July 22, 2021

How to Take Care of Your Gut

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by Shanthi Appelö, registered dietitian for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Together, they explore ways we can take care of our gut.

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

  • Our microbiome and it’s importance for our gut and overall health.
  • Signs of an unhealthy gut.
  • Steps we can take to improve our gut health.
  • If a 3-day gut reset really works.

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica:
This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast, episode 85. Coming up, we discuss what we can do to take care of our gut health.

Chuck Gaidica:
Welcome to A Healthier Michigan Podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can all improve our health and well-being through small, healthy habits we can start right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica. Every other week, we’ll sit down with a certified expert to discuss topics that cover nutrition, fitness, and a lot more. Today, I guess, it’s the fitness of your gut. We’re diving, forgive the pun, deep into gut health, and we’re going to see how we can all maintain and improve our gut health. With us today, registered dietitian for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Shanthi Appelö. Good to have you back again.

Shanthi Appelö:
Great to be here. I’m so excited about this topic.

Chuck Gaidica:
Are you? Well, that’s good because it’s one of those things, I don’t know that it comes up when you’re sitting around with the buds, right? Like, “Hey, how’s your gut?” I don’t know, but I know you’re passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior and what we do, and for goodness sakes, you’ve forgotten more about nutrition and diet than me and so I just want to learn from you about this idea of good health. We read articles all the time about how we can have a healthy gut, but there are certain things that we need to do and then how our gut, down here, can affect other things like our, even our brain. It fascinates me.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, it is so fascinating. My partner and I were sitting down talking just about the universe and how small we all are on this Earth and how there’s such little we know about what’s beyond kind of our solar system and I like to think of the gut in a similar way. There’s a lot that we know, but there’s a lot that’s such a mystery. We know that there are so many connections to our body that comes from the gut. We know that there’s a connection to our brain, our immune system, our skin, our overall health so it’s a little mysterious sometimes though, like what does the role of probiotics play if we ingest them versus if we get them from food or a pill or, there’s so much to it.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah and what you’re saying, which is even more fascinating, when you mentioned the universe, this idea that somehow the electricity in our bodies, right, all the connectors that we think are centered in the brain are really running through our body and kind of run through the gut and that just still is crazy that whether you’re eating a probiotic gummy or you’re having your morning yogurt, that somehow you can actually influence other parts of your body by what you’re ingesting. I mean, it makes sense, but it’s just so complicated. It’s such an interesting topic.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. Well, we can break it down.

Chuck Gaidica:
Let’s do it.

Shanthi Appelö:
Let’s start with just, what is the gut?

Chuck Gaidica:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shanthi Appelö:
The gut starts at the mouth and ends at the back where your anus is. That’s the gut.

Chuck Gaidica:
Okay.

Shanthi Appelö:
And throughout that entire gut, we have so many different microbes that live there, mostly in our intestines. So this is the gut microbiota. We have like a hundred trillion bacteria that exist there and they have a lot of different jobs. One of those things is going to be breaking down the food that we eat, especially those foods that we can’t break down as easily ourselves so like fibers and things like that. That’s why you’ll hear about prebiotics, which we can get into, but what it does, it helps absorb a lot of nutrients that help our bodies to function. So, it can influence hormone balance. It can influence our mental health. 70% of our immune system is actually in our gut.

Chuck Gaidica:
Wow.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
So, when you mentioned just the sheer numbers of that, and even running from my ingesting in my mouth, some piece of birthday cake or whatever I’m going to have or I go to a barbecue, the notion that, that it seems like it’s such a fine dance and if you just, if you come to a dance with a bad knee, something can get off and I guess that’s what can happen to all of us, right? That somehow even with all the millions and millions of good stuff, a little something off-kilter can really create a problem for other parts of our body.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, that because we think about how bacteria replicates really quickly too and so if a bacteria has the environment to continue to replicate, it’ll do so. So, in that way it can influence our health like for example, weight loss. If you have a healthier gut, it might be more likely that you’re have an easier time to lose weight. It can help with your digestion, of course, your immune function, we talked about 70% of the immune system is in the gut, healthier skin and then of course reduced risk for a lot of diseases. We think of the common chronic illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, and things like that because we think about our insulin and the way that insulin plays such an important role in absorbing in our body’s ability to use glucose or the carbohydrates we eat to be used for energy. That’s also linked to the environment in our gut in a way.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, that’s interesting you mentioned insulin, so is an extension of what you just said, possibly, that when we see the, I guess it’s not an outbreak, but the importance of diabetes in our society today, and as many people getting diabetes and becoming diabetic, could that be related in some way for some, to their gut health?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
Wow.

