Transcript of the interview below:
25/6/21: Ashley Jubinville from Thekitchencoach.com interviews Dr Peter Johnston, accredited practising dietitian.
Ashley Jubinville: Well, hello there. Peter, thank you very much for joining me. This is very exciting to have you.
Dr. Peter Johnston: Lovely to meet you, too. Ashley, thank you for the invitation. Ashley Jubinville: Yes, awesome. So for my wonderful listeners,
we have Dr. Peter Johnston here. And I’ve invited Dr. Johnson here to discuss with us. The topic of something that I don’t
think is on a lot of people’s minds at the moment, especially because there’s a lot of distractions and other things we
are thinking about. But it’s a topic that I believe is heavily heavily food influenced, and potentially completely
reversible or preventable if we do get the food right. So the topic that we are going to hopefully pick Dr. Johnson’s
brain about today is diabetes. Particularly, well, actually all three kinds, if you will type one, type two and gestational.
But whether you have diabetes or not, whether you know someone or not. I really think this is an important topic for us to
understand as far as almost even an example, mechanism of how
just how important our daily diet is. And so yes, so we have Dr. Johnson, thank you for joining us all the way from
Victoria, in Australia. And Dr. Johnson is an accredited
practicing dietitian. He’s got a master’s in nutrition and dietetics. You’ve even got a PhD in human genetics. Is that
right? Tell us a little bit more Dr. Johnson, please.
Dr. Peter Johnston: I was first a scientist and then retrained as a dietitian. So I I was very obsessed and fascinated by what
causes human aging. So what changed from my first degree in psychology to a degree with all our genetic subjects I could
pick up and then the PhD in human genetics to find out the genetic causes of aging. I became a bit disillusioned then,
after a short while as a ski bum, I went back to university and trained as a dietitian. And since then I’ve trained as a
lifestyle medicine practitioner. So that lifestyle medicine involves looking at all the determinants of health. So
that’s not just food, which is a really big one, but exercise, sleep, stress, substance use and abuse, positive relationships,
versus isolation, that sort of thing, purpose in life, all of those things that help keep us happy, and well, I work with my
patients to improve all of those to achieve optimum health,
Ashley Jubinville: It’s gotta be really rewarding, because you can imagine you can piece together a lot more of the picture having such a broad and open minded perspective on
things right, because the human body is not so mechanistic, we need to consider the whole
Dr. Peter Johnston: Definitely, they all contribute. I often use the analogy of a car, you can you can clean the car, you can
have it tuned, you can vacuum it, keep the tires pumped up, but you still have to put the right petrol in. Otherwise, it
doesn’t end well. So we’re like that as well. And we need lots
of good sleep. Ashley Jubinville: Yes, but you’re right. That’s a huge topic. Dr. Peter Johnston: Cars don’t need sleep, but we do.
Ashley Jubinville: So okay, now, diabetes. Again, like I said, it’s probably not on the minds of a lot of people right now,
unless they physically have it. But isn’t it interesting? Is it true that they got rid of the term “adult onset” quite a few
years ago in relationship to type two diabetes? And is that true? And why did they do that?
Dr. Peter Johnston: It is true, it’s now just called type two diabetes. Because, sadly, it’s emerging in children younger and
younger, who who have a very unhealthy lifestyle? And so they
were finding it in teenagers and younger sometimes. But for
anyone the risk factors compound over time through a combination of those poor lifestyle habits.
Ashley Jubinville: So would you say then that, in your opinion, at least type two? Would that be almost or no, maybe not maybe
hundreds too high, but maybe 95% diet triggered?
Dr. Peter Johnston: I wouldn’t say it’s that high. There are other factors involved, such as the health of your microbiome,
which is diet related, but exercise plays an important role in reducing the risk as it does good sleep, as does managing
your stress. It seems like diabetes, along with most other
chronic diseases have a common inflammation and, and poor sleep
or excess stress leads to inflammation, as does an unhealthy microbiome. That’s the trillions of microbes in our
gut. And on us that live in us and on us. The diet is really a
big one, definitely. I’m not sure if it’s possible to
quantify what proportion each of them make, that they work synergistically, if you get them right to protect you, and keep
you in good health. And similarly, they work synergistically to harm you, if you get that range of lifestyle
factors wrong and not living optimal life in terms of those
habits, then you’re more likely to develop any one of a number of chronic diseases. Yeah.
Ashley Jubinville: And again, like, it’s, there’s a lot of focus in other viral realms of discussion, the last, you know,
12 to 16, 18 months. But the reality is, is that there’s at any one time over, I think I just quickly looked up some
stats, at least back from 2018, around 1.2 million, just
Australians, which is about 5% of the population that have diabetes, of any kind. And there was even a study in 2012 found
that for every one of those people that’s been diagnosed, sorry, for every four of those people that get diagnosed with
another one that hasn’t. So that could bring that number up by 25%, we’re looking at maybe 6% population struggles currently
living with diabetes. And like you said, it increases with age
category. Right. So that would mean, would that indicate or would that indicate that, does that indicate that it is a
cumulative lifestyle factor? thing? predominantly, is that
what the indication points to because a lot of people, I think we blame something on aging, whereas diabetes is clearly not
just because you’re getting older right? Dr. Peter Johnston: Well the body is a self healing organism,
if we give it a chance and stop injuring it. But if we injure
with any one of those lifestyle decisions, and keep stressing the organism, eventually it will break down in one domain or
another. And likely, it will be damage across multiple domains
across the whole body. So that damage accumulates and worsens over time. And more decades mean, that’s more of a risk for
you. So, but it it underscores the importance of for your
audience who are probably not feeling an imminent risk of diabetes at this age as young mothers, but they can be laying
the foundations for diabetes in the next decade or two.
