The Good Gut Gardener

hi and welcome to another MedGeek TV
health hero spotlight I’m Deborahlise and so today I am super excited to be
interviewing a soul sister her name is Jenny Pandol and she and I have had
these very similar paths but didn’t actually meet until recently. she also
studied sustainable AG or Agroecology at UC Santa Cruz and is an ecologist and
also a gut expert so she really understands microbiome medicine and
she and I met while studying microbiome medicine together. she’s also a
fermentationist and a health coach she’s very smart and she’s super sweet and I love how she blends ecology the external ecology of the environment with the
internal ecology of our gut and she is referred to as a good gut gardener
for this reason. so enjoy this interview I’m so excited you’re here. thank you so
much for taking time out of your busy day so I have to tell you you are a
woman of my own heart because I knew there are other people out there that
studied exactly what I studied where I studied sustainable AG and ecology and
then went into medicine which is exactly what you did right so you and I are both
graduates of UC Santa Cruz and ecologists and sustainable AG geeks
right and now we’ve really moved into the microbiome which is super cool
and so can you tell me a little bit about how you discovered the microbiome
and how it’s changed your life sure well thanks for having me I’m excited to talk
to you so okay when I discovered the microbiome it was about six years ago I
was having a really hard time with my health and so it was pretty quickly like
was almost like suddenly my health just like took a total dive and I had like
all the common symptoms of like SIBO and whatnot where I was very distended after
everything I ate and just having skin problems and my hormones were a mess
and I couldn’t sleep my hair was falling out all these things were happening and
it seemed like it happened like really quickly so I sought out help because I
did not know what was going on I didn’t know when anyone else he was going
through those kinds of things and so the doctor that I sought out was an
integrative medical doctor in Los Angeles and he educated me a ton so we
did all this testing that no other doctor had ever done like stool testing
hormone testing all this stuff and I discovered that I had really there’s
pretty significant dysbiosis and so that they didn’t really quite understand it
initially like what that meant but over time and healing it really
started to make sense to me and about that time to my my father is a
gastroenterologist and about that time he introduced me to a scientist named
Richard I mean I’m sorry Sidney Feingold and he blew my mind
because he had been researching he’s a microbiologist so he had this humongous
library of microbes a lot of them that he discovered so we went to his lab one
day and I was listening in on my their meetings and started learning about all
these things he had done since the 1950s he had been working on understanding
autism and really honing in on the microbes that are related to autism and
so that was totally mind-blowing for me and he had been treating people even
like for four decades and having some really interesting findings so that
really piqued my interest because I’m like okay I’m going through this health
thing that has to do with you know my gut being really out of balance started
learning about you know what he was doing then started being introduced to
other researchers in the LA who were doing microbiome research went
to a microbiome summit and then I was totally hooked because I was listening
to the research of these of these researchers who were doing like totally
groundbreaking work right having these awesome discoveries and it all started
clicking for me after that so that’s kind of how my microbiome interest
started that’s awesome that’s so great and so you studied
ecology and then you went into health as a nurse so you do palliative care is
that correct yeah so my nursing curve and since 2004 so 15
years now so yes I studied agroecology and sustainable agriculture at UCSC and
I really wanted to I had this vision that I was you know gonna make some real
impact in the agricultural world I come from an agricultural family my family
are farmers and I just had this idea that you know I was gonna make this
impact and bring this back to like the small family farms and these systems
that were really sustainable and you know good for the earth and for us and
anyways my path definitely obviously changed I did work in that industry for
a while even went to work at my family’s farm for a little bit there was a point
at which I was having trouble making income and so I started working with
autistic young adults and I started doing well managing their their health
their medical needs and any ways that that kind of got me like the feelers out
and and like way like this isn’t I like to do I like I like helping
people I like you know helping them anyways that’s an interesting you know
relationship having worked with autistic young adults and then this click you
know this this click I had with the Micra my own but anyways that was that
was many years ago obviously and so so that got me to thinking that I wanted to
go to nursing school I mean there’s more to it but that was kind of one of the
impetuses of getting into to nursing and I worked in the hospital for about five
years doing all kinds of different units and then and then I got into home health
and then palliative care which I’ve been doing most of my nursing career and then
yam you became a health coach from there right and that mostly one you were
taking care of your own health is that when that shift happened that is exactly
when that happened so yeah so once I started taking care of my own health I
started looking at my patients completely differently I couldn’t no
