Balanced Bites Podcast Episode #227: Go with Your Gut with Robyn Youkilis

Go with Your Gut with Robyn Youkilis - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced BitesTopics: 
1.  News and updates from Diane [2:07]
2.  Introducing our guest, Robyn Youkilis [4:16]
3. When you accidentally fall into a Crockpot of queso (acute constipation) [14:02]
4. Properly digesting fats [16:59]
5. Chew your food [22:36]
6. Antacids and alternatives [30:33]
7. Drinking while eating [34:54]
8. What to look for in probiotics and digestive enzymes [41:43]
9. Best time of day to take probiotics [47:05]
10. More about Go With Your Gut book [49:23]
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Go with Your Gut with Robyn Youkilis - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Go with Your Gut with Robyn Youkilis - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Go with Your Gut with Robyn Youkilis - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites
You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 227: Go with Your Gut with Robyn Youkilis 
Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast with Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe. Diane is a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo, The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Liz is a nutritional therapy practitioner, and the best-selling author of Eat the Yolks and The Purely Primal Skincare Guide. Together, Diane and Liz answer your questions, interview leading health and wellness experts, and share their take on modern paleo living with their friendly and balanced approach. Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Diane Sanfilippo: Hey everyone! Diane here. Liz is taking a quick break this week. I have an amazing guest with me, and I’m super stoked to talk to her, but before we get into my interview with Robyn Youkilis, let’s hear a word from one of our sponsors.
Diane Sanfilippo: Pete’s Paleo is a friend of the Balanced Bites podcast. They’re bacon is insanely delicious, and sugar free, and their premade paleo meals make your life so much easier when everything is getting busy and getting real food on the table is still a top priority, as it should be. Pete’s Paleo is now offering a 30-day gut healing kit containing bone broth, gelatin gummies, instant organic soup packs, and an E-cookbook. It’s the perfect complement to any anti-inflammatory diet. Get yours today at Use code GRABACUPPABROTH to get $25 off; that’s an amazing deal. It’s GRABACUPPABROTH, C-U-P-P-A. And you can grab that code any time at to just read it and make sure you’re typing it in right. You can also use code BALANCEDBITES to get $5 off any of their regular meal plans. Check out today. Pete’s Paleo; bringing fine dining to your cave.
1. News and updates from Diane [2:07]
Diane Sanfilippo: Actually, before I talk to Robyn, I want to give you guys a couple of updates very quickly. Portland area peeps, heads up. If you want to come catch Liz and I March 17th, save the date, write it in your calendars, we should have a link to an event with some tickets and some good stuff coming up in the next week or two, so keep your eyes peeled for that. That will be shared all over the place; social media, our email lists, etc. But it’s going to be March 17th, and it will be an evening event. Probably like a 6-9 p.m. time frame. I’m hoping we’re going to have food so you can kind of show up after work, get some yummy paleo food, but the event itself will start for real at 7. And I guess I can tease to you guys; we are recording a live podcast episode. {laughs} So I’m super excited, it’s going to be really fun. We’re going to be talking about all kinds of fun stuff, and taking your questions, so that will be really cool, not to be missed, especially, even if you’re in driving distance to Portland; pack up your girls in the car, take a road trip, we’ll have some fun. So we’d love to see you there.
A couple of other updates; we have the Best of Paleo Magazine awards. Hey! The Balanced Bites podcast has been nominated; thanks you guys! We didn’t even put out a call for y’all to nominate us, so that’s super cool that you did that, thank you very much. Now it’s time to vote. We’ll put a link in the show notes, but if you head over to Paleo Magazine, I’m sure there’s a link somewhere on their website. I think it’s is the website. But Paleo Magazine best of 2015 awards. We would love to have your vote for best podcast; and I, Diane, would love to have your vote also for best Instagrammer. I thought that was super cool that I got that nomination. So thanks for that, you guys.
And then the very last update that I have for you all is that February 1 is going to be the next 21-Day Sugar Detox kick off. I believe; well, I don’t believe, that is a Monday. It’s not often that we have the first of the month and the first Monday in the same day, so February 1 will be the kick off. If you’re looking to join us, you can head over to
2. Introducing our guest, Robyn Youkilis [4:16]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright you guys, today we are talking about your digestion questions with my friend, Robyn Youkilis, who is super rad and I’m really excited to have her on the show today. Robyn is a certified wellness expert, TV personality, and author that the Today Show, People Magazine, Redbook, and thousands of women go to when they look in the mirror and ask; “what do I do, I can’t deal with another diet.” Known for her straightforward yet supportive style, Robyn helps her clients through her health coaching practice, Your Healthiest You, break free of the craziness of dieting and connect to their inner sparkle, their truest and best selves through no-nonsense action steps.
She’s been featured by the Cooking Channel, the Wall Street Journal, Health Men’s Fitness, Fitness Magazine, The Huffington Post, CBS News, Nightline and more. Robyn lives in New York City and Los Angeles, but her true home is in the kitchen, whipping up easy, healthy, and delicious eats. Robyn’s first book, Go With Your Gut, the Insider’s Guide to Banishing the Bloat, with 75 digestion-friendly recipes published by Kyle Books will be released on February 9th.
Robyn, thanks for joining me today, I’m super excited! Only stumbling over a few words in your awesome bio.
Robyn Youkilis: {laughs} Thank you! First thanks for having me here, and second; digestion-free kind of cracked me up.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}
Robyn Youkilis: Imagine.
Diane Sanfilippo: You don’t have to digest these foods, don’t worry you guys.
Robyn Youkilis: {laughing} I’m like, wow, we should invent that.
Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s like the elemental diet. {laughs}
Robyn Youkilis: Air and water diet, or something like that?
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it’s like the; what’s it called, shoot, it’s like a Soylent Green or something {laughs}.
Robyn Youkilis: Oh god. Let’s, oh god. No, that’s the worst. That thing.
