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Nutritionist Jessica Cox joins Mason for an illuminating conversation around the topics of holistic health, diet culture and the connection between food, mood and gut health.
With a shared passion for the healing potential that medicinal mushrooms and tonic herbs provide, Jessica and Mason joyously jam out, sharing the simple yet delicious ways these beautiful plant allies can be consumed through the daily diet while covering where they're positioned in a more clinical diagnostic setting.
With 15 years experience on the ground working with people in clinic, Jessica shares how the extreme approaches to diet currently occupying the wellness space are causing more harm than good, and the work she does as a practitioner to manage expectations and shepherd her clients through lifestyle change.
In this episode Jessica and Mason aim to demystify diet culture and bring awareness around the seasonal place extreme or therapeutic type diets hold, emphasising that seasons in our lives may call us to adjust our approach but ultimately dietary diversity is the key to long-lasting health.
Jessica stresses the limitations of a one-size-fits-all all attitude and champions the powers of building strong foundations with a back-to-basics methodology.
It's a delight to witness the camaraderie these two share as they weave the knowledge and wisdom they've individually gained through years lived thoroughly through all facets of the wellness space. Ultimately reminding us that beyond the circulation of dietary fear, confusion and dogma, exists the middle path of balance, a place where solace can be found through the practice of sensibility and moderation.
A beautiful and grounded chat today, well worth the listen for beginners and those in the know.
"If you have a healthy, robust gut, and overall good health, you don't need to worry about phytates, and lectins, and anti nutrients, because they're in everything as far as whole food goes."
- Jessica Cox
Jessica & Mason discuss:
- Extreme diet culture and the harm it causes.
- The connection between food, mood, and emotions.
- The practitioner/client relationship and the importance of trust in creating positive treatment outcomes.
- Ego, practitioner as god, and helping the person in front of you.
- Dairy and calcium.
- Dietary diversity and gut health.
- Anti-nutrients and the myths surrounding them.
- The clinical and nutritional use of medicinal mushrooms.
Who Is Jessica Cox?
Jessica Cox is the published author of e.a.t cookbook, passionate foodie and qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) with over 15 years of clinical experience. Jessica is the founder and owner of the successful JCN Clinic based in Brisbane, Australia. The JCN Clinic treats all facets of health conditions, though specialises in gastrointestinal health and its multidimensional relationship to systemic wellbeing. Jessica is well respected within the public space of health and wellness for her no fad approach and utilisation of evidence-based nutrition. Find Jessica at www.jessicacox.com.au or @jescoxnutritionist
Optimising Your Gut Bacteria with Dan Sipple (EP#68)
Tonics For Season
Pimped Up Matcha Latte (recipe by Jessica Cox)
Check Out The Transcript Below:
Morning. Thanks for coming on.
Morning. Pretty excited to be here.
Yeah. And I thought I'd just hit that record and make sure we don't actually get into any of that pre podcast nuanced chat and have it all in the podcast. Because it's often the best stuff. I think that's what I'm finding. When we did your podcast, I was like, "Oh man."
You missed the nuggets.
How you going? Yeah, it's really nice to connect in this way. It's always interesting doing the podcast one week one way and then doing-
Isn't it, right? I really like it. I really like it. No good. Really good. Just enjoying life, enjoying the Yarra Valley, and just pretty excited to talk today all things about nutrition and definitely share how we use medicinal mushrooms and tonics. I feel like it's a space that I don't get to talk as much about, to be honest. And I think even when we spoke, it was just really, really cool to connect with someone that's just got such a deep level of passion and understanding obviously too, about all of that world.
So yeah, I'm stoked to dive in and share with people how we can use these beautiful tonics and mushrooms in a clinical setting as well. Not only in a way that we can use them on a daily basis and part of our routine, which we spoke about last week. But it excites me from a therapeutic standpoint. So yeah.
Heck yeah. And for context, we've known each other on Instagram for five years, six years. We're trying to figure it out. And so from back in the day, even when I was running SuperFeast Instagram, we've had such a great organic relationship going on there, and I'm really interested to hear about the clinical side of things.
And also, we haven't really talked about food a lot because I think we've got so burnt out from... Not burnt out, but it's just the level of dogmatic diet. That's been the level we've been in conversation on this podcast has been on just helping people bust those little bubbles of extremism around diet and then talking about a Chinese medicine approach to diet. And then now, we're kind of really speeding back up and looking at diets for the gut.
But then just overall, I'm really looking forward to chatting to you a little bit about this, where we're at with nutrition at the moment, what we're kind of discovering. And I kind of feel we're in this sweet spot of integration where people realise you need to be really grounded in your diet, and sure, layer in all these exciting things that we learn from... I'm sure people still get obsessed with fats or obsessed with no sugar, and all these kinds of things. Just see where we're kind of landing and finding this harmonic sweet spot that's sustainable long term and what you focus on. Yeah, what you focus on.
Yeah, I love what you just said, because that is absolutely my core passion. And everything that the JCN Clinic is based on is this foundation of a whole food approach.
And I feel like in today's world, and it has been this way for a long time, there's so many extremes, and there's so many ways of getting extreme with your diet and pushing it and pulling it in different directions. And I feel like it's, to be honest, getting more and more confusing for the average person.
Actually, I would say not that I just feel. I know, because I connect with the average person on a daily basis and I get that feedback. So I'm not only in that little boxed world of just me as a nutritionist with other nutritionist or other wellness people. The majority of my space is with the average person out there trying to get better, feel well, and understand nutrition.
And what I get all the time is no matter whether someone's in their early twenties versus people in their sixties or even pushing into their seventies, there's this extreme confusion about the fundamentals of just eating well and what is just a whole food diet, and this perception that we need to be cutting things out, like cutting major food groups, or we need to be going extreme. And always, lots of questions about, "Jess, I heard that I shouldn't be eating this and this is really bad. Is that something I should be doing?" Or, "I've stopped eating this because I heard this is really bad."
And I find that really frustrating because people are just getting so much fear. There's a lot of just reactions to what they're being influenced by in that environment, and they're making changes, and often to their detriment.