longer see yeah just you know doing this routine stuff that we were doing and
feeling I was just not feeling good about it
so I started integrating all these things that I was learning with my
patients in terms of nutrition but I can only do so much in that in that arena
right so so then I decided okay I’m gonna go to school and learn more about
you know how to how to do this so do this on my own and do it the way I
want to that is so awesome and what I love about talking with you is that
there is such a connection between our soil right the Earth’s soil and the
microbes in our gut right it’s like this inner ecology and outer ecology and you
understanding that’s just the whole ecology premise really does help in
terms of understanding the gut right and the this universe of microbes that
in our gut and so you know I see you as the gut gardener which I know that’s
what you are right you’re the gardener and with that too you use a lot of food
especially fermented foods and you do this for a long time when did you start
doing that and then educating people on how to ferment their own food yeah
so that started for me and I think it was 2015 I so one of the things that was
going on with me in my gut was I had like zero lactobacillus species and so
for months a really good source of that so yes diet was huge that really had
an impact moving foods out of my diet that were I was not tolerant to was huge
then adding ferments that was a whole nother level
I decided that so I had been I was a winemaker also out of college and so I
had already I was already familiar with fermenting I had my own label and
everything that was so so fermenting already was really just familiar to me
but then when I discovered the health benefits unlike how that could impact
what was going on with me I really that’s when I really got into it and I
did the certification program with summer Bach and that was in 2015 so that
was awesome I learned like a good dozen awesome ferments from around the world
that was cool it helped my health and so that’s when I realized how impactful
that was for me that’s when I was like oh I’m gonna start teaching this and so
I started doing workshops locally and yeah those are fun I love it and I see
that you have a course online I am I love you know I didn’t know you were
winemaker my husband is also a winemaker and
for ten years we had a vineyard and fermented and all of that you knew that
that’s really cool and all throughout cultures right
there’s fermented foods right yep so and that is such an important part of health
and I’m excited to see I heard that you were maybe gonna do some traveling and
some research about fermented foods is that true so I would so one of the
places I really want to go I’ve been a few times my aunt lives in Japan and so
next time I go visit her that is something that yes I want to really I
love that culture and there you know I just want to learn from the culture
itself that’d be cool so I think I might have mentioned that yeah that’s awesome
and I’ll tell you a little personal story for me is that I really found the
benefit of fermented foods when I was postpartum and I had with my second I
had postpartum depression and I was doing everything I was doing herbs and
acupuncture and you know therapy and I had done a trade with a woman who I gave
her herbs and essential oils and she brought me this giant I think they’re
half gallons of fermented root vegetables from a farm biodynamic farm
Midwest and it completely transformed me like set that whole gut brain connection
I was like happy again I mean that’s the power of fermented foods and so I just
wanted to share that because this is not benign stuff this is like powerful steam
you know even so this is how I see just like you experience that like lift and
the happiness just the act of making fermented foods I swear it just the
microbes make people happy just making it so when my workshops start you know
people are like maybe coming out of you know coming home from work or whatever
and and they arrive and and so they’re just like alright you know but the ends
they are super excited they’re chatty they’re laugh
or just it’s like infectious so microbes it’s amazing it’s so amazing and you
know I love we met and microbiome medicine training and I know that
there’s going to be a conference here in September and I know you’re gonna be a
speaker and so do you want to share a little bit about what you’re gonna chat
about or do you know what you’re gonna chat about yeah so I am I know a little
bit I’m actually gonna start working on it I’m gonna I’m gonna chat a little bit
about just bridging the the world of like soil and ecology and human health
and got health and talk about fermented foods because that’s a bridge and yeah
those of us that’s mostly what I’m going to talk about and so I am well I’m gonna
work on it so that’s that’s kind of all I can tell you for now I’m gonna work
out this weekend and hash out what I’m really gonna say about that but I just
and so tell me a little bit about some of your future endeavors
and things that you have on the horizon in terms of programs or workshops things
like that yeah well I primarily work with people one on one in my intensive
programs and I love that like I’ve been a nurse for a long time and not one on
one connection it just I really love it like I’ve been doing it for a long time
and so yes I do you know I do that with people usually in four-month programs I
am creating a program right now an online program which is going to be a
little bit of nutrition a little bit of fermentation and a little bit of
labs that could that course I just I filmed the fermentation part in my
kitchen I am super excited to put that out because it’s like a step-by-step how
to just finish filming that not that long ago so yeah so those are those are