Shanthi Appelö:
For some, in some kind of way. Of course, it’s definitely got more to do with other factors like weight, carbohydrate intake, in some just like excess eating in general, but there’s definitely another piece there. There have been studies where certain individuals take kind of bacteria from a healthy person in a pill form in this case, and they have better insulin resistance. So if they have a healthy person’s bacteria, they might be able to use the insulin they have better and what we also see in people with obesity is that their gut microbes might harvest energy more so than someone who’s lean and so maybe held on to energy in a different way and then that way it might make it more difficult to lose weight.

Chuck Gaidica:
So, oh, there’s so much you just said there to unpack. I mean-

Shanthi Appelö:
I know.

Chuck Gaidica:
There’s this idea of the transplant thing with a pill you just talked about and carbohydrates here, let me come back to that for just a minute and then I want to take us down our path, but so I’ve always thought it’s healthy for me to eat stuff like oatmeal or kimchi or yogurt, or fiber, but all of those things tend to fall under the heading of carbohydrate. So explain to me how the good stuff that I thought I heard I’m supposed to be having, to kind of make my gut health good could also be giving me an issue. Is that possible?

Shanthi Appelö:
So I’m glad you mentioned that because a lot of fibrous foods and complex carbohydrates are actually great for our gut. So I’m glad that we can kind of decipher through that, or, but what happens when you have a lot of refined carbohydrates, like just plain sugar or if drinking drinks with high-fructose corn syrup, we see more inflammation in the body and inflammation and the gut is so related and that’s really where that comes in. Another thing is that we see a lot of refined carbohydrates in diets that are very processed and so if you have a lot of processed foods, it can also decrease that good bacteria that you have in your gut.

Chuck Gaidica:
Interesting. So it really is more the good carbohydrates do you more good. It’s the other stuff that you’re eating honey buns and stuff like that, that can give you a fits, huh?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah and you know, I’m glad you also mentioned that part about the healthy carbohydrates, because some of those kind of fibers that we have a difficult time breaking down, the microbes in our gut in our colon actually help break those down. So if we don’t have the enzymes to break that down, the gut bacteria will help do that and in turn, produce healthy byproducts and signal healthy signals to other parts of our body. So for example, if they’re breaking down a certain fiber, they might produce a healthy kind of signal to tell you to make more antibodies for something so there’s just so much going on there.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah and it’s so cool because like me, I had this presupposition that something is good for my gut, but I guess let’s double back for a minute. What would be a sign that I actually have an unhealthy gut, even though I think I’m eating healthfully, what am I looking for?

Shanthi Appelö:
Well, I think the first thing we got to look at is what we are putting out. So we care about what we’re putting in, but we also should be looking at what we’re putting out. So if your digestion is a little off, that might mean you have an unhealthy gut. So if you have constipation frequently, doesn’t have to be only that reason, but it could be related and then sometimes people have diarrhea or heartburn, that could be a reason that there’s something going on in the gut. So definitely a reason to kind of incorporate some different foods there and just pay attention to that. Feeling sluggish or low energy can definitely be one, feeling down or sad, definitely not the only reason for depression, but a reason for depression could be related in our gut because 95% of serotonin is actually produced in our small intestine.

Chuck Gaidica:
Wow.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah see, this is so connected to so many other things. Who would think for a minute that I’m having a bummer of a day because I just didn’t eat right this morning. I mean, really?

Shanthi Appelö:
Right and so you think like maybe your digestion then isn’t up to par and so then maybe our bodies aren’t producing enough, it doesn’t have the right environment to produce the neurotransmitter, like serotonin or dopamine. So in that way, it could be linked to anxiety, depression, other mental health issues, just having those low levels of serotonin and dopamine.

Chuck Gaidica:
So is there a way for us to do a self-test without somebody taking samples of our gut, millions and zillions of whatevers or other tests, is there a way for us to kind of know?

Shanthi Appelö:
What’s a really good chart, is the, I think it’s called the Bristol chart.

Chuck Gaidica:
Okay.