And for me, again, as far as speaking to that passion, healthy eating and whole food eating is actually really easy. I'll often say to clients, or they'll say to me as feedback as we move through the foundations of learning what healthy eating is, they'll come back to me after a while and be like, "This is actually pretty easy." And I'm like, "Yeah right it doesn't have to be hard. It's just learning what that is, what it looks, and also how to manipulate that or tweak that for you as an individual," which is always the most important part. Because what suits me and is the best diet for me isn't going to be the same for you. There'll be the same foundation, but it'll be nuanced in different ways. And that's the beauty of what I love about it. But yeah, it's such-
I think you're going to have a lot to say about this for some reason. Can I ask, when people come to you, do you have to manage their expectations and make sure that they're sitting into a spot of, this is the pocket of nutrition and it is easy?
I've been doing a lot of what's called synergistic audits in my business, which is just a Buckminster Fuller kind of style of making sure you go through all chambers of value and you can be... Say it's an individual with the enterprise. And we're like, "You need to know that the enterprise can give you this but can't give you this." And then you can say, "I can give this to the business and I can't give this," and so on and so forth. And everyone comes out feeling clean.
And I feel like you must have people complaining and making it complicated. And you must be like, "Well, what are you expecting?" You can get this far with diet and you can rock it, and then that's a pillar. And then how do you work with the other chambers of mental health, or passion and love, and all those things so that people could be like, "Oh my gosh, I'm actually doing really well and this is a little bit more simple than I thought it was."
Yeah. So managing expectations from the start is really important. And talking to people about the fact that making change, even from a dietary perspective, isn't something that's going to happen overnight. And talking about the fact that it's a relationship that they'll have with me and with the process. And it's something that does need to be managed through learning and education. Right upfront with every new person, I have a spiel that I'll go through as far as being really transparent about that because I think people are like, "I want change now, now, now, now." And also-
And what do they want when they say change, they just want to-
They want to feel better. They just want to feel better. They just want to feel better. They come along wanting to feel better because, it's rare that I'll have someone come along to us and be like, "I just want to make sure I'm doing all the right things." I love that. That's just like, "Oh my God, this is great." But most people will come along with chronic health issues and they just want to feel better. So the sooner you can get them feeling better, and particularly because of the world we live in, it's like make me feel better now.
And when you work with diet, besides the other things that we can do to help, what people often don't understand because they've never dived into this space or thought about what they put in their mouth every day, they don't understand the emotional relationship with food. And as you start working with diet, and making changes, and asking them to unpack their daily habits, it's actually quite confronting.
Particularly, I'm going to stereotype a bit here, but it's with purpose. Particularly for females, there's a lot of tied in emotional relationships with how we use food. And that's a spectrum. But a lot of the time, once there's a challenge about the patterns around food, then suddenly there's this kind of, hang on. This resistance of either not wanting to make change or sabotage is massive, like self-sabotage. So perhaps making change for a certain amount of time and then sabotaging, or something comes along to knock them off their trajectory. And then it's oh, "Well I've done it now, so there's no point. I'll just keep going. I'm a failure," in quotation mark.
So there's this whole inner dialogue that people have around food. And when you start working with food, it often comes up in 80, 90% of people. It's rare, I would say, that there isn't any sort of relationship there. It's very, very rare that I'll get a client that's as simple as, "Yep, Jess, okay. Yep, this is what I need to do. Yep, yep, yep. No problems. Food is food." So that's where that whole emotional, mental health relationship comes in. And it's challenging.
So we will be open with clients the whole way, but it can get to a point where it will hit a wall, and there'll be a conversation about, "We're not going to move further until we actually have you deal with this." Whether that's something that I can help them with or whether it's bringing on someone else. So it's crazy multifactorial, and I feel like that mental health picture is massive, which is then influenced by lifestyle and other factors that come in on top of that, and people managing all of those areas.
Yeah, I want to keep on dancing around this because I just feel like this is such a spot that people are going to hit and it's whether, as you said, a lot of people haven't dove into this world who come and see a clinician, which thank God there are clinicians yourself. Because walking into the world of Instagram and TikTok nutrition now is just really difficult, especially because everyone at the moment... I'm really sensitive to this from when I stepped into being a leader in the wellness world. I was kind of fortunate that I don't have the personality to just state facts and present myself as an absolute expert. I always leave a bit of nuance. But still, I kind of flew just a little bit too close to the sun where people are just like, "These are the three worst ingredients you can ever put in the diet," and it's getting so clickbait-y.
Anyway, I feel like they also play a role in... They make us grow up and catch our naivety really quick. They harvest the low hanging fruit. And thankfully then you are there to help people. So you have people coming who haven't been exposed to that wellness world a whole lot, and then they hit that glass ceiling, that place where we get into emotions, and this is going somewhere, I swear.
But it's the same from when people have become obsessed with veganism and keto. They've tried to go in a decentralised manner. And if they haven't been able to hold the centeredness of simplicity and what diet really means, and actually deal with then the emotions that come up, they fly really far out of centre and likewise hit I think the exact same glass ceiling.
What's the nuance there? I know for me, I started allowing to be the acknowledging what I just call the romance needed to be added back into the way that you cook. I kind of always said, "There's the three Dante ends, and then the scallywag triple burner fascia, and that's how we approach lifestyle and diet." The brain, the logic and the morality, and then the heart, the romance, and then the gut, ancestral knowing. And then there's that fascial triple [inaudible 00:13:29] where it just throws it all off and goes, "I don't want any rules. I don't want anyone to tell me anything. I just want to exist." And all four of those chambers have validity. And I quite often see that romance piece. You don't want to be like, "I swear this is healthy." And meanwhile having zucchini noodles, and you know that's not enjoyable. So what's your layer that when people come to you, you're like, "We've talked about food and now I want you to layer this piece in and add this element or awareness of"... How do you release that glass ceiling for them? Yeah.
Do you mean for the people who are more extreme when you talk about that? Or you mean-
Regardless of whether it's the extremes or the people coming from a mainstream, and then they hit that place where it's like, "This is hard and I'm dealing with shit now." How do you make it more multidimensional? How do you help them navigate through that?
