Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

If you’re using a different device, our show is available on the following platforms.

View all Platforms
Episode 179
The Doctor's Farmacy

How The Intelligence Of Plants and Animals Can Help Us Reclaim Our Health

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

Tap the subscribe button and new shows will be added to your library.

If you’re using a different device, our show is available on the following platforms.

View all Platforms

If we take the time to be quiet, still, and curious, there’s an immeasurable amount of knowledge to be gained from our natural surroundings. In watching grazing animals and their food choices, we see they know how to personalize their nutritional intake to eat plants that match their exact needs. Though many of us have lost our innate wisdom to eat intuitively, upping our intake of phytochemicals and reducing processed foods means we can recalibrate our cravings to lean towards what we truly need.

Vitamins and minerals often get most of the attention when it comes to eating for nutrient density, but phytochemicals are the real hidden talent for optimizing plant, animal, and human health. Unfortunately, modern agriculture has actually damaged the phytochemical richness of our food, by breeding for yield, appearance, and hardiness. I enjoyed sitting down with Fred Provenza in this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy to talk about all this and so much more.

Fred is an incredible resource for understanding the link between soil organisms, plant nutrient profiles, and animal and human health. I was fascinated at the concept that the microbiome of our soils doesn’t just influence the nutrients of plants, but that the plants help determine that microbiome. This is why monoculture is so devastating—Fred and I dig into this relationship and why diversity, just like for our human diets, is essential for healthy soils and healthy animals.

Phytochemicals are one of the most important aspects of nutrition that most people have never heard of. Fred explains how they influence the flavor and medicinal properties of our food, what animals and children can teach us about eating for phytochemicals diversity, and why we’re looking for love in all the wrong places when it comes to the Standard American Diet.

We also break down that data on meat and health. The problem with the studies we hear the most about is that they use feedlot meat. This is dramatically different from meat that was raised foraging on a large variety of wild plants. Fred expands on this topic as well as why all grass-fed meats and even plant-based alternatives are not created equal.

I know you’ll learn as much from Fred as I did. I hope you’ll tune in.

This episode is brought to you by Joovv, BiOptimizers, and Primal Kitchen.

Joovv is offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners an exclusive discount on Joovv’s Generation 3.0 devices. Just go to Joovv.com/farmacy and use the code FARMACY. Some exclusions do apply. 

Right now, BiOptimizers is offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners 10% off your Magnesium Breakthrough order. Just go to magbreakthrough.com/hyman and use code HYMAN10 to receive this amazing offer.

Right now, Primal Kitchen is offering my community 20% off. Just go to primalkitchen.com and use the code DRHYMAN20 at checkout.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn:

  1. The vital role that plant compounds play in plant, animal, and human health
    (7:22)
  2. Our modern agricultural practices breed against phytochemical richness in our foods
    (14:38)
  3. How animals self-medicate
    (19:21)
  4. The interrelatedness of the soil microbiome and microbiome of plants, animals, and humans
    (22:50)
  5. Our overreliance on GMO foods have negatively impacted plants natural ability to produce their own herbicides and fertilizers
    (32:54)
  6. How we grow our food is driving the chronic disease epidemic and eliminating our body’s natural nutritional wisdom
    (39:29)
  7. Food cravings and overeating are often attempts to correct nutritional deficiencies
    (49:54)
  8. We’re not just feeding our gut when we eat, we’re feeding every cell and organ in our body
    (1:02:06)
  9. Are plants sentient beings?
    (1:11:10)
  10. Variations in feedlot meat, different types of grass-fed meat, and plant-based meat alternatives
    (1:21:44)
  11. The importance of ecosystem diversity
    (1:38:31)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Fred Provenza

Fred grew up in Salida, Colorado, working on a ranch and attending school in Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University. He is professor emeritus of Behavioral Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University where he worked for 35 years, directing an award-winning research group that pioneered an understanding of how learning influences foraging behavior and how behavior links soil, plants, herbivores, and humans. He is the author of three books, including Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us about Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom; Foraging Behavior: Managing to Survive in a World of Change; and The Art & Science of Shepherding: Tapping the Wisdom of French Herders (co-written with Michel Meuret). He has published over 300 research papers in a wide variety of scientific journals.

 

Show Notes

  1. For 35% off Fred Provenza’s book Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us About Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom click here and enter promo code POD35.

Transcript

Announcer:
Coming up on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Fred Provenza:
Diverse mixtures of plants species literally create homes, grocery stores and pharmacies for these creatures below ground.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m Dr. Mark Hyman. That’s Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y, a place for conversations that matter. And if you are an eater, which I assume most of you are unless you eat rocks or something, this conversation’s going to be super important to listen to. Because it’s going to unpack some of the most vexing questions we have today, should you be a vegan, should you eat meat? What role does plant-based meats have in our health? Are they good for you, are they not good for you? How do we understand the ways we should be eating to actually promote health and deal with some of the chronic diseases we face today?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So welcome, Fred Provenza, who is joining us today on the podcast. He’s an extraordinary guy. We’re just off the Madison River, where we rafted down on his old dory. We didn’t get too many whitewater rapids. But we did see some bald eagles and some mergansers and got to to chat about the nature of the universe which was really, really awesome. And just a little bit about Fred, he grew up in Salida, Colorado, working on a ranch and attending school in Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University. He is Professor Emeritus in Behavioral Ecology. We’re going to talk about what is Behavioral Ecology. At the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University, which is also where my daughter went for premed, and he worked there for 35 years.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Directed an award winning research group understanding how learning influences behavior and how behavior when it’s soil, plants, herbivores and humans. And he’s written so many books, Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us About Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom which is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. Even if you’re not into this stuff, I think you should get the book. Because it’s a game changer in our thinking about how we need to be in relationship to the food we’re eating and why we got so off-track. He’s also written Foraging Behavior: Managing to Survive in a World of Change, and The Art & Science of Shepherding: Tapping the Wisdom of French Herders. And he’s published over 300 research papers in a wide variety of scientific journals, I’ve read probably half a dozen or more as they are just beautiful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And some of them I’ve recently read, one is called We are the Earth, and the Earth is Us: How Palates Link Foodscapes, Landscapes, Heartscapes, and Thoughtscapes. Also a more recent one, Health-Promoting Phytonutrients Are Higher in Grass-Fed Meat and Milk, and a new one we’re going to talk about which is Impairing the Metabolomics of Plant-Based Meats with Grass-Fed Beef which is going to be an eye-opener. So welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy again, Fred.

Fred Provenza:
Thank you, Mark. It’s wonderful to be here with you, absolutely. And wonderful to spend a day with you and [inaudible 00:02:48], it’s a very good day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s been really spectacular. And we’ve talked a lot in the hours we’ve been together, hanging out in Ennis, Montana with Fred and learning about his works more. I’ve just dived in this work in a way that few other things have called to me recently. And the reason is that it sort of answers a lot of the questions about why we’ve gotten so off-track with our food, how we get back on track. What we have to learn about natural principles of eating that animals have figured out, the evolution, from an evolutionary point of view that we’ve really lost. So we’ve become disconnected from the landscape, from our food, from the source of our food.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And one of the things that you write a lot about, which is just fascinating to me is the love of plants. You’ve studied an enormous amount of plants and their compounds, we call these phytochemicals are secondary compounds. I don’t like secondary compounds. Because it essentially is a word that implies that they’re secondary, they’re not important as the primary compounds. And I think phytochemicals are essentially these plant molecules that have been developed by the plants for their own defenses, but we’ve evolved with those molecules in what I call symbiotic phytoadaptation. Which means we evolved with these plants and we borrow those chemicals to regulate our biology, to regulate inflammation, our microbiome, our detoxification systems, our mitochondria, our immune system. Always regulated by the plant compounds that we eat, when we’re eating a rich variety of plants. The problem is 60% of our diet from three plants, essentially soy, wheat and corn. About 90% of our diet from 12 plants, which is maybe some tomatoes and I don’t know, onions and a few other things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it’s pretty bad, we’ve lost the biodiversity of our diet and our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have consumed up to 800 different species of plants. And even the people who live in the northern cultures like the Inuit, I mean they foraged on Moss and various kind of Arctic plants. But they also ate the stomach contents of the other … or predators, if they were hunting. Which was fascinating to me, I wouldn’t want to eat what’s in somebody else’s stomach. But it’s like somebody eating vomit, I wouldn’t really want to do that. So, you’ve kind of unpack a lot of the science behind these phytochemicals and the role they play in our biology. And it turns out they’re probably as important as anything else we’re eating, as important as protein, fat and carbohydrates, as important as vitamins and minerals. They really are the science behind food as medicine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we talk a lot about food as medicine, but what does that mean? Well, macronutrients also play a role in regulating our metabolism and biology and the quality of those macronutrients matter. So all proteins are not the same, all fats are not the same, all carbs aren’t the same and all fiber’s not the same. But this is other class of compounds that we’re now discovering may be as important, if not more important for promoting health and optimizing our health and how we eat our medicine. This is a podcast called The Doctor’s Farmacy with and F, that is exactly why we’re talking about this, these concepts. There’s what you’ve learned about these animals. Is that they, if were allowed to forge and roam in their natural habitats, will select plants based on their particular nutritional needs and even their illnesses.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They will self-medicate with various kinds of plants that have medicinal properties. And they might have a couple of, three or four main plants. But there might be 50 or 70 or 100 different plants in small amounts, sort of taking their vitamins and minerals. So can you talk a little bit more about what phytogens are and why they’re so important, and give us some sort of examples of what you’ve learned from your research?

Fred Provenza:
Absolutely the case, Mark. And that’s a great overview that you gave actually, of that … so many thoughts are coming into my mind. And I think one place I would start was this whole idea of secondary compounds and the notion that what roles are they playing historically, there’s a historical basis for why they were called secondary compounds. People didn’t understand what roles they played in plants. And so they were, knew about N-P-K, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and those sort of things. But it’s only been in the last 50 years perhaps that people really started to study these compounds and realized they’re not secondary at all, with primary roles in the health of plants, everything under the sun that you can think.

Fred Provenza:
From sunscreen to adaptive coloration, to protecting plants against other plants, their natural herbicides that plants produce to protecting plants from being overgrazed. And as the plant gets injured, they help the plant perk up. And so on and on and on, they play really important roles in the health of plants. And what we’re coming to appreciate, as you were alluding to, is that they’re fundamentally important for the health of herbivores, livestock, wild animals below and above ground. I like to say often that plants turn dirt into soil and diverse mixtures of plants turn soil into grocery stores, pharmacies and homes, basically for all these herbivores, omnivores and carnivores. Below ground and above ground too, so plants are the givers of life.

Fred Provenza:
And then to realize that there as fundamentally important in our health as well, right? In the health of human beings. I was reading a book recently about the Blackfeet people here in Montana, and the huge area that they occupied and moved over seasonally. Those movements were really tied to hunting and gathering, and plants were a fundamentally important part of all of that. Then they’re using plants to make some things like pemmican, right, Mark? Yeah. Yeah, they have-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What’s pemmican?

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. Well, it’s meat and fat, and then it’s berries that are put into that whole mixture. So not only probably, and we’ll get to this later, are they eating animals that meat and dairy perhaps that’s phytochemically and biochemically rich, they’re also realizing the importance of plants as a part of pemmican. It’s a mixture.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I mean we’re joking, that pemmican was essentially what helped sell America. The Lewis and Clark Expedition used pemmican as their main food, which was something they learned from Native Americans. But essentially it was a keto diet, it was 70% fat, 20 plus percent protein and a little bit of carbohydrates from the berries.

Fred Provenza:
Right. Absolutely the case. And if that’s not cool enough-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It would be a pound would feed a man for a day and a half, and a half a pound would feed a woman. So if you’re a man and you have 30 pounds of pemmican for a month, that’s pretty good.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, it’s absolutely the case.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thinking about going on a backpacking trip, going on it is 30 bars of pemmican.

