it was just the … And then I had to wash, and the poop, and the stinky and eugh. It was such a real thing.
Miki Agrawal (00:50:48):
And I tried, I put the mask. I tried, I tried the cloth diapers. And when you’re recovering from a C-section and breastfeeding and sleepless and trying … It’s just not a very practical solution for most moms, who could just put a diaper on and just be done. Or fathers.
Miki Agrawal (00:51:03):
And so, what I was just starting to think about is that like, “Okay, what if the diaper has a component to it when the baby poops? So the next thing I thought it was, “Oh my God, baby poop is basically breast milk.” Breast milk is considered liquid gold. It’s just-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:51:21):
But wait, wait. Before you get into this, tell us why regular diapers are so bad.
Miki Agrawal (00:51:25):
Well, regular diapers take between 300 and 800 years to decompose in the landfill and it’s-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:51:31):
Wait, 300 to 800 years to break down in a landfill?
Miki Agrawal (00:51:34):
To break down in a landfill. And so it’s just like, it’s this … And then you think about one diaper, a full diaper, and you’re going through 20 a day. That’s … I mean, the amount of waste that end up in landfills, it’s one of the biggest masses of landfill creators in the world. In the world. And it takes hundreds of years to decompose.
Miki Agrawal (00:51:55):
And so they’re just awful. And we’re just not harnessing the energy of baby poop. And so every time I was throwing away this baby poop, I was like, “We’re throwing away fertilizer. We’re throwing away good … something great in here.” Why are we doing that? We’re just wrapping it up with plastic, and we’re throwing it in the landfill, and it’s just gone.
Miki Agrawal (00:52:20):
And so the question became, what if something can grow inside the baby poop? I mean, when the baby takes a poop, within an hour or so, you’re going to take the diaper off the baby, because the baby’s crying, it’s gross, you smell it, and you … It’s not like … And so I’m like, “Okay. So if the diaper, in the bottom of the diaper has something in it that can grow, that can then eat the diaper, and it has a time release in 24 hours. So it only starts kind of waking up 24 hours after the diaper gets thrown away, and after the poop comes in. So it’s not like this thing will grow while the baby’s still in the diaper, you know?
Miki Agrawal (00:53:01):
And so … It’s like you don’t want … And so it’s like, okay, so what if there’s a thing that grows into … with the baby poop that acts a fertilizer, and then it gets thrown in landfill, starts eating the plastic in the landfill? That was the dream. And so I was just like, “What-”
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:53:12):
So wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. So you’re talking about this natural bio product, that actually decomposes the plastics and all the things that are also in the landfill?
Miki Agrawal (00:53:23):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:53:23):
Not just the plastic of the diaper.
Miki Agrawal (00:53:24):
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:53:26):
But all the plastics?
Miki Agrawal (00:53:26):
All the plastics.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:53:26):
Miki Agrawal (00:53:26):
And so it’s just like, because plastics is the biggest problem in landfills. And so just like what if … so then I was thinking about it. So I started … So I watched the Bill Gates documentary, and I was like, “Oh, he takes these …” And he started taking these days where he goes into the woods and with a bunch of books and then reads them.
Miki Agrawal (00:53:46):
And I was just like, “I need more than just once in a quarter.” So I started making Fridays my thinking days. You know, today’s exception. No, but I started making Fridays my thinking days, where I just sit and think, instead of just reacting to emails and just reacting to messages and reacting to … So I just made Fridays a day where I could just ask myself deep questions on how to solve major problems.
Miki Agrawal (00:54:07):
And so in one of my thinking days, I’m just sitting in my bed, looking at the window, looking at trees. I’m like, “What?” I’m like, “I know the answer to this. What breaks down plastics? What?” You know? And then my son, okay. At two, and my son comes running into my bedroom. And then he looks into my end table of my shelf next to my bed. He’s like, “Pacha’s Pajamas, Pacha’s Pajamas.” And I’m just like, “Oh.” There’s this book called Pacha’s Pajamas that I pull out. And it’s called Pacha’s Pajamas. And this girl … I gave a talk at a conference, and this girl comes up to me and she’s like, “You remind me of Pacha. I want to give you this book, Pacha’s Pajamas.” And I was like, “Okay.” And I hadn’t read it yet, but it was just happened to be in my end table.