Yeah, yeah. Again, realistically, it's about education and trust. Working with people, you have to develop a relationship of trust and reinforce that trust as you go. Because if someone just meets me, and even though they know I have the experience and the credentials, I feel like I still have to earn a person's trust with time.
So that's where the time that I spend with people is so crucial, and me holding their hand and showing them initial changes, which see them in turn feeling a little better. That is that gain of trust. And then the ability to start to release some of the things that are holding them back or when they're hitting that glass ceiling.
So then when I say to them, "Hey, okay, we've reached this point and you're finding this hard or you are hitting this friction point," I can have a conversation with them about that and be really honest too, and say, "You're actually holding yourself back," or, "Do you realise this self-sabotage behaviour?" Or, "Have you thought about why you are doing that?" Sometimes it's even getting, I can think of some clients at the moment that have had massive success just by... I say just, but this is hard.
Just every day at the end of the day, doing a reflective writing, just a few things about, "This is how I ate today. I had that cake at morning tea, which led to me eating a block of chocolate later in the afternoon, and this happened in the day." And when we meet next, they're like, "Holy crap. I didn't even know that I was one, reacting to stresses that. But I didn't notice that when this happened in the morning, it was like woohoo, floodgates open. So the whole day would go."
So there's all these different tools that I can use with people, but it's essentially holding a mirror up and saying, "Hey, do you see what you're doing? And also, you are not going to progress or move that ceiling unless you make change. And I know change is scary and I know it's new, but do you want to stay here? Because we're not going to progress any further. So have trust in this, have trust in me, we've got you to here. Let's make this next step."
And then as part of that, again, it's the education. Sometimes, that is a conversation around even just what they're saying on social media, even if it is the average person. Because the average person is still opening their phone every day and just seeing, as you were just saying, those posts of this versus that, or, "Don't eat this because this is really bad, buy this instead." So it might be having conversations about that and saying, "I don't want you to be taking any of that on. It's just about what we talk together about what's right for you as an individual, because you are not Joe Blow on Instagram. You are you."
So it's kind of multidimensional. But again, would come back to, my big thing is education is power. So the way to move that ceiling or to move restrictions is education and people feeling trust to do so, that you're not asking them to jump off a cliff. And they're like, "Oh shit, where am I going to go? Where am I going to fall?" It's like, "No, Jess has got me. She's my parachute."
Yeah, that trust piece is huge. I can see that. I can imagine... I'm curious. People would be coming and saying... Out of nowhere they'll be like, "Obviously red meat is bad. Obviously, sugar's bad." And you're like obviously a cruciferous vegetable is the worst thing ever. And you must get that all the time.
All the time.
And that trust piece. Because the other thing I do think, it's a symptom of to extremes. Extreme institutionalisation and ossification of universities that are working off maybe not nutritionist as much as dietetics, but just really not willing to evolve and come into to the party and being like, "Just trust us, but not earning the trust."
And so I'm enjoying talking to you about this because you are so moving along, but honouring what the clinician is there to do, is to be trusted, and be the guide, and then bump up against these two minute noodle expert moments we have where it's just like I've come and learned this, and now we're talking about this study. And I've kind of got you in a way. Are you sure you are aware of... that guy on Instagram, I think he's got you on this. And it made a lot of sense.
And at times, I think clinicians have been guilty of not being able to come to the party, and they've just been like... Maybe not acting this. They've been like, "How dare you? You should listen to me. That person can't be trusted." And it's like, well, that doesn't help either. And that's where I think I've wanted to hone in on this because I can feel, and I know the space, how much you come to the party and have these conversations.
I just want to acknowledge that. And I think acknowledge for people who are listening who have gone and worked with clinicians, and you've just got that egoic, "Just shut up. How dare you question it?"
It's so nice though when you do get a clinician and they can sit you down and go, "I really want to come to the party and answer all these, but that's not my job. I'm going to ask you now whether you want to keep on going, because I've got this and I know all those things you're talking about. I'm very aware, and now let's go forward." It doesn't mean a clinician has to sit down and answer all those questions, and defend their points everywhere.
I feel like... I don't know. How about you? Maybe you can see the different, I see a lot of evolution in the clinician and patient integration at the moment, a lot of maturation. So yeah, I'm so interested to hear, that you've been in the middle of that at the moment. And if you want to talk to that, also I'm curious, what are the things that people are bringing to you at the moment? Did you know that?
The little [inaudible 00:21:05] so much. But yeah, just to the first thing you said, I was thinking as you're speaking, the ego factor. I think as practitioners, it's really vital to take the ego out. It's not a competition about who has this more specific piece of information to influence their peers. I think practitioners have in the past gotten lost in that and forget that your role is to help the people that are coming to you, not about your ego, and showing how brilliant you are, or how cool you are.
But as far as what people come to me with as far as those misconceptions and so forth, it is wide and broad. It's everything from the someone coming as a vegan and a plant-based approach and being really off kilter with that, and having belief systems about potentially... Maybe it's about, "I know I can do this because I will be getting enough of everything. I don't need to consider that I may be deficient in any way," versus the person who's following a more extreme keto or even carnivore based diet.
Do you have people doing carnivore who come to you?
Not as many, but yes. I do because we have... Probably the biggest call for us, we work with chronic gut health. And I mean, obviously the gut is linked to everything. So that brings with it everything related to the gut. But I will particularly get people who will come to me that have pushed themselves already to the extreme because of things going on with their health.
So that will be a certain part of the community that will come to me and they're like, "Yeah, I'm following a carnivore diet at the moment. This works for me." And then there's kind of conversations around, "Okay, I understand where you're at, but we need to talk about what this means as far as your overall health moving forward."
So there's those sorts of approaches, but there's also what I would say are little things, but big things that get people confused and unsure. So red meat's a massive one as far as over the past years, and all the talking, and some of the basic info that was put out to the public about, "Red meat is bad. Don't eat red meat."
I guess dairy's another one, people coming, which is such a big diverse space as far as if someone is say... Particularly if I'm working with them and they're intolerant to dairy, it's having the conversations around, "But I'm not getting enough calcium. I'm not looking after my bones. My doctor said this." So it's like an education piece around that.