Fred Provenza:
I know. That’s probably what we ought to be taking on the backpacking trips-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true.

Fred Provenza:
As opposed to some of the ultra-processed stuff that we-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You just said a lot of stuff about what’s going on in the relationship between plants, animals and humans. That the plants are part of this profound ecological network. That includes the soil microbiome, which they depend on to get their nutrition.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And they provide medicine and food and nutrients for the animals, which then in turn provide food and medicine for us.

Fred Provenza:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we also eat the plants which provide the same benefits, but our diet’s been so depleted because of our ignorance of these phytochemicals and ignorance of their benefit. And the way we’ve actually developed our agricultural system has, that absolutely everything to deplete phytonutrients, our breeding and our growing practices. So you can talk about, what have we done around plant breeding? Not just GMO, but plant breeding and also about our way of growing food that’s really depleted those phytochemicals that are so life-giving?

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, absolutely the case. And let’s go back to this notion of secondary compounds and how that evolved with plant physiologists and biochemists, as they came to appreciate the many roles that they play. And that they aren’t just waste products of plant metabolism, but there is a cost involved in making these compounds. There’s pathways within the plants that plants use to create the compounds, and we came to understand that there’s a cost involved in that. So this is not in any way derogatory that, but if you’re an agronomist thinking about growth and how do we get more production of fruits and vegetables, produce, those sorts of things and you don’t understand the roles that these compounds are playing, then it’s a natural thing to select against them.

Fred Provenza:
Because you can get more growth, you’re not and the plant’s not allocating to production of these compounds anymore. It’s all going into growth. And so we’ve really accented growth at the expense of phytochemical richness in our selection programs, in the varieties that we’ve selected for. And then we’ve-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re basically breeding for plants to have more productive value-

Fred Provenza:
Have yield.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
More yield, more starch.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. We have the focus on energy, protein, starch like you’re saying. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But what we’ve bred out as a consequence, all these beneficial phytochemicals.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. And we’ve done the same thing for livestock. When we were starting some of the studies we did on … we were asked by the ag experiment station during the last years of my career to do a pasture project. They really wanted the ideas that we were doing with plants and animals, on extensive conditions, to focus on what we’re talking about. And we said, “Okay, we want to plant diverse mixtures of plants and we want them to be phytochemically rich.” We had a devil of a time to find it, because we’ve done that for forages. We’ve got to the point where many of the forages are so high in nitrogen or protein, let’s say protein, that it’s toxic to animals. Everything’s a toxin, right? Paracelsus said everything’s a toxin, it depends on the dose.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The dose makes the poison.

Fred Provenza:
The dose makes the poison. And so the feedback, that we might get into here, these metabolic feedbacks are telling animals it’s too much. And so, they’re limiting their intake. Because we’ve selected for such high concentrations of the primary compounds, the energy, the protein and those sort for things. We’ve kind of-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Kind of screwed ourselves?

Fred Provenza:
We have. We have and not realized. When we were doing the studies, and you mentioned this earlier, of looking at food selection … wild animals and domestic animals too. But we would find that three to five to seven plants made up the bulk of the diet, just as you said. But then there’s another 50, 75. And nobody paid much attention to the 50 to 75, because that’s not … we’re thinking in terms of animals, the energy and protein to grow. They need some minerals, and that’s all that counts. These secondary compounds, nobody’s thinking about that. But now when I think back on that, I think, “Those 50 to 75.” And when you watch them … I used to be really like a physicist, in the sense that if you understand that you can predict and control it all. So I used to be out there watching these animals foraging stuff, there’s no way. Yeah, that a bite of these, you’d probably be get all these different things. But if you’re-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Did you follow a cow around all day, or a goat or a-

Fred Provenza:
Or a sheep or a goat, or when we had Stevenson [inaudible 00:14:43] in field, we would just follow and just watch them. Just watch them for half an hour or the chickens over here in our coop and you start to think, “How?” Then you watch different ones and you realize no two of them are selecting the same thing, they’re all doing something different.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s personalized nutrition-

Fred Provenza:
It’s personalized nutrition.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The animals are doing it for themselves.

Fred Provenza:
Guess what? Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Because no one’s going to-

Fred Provenza:
Just like your work, in your work.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:15:04] diet for a cow-

Fred Provenza:
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Or a goat or a sheep, or a chicken.

Fred Provenza:
Absolutely the case.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s kind of like human medicine, right?

Fred Provenza:
It is.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’re-

Fred Provenza:
These ideas start to go out of your head that we’re not … it’s not about predicting. It’s about understanding the processes, how do the processes work? Then that relates to every creature. But then what, as I’ve reflected over the years that I’ve just come to think, “It’s that 50 to 75 that’s just as important as the three to five to seven, in terms of enabling animals to self-medicate. Both prophylactically, that is to say preventatively if they’re exposing the cells and organ systems in their bodies to this diverse array of these phytochemicals, that an errant cell maybe can forage in the capillaries on some kind of phytochemical that it needs to prevent it from going haywire, right? We know those kind of things. The seven hallmarks of cancer, these phytochemicals can counter all of those, right? That’s happening at that cellular level-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Even to the degree that the animals will seek out plants that are antiparasitic, using tannins for example, which is phytochemical, if they have a parasite. They’re like, “Oh, I went to my doctor. And he told me I have a parasite, I got to eat this plant.” No, they’re just … somehow intuitively know what to eat.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, that’s absolutely the case. And a little bit of learning from mother helps them along the way, that’s pretty amazing about mother teaching. As a start in the womb, but then as they’re born or they start to follow mom and what she eats and what she doesn’t eat, this really, it helps them to get a start in life. And then they aren’t just going back to this individuality, they aren’t just a perfect copy of mom. They’re individuals, right? They’re different.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Fred Provenza:
But what’s key is that mom helps them to get started. Those flavors of foods that she’s eating that get into the amniotic fluid, we know that a young animal that’s had that kind of experience already knows the flavors of foods in the environment that mom’s eating from. Because it’s a mix of-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That shapes their preferences, future. For … if you’re a human infant in utero and you’re mom’s eating fast food all day and processed feed, that’s going to sensitize you to that food and that’s what you’re going to want. And that’s why we see women who were eating crappy diets, who are overweight, obese, diabetic, their kids also develop all these problems.

Fred Provenza:
Absolutely the case. And so you’ve really got two strikes against you from the minute you’re born, right? I mean it’s, and we know that genes are being expressed all these sorts of things, everything. So really you start out with metabolic syndrome, how-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s terrible.

Fred Provenza:
I’m thinking, you think of, I think of ladies that I know who have changed their diets over the years. And I think of their children that were born when they were on a much more wholesome diet. And nowadays as adults they’re thin and they’re trim, they look really good. Then when the diet when to ultra-processed, really not so helpful foods, those poor kids are obese. They’re fighting it lifelong, and I have no doubt that started in utero.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, 100%.

Fred Provenza:
It started as a function of how mom changed her diet over time. How she’d be eating wholesome foods, she got hooked on the ultra-processed foods and you just see it. And there’s-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They lost their nutritionalism as humans, we’ve lost that [crosstalk 00:18:31]. So getting back to the question of how our breeding practices have changed the phytochemical richness of food, that seems pretty clear what we’re breeding for, which is energy and protein and basically just not things that are these powerful biochemical compounds.

Fred Provenza:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But also, let’s talk about the agricultural processes that have destroyed the microbiome of the soil and the impact of that on phytochemical richness. Because I think people often think that the nutrients in the soil have been depleted, but it turns out that actually the soil’s fine from the nutrient point of view. From the minerals and the chemicals in the food, in the soil. But we’ve damaged the soil through our agricultural practices in ways that have reduced the organic matter, the life in the soil. It’s sort of dirt which is dead, and that prevents the plants from extracting the nutrients. Can you talk about the relation between the fungi and the bacteria, the plants and the soil, and how that changes the phytochemical richness of the plant?

Fred Provenza:
Absolutely the case. It goes back to the comment that I made earlier that diverse mixtures of plant species literally create homes, grocery stores and pharmacies for these creatures below ground. And I think some of the most interesting research nowadays, by plant ecologists, is showing that when you have no plants at all, it’s just an incredibly harsh environment. How can the microbiome live, when it has no plants to help sustain it? The plants are fixing soluble carbohydrates, they’re fixing energy in the process of photosynthesis. And they’re feeding the microbiome below ground. Then the microbiome in turn is helping to feed, to turn those nutrients that the plants need. They’re helping the plants to get those nutrients, so it’s a symbiotic relationship. It’s an amazing relationship.

Fred Provenza:
And some of the work I think that’s fascinating is showing that as you go from a monoculture, which is typically how we plant our crops, to more diverse mixtures, you’re creating more homes for a more extensive microbiome in the soil. Which is the same thing that happens in us, right? If we eat a diverse array of foods, of wholesome foods, a variety of different plant species and fruits and meats as well, we create a more diverse microbiome in our gut. So, it’s absolutely analogous.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s totally true.

Fred Provenza:
And ruminant nutritionists, people who study these cattle … so sheep, goats, elk, deer, they’re what’s called ruminants. They’re kind of a walking, composting-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Fermentation.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, a walking fermentation vat. I mean the microbiome is really an important and hot topic nowadays, right? In human nutrition, no question, it’s a hot topic. But ruminant nutritionists have been studying the microbiome for 70 years, and they’ve-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Fred, actually how I got into nutrition was I was at Cornell living in a house with a PhD student in nutrition who was studying the microbiome of ruminants. They didn’t call it the microbiome back then, it’s the role of fiber.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he’s the one who gave me that book, Nutrition Against Disease by Roger Williams that got me thinking about this back in college. And it’s so funny you mentioned that, because he studied the microbiome.

Fred Provenza:
Peter van Zoest, did you know Peter and all his graduate students?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Yeah.

Fred Provenza:
They were doing so much-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right.

Fred Provenza:
Work along those lines. And so, they were appreciating the importance of changes in the diet. When you change the diet, you’re going to change the microbiome. That’s the change to the microbiome. And then ecologists were also very interested in that and making the point that the more diverse the diet of the animal, that the more diverse the microbiome’s going to be. So it just lines up from the soil-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so incredible.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, through the animals right through to us, right? And the plants are benefitting from that as well, the more diverse microbiomes help all those plants. So, it’s amazing work. But it all links back to health, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Fred Provenza:
To the Doctor’s Farmacy and feed as medicine for livestock and wild animals, food as medicine for us. But it’s the same thing-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You just said something that a bulb went on in my head, it’s something I’d never really considered. And I’m just going to unpack it, because it was so rich and you covered it really quickly. So I thought that the microbiome of the soil was important for the plants, but the microbiome of the soil is also determined by the plants.

Fred Provenza:
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And the plants, the plants in a symbiotic relation with the soil, put stuff in the soil that feeds the microbiome. And the more diversity of plants … now think about these massive millions of acres of monocrop culture and what that does to the soil, right? You have hundreds of different species of plants on rangeland or farmland, that’s putting information in the soil. That these, the slurry of medicine from the microbiome of the soil.

Fred Provenza:
That’s it. That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Then the microbiome in turn helps the plants by extracting compounds from the soil, that it couldn’t otherwise extract. So, we’re seeing two phenomena here. One is over the last 50 years, we’ve seen a dramatic reduction in mineral and nutrient content in plants. Even if you eat your broccoli today, it’s not as nutritional as a couple years ago. Okay, we’re up to 50% lower levels of minerals. Also a 10% to 15% reduction in phytochemicals, and it’s all because we’ve disrupted this natural relationship between plants and soil.