Or laying the foundations for long term health and along and a long health span, as opposed to just a long lifespan.
Ashley Jubinville: There you go. That’s interesting distinction that must be right. It’s not about how long you live, it’s how long you’ve been feeling well enough to enjoy it.
Dr. Peter Johnston: Well, correct. Like I, I’m pleased that I can still do handstands at 62. At my yoga classes, and I
can still ski really fast. So that, to me, is a good quality of life. And I hope to be doing that for decades to come. Many
of my peers have got achy joints, replaced joints, they’re
overweight, they can’t do those things anymore. And that’s really sad. So the last few decades are surviving with
medications and procedures and pain, and lots of medical visits. And then that’s not even taking into account the effect
on the next generation. No Ashley Jubinville: Maybe got a cumulative effect happening. Is that what you’re saying?
Dr. Peter Johnston: Yes. And for mothers, too, it’s important to realize that maternal health affects the fetus. So to fix
that the health of your baby while it’s in gestation, and the
baby, the health outcome to the baby, partly determined by the
maternal health can be changed, but it sits in train risks for that child if the lifestyle of the mother isn’t good. And we
know from autopsies of 10 year old children on a Western diet, that 100% of them will have heart disease visible to the
naked eye Ashley Jubinville: on a 10 year old, you said? Dr. Peter Johnston: … in 10 year old children. So yeah, so heart disease begins early. And it progresses through
the decades as does the diabetes. Ashley Jubinville: So tell us more about that. So when you say
that the Western diet tell us more about what’s happening in a 10 year olds body that’s creating that already, because
clearly if it’s at 10 it’s been coming already for years since right? Dr. Peter Johnston: While they think that it’s present in, in
gestation, if the mother’s health is not good. And it just
worsens year after year, if if the lifestyle isn’t good, it’s particularly diet related. So if there’s too much processed
foods, refined carbohydrates, high fat diet, quite animal food diet, things like cigarettes, alcohol, obviously make that
worse. Whereas on the other hand, a lots of fruits and
vegetables, whole grains, legumes, that sort of thing exercise, the other determinants of health said the mother and
the child on a much more healthy trajectory, and minimize the risk of those future diseases.
Ashley Jubinville: So once, once the kids are born, once they’re growing up, you know, whatever, three kids in the family, five
kids in the family, something like that. And then there’s, you know, the stresses that parents have nowadays, they’re just so
busy and just got to get food into them as well as picky eaters… I hear often that the one thing that they can usually
not always get the kids to eat his fruit. But now there’s been this big sugar scare. And everyone’s afraid that fruit is
even bad. And it’s included in that. So they’re afraid to let their kids eat, eat fruit, if that’s what they’re asking for,
for dessert, or instead of dinner. So can you talk a little bit about kids, particularly eating fruit? Are they getting
enough? Is there too much? Is it possible to have too much? How could that, does that even relate to diabetes? Is that a
concern for them, etc. Dr. Peter Johnston: I think it’s important to eat several
servings of fruit a day, I would probably have 10 serves ate a lot of fruit. It’s great for children. It’s not energy dense,
but it gives them good fibers. It’s easy to eat on the run or
to take with you to school or for snacks. And it’s very
healthy. Sugar, sugar, when it’s refined and isolated, is is very unhealthy. We’re not designed to to have that sort of food as a
fuel, it’s inflammatory, and it has other deleterious effects, including raising insulin production, which increases
leptin production, which is the hormone that makes us feel hungry. So having more sugar actually makes us overeat.
Ashley Jubinville: When you say that you are talking about the processed variety? Dr. Peter Johnston: refined sugar, yeah, not from real
fruit. And that can be also maple syrup, or rice, malt
syrup. Those are still concentrated refined sugars without the fiber. It’s when it’s in its natural package has
grown, that any food is most safe. As soon as it goes into a factory, the manufacturers start to take out the healthy things
like fiber or water, or both. And adding in things like salt, fat sugar, flavorings, preservatives, stabilizers, anti
foaming agents, emulsifiers, you name it. And then it becomes
deleterious to our health. But as simple food like an apple or some berries or banana is fantastic. In fact, there were a
couple my age who did a marathon a day for a whole year and ran
around Australia, eating fruit all day and salads in the evening. Ashley Jubinville: That’s right, what were their names again?