How does that education piece go? I don't know. I just get the inkling in the ether that someone's listening going, "Can you just give me 30 more seconds on that?"
Yeah, yeah. Right. So the thing with calcium is that it's not just in dairy. It's in a multitude of foods, and particularly cows dairy. Even when you look at the spectrum of dairy, cows based dairy for a lot of people is quite hard on the digestion, and a lot of people aren't great with it and need to avoid it.
So even in the dairy space, I think it's fascinating as far as the marketing around it. Even if people are moving from cow's milk products to goat or sheep milk products, those products with sheep and goat are twice the amount of calcium than cow's milk. So even that change I just think is interesting as far as what the dairy industry tells us about standard cow's milk products.
But take all dairy off the table. Again, as long as you understand there's other forms of calcium, very rich forms of calcium that you can be including in your diet every day, or on a weekly basis in a rotational amount to be getting more than enough calcium. And to go back to that word, that's just education.
So it's understanding the different sorts of say nuts or seeds, or it's about the certain sorts of fish with the bones that we want people eating. It's understanding those foods and including them, and you're fine. You're absolutely fine. But there's a lot of fear because of what's out there, that if that is removed from people's diet... If they need to, because I'm not saying that it's bad for everyone, that they're doing themselves a disservice.
So you're talking to the propaganda that's put out there. And there might be truths to the calcium thing, and so on and so forth. But you can see it's just gone completely out of proportion, and it's been an industry that's promoted itself as something. It's positioned itself in a certain way. The industry's gone, "This is the easiest way for us to position it and convince everyone to get on."
And dairy, it's so funny. We're not going to need to make this a whole dairy thing, but even if you are working with fermented dairies and cheeses, it's so far beyond calcium. It's almost a disservice to dairy to just focus on the calcium.
Yes. All the other things that it could and does potentially bring you if it works for you. Yeah, exactly.
Yeah. Anyway, so yeah, thank you. Indulging me there, I guess. Because that's where, I guess, you would probably come back to all roads lead to Rome. If you're not dealing with real extreme symptoms, people are going to arrive in a diet that's well-rounded and a little bit tailored to them, and just utilise this abundance of food we have available, and not be too scared of anything. I'm sure there's a few things that that are a little bit hairier for most people, but it all probably comes about you're going to get yourself covered.
Yeah, exactly. And that's part of that whole relationship again, is building someone's understanding of what is a broad whole food diet to start with, and what that looks for them. So a lot of that education... And this is where I think our modern society falls down too. A lot of people don't understand the fundamentals of just what healthy eating is. We're not taught this at school.
So the average person off the street couldn't tell you what do we mean by the three macronutrients as far as protein, carbs, and fats. So first it's like they may not be able to tell you what those three macros are. But also, what is protein? What are protein foods? What are fat foods? What are some carb foods? The average person struggles with that.
So if you don't have that base knowledge, how do you even understand how to build a healthy diet or put together a healthy diet? So there's a lot of education first, that needs to happen around that. But once people have that understanding, that's what I mean by that empowerment. They know, "Okay, great, I'm getting this understanding and this information about what macronutrients are and how I need to include them in my diet, and about diversity of different types of fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds and legumes and what that does for me."
So we always approach it, that's why we want as much of a broad diverse diet as we can. Because we know from a gut perspective that diversity is key to health. And the amount of diversity we have in our diet, the better for our microbiome.
So I'll always say to people, "I want you on a diverse diet as much as possible, as that means for you. So if you are a gluten-free person, let's look at how we need to do that for you. If you're a gluten and dairy-free person, what does that mean? Or if you're a chronic gut health client and we need you on a very tailored therapeutic diet, how do we do that now and move you through that in a way that's still as diverse as it can be?"
So the key is always to diversify. So to go back to the extreme of the carnivore, that for me is not ideal, optimal for someone living the rest of their life. They might feel better now, but it's like, how do we walk you out of this?
It's interesting. We've had Dan Sipple on, my friend, the naturopath. We've talked exactly about how the carnivore shows up when you're doing microbial, when you're doing gut testing and looking at all the strains.
Yeah. So we've covered it into... You can then follow that evidence of if you're very sick in a very particular instance, maybe it's autoimmune. I don't even know if that is the best way to go about it. Yes, cool, maybe.
But it always lands in the diversification. And I think this is where you must hit this transformation place for people where you go, "You're going to have to trust me." I feel like it's either coming out. You need to come onto the other side of, "I'm sick and I need you to treat me with a diet," or people who have gone extreme. "I'm dirty in some way. There must must be something else extreme that I can do."
Whereas you must be just sitting in there holding this space that's a little bit more grounded. Maybe it's not as fantastical, but it's got this rich world of, it's a rhythm. It's farmer's markets, it's seasonal. There's no end to this. And then people are like, "No, give it to me. I need the dopamine hit. Come on."
That's so true.
And you're like, "Man, I don't know what to tell you." We're still going to say nuts and seeds and legumes and some meats and the three macros. And then imagine you can have some fun with the colours and phytonutrients coming in as well.
Yeah, we always say it doesn't sell as well because it's not as sexy. And I'll often use the analogy, what we're building is the foundations of a house. So we need the foundations first. And once you have that, then you can start to go nuts depending on what you want to do with the window dressings and the pretty pillows, which is, "Okay, now I know the foundations." I'm like, "What's this cool thing I can add over here? Or what's this funky different new herb I haven't tried before?"
And it's like cool, great. But get your foundations first. Get the unsexy stuff set, which is never going to go away. It's a lifestyle. It's not something you just do for 12 weeks and then you just fall off the waggon. This is life. Get that happening first, and then come to me, and we can have the conversations about different things to add.
