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Episode 199 – Health and Gardening with Sofie Van Kempen


In this episode of the ATP Project, Matt and Steve talk health, healing with foods and gardening with Sofie van Kempen.  She discusses her health journey from being unwell and misdiagnosed to triggering her inspiration in helping to heal herself by growing her own medicine and food, from this flourished her passion and tips for home gardening inspiration.


Topic Index:

00:01:06 – Start
00:02:22 – Sofie – her background
00:04:17 – the pill
00:05:26 – getting sick and misdiagnosis
00:07:25 – IBS
00:08:32 – coloscopy
00:09:23 – CDSA (testing your shit)
00:11:14 – nutrition and healing yourself
00:12:50 – colitis
00:14:56 – modify bacteria in the gut
00:15:19 – competitive exclusion
00:15:46 – Leaky gut wall and leaky blood-brain barrier
00:16:35 – Medicinal aloe
00:21:06 – bone broth
00:22:39 – raw food v cooked food
00:23L30 – cold pressed juice
00:25:22 – iron tablet alternatives
00:26:22 – flipping the food pyramid
00:28:42 – coloscopy and misdiagnosis?
00:29:51 – healing with food
00:32:28 – NFR2
00:34:04 – Organ meat and iron levels
00:36:40 – endometriosis and going off the pill
00:39:43 – Hormonal treatment
00:42:33 – Collagen for women
00:45:36 – visanne treatment and side effects
00:49:40 – Genetics testing
00:52:49 – Holistic treatment
00:54:50 – MTHFR gene
00:58:07 – Eating and growing organic
01:03:24 – Eat real foods
01:06:49 – Tips for gardening
01:11:00 – Poo and dirt
01:12:11 – Post biotics
01:12:46 – shilajit
01:14L20 – soil pH levels
01:18:21 – natural sprays
01:21L11 – companion planting
01:21:32 – planting with the moon
01:30L10 – plant immune system
01:33:08 – Rebound fat gain and starvation
01:35:42 – Roundup alternatives
01:37:25 – Sofie social media details


Steve:                   Welcome to the ATP Project, my name is Steve and today we’ve got a special guest on our ATP Project. We’re with Matt, Steve and Sofie. And Sofie is going to tell us largely about her health journey, from being incredibly unwell to basically helping herself by growing her own medicine and food. It’s an incredible story, so please sit back and enjoy.

Speaker 2:           As always, this information is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any condition, and is for information purposes only. Please discuss any information in this podcast with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle. Stay tuned, the ATP Project is about to start.

Speaker 3:           Welcome to the ATP Project. Delivering the irreverent truth about health, aging, performance and looking good. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, ready to perform at your best, or somewhere in between, then sit back, relax and open your mind as Jeff and Matt battle the status quo and discuss everything health related that can make you better.

Steve:                   Welcome to the ATP Project. You’re with your hosts Matt, Steve and Sofie.

Sofie:                    Hi.

Steve:                   How cool is that? Hello Sofie, how are you?

Sofie:                    Good guys.

Steve:                   Wow, we’ve never seen you here before. We’ve got someone here with a completely wonderful story, to talk about gardening, and health, and gut health, and everything like that today. How cool’s that Matt?

Matt:                     That’s brilliant, because the whole plan of this is to help people to take control of their own health. As a naturopath, I really felt bad holding people’s health ransom. But that’s why I managed to feel like it, you know I have to charge a consultation fee to be able to give you some advice, and then for you to be able to take your medicine you’ve got to pay extra. It was always this big thing where I wanted to help people, but I was stuck in this position where I still had to pay my bills.

Matt:                     So now that we’ve got the podcast and we’ve got ATP and we’ve got a bit of a platform that pays the bill, we can now go away and give away some really great free advice, really help people to help themselves and take control of their own health. And the best place to do that is in your own home. So I want to know your story and how you got to this awesome point where you’re now capable of controlling your own health using nature and all the tools that are around you, and have the ability, not only to control your own health, but actually make your own medicine. I reckon that’s wicked.

Matt:                     So what’s your history? Tell us about you.

Sofie:                    We’ll just start off … Matt said that he’d bring me in on this podcast and pay my bills as well. Yeah, yep.

Matt:                     Is that … Yeah, cool.

Matt:                     [crosstalk 00:02:29] Oh shit.

Sofie:                    So that’s why I’m here today. Yep, so just write that one down guys.

Steve:                   Yeah, definitely. Definitely

Matt:                     Get out the red pen Matt.

Steve:                   The red pen.

Sofie:                    Cut, cut.

Steve:                   Cut.

Sofie:                    So my story, basically I’ve always been one of those sick kids, you know? Not sniffly, sneezey kind of kids, but I was one of those kids … I grew up in Cairns, and I would get pneumonia. You know? Like who gets pneumonia in Cairns? It’s like 40 degrees.

Steve:                   Yep, it’s a lung infection for those that don’t know.

Sofie:                    Yep, so pneumonia. Lots of different lung infections. I would always get tonsillitis. So really susceptible to tonsillitis. All those different kind of problems that would kind of come up, we wouldn’t really know what was going on. It’d go away. You know, things would be discussed, like removing tonsils. All the great options.

Sofie:                    You’ve got a problem with your gall bladder? Remove your gall bladder. You’ve got a problem with your tonsils? Remove it, we don’t need them. That’s what they think.

Steve:                   The medical term is, “When in doubt, cut it out.” Sorry, go on.

Sofie:                    Yes, exactly. Perfect. Yep.

Steve:                   Yes.

Sofie:                    So I always had lots of kind of health problems like that growing up. We couldn’t really work out what was going on. Probably once I reached about 13, 14, I started to get really bad periods, like excruciating periods; couldn’t go to school, had to stay home. When I mean stay home, I wasn’t kind of walking around, sitting on the couch eating ice cream. It’d be like bed bound on all the kind of pain killers, medications we could, because it was just unbearable.

Sofie:                    So of course, you go to all the different health professionals, see all the different specialist. Pill, pill, pill, pill.

Matt:                     Given all the pills.

Sofie:                    You need a pill. Yaz, Diane, Susan from accounts, Caroline. All the great pill names they’ve come up with over the time. So nothing was ever discussed about endometriosis, or getting tested. Nothing kind of went anywhere. It was like everywhere we went, it was about the pill. So of course, I went on the pill, Yaz. Yaz and I. Yaz and I were together for a long time.

Matt:                     Third generation pill, yep.

Sofie:                    We had a long relationship. So really from kind of the age of 13, up until quite a few … you know, two or three years ago Yaz and I were together. So long term. Unfortunately-

Steve:                   You dropped-

Sofie:                    So long time. What’s that? I think it was about 10 years. 10 years of Yaz.

Matt:                     And early too. Like early in the-

Sofie:                    In the piece, kind of thing? Yeah, and that was crazy because when my parents … we always ate really well, we looked after ourselves, my parents grew food. We were really involved in the kitchen. When they took me to all different specialists there was just no other answer. It was the … Every single person brought up the pill and my parents, pill was known kind of them for contraception, so my parents just couldn’t get their head around that. Because it’s like, “Well she’s 13.” You know?

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    So yeah, it was crazy. So I went on the pill and only came off recently. Endometriosis is kind of never was brought up until a couple of years ago. I then moved down from Cairns to Brisbane, to study nutrition. Well actually I moved down to study … I wanted to do pharmacy and medicine.

Matt:                     Oh yeah?

Sofie:                    So I got in to biomedical science, right? And I ended up going on a holiday to Thailand and I got really sick, like really sick while I was there. Lots of food poisoning, all kinds of belly upsets. Just unbearably sick to the point where I just wasn’t eating after like the first week of being there, because everything I ate made me unwell.

Sofie:                    I came back home after the trip. And you know how it’s always a bit of a delayed onset with that sort of stuff, you get sick, you kind of get a little bit better and then three months later you’re really sick. And I was sleeping about 23 hours out of the day, every day. Like I mean, I could get up for about an hour in the morning, stumble around, drink some water and I’d be back asleep. It happened for about a week, and then of course blood starts coming out with your stools, mucus, you know, all those signs.

Sofie:                    So you guys’ll love this. I get down to the doctors to tell them about what’s going on, and I’ve got cancer. You’ve got colon cancer, let’s go to the hospital. You’ve got colon cancer.

Matt:                     Let’s test it. After we’ve … We’ll just scare the shit out of you.

Sofie:                    You’re like 21, sitting here, no parents. “We think you’ve got colon cancer. We’ll send you to the hospital straight away as an emergency to check that you don’t have colon cancer.” And I’m kind of sitting there going … you know, that’s when your whole life kind of … You’re like, “Oh god, I’ve made some bad decisions.”

Steve:                   Wow. Already?

Matt:                     Oh man.

Sofie:                    So we get to the hospital, obviously do all the testing. I don’t have colon cancer.

Matt:                     Good.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Steve:                   Gee, that’s a relief.

Sofie:                    Phew. So of course, then it’s IBS.

Matt:                     Or nothing.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Matt:                     It’s in your mind and it’s not what we thought, yeah.

Sofie:                    I think I just love that with bowel problems, it’s like you’ve either got kind of an IBS, or you’ve got-

Matt:                     Your bowel’s either just irritable, or you’ve got cancer.

Sofie:                    Yeah, a colon cancer. Yeah. I loved that about IBS, you know, irritable bowel syndrome. No shit Sherlock, my bowel’s irritated. Tell me what the actual problem is here, because I will not go on living like this for the rest of my life, with IBS and now we know not colon cancer.

Matt:                     Yeah, and we know it with just irritable people and irritable bowels, it could be anything. Different thing every day.

Sofie:                    Yeah, now I’m getting irritated. Yeah.

Matt:                     Choose a better attitude bowel.

Steve:                   Fly right, come on.

Sofie:                    Wake up on the right side of the bed. So then it was kind of like IBS. I had this huge belly, like I’m talking nine months pregnant kind of belly for over a year. So I just kind of went with the … you know, it was a boy, due in June. I got asked by that many people, I just couldn’t even tell them it wasn’t anymore, for their sake. I felt bad for them so we had this whole kind of story.

Sofie:                    It kind of looked like it because the rest of my body was slimmer, and I had this huge belly. So I was like, “Whatever. Don’t blame them. I’ll go along with it.” So then I thought, “I’ve got to start to work on healing myself.” Because I’d seen lots of different gastroenterologists. I’d had colonoscopies, endoscopies, which they’re great fun, especially when-

Steve:                   Both ends. They meet in the middle somewhere.

Sofie:                    They meet in the middle, yeah. Drink the solution. If you every think your life’s bad, those 48 hours leading up to a colonoscopy really puts it all in to perspective.

Steve:                   Magnesium solution.

Matt:                     I’m always wondering, you know how they do the little cameras in the capsules too now?

Sofie:                    Yeah, yeah.

Matt:                     I always imagined if a piece of corn got stuck on it at the start, and then you just go back for your results and it’s gone, “It’s just corn.”

Sofie:                    Yeah, corn and carrot. Yeah, all the-

Matt:                     All the way through, sorry.

Steve:                   That’s funny.

Sofie:                    Yeah, scenic route, with the whole videography of inside. So and then we weren’t getting anywhere. And then with the colonoscopy we found lots of ulceration through my whole intestine, okay? But of course, no idea why, no idea how. Possibly parasites, whatever, whatever. So I went and did CDSA testing-

Steve:                   Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis. Sorry, just to break it down in to English.

Sofie:                    Thank you.

Matt:                     He loves that stuff.

Sofie:                    Loves it.

Steve:                   They test your shit.

Sofie:                    Yes. And I love that. Yeah, tell me about my shit. Do you know your shit? Literally.

Matt:                     Yeah, I just like posting my poo to people. That’s why I love them too.

Sofie:                    I agree. I agree, it’s great. My partner’s beside himself. Tom was … I don’t know what kind of family Tom was brought up in, but you know how there’s those guys who think that women just don’t go to the bathroom?

Matt:                     Oh yeah.

Sofie:                    Tom was kind of like that when I met him. Tom has just been in for a whirlwind.

Matt:                     Let alone catching it in a cup, and sorting through it to get the good stuff. Yeah, I get it.

Sofie:                    Feeling the need to test you. Spicing it up for you.

Matt:                     I make sure they get a little bit of everything here.

Steve:                   So … That’s awesome. Results? What happened?

Sofie:                    Yeah, so three parasites.

Steve:                   Which ones? Do you remember any of them?

Sofie:                    Helicobacter, blastocystis pylori and then the dientamoeba one. I always say this one wrong so I wrote it down. Yeah, dientamoeba fragilis.

Matt:                     Fragilis, yeah.

Steve:                   They’re really common ones those ones.

Sofie:                    Yeah, yeah. And they’ve got a few friends, a little extra baggage. And you can’t ever … I can’t prove that they were from Thailand. I don’t know whether I’ve had them my whole life or anything. I think it’s really just about you’ve created the perfect storm for them to explode, haven’t you?

Matt:                     Yeah, exactly.

Sofie:                    You’ve created that perfect kind of environment for them to just let loose.

Steve:                   Yes.

Matt:                     They have the availability.

Sofie:                    Yeah, and so that’s kind of what happened. And you know, when you’re sick somewhere, you get stressed and you want to just be home. You’ve got to be so cautious about the food over there and what you’re eating. And then I probably just made it worse and worse, and then by the time I got home, it was, you know, uncontrollable. So we did the … CDSA found the parasites, and then we also did some more testing through scopes of my colon, and found out that I had like an ulcerated colitis, so like a lymphocytic colitis which is an inflammatory bowel disease.

Sofie:                    So then I decided, you know, move in to nutrition and work on healing yourself because food affects your digestive system, which any gastroenterologists I’ve seen, seems to think it doesn’t.

Steve:                   Doesn’t, that’s right. They don’t. They don’t.

Matt:                     It’s just a bland diet.

Sofie:                    Yeah, Arnott’s Scotch Fingers, rice.

Matt:                     The bland diet. As a society, we just live on complex carbs and starch do you say?

Sofie:                    Which have always made my bowels worse.

Matt:                     Of course they do. Because they’re the only food fuel that makes it to there to feed the little buggers.

Sofie:                    Yes, exactly.

Matt:                     Indiscriminately feed them.