Diane Sanfilippo: Crazy. Craziness.
Robyn Youkilis: Scary.
Diane Sanfilippo: So, we are going to get into a whole bunch of questions from our listeners and talk about how you advise clients all the time on digestive health, because Liz and I have talked about digestive health tons of times, but I thought it would be super fun to have your take on a lot of these questions. And I know, just before we jump into that, you’re book is coming out, Go With Your Gut, which I think it’s awesome. I think it’s a beautiful kind of warm approach to this whole topic. I feel like a lot of times books on digestion are so clinical, and yours has obviously a ton of that clinical background and information, but it’s just more like; let me give you a hug and teach you about your digestion. {laughs}
Robyn Youkilis: {laughs} I love that you’re saying that because that’s exactly what I was going for. I have those clinical books, and I love that your audience eats up, pun intended, everything digestion focused because so much comes back to that; right, that’s just the core of who we are literally and figuratively. But I just didn’t find that on the market there was something really addressing my women and my emotional eaters and my ladies with a lifetime of dieting and looking for the next thing to fix them. So what was my angle and how have I been coaching women through that lens to heal their digestive systems? But really connected to who they are as a person on this planet and who they want to be and how that could all come together by just starting with their bellies.
Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. So for our listeners that are in the New York City area, before we jump into all of this, I want to give you guys the heads up. If you want to tell them about the event, the book release event so that they can jot that down and if you’re driving or what have you, the information will all be in the blog post show notes. But do you want to let them know about the even really quickly?
Robyn Youkilis: Yes, I’m so excited. I’m having an official book launch party, very fancy, at the newly reopened Rizzoli Bookstore in Flat Iron in New York City. It’s an absolutely gorgeous space. Gabrielle Bernstein, she’s actually a New York Times’ bestselling author and self help guru, she’s a friend of mine from college so we’ve been friends forever, and she’s hosting. I love her community, and our synergy together, so she’s going to be hosting the talk and Q&A. Fabulous party; I love a good party. Anybody who follows me on Instagram knows, I am a travel girl, Coachella girl, so this will be like the book launch version of that. However, I am 9 months pregnant, so depending on when you’re listening to this, I’m going to try not to have the baby at the party. But if I do, you guys will all get to see it so you need to be there. And the best way to grab your tickets for that is, as Diane said, we’ll include the link but if you can remember, which are pretty easy, it’s And that is the link to register, and there’s going to be a rad VIP bag, too, so I recommend a VIP ticket.
Diane Sanfilippo: Ooh, super fun.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: I love that.
Robyn Youkilis: Come rub the belly and eat, and eat, and eat fermented food, and drink bone broth because we’re going to have bone broth there too, and green juice cocktail, so what’s better than that?
Diane Sanfilippo: Very cool. Ok, so why don’t you give kind of your high level view of what’s going on with the state of our digestion, you know, the state of our guts. {laughs} Our guts; that sounds so gory; guts and gory.
Robyn Youkilis: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: I know we have a ton of overarching themes that keep coming up in a lot of the questions; so for those of you who are like, what questions are you talking about? We post on the Balanced Bites podcast Instagram feed now ahead of time for a lot of these episodes that you guys can post questions there. It’s a great way for us to get everyone as a community talking about these topics.
What’s kind of your high level, and I know you have these chapters or sections of the book that kind of take people through, but what’s your take on this whole thing and your approach to getting our digestion in the right place?
Robyn Youkilis: Yes, and again, this is something that everyone is interested in, and I’m glad that we have an opportunity to talk about it in a way that’s past that clinical sense. The clinical and science is so wonderful, and it’s great that people are getting into that now, but my approach is that you can start so much further back and so much more foundationally speaking than that. So, what I mean when I say that is a lot of us are looking for the fix. What’s going on, what’s happening? I didn’t poop today, or I have diarrhea today. Whatever it is, all those fun things that happen when we go to the bathroom, we’re looking for the supplement to fix it. “What are the right probiotics, how many strains do I need?” But really, it can and should be so much simpler than that first.
So first off, starting with mindset. Are you looking for the problem, or are you approaching this with; “well, I’m a generally healthy person, I believe my body knows what it needs to do, I’m going to relax into that and trust that everything is ok first.” So if you’ve got an off day with your digestion not thinking, “Well what’s going on here?”And then what happens? You constrict your stomach even more, you tighten up your bowels, and that makes it really hard for your body to release and do what it needs to do naturally. So right there, just starting with that mindset of coming from a place of, “I am a healthy person, I have a wonderful digestive system, I release with ease, I feel that flow.” It may sound crazy out there; but as I’m sure you’ve talked about on your podcast and so many other places, mindset is so much to do with it. So even just starting with that right off the bat.
Diane Sanfilippo: I love this approach, because that’s definitely, as you and I were chatting right before the show, that’s definitely kind of my own personal approach. I tend to have this place where I come from with this stuff; anything from whether it’s lower GI stuff or upper GI, or not digestion related. I tend to see an issue of one day or a couple of days of like, ok, it’s an off moment. Of course, it’s different if we’re talking about really consistent issues that need to be addressed. But Liz and I do always talk about, it starts in the brain. Digestion starts in the brain because we are either in rest and digest mode or fight or flight mode. And if we’re in fight or flight, we can’t expect our bodies to be resting and digesting, because we’re constantly stressed.
I think there’s a huge number of people; ballpark anywhere from 50-80% of people dealing with digestive problems, that’s just my ballpark, dealing with stress problems more than digestive problems. And the digestive problems would ease themselves when the stress gets handled differently. Unfortunately, I feel like it’s a lot of personality stuff that goes on, just how different people handle stressors.
Let’s get into a few of kind of the first questions we have here, and then we’ll see if there are some overarching themes that we’re identifying and we can kind of dive into those and talk about some things that you like to recommend as approaches to this stuff that’s not just about the uber clinical stuff. And you guys, as those of you listening are trying to figure out what’s going on with your own bodies, I think it’s important to know that you have to go back to the start. You have to go back to these things before you’re hammering at, as Robyn said, specific probiotics.
