#173: John Douillard, DC- Seasonal Wheat Consumption, Digestion and Gluten Free Diet Problems

by Deanna Mutzel, DC



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About John Douillard, DC, CAP

Dr. Douillard is a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda, and sports medicine. He is the creator of, the leading Ayurvedic health and wellness resource on the web. is evolving the way Ayurveda is understood around the world, with over 700 articles and videos proving ancient wisdom with modern science. Dr. John is the former Director of Player Development for the New Jersey Nets NBA team, author of 6 health books, a repeat guest on the Dr. Oz show, and featured in Woman’s World Magazine, Huffington Post, Yoga Journal and dozens of other publications. He directs LifeSpa, the 2013 Holistic Wellness Center of the year in Boulder, CO.



Books and Products Discussed

Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically-Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back Into Your Diet

The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease

PurEnema Silicone Enema Kit with Medical-Grade Silicone Tubing & Silicone Enema Tips | 1.8 Quart | Medical-Grade Silicone Enema Bag, Reusable Silicone Enema Bag | BPA-Free | Seeking Health


Related Episode: #20: John Douillard, DC – How eating seasonally and Ayurvedic medicine can improve your gut health and reduce food sensitivities

Show Notes

02:07 Bacterial Diversity Study: Dr. Douillard did a study of gut bacteria colonization after oral probiotic use. In his study, a group of people went to Europe. Some took probiotics and others did not. Participants who took the probiotics were able to garner 40% more sustained colonization. They had new bugs and more bugs. Even those who did not take the supplemental probiotics had increased bacterial diversity, though no overall increase in the amount of bacteria. The more diverse our gut bacteria, the better for our health.

03:59 Food Intolerances: The quality of your digestion, the quality of your intestinal skin, and the quality of the lymphatics that drain your intestinal skin has a lot to do with food intolerances. Many of our symptoms of food intolerances have to do with those the quality of digestion, intestinal skin and lymphatics as well as your microbiome.

05:26 Food Intolerance Myths: You shouldn’t eat wheat, dairy or other foods if they may you feel bad. Taking these items out of your diet without fixing the underlying cause may cause more problems. Our ability to digest well is our ability to detoxify well. 400 billion pounds of chemicals dumped into the American environment every year. 62 million of these are cancer causing. When you eat organically, you are still eating foods saturated with toxins from the environment. If you are not digesting well, you are not able to rid your body of these toxins well.

06:42 Problems down the Road: Dr. Douillard sees patients who eliminate wheat, only to be reacting to something else 6 months later. This tends to happen with each item eliminated.

07:10 Reasons for Broken Digestive/Detox Systems: The ingredient list for a loaf of bread is long and microbes will not consume much of it. Traditional bread is organic, made with wheat, salt, water and an organic starter. It takes 3 days to bake. It becomes hard quickly. Processed foods increase the risk of metabolic syndrome, obesity, belly fat, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high bad cholesterol, and low good cholesterol, by 141%. People who eat whole foods, including whole wheat, decrease their risk of metabolic syndrome by 38%. Multiple studies find that whole, unrefined wheat reduces blood sugar and has nothing to do with cognitive decline. It can reduce inflammation and repair the intestinal skin. Eating processed gluten free foods to eliminate processed wheat is not an improvement.

10:40 Gluten Free Industry: It is a 16 billion dollar industry. Sixty years ago we were told that fat was cause of heart disease. Cholesterol was taken out of our diet and replaced with processed/refined bleached fats that are in every processed food to extend shelf life. They are indigestible and linked to the breakdown of the digestive system. We also consume pesticides that kill the microbes in our mouths and digestive system that are directly linked to breaking down gluten. Take all of the processed foods out of your diet, not just wheat.

11:51 Studies of Gluten Free vs Wheat Consumer: People on a gluten free diet had 4 times the mercury in their blood than people who ate wheat. People on a gluten free diet had significantly less good bacteria and more bad bacteria than people who ate wheat. Gluten free consumers had fewer killer T cells, a measure of immunity, compared to those who consumed wheat. Hard to digest foods are immune stimulators, stimulating our intestinal wall.