Shanthi Appelö:
But basically, it’s looking at your feces and looking at the type of regularity you have and then going from there, like, does it look like it should? So we, I don’t know how deep we want to get here, but we want our poop to look something between a corn on a cob and a soft sausage so if we like have two maybe hard pellets that are difficult to excrete, that could mean that you have constipation and maybe you need some things to move along up there. Sometimes it’s an easy fix like just having more fiber, more water and exercise.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Shanthi Appelö:
In some cases, maybe it’s a little softer than that sausage we talked about and so I hate comparing this to food. Like, why did I have to come up with food examples? It wasn’t me. It was the Cleveland Clinic.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well it depends what time of day somebody is listening to this, yeah so, I mean, it’s okay. We’re all adults.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. So, that’s a really good place to take a look. We want to pay attention to how that’s coming out and well also what we’re putting in. I love the idea of keeping a diary. So, when you eat, note how you’re feeling after that meal, an hour to two after whenever you’re really starting to digest that and you can feel the effects so is something making you feel sluggish? Is there something that is making you more energized than usual? So just paying attention to those kinds of cues and then of course paying attention to what we excrete too. So not like a perfect test out there, but there’s definitely, journaling can help you get to know your body.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, that journaling idea, whether it’s anecdotal and I think a lot of us probably do that, right? We sort of think, oh, we’re off and then we go on to other things and they distract us or we start to feel better and we forget so I think writing it down somehow, even if it’s just a quick message in our phone would be helpful for a lot of us because knowing thyself, starting to understand what that means. I mean, I know people and I bet you do too, and I’ll just admit, I’m talking to you, I’ve got a cup of coffee, no sweetener, no sugar and just some almond milk. Now I would think I’m doing okay but if I were hooked on coffee and I’m having coffee 20 times a day, or getting my Diet Coke multiple times a day, I would guess that even if I’m eating healthy, some of these other things that we do that are habitual could start to throw off your system too, right? Like stuff you wouldn’t even imagine could be bad for your gut health.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. I mean, there are environmental conditions in our body. In our stomach, we have the stomach acid so if that pH changes in some way, typically, it’s not going to change that much because it is very strong, that hydrochloric acid but if the temperature changes, if the pH changes, if things like that inside of our gut changes, we might not have the opportunity for some of those really healthy microbes to live there so too much of some things doesn’t necessarily mean good so that’s a good point.

Chuck Gaidica:
So how do we shift to, in a healthful way, even if it’s anecdotal and we’re starting to test it and maybe even journal about it, how do we start to improve our gut health? What are some of the suggestions beyond what you’ve already talked about or even touching on those again, that we can start to employ daily that would be good for us?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. So there are quite a few things we can dig into here. One of them is going to be just kind of breaking down probiotics and prebiotics.

Chuck Gaidica:
Okay.

Shanthi Appelö:
So probiotics is those like healthy gut bacteria that we think of in our body and prebiotics are not bacteria, but they are kind of non-digestible carbohydrates that the probiotics feed off of. So if we eat prebiotics, then those healthy probiotics are able to flourish. So we want that good bacteria to multiply in our gut and to do that, we can give it prebiotics. So the things that are going to have prebiotics, there are some like really, the ones that are the highest in prebiotics are not the most common like chicory root and Jerusalem artichoke, not ones that I tend to find at my local grocery store.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah, yeah. Or on your plate, right?

Shanthi Appelö:
Right. I’ll figure it out but there’s like garlic, onions and leeks. So that kind of group of foods is going to be great. I know that a lot of people find it easy to incorporate that into their food so if you tend to have a sweet breakfast, maybe try to think of ways to include onions, leaks, garlic, into like maybe you sauté it in low temperature olive oil and do some scrambled eggs or something like that. Another thing are going to be whole grains like barley and oats. They’re high in prebiotics. Again, those non-digestible carbohydrates. Apples is a good one. Cocoa is another good one and cocoa also has polyphenols and it’s not as easily digested by our human cells either so that way they can get digested in the gut and the colon where that bacteria can really go to town. So they’ll have the polyphenols, which is kind of a antioxidant so you can find it in dark chocolate, red wine, things like that. So polyphenols are good in the cocoa but also cocoa in dark chocolate has quite a bit of fiber in it too.

Chuck Gaidica:
Does it really?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, that’s really interesting. There’s another check mark as to why that’s good for me.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. We’ve been making jokes here. We’ve had dark chocolate in the pantry and my boyfriend will come up to me. He’s like, “Do you want some antioxidants?”

