Fiber Foundations: Heal Your Gut and Set The Next Generation Up for Wellness

Fiber Foundations: Heal Your Gut and Set The Next Generation Up for Wellness

During the abbreviated transcript, Leslie and Jaime discuss exploring other aspects of a holistic approach to health.

Leslie Danford: Hey, Jamie. Thanks for coming

Jamie Javed: Thank you so much for inviting me on here and allowing me to share my story. My story didn't start where I am today.  I was in a completely different place in my life and my journey. I think I would have to take you back to my bedside nursing days. I was a nurse for eight years in the trauma ICU, and I feel like I traded in my scrubs and delivering medications and life-saving procedures.

It wasn't till motherhood that my journey was sparked and I was like I have this new precious little life in front of me. And this is so much bigger than just myself. It's not just me going on this help journey. My husband is a critical care physician working long hours.  We had twin girls to start and it wasn't until our newborn son was born that we were overstressed. We were exhausted, we were kind of not prioritizing our health. It wasn't until one night when he came home with all of these research articles supporting this whole food-based way of eating for the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, that’s where everything changed. It was the catalyst for change we made a shift towards a plant-centered lifestyle. If you had asked me years ago when we started this journey if I'd ever be vegan or plant-based, I would have told you that was never in my cards. This spark changed for us - we started shifting our nutrition and started feeling amazing and having energy. Clinton’s skin cleared up and stimulated us to go into this whole holistic health journey. We then incorporated meditation and movements that felt enjoyable and stress management. It was this whole holistic journey, and now this gift that we've felt on our journey. I just feel like with my experience in this whole journey coming to where we were. I could not share this with everybody else. Now I empower others to use food as medicine. Either to heal and treat diseases or to reverse them. People need to feel amazing in their skin and make the most of this precious life that they have. 

Leslie Danford: Tell me about Buddha's medicine. We've heard that I've never heard was the other one movement as medicine. 

Jamie Javed: Lifestyle medicine encompasses nutrition, whole plant-based foods movement stress management avoiding toxins connection is a huge piece of it and so it is these pillars of health. That's healthy as a lifestyle.

Leslie Danford: Tell us more like food is medicine. What does that mean? How important is it? 

Jamie Javed:  I was never taught this in nursing school. My husband wasn't taught that in med school. Lifestyle medicine is now a board certification. I'm getting certified next month. I'm excited about that but I don't think I ever saw food as medicine the way I see it today. Now I see it as such a vital component of holistic and overall health for not only preventing disease but reversing and treating disease there is a plethora of evidence to support lifestyle as medicine. It's not the sexy way though. It's not the quick transformation and it's not the money maker because you get to come home to your body that can heal itself when it's given the information. So the right nutrition, the right movement, and the right tress management. This is a return to fiber and so our gut microbiome I believe right now is under attack from processed foods from being stressed from antibiotics when they're misused. Fiber is what our talk is all about today, which is my favorite f-word. We have trillions of microbes in our guts and they all feed and thrive off fiber that is their optimal fuel. What happens is when they eat the fiber we can't digest it. When they eat it, they break it down to these anti-inflammatory molecules called short-chain fatty acids which are medicines that our bodies crave to boost our immune system and reduce our risk of infections to communicate with our brain and boost our mood, our energy, and our cognition. They balance our blood sugar to lower our cholesterol and reverse chronic disease so fiber is such an amazing component of human health and it's only found in plant foods. It's found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Adding more fiber-rich plant foods to your life can be a foundation of health for you.

Leslie Danford: I've never heard of short chain fatty acids. Can you just take them or I know some people are thinking what do you have to do to get all that?

Jamie Javed: I don't think anybody's marketed them or created them. It's our gut microbes that break down fiber. They produce them and that is the healing properties of having those amazing benefits in our body.

Leslie Danford: 65 grams a day.  How much is that? Tell us about that.