Sofie:                    Yeah. So it just got wild. And of course, I was just naughty as, because I wouldn’t take the medication, and I kind of put a bit of a stance on it, and I said, “No. I’m going to heal this. I’m going to do some research, work out what’s going on.”

Matt:                     And what was the medication they prescribed? Things like Sulfasalazine-

Sofie:                    Steroids, yeah. So you know all the steroids.

Steve:                   Probably all the Sulfasalazine would have been a common one they’d give back them. Maybe a metathetic-

Sofie:                    I had growth hormone kind of based … yeah.

Steve:                   Really?

Matt:                     Messed up man.

Sofie:                    Yeah, the whole kit and caboodle.

Matt:                     So they found the lymphocystic colitis and all the ulceration, is this when they discovered the endo?

Sofie:                    No.

Matt:                     Wow.

Sofie:                    So no endo still. So we’ve found the parasites, the colitis, and then I’ve started to heal it because I refused to take medication. Because of how sick I was, I thought, “Honestly, give me a couple of months. I really can’t make myself worse. I can only make myself better.” And so I threw their little diet recommendations away and just went for it. Moved in to real food, really simple sugars because I found that actually helped to break down that food in my bowel and I was able to absorb my nutrients.

Sofie:                    I moved in to a lot of cold pressed juicing. Because I think the way to explain with colitis, is it’s kind of like having gastro 24-7. So you’re always on the diarrhea side, and you’ve really got to work on basically not being on that diarrhea side.

Matt:                     Getting your shit together.

Sofie:                    Yeah, exactly. And-

Matt:                     The lymphocyte itself, just for the guys out there. If you wonder about lymphocytes, what they do is they attract all these other immune cells, they bring all the fluid in, the actually dilate all the blood vessels, they swell everything up. They release these [chemikinds 00:13:15] and that sort of stuff which attract all these other inflammatory mediators and everything to this area which creates a lot of mucus. And then that forms a really vicious cycle, because that mucus coats the mucosa, coats the villa, which is supposed to be absorbing all your nutrients.

Matt:                     The enzymes really struggle to get in to the food, but the bacteria love it. So they get a chance to ferment everything, that creates lipopolysaccharide, which is an inflammatory mediator that starts the whole process again. And you end up with lots of mucus in through the stool, and lots of gas and toxins as well, so that big vicious cycle. The reason I kept asking about endo with the bowls is because a lot of people tell us that it was only when they started getting black poo that the doctor thought it might have been endo, you know? So sorry that …

Sofie:                    Yeah, and that’s exactly right. And I think you start to just have all this mucus in your stool, you start to have diarrhea all the time, you’re really dehydrated. You’re irritable because you have no energy and your tummy is just red raw.

Matt:                     No wonder your bowels are irritable, living in amongst all that.

Sofie:                    Exactly. No wonder I was a nasty person for a little while. That’s what I blame it on anyway.

Matt:                     Yeah, do that.

Sofie:                    But yeah, you have all this irritation and you aren’t absorbing any nutrients, so of course you’re going to start feel terrible and then it allows those bad bugs and parasites to get stronger and worse, and you know I wasn’t kind of managing the situation or controlling it. So I then decided to start … You know, I think back in the day it was the old weed, seed and feed or yeah …

Steve:                   We like all of that.

Sofie:                    So that was the big idea of it. I didn’t have a lot of success with that, because it was so overrun I couldn’t just kill it off, and then hope while that stuff’s killed off I could just start adding things in and it would re-influx that area. I needed to work on actually modifying the bacteria in my gut to rebalance out-

Steve:                   Absolutely. You hit on a good point there, modify the bacteria. Because you’ve got to remember helicobacter pylori according to the CDC, is about two thirds of the world’s population have helicobacter. blastocystis’s about 40% of Australians have it, and the fragilis species is everywhere. So your bugs caused pain for you where I could have them and not cause a problem. And I have a similar story.

Matt:                     And that’s where we’re talking about balance, isn’t it?

Steve:                   Yeah.

Matt:                     We’re talking about the competitive exclusion. And once you’ve lost that load, available space has appeared for these little fellas to move in to where previously they weren’t.

Sofie:                    Yeah, and I wasn’t just saying to Steve before actually, that I’m the perfect GutRight patient. You know, I really am because it’s what’s going on in my gut that’s affecting everything and it’s about modifying … having those modbiotics in there.

Matt:                     Well you touched on it before, so you were saying with the irritable bowel and you were saying you also felt irritable as a person at the time. What people don’t realize too is when we talk about leaky gut wall, there’s a direct link to a leaky gut wall and a leaky blood-brain barrier. The moment you get an inflammation in through the gut, you’re going to get a certain amount of leakiness there. But the main cause of leaky guy wall is nutrient deficiencies. And so you get this vicious cycle where your nutrient deficiencies open up these holes to let more stuff in, and then the brain’s going, “I want some more stuff too please.”

Matt:                     So it opens up all these holes to flood everything through. We know that 80% of your happy chemicals in your brain come from your gut, so there’s so much of what you’re touching on here that show-

Sofie:                    Immune cells.

Matt:                     … fits perfectly with the science.

Sofie:                    Yeah, all your immune cells.

Matt:                     So what did we do?

Sofie:                    So then we’ve got all the things happening. And I started to work on healing my gut and I would make my own aloe vera water, so medicinal aloe. Do you guys do much with medicinal aloe?

Matt:                     No. Tell us about it.

Sofie:                    So aloe vera. It’s called … I remember it as Barbara Dennis, but it’s barbadensis. Aloe vera barbadensis, the medicinal aloe. And what I actually started to do was, you know, I was trying to reduce that irritation through that ulceration in my intestines. And so aloe’s really soothing, cooling. It basically acts as a barrier for your villi and those ulcerations to kind of help-

Matt:                     So which part did you use?

Sofie:                    So what I would do, right?

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    Which I’m so annoyed at myself for not bottling it up and selling it, because now it sells for like $30 a liter on the market, kind of like unicorn tears. So I took the aloe stems, and you’d cut the aloe stem off the plant. And you know how you’d have that yellow sap, usually drains, that’s quite bitter. It’s really a great natural laxative for someone who’s constipated, yes, so not great for me. And I drained the sap out and I’d actually cut … So you’d cut the spiky … I’m demoing it to the guys, but you’d cut the spiky sides off the aloe stem and you cut the skin off, and you’re left with that gel inside.

Matt:                     The gel in the middle.

Sofie:                    It’s really gelatinous, you know, really kind of syrupy.

Matt:                     That’s what I really wanted to know. So it’s the watery sap stuff, that’s got the … irratoid glycosides.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Matt:                     I can’t remember. It’s got these compounds in it, they’re very bitter but they also irritate the mucosa, and that’s how they have the laxative effect. The harder, gel like stuff has got the actives in it that do the healing.

Matt:                     So for anything like sunburn or inflammation, inside or out. But the funny thing is, is with those products you mentioned on the market, you know the $30 a liter one. If you’re looking for a soothing, nice one, it won’t be bitter. If you find one that you want to have one as a laxative, and it takes about eight hours. I used to tell people to take a certain does at night and then … because then they should be right for the morning. But use the really bitter ones.

Matt:                     And you’ll find some brands will change because they don’t sell as well when they’re bitter. So you see these people have a really good product that works, and then all of a sudden it’s not bitter, it’s a totally different product. So I’m glad you brought that up. That’s cool man.

Sofie:                    Yeah, and you know-

Matt:                     What sort of dose? How much do you do?

Sofie:                    Well what I would do … I then actually take the gel, and I’d either add it in to … Like I’d blend it up and consume it, or I’d add it in to water and soak it. You’d actually find, if you’ve got quite an old aloe vera plant, it makes a really gelatinous brew.

Matt:                     Oh really?

Sofie:                    And it needs a cold-

Matt:                     So a bigger, old plants.

Sofie:                    Yeah. And it needs a cold infusion. Cold infusion’s just a fancy way of saying, “Put it in the fridge.” But you know, I just sound a bit smarter when I …

Steve:                   We always do that on this podcast.

Sofie:                    Like you two. [crosstalk 00:19:02].

Matt:                     Cold infusion or at room temperature, for example in Cairns, would be very room temperature in a villa in France, and so yeah.

Sofie:                    I would take the aloe, and I’d put it in the water and infuse it overnight. You’d bring it out in the morning and you’d drink some of the water. I’d usually have about 30 ml to a cup.

Matt:                     And eat the chunks?

Sofie:                    Yeah, and I would eat the chunks, yeah.

Matt:                     Cool.

Sofie:                    If you’re going to do it, go for it, you know? So no holding back. When I was in the state I was in, I thought, “Whatever, let’s do it.” So yeah, I’d make the aloe water and drink that. And like you said, I’ve never really bought them. A lot of the ones you can buy, they’ve got sweeteners added to them. If you’re-

Steve:                   Yes, I remember one we … I used to work for a company that had one in a liter bottle, it had sweeteners added to it.

Matt:                     Remember how it used to be bitter and work? And then it stopped being bitter and stopped working? I was possibly thinking about that when I was telling that story.

Steve:                   Yeah. I though, “Will I bring that up or not?” Many years ago.

Sofie:                    I’ve got an example.

Steve:                   A long time ago. You were five at the time, you know, when we’re … That’s how old we are, or I am.

Matt:                     He is.

Steve:                   Guess who’ll be 50 in a week and a half?

Sofie:                    I know, isn’t that crazy.

Steve:                   Double your age. As soon as you said 25-

Sofie:                    You could be my dad.

Steve:                   Oh my god! Red pen!

Sofie:                    Red pen that one. Cut it.

Matt:                     That’s funny.

Steve:                   I’m that old.

Sofie:                    That old. You need lots of collagen. Lots of collagen.

Steve:                   Well, it’s funny-

Sofie:                    No, I reckon you look young.

Matt:                     Yeah, why do you think he keeps talking about this bloody 50 thing.

Sofie:                    Yeah, he’s just trying to …

Steve:                   It’s freaking me out. Half a century, you know? It’s more than the cricket team would score, especially Australian one. You know, so it’s old.

Sofie:                    That’s another topic, isn’t it?

Matt:                     Australian sport.

Steve:                   Yeah. Let’s get back your bowels.

Matt:                     Let’s talk about your bowels.

Sofie:                    [crosstalk 00:20:51] Yeah. More about my bowels.

Matt:                     Very similar topic to Australian sport. No I shouldn’t be like that. I’m just jaded. I just can’t help … Anyway, back to the fun stuff like poo.

Sofie:                    Yes, poo. So aloe water, making aloe water, bone broth. So we’d spoken about, just before we started the podcast, about my website. How on my website I have food your grandparents would recognize. I call it ‘Unadulterated Food’. Pure, unadulterated food. So I kind of looked at my diet and thought, “Well, you know what am I eating?” We’ve always eaten well but I … was there things that I need to look at cutting out? And I worked out obviously with the leaky gut, I kind of think of the leaky gut like a fly screen or a screen at home and it starts to get tears in it, and things start to fall through, or, you know, like a fishing net, and you start to not be able to use it any more because it’s basically broken.

Sofie:                    And so that’s kind of how your gut looks. This is a very, very basic way of explaining it. And I kind of thought, “How am I going to start to heal that? Because if that’s where a lot of the problems are coming from, I need to look at that angle.”

Matt:                     Absolutely.

Sofie:                    So I started to look at my diet and cutting things out. Obviously if you’ve got leaky gut, dairy, wheat, those things that are harder to break down, digest, are good things to look at reducing or removing. I started to remove lots of things from my diet like that. I started to make it really basic. I started to may my food really basic, just real food, food you’d recognize. I didn’t over complicate it. I made sure it was cooked, because cooked food’s a lot easier for your body to digest and break down.

Matt:                     Yeah. You’re saying all the cool stuff, yeah.

Sofie:                    I know. I am cool. Yeah.

Matt:                     Because it’s just-

Sofie:                    Don’t cut that out.

Matt:                     Everyone’s doing … Yeah, don’t red pen that. That’s a fact. No, because we often get these debates all the time, you know that we should be having the raw food to be easier on your digestive tract. I said, “When I try to cook a soup, it takes me a lot longer to cook it from raw food.” I find every time I add something cold, every time I add something raw, my pot or my stove has to come back to the boil and come back again.

Sofie:                    It’s like our guts.

Matt:                     It’s got to be 100% soup before I can absorb it, unless of course I’ve got a leaky gut wall, and then the larger particles come through, trigger a reaction. So yeah.

Sofie:                    Yeah, so you know, you’ve really got to think about your digestion and where it’s at. And raw food, I can’t tell you from experience, it was not the way that I needed to go with my gut. And if I ever kind of needed raw food, it was usually come in the form of a cold pressed juice without the fiber, because if I was having diarrhea all the time, I didn’t need to add in any more fiber, and I just was trying to get some extra nutrients.

Sofie:                    But I also mean, with cold pressed juice, it’s not pineapple, pear. It’s veggies. It’s … We’re talking-

Matt:                     High nutrient.

Sofie:                    Yeah, high nutrient. Yes.

Matt:                     Lower sugar.

Sofie:                    Yeah, because sugar again can be an irritant. Especially if your bowels are really … If you’re just having pure sugar and there’s no fiber, your food comes whole, how it should, to break it down. So if you’re going to take that food and you’re going to cold-press it, you’re losing a lot of those extra fibers and things that your body needs to break it down.

Matt:                     Did you ever come up with any cool ideas to do with that stuff, the fiber and the pulp?

Sofie:                    Yeah. Well I have chickens, so I feed my chickens it. They love it. But I would actually use it in to recipes and things.

Matt:                     Yeah, cool.

Sofie:                    Or now if I make juice-

Steve:                   Quiches or-

Sofie:                    … I’ll mix the fiber back through because you don’t need to get rid of it. But obviously then the least fiber with that sort of stuff, the better. So I ate lots of protein and natural proteins and things like that. Well I shouldn’t say natural, but I mean good quality protein, you can’t expect to get healthy off animals that aren’t healthy. I’m a big believer in that.

Sofie:                    So yeah, bone broth. I started to make everything from scratch. Campbell’s, name drop, Campbell’s shitty stock cubes are not going to heal and seal your gut lining. They’re not going to have that glycine and proline in them like natural home-made bone broth has in there, that’s going to help to heal and seal your gut line. They don’t have that collagen. It’s not an anti-inflammatory-

Matt:                     No, it’s just glutamates.