Chuck Gaidica:
It does make you feel better when you grab for it, right?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, sure does. So, there’s those pre and probiotics. So let’s talk a little bit about probiotics, Chuck, because this one’s a little confusing because when you go down the grocery aisles and you might see like, oh, this has this many thousands of bacteria, this has this and this one’s refrigerated, like what do you do?

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Shanthi Appelö:
So the thing with probiotics is that it’s difficult to do research on because there are so many different types of bacteria out there. So we tend to think the more variety of live and active cultures you’re going to see in that particular pill is going to be a better choice but what research actually shows is that we don’t have enough out there to say that it’s actually going to help you so it is helpful for people who have had antibiotic recently and who are experiencing kind of side effects of that. So, think about being sick, you take antibiotics and then the antibiotics are killing bacteria and it might also in that process, kill some of the healthy bacteria we have as well. So a side effect of that is we get diarrhea and so it can be really helpful for people who are sick to take a probiotic, but for generally healthy people, the best way to go is going to be just probiotic food, so not the pill form.

Chuck Gaidica:
And that probiotic food would include what are the general or the normal ones that we would think of right away? Yogurt would be one, right?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
That’s kind of what you’re talking about there.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yes and we want to focus on the low sugar yogurt, because again, that sugar, it kind of negates the purpose sometimes when you have too much sugar in your yogurt, because it’s like, yes, you’re getting the probiotics, but you’re also increasing inflammation.

Chuck Gaidica:
Interesting. So I’ll tell you, I was several years ago, maybe half a dozen years ago, my appendix decided to jump out of me without giving me any notice.

Shanthi Appelö:
Who gave it permission?

Chuck Gaidica:
I don’t know and so it’s an emergency situation and I go to a Henry Ford Hospital, bada bing bada boom, I get the surgery, all as well. I said, “Can you send me home? I feel great.” Within a day, boom, I’m home and then all of a sudden, it’s infected. I’ve got a fever so I have to go back for an emergency surgery again and this time, they put me in for three days with super-duper antibiotics IV so I don’t get sepsis because I’ve got an infection now, they didn’t realize, but I have it. So anyway, I’m fine and I’m on my way out and as they get me the wheelchair to go out, the nurse says, “How you doing?” I said, “I feel great.”

Chuck Gaidica:
She said, “Well, you may not feel great when you get home. I’m just telling you, as soon as you walk in the door, start eating yogurt and everything will be fine for you. Don’t worry about it,” and I’m telling you, it was like a miracle. It went from a bit of a problem to the yogurt fixed it immediately. So what you’re saying is fascinating because I’ve lived it. I actually saw how that could change my gut within two to three hours of eating one yogurt, a good-sized cup, whatever that was.

Shanthi Appelö:
Well, man, that sounds like a rough time, but I’m glad the yogurt helped.

Chuck Gaidica:
It did and so did the surgeon and the nurse and all the other people that were there for all the good reasons. So what am I, am I talking pro or prebiotics when I think of things like pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt. What does that come under? Why would I want to be eating those?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, those are going to be fermented foods and so those can be really great, especially because of the fermented kind of process there. So yeah, kimchi can be good for that. Also miso, I like that one. Sauerkraut, we got a lot of Polish people around here, so that might be something that’s kind of a more common food.

Chuck Gaidica:
How about a Reuben, even if it’s a Turkey Reuben, if you’re going to splurge, having a sandwich with sauerkraut, it’s kind of a good combo, just saying.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. I actually haven’t had one of those, but now I’ll have to.

Chuck Gaidica:
You haven’t? Oh yeah. Yeah. Very good.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, you’ve said something that conjured up a picture in my mind of the old days for me and I don’t know that this is true, but I kind of have a feeling it is, my gut feeling tells me it is, get it. I’m going back to a vision of my grandfather on my mom’s side sitting at the dinner table. So we’re going back within one to two generations and there was never a meal where he wasn’t eating raw onions, green onions, a radish, I can picture him salting it a little bit as he went to eat it, a whole radish with each salad so he was eating a big salad, obviously, whatever the main meal was, protein and otherwise was cooked, but his vegetable garden provided him with a lot of stuff and I know today for me, I don’t eat a radish unless it’s cut up thinly in some bag of salad that we happened to grab.