12:52 Hygiene Hypothesis: Amish kids have the lowest rates of asthma on the planet. Hutterites, with the same genetics, are modern farmers whose children have the highest rates of asthma on the planet. Amish barn air is an immune stimulant for the respiratory tract, preventing them from getting asthma. Science has found that we have been eating wheat for 4 million years.

13:29 Modern vs Ancient Wheat: 10,000 years ago everything was hybridized for different reasons, like larger wheat berries. The gluten content in modern wheat is identical to the gluten of ancient wheats. One study of some ancient wheat grains found that they had twice the amount of gluten of today’s grain. Yet these grains had twice the reduction of inflammation, lowered blood sugar and lowered cholesterol.

19:12 Eat Wheat Seasonally: Wheat was a fall harvested grain to be eaten in the fall and winter. The enzyme amylase appears to specifically break down wheat, which increases in the fall and winter. Deer can die if they eat out of season. Bugs in the soil change from season to season. When we eat that food, these bugs influence our microbiome.  More meat is eaten in the winter and more fruits and vegetables are eaten in the summer.

22:36 Roundup/Glyphosate: Roundup/glyphosate is used as a desiccant in wheat processing only about 10% of the time. It is not used at all in organic wheat. In our environment, glyphosate is on everything. Glyphosate and BT toxins have been shown to drill through the intestinal skin. Our intestinal skin is our first line of defense. Genetic material from bugs effected by the toxins impact our own genetic code. As we age, our intestinal skin gets smaller and less effective for delivering nutrients to our bodies.

24:37 Ageing Process: Three factors link to our ageing process, the quality of your intestinal skin, the lymphatics that line your intestinal skin, and the quality of the microbes in the intestinal skin.

25:26 Digestion and Detoxification Link: Gallbladder surgery is the number one surgery today. If you don’t have a gallbladder, you still make bile. The gallbladder is a sack of stored bile that is 15 to 20 time concentrated. We have the ability to digest significant amounts of fat. When people don’t eat fat or eat bad fats, it is directly linked to gallbladder disease. When your liver becomes congested, your bile becomes thick. Bile consumes toxins, chemicals and fats in your liver. In your digestive tract it consumes parasites and other “yucky stuff”. It scrubs and cleans your villi. Bile is a regulator of your bowel movements. Bile is a buffer for the acid in your stomach. If the liver and bile are not responsive, the stomach holds on to the food, acid and fat. The longer it stays in the stomach, the acid causes reflux and irritate the stomach lining. If the body does not produce enough bile long term, the body cuts down acid production. When this happens, we lose the trigger for our entire digestive and detox response. The bile is necessary for emulsifying the toxins in our environment. When we lose digestive strength, the antinutrients and hard to digest proteins like gluten and casein are sent into the small intestine too large to get into the blood and deliver nutrition.

29:23 Lymphatic System: Instead these large proteins are picked up in the collecting ducts of our lymphatic system, thus congesting our lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system in your body and is the number one delivery system for energy between meals.

31:28 Lymph System Congestion:  If the lymphatic system becomes congested, you become chronically fatigued. The lymphatic system is the carrier for your entire immune system. The lymph system is everywhere in your body: your skin, your joints and reproductive system. Before women menstruate, they have a detox flush through the lymphatic system. When the system is congested, women experience breast tenderness, swelling, breakouts, and bloating. There are lymphs in the brain that drain 3 pounds of toxic chemicals out of your brain each year. Gluten has been found in the lymphatic system. Gluten displaces the fats being delivered to your body. When your lymphatics are congested, fats to be delivered to your body are instead stored around your belly. Lack of brain drainage is linked to anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, autoimmune conditions, infection and inflammation.