Sofie:                    Yeah. And it’s preservatives, salts, flavoring, additives, you know all that sort of stuff. So I just basically took it back to basics. I remember growing up, my grandparents would make all that stuff from scratch.

Matt:                     Your using awesome words that we use now like bone broth, but your parents would have just said stock.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Matt:                     We’d just go in to our freezer and pull out our stock.

Sofie:                    Yes, we’ve just made it fancy. You know, we haven’t reinvented the wheel whatsoever. And I also found one of the things, when my gut was really bad was low iron. Anemic, right? I hate iron tablets. Anything that makes you constipated, no. It’s a big no from me. And anything that kind of causes you all those bowel problems, I just … Yeah, I’m not a fan of iron tablets. I never found they worked for me. So I actually started to introduce organ meat.

Matt:                     And in your experience, if you have black poo, it means you’ve got colon cancer.

Sofie:                    Yeah, so things aren’t looking up.

Steve:                   Normally the prescribed iron is Fefol which is iron sulfate which is iron two sulfate, which is a terrible form of iron. But I’m interested to find out how you came to that realization that these are the foods for you, like you did some study or something?

Sofie:                    Yes.

Steve:                   Was it around that time? Or what happened then?

Sofie:                    It was quite hard with studying, because a lot of the stuff that we looked at wasn’t actually where I was at, you know?

Steve:                   What were you studying, just at-

Sofie:                    Nutrition. Yep, so I’d started studying nutrition and-

Steve:                   Dietetics or nutrition?

Sofie:                    Not dietetics at that point in time.

Steve:                   Just nutrition, okay.

Sofie:                    I really wanted to. At the start I really wanted to. And we worked off the food pyramid. When I healed my gut, I didn’t work off the food pyramid.

Matt:                     Did you flip it?

Sofie:                    Yeah, I flipped it. I’m probably going to get home and I’m going to have some hate mail at home.

Steve:                   Oh, it’ll come here, don’t worry. We get it all the time.

Sofie:                    I very much flipped the food pyramid and worked from top to bottom, and really didn’t have bottom even in there.

Matt:                     Yeah, exactly.

Sofie:                    It wasn’t helping my bottom, so I didn’t include it.

Matt:                     Yeah, because you don’t need the treats at the apex.

Steve:                   No, no.

Matt:                     After you’ve eaten all the other things, I get to have my treats.

Sofie:                    Yeah. So I started to just do research. I think when you have your own health problems, you become responsible. I read this really interesting thing the other day, and it was about your nutritionist isn’t responsible for you losing weight or becoming healthier. Your acupuncturist isn’t there, or your personal trainer isn’t there is to … is not going to make you have a six-pack, and all that sort of stuff, because you actually need to take responsibility. Someone can only do so much and you need to take responsibility of your own health. And that’s the point that I was at.

Sofie:                    And, you know, there was lots in between here and there, where I tried … For a little while I went vegetarian and I tried vegan, you know all these different things. Because I kind of was at that point where I thought, “You know what? I should trial anything, because then at least I can say I tried it and it didn’t work for me.” And it didn’t. Now I look back and think, “You moron.” Because I did not need to be eating those sorts of foods when I was trying to heal my gut. But I thought, “What the heck, I’ll try it all.”

Sofie:                    So long story short, after all that time of eating like bone broths, real food, meat, veggies, cooking it. I worked on removing the parasites from my gut by trying to kill them off and then trying to modify the bacteria that was in my gut. I actually took a lot of compounded stuff quite similar to the sort of stuff you guys brought out in GutRight.

Matt:                     Yeah, cool.

Sofie:                    And all your brassicas, spouts and things all compounded down. I moved in to working on my gut that way, and it worked for me. You know, I went back and had a colonoscopy, probably a couple of years later, right? And it’s like a 12 week body transformation. You’ve got your colon a few years ago, and your colon now. One’s all ulcerated, and one’s not ulcerated.

Sofie:                    I was listening to one of your podcasts the other day and it made me laugh because you were saying, you go back and you get tested and then they say all of a sudden, “Oh, we don’t know what happened to you, but you never had a bowel-”

Matt:                     Misdiagnosis.

Sofie:                    Yep.

Steve:                   Happens all the time.

Sofie:                    I went to the hospital, had my colonoscopy to check out where my bowels were at, and I got the phone call afterwards and said, “Just go home, you don’t actually have bowel disease any more. You must have been misdiagnosed.” And so forth. Of course the scopes haven’t even come back yet of your cells, so they don’t know. They just looked at my colon and thought, “Oh, this looks nothing like-”

Matt:                     Colon cancer. Yeah.

Sofie:                    “Wow, that looks amazing. That’s a fresh colon.”

Steve:                   There’s a compliment. People say you’ve got nice hair, you’ve got nice features. You’ve got a nice colon.

Matt:                     No-one’s every said that about me.

Sofie:                    Yeah, squeaky clean my colon. So we had a look at the images and the video of my colon, and one was all ulcerated and bleeding, and one wasn’t at all. And then of course they called me back a week later, I still had my lymphocytic colitis, I still have my bowel disease. It doesn’t just disappear out of your cells. And I went in to have a meeting with the gynecologist and the gastroenterologist because this is when we were looking in to a little bit more of my period stuff.

Sofie:                    And they said, “What have you been doing for your colon?” Because of the different images. And I said, “Oh, well I’m healing it with food.” And they laughed at me, just right at me. They told me that if I feel like I have endometriosis, I should look at a low fodmap diet. So a low fodmap diet, and a diet could affect endometriosis. A diet can affect your bowel-

Matt:                     Bowel.

Steve:                   Colon.

Sofie:                    Or your colon, and that was me. I basically just … And they handed me the scripts, and I said, “I’m not taking them. You can throw them in the bin.”

Matt:                     Isn’t that really weird though. Did they ask details? Because I’m sitting here waiting for my chance to say, “What did you actually do.” What were the … I know we mentioned bone broth. Was there anything else you ate a lot of?

Sofie:                    A lot of herbs-

Matt:                     And the brassicas did you say?

Sofie:                    Yeah, a lot of and a lot of cruciferous vegetables. A lot of cruciferous vegetables, you know those really good farty, smelly, gassy ones?

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    Those ones.

Matt:                     The sulfurous ones.

Sofie:                    Yeah, the sulfurous ones. I had meat. I kept meat in.

Matt:                     I meant vegetables by the way, not sulfurous farts.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Matt:                     I just wanted to clarify for the listeners out there, I wasn’t trying to describe your gas. Hey, we’re just going … Quickly, because for the people out there, when you’ve got an ulceration in the gut wall, it’s a little bit different to the leakiness of the gut wall. So when we talk about leaky gut wall, what we’ve learnt with this new microbiome research and everything, is that it’s more of a breathing membrane. It’s not like when we used to …

Matt:                     This weed, seed, feed stuff come out well before the microbiome projects, and before we really understood what was happening there where we thought we could eradicate a certain amount and nothing else would fill up the gaps, while we wait to put something else in. And then when we select the food that they all feed on, everything’s going to be fine and we never have to do that again.

Matt:                     What we’ve realized since with this microbiome, things are evolving so quickly, things are changing so quickly, these membranes are like breathing, so it’s a weed, seed, feed campaign in every meal. So we almost need to structure our foods to provide some food for the good bugs. And that’s where you’re talking about functional foods, not just indiscriminately feeding starches and carbs and bland foods to get to the bowel, but functional foods that will change the ratios. Wipe out parasites, but feed bacteria, that sort of thing.

Matt:                     And then, with the seeding, what we realized was that most probiotic supplements don’t do anything thing. They don’t live in there. A lot of them go straight through.

Sofie:                    Like a vacation.

Matt:                     Yeah, exactly. And a lot of the fermented foods, and a lot of the foods that they base all this from, they don’t have a huge amount of live bugs in them. Most of them it’s acids and enzymes and what we talk about modbiotic compounds that change the ratios. So what you’re doing is so clever because those foods you’ve mentioned, the sulfurous ones, they’ve got antimicrobial properties, but they’re also very powerful NRF2 activators.

Matt:                     If you activate this gene called NFR2, that’s our first line defense. So you don’t have to be too clever then. It doesn’t matter if it’s pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis, or if it’s a first line of defense with your gut wall, or if it’s a toxic exposure they come … So your strategy was so cool, and not … If you’d done a bit of each for example. If you’d gone through and said, “Okay, so I’m going to follow the food pyramid as you’ve said, and I’m going to take some supplements that have these other things that are also good.” It wouldn’t have worked because you’re looking at the large percentage of the food coming through.

Matt:                     You would have been feeding them at the same time as you’re trying to poison them.

Sofie:                    Yes, I was trying to get rid of them.

Matt:                     Why would they eat the poison when they’ve got food?

Sofie:                    Yeah, exactly.

Matt:                     So that’s excellent.

Sofie:                    And now that you’ve said that, I had oregano oil every morning when I was unwell, and that is hot. It’s a hot oil, very antifungal, antiparasitic. Rosemary, I’d have rosemary as well. I would cold press garlic and blend garlic up and actually have raw garlic because-

Matt:                     Man you would have stunk, all those broccoli farts and the garlic.

Sofie:                    I did stink. I was single for a while during that time.

Steve:                   I bet you were. You’ve got a partner now, I feel sorry for the guy.

Matt:                     No, he’s good now.

Sofie:                    No wonder Tom doesn’t talk. It’s just too much. Yeah, so garlic, a lot of raw garlic and man it worked. It just is a powerhouse.

Matt:                     Absolutely.

Sofie:                    So garlic, oregano oils, rosemary. I would use lots of good spices and herbs with my cooking. All the antifungal, very detoxifying herbs like coriander, and all that kind of stuff. So I tried … well not support. They support those systems, so I would use all that sort of stuff. And then I actually moved in to incorporating organ meat back in to my diet, just like, you know, our grandparents used to.

Steve:                   Of course, yeah.

Sofie:                    Because you wouldn’t just throw that sort of stuff away. Now we go for the fancy chicken breasts and lamb shanks, whereas back then it was real meat. You’d meat every part of the meat-

Matt:                     Every part of the animal.

Sofie:                    … nose to tail.

Matt:                     Yeah, exactly.

Sofie:                    And we don’t anymore. Well, majority of us don’t. So I started to eat a lot more liver and I’d actually found that my iron went from, I think it was about seven to 94 now, and it’s never gone down since I’ve started eating-

Matt:                     Nice.

Steve:                   Should be about 10 to 250.

Sofie:                    Yeah. So it’s-

Steve:                   And what’s yours?

Sofie:                    So it sits around 94 now.

Steve:                   That’s perfect.

Sofie:                    My whole life, from every single blood test I’ve every had, and in between iron tablets and everything, it’s only ever ranged between seven to 14.

Steve:                   Yeah wow.

Sofie:                    Which is crazy isn’t it?

Steve:                   Yeah, it is.

Sofie:                    Yeah, those sort of things. And liver comes with your vitamin A and everything, your B12 and all that sort of stuff to help your body to absorb iron and to break it down and utilize it. My gut needed that. It needed all the help it could.

Matt:                     So used to get the … cook up the organ meat. You’re not talking supplement sort of stuff? It’s real stuff?

Sofie:                    It’s real stuff. You guys’ll probably roll over in your grave with this one.

Matt:                     Oh no, we used to have to have the lambs fried-

Sofie:                    I would get liver and freeze it originally, and cut it in to capsules and just knock it back frozen.

Matt:                     Wow, that’s clever.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Matt:                     That’s really clever.

Sofie:                    Yeah, so I would do that, initially because I needed to boost it as soon as I could, or as quick as I could. So that was the start, now I just grate it in to things and add it in to things. I throw chunks in to Tom’s smoothies and he’s thriving with health.

Matt:                     Yeah, I bet.

Sofie:                    Like cherry ripe smoothie with a hint of chicken liver, and you know things like that.

Matt:                     Very nice.

Steve:                   Awesome.

Sofie:                    Tom lives his best life.

Matt:                     I remember I used to love sheep’s brains when I was a kid.

Sofie:                    Oh, did you?

Matt:                     Until I went grocery shopping with mom and realized they were sheep’s brains. It was really good. I used to go, “I’d love them again.” We were eating sheep’s brains. Of course we were eating brains, like Indiana Jones with the monkey brain. I thought I was so cool and then I went shopping and she said, “Oh can you grab that?” “They’re bloody brains mom.” She’s going, “Yep.”

Sofie:                    Yeah, and you know that’s the great thing with liver, you can … If people don’t know they’re eating it, usually … if you’re just grating it in to things. Liver itself is quite a strong flavor, but if people don’t know, they usually don’t pick it up. It’s usually if you are focusing on making it and adding it in, that’s when it’s that deterrent for having it.

Sofie:                    Yeah, so did all of that kind of stuff. Worked on really healing my gut. Have been able to manage it ever since. Like there’s no denying I have flair-ups here and there. And then the endometriosis. So after a little while, we-

Matt:                     Yeah, what happened there?

Sofie:                    Well my periods just were not getting better. They improved. I went off the pill. So when I went through all that gut health stuff, I went off the pill. So I thought that was a big part of healing my gut, was needing to remove the pill. That was the only medication I ever took, was the pill. So I thought, “I’ve got to cut it out.”

Sofie:                    And so I cut my pill out of my, you know, doing it every day. And when I was working on healing my gut, my periods and everything got better, but nothing kind of got to where I needed it to be. Then of course, you start … I should explain basically, they got better but they never fully were as good as they should be. You shouldn’t be in excruciating pain for a week, every single month.

Matt:                     No.

Sofie:                    And then I started to have, almost like a puberty, after going off the pill. Like I, you know … because I’d kind of skipped it.

Matt:                     Because you didn’t have one before that.

Sofie:                    Yes, I skipped it.

Steve:                   You did.

Sofie:                    So I was like 23 with like acne, and I’d never had a pimple my whole life, of course because the pill, and I just started to get hormonal teenage acne. I started to have all those sorts of puberty kind of … you know, things start to happen to your body. And I was shocked initially, and then I worked it out. I was like, “well of course, my body’s almost going through puberty and trying to sort itself back out again after being on the pill for 10 years.”