Fred Provenza:
Yes. And when we didn’t understand, right? I mean when people were starting into all this, nobody understood that … and the silos that we live in, right? That we were talking about last night. So, you have these ecologists that are going down this path and learning about all these things we’re talking about. You have agronomists that are thinking, “We need yield, yield, yield.” And now whose worlds are coming together, how we’re starting to say, “Look, we did this. Nobody’s to blame. It was just good intentions, but we need to have a think.” Then these phytochemicals, going back to the soil microbiome, they’re health-promoting for all those bacteria and mycorrhizae and all. They’re, it’s so symbiotic and so health-promoting all the way across the board. You can’t extract one thing from the other, they’re intimately interrelated. We’re interrelated with all that, right? We didn’t … we’ve forgotten that that’s so fundamental to our health. We really need to wake up to that, right? That appreciation of how beautiful and amazing it is for one thing and then how important it is, fundamental for our health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Totally. And the phytochemicals that are in these plants that have been grown in ways that feed the microbiome of the soil, that increase their nutrient density, would increase their have phytochemical richness, have profound effects for our health. And they’re profound effects for the animals. So I’m a doctor, you’re sort of a rangeland behavioral ecologist.

Fred Provenza:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right? We’re studying different things, that how could they come together?

Fred Provenza:
Ecological doctor.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, but really when you look at it, it’s exactly what’s happening in human health and animal health. So we’re seeing the need for massive inputs to animals to keep them growing and healthy, from feedlots using supportive nutritional support, antibiotics, certain kinds of feed. It’s just, and they’re not that healthy. Whereas if you take a grass-fed, fully grass-fed, finished animal or a wild animal, they’re eating foods all the time that are treating their bodies with medicine.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And they’re less likely to get sick, they don’t need as much support. And so, the costs are way less for raised grass-fed regenerative beef than it is to feedlot animals. People think, “Oh, it’s more expensive.” It turns out it’s not more expensive, it turns out they gain weight in the right way. What was fascinating to me reading your book, some of these papers was that … or it was shocking to me that they could eat far less and gain the same weight. This is just fascinating to me. Because we eat a nutrient-replete diet, our bodies know what to do.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely the case. The whole notion of the nutritional wisdom of the body, of everything from the bacteria in the soil through to the plants themselves, through to the livestock and us as well. I want to go back to a point to, it’s about our reliance on fossil fuels. And that all these inputs that plants did naturally, now we have to make up for it with-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Talk about that.

Fred Provenza:
Herbicides, herbicides to protect plants and monocultures, glyphosate and all the downstream effects of glyphosate. Plants did that naturally, they produced their own herbicides. And we didn’t [crosstalk 00:27:50]-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They’re called phytochemicals.

Fred Provenza:
Right, and they’re called phytochemicals, that insecticides to protect plants from the insect world. Well, that’s what plants do. That’s what plants-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Also phytochemicals.

Fred Provenza:
That’s what they … also phytochemicals. Fertilizers, we’ve been talking about the symbiosis below ground. When we’ve got rid of that, then we’ve got to do the fertilizer. Well, there’s cost to every one of those things. And then like you said, there’ll be a-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A lot of plants, if you have a diversity of plants, they put nitrogen into the soil so you don’t have to put it in.

Fred Provenza:
Right. Absolutely, nitrogen-fixing plants. So we shot ourselves in the foot, and then there’s this huge cost that we’ve talked about. When you take into consi-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s just something occurred to me, sorry to interrupt. But it’s something occurred to me, it was just that the reason we need GMO foods is because we’ve depleted the plant’s natural ability to protect and defend itself by the breeding we’ve done.

Fred Provenza:
That’s the key. That’s-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Plant plants for yield and protein energy and then we’ll go, “Wait a minute, these are all going to be eaten and they’re not … striving. And they’re going to … they’re getting sick and we need to give them all these drugs to keep them healthy.” Which is kind of silly, because naturally these phytochemicals are the plant’s defense mechanism. They prevent radiation, they help treat different-
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:29:04]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They help treat different problems that they have with their own health. They help communicate with other plants of dangers, they have all these incredible benefits, right?

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. And that’s the supreme irony is now we’re trying to genetically engineer back into bracts all the things that they originally had. So it puts the emphasis, as we were talking, on programs, and there are some in this country, that are really trying to think about phytochemical richness. And how do we get that back into the production system and in a really viable way so that when you go to the grocery store and you pick up the medicine, kale and the tomato, or whatever it is that you pick something that’s phytochemically rich and you take a bite of that and every cell in your body is saying, “Hey, this is wonderful. Rather than-”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Eating broccoli on the store. He gets organic broccoli from a great store, if I go picking in my garden and eat it, I’m like, “Whoa, what’s that?” So if I had an asparagus that I buy in the store, if I eat asparagus that I go pick in my garden, that tastes so different. Right?

Fred Provenza:
Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It tastes so different.

Fred Provenza:
So that’s where we would encourage everyone to grow in gardens, getting your hands in… And I talk to a lot of people anymore who haven’t done that historically, but they listen to these kinds of things and they start doing that. And so, it’s a spiritual kind of thing in the one sense that it connects you back with being, kind of, but then the rewards of eating, like you say, it’s wonderful. How if you pick it fresh and then you eat it and then they realize what we’re talking about, some of this science that’s been dug into that it actually is very, very healthy for you and all these phytochemicals are… You know I’ll say a word, too. Over my career, so involved with natural products as an ecologist and learning all these different compounds, all of them, jillions of them. And I don’t worry about that anymore, Mark.

Fred Provenza:
And for two reasons, one, my memory doesn’t hold these thing anymore, I’ll be honest, but two, you realize it’s so complex. I mean, plants will produce tens to hundreds, to even thousands of these. Strawberry will produce 5,000 of them. So I think we can become bogged down if we try to think about, well, does it have resveratrol or does it have of phenolics of this sort of what… Not to see there, but if you just appreciate that it’s that phytochemical richness, that’s really what matters. And then what’s very cool is at the level of the cells and organ systems in your body, your cells and body know what to do with all that. That’s incredible. And you’re never going to study that in a reductionist sense-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, it’s so complex, right? Because you’re, you’re literally thousands of compounds, not just protein, fat carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. So all these other compounds and your body knows what to do with them, they regulate all those key functions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s what I do in functional medicine. When I treat patients using food as medicine when I tell people to have green tea, which helps get rid of heavy metals or have them have broccoli, which increases our toxic capacity we would find that it assimilates the sulforaphane or whether I’m having them eat [inaudible 00:32:07] sandwich and berries to increase their anti-inflammatory capacity. So I’m thinking all the time about how do I use these, but it really never occurred to me these relationship, plants, animals, and the soil that are driving the phytochemical richness. And so your work has explained how that all works and why we’ve got it so screwed up. So essentially, we bred plants to remove these compounds and then we have, you have all these agrochemical industrial inputs to compensate for that and two, if you look at your agricultural system, legacy of the green revolution that ended up damaging the soil in ways that we never even understood and turned it from soil to dirt.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he wrote in a paper you recently read that the green revolution helped feed billions of people, but it had many unintended consequences, including loss of land and social changes in the culture because of how it affected the farmers it went from the displacement of land and poverty for callusing small farmers. In India suicide rates are really high among farmers, even in this country. Loss of biodiversity, which we talked about and food quality, the degradation of the land from solar erosion and a loss of minerals in the soil, adverse effects from synthetic fertilizers on our soil organisms. So when you put nitrogen on the soil, it kills the bugs in there, the pollution from fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides on the overall environment and more salt in the soil from irrigation and dependence on fossil fuels. So we really created a system there’s so many inputs and so many changes and destructive problems that happen to the ecosystem, that we’ve sort of stopped living in an ecological way that is supportive and sustainable, and we’re now calling regenerative.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
How we regenerate ecosystems, how do we we regenerate soil, how do we regenerate the phytochemicals in turn? How do we regenerate human health? Those are all the things that people care about. And yet, we’ve developed the agricultural system that puts a lot of food that makes people sick and kills people. I mean just the one fact around COVID that’s just scary to me is that 63% of hospitalizations for COVID can be linked back to poor diet. Poor diet that caused diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and so forth that led to the hospitalizations. That should get everybody stopping in their tracks and going, wait a minute, if we are so susceptible to bad chemicals of our diet, and we’ve not only seen that and death and sickness, but also the loss of a food security, nutritious tree in so many communities during the pandemic. We’ve took down to get back on track here.

Fred Provenza:
Yes and that, as everything we’re saying, relates to all the organisms in the system, right. As you get rid of the phytochemical diversity and diversity of different plant species that makes all the wild and domestic animals more susceptible to diseases as well. Now we’re seeing it in a pandemic. It’s become very real for humans but that’s the same kind of thing that happens in wild domestic animals as well.
Speaker 1:
And it’s not just animal agriculture, plant agriculture, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan or eating plants. And if they’re growing, even in organic ways, they can use tilling methods in the soil we can be doing actually increased biodiversity. And it’s not necessarily going to solve a problem. If you’re looking at large mono crops of soybeans or the new plant-based means you’ve gotten GMO soy going in huge mono crop cultures that are destroying the ecosystem or pouring millions and millions of pounds of glyphosate on soil, which is destroying the cells microbiome, which is our microbiome and we’re ending up having these food products that aren’t what they were. And our health is really degrading as a result.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, glyphosate was originally developed as an antibiotic to kill bacteria.
Speaker 1:
I thought it was to clean up the lead pipes. And then they put it in the pipes and the runoff from the pipes they found all the plants died around where the runoff was out of a pipe.

Fred Provenza:
That’s part of the history of that whole thing, that’s right, yeah. It wasn’t deliberate, right. It was an unintended consequence observation and turned it into the herbicide it is today.
Speaker 1:
It’s crazy. So as a doctor, I understand. And then as a functional medicine doctor, I understand the power of food as medicine and the power of phytochemicals and phytonutrients in plants to actually activate our health and address both the treatment and prevention of disease.
Speaker 1:
That’s so clear to me and your work has really highlighted how we’ve lost our ability to be in right relationship with the land and with animals that will lead to more of these phytochemicals being in our diet, including not only the plants, but in animals. And we’ll talk about phytochemicals and meat a little bit. What really strikes me from your work is how we’ve really lost our natural wisdom of what to eat. And one of the studies that you wrote about in your book, Nourishment, which everybody should get a copy of. Is the study that was done in the twenties by a woman, I think in Canada, who took kids from an orphanage.
Speaker 1:
I don’t know who could get this through an ethics committee today, but she took these kids from Northridge and she fed them an array of food. She offered them these foods so they could naturally select what their body’s wanting. And these kids would eat stuff that you wouldn’t even think they…A dinner might be orange juice and liver and you know, some weird thing, and brains. And so talk about the study, what was learned from it and how as humans living in a world with a disconnection from our food supply and a disconnection from the hides of foods that help us maintain agriculturalism, how it’s led to all this chronic disease.
Speaker 1:
So this study really informs a lot of the thinking about why we are all sick and overweight.

Fred Provenza:
Yes. Clara Davis was the scientist who did this studies. She was in Chicago and she… I would have loved to have met Clara, I have to say, she’s a petit little lady and so much on the same page. But she obviously had this belief in the nutritional wisdom of the body, but wanted to study that and see what happens. So she had 15 children that were given up for adoption, or put in an orphanage. And she ran the study over a six-year period and they had 34 different foods that were offered seasonally. Some of the things like you mentioned, and then they simply recorded what each child ate meal in meal out day… Can you imagine that amount of data?
Speaker 1:
And the kids got to pick whatever they want?
Speaker 1:
Yeah. The kids could pick whatever, whatever they wanted. And they had pediatricians that were involved in that study and they wrote papers about it. And they said, they’d never seen a healthier group of kids ever in their careers. And the kids did things, and then this was interesting-

Fred Provenza:
So there’s no nutritionist telling them what to do, no dietary guidelines giving them instructions, no nutrition facts, labels of all the right stuff your kids would eat for breakfast.
Speaker 1:
No. And Clara made it clear. She told the people who were helping on the study, “You’re not to give any indication to those children of something to eat, put it in front of them. And it was interesting when they first started this study, they said the kids sampled everything, everything went into their mouth, the napkins, the silverware, anything that was on there. But given a little bit of time, each child would figure out what worked for its body.
Speaker 1:
And I just love this because she said no two children ever selected the same combination of foods had no child ever seen that selected the same foods from day to day.