I talked to Christa Orecchio a few weeks ago, and her protocol is that super clinical, we have to hammer this, we have to fix this. And that can be great for some people, but this is great for everyone. Everyone can be doing what we’re going to be talking about today.
3. When you accidentally fall into a Crockpot of queso (acute constipation) [14:02]
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, so we have a question here. I don’t know if I’m going to read; I’ll just say Emily is asking, “Any ideas for dealing with acute constipation as you’re making long-term changes. What do you do when you accidentally fall into a Crockpot of queso dip, and can’t number 2 like a normal human for days? Magnesium,” It sounds like she means Natural Calm, “sometimes helps, but sometimes it just has the opposite effect.” {laughs}
Robyn Youkilis: {laughs} I love that she accidentally fell into a whole Crockpot of queso dip.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}
Robyn Youkilis: And this is a great question because so many of us, I’m sure, have dealt with this in some way, shape, or form. Family vacations, big meals out with friends. We’ve all been there. So what happens when your body really strongly reacts? Not just, you feel kind of gross or maybe your poop the next morning is not so great. But if she’s got acute constipation going on, what do I really go from here?
So first off I say, definitely coming back to that mindset, and you’re going to see a lot of consistent answers here. Telling yourself it’s ok. Telling yourself, “Ok, I had that, take some good deep breaths, maybe try and sleep a little bit more, and just that sense of relaxing about it.” Often, again, if we go into that frame of mind where we’re stressed about it, what’s going to happen? You know, of course, you’re going to get constipated. Constipation is a physical tightening of your bowels plus some other things happening; but you’re physically tightening yourself when you’re getting stressed or nervous about something. So no worries; queso dip happens, cookies happen. Relaxing about it, and then going up some steps from there.
Water; how much water are you having? Are you drinking a ton of it before you go to bed? When you get up the next morning? I would always say, up your greens. If you’re used to having a good amount of green leafy vegetables; kale, collards, have a lot more. Like, three-quarters of a plate. Like, have a whole head; a bunch, rather, not a head. A bunch of steamed collards, and see if that helps. And have that with some healthy fats. You can give your body some slick there to get out the food and process it.
Other items like aloe vera; I’m a really big fan of aloe vera, the inner fillet or a pure juice. It’s really nourishing for your intestines, really calming, really soothing. So if you gave your body something that it’s not used to or not really enjoying, and it’s reacting by restricting your bowels, giving it something like aloe vera will really calm, soothe, and relax.
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m definitely going to quote you that “queso dip happens.”
Robyn Youkilis: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: That’s pretty much the best quote I’ve heard; {laughs} well I could say all year, but this year just started. But I’m pretty sure “queso dip happens” is one of the top things I’ve heard in a three-word phrase on this podcast in pretty much ever.
Robyn Youkilis: Yay! {laughs}
4. Properly digesting fats [16:59]
Diane Sanfilippo: So that is awesome. Ok, so this next one is about digesting fats, and it’s from Unbound Wellness, and I don’t know if it’s he or she, says “All the things about how to properly digest fats, I’d love to hear about what both you ladies have to say.” Well I’m presuming she meant myself and Liz, but listen, Liz and I have talked about that a bazillion times on this show before. “What awesome answers can come from your combined knowledge?” So I’m curious to hear what you would say about digesting fats. Because what I have to say about digesting anything, it’s all in Practical Paleo {laughs} so you guys can go read the digestion section of the book. But let’s hear what Robyn has to say.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah, I haven’t, as many podcasts of yours I’ve listened to, I don’t remember hearing you say that, so I’m like, I want to know what Diane’s going to say about that! {laughs} But we’ll let you jump in after. For me, again, I keep it really basic. I recommend having some fat if you’re; again, if you’re having a hard time with it, if you’re not, then you don’t need to listen to these answers. But I say eat with protein. Your body breaks it down and processes it better that way. Smaller amounts, and then really what kind of fat are you having? Is it even the good kind from coconut oil, but maybe you need to just have coconut. Your body can’t handle that kind of, even unrefined cold pressed whatever, maybe that’s too much for your body. So sticking with a real fat form, like whole coconut, you know the coconut part you can eat, or avocados. Staying away from oils, nuts, seeds, things like that. Again, if you are having some of those items, having a smaller amount.
And then, you know, I think I find fats digest better with bitters. It’s a food that you want to stimulate your digestive enzymes in your stomach, and having bitters before your meal, herbal bitters or liquor bitters even {laughs} is fine. The kind that comes with alcohol. That’s why they would have a little before dinner drink that was bitter, because it would stimulate your gastric juices and everything, getting your system ready for a big meal. So I find that that actually really pairs well when you have more fats in your diet, or you find that you have a harder time digesting fat.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I’m with you on that. I think, have you also worked at all with an apple cider vinegar kind of thing. If somebody can’t get their hands on bitters; so you guys, I believe most natural food shops and places like that where you see supplements and herbs, you’ll start to also notice there are tinctures there, which they are made from herbs, and you will be able to find a digestive bitters tincture typically in any kind of natural food store, Whole Foods might even have it, or just like your local hippy coop are good places to look for those. I feel like sometimes people will do something like apple cider vinegar to help stimulate stomach acid.
Robyn Youkilis: Yep.
Diane Sanfilippo: And…
Robyn Youkilis: Sorry.
Diane Sanfilippo: Sorry, go ahead.
Robyn Youkilis: No, no! I was going to say, honestly without even looking at any of the other questions having raw apple cider vinegar is literally the answer for all of that {laughs}.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} It’s like, Windex or coconut oil or apple cider vinegar, one of those will solve the problem.
Robyn Youkilis: Basically. You know, you’ve seen all the coconut oil Instagrams.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yes.