Dr. Peter Johnston: They were in their 60s. Yeah, I remember hearing that story. That’s a marathon a day, every day. 366
marathons. So fruit is fantastic. Have as much as you like, but kids should have a variety as well. And kids need a
bit more energy dense food because they’re growing quickly and have small stomachs. And they’re very active. They run
around a lot. They’re not a sedentary as older people. So they need some food. It’s a bit more energy dense. So that could
be baked goods if they’re healthy, but fruit is fine. Fabulous. Ashley Jubinville: Yeah, awesome. That’s good to hear.
Because I think a lot of parents worry because there’s such a fruit fear or scared media, that they’re letting their kids eat
too much. Dr. Peter Johnston: And there’s a lot of nonsense in the media and the internet. It’s extremely hard to navigate for the lay
person I really empathize with people trying to figure out what’s best for them and their families. It really isn’t easy
to there’s so much misinformation out there and anyone can put anything on the internet, the media
irresponsible, often giving airtime to ridiculous theories
and and suggestions and outlier studies and wacko theorists who
are proposing something that’s out of line with normal healthy dietary guidelines. It’s it’s really not so different to what
what our parents told us and how their parents said was eat your fruit and veggies. Go inside and play, run around some more get a
good night’s sleep. This stuff isn’t rocket science. It hasn’t changed.
Ashley Jubinville: Get a bit of dirt on your fingernails. Dr. Peter Johnston: Yeah, yeah. For your microbiome, this stuff hasn’t changed in decades. It’s what my mother told me. She was
a dietitian as well. Yeah. Ashley Jubinville: So what would you say then? I can’t if we’re
specifically focusing on the diabetes as a predominantly diet and lifestyle created thing of our generation slash times, what
would be the top, say, three mindset shifts for? Yeah, well,
basically, mindset shift for the person to have now so that they can prevent that type of future diagnosis in themselves or their
child, like what would need to shift in their thinking? Dr. Peter Johnston: Eat well. Move, move more and sleep well.
I would say those are the top ones, if you can manage your stress as well, that’s important. But that, let’s put
it really simply, if you do those things, we know your risk is lower. There was a large study in the US, and so in the
UK called Epic Oxford. And they found that if people did for healthy behaviors, so that was, they had moderate exercise, they
didn’t smoke a head of healthy weight, and they had a diet high and plant foods with the low meat component. their risk of
type two diabetes was reduced by 93%. Wow. So 93% of all diabetes
wouldn’t need to exist if people did those four simple things. And we haven’t touched on what the disease causes, but it’s a
really nasty, nasty disease. Ashley Jubinville: Yeah, good point, can you fill us in? So you’re right, I think a lot of people don’t realize,
Dr. Peter Johnston: Well, most diabetics die of a heart attack. But on the road there, you’re likely to encounter vision loss
and blindness, kidney failure, leading to dialysis, and
gangrene and tissue damage extremities, leading to amputations. It’s really unpleasant. And I can go on for
how many years before they die of a heart attack. You can go over how to take any time from your late 30s. With a modern
diet, I treated someone last year who had a heart attack at 39. And he was laying, but he had a poor diet and lifestyle.
So it compounds over time, the risks get worse, but by the time
you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it’s thought from from autopsies and examining people that around half of the pancreatic cells
that make the instrument have gone around 50% of those beta pancreatic cells. So you’re, you’ve already severely
compromised your ability to run health solely because we need to need that insulin to take the glucose out of the blood into
the cells where it’s needed. Ashley Jubinville: Yeah. And into the brain, especially right? Dr. Peter Johnston: Yeah, everywhere the whole body, we
run on glucose. So you’ve already severely damaged yourself, by the time you’ve even got that diagnosis. You can
reverse that diabetes if you’re not fully insulin dependent. Because those beta cells keep dying, the longer they’re
overworked and stressed and inflamed, and with a high fat diet, but I’ve helped several people reverse their type two
diabetes is in as little as five weeks. There you go. Ashley Jubinville: Okay, so tell us more about that. Because
that’s where that gets really exciting. And I think you said something interesting before, which maybe people didn’t catch
I barely caught it is that the thinking of the day is that in order to reverse or stop your diabetes, you’ve got to get on a
low carb, high fat diet, but you’re saying you can reverse it in five weeks with the opposite, right?
Dr. Peter Johnston: Correct. Ashley Jubinville: Tell us more. Dr. Peter Johnston: Well, diabetes is a problem of insulin
resistance. So it means the insulin that we need to take the
glucose out of the blood into the into the cells can’t do its job because there’s too much fat in the cells. The the approach
of having a low carb diet does give you good blood sugar control because you’re not having sugar. But an analogy
made by my good friend, Dr. Malcolm Mackay, is that it’s think of a blocked toilet. Sorry, as a graphic image, but
bear with me. You can you can fix that in two ways. You can you can unblock the toilet with the plunger or whatever it
takes, or you can turn off the system and to stop the water coming into the toilet. And that fixes the problem it doesn’t get
rid of the blockage. So taking the carbohydrate out of the diet is like turning off the tap on that system. You’re not feeding
the body, enough glucose to give you high blood sugar. But you haven’t fixed the underlying problem, which is
Ashley Jubinville: you end up with a backlog of stuff… Dr. Peter Johnston: you don’t have the insulin resistance, particularly, you’re actually worsening it because when you
take out the carbohydrates, you have to have more fat and protein, by default, because those are the three
macronutrients which fuel us. If you take out one, you need more of the other two. And the fat, particularly in that change diet
will worsen your insulin resistance plus to a number of other bad things for us as well, the extra protein.