But when people don't even have the foundations right and they're just like, "I heard that I can buy this new greens powder and what do you think about it if I just have this?" Ad I do this, and I'm like look-
Or I imagine it's even like, "I have to get this type of green from the market. I need to get Okinawa spinach." I think it's like, Okinawa spinach is great. Just get it. And lots of other things... I'm curious here, because I imagine we've got, now when I talk about bringing the romance back to the kitchen, this is where everyone I know who eats and lives this way naturally without thinking about it going, "That's right, I should get macadamia nuts because they're really got good fats," they're connected to Italy. They've got an Italian mama, French mama, South America, or likewise. It's not a mama thing or a dada thing, there's a family rhythm, and there's a romance. It's not even about mums and dads. There's this never ending romantic kind of connection with the heart of the kitchen and smells coming out of the kitchen. And you're not just thinking, "Oh yeah, this is going to be good for my carbs." You're thinking, "Oh my gosh, yeah, that purple sweet potato is actually going to work in this meal." Not like, "Come on everybody. It's really good having lasagna or whatever, this potato thing." And they've been like, "Mum, this sucks."
And it's, "No, it doesn't." "Dad, stop. I don't want to do this tea, dad." It's like, "No, it's good for you. Drink it." It's like sure, we need those kinds of things. But when the priority is cohesion, and flavour, and then love, and then we do just have this awareness of what you're talking about of getting a big, massive, diverse, a bit of food.
What's stopping us from happening? Is it the breakdown of the family? Is it that we don't have time to do this anymore? Are we just actually sick and we're trying to treat ourselves with food, but it's in our heads that we need to treat ourselves? It must be wild for you watching people struggle with this.
It is. And I have to remember sometimes too, it's easy to forget what you know innately. But I come back again to people just don't know. So I could sit back with judgement and just be like, "Why is everyone doing this? Why aren't they making these changes? It's so easy."
But people, again, the average person, they just don't understand. They don't get that this is something that they can be doing that will have this profound effect and make them feel well. And whether it's from a family, the average family perspective, or again, that young person to the old. If they don't have the information, how do they know to make that change?
So I feel like that is the gap. And I think, this is probably going off on a tangent a little bit. But this year... Was it this year? I think it was this year. I don't know, time goes so quick. One of the most powerful things for me as an educator that I did was go to a primary school that my niece attends, and spent the whole day. Not just an hour, but the whole day with the whole school in their kitchen, and cooking meals from scratch. Classics definitely. Alexander set up, they've got their gardens, we're out in the compost. We're making the food together, getting messy. They're asking me questions. The kids, they're out, they've got the knives, they're chopping, they're putting things in the oven. There's no-
That's a big thing.
Isn't it, right?
Just trusting them smarter to be around knives and learn that-
That's it. Yeah. And they're asking me questions and they're learning about food, and they're eating kale chips and things that they've prepared themselves. And that gives me so much joy and happiness because that is fundamental change, because those are the kids that are growing up understanding food, understanding seasonality.
I guess where I'm getting with that, there's someone I really love that's more from a fitness space and they talk about, from a fitness point of view, and I think this applies to food, the concept of being conscious about change versus shifting to unconscious.
So if you are coming in new to this, and you are learning, and you're educating yourself, you're in a conscious space first. So you know how you're talking about, "Well, I want to eat healthy, so sweet potato Jess, said that it's a carbohydrate and it's going to give me this. And she said about fat, so I need to put a bit of fat."
So there's this whole conscious space, and it can be a lot for, "Oh my God, this is so exhausting. I've got to remember this, this, and this." But what will happen is that with time, it shifts to being unconscious, which is where I'm at. And it just happens. I don't really think about it in that context anymore. It's just this beautiful unconscious relationship. So I feel like that is where I'm trying to see people shift to. But you don't just get there. You've got to do the work to move to that space.
Yeah, just integration. Yeah, that integration space. I know we've got to talk about mushrooms and stuff, but I'm just curious because at the moment, I think we got pretty smart around antinutrients, and legumes, and some plants. And then of course what happens, especially... And I know I was in that world. It's like, "Oh my God, this is a new thing that I can be against and warn everyone against."
But it's rearing its head now with the carnivore movement. And I think that's the number one thing you see out there. At the moment, they told you salad was good. Salad is actually the worst thing you can do for your health. And oats are the worst breakfast. They have... What is it? Oh gosh, I can't even remember. I've got brain-dead, with waking up with a baby at the moment. What is it in oats? What's the antinutrients in oats? Anyway, they're-
The phytates that are in there?
It's both. It's the lectins and there was a specific one, I can't remember. And it's my favourite thing at the moment watching, because it was the vegans for so long, and I'm like, "That got boring." And I think the vegans even got over been that crying wolf for meat.
And then obviously the natural kickback is to be like, "Well, you've got antinutrients in there because"... And now it's to the extent, the TikTok is... It's so funny, the carnivores at the moment. "Do not eat this. This has antinutrients." One of my favourite health cult busters, Leo Wilkes, I think his name is.
But yeah, he shared one of those oat ones, those porridge ones, and then his next thing was him with a bowl of porridge. He's like, "Hey guys, I've decided it's not worth living. I'm going to do it. I'm going to eat a bowl of oats."
But you can feel how exciting it is. And because, I call it, when people are boring on the inside and they don't have the capacity to cultivate their own unique them, which I've been there, it's no judgement . I'm probably going to be there lots of times, I project myself to try and be interesting. But really it's just because I'm not... What you are saying, it's not sexy.
And if you are sexy and you're embodied your sexiness, you don't need the peacocking of your diet and the warnings of all this, "How bad meat is or how bad antinutrients is," to be the interesting aspect of your personality, because you just embody sexiness. So is that coming up a lot? Because I fell into that. I was like, "Legumes are bad, no." Five years ago, and it took a while to get out. I was like, "Mason, far out, man, just relax."
Yeah, it comes and goes in ebbs and flows with phytonutrients, and particularly with things like lectins and so forth. Right from the beginning for me, that's been something that clients have come to me and asked me about. But yeah, I'll see it in waves.
And I feel like, it's as you said, the peacocking. I love that. Or the clickbait. If it's going to be used in that way, I think ongoingly. But what I would say to it is, again, it comes back to the individual.
There's a reason why some people are more reactive to phytates and lectins, and I have some clients that I need to be considerate of this with. But it comes back to your health and your individual gut health.