Miki Agrawal (00:54:45):
So Hiro knew, could read [inaudible 00:54:48]. So he basically pulls it out. And I start reading, and the stories about this young girl who grows up in his polluted world. She has to wear masks to school. It’s crazy. She goes through this polluted world. And then in her dreams, she and the animals save the world. And she and the animals on the planet save the world. And so reading Hiro this book, and on like … And then he, as a kid, within two seconds he’s running away. But since it’s my thinking day, I’m just so enthralled. I just keep reading it. And on page 29, it says, “Mycelium mushrooms break down plastics.”
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:55:23):
Miki Agrawal (00:55:24):
And I was just like, “Oh, of course, that’s it.” I knew it, but I just forgot. And my two year old … My diapers … My son’s name is Hiro. The diapers are called Hiro Diapers. And he-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:55:36):
Miki Agrawal (00:55:36):
H-I-R-O. And he gave me the answer. My son, who’s … If that’s not a breadcrumb from the universe, telling me I’m on the right track.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:55:46):
Yes, it’s so true.
Miki Agrawal (00:55:46):
I mean, is that … So I was just like, “Oh my God.” And so I’m just like … So immediately I meet up with Paul Stamets. The stars align where he’s coming to New York city. And I meet up with Paul Stamets, who’s the mushroom guy, tell him about it. He’s like, “This is amazing.” And then I’m doing a bunch of research, and I find the researcher who basically figured out the degradation of plastics in the landfill with mycelium, base in Pakistan. And now he and I are partnered, and he’s doing this project with me. I’m spending the next two years doing this research, based on baby poop and mycelium that can breakdown the the diaper itself, and then break down the plastics in the landfill.
Miki Agrawal (00:56:30):
It’s happening. It’s just the stars when you know … It’s just, the universe is just mystical, magical miracle. And I’m so excited-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:56:45):
This is such an incredible story. So you are dealing with problems you’ve had that you want to solve that you create incredible solutions for that not only help you, but help people save money, help save climate, help solve all kinds of big issues like public health crises. And it’s just so cool. I think it’s pretty cool. I don’t know what you’re going to come up with next, but I know it’s going to be very cool. And I’m just so excited about you in the world. And we need more of you. And I think people listening who think they can’t do something or something can’t be done should really take inspiration from your story because you’re one of those people that never sees obstacles, only opportunities. And we all get knocked down in the world and our lives, and you have many times. And you get right back up and you go, “Okay, I’m going to get back up and do the next thing.”
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:57:35):
And I think it’s just so inspiring Miki. I don’t know what you’re coming up with next, but this is such an awesome gift. And I encourage everybody listening to check out what she’s doing in Miki’s work. She’s got her own website. It’s mikiagrawal.com. It’s M-I-K-I A-G-R-A-W-A-L.com.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:57:54):
You can check out hellotushy.com. Don’t go to tushy.com. It’s hellotushy.com. It’s an incredible gift. It’s an incredible gift to yourself, to those you love. It sounds a little weird, but trust me, it is really the future and it’s all what we should be having in our bathrooms. And I’ve got one every bathroom that I use, except when I travel around but then I have to suffer, but it’s okay.
Miki Agrawal (00:58:19):
I have a travel TUSHY for you.
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:58:19):
Think we need TUSHYs in every single hotel across America. That is what we should do. And I actually, I have a connection for you. So there’s new TUSHY system that’s coming out in September. What is that?
Miki Agrawal (00:58:35):
Yes. And so basically it’s the future of pooping. And we have our TUSHY Ottoman, which is a stool where you put your feet up. And it’s the most beautiful aesthetic stool where you put your feet up to poop properly. Right now when we take a… When you go to the bathroom and we just sit down on a chair, it’s actually kinking our colon. Because the natural way to go to the bathroom is actually like crouched down. And so that’s the natural human way, which unkinks your colon, all of your poop comes out. When you’re just sitting on a seat, only 70% of poop comes out.
Miki Agrawal (00:59:08):
But then right now, there’s some ugly stools that exist in the market. They’re just really, really eyesore. And it looks like some hospital thing. So we spent the last two years really developing the most beautiful… Looks like an art sculpture in your bathroom called a TUSHY Ottoman-
Dr. Mark Hyman (00:59:20):
So you’re like the Apple of personal care products.