the the big components of it oh and the distress component distress you know
your mind and your body like you know house clean out the house and home
aspect to to kind of eliminate toxins so all those are components of my course so
yeah that’s coming out soon cool and how can people find you can you mention like
Instagram like any social media of course your website you pray yeah
so my website is and then i am i can always i emails is a
great way to contact me info at Jenny and then I have my Facebook
Jenny pandal with a good gardener my Instagram Jenny the good gut gardener
and also my my group I have an online group called the Microbiome Learning
Center so we have a group where it’s you know more like discussion type of group
where you know people join and then I have the business page for that as well
so those are that’s a project in itself I meant to mention that yeah the
Microbiome Learning Center is epic that was a huge undertaking and so many
people on Facebook have been part of that group and I just feel like there’s
endless opportunities there to really get the message out on the microbiome so
kudos to you yeah yeah yeah that’s been a fun project so that was inspired
actually after after the microbe sumit that I went to and meeting people
who like to nerd out specifically my friend Joshua and so that’s where that’s
why that how that got created was just like we need a place for all of us who
like this stuff to hang out yeah yeah and I mean microbiome medicine is the
medic I mean it’s the cutting-edge medicine and is exactly you know what we
have been going towards all this time I mean ancestral medicine had this premise
already with what we called Qi or Agni or prana and now we see it right this
invisible life force this inner ecology and so I just feel like understanding
this and taking care of our inner ecology and the outer ecology is really
where medicine and life is going right the only way we can survive it literally
is and so to bridge the work that you know my experience with Agri ecology you
know now we’re transitioning into a world where it’s we’re talking more
about regenerative agriculture and a lot of that is absolutely based on the
microbiome of the soil and so so yes that’s so crucial it’s so crucial for
the health of our planet as well as human health and so speaking to what I
want to speak to in my talk I want to bridge you know that concept yes and
with my work and your work I mean part of this whole platform is I want to
interview these amazing farmers like they are the future you know those
organic biodynamic sustainable AG farmers I actually had this great
experience with this one farmer that I brought in for a conference that I put
together and he was one of those super soil geeks and he went into the garden
and he touched the soil and put on his tongue and he could tell me what was
like what minerals were in it how good it was I was like wow that’s just an
amazing palette that’s it’s so cool and so Jenny this has been awesome and so
whenever I close an interview for my health heroes I ask them three questions
and so I’d like to ask you those and one is if you could have a superpower what
would it be and why okay well so I would like to be able to
teleport myself I would love that I just feel like there’s so many connections to
be made and I just want to zoom all over the place and make them as quick as
possible so so yes yeah yeah I mean we’re in this
information overload time and I think we our bodies need to move as fast as the
information it’s coming in yeah that’s so great and so the second question is
if you could transform anything in global health whether it’s human or
Planetary what would it be I would just love if there was more understanding
about just what we’re talking about this relationship to the soil and the earth
and the health of the soil and human health because we have to fix both of
those really quickly and I think that there’s so much information that we
already know when it comes to the earth ecology and we’re learning a lot about
the human ecology and how crucial it is and so I just want people to see those
relationships because I feel like that’s really key to addressing both those
issues that are like super critical right now yes awesome okay now the last
question is if you could gift the listener with one bit of advice a little
health tip some gem what would you give them so I would say that get in tune with your own natural rhythm
body rhythms get in tune with the rhythms of nature just by taking a walk
or whatever it is and then you’ll find all the answers that you need I love it
Thank You Jenny this has been so wonderful chatting with you I’m just
excited to see where 2020 takes you I always joke that 2020 is gonna be the
year of great clear vision 20/20 vision and you know the whole idea is that we
can actually bridge right we can bridge ancestral medicine and modern medicine
ecology of the external ecology and the inner ecology and I feel like you are a
thought leader in this so thank you so much for taking the time it relieves oh
thank you for having me it’s a pleasure to talk with you always wonderful okay
we I’ll talk to you soon thank you so much okay bye-bye


  1. Did you know that fermented foods can help with your mental health, not just gut health?
    We know that we are more microbial DNA than human DNA, and that these microbes control our physical and mental health, so what can we do to support these invisible microbes?
    Jenny and I talk about fermentation, organic food, and other inspiring thoughts on how to optimize our health with Microbiome Medicine.
    Check it out, and please subscribe to this channel, so I can spread the word for these amazing thought leaders.
    x- Deborahlise

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