Blood Sugar

#165: Josh Gitalis, CNP- Improving Digestion, Bitters & Mindful Eating

by Mike Mutzel



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Mike Mutzel Podcast High Intensity Health


About Josh Gitalis, Ba(H), CNP, RNCP

Josh is Clinical Nutritionist and recognized expert in the fields of clinical detoxification and therapeutic supplementation. He runs a Toronto-based private practice, with a worldwide client base. As a leader in his field, Josh teaches Clinical Nutrition for several natural health colleges and is the first Canadian nutritionist to become an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP). Josh is a noted expert for various media outlets including CTV News and CityTV.


Books and Resources

The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life: Plant-Based Meals with Options for Any Diet

Belly Fat Effect: The Real Secret About How Your Diet, Intestinal Health, and Gut Bacteria Help You Burn Fat

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health

Related Recipe: High-Fiber Breakfast Omelette Recipe

Show Notes

02:12 Starting Diet Changes: In Josh’s practice, at the start eliminating gluten and dairy are non-negotiable. Every food has plusses and minuses. It depends upon the individual. Josh starts with a diet diary for 4 days which includes food and mood.

04:03 Mindless Eating: Our digestive tract does not turn on unless we are in rest and digest mode. If we are in fight/flight, we do not make hydrochloric acid, nor will we activate our digestive enzymes, among other digestive processes. When this is chronic, we are not digesting properly. If you are not digesting, you are not getting the nutrients you need, which can lead to much bigger problems.

05:37 Digestion: Digestion starts outside of the body. Our senses activate our digestion process. Chewing is our only chance at mechanical breakdown. The rest is chemical. Most of us do not chew properly.

08:05 Learning How To Eat: Deep breathing around meal time is helpful. Consuming bitters 10 to 15 minutes before eating helps to stimulate the digestive tract. The act of cooking gets you into the mood. The Window Diet is where we pull up to a window and get our food. There is no activation. We were designed to hunt or gather our food, then cook it and eat it. It was a long process.

10:14 Bitter Food: We have bred our food to take out the bitter. Wild lettuce is very bitter, but it contains strong medicine. The alkaloids have strong medicinal activity as well. Bitter foods, like dandelion greens, frisee, and arugula. Grocery stores provide limited options. In the spring, Josh picks wild leeks. Our taste buds know when we are eating nutritious food. Try to find a local forager and go with them to learn.

14:21 Supplementation: A tincture of digestive bitters prior to a meal is helpful. Poisons taste bitter, so our digestion ramps up to deal with it. Dandelion root, artichoke, gentian, berberine, turmeric and ginger can be combined and consumed about 20 minutes before eating.

18:13 Eating in Community:  Look for likeminded people in your community. Take a cooking class. Eating and sitting with people is almost at a spiritual level.

19:54 Getting Family on Board: Get everyone to participate in the preparation of the meal at some level. Slowly introduce healthy foods, even if you have to sneak it in. Keep adding more slowly.

21:52 Smoothies: Smoothies can be ingested quickly, so your digestive tract may not be turned on. Josh takes time preparing and drinking his smoothie. Eat something small with the smoothie to chew and get the digestion activated. Treat it like a meal.

23:18 Caffeine: There is great division on the topic of caffeine. Josh felt like caffeine drained him over time and he became dependent upon it. Most people don’t thrive on consuming coffee every day. It drains the adrenals and with it, you are working on artificial energy. It depends upon your individual biochemistry whether you are able to tolerate caffeine or not.

26:59 Curbing Caffeine Dependence: Dietary recommendations are foundational. Josh makes sure that his patient is on a low glycemic diet, regulating blood sugar. Therapeutic foods may include adding more fats to level blood sugar. Get more rest and meditate. Take a nap in the afternoon. In addition, supplements may be used: adaptogens, adrenal glandulars, nutrients that support the adrenals like vitamin C and vitamin B5. Green team may help coffee drinkers wean off coffee. Green tea contains 30 to 40 mg of caffeine per cup and has L-theanine to balance the caffeine. The catechins in green tea are powerful anti-oxidants.