Robyn Youkilis: Like coconut oil does your taxes; {laughs} we need to create one for raw apple cider vinegar, because that, along with chewing properly, which we can get into a bit more; yeah, it does everything. Heartburn, constipation, allergies, immunity, stimulating your digestive juices, everything flowing in your system. Yes, it is the great cure all. And when we say apple cider vinegar I’m sure your listeners know this, but raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized having that before a meal. Totally…
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So, I think you can do like a small amount in a shot of water to start off and just see how much you can tolerate. You don’t want to take too much. Vinegar is super potent. But I think the reason that that truly helps is because what it does, when someone says they’re not digesting fats, the fat digestion is slightly more downstream process. It’s happening after the stomach acid situation. So if you look at your digestive system, your liver producing bile being stored by your gallbladder and being excreted in response to the food that you’re eating, but the food, the bolus of food that becomes chyme; so once that’s chewed up and blended with the digestive enzymes and enough stomach acid to signal those digestive enzymes, that bolus of food needs to send a signal to your gallbladder to release a certain amount of bile. So if your stomach acid isn’t sufficient, then entire downstream process doesn’t happen well.
I noticed this; I think this is one of the things that happened with my dad for a long time, whether it was stress or whatever was causing the low stomach acid. He was taking antacids for so long, and as you guys have learned on this show, through the last 4+ years of us doing the show, that typically reflux is a sign of low stomach acid, not high stomach acid. So if you’re dealing with reflux, you probably don’t have sufficient stomach acid; that’s going to make your food not tell your gallbladder how to release bile. That can actually lead to something like the development of gallstones, and that’s something that my dad has definitely struggled with, and had surgery, had his gallbladder removed.
5. Chew your food [22:36]
Diane Sanfilippo: So, it’s a totally connected process, and I think this goes back to what we were talking about. Calming down and chewing. Do you want to talk more about chewing? Because I know that chewing is like your number one thing that, if you have anyone that needs a piece of free advice that’s free for them to take and free for them to do, it’s chewing. So why don’t we talk a little bit more about why chewing is so important, and how it works, and what kind of revelations you’ve seen with people who just stop what they’re doing and chew more.
Robyn Youkilis: My favorite topic. But really, I have to actually just comment first if I could just say this, what a nerd you are, and how much I love it. {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} Sorry. I mean, look, we taught the process of digestion for like 3 years on the road, and actually the Balanced Bites Master Class, I had to reteach it again a few months ago recording that, and so;
Robyn Youkilis: So good.
Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, I’ve explained this process so many times.
Robyn Youkilis: It’s so good. But you start talking bile; I’m like, yes Diane; yes, yes! This is it, I love it! It makes me so unbelievably happy that you’re such a smarty about all this, and it just. Ah! It’s so good. Ok {laughs} so.
Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, chewing. Let’s talk about chewing.
Robyn Youkilis: Let’s talk about chewing. So yes, chewing. I get asked so much; what’s the number one thing I can do for my health right now? What do I need to change in my diet? And really, let’s get real here, how can I lose weight? My energy sucks, but really I just care about dropping some pounds and feeling more comfortable in my body. And there’s a lot of answers to a lot of those questions, but really chewing is, for me, always going to be my number one answer for that. And the reason is; it’s free, {laughs} you have to do it all the time, you can’t get around it, and it’s the simplest, simplest thing, although it takes some time, but the simplest thing that you can focus on.
So what I mean by chewing is you take a bite of food in your mouth, and you completely chew it until liquid or at least mush depending on what the food is before you swallow it down. And so many of us are never taught to do that, right? As kids, it’s “hands off the table” or “finish your broccoli” or whatever, but no one said, you know, they don’t want you to choke, but no one said, here’s how you eat. Here’s how you’re meant to enjoy this process and how it’s supposed to look. We just don’t address it as children, and so it never gets addressed. So what we typically do is chew a bite of food 4 or 5 times, if that, and swallow it down. And then what happens, right? Our stomachs literally don’t have teeth, so they end up overworking, overtaxing our systems, throwing everything out of balance. We end up with the heartburn, we end up with the bloating, we end up with inflammation and the excess weight gain, and really it all comes back to us not taking the time that we need to and that our bodies are designed for us to break down our food properly in our mouth before it goes anywhere else.
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Diane Sanfilippo: I’m doing the emoji hands up with the Cool Ranch Doritos coming out of them {laughs}, because that’s what I think is happening in that emoji, it’s like; give me the Cool Ranch Doritos! Wait, does that one have blue?
Robyn Youkilis: I have to look at it. {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: I think that one has blue. Yeah, or they’re gray, so maybe they’re stale. Anyway; this is perfect to tie back to what we were just talking about to stomach acid being low. How much are we demanding stomach acid because we’re not chewing? So for people who are like; I’m dealing with acid reflux, or I don’t think I’m digesting fats enough; you’re answer {laughs} is tackling that, because we have to chew. Chewing is going to stimulate stomach acid production, which will stimulate better fat breakdown. All of that works together. The mechanism; the actual mechanical chewing does stimulate that all further, not to mention again when your food is sent to your stomach and it’s not in these larger chunks, you’re just giving your stomach a break.
Robyn Youkilis: Exactly. And then, you know, we all talk about; maybe this isn’t specifically digestion focused, but I know my girls need to hear this; we all want to be eating less, eating a little bit slower, eating the right amount of food for our body. And we talk about how fast we eat, and we’re eating at our desks and we’re busy and all this. Yes, it’s wonderful to dive into mindful eating and what that means for you and how you can bring that into your life more, but even before that, if you just focus on this simple practice, you don’t have to worry about that. Because you are going to naturally slow down, you are going to taste your food more, and be in the experience more, and likely you’re going to eat a little bit less food, which your body probably doesn’t need at that time; you’re going to eat a little bit less because you’re so sick of chewing {laughing}. Because you’re like, wow, this takes a really long time.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}
Robyn Youkilis: And I’m really over this salad. So I’m going to put it aside now because I need to get back to my life.