Jamie Javed: The World Health Organization recommends 25 grams a day for women and then 38 grams per day for men but 97% of Americans are not getting enough fiber. There's a huge window of opportunity here to get more fiber-rich plant foods in their lifestyle. To treat all of these things that we just talked about and that is the bare minimum of 25 grams and 38 grams for men and women is really like the minimum. Most Americans are getting they're saying 10 to 15 grams a day so we can be doing a better job at adding more of these plant foods and there are two types of fiber. I think a lot of people think of fiber too as the orange powder that Grandma mixed in her water to have a bowel movement back in the day, right, or as carbs. There's soluble fiber. This is the type that dissolves in water. This is the type that is food for a microbiome. This is the key important part of fiber for our microbiome and this fiber lowers our cholesterol and balances our blood sugar. It slows down our digestion. So we're gonna have a slower and better control of our blood sugar. That is going to impact your energy right when your blood sugar is controlled your energy is even and insoluble fibers are the type of roughage everybody thinks about that bulks up your stool and you eat it you chew it goes through your intestines and makes you have a bowel movement. It's the roughage that helps you prevent constipation. That's the insoluble fiber but it isn't so important to know, to get one or the other. It's really eating a plethora and abundance of plant foods because eat them there's a variety of fibers in each plant food to begin with so eat them all in abundance and how you'll know how is your guts. Are you having a lot of gas and bloating? Are you having regular bowel movements? I think bowel movements are a normal thing we talk about now with my clients. I found once every day that should be a normal process and a vital sign that you should be checking off. That's like a first sign that you're maybe not getting enough fiber. You can go on the recommendations, but everybody's going to be a little bit unique on how much they can tolerate. Depending on what the health of their gut is when they're starting this journey how many plants they're already incorporating and kind of where we go from there. Everybody can start -  like it's a low-and-slow approach. It's just like weight training so you wouldn't go into the gym and lift 200 pounds your first time that's gonna hurt right? You wouldn't go start adding in fiber eating the three-bean chili and a side of broccoli and a salad your first time. That's gonna hurt your gut. It needs time to process these fibers and build up that strength.

Leslie Danford: Can you give us some benchmarks of different foods that give you a lot of fiber and how does that stack up to 25 to 38 grams? Because it sounds like a lot.

Jamie Javed: Legumes are a great source -  beans are the primary longevity food of all the blue zones. If you're not familiar with the blue zones, these are the places in the world where people are living. They're the centarians the greatest concentration of centurion. So people living well into their hundreds and free of chronic disease, really active and mobile and vibrant life and legumes and beans are key staples of all these blue zones. All of your fruits and vegetables will have fiber. Nuts, seeds, and whole grains can easily add up. As long as you're getting a lot of source legumes and beans whole grains can be a great source too and just eating a variety of them is the most important.

Leslie Danford: So we had talked about the American gut project last time.

Jamie Javed: The American gut project was a study of there were 11,000 participants across the globe they gave them a stool sample that they also submitted and then they all submitted a survey that was extensive on their diet and lifestyle and it's been the largest study today to link the health of our gut microbiome to our diet and lifestyle. This is important -  as many of our chronic diseases like autoimmune disease hypertension diabetes. They all have this one link to them that the more diverse your microbiome is the better your health is and so they were looking at what are the key components that add to the diversity of our microbiome. What they found in this study was the number one predictor of a healthy gut microbiome was the diversity of plants in your diet. It wasn't just enough to be vegan and eat 10 different varieties of plants. It was the number they found where you could really optimize your gut in terms of diversity and so each got microbe. I kind of think of it like army men. They all have different jobs and they need different food ammunition and fuel to function the same as our microbes. One may need sweet potatoes, one may need nuts, and one may need tofu. They all need different types of fiber to feed off of and thrive. Diversity is King and so they came up with a five-a-day plant rule. It's a Continuum so 35 or 40 could be better in a week. But 30 was the number where you can optimize your gut in terms of diversity. 

Leslie Danford: You mentioned working with clients. How do you get your clients to be aware of issues or do they just want to raise the bar on their health. Why do people come to you? And how do you help them?

Jamie Javed: I get a variety. It's interesting. I get some women who are mothers who want to set up a new foundation of health in their lives for themselves and their families. I get some women that have maybe prehypertension or maybe they're on cholesterol or hypertension meds or have some chronic medical history that they want to reverse and they don't want that to inhibit them from living a thriving lifestyle. I get a variety of people some have gut issues some don't so it's people who want to set a motivation. They're ready to go all in on this lifestyle and set this foundation of health and they're ready to give up the quick fixes. They want to avoid the keto diet jumping to the counting calorie diet to all of these things that aren't sustainable because I say, how you create the changes gonna be how you maintain it. So I'm creating a lifestyle where people can carry this gift for the rest of their lives. How I work with them is I currently work one-on-one.