34:19 Gluten Free Diets: We may be putting ourselves in harm’s way for a more serious problem down the road, if we do not address the causes of food intolerances. People on restrictive gluten free diets have significant nutrient deficiencies. Ancient human ate 30 to 40 percent of their diet in carbohydrates.

38:33 Dairy: It makes no sense for adult humans to drink glasses of milk. Our ancestors made cheese or butter out of milk. There is no milk protein, no sugar, and no casein in heavy whipping cream. It is 100% pure fat. If you have indigestion from heavy whipping cream, you have a gallbladder/bile congestive issue. The cheese making process breaks down lactose, lactic acid, and casein. The original cheese in Austria and India was a soft sour cheese. Fermented foods heat you, so are better consumed in the winter. We don’t need dairy. As adults, most mammals stop producing the enzyme that allows them to consume milk sugar. Many humans from norther Europe have developed lactase persistence.

32:03 Breaking down Gluten: There are enzymes for breaking down gluten and the hard to digest components in your mouth, your esophagus, small intestine and large intestine. When gluten is broken down in your digestive tract, it becomes short chain fatty acids like butyric acid, the driver of immunity in your intestinal tract and feed the microbes in your digestive tract. Gluten is a major driver for feeding the microbiome.

44:31 Benefits of Eating Wheat: Wheat consumption increases cognitive function, lowers blood sugar, helps with weight loss and helps you live longer. People who eat more whole grains in their diet, live 18% longer. They die of heart disease 16% less. They die of cancer 12% less.

46:31 Circadian Rhythm: Circadian medicine may well revolutionize medicine as we know it.  We are connected to the earth’s circadian cycles with our eating, food, and sleep cycles. Eating/living discordant with nature’s circadian rhythm has been linked to diabetes, obesity and changes in the microbiome. We eat better when we eat in the middle of the day. We don’t digest well at night. We exercise better in the morning and during the daytime. Our sleep should happen at night.

48:37 Repairing Your Intestinal Tract: In his book, Dr. Douillard talks about 5 digestive spices to be used on your food: ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel and cardamom. Individually, they help with digestion. When used together, they help your body make its own hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. Fenugreek, beets, artichokes are major cleansers for your bile ducts. Apples have malic acid, which helps to open the bile ducts. Leafy greens and radishes are good for bile duct health.

51:37 Colorado Cleanse: It is a 2 week digestive reset/reboot. Consume a little ghee every morning while you eat a non-fat diet. There are microbes in your gut that make butyric acid and ghee is the highest source of butyric acid on the planet. Consuming the ghee on an empty stomach forces your gallbladder to contract, cleansing your gallbladder. It is a lipophilic mediated detox. The fats that you take on from the ghee, hook onto fats in your body and they are processed out of your body.

55:25 Dr. Douillard’s Morning Routine: He awakens early and does his workout. Muscles are stronger in the morning. He gets his kids ready and takes them to school. After that, he may do some meditation or yoga, though he often meditates with his daughter before bed. Dr. Douillard has a meditation course on his website.

58:24 Dr. Douillard’s Favorite Nutrient: Neem is an antiseptic. It heals the intestinal skin and supports good bugs. It was Ayurveda’s original probiotic.

59:14 Dr. Douillard’s Elevator Speech: Promoting organic food, and getting rid of processed food is important, but the most important thing is getting back to the circadian rhythm. Our survival depends upon it.



Join the conversation

      • Where I get it from is that 99 people says no grains but here comes once again JD and stated that wheat and gluten are no problems. Look at oneradionetwork and see how many expert says no grains and see how many people benefit healthy wise from it. I think that it is everyone for him/her self and he/she takes that science for granted whereby another takes the other science for granted and so we get one big muppetshow where no one knows it truly. So I do not can get my head around where you say that it is great info Mike because it is not. And only 10% is sprayed with glypho? Where is the proof of that because I have heard many experts say that it is more than 60-70%. Who is right here? Do you know? I know we do not know sh*t because so long there are statements that are are right in front of each other there is no great info. That is my take on it.