Ashley Jubinville: So a little bit of a tangent here, but I’m, I’m aware that a lot of people associate the term ketosis
nowadays, it’s the new fad thing. It’s the you know, let’s have high fat low carb diets, the way to go. I’ve lost so much
weight bla bla bla. But that’s actually that’s actually that supposed to be the body’s backup mechanism? Like it’s supposed to
be a super acute emergency situation that you put your body into state of Ketosis, right? It’s not meant to be a thing
that we do on purpose. Right? Dr. Peter Johnston: Correct. Think of it it’s like a one of
those run flat tires that some cars have it’s meant to get you home, but not to do your trip to Perth with. Yeah.
Ashley Jubinville: And so that’s potentially is that setting people up for diabetes potentially in the future? Or is
it other problems? Dr. Peter Johnston: It brings a host of problems. If you’re trying to do ketotic ketosis diet, the keto diet increases
your risk of all cause mortality, which means all causes of death are increased. You’re more likely to get
cancer, heart disease. It doesn’t end well. You can lose weight, you can lower your blood sugar, but you’ll die younger.
Ashley Jubinville: Okay, so then coming back to them to diabetes. Tell us more about having the good carbs that well, first of
all, I guess maybe some people don’t realize what a clear distinction is between carbs. That word has been generalized
as a bad word. But it’s not all bad, right? Like the distinction there is really important to understand.
Dr. Peter Johnston: Correct, there’s definitely a lot of Carb-a-phobia around which is said, and it’s there’s even a
book of the name, which is a good book. It’s, it’s misplaced.
In that carbohydrates have been the foundation, the pillar of every successful human civilization, the center of our
diets throughout all human civilizations. There’s a distinction that I make a very important distinction between
refined carbohydrates, which is refined sugars, and white bread, white pasta, white rice, those are essentially what I call
empty calories. And they’ve had all the best parts, remove the fiber and minerals, vitamins, antioxidants phytonutrients, all
of that good stuff has been taken out and you’re left with empty carbs, empty calories, which is a lost opportunity to
fuel it and nourish ourselves with the things that we need to run properly. And those empty calories, those refined
carbohydrates are inflammatory, and lead to long term adverse
health consequences. But any hole carbohydrates such as brown rice, wholemeal pasta, potatoes, pumpkin beans, all those starchy
foods are fabulous for us. That’s what our ancestors ate, and thrived on for millennia. And we know that even a
generation or two ago, type two diabetes was virtually unknown. And this and this, you were looking at rich people, Kings
and Queens have always had these diseases because they can command is much of the richest food in the kingdom that they
want. Peasants didn’t get these diseases. We know from rural China, rural Africa, in the 50s, Japan in the 1950s. Diabetes was
virtually absent. These are modern diseases of
overconsumption of rich, refined processed foods and high animal
food diets that our ancestors couldn’t afford to eat. Ashley Jubinville: It’s Yeah, it’s interesting how we view
where our value system lies is where we see that it’s just because, you know, fine deli meats and deli cheeses and you
know, the Special Olives and all these kinds of things are seen as expensive things means that there’s a luxurious food item
when it’s the opposite… So tell us about the five week turnaround for someone with diabetes.
Dr. Peter Johnston: Well, this person had had gestational diabetes. She was a mum couple have had a couple has a couple
of kids. This was part of a workplace program. I ran around
several of these where we invited staff to try a 100% whole food plant based diet, so no animal foods at all, and no
oil and no processed foods for three weeks, and we blood tested
them before and after the three weeks to measure key biomarkers,
lipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammation, markers, fasting glucose, etc. Her, she had normal blood sugars
within five weeks. Ashley Jubinville: Wow. Dr. Peter Johnston: And when we tested it at the beginning of
the program, we realized she had undiagnosed full blown type two diabetes, she didn’t know that
Ashley Jubinville: Oh so beyond gestational? even Dr. Peter Johnston: She had full blown type two diabetes way out
of control blood sugar, or H, one C, which is a marker of the
glycosylation of hemoglobin. So there’s a lot of glucose in the blood, they attached to the hemoglobin molecule. So that’s
one of the problems of high glucose in the blood, it creates these glycosylated molecules which are very harmful. So they
can measure how good your blood sugar control has been over the preceding months. And that’s the a one c measure. So here’s was
sky high. She got back to normal within five weeks.
Ashley Jubinville: So I just want to make sure that that part’s clear for me, and potentially anyone listening is that in order to heal her body, and completely not have a
diagnosis of type two diabetes anymore, is that right? She had to eat more carbs, more glucose, but in its whole food form, is
that right? Dr. Peter Johnston: Correct. Ashley Jubinville: And that the reason for that, oh and less fat. And the reason for that, then is that the exchange of the
sugar insulin, or the insulin using the body using insulin to exchange sugar, even though the cells like you said that’s
needed, can actually happen with the low fat component. Is that, have I said that right? Or can you do better?