Steve:                   It’s incredible, isn’t it.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    Yeah. Your body goes through so much. I don’t know why I ever thought after going off the pill, within a month or so, I’d be back to normal, because you’ve got to undo 10 years.

Matt:                     The fact that you started it before you went through puberty, it does delay a lot of those things.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Matt:                     Some people don’t get that full development later on. They miss that boat, so it’s good you kind of went through it.

Steve:                   That is good.

Sofie:                    Now, instead of 50.

Matt:                     The other thing that those weird pills do is they actually change the way your body metabolizes your hormones. So normally when you … So what happens, they put in a certain amount of hormone, they alter the liver pathway so you’re making more of these 16 alpha hydroxyestrones forms, which are the preferred form for the bugs and the bad bugs in your gut. So you were probably on to something when you felt that the pill was contributing to your bowel problems because it really does, because it can change your gut to create a thing called an estrobolome, which is a type of bacteria or colonies of bugs that like to feed on estrogen recyclet. And that’s a contributing factor to your endo.

Sofie:                    Well, it’s so interesting that you say that, because that’s basically what’s … That’s what’s happened. So I went then and obviously spoke to some gynecologists and said, “I’ve got to work out what’s going on here. I’ve heard a lot about endometriosis in the news and media and stuff lately. I’ve started to read a lot about it. I think that’s probably what I have.”

Matt:                     Right.

Sofie:                    Like, I don’t know why we didn’t look at this 10 years ago, but I think it’s what I have. So I didn’t really want to have the operation, but it got to the point where I thought, “I need to actually work out what it is.” So I had the operation.

Steve:                   A laparoscopy is what they normally do.

Sofie:                    Yeah, and it’s a real … It’s a full on operation. I didn’t think it would be, and I’d had a lot of colonoscopy’s and things, so I was kind of used to going under. But your body … My body found that really hard to recover from, and I went on a hormonal treatment afterwards, which I look back now and think, “You moron.” You know, I could slap myself over the face for doing that because I know better than that. But we kind of had … I ended up seeing quite a lot of gynecologists, and we had a really severe chat about, I’m reckless to them. I don’t take my bowel medication. I don’t take contraceptive and I don’t have a plan for pregnancy.

Sofie:                    So I’m just like this big red flag of a patient. So they basically kind of said to me that my chance of getting pregnant are looking very good. I have lots of problems with my endo, it’s quite severe. You may just start getting endo from the next cycle you have, and you’ll just be back here in six months time. Or you could look like doing a hormonal treatment which is like Visanne, through progesterone. It’s like a synthetic progesterone.

Steve:                   Progestin. Methoxy Progestin is the one they commonly use. Just to back track a little bit, endometriosis, for those that don’t know, is when the endometrium – which is the stuff inside your uterus – grows outside your uterus, all around your bowels. Actually anywhere in your body. So it’s extraordinary painful when you menstruate. I’ve never had it, but extraordinarily painful.

Steve:                   Sorry, go ahead. Your hormonal treatment.

Sofie:                    Yeah, so it’s all your cells and they’ve just made their way through. Yeah.

Matt:                     Can I add something else, just to link in with that observation in the gap. Because one of the other features with endometriosis is you create endometrial tissue, or period, in weird places. Every time you have a monthly cycle to get your period, as your hormones drop, your immune cells that eat the collagen, roam around your body trying to find this stuff to eat it up so it can shed off. And what actually happens then, on a monthly cycle your immune system … and because it’s supposed to be happening across a particular mucus membrane. So what’s happening is your immune system across all your mucus membranes fires up and starts attacking collagen.

Sofie:                    Ah, okay.

Matt:                     And that contributes to leaky gut wall, ulceration of the gut. It also can … That’s why … No, I’m not going to get hate mail over this. This is why women get more wrinkles and cellulite, because of the destruction of collagen on a monthly basis associated with the periods. So the requirement for that collagen to regenerate all that, but also the requirement for us to regulate your immune system at the site of your mucosa. Because one of the problems with endometriosis and fertility is scar tissue and structural clogging up of pathways, and that’s just one. But that’s …

Matt:                     The other one is the overactive immune system in the mucosa. So it’s bene primed and it’s ready all the time to attack things. The sperms not yours and the fertilized egg’s only half yours. So the immune system wants to reject it like it did with the parasites you’ve had previously. It’s an interesting thing with that. Not many people realize that. Part of the treatment, post endometriosis, to help fertility is to kind of suppress the immune system at the site of the mucosa a little bit.

Matt:                     So sorry-

Sofie:                    No.

Matt:                     I think that not many people understand that link with how important collagen is for women.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Matt:                     I’m going to do a quick product flog in amongst it because in my peripheral vision I spotted that, and you’re drinking it.

Sofie:                    I’m drinking it.

Matt:                     What’s in collagen and bone broths, and that’s sort of stuff, that is not in plants, not in whey or dairy or anything, is a thing called hydroxyproline. And hydroxyproline is the thing that directly feeds the collagen. So our vegan amino’s … I almost hesitated to say it then because I have a different nickname for it. Our vegan amino’s … I call it the hairless vaginos because other amino supplements have got hair in them and everything, and ours doesn’t, and it reminded me of that.

Matt:                     Anyway, so we have hydroxyproline available, made from all vegan materials. So that way, for any vegan out there that wants to regenerate collagen quickly, the best and the most direct way of doing that is hydroxyproline.

Sofie:                    And they taste great. I’m trying cola. I’m impressed, yeah.

Steve:                   Yeah, go with the cola.

Sofie:                    Yeah, it’s good.

Steve:                   I just drink it. I’m not a vegan, but I’m just getting-

Matt:                     Whack it through the Soda Stream, it’s good.

Sofie:                    Oh yeah.

Matt:                     Anyway.

Sofie:                    Yeah, I’m a big believer in that. Proline’s been a really important part in my regeneration of healing everything basically in my body.

Matt:                     But do you know what scurvy is?

Sofie:                    Well yeah.

Matt:                     No vitamin C. But what actually it is is vitamin C hydroxolates proline to make hydroxyproline. And so the whole point of scurvy is you don’t have enough vitamin C to convert proline to hydroxyproline and then you can’t build cartilage. You can’t build connective tissue and you get leaky gut wall and your teeth and everything, and you get these infections. It’s interesting isn’t it? We’re learning so much. The new knowledge that we’re gaining now, explaining the old ways, it’s so cool.

Sofie:                    And I love that about this industry, is I’m constantly learning. Do you know what I mean? Something I thought I knew three years ago is not it at all, and it’s constant development.

Matt:                     It’s the only industry that you can focus … You can pick a topic and think you know like five percent of that topic, and then you just going, “Man, I’m going to learn everything about that.” And at the end of it you know one percent about a topic. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. You’re like, “Oh my gosh.”

Steve:                   Happens all the time. Every single-

Matt:                     Is it doesn’t you’ve got an ego issue.

Sofie:                    Yeah, it’s definitely one of those fields where you need to acknowledge that you don’t know everything. And I even think … I was even just saying before that I listen to your podcast and I think, “Oh my god, I thought such and such, and you guys have just explained this, and that actually makes more sense. So yeah, you’re right.” And then I’ll change things that I’m doing based on that. And I think it’s not about being offended, or having your back up about it, it’s about realizing that more research has come out, more studies have come out, we’ve gained more knowledge in that field and you move on with that.

Matt:                     There’s no ego in science.

Sofie:                    No. None.

Steve:                   No, there isn’t.

Matt:                     It’s all just assumptions, and have a crack.

Sofie:                    Yeah, and the one thing that’s kind of never changed with my health journey is the food. You know? It’s real food. It’s food that we grow. So before we talk a little bit about food, because we’re going to talk a little bit about gardening, we … So basically, with the endo, I went on the treatment, the Visanne treatment.

Steve:                   Oh did you?

Sofie:                    Yeah, I know! You’re like, “You moron.”

Steve:                   I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that.

Sofie:                    No, I say it to my partner, I just-

Matt:                     He did say it really quietly, I heard it.

Steve:                   I went-

Matt:                     Moron.

Sofie:                    We kind of sat in …

Steve:                   No, that’s all right.

Sofie:                    Cut that, we’ll just scratch this bit. I remember with my partner, we’re sitting in there and they’re really kind of, you know, “You’re not going to be able to get pregnant.” And looking at my partner like, “You sure you want to stick around?” I’m sitting in their thinking, “Oh my god, this is all down to me. I’ve been told, ever since I was 12 that I would never be able to get pregnant.” So it’s a lot to take on.

Matt:                     Especially with the cancer and the-

Sofie:                    Yeah, you know, I just-

Matt:                     Bloody hell.

Sofie:                    It’s been a real rollercoaster.

Matt:                     No wonder you spend some time in the garden. Between the shaking and the fetal position or something, but yeah.

Sofie:                    Crawled in to a ball and … yeah. So I thought, “You know what? I’ll give it a crack for a week.” It’s the only medication I’ve taken in years. We don’t have anything. We know how people have medicine cabinets in the house, nothing. Like if there’s anything wrong, it’s like take some activated charcoal and broth and get on with your life.

Matt:                     Dirt water we have in our house, or clay.

Sofie:                    Yeah, we made mud cakes.

Matt:                     The boys go … we just go, “Go eat the dirt water.” They come in, “Can I have some more dirt water?” “Did you eat anything poisonous?” “No, would you like me to?”

Sofie:                    Can I? Is there anything on offer? Yeah, so I took it and you’ll love this part of the journey, this is kind of like the pinnacle. A week in, every night I’m as hot as. Tom had to go sleep in another room because I was just burning up to the point where if you-

Steve:                   It causes menopausal symptoms.

Sofie:                    Yeah. It’s … Once you look at the side effects of this, it’s just out of control.

Steve:                   Yeah, yeah.

Sofie:                    I’m just hot as anything. And then a week later, so we’re two weeks in, my fingernails start to fall off, right?

Matt:                     What? Fall off?

Sofie:                    So fingernails totally fall off.

Steve:                   Yeah, they fall out.

Sofie:                    Like, yeah, no fingernails.

Steve:                   Connective tissue goes, the whole lot. The hair usually goes too.

Sofie:                    Yeah. So-

Steve:                   Oh sorry.

Sofie:                    … fingernails fall off. Toenails fell off. Hair started to fall out, like lots of hair.

Matt:                     Wow. Man you must have been …

Sofie:                    I was just like-

Matt:                     Trying to think of a good word then.

Sofie:                    Hair starts to fall out. I’m bleeding from the scalp. I’ve got cystic … kind of like cystic acne, but like-

Matt:                     That almost sounds like scurvy.

Sofie:                    Yeah, I’ve got scurvy.

Matt:                     We were talking about this weren’t we? Yeah.

Sofie:                    Cystic acne’s actually like clogged up my nose, my lips. It’s all over my face, right? My throat closes up and I have-

Matt:                     Bloody hell.

Sofie:                    … puss all over my throat to the point where you look in my mouth and there’s not one bit of white. That one bit that’s not white, it’s like … I could barely breath.

Matt:                     What?

Sofie:                    My lips … I was so dehydrated. My lips just cracked. My lips were bleeding. I had a full body rash and all my joints swelled up to the point where I sat up for 72 hours straight because I was in so … I’ve never been in so much pain in my life.

Steve:                   This is the problem with side effects.

Sofie:                    So I spoke to my specialist and my doctor, and every single one of them said, “You must have a viral infection. The medication’s fine, just stay on it.”

Steve:                   No, no. It causes the menopause.

Sofie:                    I’d already decided … It’s already gone. I had this … I was like two or three days in to this when I’d seen them.

Matt:                     Because estrogen’s so important for connective tissue and collagen. It drives all the fibroblast and the fascia, everything.

Sofie:                    So my body had just flipped out, and I had actually already stopped it when I was having the hot nights, like when the hot flushes at night. So I’d already … was only a couple of days in when I’d stopped it, and then this had come as the aftermath. So anyway, they said, “It won’t be the medication. You’ve got something viral.” And I just thought, “I’m smarter than that.” You know, it’s this. I’m not going to continue this. This is done. We’re finished this.

Sofie:                    Now I’ve got to really work on my health now because of where we’re at. And so that was my little endometriosis speil. So then I, of course, we’re at the worst part that I could be at with how sick I was. And I’m having the worst period ever because of how sick I was. So then I actually went and got genetics testing, which I’d love to see what you guys think about.

Sofie:                    What do you guys think about genetics testing?

Matt:                     It’s a story book. The thing that I look at with genetics testing, it’s up to you whether the genes get turned on or off. You can inherit-

Steve:                   That’s important.

Matt:                     It really sucks … If you haven’t got life insurance I wouldn’t do it. Because they sell your data through to someone. Because they’ve been getting in trouble of that, sharing your data and people getting rejected.

Steve:                   So did you use 23andMe or which?

Sofie:                    Yes, I did 23andMe and FitGenes.

Steve:                   Oh yeah.

Sofie:                    And I basically got out it … My parents are divorced, and I basically got out there, called the two of them and I was like, “Well, I’ve just got a few things I need to talk to the two of you about. You shouldn’t have bred, firstly. You should not have bred, and who of you brought the bad genes to the table? Fight amongst yourself, who of you brought the bad genes to the table.”

Sofie:                    Because we had gone through then and none of mine were strong genes. We’re talking like 80% weren’t strong genes.

Matt:                     Yeah, okay.

Sofie:                    But the ones that were really in red, I knew from my health that I had switched on. Like the impaired liver function, I had really poor phase on and phase two detoxification. All that sort of stuff, which makes sense. When you’re having such a toxic reaction to medication like that, your body can’t get it out, it’s recycling estrogen.

Matt:                     What’s so frustrating then is you inherited that as a positive trait.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Matt:                     Because a few generations ago, having your estrogen recycled … like having your estrogen floating around your body for longer, the same detoxification pathways for estrogen also detoxify catecholamines, which is your survival and stress chemicals. So in the few generations ago, those impaired genes meant that you had more adrenalin available to fight are flight, and you also have more estrogen available during times of feast and famine. Which is why your parents made a bad decision and bred.

Matt:                     No, we’re very happy that they bred or we wouldn’t be doing this right now.

Steve:                   If they bred in the Stone Age, it would have been a lot more convenient for you.

Sofie:                    Yeah, exactly.

Matt:                     That’s the problem.

Sofie:                    Wrong time.