Diane Sanfilippo: That is hilarious.
Robyn Youkilis: So that’s the how. There is no; oh, I need to slow down, I want to slow down, I should slow down. It’s like, just cut straight to the chewing and you will.
Diane Sanfilippo: Right. I think it’s also what you talked about with that creating more mindfulness for the people who have been following what I’m doing, whether it’s here on the podcast or over on Instagram or wherever that I’m on this meal plan right now where I am measuring out what I’m eating. That has made me so much more mindful, and I do find I’m eating more slowly, because my plate isn’t just filled with whatever I thought I wanted to fill it with, right? There’s a mindfulness that’s happening there and it’s slowing me down, eating. Anything that can get you to be more mindful about what you’re doing and slowing down and chewing more and kind of appreciating the food more and I know what you mean to say with, everyone wants to be eating less. I’m thinking over here, I want to eat more. {laughs} But what you mean there is, it is totally spot on. It’s like, I want to be less hungry, but be satisfied by my food by an amount of it that’s right for my body.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: It’s just, it’s a missing link. It’s a huge missing link that we’re not chewing enough. We’re standing up at the counter, eating. We’re eating in the car, we’re eating on the go, and we’re just not setting ourselves up. We’re just not setting ourselves up to digest properly, hands down. And you guys; not hating on needing the bite of sushi in the car that you just bought at Whole Foods or whatever it is {laughs}, it’s not that. It’s; look, if you’re struggling with this stuff, peel it all back instead of trying to supplement you way out of this, peel it back to; are you supporting the process as it’s supposed to happen, or not.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah.
6. Antacids and alternatives [30:33]
Diane Sanfilippo: I think that will resolve so many things. Ok, so we’ve got a question from Victoria Noelle, and she says; “How do you feel about antacids?” This is a good one, because we were just kind of touching on that. She says, “I’ve been paleo for over a year, and I’ve been having a bad side ache.” Hmm.
Robyn Youkilis: Hmm.
Diane Sanfilippo: Interesting. “Doctor recommended an antacid to relieve the pain; not convinced that‘s the issue.” That was her note, not mine. “Are there foods to relieve acid naturally?” So we did touch on this a bit, but let’s kind of just hammer this one.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah, you know, I’m hearing this and all I’m thinking about is my heartburn that I get {laughs} in pregnancy. Because, you know, my doctors are all; “Oh, you’re experiencing heartburn, I can prescribe you an antacid for that.” And I’m like, no! You’re the devil! No, I’m kidding, I don’t think that. But, yeah, antacid is anti-acid, and while we think we want less of it, we often need more of it, and in my case for pregnancy, it’s because all my organs and everything is all smushed up and coming up into my neck, and it’s better for me to focus on, and probably better for you, Victoria; smaller meals, chewing everything completely until liquid, having some of that apple cider vinegar, and then there are some other things we can explore.
One thing that’s really; I find really great for balancing your body and the acid in your stomach is coconut water; pure coconut water. It’s really cooling for your system, and really hydrating, and balancing your electrolytes. So sometimes it’s just an issue that everything is kind of off, and it’s less to do with that you’re having acid pain coming up on you and more that just your whole body needs to be calmed down and cooled down. So again, going back to what we started with in the beginning, but again. Coconut water isn’t really a recommendation in digestive health land a lot, but I have found with myself and my clients, sometimes something so simple like that can be really helpful.
And then also kefir. If you can tolerate dairy, cultured yogurt products can be really calming and really cooling and helpful. Simplifying your meals, just having no more than one to three foods in any given meal, spacing them more; those would be some of my… And again, coming back to bitters, aloe vera. Kind of the same thing, because it’s all your digestive system, whether it’s working for you for constipation or diarrhea, a lot of it actually is a similar remedy. It’s balancing your body and bringing calmness to it, and all these suggestions all do that.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, for sure. Everything we were talking about with chewing; I definitely think chewing can help her too. The thing that chewing does besides the mechanical process, is like that mindful calming, I have to chill out if I’m going to focus on chewing. Because as soon as you get kind of stressed out and putting your attention away from the food, you tend to not chew as much. So everything that we’ve been talking about so far can also help.
I’d be really curious to see what happens with Victoria, if that’s her name, if she kind of goes through a checklist where she starts out with chewing, and making sure she’s in rest and digest mode. Do that for a week, see what happens. Try each of these things sequentially, where it’s like, the chewing is the thing that you start with and you keep that, and then you move to; ok, maybe I’m trying adding coconut water, or maybe I’m trying adding the apple cider vinegar, etc. I know we’ve talked about things like hydrochloric acid supplements, and back to the fat and digestion thing; ox bile supplements and things Liz and I have talked about here on the show, but those really shouldn’t be your first, that shouldn’t be where you go to first. Especially if it’s a chronic issue. If it’s an acute issue, and it just happens out of the blue; I’m definitely someone where I’m like, if I’m traveling and I have this issue where I feel like I am not digesting fats, it definitely has happened to me a few times, I do like to know that I have a supplement somewhere that I can take that will help with that, because I know it’s a one-off thing for me, but if it’s a consistent chronic issue, then yeah, we need to go backwards and kind of dig a little bit deeper.
7. Drinking while eating [34:54]
Diane Sanfilippo: This was a cool question from Patty Dennis, she’s asking; “Is it advised to drink water, or anything for that matter, during or after a meal?”
Robyn Youkilis: Oh my god, I love that question. {laughs} A lot of my training and focus is in Ayurveda, so actually we talk about that a lot in the wisdom there of, you’re treating and thinking about your digestive system as a fire, right. So if you’ve got this beautiful fire. Let’s say you’re in Vermont, and you’re picturing your gorgeous fire place and the flames going, would you, if it was burning through the wood, would you pour water on it? {Laughs} So that’s exactly what’s happening in your stomach when you’re digesting your food; so no, we don’t want to put water during a meal and really after right away for that matter.