So if you have a healthy, robust gut, and overall good health, you don't need to worry about phytates, and lectins, and antinutrients, because they're in everything as far as whole food goes. So if you're going to worry about them, you might want to move to a carnivore diet, which isn't a very good decision to make, which we obviously could get into. But it sounds like you have another podcast, but what I'm getting at is-
No, no other podcast.
Okay. So the thing is that if you have problems-
Sorry, I thought you meant after this.
No, no, [inaudible 00:42:10] Dan, sounds you talked about it with Dan.
But I think by all means, we didn't cover everything. We just covered microbial testing and how it can lead to being pro-inflammatory. So it'd be probably very different in terms of what, or maybe would you'd be aware of that as well but-
Absolutely, yeah. Well firstly, if you have someone who fundamentally does have problem with phytates and lectins, they will have chronic gut health issues. So they're having, we will see this with functional testing, but usually there'll be some form of overactivated gut immune response. There might be some form of gut permeability going on. And it's at a pretty serious level to start being triggered by these phytates and lectins.
So it's a small part of a chronic gut health space. But the problem is, and this is what I see all the time, whether it's this or other areas to do with extremism. Someone's had success with that. They're like, "This made me feel better, so therefore it must work for everyone."
And the scary thing is when that person now gets a platform. So that might be the average person that's like, "Oh my God, this cured me. This must be what everyone needs to do." And sometimes, that's just through conversation where I'll be talking to a client and they're like, "My auntie told me she did this and it worked for her, so should I do it?" But now it's in a social media space where it's bigger and we've got influences saying, "Well, I cut this out and it worked for me, so it should be for everyone."
Or even scarier, we've got practitioners, to go back to the ego who have made changes because a lot of practitioners come to this space with their own issues. They've made that change. They're like, "This is the golden nugget. Everyone needs to avoid these foods." And that's dangerous, because then they start layering their practitioner hat on top. So then we have this kind of expectation of everyone needs to eat this way.
So it really does my head in and angers me when I see that, whether it is this of antinutrients space versus to go to carnivore. Because from a carnivore perspective, we can do the same thing where we've got that extremism of someone feeling better from a chronic gut health space and a chronic, potentially autoimmune space that is driven by very poor gut health. And they feel better, because they've cut out all fibre, any fuel at all for their gut microbiome. So that in turn isn't feeding the adverse growth patterns that are going on. So they're like, "Oh my God, I feel amazing." So again, they're like, "This is the golden nugget. Everyone needs to do this. Oh my god, fruit and veggies are bad. It's obvious. Let's burn them all."
Recently, it was just like... Because there's a bunch of them that just started becoming so deficient so quickly. And then all of a sudden running back to fruits and all the carnivore... Because then they need to remain on the edge and get their hit of being a two-minute noodle expert, is what I call them. They need to always be, even if it comes out with a big reveal, "Oh my god, guys, I was so convinced about this, but now I've discovered," and it's really, they've just been studying someone's work. They've become aware of Ray Peat's work or something that. And all of a sudden they're like, "Ray says sugar's the best thing ever. Therefore, I'm going to piggyback and use all his data, and I can be another two minute noodle expert, and I get to be a groundbreaker once again."
Because it gets boring as well, once you've converted all your team to be carnivores or vegans, and everyone who's giving real sound feedback, because life is feedback loop. And you need to be in a state where you are hearing, "Hey, what about these circumstances when this is actually going to be really dangerous for people?" They're like blah, blah, blah, blah.
And so they leave, get the echo chamber, but then they get boring, because it's like everyone in there starts getting the same level of two minute noodle expertise. So the leader that brought everyone there, and there's some offshoot, they go, "I need to get my hit some other way, and I need to become this groundbreaking two-minute noodle expert once again." So they'll add in fruit or they'll start going, "I've just discovered this." And so on.
Round and round it goes. It's a funny, funny circus. I love it so much. I've been a part of it, I'm sure, and it's also infuriating and hilarious. And you've nailed it exactly how it happens. And it's funny to the extent, but then you really do not see the absolute smashing of some people that occurs when they get pulled in, because they're the low hanging fruit and they get harvested by a two-minute noodle expert, and then this person annihilates their health and that-
That's it. And that's what worries me, because I see the consequences. At the clinic, all of the practitioners, this is, again, something we talk about a lot together. You can look at it as you say, and you're just like, "That's so funny. That person's just having their," as you said, "Their two-minute noodle moment."
But where it's not funny anymore is when you see the knock on effect, and you see the average person or the average broader community being influenced. Influences are influences for a reason, and people start making changes to their diet, or getting chronically stressed about what they eat. And then it starts having a knock on effect.
And that's where I move to frustration about it, because there's not that accountability. They're thinking more of that ego or that clickbait space when they're putting this information out there, and they're not thinking about how that's having a filtering down effect onto the average person.
Yeah. And I think it's already happening naturally. And I've I've definitely shared that frustration. And then I've constantly just thought, "All right, well, what do we do?" And I think it's always happened throughout history when we've become aware of something new. Then it just takes some time for the maturation, the general IQ in the area of the population to rise up, so that we don't have that low bar.
But it's definitely still there. A lot of people are the low hanging fruit and they're getting harvested. Same way that it's happening to people with shoddy, multi-level marketing little businesses. People are still getting nabbed, and I kind of have to think of it.
And otherwise, I'm probably similar to you. I'm going, "This is what these people need in order to get the mental and emotional challenge to see if they can stay in their sovereignty," rather than getting pulled again into another dogma. And our job as a community have these cross pollinating conversations to layer in the nuance that eventually can be embodied within our minds and our neurology as a global health community. So I think these conversations are a huge part of it, but we need two-minute noodles as well, otherwise [inaudible 00:49:38]. We need two-minute noodles. Otherwise, what are university students going to eat?
Thanks for going there with me. Haven't had a good old nutritional extremist dogma chat for a while. And it is interesting. Veganism has been the extremist one that has dominated the conversation, and it's not the case anymore. It is keto and carnivore, isn't it?