Chuck Gaidica:
I mean, when you talked about onions and this other stuff, I think a generation to two ago, we used to eat stuff like this much more frequently because it just seemed like it was normal. It was just the good thing to do and I don’t think they understood it was good for their gut health, but I’ll bet you, that’s something we’ve gotten away from in our modern world. Do you think?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah, I think so because you know, things are becoming more convenient. A friend of mine tagged me in something the other day and she was like pros and cons of making food. Cons, making it. Pros, food. So, I think there’s something there and the way that I really like to frame it is that making food and making food that’s good for you is a form of self-love and self-care. It’s something we do for ourselves and if you can kind of find that connection, whenever you’re making that food, maybe it’s including some of those probiotics, those live and active cultures in that sauerkraut or whatever it is, it’s a way of respecting your body and giving it love because I mean, we’ve talked about how much it influences everything. How we eat isn’t all related to just preventing disease and losing weight. It’s also about just feeling good every day and our gut has so much to do with that.

Chuck Gaidica:
And it does, and if you’re doing it well, you know what you’re cooking, if it’s flavorful and it’s got different textures and all that, I mean, it is self-care and self-love, but it tastes good.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yes.

Chuck Gaidica:
I mean, it just tastes good going in so hopefully it’s doing something good when it’s inside. So I witnessed with my own body this turnaround with yogurt as you described it, but we see articles online that somehow we can reset our gut health, maybe even in a shorter period of time as three days. Is that true and if so, if we are feeling a little off, what is it that we should do? Is there some emergency kit we should reach for at the grocery store? Oh man, I’m not, I’m a little off.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
I’m not going the right way but I’m going to grab these three things or something to help, is that even possible?

Shanthi Appelö:
Okay. So I guess a good place to start is probably what is this three-day guts reset, right?

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Shanthi Appelö:
So it’s going to be three days. The first day means that you’re eliminating all those inflammatory foods. We talked about how inflammation influences the gut bacteria in our body and also increases our risk for heart disease, diabetes, all these kinds of things. So we want to focus on removing the sugar, the processed foods, the processed foods cause us so much inflammation. We want to remove things that are high in saturated fat, the refined carbs so you think of your white pasta, your pizza and a lot of frozen stuff and then we want to instead introduce more healthy fats, fresh produce, whole grains, things like that.

Shanthi Appelö:
So basically what we’re doing is we’re cutting out the processed stuff, introducing Mediterranean diet type stuff so olive oil, nuts and seeds in our fat group, we’re looking at green leafy vegetables. We’re looking at brightly colored fruit. That’s going to give us antioxidants to kind of help with some of that inflammation because we know that antioxidants help reduce all that oxidative stress that’s linked to inflammation so in that way you can help cure it. Then they also, in this first day, want to focus on sleeping well and drinking water.

Shanthi Appelö:
Day two is introducing more high fiber foods so then our gut can feed off of this fiber that our body can’t digest and then the last day is going to be fermented foods and relaxation techniques. So, I talked about before the self-care aspect. Relaxation and reducing your stress can also help our gut. So it’s kind of an all-encompassing, healthy, drink water, sleep well, add more exercise and also eat well. So basically what I’m saying here is that there’s not going to be any harm in trying it, but three days honestly is just not enough to change someone’s life permanently. So that’s really what experts say about this three-day reset is that it can’t really permanently change your microbiome. It probably won’t make any lasting health effects, but it could be a really good kickstart and it could also be kind of a good way to start thinking about foods.

Shanthi Appelö:
Am I feeding it the things that my gut needs? Am I feeding it the things that give me energy? Am I cutting out the things that don’t make me feel good and that causes inflammation? It’s interesting that they included exercise and relaxation techniques in this too because if we increase all of our foods that have more fiber, you can actually end up constipated if you don’t drink enough water and if you don’t get enough exercise.

Chuck Gaidica:
Oh, interesting.

Shanthi Appelö:
So it can have the opposite effect. Yeah so-

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

Shanthi Appelö:
If you’re leaving here with the message that, oh, I’m going to eat more fiber, you also going to increase your water intake. Otherwise, we’re not going to get that corn on the cob.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. We’re back to your analogies. Yeah. But you know what you’re saying here, I think, is wisdom because that three-day can extend to 30 days. I mean, if you were to tell me I should be drinking more water, I’d say, probably. Slowing down and meditating or praying, probably. I should probably think about relaxation like that. I should think about sleeping better. I should increase my fiber. I mean, everything you’re saying can be extended out beyond a three-day period.