Matt:                     You just would have been … You would have been a great cave women by the sound of things.

Sofie:                    It was the wrong time. Wrong time for me.

Matt:                     You’d a punch something and run.

Sofie:                    I know. It would have been good.

Matt:                     Don’t stir up too … Don’t call her a moron any more Steve.

Sofie:                    I would have been fierce.

Steve:                   I won’t again.

Matt:                     She’ll punch you and run.

Sofie:                    Not for a second time, anyway.

Steve:                   She looks tough. She’s got a bit of muscle there. She looks …

Sofie:                    Yeah, that’s it.

Matt:                     Well estrogen’s the most anabolic of all the hormones too. So anyway, what were we talking about?

Sofie:                    Which is so interesting that you say that because, yeah, I find that fascinating that back then it would have been great to have those sorts of genes.

Matt:                     Exactly.

Sofie:                    I’m kind of looking at them now like, “Oh my god.”

Matt:                     Yeah. We’re coming in to an era where you’re better off being exposed or just not reacting to stress, because we don’t have those life threatening stresses, plus the environment has changed so much. We’ve got so many estrogen-like compounds floating through. And all these things compete with our other estrogen. So the environment that we’ve got today, having those sort of genetic defects, they call them defects now. The actual words are polymorphism, it’s a variation to the gene because it just suits things in different stages of our lives.

Matt:                     But yeah, you would have been a great cave-woman, but moving forward it’s a pain in the arse.

Steve:                   There are no bad genes.

Sofie:                    No.

Steve:                   There are just situational genes.

Sofie:                    Yes. And that’s a good way to put it.

Matt:                     I’ve got some tight stonewashed jeans.

Steve:                   So what other situational genes do you have?

Matt:                     I think they’re bad.

Steve:                   They’re bad-ass. Matt, bad-ass dude.

Sofie:                    Flared jeans? What other ones did I have? I had the one … I can’t remember the names. And I needed to see a holistic doctor, I think this is about also acknowledging where you need to bring other practitioners in to your life. And you can’t always diagnose your own issues because you’re not necessarily able to look at the big picture when you look at yourself as well, if find. You have a real obscured view.

Matt:                     So biased. Yeah.

Sofie:                    Yeah. So I had a great holistic doctor and team that I worked with to go through a lot of this sort of stuff, because I actually couldn’t have taken the genes results and put them all together like the doctor does, key word holistic, and then sit down and go through them all.

Sofie:                    You know, I could have over time with research. But I kind of needed to know what was going on there an then, and she really was great. She didn’t say, “This one was for you, but this can … ” It was like, “Well no, your body couldn’t handle this and this happened. And this and that.” And so we kind of went through all of that, and from there we did a lot of compounding of a lot of the same sort of stuff you guys have in GutRight.

Matt:                     That’s awesome.

Sofie:                    Which is so fascinating.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    I actually started taking your Alpha Venus as well, because we’d kind of looked in to brewing up some Chase Tree, rosemary kind of concoction. So then I’d found …

Matt:                     It’s in there.

Sofie:                    I’d always been interested in your products and I’d always taken your glutamine and things for healing my gut. And so your Alpha Venus was something that really appealed to me because it was the stuff that we were looking at. I started to include all those sorts of things and I’ve had two pain free periods now.

Matt:                     You beauty.

Sofie:                    Yeah, woo hoo.

Matt:                     I got to show you one more thing while we’re talking about the genes, and it’s good you mentioned the Alpha Venus because it fits in beautifully with this. I got to fair few of these genetics summits and these sorts of things where we’re talking about it, because as a naturopath I used to do a lot of compounding as well. And when I say compounding, like getting these activated vitamins and all these things.

Matt:                     Now, these genes that we’re testing now have always been there. It’s only nowadays that people are starting to find relevance to something like … For example the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. The MTHFR gene, what that does is it converts folic acid to the folates. But the funny thing is folic acid’s not found in nature. Only folates are found in nature. So these genes were always there, but what was different was we used to eat food that was full of varieties of nutrients. And when we ate food for our nutrients, it just bypassed these genetic polymorphisms.

Matt:                     We had the variety of activated forms of vitamins that are found in foods. It was only when we started relying on synthetics in the forms of multivitamins, fortified foods where they used the synthetics again. It’s only when we started relying on that that these genetic polymorphisms started showing up as a problem. Those companies that sell folic acid for pregnancy and say, “90% of the time, it works every time.” And then coincidentally one in 10 people can’t use folic acid. But in the past, these things were never a concern.

Matt:                     Now we went through a big phase with hyper-dosing the vitamins and compounding these really intricate formulas and being so much smarter. The recent seminar that I went to, I mean I actually LOLed. I’ve never said that, but I actually laughed out loud. I don’t believe people laugh out loud when they write LOL.

Sofie:                    No, I don’t. Yeah, yeah.

Matt:                     Anyway, that’s a different topic. Anyway, I was in this thing, and the lecturer, who’s out standing, trying to talk about all these high end prescriptions, actually stopped and said, “Hey guys, please. You need to remember, we must fortify our prescriptions with food.” They all forgot that you use food for these things. And she actually remind people, “Hey, don’t forget you can use the activated flash vitamins, but don’t forget they still need the bloody food.” Without the food it doesn’t work.

Matt:                     And the funny thing is, is that 50 years ago they were talking about fortifying our foods with vitamins. Now they’re talking about everyone having to fortify their vitamin prescriptions with food. And it bypasses a lot of these things. And that’s the big point.

Sofie:                    Yeah, it’s crazy. And we’ve totally gone away from basics. And now I think we’re finally starting to bring it back. We’re making it trendier, you know like with bone broth and things, but we’re doing that kind of full circle. It’s like how the outfits come back in to play, and the sunglasses and cars and things.

Matt:                     Stay out of fashion long enough, fashion catches up. That’s my theory.

Steve:                   Yeah, that’s me. My haircut will be fashionable one day.

Matt:                     Everyone’s going to be doing gray beards soon, I know it.

Steve:                   Now, Matt did a brilliant segue in to food.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Steve:                   Because you’re an absolute … Really good segue by the way.

Matt:                     Thanks. From master segue.

Steve:                   Awesome.

Matt:                     From master segue, that’s a great compliment.

Steve:                   Awesome because you segued right in to food. Now you grow your own.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Steve:                   So do Matt and I, but Matt does to a good degree, I do to an okay degree, or Beck does, if she’s listening, which she will be. She does most of the planting. But you’re a gun at this. So tell us a bit about the garden. I want to get in to the garden.

Sofie:                    Credit owed where credit’s due, hey? Thanks for that Steve.

Matt:                     Okay, so to my wife too. Just in case she listens to this one.

Sofie:                    Tom, my partner will be listening to this going, “She just kind of stands there and orders me around. I garden.” But anyway.

Steve:                   Ah, okay.

Sofie:                    You know, he’s the fitter, more able one out of the two.

Matt:                     I harvest and take photos for Instagram.

Sofie:                    Yeah, me too.

Matt:                     She does the other stuff: the weeding, the hard work.

Sofie:                    I do Instagram stories, and I’ve just harvested this. And Tom’s on his hands and knees in the garden. You know, that sort of thing.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    So yeah, with obviously the genetics testing, we brought up a lot of our pesticides, herbicides. And I’d already moved in to eating organic, but I started to think, you know what? I need to start controlling the food I eat and eat dirt. I need to get those microbes back in to … You know, like mud-pies when you were younger and you-

Matt:                     Yeah. I mean you’re talking my language. You should see how excited I get when you said, “Eat dirt.” I’m like, “Another dirt eater.”

Sofie:                    Yeah. She’s one of us. So eat dirt and get involved with those microbes. How often, these days, do we go out and get our hands dirty? How often do we … When we lived in our apartment, I didn’t. Never. Now every single day. But we didn’t, and I think we just don’t. Not often do we take our shoes off and just stand on grass or anything like that. So we’ve totally removed ourselves from earth almost.

Sofie:                    So I thought, with all this stuff in my genetics testing and liver … We’d been growing food for quite a few years now, but I thought we’ve got to really take this seriously and do what we can to produce a lot of different food. I really wanted to start growing foods that I couldn’t get access to, like daikon radishes. We’d ferment them and grow them. So I wanted to do all this kind of stuff.

Sofie:                    I think what really got me in to that, just quickly, was when I first finished uni and I had healed my gut and I was on that health gene. I started doing workshops like how you were just talking about before. I went and did my first workshop, and I was in the car and I said to Tom, “I actually don’t know what I’m going to tell these people that they don’t already know.” Right? You guys’ll love this.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Steve:                   Sounds like me going to medical conferences all the time. What the hell am I going to say to this thing?

Sofie:                    Yeah, like why are they going to be interest? I get there. I start talking. We’re talking about health and I felt like I’d kind of lost a lot of the people there. And I thought … I said, “What does everyone eat for breakfast?” And 30, 40 people there right? And one person yells out, “Special K.” And I say, “Oh okay. And how many of you eat Special K?” About 90% of hands up.

Matt:                     Strewth.

Sofie:                    I said, “I’ve got to ask, why Special K?” Well the commando off Biggest Loser promotes eating Special K.

Matt:                     Is that right?

Steve:                   I thought he was a paleo-man.

Sofie:                    Well he is, but I guess for Biggest Loser, that was a great breakfast option that he would give … I don’t think it’s a great breakfast option. That’s obviously a breakfast option he would give to contestants. And that’s when people thought if they want to lose weight, maybe that’s the kind of breakfast they should be eating. I remember going, “I don’t think Steve, or his dog, eat Special K.”

Steve:                   Steve, commando Steve. Just for the-

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Matt:                     We all know what Steve eats for breakfast.

Steve:                   Although I look like a commando, don’t I? I look like him a bit, don’t I? I’ve got the same body, you know.

Sofie:                    Commando looks more like you.

Matt:                     No undies.

Steve:                   Yeah, that’s right. No undies.

Sofie:                    So I remember staying at this workshop going, “Wow, this is crazy. I actually have a lot to teach these people with food, because there’s no way in hell I’d be eating Special K.”

Matt:                     And breakfast is a good place to start man.

Sofie:                    And you know, food is just food. Who ever decided that there was breakfast food?

Matt:                     I know. Oh man, that’s such a good point.

Sofie:                    Like who was that? Who decided?

Matt:                     Because I get them food lists.

Sofie:                    Like we’re just going to eat this poor nutrient carbs, empty carbs for breakfast.

Steve:                   With cows milk.

Sofie:                    That’s breakfast now.

Steve:                   Actually a genius came up … a genius did because how much money did they make? Some genius.

Sofie:                    I know. Yeah.

Matt:                     Thea Earl of Sandwich or something, wasn’t it?

Steve:                   This is a third of your diet in this box.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Steve:                   That’s it.

Matt:                     And it sucks because you’ve used up your whole calorie allocation by the end of that. But that’s a bloody good point, because in my naturopath clinic I used to go through and I used to write up these big, intense food lists. And I’d go through all these foods and I’d write up these massive amounts of information, and then these people would go, “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just give me some bloody recipes and what should I have for breakfast?” And then I was like … just those foods I just wrote, any combination of those, at any time of the day.

Sofie:                    Yeah, salad is breakfast, you know? A lamb chops with roast vegetables is breakfast.

Matt:                     Yeah, geez, I’m getting hungry.

Sofie:                    Smoothie.

Steve:                   My wife eats that.

Sofie:                    You know, it’s just food. It’s food is food. To me, I don’t look at a box of Special K and go, “Food!” I think, “What is that?” You know? Because it’s not anything that my kind of basis of diet would consist of.

Matt:                     Absolutely. And just to be … And when you really think about it, we’re grinding up certain aspects of the grains and throwing away the better bits. Fortifying it with some synthetic vitamins. We’re then grabbing the juice out of another animal’s udders, and putting it in there, and sucking the … crystallizing the juice out of a cane, or some to put in it. Or if we want to be healthy, we’re using an artificial honey that doesn’t crystallize in the cupboard.

Sofie:                    Exactly, yeah.

Steve:                   It’s weird.

Matt:                     And that is what we should be doing for breakfast to be health humans.

Sofie:                    Yeah, so then I thought, “Oh god, we’ve hit breakfast. What’s lunch?” I’m like, “What’s lunch everyone?”

Matt:                     Yeah, that’s crazy.

Sofie:                    So we get to dinner time and everyone in the room has not eaten one vegetable. You know, we’re meant to survive off plant’s foods and we haven’t touched one vegetable until dinner time. And you can’t tell me that you’re getting in five serves of vegetables at dinner time. No-one eats enough vegetables, no matter what you think. You don’t eat enough vegetables.

Sofie:                    That kind of then stemmed me in to not doing one on one consults, but on doing workshops and actually teaching people how to eat real food and giving them tools. People can’t just be given meal plans because they’re eating Special K for breakfast and you’ve given this meal plan saying, “Eat all these different fruits and vegetables, and turn that in to breakfast.”

Sofie:                    And they’re going, “How? How does that become …”

Steve:                   This doesn’t look like cereal. And I’ve been critical of some of the cereals in the past podcasts, because we’ve had terrible cereals. Like Weetabix have five star rating on them, which is incredible.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Steve:                   A toasted dried, boxed up, refined cereal with five stars on it. I don’t know what Special K is, but it would appear to be up there.

Matt:                     I’m a bit embarrassed. One of the things I wanted to ask you is what’s some great breakfast ideas?

Sofie:                    Yeah well-

Matt:                     But this is it, lunch or dinner.

Sofie:                    I just use loads of veggies and things. If I’m making oats, or we’re making a Bircher, or I’m using a granola or something like that, because these are common things we do in workshops. They’ve got to be relatable, they’ve got to be affordable, they’ve got to be easy. So if I’m making up some recipes for breakfast, and I’m using those foods that are still quite recognizable to people, because sometimes drastic change is just too much, or restriction’s too much.

Sofie:                    We’ll grate zucchini into breakfast and great carrot in with your oats and mix it all so …

Matt:                     That’s clever, yeah.

Sofie:                    It’ll soften up. It’s just veggies and it’ll start to breakdown because you can put some lemon juice in there with it and things, and coconut yogurt with probiotics. And the bacteria starts to break those vegetables down. So a breakfast like that is great. Or smoothies are great.

Matt:                     And grating apple through cereals or through those-

Sofie:                    Yes, and pear.