Dr. Peter Johnston: Correct. No low fat is very important. And we’ve known this for a long, long time. A researcher Dr.
Walter Kempner did research in the 1950s, with type two diabetics, and he put them on what he was known as a rice
diet. So he got never locked up in a metabolic ward. So they had no choice about what to eat. And he gave them white rice, white
sugar, and fruit. And their diabetes was gone within a week.
Ashley Jubinville: So this has gotta be so frustrating for someone like you to just go to the media and everything you’re
hearing, it’s just like, stop it, you are perpertuating a lie! Stop it.
Dr. Peter Johnston: And they’ve also done research with healthy young Med. students where they give them a full on junk food
diet, and they can make them pre diabetic within a couple of weeks. Like, Supersize Me that sort of diet, for anyone who’s
seen that documentary. Ashley Jubinville: So I think that really gives people a lot
of hope, if they have this knowledge is that it’s. It’s the exact opposite of what we’re being told when you have
diabetes. It’s not about eating as little sugar as possible. It’s about nourishing your body with whole food forms of sugar.
That is, Oh, wow. Wow, Dr. Peter Johnston: it’s so powerful. And the white rice and
white sugar are not healthy long term. But the point of it was that when it’s super low fat, you can it gets the fat out of
the muscles and insulin resistance abates and it can do its job again.
Ashley Jubinville: Okay, so let’s so let’s talk about the low fat thing, because I think that’s probably also a point of
confusion for people. Because when you say low fat, probably the first thing to think of is okay, well, I’ll just find the
low fat milk and I’ll buy the low fat yogurt and the low fat ice cream and, you know, the no sugar, Coke Zero or whatever
it’s called. Can you talk about that difference, please? Dr. Peter Johnston: Well, those are processed foods that you
mentioned. So they are harmful because they generally don’t have any fiber. The single biggest deficiency in the
Western diet is fiber. So the the microbiome is foundational
for all human health, and it is not happy if it doesn’t get a lot of fiber. So all very very few people on the street in the
western country like Australia, to get enough fiber in their day to day life. Maybe 10%. And we need lots we think our ancestors
pre agriculture had 100 grams or more a day, people were probably getting about 15 grams.
Ashley Jubinville: So when Okay, so let’s paint that picture for someone. How, okay, well, what’s what would you say is the
minimum amount of fiber a day for someone to to be healthier than normal?
Dr. Peter Johnston: 30 to 40g will get you in a healthier zone and you will be much better.
Ashley Jubinville: So what would that look like in a day’s meals? Dr. Peter Johnston: Well, anytime you have… Animal foods
have no fiber. So that’s important to realize only fiber is only found in plants. Yeah, and many of the things that are
a big part of a Western diet also have no or very little fiber. So all the oils have no fiber, the sugars have no fiber,
the refined grains have essentially no fiber. This is what comprises 80 to 90% of most people’s diets, if not more, and
so they’re just there’s very little opportunity for them to get fiber in that diet. But typical Western diet, so if your
diet is based around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes,
with a small handful of nuts a day or less, they’re not essential, then, then you’ll get all the fiber you need. And in
particularly abundant dark leafy greens with those we know are super healthy. So yeah, you can you can make a diet too high and
fat, even if it’s fine based if you have too much avocado or not. So I recommend people go very carefully on those given
that nearly 70% of the population are carrying extra weight now. Yeah.
Ashley Jubinville: So I know that this would vary dramatically. But as an example of something that someone could
get their head around for a meal, let’s say a day’s meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner that would have sufficient fiber and
low enough fat… What would that look like, so breakfast could be a mostly fruit smoothie with a couple of green leaves in
it. No need to add any milk for example, but you could add just water or some extra juicy fruit?
Dr. Peter Johnston: Yeah, all my breakfast is parched with berries and a little bit of soy milk on top. Yeah. And I’ll
usually start before that with a bowl of steamed greens with some
vinegar and nutritional yeast on it to really turbocharged my body like Popeye. And I’ll do I’ll have that before my lunch
on my dinner often as well. Oh, there you go. Okay, so you just always have a steamer pot out and you just steaming greens and just enjoying them or put
them in a big wok with a lid on top and just steam them and put them in the fridge or do a big batch every few days and there
can be good on things like I’ll chop them up and put them on a pizza and on top of the passata or the tomato base and then the
layer of steamed greens, leafy greens and then the other things. slices of capsicum tomato, jalapeno rings, slices
of potato. Whatever I have on and spring onions, a few pieces
of walnuts and that’s a good pizza. On a wholemeal, lebanese bread base and that’s a great dinner.