Miki Agrawal (00:59:24):
Yes. And so it’s this gorgeous, called a TUSHY ottoman. And then of course, there’s your toilet. And we have our TUSHY bidet, which you spray your but with. We went through every single aspect of the bidet to make it perfect. The way the stream comes out. The way cleans the nozzle. The way it supports you. We’ve thought through every single thing.
Miki Agrawal (00:59:43):
And then we have our TUSHY tissues. So right now people, they kind of… Even when they have a bidet, even when they have a TUSHY at their home, because we’re so used to it and it’s a role. The Scott brothers, they thought it through. They made it a role so you’re using way more than you need to. You’re wrapping around your hand a couple of times. [crosstalk 01:00:04]. Exactly. And so what we developed is called the TUSHY tissues or the Tushy tissue stand, which this beautiful stand. It’s looks like this minimalist, Japanese gorgeous aesthetic. And you pull one sheet at a time, one square at a time.
Miki Agrawal (01:00:20):
So it’s like it, but it’s a reverse… But it looks like a beautiful thing. And you’re saving 80% of toilet paper. And you’re controlling how much you use. It’s a hundred percent bamboo. And it makes you stand for the planet. Our TUSHY tissue stand helps you stand for the planet and your pocket book and your life.
Miki Agrawal (01:00:37):
So that’s what’s coming out next in the subscription model. And then the TUSHY brush. And so right now the biggest toilet brush in the market. I’m so excited to be talking about all this toilet products. I’m so nerdy about it.
Dr. Mark Hyman (01:00:49):
Well, they used to call me Dr. See every poop at Canyon Ranch when I worked-
Miki Agrawal (01:00:53):
I know. That’s why I love you so much. You’re my poop doctor. You changed my life. You really changed my life and you saved my thyroid. I didn’t have to take it out, thanks to you. You helped me make a baby.
Dr. Mark Hyman (01:01:04):
Miki Agrawal (01:01:08):
Yeah, indirectly. You really changed my life. And I love you so much for that. You’re just the best. Anyways. So the last product is… So the number one selling product right on Amazon is this toilet brush called the Wand. And it’s this plastic toxic eyesore that you like… Because people don’t want to scrape their toilets with poopy whatever and then put their toilet brush back in the thing that collects more poop. It’s just gross.
Miki Agrawal (01:01:32):
And so this product on Amazon, you just press on this thing and it clips onto this plastic thing. You clean and then you clip and then it throws it in the garbage. And so it’s this terrible single use product that people love. It’s the number one selling product at Amazon because people don’t want to have this gross thing and are used to disposables now. So what we’ve created is the most environmentally friendly version of that, which is basically this bamboo stick that has this grabber and our little pads are 100% up cycled coconut husks. And they’re up cycled coconut husks and 100% compostable. And they’re made out of a 100% up cycle coconut husk just because coconut husks are super rough.
Miki Agrawal (01:02:18):
And so you basically just squeeze it, it grabs it, it cleans the toilet and then it’s 100% compostable or if it goes in the garbage, it just breaks down like food. So just in two seconds, it’s gone. So it’s the most eco-friendly version of the best selling product on Amazon. So we’re excited to go head to head against them and just prove that we can clean the toilet as good with a much more 100% environmentally friendly product.
Dr. Mark Hyman (01:02:43):
You’re like, Thomas Edison meets Steve jobs meets Elon Musk. I don’t know. Something like that. You’re pretty amazing. Anyway, Miki, thank you so much for being on the Doctor’s podcasts. Everybody should get a TUSHY. Go to hellotushy.com. Learn more about it. It’s pretty awesome. And-
Miki Agrawal (01:03:01):
And if you have any questions, you can DM me on Insta. Just @MikiAgawal on Instagram.
Dr. Mark Hyman (01:03:05):
Yes. And she’s cool. So you’ve been awesome listening to all this crazy stuff about taboo subjects. I hope this hasn’t grossed you out too much, but I think it’s important for us personally, for our health, for the planet and to solve so many of our big global problems.
Dr. Mark Hyman (01:03:18):
Thank you for thinking out of the box Miki. And if you’ve all been listening to this podcast and you loved it, share with your friends and family on social media. Leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you. And subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And we’ll see you next time on the Doctor’s Farmacy.