Matt:                     And apple, we’ve got that … In the apple peel … When your apple activate the pectin and that helps with the bowel, or course. But also the apple peel and a lot of those other … pears and that, they’ve got quercetin in it. And quercetin’s a really handy biofabinoide for a couple of reasons: very powerful antihistamine, stops all those allergic asthma-style things and that sort of stuff, but also anti-estrogen. So it actually works on the estrogen receptors and blocks those off.

Matt:                     So an interesting thing when you said … You know when you said right at the start, you had those lung issues, you had the tonsillitis, you had the infection. You had a polarized immune system that was stuck to the humeral allergic immunity. The freaky thing is the herbs that you use for that also fix endometriosis, because that same link between those hormones and the immune system, massive link. And it could have even started with the immune dysregulation, or it could have started with a hormonal imbalance. No-one really bloody knows, and it doesn’t matter at this point.

Matt:                     But Perilla fruit essence, which is a really cool velvety leaf thing used in a lot of salad herbs through Vietnamese cultures. Quercetin, any of those peels and that sort of stuff, there’s so much quercetin. It’s a very common bio-flavonoid and lots of things. All of those sorts of things can be incorporated into your recipes. If you feel as though you’re following the same path, if you’ve got the irritable bowel and we’ve got these estrogen dominance signs, look for, in particular, luteolin and quercetin, kaempferol and naringin’s are all compounds found in these things that …

Matt:                     Just Google those words, I’m sure you’ll remember them. Google those and find the list of plants and try to grow them and eat them. But Perilla’s so cool. It’s a … With a Perilla, equivalent to two or three leaves a day, after four weeks was a 90% inhibition of histamine. And how’s [crosstalk 01:06:32].

Steve:                   Incredible.

Sofie:                    Crazy.

Matt:                     And blocks estrogen.

Sofie:                    I’ll have to do that.

Steve:                   Perilla’s excellent. So with regards to getting back in to the garden and that sort of thing. What tips could you give to someone who wants to start off? What’s easy to grow? What’s … ?

Sofie:                    I think there’s a few things you have to take in to account when you’re gardening: sun, water and food. Plants need what we need. You know, that’s how they thrive.

Steve:                   That’s good.

Sofie:                    So sun, water and food. You need to make sure that you’re planting in a location that’s going to provide your veggies with sun. So you need to place in your yard, or in your balcony, or wherever, that’s going to allow sunlight to your plants. And for predominately most of the day, our plot is literally in the middle of a field and it gets sunlight from morning to night.

Matt:                     Yeah, righto.

Sofie:                    A lot of sunlight. It’s hot out in Ipswich-

Matt:                     Bloody hell it is.

Sofie:                    … and they thrive because they need that natural sunlight.

Matt:                     As long as you’re supporting that growth.

Sofie:                    Yes, as long as you’re tending to the garden. So I think location’s very important.

Matt:                     Good.

Sofie:                    And I think, think about what kind of area you have. If you’re just getting started, you don’t need to … We’ve got like a 15 meter by three meter plot at home where … and we’ve probably got two of them. And that’s … But we grow everything. If you’re just getting started, you can get some little trays or some built up veggie gardens and just start small. And choose what you’re going to utilize the most, or choose foods that are sprayed the most.

Sofie:                    You know, like your leafy greens and things are a great-

Matt:                     Find your alternatives.

Sofie:                    And you can’t kill them. You really can’t kill spinach, silver beet, kale. Kale just … Like if we didn’t water our kale for a week and it was 46 degrees every day, I’ll come back and it’s thriving. It’s robust. So I think it’s important to think of location and think of how much you want to start to grow.

Sofie:                    If you’re only just getting started and you want to just grow a couple of things, don’t build a big plot in the yard, because it’s a lot of work. We have to work on our garden every single day.

Matt:                     And it’s so much produce. You’re not going to use it all.

Sofie:                    Yes, exactly. You know, you only need a little bit of each thing. If you’ve got spinach in there, you only need one or two little spinach plants because you harvest from them, and they continuously produce. So I think it’s important to think of location. I think it’s important to think of what you’re wanting to grow, and I think it’s also important to think of are you going to do a raised garden bed or are you going to build one in to the ground? Because the more work the garden’s going to kind of consist off, the less likely you’re going to find it easy to maintain.

Sofie:                    So we’ve dug ours in to the ground because we’re working on them all the time. We maintain the lawn around them. Not a lot of weeds get in to them from the lawn, and stuff like that. But if you’re just getting started and you kind of just want to check on it each afternoon, or every second afternoon, as you’re walking in to the house or walking out of the house, a raised garden bed is a great option. But we use a non-treated hard wood, like those big kind of old railway sleeper kind of thing. So that’s what we’ve got around our plot.

Matt:                     Yeah. Because the others are treated with usually arsenic.

Sofie:                    Yeah, which is going to leach in to your soil.

Matt:                     Absolutely it does.

Sofie:                    So don’t do that. Especially if you’re trying to create good produce. And then obviously think about … You then have to get the good soils. So get premium, organic soils. And that’s very available now. We got to big … because we have a lot of land where we’re growing stuff, we take a Ute and go to one of those sand-gravel places and load the car up. But Bunning’s is just the be-all-and-end-all for the home renovation gardening hero.

Steve:                   It’s awesome.

Sofie:                    They’ve got every single certified organic product and soil there now as well, which makes it really easy to do your own organic gardening at home. So we produce our soil up and then put compost in. So not just plant based compost, but manures.

Matt:                     Yeah, yeah. Cool.

Sofie:                    We-

Steve:                   And where do you get them from?

Sofie:                    So we actually … We have never really used horse manure from farms because what we’ve found is when we’ve used them, they’ve ended up having lots of weeds come through, because of what their eating.

Matt:                     And also antibiotics.

Sofie:                    Yeah, hormones.

Matt:                     And worming treatments and all that sort of stuff’s in there.

Sofie:                    Yes. So we actually go after certified organic manures from cow farms. Usually cow farm’s our go to and then we have chickens.

Steve:                   There you go.

Matt:                     Yeah, you’ve got your chickens.

Sofie:                    And I have chickens that are organic. They’re thriving with health these chickens, and they go through and we rotate our plots. They’ll go through, eat it all. Dig through it all, they’ll poo in there. They’ll get it all happening. And it’s great for planting out.

Matt:                     Can I talk a little bit about poo and … because I love it. Not for breakfast, but just in general.

Sofie:                    Dessert.

Matt:                     Yeah. More of a dessert kind of a guy. Heston style. I’ll make it look like a vegetable garden.

Steve:                   Heston Blumenthal.

Matt:                     But anyway-

Sofie:                    What are they … safety gustation, yeah.

Matt:                     Disgustaion when I’m cooking usually. But basically, what dirt is … I lot of people just think, “Oh yeah, no, we need the minerals. We need the minerals out of dirt.” But it’s not that. And when you’re talking about compost and we’re talking about poop and stuff like that, you know how we talk about herbal medicines, and herbal teas and we have a lot of these polyphenols and all these different compounds out of plants. The medical world will say, “They’re not bio-available. They don’t get absorbed very well.” But what happens in reality, when we drink these teas and eat these foods, our microbiome changes those polyphenols in to other compounds, compounds like urolithins and these other flash names they give.

Matt:                     Those things are stable, they are bio-available. But they’re a little bit unpredictable because it depends on your microbiome and your digestion and that sort of stuff. In the soil, it’s a little bit more predicable. Because what happens, as the plant matter breaks down, there’s all your polyphenols and all your modbiotic compounds. The bacteria that are naturally in the soil from the poo and all that sort of stuff, are feeding on these are creating what we call postbiotics.

Matt:                     So here’s another biotic. So we taught everyone about prebiotics, probiotics, modbiotics and symbiotic. The future is postbiotics.

Steve:                   Postbiotics, yeah.

Matt:                     What we’re looking at is compounds that are made by bacteria. A lot of our multi-food, a lot of our nutrients and that sort of stuff that we’re working and vitamins and a lot of our amino acids are now what we call postbiotics. We’re actually using what we know about the microbiome to create nutrients following the laws of nature. That’s how that stuff gets in to our plants, that’s how it gets in to the soil and that’s also how it gets in to our body, from our microbiome.

Matt:                     So soil is so cool. I’ve done a lot of work with things like shilajit. This is why I’m so passionate about shilajit, which is basically dirt from the Himalayas. And it’s just from a particular region where it’s predictable and it does stuff. And what shilajit is, is the compost, all the resins and the saps and everything that the microbiome in the soil can convert it in to compounds which we can measure and make predictable foods or drugs out of.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Matt:                     And that’s …. People don’t just … It’s not just soil. And this is why pesticides and fertilizers and Roundups, and things that are going in and destroying the soil microbiome, is not only creating problems with pests and weeds and things like that, but causing major nutrient deficiencies in our food. Because we’ve lost the ability for … Our soil’s almost like our gut.

Sofie:                    Oh yeah, it’s like our ecosystem.

Matt:                     And yeah. If we use the analogy for our body, that’s where the nutrients are coming from in to our body, and that’s where the plants are getting. When you’re throwing these things like the Roundups and everything on it, and it’s disturbing that. Then it’s on the food and then we’re eating it and it’s disturbing this. We’re getting all the same problems. We’re pretty much plants with emotions. I read a meme about that, we need the sun, the water and that as well.

Sofie:                    Yeah, that’s what I say. I say we’re bacteria wrapped in skin with way too many emotions. That’s what we are.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    And our soil has microbes in it. We try and balance a certain pH in our soil. And you think about us, when we don’t have enough nutrients, we don’t thrive. Your plants don’t have enough nutrients, they don’t thrive. So you actually need to balance the soil, look after the soil, feed the soil between growing phases. And so usually the pH you’re kind of looking for is that six to six and a half.

Matt:                     Okay.

Sofie:                    So slightly on that acidic side. And that’s actually when they believe the microbes kind of flourish in your garden. And if your pH is too high, or you need to raise your pH, you usually use a lime or like a wood ash. We use a lot of ash from our cooking or our fires. And then if you want to decrease it, I can’t even remember what you usually use to decrease … Ah, use sulfur.

Steve:                   Sulfur.

Sofie:                    And then of course, your compost.

Steve:                   Sulfur forms with water, sulfuric acid. Just so people know, pH is a measure of acidity of soil. Neutral is seven, zero is very acidic. So it’s a scale from zero to 14. 6.6 is close to neutral but slightly acidic.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Matt:                     What about wee?

Sofie:                    Wee? Where does your wee sit?

Steve:                   Well pH of about four.

Matt:                     What if you wee on your trees?

Sofie:                    Wee on your trees.

Steve:                   Maybe if you exercise, it’s about four because you get a lot of lactic acid. But often it comes up to neutral, 7.5 and-

Matt:                     My wife’s uncle is Tommy Wyatt that does the ABC garden radio. And I listen to that a lot and it’s …

Sofie:                    He wants you to wee on your-

Matt:                     He tells you to wee on it, or use Vegemites and stuff.

Sofie:                    Yeah, I remember watching this movie once and the old guy was going away and he asked the kid if he could look after the house.

Steve:                   Something Indian?

Sofie:                    Indian, yeah. The Fastest Indian.

Steve:                   I remember that movie.

Sofie:                    He says, “Can you come and pee on my lemon tree every year to keep it thriving.” Look-

Matt:                     Yeah, is it nitrogen? Is it the nitrogen?

Steve:                   Nitrogen, yeah.

Sofie:                    So basically then, when you’re looking at your soil, your looking at your nitrogen, phosphorous and your potassium. So your nitrogen’s really good for your leafy greens and your stems, so your broccoli’s, broccolini’s, kale’s, things like that.

Matt:                     Well if you have a salad at my place, wash it.

Sofie:                    So, if you’re wondering what to pee on, pee on them.

Matt:                     Yeah. That’s what I’m saying, you better wash your salad.

Steve:                   A lot of plants for example, can’t get nitrogen from the soil and so, have you ever heard of the Venus flytrap?

Matt:                     Yeah.

Steve:                   They eat flies to get the nitrogen out of the flies.

Matt:                     Is that right.

Steve:                   If you want to know a stupid fact about plants.

Sofie:                    That’s amazing.

Matt:                     Man, you know what I’m going to do when I see a Venus flytrap next.

Steve:                   What’s that? Put a fly in it?

Matt:                     Wee on it.

Sofie:                    I knew you were going to say pee. [crosstalk 01:16:24].

Steve:                   I thought you were going to say put a fly in to it.

Matt:                     I’m just going to go round, I don’t care. I’m just going to do an experiment. I’m going to find out the nitrogen lovers.

Sofie:                    You’ll be on the news soon. You’ll be locked up for peeing on people’s gardens or some.

Matt:                     Yeah, that’s quite possible.

Sofie:                    It’ll come back to this podcast.

Steve:                   Urea has a lot of nitrogen.

Matt:                     I’ll blame Sofie.

Sofie:                    So your nitrogen is from like your seaweeds, blood and bones.

Matt:                     Seaweed?

Steve:                   Yeah, blood and bones.

Sofie:                    Your blood and bones, your seaweed. What else? Your fish.

Steve:                   Any amino acids. Amine group is an NH3 group which is nitrogen N H3, the hydrogen. So lots of nitrogen and ammonia groups like the amino acids have got nitrogen in it, so lots of proteins. Fish is good.

Matt:                     Good.

Sofie:                    Yeah. So we get seaweed, like especially when we’re doing watermelons and things.

Matt:                     Is there something with lightning?

Steve:                   Sorry.

Matt:                     Lightning.

Steve:                   Lightning produces nitrous-oxide when it combines nitrogen oxygen in the atmosphere.

Matt:                     That’s another good source of putting nitrogen in the-

Sofie:                    Sorry, yeah. You need lightning and pee for your veggie garden.

Matt:                     I’m going to do it. I’m going to get out there in a storm, with my kite. Ready.

Steve:                   Your going to get Thor, and call up Thor and get him to throw a bolt down for you.

Matt:                     Yeah, you watch my kale grow.

Steve:                   Yeah.

Sofie:                    Thriving. That’s why [inaudible 01:17:25]. So then you’ve got your phosphorus which is meant to be like your early plant development and your roots, your kind of lower roots. And then your potassium’s for your deeper tubulars and roots and things. And that’s when your wood ash and lime and stuff come in.