Fred Provenza:
Right.
Speaker 1:
But they also liked the diets that met their needs. And they knew when some of the kids would come in with deficiency symptoms, they paid particular attention to what they would select. And they would select things that they need-

Fred Provenza:
So if they’re vitamin A deficient they’ll go for the liver.
Speaker 1:
That’s right. That’s absolutely the case. Or if they come in with rickets they will go for vitamin D-

Fred Provenza:
D? Yes.
Speaker 1:
Yeah. So they documented all of that. And it’s just amazing to think. And we were talking about that. We did studies like that with livestock. With sheep and camel, where we’d give them choices of foods or no choice at all, these rations that they, that are fed in feedlots, what are called total mixed rations.
Speaker 1:
Where they’re designed for the average animal. And you try to make uniform groups of animals in terms of age and sex and so forth. And then you formulate a ration, grind it and mix it up. So one group would get that in our study. The other group was simply offered the choice of the ingredients and it was amazing to compare what they did. And that’s where going back to the point that you made the animals that were given a choice and actually ate less food-

Fred Provenza:
But being the same weight.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, they gained weight just as readily. You know when people talk about finishing and you slaughter them, and we did that, then you look at their carcass characteristics. They were the same, but it costs less, it was efficient, more efficient. It costs less if we’re thinking in just an economic sense because they ate less food.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Here’s the emotio-

Fred Provenza:
So you put out a buffet fro them giving them a set meal.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s absolutely r-

Fred Provenza:
And then they got to pick from the buffet what they actually needed for their health. And they did exactly what Claire Davis’ kids did, too. No two animals ever selected the same combination of foods. And they varied it from day to day, to day, and we understand a lot how that works. We don’t need to go into those details, but it’s amazing. And one of the most amazing things to me, so you can look at different characteristics. But one thing that nutritionists liked to look at is protein to energy ratio in the diet. And that varies a lot as a function of need. And so for the total mixed ration, there’s a set protein to energy ratio, right? It’s set by what that ration is. And when we looked at protein to energy ratio for the individual animals given choice, they were all over the place.

Fred Provenza:
Some of them were high, sone of them were low, but when we averaged all those animals, they were exactly where the nutritionist had formulated directions. But none of them were of that. There was no average animal-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They used their own intelligence, even if it was a cow. It’s honestly a wild Elk or Buffalo. Right?

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. That’s right. It was still… They had not lost that. And that’s a key point because we started our work 45 years ago, there was the notion among Romanet nutritionists that wild animals must still have this nutritional wisdom in their bodies. Otherwise, how could they be surviving? But domestic animals have lost it as a result of 10,000 years of domestication and selection. And our work just shows in the 300 papers we’ve published over and over again, it hasn’t been lost, but it’s the choices that you give them and are you giving them wholseome choices that allow that wisdom… No different from a human, right?

Fred Provenza:
If you’re raised on an ultra processed diet, then that’s your choices, it’s not going to work out well for you, right? But if you have all these wholesome choices and they’re grown under the kind of conditions we’re talking about, then that wisdom can be expressed. And, and the amazing thing is you don’t even have to think about it, right? It’s not-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That was amazing. We’ve lost all that. And we’ve got in a world where we are over consuming ultra processed foods in ways that make us the most obese nation in the world and are staggeringly undernourished. Even though we’re over fed-

Fred Provenza:
Over fed and under nourished-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
and we have significant nutritional deficiencies in this culture, forget about phytochemicals. Though I think probably 99.9% of Americans are deficient in phytochemicals tonight and they less than 9% the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. That’s a minimum like five cups is a minimum, five servings, which is basically two and a half cups.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I would say people should be more like eight or nine cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Right? So we’ve lost that and these compounds where we’re not getting them, and we don’t know we need them, but we’re so deficient in our diet and the cravings we have and the overeating we do often is an attempt to try to replace those nutrients that we’re not getting from our food. And one of the studies that Kevin Hall along with some others was fascinating to me. You talk about it, which is that when given an unlimited amount of ultra processed food to eat or a whole food to eat that the people who ate the whole foods felt satisfied on far less food. They eight 500 calories less a day.

Fred Provenza:
500 calories less a day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now that is a massive amount of calories. If you a hundred calories off for 20 years, you’re going to gain 20 or 30 pounds.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So 500 calories, let’s say 3,500 calories, right? Which is basically a week of the calorie excess will be equivalent to a pound of weight gain a week. Excess food. So that’s why we’re so overweight because we’re looking for love in all the wrong places. We’re looking for nutrients in nutrient depleted foods. Forget about phytochemicals like the whole idea of phytochemicals regulating our appetite and our desire for food was something I just did not fully understand till I read your book. And the thing that struck me was some of the experiments you did, where you help explain how flavor and nutrient needs and the animals feeding needs are all related. So they will find the foods that they need and will eat enough of those to meet their needs. And then they’ll go eat something else.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They won’t eat too much or too little. They have this natural intelligence. And that flavor is associated with these phytochemicals. So most people understand, when you eat a wild strawberry, it’s an explosion of flavor in your mouth, even though it’s a size of the pea. You have big, fast strawberry you buy in the grocery store, it tastes like cardboard, and there’s no real flavor there. And Dana Barbara has done a lot of work around this as a chef and created a company called Rosales Foods where he’s hybridizing plants, not GMO, but just breeding plants for flavor. He’s not thinking about phytochemicals. I’m thinking of the doctor about the phytochemicals, because the phytochemicals are what give the plant the flavor. So that whole relationship between plants, even in humans and their dietary preferences, and plants and animals is something most people don’t understand.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So can you explain the way in which this flavor feedback loops, help regulate animal spewing behavior and how it might inform as humans, what we should be eating and how we need to reclaim and listen to our own nutritional wisdom.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so important. And that was something that really blew my mind. I wish there’s a way that we could make this come alive for people there to realize that liking for flavor is being mediated by these metabolic feedbacks: hormones, neurotransmitters, peptides, all those things are, those signals are coming from cells and organ systems as a function of their need. And so that’s changing liking as a function of need. And when you’re eating wholesome foods, then that’s going to be in sync with what your body needs. That system can be hijacked. We looked at a little video last night, I showed you of sheep. And one group of sheep had been… When they ate really a straw, which is not a nutritious food at all, we would put either water in one group of sheep, directly into their stomach, or aa blast of energy. And the sheep that got the blast of energy, they loved that straw, right? That’s wh-

Fred Provenza:
You give them a little maple syrup or-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s what the food industry is doing with the refined carbohydrates. You get a flavor and you follow that with a blast of energy and you immediately form a really strong preference.

Fred Provenza:
So let me stop you there. So what we’re saying is you take straw, which is like eating processed food, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Worthless, cardboard.

Fred Provenza:
No nutrients. You add sugar on it and they go, “Oh, sugar, that’s good. I want energy.” And they eat the straw, even though it has no nutrition. Which is what we do as humans when we we eat ultra processed food, when we eat fast food, which has no real nutritional value, but it has tons of energwh so they add sugar and all these flavorings to it. In order for us to start creating this, we associate the boosted energy with-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The flavor-

Fred Provenza:
The flavor-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The flavor of the food.

Fred Provenza:
But it’s actually kind of mismatched.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It is. And what we were showing is that it’s that feedback. And the way you do that is to give the flavor of straw. So we would make maple flavored or apple flavored or whatever it is. And you’ve got this straw that’s worthless. You have to emphasize that it’s, it’s not nutritionally anything, but when you follow the ingestion of that straw with, with nutrients in the gut, put the nutrients directly in the gut, that’s the cells at work. Those nutrients are getting absorbed and the cells release a, “Oh, this is great!” And it’s feeding back to make you say, “Oh, I love maple flavored straw.”

Fred Provenza:
It’s not even taste, because you’re not getting the maple flavor in your mouth-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right, that’s exactly-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’re putting it in their stomach-

Fred Provenza:
That’s exactly right. To try to egt that through, and then to realize. You know, none of this is conscious as we were talking, it’s… Nobody thinks about which enzymes to release to digest the food they’re eating. And it’s the same thing with these feedbacks it’s happening automatically.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Automatically.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. And that’s where if you’re eating wholesome foods, it works. The system is solid as can be. But if you get on the ultra processed, it gets hijacked the people in the food industry have really learned how to do that well. And then, to put not wholesome herbs and spices, let’s say, as a flavoring agent it’s all these 600 million pounds a year, or whatever. Those artificial flavouring-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
600 million pounds of artificial flavorings are added to our food every year. That’s frightening. And it’s caused this disconnect between our natural inclinations to eat foods that nourish us with our ability to pick those foods. And we tend to eat foods that are associated with these artificial flavors because they’ve scientifically figured out how to hijack our brain chemistry and our hormones and our metabolism. And so we tend to crave all the wrong stuff-

Fred Provenza:
Rather than our phytochemicals we’ve been talking about, we use artificial flavoring agents. And so we’re not getting just, as you were saying earlier, all those things that our bodies evolved over the years and that regulate all these systems inside our body, we’re not getting.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah and these animals seem to have profound ability to sense what’s going on. Not necessarily through even taste, although the flavor plays a role, even the levels of these metabolites of plants in their bloodstream can regulate their eating behavior.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you talked in the book, for example, about eating sagebrush. For example, elk in the winter use sagebrush, which is not the greatest food, but it has a nutritional value in the winter with the other stuff. And there’s high levels of these thing called terpenes, which are potentially toxic to these animals. They will stop eating when the levels in their blood of these turpines gets to a certain level and they will eat something else. But you’d kind of hijacked that through studying this process where you infused the terpenes in their blood. So they never even… It wasn’t like they were tasting it and eating it was like their body knew innately that it was time to stop eating that.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah and if the guests in the audience can just picture. So there’s an animal that’s, there eating. We were working with sheep on my studies and it’s eating its meal. And we’re slowly, slowly infusing terpenes into the bloodstream to look at detoxification and elimination processes. And when we reach a level that’s enough for the particular animal they’ll just lie down and stop eating. So we would stop infusing at that point, but it’s the animal is associating the food that it’s eating with the feedback sequence.

Fred Provenza:
They’re so intuitive that it’s amazing when you start to watch it, if you can picture it, and it just absolutely changes your views of nutritional wisdom of the body, how that’s working and…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So basically we’ve got in this predicament of a food system that’s producing food in a way that depletes the plants of the phytochemicals and the nutrients that’s needed to feed animals and humans and in ways that destroy the soil microbiome. In a way that has hijacked your only ability to know what’s good for us or not good for us because our main nutritional wisdom has been hijacked by these industrial chemicals and starch and sugar and food that it’s completely disconnected us from our ability to have any nutritional wisdom.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And for anybody listening, if you’ve ever done a detox or an elimination diet where you get rid of all the junk, all the processed food. This is all in my 10 day detox diet. You’ll very quickly start to reclaim your natural wisdom. You start to crave the things that are good for you. Like I don’t crave starch or sugar or processed food. In fact, I can walk by the candy island, I mean, it just looks like a rock to me. I’m like, “Why would I eat that? It doesn’t even look like food.” Or a muffin or something. I was at a coffee shop today in Montana. And I was getting some coffee. Although coffee’s the richest source of phytochemicals in the American diet, which is not a good thing by the way. [inaudible 00:54:26] They had these like sugar cookie and this banana bread and wonder bread and I was like, “Oh, I want to eat that.” I was like, “No I actually don’t.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Like, I looked at it and it sounded good. But then I looked at it and I was like, no, that doesn’t look edible to me anymore. And I think I used to be wanting to eat that stuff. I think if we can kind of reclaim our own bodies, it doesn’t take long to do that.