        • Here is one biggie

          “Autoimmunity is the common denominator of chronic illness.
          -Maldigestion, dysbiosis, and leaky gut precede hypersensitivity responses.
          -Prebiotic foods – High fiber foods that need to be chewed. Includes seeds and nuts, sprouts, tubers (not white potatoes), parsnips. Grasses are good – e.g. buckwheat, wild rice, quinoa, complement with vegetables. Stay away from grains.”

          Who has now the ‘great info’ Mike? Do you know?

          • “Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Has gone up significantly. I think 50%, 75%. So part of it could be just the extra gluten that is present that maybe wasn’t there years back.

            Dr. Andrew Hill: Maybe. I think it’s really—it may be due to that or the gluten may have changed in some—in some form. And the reason I think of this is oats. You know, oats do not actually have true gluten. They have only gliadin, you know?

            Do we know?

          • Hi Mike,

            There is another one thing besides GMO, cross-bred and Glyphosate where not many people are thinking of and that are chem-trails. People like Tony Pantalleresco en co says that no grains are good because of weather modification and the spraying that it does and what comes up must also come down, so people that simply say that grains are no problems…. I think that they need to research more to say that so simply. And it is also clear that grains does not exist before + 10 000 years ago. So I do not know if we need to be eating a lot of grains in the first place.

          • It does not work for no one MIke because when you eat just a little bit more then about +-20grams of KH in one time you get a big spike of insulin and you feeling tired and that is not just for me but for everyone because that is what carbs do when you do not use it when you are at home and do not much. It is different when you need the carbs for energy but then you must do a good fitness of are hard at work. And if you take just so much that you are under the +-20grams per serving then it is not worth it because that is not much wheat/grains that have in my mind any benefits. No grains can be better spend for feeding animals when they have hungry and do not eat grass because it is winter or so. I listen to many of you and 99% say: stay off grains but there is one % that know it better but is that really so?

  1. I like what he talks about, but his circadian focus is missing what Dr. Jack Kruse has researched so just wish you would both assimilate his findings with this great Ayurvedic approach. By the way I attribute his lymph moving a raw beet-a-day suggestion to eliminating my cellulite. This is the best of Douillard but the epidemics are not just about nutrition.

  2. Thanks for this thought provoking presentation.
    However. “Gluten free” covers a lot of territory. I’m convinced that much of the benefit we saw from a gluten free diet back in the day was because there were basically no gluten free prepared foods. Even a decade ago, a gluten free diet meant buying, cooking, and eating real, whole food.
    So when Dr. Douillard talks about gluten free as problematic… what does he mean by gluten free?

    • Gluten-free packaged and prepared foods, Peter!

      That’s the main premise IMO. Additionally, introducing the idea of traditionally prepared grains/dairy, when in season–and moderation.

      Additionally, fixing digestion/gut health instead of running away from everything. (Provided some foods can cause gut imbalances, various gut-microbiome researchers use whole-grains in studies to increase bacterial diversity and favorably change gut ecology.)

      Take this with a grain of salt and experiment with what works for you,


  3. First, let me thank you for sharing all your hard work and knowledge with us. This interview just reiterates what so many others are ultimately saying. That it all starts with the food you eat and although their reasoning or research may vary it is still the same. The whole time I am listening to Dr Douillard, I am thinking about what Dr. Perlmutter might say. I go to his website and low and behold there is a podcast of them both. Remarkable and refreshing. Although it ended that they agree to disagree on some points, I believe they were still saying the same thing. Gluten has nutrients and antinutrients, but as Dr Shanahan might say, let the chef cook it the traditional way and you get the best of both worlds. Sprouting or fermenting breaks down the antinutrients and enhances the good nutrients which is also what Dr Douillard is saying. We have lost the ability to do that since we have lost our ancient ways of cooking and letting the food itself break it down along with giving our body what it needs (microbiome) to further complete the job. Preparing the gluten, may have been the missing link in their conversation. Fermenting breaks down the poisons of gluten for Dr Perlmutter and also enhances the nutrients for Dr Douillard.