Ashley Jubinville: Yeah, okay. Okay, that’s that’s a good example. And then and then for lunch, maybe a big thing of
hummus with some veggie dippers. Dr. Peter Johnston: Yeah, perfect, Ashley Jubinville: …like a monkey plate. So we’d add maybe
some seed crackers to that. What else could we put onto there, we could do…
Dr. Peter Johnston: …the seeds are high in fat, so they’re good for kids. For adults, I wouldn’t have them so much, a little bit.
I had a big bowl of vegetable soup for lunch, with some rye in
it as a grain cooked in the soup and pieces of pumpkin in there,
sweet potato and lots of vegetables. Ashley Jubinville: And so there’s so many ways to have
healthy plants that are full of fiber and nourish us. It’s infinite. I think the biggest shift, at least for a lot of
people that I’m thinking about, the people that I work with, would be getting their head around how to have less fat.
without necessarily, like, it’s gonna be a big enough shift for a lot of people to get their head around eating less meat,
less dairy, but then to take it even one step further and still have less of even plant fats means that their palates gonna
have to shift a little bit because fat brings so much flavor. doesn’t. Dr. Peter Johnston: It does although some people argue that
it dulls the taste by that because it coats them as well and they don’t taste as well. But the palate does crave Fatty,
salty, sugary foods, if that’s what we’re used to. And so does our microbiome. We think that they drive some of the eating
patterns. Also, we know that lack of sleep makes us crave
more rich, processed unhealthy foods. Ashley Jubinville: Okay, so if I’m following you, then if a
person can get a little bit more sleep, if they can give their tastebuds time to adapt to it, which is actually getting their
microbiome time to adjust to the new food source, yeah, Dr. Peter Johnston: both need to change here, but microbiome
changes within a day. Wow. Okay, the bacteria have 50 generations
within 24 hours. So Ashley Jubinville: I didn’t know that 50?
Dr. Peter Johnston: 50 generations, every mouthful, you take changes your microbiome, for better or worse,
Ashley Jubinville: holy, wow, that’s powerful stuff Dr. Peter Johnston: It’s very powerful. And there, there are
more of those microbes in there are human cells, They have more than a hundred more than 100 times more genes than we have
human genes. Ashley Jubinville: Far out. That brings even more credence to the argument of having variety of fruits and vegetables. Bringing
a variety of micro biomes. Dr. Peter Johnston: Correct. So the bigger the variety, the
better. Yeah, always try to pick something new from the from the greengrocer or the veggie shop you haven’t had in the last few
weeks, and eat seasonally rotate the foods around the year, these things all help.
Ashley Jubinville: Okay, and then your taste buds are new every 10 days. So really, the only thing we really have to change is up here (the mind) isn’t it, that’s the hardest
thing to change. Dr. Peter Johnston: It is it is. And there are ways to make the food taste better. When you reduce the oil and the salt and
the sugar, you can use more lemon or chili or herbs or spices, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, those
things all help boost the flavor. And you can just do it
gradually cut those things back. Or you can go completely low and don’t taste bland for a week or two and then come back, come
back and taste great. We could fast for 24 hours, after which you’re so hungry, that carrot taste like I often suggest that
to patients is a quick start to resetting the palate is just
have only water or juice for 24 or even 48 hours. Yes. And the
green salad or piece of raw broccoli or carrot will just taste like heaven. After that. That’s mentioned your attitude
of gratitude will improve. No doubt.
Ashley Jubinville: So okay, so then I’m really big on the whole change starts from our thinking up here first, right? So what
would be what would be the key goals in thinking, if you will,
but the mindset shift, if you can use that term, again, for then someone who might be pre diabetes, or know that they feel
like the kind of heading down that path already, maybe they even already have and need to reverse it. What would be the three shifts in what they think about day to day, that would
make the biggest difference to their recovery? Have you Dr. Peter Johnston: Set yourself an achievable goal, not not, not
something that’s massive, but something that you can achieve and then tick that off. And you’ll feel better for having
succeeded in something success breeds success. He said a really high bar and new fall over there in the first week or two and
don’t make it then you feel more despondent. And maybe this is just too hard. So it depends on your personality type. I try to
talk this through with patients, if some people were saying, I’m 100% type of person, once I know this, I’ll do it 100%. So it
really is horses for courses. Other people like to just have one more healthy meal a night, or I mean a week, and add
another one every week and gradually ease into it. But success breeds success. So pick something you think you’re sure
you’ve got a 90% chance of succeeding at and go hard at that. Yeah. But I tell people also that it’s, it’s rewarding
themselves, they deserve it. You know, the rewards of good vibrant health are just so wonderful. Health is your most
priceless asset. And really, we only get one body, you can use
the car analogy, but if the car breaks down, you can sell it and buy another one if you if you if your balance bank balance
allows, but we can’t do that with our body. Ashley Jubinville: Okay, so then, so choose a goal that
feels achievable and commit to at least that and that could be like as an example, it could just be that they’re, you’re
gonna have a loaded smoothie or a healthy porridge bowl for breakfast for the next week and see how you go right? Okay,
Dr. Peter Johnston: In terms of the smoothie, if people want to lose weight, I generally advise against drinking your calories,
okay? Because it’s been, if you like, pre chewed for you. And it
can be, you can over consume it quite quickly and end up with
more calories than you need. Okay. It’s actually the satiety
signals kick in if you eat more slowly and chew it carefully, and there are some important enzymatic processes that begin
in the mouth. When you chew carefully, we have microbes in there which start work on the food, producing things like
nitrous oxides and nitric oxide and salivary amylase is that
start breaking down and starches so. Ashley Jubinville: So if a person could have the luxury,
I’m also thinking of these lovely, busy people that if they could have the luxury of sitting down and having a couple of
pieces of fruit to at least start their day, that would be great. If not, would a smoothie suffice,
Dr. Peter Johnston: of course, and I’m realizing you’ve got busy mothers with young kids and time is precious, put some oats
in there, put some greens in it, and sip it slowly. That will do if you’re on the run, certainly it’s better. But as a general
rule, apart from a vegetable soup, it’s better to chew your calories.