29:08 Transitioning off Alcohol: The 5 channels of elimination are the bowels, the kidneys, the lungs, the skin and the mind. If we do not process out the stressors to our nervous system, they can cause disease. Using alcohol to process stress is destructive. Alcohol has ethanol, which is a poison we need to detoxify. To get rid of damaging habits, Josh likes to swap them out for other habits. Have a tea ritual, taking a bath, going for an infrared sauna or a walk, or do something you enjoy to destress.  Perhaps swap out the wine for kombucha or juice.

35:02 Fermented Foods: Josh’s wife teaches a fermentation course. Their favorite fermented food is sauerkraut. The bacteria in sauerkraut is not added. They are the ones found on the plant, first generation bacteria. Josh and his wife also like nut cheeses, coconut yogurt and kombucha. Consuming probiotics at any point during the meal is beneficial.

38:44 Combating Thinning Hair: The hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is many times stronger than testosterone and it can affect the hair follicles, stunting hair growth.  A simple blood test or urine test can be done. Green tea helps with hair health. Key minerals like silicon, which is abundant in the herb horsetail and oatstraw. Biotin is important for hair. Saw palmetto and nettles can reduce 5-alpha reductase, that processes testosterone to DHT.

41:50 Thinning Hair in Women: Often the cause of thinning hair in women is thyroid. People who are gluten sensitive tend to have a receding hairline. Testosterone converting into DHT can happen in women too.

43:44 Get Back to the Fundamentals: It all goes back to the fundamentals. You have to drink good water. You have to eat good food that is nutrient dense. You have to get good sleep. You have to move your body. You have to have stress management. When these things are tackled, everything else is fine tuning.

44:47 Exercise: It doesn’t have to be done at the gym. Josh bikes to work. Do the activity that you’ll stick with and enjoy. Mix it up.. Josh likes to do different types of yoga, CrossFit, biking, lifting heavy weights, play squash, and he likes to walk. He prefers to work out in the morning.

48:37 Josh’s Morning Routine: Josh does not use an alarm clock to awaken. If you are waking to an alarm, you aren’t done sleeping. He has a drink of water, water with lemon or a detox drink first thing in the morning. He heads to the gym or does a yoga flow at home. Some days he meditates. He eats breakfast and heads to work.  He checks social media when he gets to work. He and his wife never use technology at meal time or past 10 p.m.

52:46 Josh’s Favorite Nutrient: Adaptogens are his favorite. Ginseng is one of the most sought after herbs in the world. He likes American ginseng and eleuthero (Siberian ginseng). Adaptogens help us deal with stress, sleep better, work better and have more energy. His favorite food is coconut. The oil is good energy and good fat. The water is good for hydration. The meat is good food.

55:05 Josh’s Elevator Pitch: We assume that we are healthy if we have not been diagnosed with a disease. Health is a continuum that Josh calls the slope of health. We are either moving toward health or away from health. You have to work every day to stay at the top of the slope.


  1. Hi Mike,

    As a fellow Canadian, thank you for all the Canadian experts that you have had on your podcast lately. I throughly enjoy watching your interviews,

    • Hi Renee!

      Sorry that I missed this one. I don’t at this time, but often do online-group consults.

      You may want to opt into our email list so you get updated when we start our next class in January.



  2. Hi Mike!

    I’m in the LA area in California. I absolutely love and appreciate all of the interviews and topics of conversation that you have with such a diverse group of educated individuals. I don’t know many people that stimulate me enough to want to socialize with. I find that I would much rather spend my time listening to your conversations. I’m not sure if this is healthy for me, but I am addicted to YouTube! Thank you very much for the hard work and effort that you put forth to share so much beneficial information from such a variety of doctors and professionals.



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