Actually I want to address one thing with this, because I, again personally speaking from my experience, I come from diet-brain land. So what diet can I try that will help me lose weight. And I’ve healed that over the years and moved away from that and teach about it now, but one of my tricks was; “oh, well I’m going to drink tons of water with my meals, and that’s going to fill me up so I won’t eat as much food.” And, if any of you, your listeners are probably nodding, they remember that, or are doing that now; it’s the opposite of what our bodies need.
So, keep water out of meals, let that digestive fire, that flame burn strong. Let it do what it needs to do, wait ideally an hour after meals. If you can only get through a half hour, that’s fine. And if you need to have something with your meal, hot water. Just sip a little hot water, hot water with lemon even, that’s fine. In a lot of Asian cultures, they drink tea, a green tea with the meal, and again those can actually work, you know, coincide with digesting your food, but I’d say generally use kind of a blanket rule for everyone, just keep the liquids away and out of meal time and right after, and see what happens.
Diane Sanfilippo: Agreed on that. I think people do get a little confused on things like soups and broths, and I think that the difference when it comes to that type of things is that those foods do initiate some digestive function, because the broth carries protein, it carries a little bit of fat and some minerals, and it’s not… water can have some mineral content, but water is not going to carry any other macronutrients that would initiate the digestive process the same way that something like a soup would. So not talking about soups, pureed soups and things like that; really just talking about just completely diluting it all with water. I like the analogy of the burning and; it’s kind of like the opposite. In this case, we actually want to keep that fire going. Not if it’s… {laughs}
Robyn Youkilis: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: Like a stomach acid fire that we’re freaked out about. But yeah, just to keep the food getting broken down and moving along properly. So I think that’s kind of a good way to think about it. We definitely don’t pour tons to drink with a meal, and try and drink beverages away from meals as much as possible. Not to go crazy about it; but look, if you’re sitting with a group of people, you will notice the person who is just gulping it down. Like, chugging water. And this could be really common if you’re eating spicy foods or you’re putting hot sauce on things, if you realize that you put a ton of hot sauce on everything because, I mean, come on, hot sauce is delicious. But if you’re putting a ton of hot sauce on your food and you’re ending up drinking tons of water with the meal, you might have to use a little less hot sauce so that you don’t dilute this whole process more.
It’s a lot to look at, and sometimes we don’t realize that we’re doing this. I remember back in the day, not to totally call him out, and I know that he’ll hear this episode. Bill Staley, I remember we were at the table, I was cooking for Practical Paleo, we were taking pictures at their house, and he was trying to get to the bottom of his digestive issues that they blogged about, so it’s not like it’s some crazy secret. But he had an issue with leaky gut, and I remember were sitting at the table, and one day I was like; Bill, you just drank like 2 huge glasses of water. Maybe you should calm down with the chugging. It was just funny because later he was uncovering some of these digestive issues that probably would have been helped by just scaling back there. So, good stuff to know.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah. And then one more thing, actually about the water. A lot of us, it’s when we’re remembering to drink water, right? Because we’re having a meal. So we probably forgot about it all morning, so we’re just trying to play catch-up and we’re already eating, and we’re like; oh, that means I can be drinking too.
Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.
Robyn Youkilis: So that just means we need to be also a little bit more mindful of having the water, not around our meals. I always recommend putting, a little tip, giant mason jars of filtered water on your nightstand before you go to sleep. Before you do anything, you’ve got it in your hands. You get up; I find my husband’s empty mason jars in the shower {laughs}.
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} So you like setting that up at night so in the morning, you’re going to chug a whole bunch of it.
Robyn Youkilis: Exactly, before you even ….
Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. That’s actually a really good tip, because I definitely do not wake up and drink a whole bunch of water. Currently it’s like coffee {laughs} first thing, and I think I’m going to add this to my #greatby8 challenge ,wake up and drink a whole bunch of water.
Robyn Youkilis: Oh my god, that would make me so happy!
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}
Robyn Youkilis: So, yeah, I get the mason jars that are 24 ounces, so it’s almost like 3.5 cups, a little bit more, that you’ve got on your night stand. You didn’t have to go do anything. And you tote it around with you for the morning. Like I said, you find them in places at the end of the day, you’re like; oh there’s my morning jar. But you’ve got 3 cups of water before you do anything else in your system. So, I so want you to do that, Diane, that would make me so happy.
Diane Sanfilippo: I love it. I think that’s a really good idea. And I like the idea that it’s a mason jar, because if I put a lid on it, that’s probably a good approach to me not knocking it over, because I’m so blind without my glasses, and then the cat wants to sleep next to me, and he would probably stick his face in it and try and drink it; so mason jar and putting a lid on it, I’m going to do that, I love it.
Robyn Youkilis: You’re blind too at night? I can’t, I’m like the blindest person ever. I’m like 7 and 7.5, negative. I can’t see anything.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, yeah. I’m like 6.5 contact lens prescription.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: So we’re pretty much there.
Robyn Youkilis: Perfect!