Ashley Jubinville: And in terms of then another mindset shift or to, to really kind of get on that healing path, again, feel
good about the change that you’re making, what would make the biggest differences, Dr. Peter Johnston: Well you’re setting a healthy environment
for your children, and hopefully, for your partner. And
as I mentioned earlier, the children today, on average, are already on a somewhat unhealthy trajectory because of how we
live in age. So it’s not too late to turn that round at any
point. So but the sooner you start, the better in terms of the child’s potential, future health, and, and productivity
and a built in cognitive ability, all these things improve sporting ability, everything runs better when you
put the right fuel and you treat the body correctly. And with an with proper sleep and care and exercise and food. So your child
is more likely to have better mental health with a good diet and with a good lifestyle.
Ashley Jubinville: And it’s interesting, because I think I’ve I’m pretty confident that at least most of the people that I work with, and know of, know this, they know they want to
feed their kids healthy, like the problem is, is getting it into them. And that’s that’s the whole big challenge, which is I
guess why we work together? But would it be? Would it be a
stretch? Or would it be safe to say that any little motions in
that direction forward as in any little steps towards getting at least one more vegetable into your child in the day or
sneaking it into somewhere that they don’t know, any of those steps in that direction whilst removing the processed version
in your diet will help the picky eating become less and less because of the reasons we talked about? Like there’s less fat to
coat the tongue, more sensitivity. What else have you mentioned? There’s better satiety? Yeah, yeah, let’s,
let’s share with you something else you mentioned that would help with picky eating, but I thought about… drawing a
blank… So any steps in those directions, even if they’re baby baby baby steps,
Dr. Peter Johnston: Any steps will help? Yeah, you you’re just training that kid, the child to eat, eat better. And and setting
at an example also helps. Children like to copy what their parents do. So if you’re walking the walk and eating well,
they’re more likely to see that and want to do that. One thing for kids with vegetables is if they help grow the vegetables,
if you’ve got space for a garden, the child that’s helped grow some carrots or some kale or some broccoli is going to be
excited to taste that food. And they can help you cook it as well to make some salad or food or a meal with that food. So but
with children, it’s always better not to make a fuss and have a have a showdown, it’s better to ease off and just let
them come at it when they can sneak it into things as you said. And not having as much or any of the unhealthy choices in
the house. It’s often said that if it’s in the house, it’s in
your mouth, someone’s going to eat it if you buy it and bring it into the house. And if it’s something that’s processed and
not ideal, then at some point, it’s going to injure you or one of your family members when they eat it. Because really, we
totally put something in your mouth, it’s a chance to heal you yourself or to injure you in some way.
Ashley Jubinville: I remember the other point that you brought up that I wanted to re-touch on, the kids getting them to bed
earlier, allowing them to have more sleep time in the meetings like increasing that sleep. I love that you brought that up
because I totally agree. I know what difference it makes and has made since I was a kid, like I was actually one of those kids
that would send myself to bed, because I knew I was tired and I knew I’d feel better. I think it took maybe five to seven years
of Dad saying that before actually went and did it, but he always said, sleep, only the sleep before midnight counts,
and you got to get to bed early. Dr. Peter Johnston: And actually, that I heard a really good podcast over the weekend on the rich roll podcast with a
sleep researcher. Wonderful, wonderful talk. And he’s written
a book called “Why do we sleep” (Matthew Walker). But he actually said the sleep before midnight is not actually
true. But Oh, that. but we we are meant to be diurnal animals
of it. So not nocturnal. So the children need more sleep than
adults. So 10 hours, nine hours, even up to 12 for some kids,
whereas adults need seven to nine hours. Some people say a little bit more than seven, but anything under seven is going to
be harming you. In this, this researcher made the point that
sleep is the is the tide that floats all health boats Ashley Jubinville: I love that.
Dr. Peter Johnston: If sleep is good, all health issues improve and your sleep is poor. It worsens the risk for all known
health conditions, including mental health, including the microbiome health. Everything worsens. It’s really
foundational as well. Ashley Jubinville: I don’t suppose you’ve seen any studies directly comparing sleep to picky eating?