  4. I appreciate Dr. Douillard’s perspective very much. I would like to understand mercury from the perspective of patients in the US and elsewhere who have amalgams and its relationship with digestion. If I’ve had amalgams since childhood and have problems with detox ability then that’s a set up for ill health. I wonder if particular SNPs make a difference (APOe4, CYP450s, etc). Dr. Douillard speaks of mercury from the environment (coal production), but no so much the other obvious source, our mouth. From Dr. Hal Huggins’ Applied Healing site I found this:

    “As chewing stimulates the release of salivary enzymes, it simultaneously stimulates the release of mercury from your fillings. Mercury mixes with the food and goes down the digestive tract with it.

    In the stomach mercury from fillings can mix with hydrochloric acid and produce mercuric chloride. This chemical can damage the stomach lining, paving the way for nervous stomach and ulcers in those people genetically predisposed to those conditions.

    There are multiple types of bacteria in the stomach and intestinal tract that aid in our digestion. These are frequently called “friendly bacteria”. These are the bacteria we try to fortify in our system when we eat buttermilk, yogurt and take acidophilus capsules from the drug store. Mercury can kill many of these bacteria just by touching them. That does not eliminate the mercury, for it can move on and kill other bacteria. Probably worse, mercury can cause a change in the bacteria, called a pleomorphic change, in which the form and function of the bacteria is altered. This may perform a good deed, or bad deed, depending upon the result. Most often it is a bad deed, for the body had taken some time in creating the balance of bacterial flora that it felt was needed for your particular eating and dining habits.

    When the number of altered bacteria exceeds the normal bacteria, the body can initiate action against them. This is called diarrhea. Its purpose is to eliminate the bad bugs and recolonize. With mercury still present, this is impossible, for there is a minute-by-minute supply of mercury in the saliva and big doses when eating or gum chewing is taking place.” (from:

    I do have celiac, and I’ve unknowingly had gluten in sauce on a few occasions (maybe I’ve healed a bit with my diet the past 10 years); it was hard for me to distinguish any reaction as I have “fibromyalgia” or Lyme disease > which actually may be the initial trigger for my autoimmune issues and clogged detox ability in the first place? I’m still working that out. Eating sugars including I would think whole wheat would only exacerbate the infection. I also have heart problems due to the bacteria and virus Epstein Barr. It gets complicated, but I guess for healthier “normals” this would be fine! I really appreciate your podcasts Mike, thank you SO much for helping us get well. I’ll be looking into his Colorado Cleanse!

    • Thanks, Dot!

      Great perspective.

      As an aside, mercury, cadmium and other metals are excreted quite readily in sweat; so exercise and sauna therapy is part of this web related to food sensitivities, lymph stagnation etc…

      Thanks for you note!


  5. His explanation of gut disfunction as root cause of various problems makes sense. I didn’t know the lymph system was so wide spread in the body and had so may functions. Since I suffer from headaches, I have to wonder if his Colorado Cleanse might in some way have an effect.

  6. So interesting. Another take. Listening to folks like Dr. Tom Obrien, talking about the long term effects Gluten has on most people and antibody production it can cause for immune system overload, I’m left even more confused about what to do with gluten. But good to get more perspective. Would love to hear if John Douillard has any response to this whole track. eh didn’t really dig into the specifics of the case others are making for its deleterious impact.

    Thoughts from anyone?

  7. this is brilliant on so many levels. Totally agree with everything Douillard is trying to tell us. If we all had healthy livers and bile, and the entire digestive track worked as designed, our food sensitivities would drop like a rock, allergies would clear up and autoimmune would decrease. no more gall stones, no leaky guts…then we could eat organic ancient grains without issue, as long as we do not overdo it . I think these days however, it takes constant detox and cleanses, organic eating, exercise, good fats, fiber, meditation to keep a modicum of digestive operation in OK form. Unfortunately, A sign of the times…

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