Fred Provenza:
No, that’s right. And I have a story for you when Sue and I really many years ago got moving more and more in this direction of getting it and all of that out of our diet, we decided, look, that stuff’s really hard to resist when you’re on it. Right? [crosstalk 00:55:06]

Fred Provenza:
You’re hooked and sugar can be addicting and all those things. So we said the place to stop is at the grocery store, it doesn’t go into the basket. It does not go into the basket because you don’t get at home. But I love to tease Sue, and I was in the store, a while back. And so we’ll go down the aisle where all that stuff is, and I grabbed the cake and stuff and this older lady was watching me and she knew what I was… And I put that and I put a couple of things, and Sue came back to the basket and it was just so fun to watch the dear old lady, “Get that out of here!” You know, the older lady… But it’s a key point, though. You know, you can’t surround yourself with that stuff and think that you’ve got the quote, willpower, to avoid it. It’s in your house.

Fred Provenza:
And so at Christmas time, when we get really… Gifts from other people-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah it’s bad-

Fred Provenza:
And we hate to… We accept them nicely but Sue throws them away.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I don’t even want to give it to a food bank because you don’t want other people eating that either.

Fred Provenza:
No, you don’t. It’s not. So, that’s one of the things that we did, anyway was to say, “If we’ve got to get on wholesome foods then let your body start to tell you what you need from day to day. I’m like Claire Davis’ kids. And sometimes, “Eat this or eat that.” I don’t want it today. My body doesn’t want it, okay? I don’t need that particular thing that they’ve… My body’s not telling me that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But one of the things that struck me from your book was the discussion of the intelligence of your cells and organs. It’s beyond your brain and how those cells and organs are constantly sampling their environment and deciding what they need or don’t need and regulating your behavior.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s almost like a decentralized brain. I just, it blew my mind. And one of the stories you tell to illustrate that is a woman who had a liver transplant, or a heart trans… A heart lung transplant-

Fred Provenza:
Heart lung.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Heart lung transplant. And she pretty healthy a year before. And all of a sudden she’s like wanting KFC and wanting junk food and it was so confused. So tell us about that story and the implications around how our cells and organs are also intelligent and how that works.

Fred Provenza:
It blows your mind because it meant it’ll make you stop to think who is this person I call me actually, right? It’ll really make you stop to think that when you realize how all these cells and organ systems are interacting to influence all that you do. But so the book, A Change of Heart by Claire Sylvia, it’s an old book now, but it’s so worth reading because so here’s this 40 year old woman, one of the first people ever to get heart and lung transplant and so.
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:58:04]

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, heart and lung transplant. So doctors, no one understood much what would happen. I remember one part in there, related to what you were saying, where she was saying, “Man, I’m a different person now that I’ve got these heart and lungs.” It wasn’t only food. It was a whole bunch of it. So it set around this quest to try to find out where did these organs come from?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:58:27] football.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. Exactly. Where did these organs come from? The book is telling of this story. She finds out it’s a young man named Tim that was late teens, was killed in a motorcycle accident. That’s the heart and lungs she got. So she’s telling these doctors about all this stuff. I remember one, the doctor said, “The heart’s just a damn pump.” She said, “No, it’s not just a damn pump. You don’t know. It’s not in your body. You’re not experiencing what I’m experiencing. The lungs aren’t just the way to get air into your body.”

Fred Provenza:
Then the part, since she was one of the first people to do that, there was great interest. The press was there about the time she’s getting ready to be released from the hospital. One of the reporters asked her, “If you could have anything you want right now to eat what would you like?”

Fred Provenza:
She said, “Actually I’d like a beer.” Then she said the minute she said that she wanted to take the words back for two reasons. One, it was a flippant response. But two, “I don’t even like beer,” she said. So that got her started thinking about this whole deal. Then like you say, it just went on and on, things that she never liked before, green peppers and all, I think KFC, she came to like. So her dietary habits broadened out. She didn’t quit liking the things that once liked.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She liked.

Fred Provenza:
She still liked those, but they broadened out. Then she’s asking the family, Tim’s family, “Well, what did like to eat?” They’re saying, “He just loved KFC.” Then she said, chicken McNuggets. She said, first time she could drive her car nearly steered off the road and she went and buy them a McDonald’s.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
How do you reconcile that with the promise of reclaiming on artificial wisdom? Because if the programming of our cells and organs is so intense by the processed food industry that it survives death. You literally give someone else your heart and lungs, if you die. You also give them all your bad habits.

Fred Provenza:
Right, right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
How do you undo that? It’s a little terrifying to me.

Fred Provenza:
I think like you say, I think you have to radically change what you’re doing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
She has to retrain that new heart and lungs.

Fred Provenza:
You have to retrain them. I know people that I visit with quite a lot that were really raised on ultra processed foods and those sort of things. It’s a lifelong battle for them. They tell me, “I still struggle with that.” We just talk about, well I guess like alcohol. Once you are an alcoholic, could you just leave that stuff alone?

Fred Provenza:
You just put wholesome things into your diet. You’re right. But it lets you know the deep level, right, the deep, deep level of which all of this is happening. Then the amazing level, well, there’s far more efforts feeding up to the central nervous system that it’s all the same nerves going from the central nervous system down to the body. They’re so huge.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Feedback coming.

Fred Provenza:
Many, many times. Yeah. Many, many more times ascending than descending. Right? In terms of neurons.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Basically, your cells and your organs are all talking to your brain and getting information to them about what to do or what not to do.

Fred Provenza:
Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What to crave and what to want.

Fred Provenza:
Absolutely right. If you at the taste system, nerves for taste converge with nerves throughout, like the vagus. So for those nerves right here in the brainstem. Then they send out some relay throughout the central nervous system. They converge the nerve for smell and so forth and so on. So yeah, we know, understand a good deal about the basic anatomy and physiology of those systems. Now we’re learning that the microbiome is also sending signals. Right? I mean, that’s-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
One second. You’re not eating only what you crave. You’re eating what your microbiome craves.

Fred Provenza:
Right. It’s like the whole thing, it’s got to be fed, right? It’s got to feed itself. The part that makes me a little bit sad is the microbiome, and it’s important. Absolutely. It’s getting so much press. People were saying, “Well, the microbiome is sending these signals to the central nervous system.” But there never gets a word said about all these other organ systems, cells and organ systems. They’re doing the same thing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Everything out.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. Everything has to be fed. The brain has certain needs and the lungs and liver. It’s a democracy, I guess you would say. Now, they’re all feeding into. Yeah. That’s where it’s humbling too, for me. Then you think, so an animal eats a meal. Tens of thousands of compounds. These feedbacks are mediating all of that to meet needs. I think you realize at that point that we can study up to a degree. Then it just points you in a direction, right? That you either come to appreciate all that’s going on. That this diversity that we’re talking about, of fulsome foods is what matters. Then you figure that complex state, the body knows. Then the more we understand it, and it helps us to appreciate that. Right? But then there’s a humility for me at this part where you say, “It’s incredible.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s true.

Fred Provenza:
It’s incredibly complex.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s true. That’s true.

Fred Provenza:
Sometimes in our reductionist approach, then I did this for years. We went down that path. What compound is causing what? What’s what?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s decided. No, I like that.

Fred Provenza:
No, it’s not how it works. So I mean, we learned from that. But I’m so far away from that. It’s about the richness of all that and the combinations. I heard you talk about, Mark. I really appreciate it. So you could say, “Well, meat’s bad. Meat’s bad for you.” You have to be an illogical carnivore. But it ignores something we learned really early on is that you’ve got to think about all the other things that are in the diet, right? How they’re synergizing with one another. Well, in good ways or in bad ways to influence. It’s not is meat good or bad. It’s the whole diet.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right. What you eat in combination with it. Right?

Fred Provenza:
It’s a combination.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You eat fries and a burger and a milkshake, it’s different than you eating generally as grass-fed beef with tons of spices and marinated with lots of phytochemically rich vegetables and plants. It’s a totally different experience to your body.

Fred Provenza:
It absolutely is. When you get into that and get on that, it’s a very rewarding, you feel satisfied. You don’t have to eat a lot. We had a meal last night. I just had a half a piece of meat and I’m satisfied. You have all the greens that we had and the broccoli and so forth. It’s simple.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, essentially to summarize what you’re saying, essentially what I tried to get to in a Pegan diet is a set principles that are universally we can agree on that we should all be eating whole foods. That you shouldn’t eat processed foods. That we should eat phytochemically rich foods. We should eat foods with basically a wide variety, diversity of foods with all these different compounds that we need for our health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It doesn’t mean you have to be rigid or fixed. There’s a lot of ways to achieve that. But this whole kind of competition or adversarial relation between vegans and meat eater, it doesn’t make sense.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I want to sort of dive into something that I think is a little bit controversial, but it blew my mind when I read it in your book. That plants have 20 senses. That plants communicate with each other through these phytochemicals, through messengers that they send through mycorrhiza fungi. So they might be getting chomped on by a caterpillar but they might send a message to their neighbor plants, “Hey, guy, you want to ramp up the production of this phytochemical that caterpillars don’t like because I’m getting eaten,” or how they sense everything around them. So the question arises, where does consciousness begin?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What is a sentient being? Are plants sentient? Are they exhibiting behaviors and communication that makes us rethink their value? This is like well, if you want to be ethical, you should only eat plants. Well, I’m not so sure. Forget the idea that just growing plants, you’re going to kill animals through farming techniques that destroy habitats and kill rabbits and birds. We’ve lost 50% of our bird species to agriculture. That’s for sure happening. Forget the fact that with organic agriculture, you need to use animal products to grow food like plants, right? You need compost or certain manure. You need bone meal or fertilizer. You need various kinds of nutrients you can get from oyster shells. There’s a lot of animal products that are used in organic vegetable agriculture. So forget that. Just the idea that these plants actually might have consciousness was a really novel idea for me. Can you unpack that? How does that work? Help me understand.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. That’s amazing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The texture of that.

Fred Provenza:
That’s amazing kind of research that the plant physiologists are doing. There was a book written many, many years ago, The Secret Life of Plants. It was really talking about these kinds of ideas, but it got highly, highly criticized back in the days because there was no science behind all this stuff. Well, now, there’s top-notch, world-class physiologists and ecologists have been studying all these. The 20 different senses. Books have come out about plant intelligence and behavior.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They can’t walk, but they do a lot of cool stuff.

Fred Provenza:
They can’t walk. If you think about it, if you’re confined to one space, you probably have to be even more clever, right? I mean, you can’t get up and run away. You’ve got to figure it out how do these phytochemicals that we’ve been talking about become the language of the plant, right? They’re the language. They’re the ways that they communicate.

Fred Provenza:
So a caterpillar is starting to eat you and you produce molecules that sends the signal. The other plant’s, “Oh boy. Charlie’s getting eaten over there. I think I’m coming up.” They do that literally. I’m joking, I’m laughing a little bit, but they’re doing that. When you read about the different senses of plants, and they have nervous system too. It works more slowly than ours do. But some of the neural transmitters we have, they have some of it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Really?

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. It’s slow, but it works on plant time as to what they need to do. Yeah, you can-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They can share nutrients, they can walk, other things?

Fred Provenza:
They do and they help one another out. Right? I mean.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey Jimmy, I need some Vitamin C. Can you give me some? Right?