8. What to look for in probiotics and digestive enzymes [41:43]
Diane Sanfilippo: Totally blind. So, {laughs} we have; let’s see, there was a question here that I highlighted but then I lost it. Ok, yes this is the one. This is from Kayla, and she’s asking, “What should you look for in buying probiotics or digestive enzymes?” I’d love to hear your take on that one.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah. That is a good, I get that question all the time and I actually like to; I take a slightly different approach to that. So before I have an answer about what to look for, I always suggest to eat your probiotics first. So what I mean by that is raw; if you can tolerate it, most people can. Raw fermented sauerkraut. So purchased or sauerkraut you made yourself. I heard a recent stat somewhere that one jar of fermented sauerkraut is equivalent to 8 jars of probiotics. That’s how many strains…
Diane Sanfilippo: Whoa.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah, I know. That’s seriously, seriously major. And talk about…
Diane Sanfilippo: And cheap, because you can make a jar of kraut for like, “fiddy” cents {laughs}
Robyn Youkilis: Exactly; fiddy cents, exactly. So make yourself, and even if you don’t make it yourself, it’s so much cheaper, when you do the math, if you just buy it at the farmers market for $8, it’s ok. So I definitely suggest eat your probiotics first before you pop your probiotics; because you’re going to be more guaranteed to get coverage, your body will likely be able to digest it better. You don’t have to stress about strains and cycling them and what you’re getting and what you’re not getting, is this product actually delivering what it says in here. I’m always doing new research on probiotics and digestive enzymes, and I still find the whole world… You know, I think of it as my job to take this information and make it as digestible for you as possible, and I still don’t; I mean, I have an answer for this question, but it’s still not the greatest answer. It’s not like; here, just do this. So that’s why I like to start with, again, fermented veggies, raw sauerkraut, having that first you’re going to be way more covered.
And then going back to the actual question, and I’d love you to jump in on this with your opinion too, Diane. I always say vary the different strains. So if you get one kind of probiotic, check what strains they have in that one, and then when you finish that bottle, go to a different one with different strains. Because you’re likely not going to find the same in one. And I’m not suggesting brands, because again, I think they’re always changing, and I don’t always, you know, I put on my website what I’m liking at the moment and then I kind of vary it. So cycling them, multi strains.
And then for digestive enzymes, you know, use them mostly if you notice a difference. Any quality, again, I don’t know if you want me to suggest some brands, but really any quality brand and see; you should notice a specific difference in digestive enzymes. And when I say that; you should feel less bloated after your meals, you should feel better, you should feel like you’re digesting your food better, pooping more, more energy, and if you’re not noticing that, then they’re probably not working for you, or they’re not the right kind.
Diane Sanfilippo: How much time do you think people should give it to decide if it’s working for them.
Robyn Youkilis: It depends on their diet, too. Again, that’s why I sort of stay away from the supplements to start.
Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.
Robyn Youkilis: Two to three weeks, maybe even a month, and that is assuming that the rest of the diet is pretty clean, they’re chewing their food, pretty basic paleo but getting enough still high volume of veggies and seeing how they feel after meals.
And then there are also alternative digestive enzymes; apple cider vinegar, it’s going to do something pretty similar. So again, eating the foods instead of turning to the supplements wherever you can.
Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I think if you’re feeling like you need to always take digestive enzymes, it’s always, roll it back and look back upstream as we’ve mentioned a bunch of times today, which I think that will be a good theme of the show as folks are listening; ok, my takeaway for today is chew, rest and digest mode, be super mindful, and work with some of these natural tips. And hey you guys, Go With Your Gut is the name of Robyn’s book, I know a lot of you are probably going to grab a copy of it after listening to the show because you want to see Robyn’s whole approach.
I want to remind you, too, that obviously not to the degree that Robyn is covering it, but this stuff is covered in Practical Paleo, and I’m saying that because I know a lot of you guys have a copy and you just haven’t read through that digestion section, maybe in a couple of years since you got it. So go back through there and read it again, because it is going to cover how your digestion should work. And then going through Go With Your Gut; it comes out in just a couple of weeks, and I think you guys are going to feel like it’s just a great guide to; I don’t know, a more chill approach to this whole thing and just not freaking out about every; self diagnosing with a million different things. Just kind of scaling it back and saying, what should I really be doing, how should I be moving through the day to support my digestion and feel better, lose the bloat, all that stuff, right? I mean, it just kind of all goes together.
Robyn Youkilis: And there’s pretty pictures. {laughing}
9. Best time of day to take probiotics [47:05]
Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} So wait, this is a question that is on the heels of the previous one from, I don’t know how to say this handle so we’re just going to say the question. “When is the best time of day to take a probiotic, morning or night?”
Robyn Youkilis: Oh great question, and I do have an opinion on this.
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah, so our stomachs are generally more relaxed at night. So you have a stronger digestive fire in the morning; that’s why getting your breakfast going with warm foods; eggs, spices, things like that, are going to be really nice and stimulating for your digestive system. It’s really that flame is turned up in the morning, and it tends to go down as the day goes down, just like a fire kind of would. So at night, your system is sort of calmer, relaxed, it’s gone into that ease mode hopefully, if you’re letting. So your body is better able to absorb and assimilate those probiotics.
So I suggest taking them at night before you go to sleep. And if you’re someone who is doing a cycle where you’re doubling your probiotic, or doing a month of two to four times, whatever, suggested under someone’s guidance, then obviously you would have it in the morning as well as at night, but for general audience, having it at night is going to actually be a little better for your body; do its work.
Diane Sanfilippo: Plus, if you find that it’s overly stimulating in creating a little bit of {laughs} a little bit of gas or something, then taking it at night is a good idea.
Robyn Youkilis: {laughs} Gas, who farts? No one farts! I don’t know anybody that farts. There’s no farting going on in my house, or world.
Diane Sanfilippo: If you get a little tootie after that probiotic; I wouldn’t know anything about that. You know, take it at night and hopefully your significant other is also taking it so that y’all can {laughing} enjoy that process together!
Robyn Youkilis: Oh my god, it’s so true.
Diane Sanfilippo: It happens.
Robyn Youkilis: It happens. You know, we need to talk about it, which is why I’m glad we’re talking about it now, you know. God bless my husband, but we are on year 8, and he is still working on chewing more than 5 times per mouthful.
Diane Sanfilippo: That’s hilarious.
Robyn Youkilis: I hold the vision that that will change one day. You guys hold it with me, ok everyone.