Matt:                     Potash and all that sort of stuff. Oh wow.

Sofie:                    Yeah, so-

Steve:                   And your veggies.

Sofie:                    And compost. So we compost everything at home. We then have our two veggie patches, and we kind of rotate between them. I get that that’s not obviously easy for everyone. So just start basic. Really, if you want to just get started, gets some pots or a raised garden bed. Fill it up with good quality soil and manures. And if you feel like your garden’s not taking of, check the pH and you’ll know why.

Sofie:                    We don’t play around with the microbes in the soil. We go, “Get this spray. Get that spray. Put this in there.” And then you’ve damaged everything.

Matt:                     Well natural spray, that’s one thing I was curious. I always tell people, “Don’t use Roundup.” And I specific say Roundup and not glyphosate because it’s the combination of glyphosate with the … The formulated glyphosate products that are 10 times or 100 times worse than glyphosate. Which is why the powers that be only want to talk about glyphosate.

Matt:                     But I’m always curious, I feel as a naturopath, or people want to call me alternative medicine practitioner. I feel the need to be alternative, but I don’t want to go and recommend something if it’s got the same problems. Because technically glyphosate’s organic. We can argue that it’s safe and natural if you look at certain research.

Matt:                     Stevo, have … I asked you to do a little bit of research on the natural stuff. What did you find? Anything cool or is there anything-

Steve:                   There is some toxic things with other-

Matt:                     Are they just as bad?

Steve:                   Well they can be. It’s dose dependent. But don’t be fooled. The bottom line taken home from the medical studies is, yes it’s found in nature but it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Like arsenic’s found in nature, cyanide’s found in nature, and certain forms-

Matt:                     You wouldn’t use the arsenic treated timber to protect the things from the arsenic but-

Sofie:                    No.

Matt:                     So tell us-

Steve:                   Arsenic’s found in fruit-

Matt:                     Sorry, I keep interrupting.

Steve:                   No, that’s all right. So the pyrethrin is the classic example of this. It can be toxic, but in low amounts it okay. It’s found in plants. But you can’t concentrate it and that becomes a drug.

Matt:                     Yeah, righto.

Steve:                   It’s like bang, all of a sudden you’ve changed it from being something you find in some flowers and this sort of thing, to something that concentrated that you put on your plants quite dangerous.

Matt:                     And then we also need to go and do that research on the combinations, because what we found with the Roundup, glyphosate they could argue was safe, but when they put it with something else, that’s what we call a permeation enhancer, that makes it enter in to all the cells of the body. All of a sudden, it’s not safe.

Matt:                     So we may find the same thing, pyrethrin may have a toxic component to a bug, but if we then enhance it’s bioavailability to make it work more effectively then all of a sudden we’re making a systemic poison.

Steve:                   The classic thing-

Matt:                     So ultimately, you’re just better off just working with nature. What happens in nature?

Sofie:                    Well that’s what we do. We do … Like you plant your marigolds around the gardens.

Steve:                   Flowers-

Matt:                     Oh yeah.

Sofie:                    I love … It’s like having Google here, isn’t it? It’s great. It’s amazing.

Steve:                   I’m not trying to … Don’t dumb it down, but some people will go, “Marigold? What’s that?”

Sofie:                    No, I love it. I think it’s great.

Steve:                   It’s a beautiful yellow flower.

Matt:                     What do you do by it? Get calendula officinalis. Get the right one because some of them are ornamental marigolds. If you get calendula officinalis, it’s actually got the real stuff in it.

Sofie:                    Yes, yeah.

Matt:                     And you can use that. That’s why I’m a naturopath by the way. I was a real sick asthma and eczema, but really sick, and my granddad … I was doing all the medication and I hated it. My grandfather, we set up a little herb garden and grew some calendula flowers, marigold flowers, to smash them up in to our Vaseline and made an eczema cream and it got rid of my eczema.

Matt:                     That’s why I wanted to be a naturopath after that.

Sofie:                    You were converted.

Matt:                     It was such a cool thing, you know?

Sofie:                    Isn’t that amazing.

Matt:                     The funny thing is, then when I studied naturopath, the first book we got I think in the … probably written in the ’70s or ’80s, called The Modern Herbal.

Steve:                   It’s not modern anymore.

Matt:                     It’s not modern anymore. It is actually because of the title, so you can buy it today, it’s still the Modern Herbal. But the first part of that book, before they were talking about any herbs is all about companion planting.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Matt:                     And they were showing these big circles and saying, “Grow something in the middle and then we build these things around it.” And also I think my main strategy for preventing everything getting eaten is growing 10 times as much as I need because they eat a lot and then what’s left over I eat. We share it.

Sofie:                    I actually got in to planting with the moon. So planting with the moon phases, and that’s meant to strengthen your plants, it’s meant to give you the right time frames for when to plant rooted kind of tubulars, when to plant leafy greens.

Matt:                     Excellent.

Sofie:                    All that sort of stuff.

Matt:                     Is this on your web page, this sort of information?

Sofie:                    Yeah, it is. And I had this amazing chart that I got from this guy down in Gold Coast, Hinterland, and you can’t reach him anyway. I just loved that about him. You can’t reach him any other way other than write him a letter, right?

Matt:                     That’s so cool.

Sofie:                    Which is great, isn’t it?

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    There’s not many people like that any more.

Steve:                   Pen-pal.

Sofie:                    Yeah, a pen-pal. And he creates these kind of like astrological charts and planting with the moon. And it’s got things like when to mow, everything. Because you’ve got your fertile days, your not so fertile days. And every …

Sofie:                    So what I kind of thought was, it makes sense. It’s bio-dynamic planting and I kind of decided to read in to it. If you’re planting your plants when they’re going to grow the healthiest, have the most natural rain water and everything, they’re more likely to thrive really. If you think about it, that’s when the soil’s ready.

Sofie:                    So we started doing that. And Ipswich doesn’t rain a lot. And I kid you not, every single time I planted with the moon calendar, within about three to four days, we’d have natural rain for at least a week.

Steve:                   Wow.

Sofie:                    Every single time. So I just did it the other day and we just had rain for the first time, for the whole week.

Matt:                     It’s freaky.

Sofie:                    Isn’t it crazy? And I just remembered … You know, we don’t do it naked. We don’t get that in to it, but you could. We don’t because they can see us from the street.

Matt:                     Sure you could. I’m worried about ants on our property.

Sofie:                    A lot of ants?

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    Is that why you don’t go naked?

Matt:                     Yeah. Especially if rain’s coming. Like if I timed it with the moon-

Sofie:                    You don’t want to be in your garden naked and …

Matt:                     … and then the rain. There’d be like ants.

Steve:                   If you Google ‘lunar planting’, there’s lots of websites about it.

Sofie:                    Yes. It’s amazing.

Matt:                     Yeah, right. Full moon planting. I’m going to take some … I’m going to create an Instagram page ‘Full Moon Planting’ just nude.

Steve:                   Just don’t bend over and-

Matt:                     That’s all it is Steve. It’s me bending over under the full moon, planting.

Sofie:                    New moon, full moon.

Steve:                   You stay in the full moon actually, we’re all going to be-

Sofie:                    Waxing crescent.

Matt:                     That’s what I wanted to say, is that. I couldn’t think of it, the word. I was trying to remember, waning or waxing, or bleaching, I don’t know.

Steve:                   Oh my goodness me.

Sofie:                    So yeah-

Matt:                     Rectum all right.

Sofie:                    So planting with the moon’s great. But you know, plant all your herbs. Your herbs are natural antibacterial, antifungal.

Matt:                     And shitload better than iceberg bloody lettuce or one of those dodgy bitter hydroponic purple bloody things. Therapeutically, why the hell would we be eating watery cellulose when we could be filling up our stuff with everything from the corianders and … Now I suck at things like coriander, for some reason I can’t get it to grow. Maybe because I eat it too quickly.

Matt:                     But what I find is every time I want to go make a salad, I’ll go out and my stuff’s either gone to seed and it’s got no leaves on it or anything. But what I’ve been doing now is I’ve got things that do grow, no matter what.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Matt:                     Sweet potato has just taken over. I’ve got some grape stuff going. So what happens when I go out to make a salad, I got to get my salad herbs and there’s none there. But you can eat the sweet potato leaves. And I can get my strawberry leaves, I go and get my vine leaves off the grapes. So I go and get all of these different brassica leaves. I make it up in to a salad. It’s a hell of a lot nicer. This stuff’s great. And we use a lot of that sort of stuff as wraps as well with the kids.

Matt:                     So we go and get these little leaves. The sweet potato leaves are excellent for it, because we can give them a couple of little things, they wrap it up and eat it like a little spring roll or something like that. But I find a lot of people will go and fill up their little herb box with lettuce.

Sofie:                    Yeah, and that’s it. People wonder how they can add flavor to food without adding calories: herbs.

Matt:                     Exactly.

Sofie:                    We’ve got herbs and spices in front of us all the time. So herbs are actually a really good deterrent for pests.

Matt:                     Yeah, cool.

Sofie:                    Because it actually confuses them to what they’re kind of actually around and what they’re looking at, and what they’re trying to eat. So herbs are great. The marigolds, like we said before. Garlic and onion, they’re so pungent. Leeks, we plant them always on the outside …

Steve:                   All right, okay.

Matt:                     That’s so clever.

Sofie:                    … of the patch. And then we have natural things that we make up at home, sprays. Honestly, every once every six months I might have to look at using something like that because we’re smart about where we plant things. We’re smart about what we plant on the outside, and we’ve put our crops away from fence-lines and things where possums are just going to hang … because possums don’t really want to just run along the road and walk over to a veg … They’re too kind of vulnerable then. So we’re just smart about where we plant stuff.

Matt:                     That’s clever.

Sofie:                    Yeah, I’m full of good ideas.

Matt:                     And my neighbor’s got to have every second piece of fruit I grow on the fence. That really sucks.

Sofie:                    Well you see, you know what’s hilarious is we’re in this area and our patch is very visibile from the street, right?

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    And we have 30 cauliflowers growing, broccoli’s, huge cabbages, everything. And not one thing’s every been stolen.

Matt:                     That’s cool.

Sofie:                    I actually don’t think they know what it is.

Matt:                     No, probably not.

Sofie:                    I really don’t. And I’m not trying to be mean, but [crosstalk 01:26:25].

Matt:                     Hey, do you grow to seed? Do you let the broccoli go to seed so you collect the seeds?

Sofie:                    Yeah, and I collect the seeds.

Matt:                     So you have like a broccoli tree.

Sofie:                    Yeah. And they get … And then they bring all the bees. I have to show you some photos afterwards. Like when the broccoli goes to seed, there’s like 3000 bees, which is amazing because then we plant new plants in there. The bees pollinate all that because they’re hanging around with the broccoli and it’s just this little ecosystem that continues to go.

Sofie:                    We always … Some things to really make sure of … If you’re just getting started, just plant things kind of separately. Don’t get too complicated. Just plant your really sturdy leafy greens and things, that are accessible, that you’ll use a lot of. When you’re kind of getting in to your tubulars, like your potatoes and sweet potatoes and parsnips and things, you’ve got to have a little bit more room. They need to kind of spread. Same with pumpkins. Pumpkins kind of need direction to go off and spread.

Sofie:                    You can’t just plant a pumpkin in there and then it’ll overtake everything. Same with tomatoes. Tomatoes are the same.

Steve:                   Sweet potatoes, shocking. We get … We can’t kill ours.

Sofie:                    Once it starts, well you can’t get rid of it.

Steve:                   It’s there forever now.

Sofie:                    Yeah. And so we actually planted our first lot of sweet potato with the moon ages ago. And I harvested two … I grew it from three different sprouted organic sweet potatoes. We harvested two … Why can I not think of that word? You know, the … Wheelbarrows.

Matt:                     Buckets?

Sofie:                    We harvested two whole wheelbarrows.

Matt:                     Yeah. That’s like mine. I put four in the ground and then buckets full for a very … But now I look in the yard, and it was a section like that but now there’s like-

Sofie:                    Yeah, it’ll take over.

Matt:                     It’s massive.

Sofie:                    You’ve got to actually start to train things in the garden to go certain ways. Like we have our pumpkins go a certain way, our watermelons go a certain way. We have our leafy greens in certain sections. But when you’re putting things underground to be buried, as opposed to above ground, you actually should rotate those things each time because they obviously suck out different types of nutrients and use up different types of levels of nutrients.

Matt:                     How would you rotate something like a sweet potato that’s just gone spastic?

Sofie:                    Well we actually-

Matt:                     Just grind it back in and try to …

Sofie:                    Well we do. We kind of clip it all back and just dig it out. And you know, you’ll get the odd one here and there, but you just pull it out and move it back to the other location. So we kind of rotate it like that. And tomatoes are one of those things, once they get started you kind of want them in their own section because they actually don’t plant well with a lot of other foods. I think a lot of those nightshades can be a little bit like that sometimes.

Sofie:                    And also, people plant beans and they don’t give them anything to climb on, or cucumbers. So it’s important to … And you know what the greatest thing is? When you buy little seedlings, or you buy the seed packet, you turn it over. It actually gives you everything you could possible ever need to know about planting that … you know? That’s what’s so great these days. It’s actually so easily accessible and so easy to do.

Sofie:                    It says, “Plant them 30 centimeters apart.” Do what they say. Plant it 30 centimeters apart and it’ll thrive. You’re better off to have two that are thriving than to have six in the one area that area ll fighting for nutrients. You know, if you-

Matt:                     Because they respond with increase defense mechanisms, which are usually horrible bitter compounds and extra fiber.

Sofie:                    Yeah.

Matt:                     So they turn in to these woody, bitter things.

Sofie:                    Exactly. And I actually learned this really cool thing. I was at this organic health retreat this … well after the endometriosis problem. Because I was so sick, I just booked myself in to one.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    And they were talking about gardening, and they were talking about the comparison with food. And you guys will probably know more of the science behind this. I don’t necessarily know the science behind it, but you’ve got the three kind of bunches. You’ve got the one that looks perfect, a bunch of kale or silver beet. It looks perfect. It’s green as, there’s nothing wrong with it. You’ve got some that’s had a little bit of a nibble out of, but it’s really thriving still and really healthy. Then you’ve got the one that’s just been destroyed.