Fred Provenza:
It’s true. Yes, and it’s being documented that they do those sorts of things. In ecology, I think it’s where ecologists went down, maybe not so good track historically, it was all about competition. Dog eat dog world, everything’s competing, competing, competing. They’re thinking all these synergies and how plants might be helping one another, helping their offspring, sharing resources with one another. It’s amazing to get into that.

Fred Provenza:
Then you can think about, “Well, are they clever or not?” Anybody that’s taken classes in biochemistry and some people take to that more readily than others because a lot of people think it’s pretty tough. Biochemistry can be-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s probably the important topic in medical school. We all basically didn’t pay attention to any more than learned for the exam. Then we forgot about it.

Fred Provenza:
Right. Right. So biochemists are the ones creating all these genetically modified plants and so forth and so on. But plants routinely outwit these clever biochemists and agro people. The example I’d use, there’s over 500 herbicide resistant plants. You make an herbicide and the plants are going to figure out how to get around it. It’s just like antibiotic resistance in humans and in livestock.

Fred Provenza:
You put a single compound, right, rather than diverse mixtures of phytochemicals. You focus on one compound and that’s easy for these over 500 herbicide resistant plants. You just go down the list. Yeah. So who’s clever and who’s not clever, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, right. I mean, so if there’s this incredible plant intelligence, it makes you think about, “Well, what should we eat? Should we have water or air or rocks now?” If we really want to be ethical and not kill or injure anything with consciousness or sentients, what should we be eating?

Fred Provenza:
You could be like a Jane that you don’t eat anything, even a plant until the fruit falls from the tree and so forth. But I think another way to think about that, and for me, it’s to realize there’s this real irony that for anything to live, something gets consumed. Right? It’s constant transformation-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Your sentence in the beginning of your book was so great. It’s just, “The universe is a restaurant consuming itself.” I’m like, “What a great line.” You can’t get out of this predicament of having to consume, kill, eat life. Right?

Fred Provenza:
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So then it does vegan have an impact on animal? I don’t know. I think there’s a lot of questions that I have about that. Forget the health complications or implications or forget the environmental stuff, just from an ethical point of view, I want to know.

Fred Provenza:
I think start to think about that. That’s the way it is on this planet. That that is it. This horrible thing that life feeds on life up. Then to think, “Well, how do you do that with respect?” Everything is sacred, whether it’s a plant or an animal.

Fred Provenza:
There was a guy came here a year ago. He was working on our pump here in the yard. We were having this kind of conversation. I knew where he was going to go. He said, “You see that plant over there. I don’t even want to harm that plant.” I laughed because I said, “I’m the same way. I mean, it’s all creature we do. I mean, that’s part of being here. But you can put yourself in a respect for all of that and a sacredness, right? That it’s all sacred. Then you start to think that you’re part of all that too. So whether it’s an animal that you’re eating or a plant or whatever, and it’s about the whole system and how do we make ethical systems that consider all that? Then the craziness of it, but it’s happening at all levels of the universe, right? At the center of every galaxy is a black hole that’s consuming the galaxy. So the whole thing-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, far off.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We can’t get away from death, as you know, and as we eat.

Fred Provenza:
No. If we’re looking at this transformation, depending on your belief system. But if you-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’re going to become food for the plants, which is going to become food for the animals. They’re going to be food for us, like this virtuous cycle.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. That’s right. Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Done with honor, and integrity, very different. That’s why I think from movement towards regenerative agriculture also includes the idea of animal welfare. It includes the idea of putting animals in the environment that is their natural habitat, where they have the least touches, the least inputs. I visited a regenerative branch in Maui. It’s fascinating. They just let the cows go. They didn’t break them. They’d be in their natural family groups. They graze what they needed. We can see them move. They just have this incredible environment. I mean they were chippers and they were happy. They didn’t like being killed. I won’t say they liked being killed. But still, it was an interesting thing to see how they thrive. How they didn’t eat all these agrochemical inputs, how they didn’t eat all these new medicines from veterinarians that make them not survive, like antibiotics. They were able to actually thrive on this environment by being in their natural habitats.

Fred Provenza:
Then if a person realizes too just pick up on a port that you made, that when you do that with animals, and if you allow the animals to be in their family groups and the huge role that mother plays that we alluded to earlier in terms of her offspring learning, what and what not to eat, where and where not to go. What’s a predator and what’s not a predator?

Fred Provenza:
I have a friend that in Tasmania, who has moved in her sheep operation to herd extended families, letting them. When she describes that or talks about the calm that’s come over those and how it just lets you realize that’s the natural … we’ve broken all that down too. We used to live in extended family’s hut and so forth.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
True. That’s why we get loneliness, depression, isolation, and something about.

Fred Provenza:
The roles grandparents played. If you were fortunate to have grandparents, it’s just how calming and influencing. When your parents are all hyper trying to make a living and direct raise the brats that they’ve got. But the grandparents, they just-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Very true.

Fred Provenza:
You start to think, “Well, that extended family.” Then in the native peoples around the world, about the knowledge of the older people and the females, their knowledge of how to forage and all these things. It takes on a beauty. It’s an amazing thing. We broke all that down.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We broke it down.

Fred Provenza:
So it’s no wonder in livestock, nobody thinks about that. But people are starting to think about that. I think about what’s it mean for an animal to quote, “know the range” and that if they’re born and raised there with mother, they’ve learned all these things. Plus our epigenetics, this expression of genes. That changes form and function, we wish to study that. How do organ systems change in terms of their form? How do they change in terms of their function as a result of that? All that’s making them locally adapted, which cuts costs again, right? They’re able to live in the environment without all the fossil fuel influence.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So true. So I want to change tacks a little bit and talk about the ways in which animals have been found, who are living in more natural habitats, forging on dozens, hundreds of plants, to profoundly different characteristics than feedlot meat. We’re chatting a little earlier, I remember chatting earlier about the kangaroo study in Australia where they basically fed people kangaroo meat or feedlot meat. Then they crossed over and fed the same people on the opposite. They watched what happened. When they ate kangaroo meat, all the inflammatory markers went down in their body. When they eat the feedlot meat, same amount that was pronounced, all inflammatory markers went up. So it really speaks to not is meat good or bad, but what meat. Is a wild elk different than a grass-fed generally raised cow different then a feedlot cow for example?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A lot of the work you’ve done is really novel in that we never knew that these grass-fed animals forging on this wide variety the plants had these phytochemical compounds in them. So we’re talking about plants having phytochemicals. Now work by you and Steven Namble at Duke, who I think is coming to Utah State, is blowing up our ideas about where to get these phytochemicals. There maybe some of these types of chemicals that are unique or vary, that are in as high levels as you find in the plant foods, which is sort of striking. Then what are the implications of that for our health because we always focused on Omega-3’s and grass-fed beef.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Maybe there’s more minerals and more antioxidants and what is in that? Now we’re finding these phytochemicals in meat as a reasonable source of plant nutrients, which is kind of wild. So can you talk about the work? Because in the paper you wrote, help providing phytonutrients on higher aggressive meat meal I want to get to segue from that into the implication for the metabolism of these chemicals. So talk about the science behind the idea that …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We talked about all of this on our last podcast, but just to update people, where are we at with our science in these phytochemicals and the implications and ways? How do they get there?

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, it’s such a good point that you raised it. I think anyone and I know a lot of people don’t actually hunt or gather their own food. When I was growing up, we did a lot of hunting of our own food. You come to realize that the flavors really change as a function of the season of the year that. You shoot an animal, where the animal’s foraging. So people have had the personal experience of that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Tell us your grouse story.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, I will tell you the grouse story.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Before you get into the grouse story, so what’s fascinating about plants is that at different times of day and at different seasons, they produce different compounds and have different effects on the animals. In the Tibetan tradition, if you’re a doctor, you have to study Tibetan herbal medicine. Part of that is going to the Himalayas and foraging and harvesting different plants turning to medicine. They know that the different seasons, different times of the year, there are going to be different benefits from a particular plant in the same way the animals know that the plants do that. Talk about the grouse story that you shared about your hunting grouse and what you learned from that and what that informed in you about how to think about what’s in these plants and how it affects the quality of the meat.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. It’s so critical to underscore, so I’m going to say it again. That the plants are so dynamic, they’re responding minute to minute, day to day to their environment. So they’re changing concentrations of these compounds.

Fred Provenza:
The phytochemicals and the nutrients as well are varying, so morning versus afternoon. Animals are in tune with that. They’re in tune with that. Then seasonally, all these things are changing. So the grouse story then, as in the fall of the year, in the mountains around Logan, it’s beautiful time of the year actually. Picture the Maples all in these beautiful, different colors and the aspens. You’re up there, it’s a brisk fall morning. You’re hunting these grouse. I mean, in the early fall, they’re foraging on berries and leaves and a variety of different foods. The meat takes on a really wonderful flavor as a function. Later in the year-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like strawberry or blueberry or flavored meat kind of thing?

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. If I was a food taster, I could really describe it. But it’s fabulous, it’s fabulous. We used to love to have the grouse. But as it goes into the late fall and so forth, they move into these pine trees. The grouse are very good at figuring out which pine trees are the best for them nutritionally. But they’re eating these pine needles. Those needles are flavoring the meal. The needles are high in terpene they give a beautiful hint of terpene to the meat.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like a pine flavored grouse.

Fred Provenza:
Yes, it is.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
As opposed to a berry flavored grouse.

Fred Provenza:
Yes, it is. It’s not overwhelming. But that gets you realizing that this is real. I knew the chemistry, all the different terpenes in these. You think, “Well, if you were to analyze that meat, you’re going to find terpenes in there.” That’s it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not only what you eat. It’s whatever you’re eating eat.

Fred Provenza:
It’s what your eating eat. Then as you’re saying, it’s to realize that these phytochemicals become a really important part of that. Yeah, it goes back to the flavor and all that we were talking about it, how it flavors happen.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So the phytochemicals in meat are a new discovery, aren’t they?

Fred Provenza:
They are.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’re finding that they have significant impact on human health.

Fred Provenza:
Yes. Well, so we wrote the review that you’re talking about. I think that’s where Stefan was able to really convince himself. We wrote an earlier paper. Stefan was not, I think most of it at that time, is grass fed meat and dairy better for human and environmental health. We were making the point that grass fed isn’t grass fed. That was a key point that we were making. That it’s going to bend on the mixture of things in the diet. We were marshaling together the evidence for that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Because you can have a monocrop grassfield that is grass fed beef, but it’s not the same as having a wider variety and diversity of plants that they can eat.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. We have a colleague in New Zealand, Apple Gregory. He and his graduate students are going after that. There’s some amazing. Stefan’s involved in this amazing kind of things. You put them on a bottled culture, you’re going to get one kind of phytochemical and biochemical characteristics of meat. But if you put them on this really diverse diet, it’s going to change that. So where we are in the studies right now or there’s three steps that we want to go through.

Fred Provenza:
First is simply to quantify, are there differences between plant-based meat alternatives versus animals that are in a feedlot versus animals that are on a mono culture pasture versus animals that are in really diverse pastures? We’re doing this work really in New Zealand, we’re doing it here in the US or have studies going.

Fred Provenza:
So that’s one part, and we’re using metabolomics as a way to do that. It’s just this sophisticated way that you can look at that huge array of different compounds. You can track it from the soil to plant diversity to the animals through to us even. So that’s-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Just like a biochemical snapshot of different products, meats, whatever, based on what they’re eating, then it’s different.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. That’s right. So that’s the first phase. The next phase that we want to get into you, actually the kangaroo versus the cattle study. What’s amazing is that’s the only study that’s been done like that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
On a human study. Yeah.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. A human study. That’s incredible. So that’s where we want to go next. It’s through a lot of trials with humans, these crossover, as you say. Where we feed people meat and dairy that’s coming from different sources. Then we’re going to go into a little bit longer term clinical trials to try and … We know this compounds are getting in there. So we all look at oxidative stress and informations, all these kind of things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Lipids, everything.