10. More about Go With Your Gut book [49:23]
Diane Sanfilippo: Get him chewing. So why don’t you talk a little bit more about the book and kind of what people can expect if they are going to grab a copy. We’re going to link up to it, you guys, over in the show notes. It’s called Go With Your Gut, and of course, we’ll have that available for you all linked up so you guys can get to it. But why don’t you tell people a little bit about how the book is structured, and what people can expect with it. Because it’s really different from books on health or even cookbooks or any other book that I’ve seen, the way that you structured it, it’s just super unique to you and your approach.
Robyn Youkilis: Thank you! Yeah, that was my intention. When I saw this book, I saw the vision of it being on someone’s coffee table, so it could hang with the art books and be cool and interesting enough and sort of lovely enough in your home décor, and then I also had the vision of people being able to have it in their kitchen and messed up and dog eared from recipes and splatters and all that; to night stand. So something you could dive into at night that would feel; you know how there are certain health books that; I’m reading 10% Happier. I could read that on my nightstand, and it feels like I’m getting some good health info there, but it’s calming, it’s relaxing, and I could read it like a story.
So that’s how I went into approaching writing this book, and it ended up being half high level coaching guide; so really, all my best tips, tricks from 6 years of one on one health coaching and programs that I’ve run, really my best guidance all in this one place. As you guys can hear, I get really specific. I’m kind of snarky or slightly sassy about certain things, but in a way that’s meant to really help instead of just, “la, la, la.” You know; like, here’s what you can do to really fix this and really notice relief right away. And I give it all in this book.
And then the other half is, it’s a cookbook. So it’s just a really lovely cookbook that focuses on digestive friendly recipes; but really again what we’re talking about; simplifying your foods, eating yummy food that you love, and it’s pretty darn paleo. And that’s not because I’m trying to be paleo or holding onto that more; it’s just, that’s what I’ve noticed works best for my clients and it works best for most people’s digestive systems. So the book just leans in that direction. But really, I have vegan recipes, carnivores are covered; I gave options for everything. And just made sure to make sure that the reading of the book was a really nice comforting experience where you gain the knowledge you want, but really it’s like sitting on a cozy couch with someone and exciting at the same time because you can’t wait to make this awesome shephards pie.
Diane Sanfilippo: Awesome. I don’t think people; I kind of hope they’re not taking Practical Paleo to be.
Robyn Youkilis: {laughs}
Diane Sanfilippo: It’s 4 pounds, and then if you fall asleep and drop it on your head. It’s certainly not a very {laughs}. This is kind of like, you know, girlfriends guide type of thing. I just loved flipping through it. I got to see a preview, and I feel like it’s very much what a lot of women; and you guys listening, it’s what you guys need. It’s also what your friends need, you know. Think about your friends who don’t want a book that’s kind of about a specific diet or way of eating, but they want to feel better, and this is really a great way to go because it’s going to be something that’s just super welcoming, you know. It’s like, you can do this here we go. Here’s what we’re going to do; it’s not, you know, it’s not like your standard kind of clinical book, which I think is a great way to frame things. It’s just a little softer, you know.
Robyn Youkilis: Totally. Thank you! Yeah.
Diane Sanfilippo: I’m pumped for you. Love it.
Robyn Youkilis: Thank you!
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, so what is the best website for people to go to if they want to get details on the book? Should we have them link through the show notes, or what should we give people here.
Robyn Youkilis: Yeah, so I’m doing quite a lovely batch of preorder bonuses. So if you can grab your copy before the release date on February 9th, you’ll get a whole bunch of great bonuses that come with the book, and that’s all at
Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, cool.
Robyn Youkilis: And you can link that. And then after, depending on when you’re listening to this, you can still go to and we’ll redirect you to where you need to be from there.
Diane Sanfilippo: Very cool. Yeah, preorder bonuses are always fun. It’s like giving people a bunch of extra goodies and stuff like that that you can’t always fit in the book. So you guys should definitely check that out. Preordering the book, of course, always helps our authors to grow their platform, and we totally appreciate that as we love to thank them for being on the show by supporting their work.
So, we can also find you all over the interwebz. We can find you, I know, on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Periscope. I saw you Periscoping a while ago; I don’t know if I’ve seen you doing more of it. But hopefully we’ll see your smiling face over there. Robyn Youkilis. And we will also link to all of that from the show notes, so if you guys are like, “I want to go follow her!” Which you should, you should definitely follow Robyn, you can link up to that all through the show notes.
Is there anything else you want to leave people with today?
Robyn Youkilis: Kind of, I had a moment where you said that, and I just said “Why?” Like, “Why is this important?” And you know, we all want to feel better, but really our gut is everything and beyond the sense of how we feel, how we look, how our energy is, how we’re sleeping. But really, our gut is what guides us in our lives. So every powerful decision we want to make or need to make comes from our gut; it comes from that place of our intuition of your knowing. Every right decision I’ve ever made in my life, from the second I look at my now husband and knew at that time, and went to nutrition school; all this came from that place. And so I just want that for all of you guys, and I feel really honored to get to teach.
Diane Sanfilippo: Love it. Thank you so much for spending time with me today, and spending time with our audience. I know they are going to benefit from this so greatly. You guys need to come back over to the Instagram, to the comments on our blog, etc., let us know what is going on after you put this stuff into play in your lives. We definitely want to hear all about it, and hear what’s working for you, because that is what this is all about. We don’t like to do this work in a bubble; we want to hear from you. We want to hear what’s happening.
Diane Sanfilippo: So, that is it for this week you guys, thanks so much for listening. You can find Liz at, you can find me, Diane, at Don’t forget to join our email lists for free goodies and updates you don’t find anywhere else on our websites or on the podcast. And I would so appreciate if you all, who are our lovely regular listeners who may not yet have had the chance to do this, would hop over to iTunes and leave us a review, because they help other listeners find our show and we so, so appreciate it. We love you guys. We will catch you next week. Thanks for listening.

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