But the thing is, they all have their place. All of these extreme dietary arms to a point, they all have their place where they can be used. Whether it's a therapeutic tool, or whether it is just a dietary way of life, like veganism. It's just doing it in the right way and using it in the right way as whether it's a therapeutic tool or yeah, you're a vegan. It's just like, yeah, cool. But let's just be open to being a healthy vegan. Let's learn how to do that first and apply that to your life.
I learned that myself the hard way. That was one of the things that led me 25 years ago into this space was being vegan in an unhealthy way before I was even interested in nutrition. I've been there. I know what being an unhealthy vegan is and what it does to you.
But I also know what being a healthy vegan is and have worked with people who just... Which is really lovely when someone comes to you and they're just like, "I'm actually fine health wise. I just want to transition. I'm really interested in going vegan, or I've been vegan this last year. I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right." I'm like, "Oh God, you're amazing."
Yeah, amazing. And then I think you said the word transition. I feel like that's what doesn't happen enough. And people will say, transition to veganism, and maybe come to it for more psycho-spiritual or moral reasons, which is so valid.
And that's where I find it funny to take the piss out of everyone, but it's also, I revere that so much, that people are willing to go into the cultivation of that part of themselves, especially in the yogic world. And they transition over. And then probably similar to what you're saying in terms where people are like, "Oh my God, I've found the golden nugget. Everyone needs to do this." They don't remember that the only inevitable is change.
So you will go through another transition. And that transition might not mean bringing in meat or something that, but it'll mean going, "Okay, I need to choose once again. Yes, I'm going to continue doing this, but I'm going to transition into it, be a more well-rounded vegan diet. I'm going to include," whatever. But you're never going to stop going through transitions.
Ever. People, if they get too, wrap their heads around that, and I'm talking to myself here because I need to remember that. My wife has a little Sanskrit character that, this too will change, just that reminder.
I guess everyone means you get that capacity to go, "What was I really doing with this diet or this phase? What do I really want to embody?" And I want to integrate it. And then I'm able to go out and start going for some adventures again.
So true. So true. Yeah, you have to be open to that continual change. Otherwise, you're just going to hit your own glass ceiling. And I know how I eat now is different to how I ate two years ago. And in two years, it'll change, because life changes.
My life changes, your life changes, everyone. We're going through different demands, different stresses, different environments. You can't keep the same patterns all the time. And we're constantly learning too.
So what I was maybe doing two years ago is different now for maybe things I've learned about what works for me better versus my environment and what I have available. But if I was trying to cling to how I was eating two years ago and try and apply that now with where I live in my life, I'd be doing myself a disservice.
Well, you'd be boring as batshit.
I would be boring as batshit. I surely wouldn't be eating as much bloody sorrel either, because it's all that grows in our garden. I'm so sick of sorrel.
As a quick side note, I went to Brisbane about a month ago for a friend's 40th, this fancy restaurant. And I was so excited about the food and it was delicious. But they bring out this grilled prawn off the barbecue, and then on the side is the green leaf you wrap it in. And it was so... It was like, "What's that?" And I'm like, "Are you freaking kidding me?"
Yeah, we were like that with Okinawa spinach for a while. Towns planted a little bit, and then it just took over an entire veggie patch.
It's so true.
And look, you were talking about that adaptability and that capacity to shift and change. It's a good way. We haven't gotten too much longer, but it's a good way to shift into the adaptogens, which is always... I remember that was for me, the mushies and that, it got to the point where I was just looking at just how much people needed support to be able to shift and change through with this world, crazy world, as it is. And that's why I was one of the reasons I landed. I'm like, "Look, if I just get people on these herbs, I feel like I'm scratching my itch to have an impact in the community."
So yeah, how do you use them? I mean, it must be funny for you to be able to have it be a part of the nutritional side of things, even though it's an extract powder. And just I guess as also probably a little... You've got a scallywag herb that's there, just doing a bunch of work in the background that's going to make it easier for the people. Must be nice as well.
That's it. So it's a very wide spectrum. So my ultimate is to get people to introduce them and think about them as something that they just do as part of their lifestyle. I'm definitely looking at ways, depending on my client's needs, to integrate them in that way. But the other massive way that we use them is therapeutically.
So we do, again, the chronic gut health space that requires a lot of functional testing. So when we're working with the gut, particularly in the beginnings of moving through, whether it's chronic dysbiosis, or yeast issues, or SIBO or the list goes on, because of the feedback we have with functional testing and what we're getting from really good case taking, we get more of a specific idea about what we need to do for a client.
So a classic space for us would be working with clients who have signs of very compromised gut immunity. And we can tell with testing and also symptoms, whether it's potentially a more overactivated gut immune response versus a very depleted. And that's where mushrooms can come in because of their, particularly what I love about them is their ability to be modulating.
Because when we're dealing with an immune system that can be overactive and someone that's getting... It can be as extreme as autoimmunity, but it may not be that. It might be more of a aggravated immune response where they're reacting to. Everything that they're eating, they're getting lots of external aggravation with the skin. There's just this heightened inflammation reaction overall.
We can bring mushrooms in particular in a modulating way. Because with the immune system, you have to think about, is it overacting in an environment versus being really depleted? So often, mushrooms will be part of that. And they're just so multifactorial as well. So we've got this beautiful symbiotic kind of dance that they do with the immune system, which I love.
But then there's also a prebiotic element to them, depending on how much you're using. And then if you're talking about integrating them with food, which not everyone can do. Not everyone has access to go and buy different types of mushrooms. Although, it's getting better. It's getting better.
So there's that influence of them coming into the diet and into more of a therapeutic use initially. And I would say that our clients would see it at that point as more supplemental, particularly with how we're using them at dosages that we're using them with. But my intention is to try and bring them in with the thought focus of diet. So it would be integrating them around, "So is what we're doing as far as this protocol." But when you bring this in, we are going to talk about how you might use this as part of a daily ritual with a hot chocolate, or your macha, or your smoothie. And start to think about it as more as a food way so then I know that I'm kind of tapping into building that as part of their daily ritual, or just getting to think about it more as food and something they do for themselves, as opposed to something they're doing as a short window of time. So then I know that hopefully I can build it more as an ongoing behaviour.