Fred Provenza:
That’s where we’re going. That’s right. Those whole profiles. Stefan’s, as you mentioned, going to Utah State University. They’ve got great facilities there. So he’s going to be running and gunning on all of this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s all about the information of food.

Fred Provenza:
It’s the information.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
How different the quality of the food matters. I remember a study was done in England about milk and these raw milk versus mild plant’s milk, profoundly different effects on your cholesterol, lipids. Modulating milk was really bad for you and the raw milk actually was metabolically good for you.

Fred Provenza:
I studied last night, our dog, when we get the milk from the goats, that’s fresh milk from the goats. He loves it. He’ll drink it right down. But you offer him organic milk, and I’m not really being negative on organic. But he does not interested in that. There again, it’s like we talk too about cattle and deer. That when they have a choice in the field between GM crops and non GM crops, they strongly prefer the non GMO crops to the GM crops.

Fred Provenza:
So then you think, well, is our dog, Henry, trying to tell us something about the milk? Are these wilds domestic animals trying to tell us something about these crops? They’re in sync with that. Then Sera Lane did a whole bunch of studies of these things and talking about all the downsides of the GM and the glyphosate combinations. He did some fabulous work or two years studies. They were lab based, but he was showing all the adverse effects in organs and organ systems and cancer, rates of cancer. He published that paper. Then it was retracted from the journal which is that’s stunning to have that happen. It was labeled as corporate terrorism. Some of what-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Fred Provenza:
There’s a lot of pressure, right? I mean …

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s fascinating. I think one of the things that really struck me looking work-wise, the way which these phytochemicals end up in the meat, and they end up in human biology. They have different properties for it, inflammatory properties, antioxidant properties. But most of the data that we have on meat and all the studies that get quoted about meat being bad for you are based on feedlot meat, they’re not-
PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:27:04]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… quoted about meat being bad for you are based on feedlot meat. They’re not based on regeneratively raised organic meat or wild meat feeding on hundreds of different species of plants and having phytochemically rich diets and phytochemically rich meat and having different properties. Then it doesn’t even go into the next level, which I want to talk with you about in a minute, which is how you prepare the meat. Is it mixed with spices and herbs and things? Is it prepared by charcoal grilling at high temperatures, or slow cooked? All these things have an impact. And so when you say, “Oh, meat is bad for you, here’s the evidence, the data,” it’s complicated.

Fred Provenza:
It’s complicated. And what makes me sad nowadays is to see that they’re really big agendas that drive some of these things, right? And so the nuance that we’re trying to really emphasize here, that matters, that matters a lot, that nuance just gets deleted from it all, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Fred Provenza:
It’s one-size-fits-all, and the agendas that are being pushed-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I want simple answers, but it’s not simple.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. Yeah. That’s exactly right. And a lot of money to be made in all of this, right? I have a friend in England who’s got a book coming out, The Great Plant-Based Con, Jane Buxton. And it’s a great book. It’s a great book. And she’s just pointing out how much money … Follow the Money is one of the chapters in the book.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The Plant-Based Con.

Fred Provenza:
The Great Plant-Based Con, yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow, tell us about that.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. Well, it’s about all of this that we’re talking about in terms of plant-based meats. But I’ve read many of the chapters. I haven’t read the whole book. She asked me to review different chapters. But the one on Follow the Money just struck me so much. And some of that people may be aware of, but there’s so much that goes on in that Follow the Money that when you read it, it’s like, “Oh yeah, this makes perfect sense, and why is such-and-such and so-and-so” … I won’t say names. Why are-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, there are a lot of billionaires who have been investing in plant-based [crosstalk 01:28:47].

Fred Provenza:
Right. Why are they doing it? And what’s the agenda that’s being pushed? And yeah, and the same with the regen in terms of climate and climate change. There’s so much push that meat’s bad for the climate, right, bad for the environment. Well, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be, either. That’s a whole other topic. But depending on the diets that the animals have, tannins that you’ve mentioned, they can help to reduce methane emissions in ruminants, so you don’t have to do like cargo and put a mask on them. That absorbs the methane. You can think about how to raise them in ways that does that in nature’s image.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Well, really all you’re talking about is how do we get back to being, living, growing food, raising animals in an ecological way that mirrors natural principles, that helps restore balance and health in the system? That’s what functional medicine is. That’s what I do with people. I try to figure out how to restore their natural ecological balance. I don’t give them substances to alter that balance. I give them either things that are going to promote the health of that system or remove the things that are impeding. And so from an agricultural perspective, from a food system perspective, from a medical perspective, it’s so important to think about ecological principles as we start to look at the future of our food systems, because without doing that, we are screwed.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, we’ve covered this on this podcast many times, but we are screwed. I mean, to recap, we’ve lost one third of our topsoil. We’ve depleted so much of our fresh water resources. We were chatting about, for example, Lake Mead here is at 36% capacity. It hasn’t been that way since 1,200 years of water. Now it’s illegal to grow grass, and I don’t mean pot, I mean grass in Nevada [crosstalk 01:30:40] water depletion.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We’ve lost 90% of our biodiversity. We have massive nitrogen runoff into the rivers and streams. It causes dead zones and kills, just in the Gulf of Mexico, 200,000 metric tons of fish every year. We are producing food that’s making people sick using this approach to growing food. And we’re driving probably a third to half of greenhouse gas emissions from our agricultural system through fossil fuel inputs, to loss of soil and organic matter, which is the carbon sort of holding sink in the soil. So the implications are huge for what we’re doing and the way we’re growing food in our food system. And yet, the beauty of this conversation is that by applying ecological principles, we can turn that around.

Fred Provenza:
That’s very-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 01:31:29] a very short time that it can be … Nature, when allowed to do its thing, is way smarter than humans and much quicker at actually mitigating, reversing and healing the damage that humans have created.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. And it gives a hope then, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, yeah.

Fred Provenza:
It gives a hope. And each one of us can be involved. I like to point this out all the time. Not everyone can be a farmer. What, less than 2% of the populations farms.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It used to be 50.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right, it used to be. But we each can be … If we look out the window here and we look in this yard, we’ve got some grass that people would grow. But mostly what we’ve got around here are the native plants, the diverse mixtures of native plants. And then we’re growing vegetable, herbal, medicinal gardens. So we can each be farmers. And we can cut back on the amount of water we need by simply growing the native plants, and then coming to appreciate all of the beautiful little wildflowers that will grow naturally in your yard, and the grasses.

Fred Provenza:
And until you … When you do, if you ever do to into that and start to look at them, you see the beauty and you start to appreciate-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so amazing, yeah.

Fred Provenza:
… in each season, all these beautiful little … Right now, all the Junegrass, the needle and thread grass, the Poas, all these are blooming. And we have the larkspur, the local wheat, and the Cowboy’s Delight. And you could-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s amazing, yeah.

Fred Provenza:
I’m trying to say that, but you can get hooked on it and you can come to … It’s amazing. And then you see everything we’re talking about, that diversity is creating life below ground. It’s creating life above ground. And so we can each … We don’t have to feel hopeless, right? And we don’t have to say, “Well, it’s just up to regenerative farmers.” We can say, “We can each be that.” And as we were talking-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, I stopped going my lawn. And I’m like, “This is incredible. There’s grasses growing, wild flowers. Bees are coming back, birds are coming back.” I’m like, “Whoa, this is so cool.”

Fred Provenza:
[crosstalk 01:33:29] The life all comes. Yeah, and you appreciate that I am a part of this. I’m a part of the solution. You don’t have to feel hopeless, in that sense. And yeah, it’s a spiritual thing, I think, really. We’re linked to that in really important ways, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. What is our place in the world and how do we be in the right relationship to our place in the world, through our relationship to what we eat, which is the thing that every day we do?

Fred Provenza:
That’s right, that’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And every day, we have an opportunity to impact not only our own health and wellbeing, but what’s happening to climate change, to the environment.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, we can-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And by choosing different foods … And regenerative agriculture is only 1% of agriculture, but if we create policies and shifts that we’re working on for the food [inaudible 01:34:14] campaign to actually drive the change, hopefully we’ll start to see the shift.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. Well, absolutely the case. And then each day we can give thanks to the plants and animals who grace this planet and who daily give their lives to sustain our lives through meals prepared with love, in a way, one could say. And it becomes … Then killing isn’t killing, huh?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Fred Provenza:
Whether it’s a plant or an animal, it becomes more than that, huh?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s so much more. So I want to dive into a little bit of a different tack of talking about a study that has just come out, that I found really fascinating. And it is about plant-based meats and grass-fed meats. And the study was entitled Impossible to go Beyond Beef? A Nutriomics Comparison. And in that study, you did a metabolomic analysis of the plant-based meats and grass-fed meat, and what were the different compounds that were in each, and what were the implications for health.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it’s not sort of black and white, but it’s very interesting food for thought because the compounds, even though they look the same on a nutrition facts label … So let’s say the Impossible Burger has been designed to, on the nutrition facts label, kind of marry what a steak would be or a hamburger would be, right? It would be the same amount of protein, fat and all that other stuff, nutrients, maybe, because they can add it all in because it’s a science project, right? So they can dial up and dial down whatever they want. And yet even though it may look and taste like meat, even though it has the same nutrition facts label, it’s profoundly different in its informational qualities.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So the information in food, the instructions that they’re giving to your biology, is quite different and have big implications for our health. And they’re not equivalent. So to say Impossible Meat or Beyond Beef or whatever, burger or whatever, will replace meat, they made a fallacy. They’re different things. Even though they’re mimics of each other, right, it’s not the same thing. And so this paper that is looking at the metabolomic analysis, looked at all these different compounds and each of these things, and they were quite different. So can you talk about what you learned from that study? And then, that was just a study of the compounds themselves. The next step of the study’s research agenda that you’re talking about, and I can’t wait until this comes out, is what happens when you eat it? If you eat the Impossible Burger or you eat a grass-fed meat, what happens to your biology?

Fred Provenza:
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Not just what happens with the feedlot meat or grass-fed meat, but what happens to your biology? That, I can’t wait to see that. But talk about the different compounds that are not on the nutrition facts label, that are in plant-based meat versus grass-fed beef, and what the implications are for our health.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. That’s what’s really revelatory about the whole thing. And earlier, we were talking about the number of compounds and how much they differed. And we could say simply that there’s 90% difference, right? So, they’re quite different there. The nutrition fact label would lead you to think-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They’re different.

Fred Provenza:
… “Oh yeah, they’re really similar,” but they’re not. They’re not at all, and so-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
90% difference in the compounds.

Fred Provenza:
Yes [crosstalk 01:37:34].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And when you think that these compounds are information, they’re instructions-

Fred Provenza:
Yes, that’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… that are telling your biology, your genes, your hormones, your metabolism and your brain chemistry, everything, what to do.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. That’s right. That’s exactly right. That’s the key point. And so, there are huge differences. We found that. As you say, where we really want to go with this is to actually feed it to people and then look at oxidative stress, inflammation, those kind of things, and compare the two. And we made a point in the paper, too. That was one point. These are quite different. They’re not the same thing, so don’t think that they are. We also made the point, though, as we’ve been making, that plants have many kinds of compounds that are vital for our health, and so does meat. And so we’re not trying to say you shouldn’t eat plants or you shouldn’t eat meat, but what we’re saying, they compliment one another.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And the carnivores say plants are toxic, and vegans say animals are toxic.

Fred Provenza:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Fred Provenza:
So we tried to stay … And deliberately. We had long talks about this, that to try to stay in the middle on that. But then one of the things that that’s a concern to me, I’ll have to say, is we’re talking quite a lot about ultra-processed foods, and you take all these different ingredients and you put them together, and blah, blah, blah, and you take a soybean or a pea or whatever it is, and you grind it and process it to death.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not a whole food.