Dr. Peter Johnston: Which eating? Picky like.. Oh, no, I haven’t. I did training in the health around
sleep with my lifestyle medicine qualification. But no, I don’t recall that one. But as I said earlier, if you’re short on
sleep, you’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods, you’re more likely to crave the rich and processed and fatty foods that
you have less willpower to resist that packet of Tim Tams or that ice cream. If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep, which
applies equally to the parents, and it does to the kids. And
with I remember my mother, who as I said was a dietician, when we would come home from school hungry and wanting something.
We’d be wanting a biscuit or something rich and sweet. And she’d say, is an apple, here’s a carrot, take that and get out of
the kitchen. If you don’t want the apple then you’re not hungry. Stop bothering me.
Yeah, and wait till dinner! Or you’ll ruin your appetite. But I still run that through my head. If I’m wanting to grab something
a bit more rich for a treat, I’ll say do actually feel hungry enough to eat a carrot. Yeah. And if the answer’s no, then I’m
probably not hungry. Yes. And maybe just thirsty, too. Yeah, maybe just thirsty. Yeah, glass of water might do it.
Ashley Jubinville: There you go. I feel like we could talk for hours. So many tangents we could lead down. But I thank you for
what you’ve shared already. I mean, I think there’s already been some really key turning points in knowledge for people
and hopefully some ideas. And whether it’s diabetes related or whether it’s any other lifestyle-and-diet related
illness, it sounds like these same principles would apply, right? Like, the more the less fat we have in our diet, the
better oxygen exchange we get between our blood and are the cells that need it, and then advocating the good quality
carbs, not the processed carbs. And I guess as little as
possible on the animal side of things because you’re saying because of the fat and fiber.
Dr. Peter Johnston: And the animal protein is inflammatory as well. And the cholesterol in the animal food, but the good
thing about the lifestyle and the diet that protects you from diabetes, or that reverses diabetes, it’s the same one that
reduces your risk of cancer, of heart disease, of autoimmune disease of a whole host of conditions. So there’s not it’s
not like there’s one diet for diabetes and one diet for heart disease. That’s the lifestyle that increases your risk for one
increases your risk for them all. And the reverse.
Ashley Jubinville: I love that there’s literally in space and even five weeks a person can have a completely different outlook on life.
Dr. Peter Johnston: Yeah. And someone I helped recently had a normal A1C after two months.
Ashley Jubinville: Wow, awesome. Dr. Peter Johnston: So the changes are dramatic when you eat well. I had another person who had had chronic rheumatoid
arthritis for eight years debilitating pain. When she switched her diet. She came to me a few weeks later and said
the pain is gone. I have no pain. It’s just so gratifying seeing these changes. So always things improve. It’s the same
lifestyle. It’s just living the way we evolved to eat and live we, we didn’t evolve to have such a bad diet as we do in the
modern world and to be sleep deprived, stressed, inactive, sedentary, spending most of the day sitting down, I’m at a
standing desk, now Ashley Jubinville: I’m at a standing desk, but I am sitting down.
Dr. Peter Johnston: So all of these things help if you if you get them all lined up and do them properly, you’ll have great
health and long healthy life and watch and health span. Ashley Jubinville: Awesome. Thank you so much, that it’s
just wonderful to speak with you, Dr. Johnson, I appreciate your help so much. And I’m pretty confident that this will
have been very beneficial for many people out there just to hear things in a different way and hopefully, give a lot, a lot
of hope and empowerment as to how quickly the body can turn itself around if given the right inputs. So thank you is there is
there any key message you want to leave everyone with or anything else parting thoughts you’d like to share?
Dr. Peter Johnston: Really, just to reiterate that health is priceless. And sometimes you can do damage that you can’t
reclaim. So it’s better to keep the health you have if you can,
and it just makes everything work better becomes a virtuous cycle. You eat well you have more exercise, you have more
exercise, you sleep better, then you’re more motivated to eat better the next day, it becomes a virtuous cycle.
Ashley Jubinville: Thank you. Thank you so much. All right. Well, I’m sure we will be talking to you many times.
Again, there’s so many questions I have, in my mind. tangents I wanted to go down. But thank you. We’ll wrap this up for here
and awesome. So as far as people being able to contact you. I
will definitely share all of your details. But do you want to just give us a brief little rundown on the best way they can get in touch?
Dr. Peter Johnston: Certainly. And thank you for the opportunity to speak with you and to your your audience. I
have a very meager website called perfecthumanfood.com.au
it’s pretty much a landing page because I’m always too busy to populate it. So I need to devote some time but I’m working on
other projects and there’s never enough hours in the day so people can find me there. I have a Facebook page, which I’ve put
things on occasionally I’m not on social media a lot. Ashley Jubinville: Awesome. And if they’re in the Victoria area,
where abouts in Victoria, can they come and have an appointment with your or do Skype consults. Dr. Peter Johnston: I do Skype and zoom. I’m in Melbourne in
Surry Hills, so I can see people face to face or online. Ashley Jubinville: Excellent. Thank you Dr. Johnston, we’ll
leave it there for now. Thank you. Dr. Peter Johnston: Thanks, Ashley. Lovely to meet you.