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
And then all of a sudden, you are changing your lifestyle. It’s like lifestyle medicine, you’re changing the way you go about life.

Shanthi Appelö:
Exactly. So you can probably go on this three-day reset and feel better. You might feel a little bit more energized, especially if you do it for a week or more but if you go back to exactly what you were doing before the three-day reset, you’re probably not going to get those lasting benefits from those three days. So basically the message here is just going to be focus on those anti-inflammatory foods, cut down on the ultra-processed stuff and maybe try, if you haven’t tried some of those fermented foods that have the live and active cultures, you’re talking about kimchi and stuff, try it. Or if that seems too foreign, try some yogurt. Yogurt has been shown to just be tolerated by so many more people even, and this is not telling people who are lactose intolerant to go try yogurt, but it is more acceptable to people with lactose intolerant to eat yogurt and it can actually help some people with IBS and stuff too so it’s not all healing, but it could work for some people.

Chuck Gaidica:
We shouldn’t forget, I mean, I’m eating and not that it’s the best for everybody, but I’m having the Triple Zero stuff all the time so it’s lower in sugar. It’s a little higher in protein and I’m not really getting a ton of fat so it kind of fits into the way I hope I’m going about my life and maybe, others can look at it and think, “Well, that’s something you can grab.”

Shanthi Appelö:
That’s awesome. I liked putting it into my overnight oats nowadays like I’ll mix in like a couple of tablespoons of yogurt in there and the unsweetened kind and something else I love to do with yogurt is I love the key lime flavor. It’s like, we’re crazy about it at this house and so we’ll grab a huge container of plain Greek yogurt that doesn’t have any flavor or sugar added and then we’ll mix that with one serving size or one individual container of a flavored one and that way, you still get the flavor but you’re really cutting down and diluting all that sugar.

Chuck Gaidica:
Interesting. My new fave is I just tried it the other day because a neighbor bought a 25-pound box of peaches off some truck, right? She’s like, “I’ve got to give some of these away.” They came up from Georgia in a truck and she bought some and so I took a fresh peach. I put it in Triple Zero peach yogurt, two tablespoons of raw oats and sprinkled a tablespoon of chopped pecans on top. I thought I was having some kind of special peach dessert, a cobbler. I mean, it was just incredible. It was a little crunchy. It was a little thicker because of the oats and I, like you, I’m thinking, “Well, I’ve been missing this my whole life. This is not bad.”

Shanthi Appelö:
I love that and I love that you mentioned all the textures because I think that’s what can get kind of boring if you’re only eating yogurt sometimes so I love that you did all that different stuff.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Well, as we wrap up here, what do you want us to have as a takeaway? We’ve talked about so many great things, but what would you say we should all be thinking about here with our gut microbiome?

Shanthi Appelö:
Yeah. I think, just think about how much what you’re putting into your body can influence everything else. So we talked about the connection to our mental health, the connection to the way that we fight off disease and all those kinds of things and just think about how you can serve your gut well to just feel better every day, because that makes life so much better if we feel better. So maybe just take one of these messages, whether it’s adding more of those deep-colored fruits or fermented foods, whatever it is, just try one thing and see how it does for you.

Chuck Gaidica:
I appreciate what you’ve done. You’ve thrown in certain things like for my simple brain, you used the word apple a couple of times. I mean, truly an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Somebody wrote that years ago, came up with that. But there is a simplicity to walking in baby steps before you get to the fermented stuff that you’ve never even heard of, or you don’t want to touch.

Shanthi Appelö:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck Gaidica:
I mean, you can add things that seem like they’re just average and easy to employ in your daily diet so that’s great. I really appreciate you coming back on, Shanthi. Thanks so much.

Shanthi Appelö:
Thanks so much, Chuck. We’ll talk next time.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. Shanthi Appelö who’s been with us today and she is a dietitian for Blue Cross Blue Shield so we’re always happy to have her here. We’re happy you’ve been listening. Thank you. This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast is brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show, you want to learn more, check out our website, ahealthiermichigan.org/podcast. You can leave us reviews, those are always important along with ratings on Apple Podcast or Stitcher, and you can get new episodes and all the old episodes, this is episode 85 so we got a lot of great stuff for you to take on your smartphone, or you can use it on your tablet. Be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. I’m Chuck Gaidica. Stay well.