So the mushrooms, I get really excited about them because there is such a demand in what I do and what we do as far as poor gut immune regulations. It really is a massive core of gut issues. And there's other things we can bring into that, and we often do. But the use of mushrooms, particularly reishi and shiitake, they're really cornerstones for what we'll use there.
And then I guess to move slightly away from mushrooms, mushrooms I always come back to, because at a core, I'm a nutritionist. When it comes to some of the tonic herbs, I love them, but I'm not a naturopath. So I have so much respect for them, but I haven't been educated in them in the same way.
But we have other therapists and naturopaths at the clinic, and another big arm of what we do alongside the gut is hormone work. Again, they kind of come hand in hand. So we do a lot of functional testing with DUTCH testing.
DUTCH test is best, isn't it?
It's amazing. It's so amazing. So there's a lot of use, probably more so there with some of the tonic herbs, things like ashwagandha, which you're getting this information back, not only again, from how a client feels. But you're seeing these dysregulated cortisol patterns.
And once again, we might be working with a protocol with that person, as far as certain supplements they're taking and what we're doing with their diet. But if I can also say to them, "Hey, all right, we're going to do this and this. But the other thing I want you to do is think about how you can add this every day." I think we were talking about this last week, "Make that five minutes in your day where you sit down with your cup of tea and you're going to put this in, and you're just going to read a magazine or read a book. You're not going to get on your phone."
So we're kind of doing this whole change in trying to get a five-minute pocket of the day just to bring that cortisol down, and just relax, and tap into the parasympathetic nervous system whilst taking something that's actually also helping calm their farm. But again, setting up behaviours.
So I love them so much because they fill this space between thinking about it as food. I'm putting a meal together and taking a supplement. I think the average person, they see them in between. They're like a foodie thing that I can add, and this works, this is easy.
And then they're doing so much, like we've spoken about. They're kind of coming in and building a relationship with their person and they're contributing on so many levels. So I just absolutely love them, but I do have a soft spot for the mushrooms because I'll always come back to that gut immune space.
And I see it. I see it with clients. I see the difference. I see it with blood testing, even just standard blood testing with white blood cells. I'll constantly see really low blood cells with clients from a more deficiency state. And I get them on reishi in particular, and you retest and you see it. And it's not just that. It's like more than anything, it's what clients experience.
So I was even speaking to someone yesterday. And yes, it's been a full protocol, but part of that has been some really good mushrooms. And she's gone from getting sick constantly with the kids bringing stuff home, and she hasn't been sick for two months. She's felt two times something trying to get her, but she hasn't got it ,and her husband and the kids have gone down. That doesn't sound like a lot, or two months. It's like that's huge for a mum who's sick all the time around kids, just going from one virus to another. That's-
A similar story. Trish, who had four kids when I was at the markets, was the one that convinced me that this was worth an endeavour worth going on, because then she got the results after winter. And it was a two month, three month period and she was like, "The whole family didn't go down as much as we did." And I was like, "That's cool." She's like, "No mate, it's not cool."
You must have so much fun, because I don't get that objective feedback a lot of the time, and I just know it's happening. So I just get to go, "Sure." And sense how many more white blood cells are out there and how much more Qi has been cultivated, and then just be like, chatting to you, it makes me smile, because that's the intention, is for us to annihilate as much unnecessary degeneration as possible, through the herbs and these collaborations.
So, oh my gosh, thank you so much. It's been a really inspiring chat. I get the sense that we might be able to have some fun keeping our finger on the pulse going forward with other agreed two-minute noodle things that pop up and get people some context.
So maybe we'll just keep our spidey senses open. And when you do feel one coming up that might be relevant, we can see if we can jump on a podcast. Whether that's in couple of months, six months, or a year, that'd be really nice to explore this territory again. And can you remind everyone about your Instagram, and the clinic, and any other things you've got going on?
Yeah, for sure. So yes, I'm on all the things social. So you'll find me at jescoxnutritionist, just one S. Definitely on Facebook and the websites, my name jessicacox.com.au.
But the JCN Clinic is where it's all at. So it's not just myself. I'm the, whatever you want to call it these days. Director, founder. I don't really care so much about the names, but it's my baby. But there's six other practitioners and they are freaking amazing ladies. As we said, we specialise in gut health, but that kind of relates to everything these days. So I think the only other thing if you are a foodie and you love a lot of what we've chatted about today, I've got a cookbook called e.a.t.
There it is. I was going to say, [inaudible 01:05:52] try and get you to grab it. It looks so cool. The photography in it's so great.
Thanks. Yeah, that's my past life, believe it or not, before I got into nutrition was a photographer. So yeah, I've got a whole nother past life. But there is a couple of recipes. There's one in particular in there that has mushrooms in it, some raw Snickers, which are divine.
So yeah, that's me, and thanks. Yeah, thanks for having me. This has been a really good chat. And I agree, any other time there'll be things that come up, I'm sure, that would be really good to chat about, as far as just topics that are out there that I feel like some people maybe are dancing around and not wanting to expose and chat about. These conversations are really important for people to realise that they need to take hopefully a second thought about what they're seeing on socials, or the like.
I love it. I'm sure what everyone's going to take from this is to go and get a packet of, or maybe a double packet of magic two-minute noodles, chicken or beef, and just devour them so we can have less two minute noodles in our lives. But then you'll have less bacteria, I'm sure, due to how crappy those noodles are. Yeah.
Thank you so much. Yeah, I've enjoyed it so much. And I guess what I'm really taking away is just that remembering of just to be really on my toes. This information is going to come out there in extremes. And just, to listen to that extreme thing and be like, "I'm not get worked up by it." I'm going to just, what's there, what's the relevance? What are they talking to? Now that is relevant in this symptom state, where would that person have been? And try and really just, even if they don't understand, help myself compartmentalise where that thing they're talking about is valid. Because they're not wrong, they're just extreme, and need to compartmentalise it somewhere. So that's what I'm really feeling from this, which is really nice. Well hopefully, chat to you soon.