Fred Provenza:
To me, it’s another ultra-processed food. I really worry about that. And we know we’re ultra-processed; do we need one more ultra-processed food, or should we be … And that’s what we want to get into in the clinical trials, going back to [Kevin Hollis 01:39:20]. Well, how much of that do you eat each day? If that’s fundamental, just like Kevin did … Basically, he tried to match them for nutrients, but then one’s fed in ultra-processed form, the other’s in wholesome form. And as you were saying, people ate 500 more calories per person per day, and over the two weeks they were on the diet, it was a crossover again, the two weeks you’re on it, you’re putting on weight. And so, that’s really my concern. And then it’s a more fundamental concern. I think we always think we’re more clever than nature, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, good luck with that. Good luck with that.

Fred Provenza:
That we can Silicone Valley this stuff, right, we know. And we don’t know. The complexity is incredible. Each time we get into trouble, when we start to move into the more technological kind of approach to this, rather than thinking about natural processes, and how does nature work, and how can we farm and ranch and grow food in her image?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And it was interesting. You looked at so many, like dozens of different compounds in each of these. And what was so interesting was that, for example, in the meat, there was creatinine, hydroxyproline, anserine, glucosamine and cystamine, which are only found in beef and have profound effects on our biology. They’re immunomodulatory, they’re anti-inflammatory. They have been associated, if you don’t eat them, with harm to your body: maybe heart disease or degenerative diseases, kidney, liver, muscle, connective tissue dysfunction, if you’re not getting these things, because they’re essential for our bodies to use, to make the things we need. For example, cystamine produces the glutathione molecule in our body, which is so work for detoxification. Creatine and anserine are important for older adults, so they don’t get dementia.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I could go on and on about this, but the plants also had compounds that the beef didn’t have, right? It had phenols and tocopherols and phytosterols, which are also really helpful, and they’re antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. They may protect against cancer. And so, what do we do? The key is, is again, coming back to diversity and a wide, complex diet, and the idea that ecosystems do better, and our body is an ecosystem. I’m an ecosystem doctor. That’s what functional medicine is. Our bodies do better with complexity. Simplicity is bad, right? The more complexity in your biology, the better you are. If you have a monocrop cornfield and there’s corn beetle, sorry, it’s gone. If you have thousands of plants growing in that ecosystem and one plant dies, it probably won’t have a big impact.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And that’s what we’re really struggling with in our diet is this model of diet. When you think about 60% of our diet comes from three plants, basically corn, wheat and soy, and 90% comes from 12 plants. And the plants that we’re eating are not the right plants to start with, right? They don’t contain tons of phytochemicals. We’re eating white flour that probably has zero phytochemicals versus, for example, Himalayan tartary buckwheat flour, which has 132 phytochemicals, because that plant was grown in adverse conditions. And the phytochemicals and the richness that you talked about is dependent on how the plant is grown. And plants make more phytochemicals when they’re more stressed, right? They make way more. And so, a wild plant has more than a organic plant, that has more than a commercially raised plant.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. That’s absolutely the case. And that’s where, when you get into fertilizing and irrigating, you’re, from many of those compounds, accenting growth at the expense of phytochemical richness, as you say. Everything you said just in that last … That’s perfect, Mark. I mean, it’s a great summary of the whole conundrum that we get ourselves into.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What’s really interesting, too, about this study would be that the metabolites in the meat versus the fake meat, were that in each of these foods, there were compounds that you wouldn’t get in the other food, but also that help protect you against the effects of the other foods. For example, the phenolic compounds in the plants help protect against any oxidative inflammatory effects of the meat. And the animal foods help take up nutrients from the plants that you’re eating. So it’s sort of this complex symbolic relationship.

Fred Provenza:
The complementarities again. Now that we’re talking about it and getting back to wholesome foods and a variety of those foods in the diet, and then each individual to let their body influence what they want, right? [crosstalk 01:44:04].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s so powerful. It’s a whole feedback system. And I think we’re in a global crisis of food, not just with food insecurity, not just the obesity and chronic disease that comes from that, but the way the food system has disrupted these natural biological and ecological principles at every level of our society. And it’s creating massive havoc. I wrote a lot about this in Food Fix, but the food system itself is producing food that kills people, it makes them sick, it destroys [inaudible 01:44:38] damage to the environment, it removes a lot of the beneficial compounds from our food. And unless we really take this seriously, we’re not going to be able to survive much longer, it seems to me.

Fred Provenza:
No. And all that feeds into this sixth mass extinction that we’re participating in. And agriculture has played a really big role in that, too, for the reasons that we said and where we started out. Diverse mixtures of plants create homes, grocery stores, and pharmacies for lots of different creatures. We’re starting to think about, as regen people are, how do you create diversity? And that diversity can be at different scales, but how do you do that to create really diverse environments?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Everybody’s talking about regenerative agriculture these days, even President Biden mentioned cover crops in his talk. And for those listening, what is regenerative agriculture? It’s being defined with a set of principles, which are crop rotation, so you don’t grow the same thing on the land, which can cause depletion of nutrients; cover crops, so never leaving the soil bare so that it can erode; leaving roots in the soil, which is actually what really feeds the microbiome. And the microbiome of the soil is 50%, as you said, bacteria. They need to eat, and that’s what they eat. You need to integrate animals. So you really can’t have regenerative agriculture without animals providing their part of the ecosystem services. [crosstalk 01:46:06]

Fred Provenza:
Animal manure is plant food, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right.

Fred Provenza:
And food for the microbiomes, and all that. It’s a cycle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right, and their saliva makes the plants grow more when they eat and chew them down. Their hoofs aerate the soil. Their urine has nitrogen, which fertilizers the soil. They don’t need as much water, the animals. It doesn’t require pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer. All those inputs go down. And so you end up with this beautiful sort of regenerative system. And also, the other principle is that it’s context specific, so what you grow in Arizona is different than what you grow in North Dakota, than you grow in Iowa, than you grow in Saskatchewan. And that’s really important. So, these are foundational principles that if we follow [inaudible 01:46:47] ecological principles that’s really mimicking nature, we can start to reclaim the denuded, degraded land, and reclaim our health that’s been a consequence of these unintended policies that really led to the destruction we see today. [crosstalk 01:47:06].

Fred Provenza:
And if we move from farm ground, which is very critically important to the range land, the more extensive landscape, I think a key point. And the whole reason I early on got involved in this is that if they’re managed properly, domestic animals can be ecological doctors, seriously, of regenerating landscapes … That book that you mentioned, the Art and Science of Shepherding, and what the shepherds do, the shepherds learning from the flock, the flock learning from the shepherds, and moving them around landscapes so that you build up diversity on landscapes. It’s powerful [inaudible 01:47:45] all animals use degraded landscapes, I mean-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 01:47:50] overgrazing has led to massive desertification. It’s the wrong kind of grazing.

Fred Provenza:
That’s right. Again, it’s like the meat isn’t meat isn’t meat-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And grass [crosstalk 01:47:59].

Fred Provenza:
Yeah, and grazing isn’t grazing isn’t grazing. And certainly, there are cases still today where overgrazing is occurring, many of them, but that’s where farmers and ranchers, we all need to get our act together on that, too. That’s critical.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So Fred, you’re 70. You’ve been studying this stuff for probably 50 years, starting with goats and shrubs, and doing the hard science. You’ve traveled all around the world and the country working with ranchers and farmers, talking about these principles with your BEHAVE program from Utah State, which really was profound because it linked up scientists and real life situations with farmers and ranchers to help inform them about what was going on. Looking from your perspective, what do you see happening in the future with all this? Are we going to be able to figure this out? Are you hopeful? Are you just like, “Let’s just float down the river and I’m going to have fun while I can”?

Fred Provenza:
With all that’s happening nowadays, and it depends on the day for me, ecologically, economically, socially, it’s scary times, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Fred Provenza:
And so I would say, for me, I’m not necessarily optimistic, but I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful for all the reasons that we’re talking about, right? And it’s trying to make all of us aware, and then all of us doing things, all of us, not just saying, “What can I do?” Everyone can be a farmer, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It is.

Fred Provenza:
We can all be farmers. We can all think about where we spend our dollars, because that influences food systems, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Sure.

Fred Provenza:
And this work … A key point, I think, Mark, of the work on the metabolomics and the trials with people and so forth, if we show, as we’ve argued, and we’ve seen with this paper, and then in the literature reviews, there’s good evidence … But if we can show that there really are benefits to human health from the way that we’re raising animals, that becomes so important for the consumer because it links the consumer back with all these things that we’re talking about, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Fred Provenza:
With my health and the food that I’m eating is linked to soil, to plant diversity, to the health of the animals. And there’s studies that are starting to be done where they’re showing that if they’re on a monoculture, not just in feedlot, where we know there’s so many downsides, but if they’re on a monoculture versus more diverse mixtures [crosstalk 01:50:46] looking immune responses and physiological and nutrition. They’re healthier. They’re better.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, healthier [crosstalk 01:50:52].

Fred Provenza:
It’s better for the whole system, including us.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, it totally is. Yeah. That’s totally true. Well, thank you, [Fritch 01:50:56]. I’m left with a little bit of hope because nature is so freaking smart, and it’s so quick to regenerate and heal itself. And if you haven’t watched this movie, I encourage everybody listening to watch this movie by David Attenborough, I think it’s on Netflix, about Planet Earth. It’s his latest. He did it at 95 years old. And it looks at the arc of his life and the degradation of the environment and the loss of species and destruction of the Earth, and how massive that’s been over the last 70 or 80 years he’s been doing this work.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And then at the end, he shows himself in Chernobyl, which was completely decimated and radioactive, but life is coming back because all the humans left. And we saw that with COVID. We saw, with COVID, people staying at home, basically the earth started to regenerate very quickly. [inaudible 01:51:50] were coming back, and plant diversity is coming back, and mangrove fields were improving. So it was really fascinating to see how even with COVID, in a short period of time, when we take the pressure off, it can reclaim itself. So I would be very disheartened if we didn’t understand these principles that you’re talking about, if we didn’t understand these ecological principles, that we weren’t as far ahead as we are in understanding the science behind how to do this now, because we didn’t even know this a couple of decades ago. We were just like, “Let’s do organic.” We didn’t really understand the concepts that now are basically in the field.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And if we can start to apply these on scale, nature will reclaim itself. And I feel very hopeful. And I’ve seen the same with people. You take someone who’s had 50 years of eating like crap, who’s diabetic, heart failure, kidneys failing, liver failing, high blood pressure. And the list goes on. And in three days, they can get off their insulin. In three months, they can get off their medications. In a year, they can lose 116 pounds and reverse every single one of these diseases it’s taken them 50 years to accumulate. So it’s amazing how, if we just listen to the natural intelligence of our biology and the biology of nature, that we can reclaim our health and reclaim the health of the Earth.

Fred Provenza:
Yeah. Well said, Mark. I absolutely agree. And that’s what gives hope. That’s gives hope to the whole thing. I saw David’s movie, and Chernobyl really brings the point home.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it totally does.

Fred Provenza:
So in a sense, we just need to become humble, step out of the way, and help nature do what nature does, what nature’s been doing for eons.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so great. It’s just great. And Fred, we could talk forever and ever. I think we’re just getting started. But for those listening, I encourage you, if you’re curious about this topic, to check out his book. It’s called Nourishment, it came out in 2018, What Animals Can Teach Us about Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom. It’s beautifully written. It’s not too geeky, but it’s geeky enough for those geeky people. Also, I would love you to share this podcast with your friends and family. They need to hear it. And leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you, how have you noticed your own nutrition [inaudible 01:54:04] by changing your lifestyle, for example? Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Speaker 2:
Hi, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their Find a Practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.
PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:54:53]

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

Send this to a friend