I work one-on-one with clients. I have a signature course and then I also have a signature program and we work through the modules together. It's everything from mindset and setting up your environment for success to shifting more towards a whole plant-based diet and helping them on every step of that journey with all of the challenges. They're gonna navigate how to do a mini meal prep, how to balance their plate for energy balance, how to choose healthy complex carbs and healthy fats, and incorporate, what benefit of food as medicine in their lifestyle but it's also this holistic approach. It's meeting women where they're at. If they have a lot of stress. It's doing a lot of stress management. Nervous system regulation. I think that's another thing I learned that I was aware of that was so profound that you can tap into it to benefit your health. A lot of us are living in this constant state of fight or flight. This stressful lifestyle is where our body doesn't know the difference between a tiger jumping in the room or emails flooding our inbox. We were designed in primal times to function in that way for survival. Now it's constantly on and constantly being triggered, so we’re teaching people to pause and reset. I think the gut part was where that got me. Just getting people to take some deep breaths before they eat their meals. Some people are eating on the go all the time. You have to get your body and your blood shunted away from your digestive system when you're in this fight or flight because it's to run away from the tiger, right? It's to flee but we need the blood in our digestive system to digest that food and absorb those nutrients. That's a key component of this. As I guide patients on this 12-week journey of implementing this as a lifestyle and meeting them where they're at seeing where in their lifestyle we can most benefit them because it is a holistic approach. Everybody knows that person that shifted their nutrition, but then was over-stressed and didn't move their body, right? So it's a whole-person approach.

Leslie Danford: We had talked when we spoke before about the generational impact like you making a change for your kids - talk about that.

Jamie Javed: Your health journey is never just about you and the clients. It serves not only to transform my own life. My relationship and my marriage are so much better. My kids are starting to join along this journey, you are gifted with the opportunity of being a role model in your kid's lives. This isn't just for the parents. It's for other men and women who maybe just have friends around them or family members around them that are impacted by their choices as well and so this takes somebody. This is not the easy way in society. This takes a turning inside of you to say, I want to make the most of this life. I want to feel my best while I'm living it and then that will be radiated to everybody around you as you travel that journey.

Leslie Danford: What's on the menu?  It can even be your friends and family kind of like “You're not gonna do this now and what are you too good for this”?  So have you faced that or what? How do you see the role of society in all this?

Jamie Javed: Yeah, there is a lack of convenience. This isn't the easy way America is set up with the quick and easy food on every corner and a lifestyle that doesn't support us slowing down and enjoying family meals. It takes an intention and a decision to create your health and your life by design and go against the norms a lot of times but our environment is such a key driver of our habits. When you can set up your home environments you can't control what's around you but in your home. You can stock your pantry with foods that love you back. You can make choices in your home that lay a foundation of health for you and your family. This journey also comes with a lot of self-compassion. It's not all or nothing and so a lot of people think when I say all in that it means perfection. The moment, they make a mistake like they go out to dinner on Friday night and have margaritas and some unhealthy food. They're all out kind of that mentality - “ I'll start over again on Monday,” that creates this really big wave of results. This is a journey, this is a healthy lifestyle and so it's learning to have that intention and have that deeper meaning behind why you're doing this and becoming stronger over time. When they see you changing, they almost see it as a threat to them. Why does that mean they're questioning my food choices? When you're just stepping into your own, that's the way our brains normally operate so in the beginning, yeah, I kind of gave in to some of those things but as this journey has evolved so did I.

This has become an identity and I think identity change is the North Star of habit change. I've truly changed who we are and how we live. It's no longer just like a choice. It's our lifestyle and people have come to adapt that to that and our family members have transitioned to more of a centered lifestyle. We have my mother-in-law and father who have lost 50 or 60 pounds, like shifting to eating more whole plant foods feeling incredible, reversing some other disease and I've seen other people question it and then start to notice how good we feel and think maybe that's possible for me too. 

Most of my clients don't want to go 100% plant-based. Some of them still ought to be honest. We aren't 100% plant-based. We eat salmon or fish occasionally, maybe every other week, and then when we're out, we allow our kids to order what they want. We want them to have the autonomy and the capability to see how foods feel in their body and make those decisions on their own. I don't want to be ordering for them. I want them to find their path as well. And I think that's the most enjoyable. So that's what's worked for us, but everybody gets to find their level of commitment and how far they want to go with it. Some people go farther than they originally thought they would but I've had clients go, 70% plant-based and get off their cholesterol meds and get off their hypertension meds and be able to reverse that disease and it's just such a powerful part of human health. I wish I had been taught this in nursing school, but I know it now and so now I get to share this gift with everybody.

Leslie Danford: That's awesome. I do see the whole medical community moving in this direction just takes time, but I think 10 years ago as I talk about this it’s pretty well accepted like you said integrated medicine is starting to have its credentials and it'll come around.

Jamie Javed: Thank you for allowing me to share this mess.

Leslie Danford: Yes, it was so great chatting with you. Where can people find you?

Jamie Javed:  I'm @lovedandplanted on Instagram. My website is You can find me there. I've got some free guides. I've got 10 habits to tap into your thriving and healing.

Leslie Danford: Thank you so much. It was so fun chatting with you.

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