Sofie:                    From a nutrient and a health perspective, they always reckon you should choose the middle one that’s been nibbled out of a little bit, because they reckon what happens is the bugs attack it, it has such a strong immune system it then learns how to kill the bugs that try to eat it. And then by doing that, it’s actually got the strongest bacteria, it’s got the strongest microorganisms, nutrients, everything. So then when you consume that, you’re actually consuming the healthiest out of those three-

Steve:                   That’s a great idea.

Matt:                     All these things that we … We talk about polyphenols, and some people might think about things like resveratrol, schisandrins from Schisandra. All of these antioxidant polyphenols are also antimicrobial, but they’re actually poisons to bugs. And the way they have big, powerful antioxidant effects in our body, is when we eat them, our body recognizes that they’re poisons and responds with antioxidant defense mechanisms such as increase in glutathione.

Matt:                     But those aren’t poisonous for us, so that’s actually really clever.

Sofie:                    Yeah, same sort of thing. It’s really interesting. So it’s about … And you know, when you’re growing your own food, you’re getting nutrients straight away. You’re not getting food that’s sat in the supermarket for god knows how long, it’s been sprayed with so many things to sit there and still look perfect so many months afterwards.

Matt:                     And you know what’s in season.

Sofie:                    Yes.

Matt:                     So one of the big things for us is to not eat … It’s one thing to have a balanced diet, but we need a varied diet.

Sofie:                    Seasonal.

Matt:                     We need to change with the seasons. And when you’re growing your own things, you actually know what’s in season because you get a lot. And what you suddenly realize is man, seriously, I get mulberries for two weeks just before Christmas, and then another two weeks after, otherwise I don’t. And you’re sitting there going, “But in a grocery store I might be able to buy these things all year round.” But in those couple of weeks, oh man, I eat nothing but that, you know? And that’s why we get a big cycle. It changes out microbiome. We never have the same good coming around allowing certain bugs to thrive and grow before we knock them on the head again.

Sofie:                    Yeah, and that’s it. Everyone always says to me when I put up recipes and things, “Oh, you eat such a variety. How do you eat such a variety?” Well we eat seasonal, because we eat what we grow and so we’ve got brassicas at wintertime or we’ve got leafy greens at summertime. We only have watermelons and rock melons for like about three weeks at summertime, and then that’s it. I don’t then eat them for the rest of the year. We’ve got oranges at certain times and things like that.

Sofie:                    So it is, it’s really important-

Matt:                     So you’re supposed to binge when they’re there. That’s cool. And then the rest of the time you don’t have them, and we have other things. That way, our body keeps adapting and changing. And that’s how we cycle through proper diets. That’s accidentally how we go from paleo and keto to clean to a higher carb, to a higher fat. We cycle through these things, and automatically we do the … And sometimes a gardener like me goes through large phases of intermittent fasting.

Sofie:                    Yeah, droughts. I also think about your microbiome in that sense. The diversity of the food that you’re feeding your microbiome, because we don’t just want a lot of certain … you know, we want a lot of good bacteria, but we don’t just want three or four strains. We want a huge diversity. So you need to actually be feeding your body a diversity of food. If you just eating the exact same thing all the time … well this is how I understand it.

Matt:                     Yeah, makes sense. And this is an interesting thing when we talk about rebound weight-gain. Because what happens, often when people want to burn fat they’ll cut out all their carbs, they’ll burn off the fat. That’s like the end of your fruit season. So what happens, the bacteria in the gut, they’re used to fruit season ending and going through a phase, through winter where that stuff’s not available or whatever and then it comes back later.

Matt:                     They have naturally built in to be able to lay dormant for up to nine months. So if you’re doing a three or a six month campaign, you’re cutting out the carbs. The bugs lay dormant. Those bugs contributed to your bloating and your metabolism. As soon as the food comes back, the little buggers thrive and then … “Oh, I’m pregnant. I’m bloated. I’m full.” And then all my weight comes back and you get worse rebound weight-gain because not only do those bugs come back, but they shot spores out expecting the fruit not to come back for nine months.

Sofie:                    Yeah, it’s almost a starving thing. It’s like back in caveman days, our bodies would utilize-

Matt:                     Yeah, but normally. In that starving phase, we would be eating a lot of modbiotic polyphenols that would kill them off.

Sofie:                    Yeah, but we’re not.

Matt:                     We’re not doing that now. We’re feeding them with a different sugar or we’re having the same food, so they just keep growing. But when we change in to that fruit season, we go in to those late carb phases, is when we need to be having more of those polyphenols from the herbs and the spices to actually kill off the bacteria that was created for your fruit season, because they increase your calorie yield, they contribute to obesity and all sorts of things.

Matt:                     This is where what we’re talking about here, is more important for the health and wellness of the population than any other supplement or food fortification initiative. And really, if there was a campaign out there to tell people, “Stop investing your time and resources, and money in to poisons and mowing your law and having a nice edge, and start turning your piece of space, or your land, or your property, or your balcony, or whatever you’ve got, in to a source of food nutrients.” Modbiotic compounds, polyphenols, that is the best way to change health in the future.

Matt:                     Not trying to create a bread that suits the whole population.

Sofie:                    Yeah, and you’re getting all those soil based organisms when you’re out there. You’re also growing things in the environment where those probiotics are around in our environment, and you’re building a stronger immune response.

Steve:                   Yes.

Sofie:                    From what I’ve read in a lot of research articles and things, if you’re growing your own food, you’re actually strengthening your immune system. That’s why we started to do it, you know? Because I-

Matt:                     Grubby kids are the healthy kids.

Sofie:                    Yeah, exactly. And you know, we don’t need to sanitize everything. I don’t wash anything from our garden. I know what’s gone in there. I know what’s happened. I dust the dirt off the potatoes and deal with it.

Matt:                     Wash the salad from my garden.

Sofie:                    Side note, with a lot of stuff. And just quickly we were talking about Roundups and stuff.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Sofie:                    When it comes to things that we make to use, I just use things that I would eat. So I might use some vinegars. Bugs hate oil, so use your oils.

Matt:                     Yeah, exactly.

Sofie:                    Put some chili on there. Make sure you wash that after you’ve just gone crazy. But do it at nighttime, before it’s about to go dark because if it’s sunny and you’re spraying all that stuff over, it can start to kill the spores of the veggies. So nighttime we go out there, I get the little headlight on. And you’d be surprised at what you find in your garden at night time. Not someone naked peeing, but lots of snails, everything. So yeah, go through, spray it all with some oils. Just water down some oils.

Matt:                     Well Stevo told me that you … I can’t even remember the metal now. He said to me, “After you make your cup of coffee, don’t leave the water the kettle because that’s when-”

Steve:                   Nickel is leached.

Matt:                     Exactly.

Sofie:                    Ah, yeah.

Matt:                     So what we do is we get that boiled water and tip it on the weeds near the thing. And they don’t like that either.

Sofie:                    No.

Matt:                     The weirdest things. You can just kill them with heat or extremes of acid or whatever.

Sofie:                    Boiling water’s actually perfect. So it’s-

Matt:                     So you’re making a cuppa and then just … down there, clean edge. I’ve got one really awesome edge next to the kettle. The rest of the yard-

Sofie:                    Yeah, but that ones thriving.

Matt:                     But near the kettle? Near the kettle, there’s nothing growing anywhere near there.

Sofie:                    Steve’s trying to wrap it up.

Steve:                   Look, is there any final sort of … Yeah, I’m trying to.

Matt:                     He knows how much I’ve got to do today, which is exactly why I’m procrastinating. I’m having so much fun hanging out here. My calendar is messed up today.

Steve:                   Yeah look, we’ve got a meeting at one.

Matt:                     Why don’t you just keep waffling Steve. We’re trying to move on.

Steve:                   Yeah, I should shut up-

Matt:                     You just keep talking and talking. Interrupting with a new story.

Sofie:                    Talking about peeing on gardens.

Steve:                   Yeah, that’s me.

Sofie:                    All the irrelevant things.

Matt:                     Disrupting everything. Now before we do any of your rubbishy wrap up Steve, what the hell is your web page? Tell us all.

Sofie:                    So my first name, well first and last name. So Sofie van Kempen. Sofie with an F, but not Fophie.

Matt:                     Not Fophie?

Sofie:                    No, not Fophie. So S-O-F-I-E and then van Kempen V-A-N K-E-M-P-E-N.

Matt:                     Which we will put links up-

Steve:                   I’m glad you spelt it.

Matt:                     … and everything on our webpage and the … you know, people that know, know. Carry on.

Sofie:                    You guys are all over it.

Steve:                   You’re on Instagram, I noticed that.

Sofie:                    Yeah, I am on Instagram. You might regret-

Matt:                     What’s your Instagram thing?

Sofie:                    You might regret following it.

Matt:                     No, it’s cool.

Steve:                   I was looking at it. I was cyber stalking you as you said-

Sofie:                    Yeah, we were saying- [crosstalk 01:37:52]. Well it’s kind of like legal stalking. If you have an Instagram age and you make it public, you’re allowing people to legally stalk you.

Matt:                     Oh yeah, I’d encourage it.

Steve:                   To prep for today.

Matt:                     Wait for my full moon page.

Steve:                   Yeah.

Matt:                     I’ll promote it. How do we promote that?

Steve:                   My wife Beck says, “What did you do today?” “Oh, I stalked this woman that was coming in for a meeting about eight o’clock. We got in early to do that.” And it’s like it is. It’s legal stalking because I wanted to prepare for the meeting. I want to know who Sofie is.

Sofie:                    And what better way than to just stalk my page.

Steve:                   Absolutely. So we can stalk you a couple of ways there, and you’re probably on Facebook too, I don’t know about that though.

Sofie:                    Yeah, I am. You can do a drive by in Ipswich, you’ll probably find our garden.

Steve:                   Oh yeah.

Matt:                     That’s cool that you do that though, because I’m just around the corner but I think I’m going to learn a lot from you because it’s similar sort of stuff.

Sofie:                    Yeah, oh thanks.

Steve:                   It’s an absolutely awesome day. Awesome morning.

Matt:                     Yeah, it’s been fun.

Sofie:                    Yeah, thanks so much for having me.

Matt:                     I want to go out and make some stuff. I’m going to make some medicine out of it.

Sofie:                    I was going to bring some food for you guys, then I thought you might think I’m a bit pushy.

Matt:                     But we can go through and show people how to make proper concoctions and extracts, and turn them in to cosmetics, and do some really cool workshops. I love that stuff.

Sofie:                    That’s amazing.

Matt:                     And I’m talking about culinary herbs that we talk about all the time, we can make in to proper medicine.

Sofie:                    Well I’ve actually just enrolled to do … Well I’m deciding whether I’m going to do Chinese medicine or naturopathy now because-

Matt:                     Don’t do Chinese medicine. Don’t do any, just learn-

Sofie:                    Because-

Matt:                     We’ll talk more about this, because I think what you’re doing is a little bit more special. And I think you need to develop more in to the grass roots of stuff rather than trying to learn a new language. And traditional Chinese medicine’s biased because they think they’re local stuff’s the best. But that’s not your local stuff.

Sofie:                    Yeah, that’s true.

Steve:                   Your local hate mail on the way now.

Matt:                     No, I-

Sofie:                    Wow, I really started it.

Matt:                     No, I honestly believe that Australian naturopaths, and Australian herbalists could be potentially be the best in the world because we don’t have as much cultural bias. We don’t have as much regional restriction in to what ever we’re allowed to use, and we don’t have a medical model that’s based on ancient history that we can’t substitute one ingredient for another.

Matt:                     When we learn from scratch, and we learn about the actives and we learn about the soils, it all brings it in together. You’ve got a whole new thing where you’ve got Western herbalism, you’ve got Chinese medicine, you’ve got our … and that’s what Australia is.

Sofie:                    Yeah, a combination.

Matt:                     Australia’s a mixing pot of absolutely everything. And then we’ve got the indigenous stuff that is … the native stuff that is stronger than anything else in the world because of our climate. So it’s … There’s bigger fish to fry.

Sofie:                    Yeah, I think it’s just herbs. I feel like I missed that part because we didn’t tap in to it.

Matt:                     But the grass roots of herbs.

Sofie:                    Yeah. I would just-

Matt:                     That real old school stuff that … If I was you I’d be looking for Bernard Jensen books, and I’d be looking for-

Sofie:                    Okay, I will.

Matt:                     What the hell’s attacking my face?

Sofie:                    It’s a little fly.

Matt:                     Did anyone see that?

Steve:                   It is a bug. I saw a little bug there.

Matt:                     Oh gosh, I was just freaking out over nothing. [crosstalk 01:40:33] Steve.

Steve:                   I’ll save you. Sofie with an F.

Matt:                     Fophie?

Steve:                   Fophie, that’s right were joking about-

Sofie:                    Fophie.

Steve:                   Well Sofie, thanks for coming in today. It’s been an awesome morning.

Sofie:                    That’s all right.

Steve:                   It’s been so colorful, I think is the only way I can describe it. You know, as colorful as the vegetables we’re going to be consuming now. And all the people out there are going to be growing their own veggies, fruits and-

Matt:                     Oh, absolutely.

Steve:                   … and gorging on health, is the way I look at it.

Matt:                     Wow, Stevo.

Steve:                   I love it. I love it.

Sofie:                    Thanks so much guys.

Matt:                     Fruit salad of superlatives there. Well done.

Steve:                   Thank you. I’ve been rehearsing that.

Matt:                     I can tell.

Steve:                   Nah, I just made it up.

Matt:                     That was like a bit scripted there.

Steve:                   Yeah.

Matt:                     I thought you’d bring out the guitar.

Sofie:                    Serenade me.

Matt:                     Anyhow.

Steve:                   Oh goodness me, well we’re got to call this to a close before we really pick on my age.

Sofie:                    That’s it.

Steve:                   Thank you Sofie for coming in and being the rose between the thorns, and all this sort of stuff. Going to the gardening superlatives again. But it’s been great, so you know, thanks for having us and putting up with us again and we’ll see you all next week.

Sofie:                    Yeah, bye guys.

Matt:                     Thanks.

Steve:                   See you later.

Matt:                     [Ooroo 01:41:32].

Speaker 3:           Thanks for listening, and remember question everything. Well, except what we say.