In Episode #27, Dr. Jill and Dr. Susanne Bennett talk about High Quality Water, How to Make Your Own Kimchi and Best foods to Support Immunity Dr. Jill LIVE!
Dr. Jill Carnahan is Your Functional Medicine Expert® dually board certified in Family Medicine for ten years and in Integrative Holistic Medicine since 2015. She is the Medical Director of Flatiron Functional Medicine, a widely sought-after practice with a broad range of clinical services including functional medical protocols, nutritional consultations, chiropractic therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. As a survivor of breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and toxic mold illness she brings a unique perspective to treating patients in the midst of complex and chronic illness. Her clinic specializes in searching for the underlying triggers that contribute to illness through cutting-edge lab testing and tailoring the intervention to specific needs.
A popular inspirational speaker and prolific writer, she shares her knowledge of hope, health, and healing live on stage and through newsletters, articles, books, and social media posts! People relate to Dr. Jill’s science-backed opinions delivered with authenticity, love and humor. She is known for inspiring her audience to thrive even in the midst of difficulties.
Featured in Shape Magazine, Parade, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, First for Women, Townsend Newsletter, and The Huffington Post as well as seen on NBC News and Health segments with Joan Lunden, Dr. Jill is a media must-have. Her YouTube channel and podcast features live interviews with the healthcare world’s most respected names.
Dr. Jill 0:12
Okay, we’re live, Dr. Susanne! One thing I love about you is that we get together, and it’s like this sunshine energy, if you know what I mean. Your energy is so bright and beautiful. I recognize you across the room. We’ve been friends for a while, but I love when we say hi or get together because that exuberance matches mine. And usually, I overpower people with that exuberance [and] joyfulness. So I am excited today because I know we’re going to bring joy and fun to this interview. And you’ve got some really, really cool things to share with us.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 0:46
Dr. Jill 0:47
I’m so excited. And you have a book that’s been out [that’s] super successful. We’ll talk about that. We’ll tell you where to get it. We’ll tell you where to find Dr. Susanne. First, I’ll just introduce her briefly. And there’s a lot I could say. I always like to start [with something] a little bit personal. And I remember, probably at one of the Mindshares or one of the events, that we met. And again, one thing about you that is so evident is your joy—your joy for life, your exuberance, and the love that you bring. And you fill up a room with that sunshine. So it’s always just a joy for me to see you and to say hi, and it’s almost like old friends when we catch up. So even though we’re across the country… And now you’re doing some traveling. I have to hear a little bit more about that. But you started out with a story, which I want to hear more about, about your son. I want to hear how you got into this. Currently, though, you are in a wellness center in Santa Monica, California. And you’ve been in practice for almost three decades.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 1:41
Dr. Jill 1:42
I love it. Oh my gosh. And you look so gorgeous and young that people would never believe that. And you’ve treated lots of people with allergies and with MCAS—which is mast cell activation—and then some of the mold and environmental things that we both deal with, which we’ll talk about as well, [such as] autoimmunity, chronic fatigue, and migraines. So you’re going to hear some great, great tips. And I could tell you lots more [about her] credentials, but we will get into it.
Dr. Jill 2:07
Just a little housekeeping: You guys can share this video if you like it. It’ll be recorded. You can watch it later. And then, of course, you can see all of my interviews on my YouTube channel, which is just under my name, Jill Carnahan. So, Dr. Susanne, thank you for joining me, first of all.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 2:18
Thank you so much, Dr. Jill. You know, I just love you. And you’re absolutely right: Every time we get together, our energy just kind of melds together. We resonate at that same level. And we get so excited about life, about serving people, and [about] talking about all the cool things that are going on. How can we share our strategies? And how we can help each other and, of course, help others. So I’m so happy that I’m here with you, considering that I haven’t seen you this whole year.
Dr. Jill 2:51
I know, right? We actually found out we kind of don’t mind being alone, and we’re getting along okay, and we’re trying to take care of ourselves. But we do miss… Like, I miss connecting with you and just seeing you at conferences and stuff. What I love to start with is [one’s] story. And I’d love to hear your story of how you went into medicine and how you really got into allergies, environmental toxicity, and mold. So tell us a little bit about where it all started.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 3:14
Well, I was basically a chiropractor. That’s my license—in chiropractic. I was a sports medicine specialist for seven years. Then I got pregnant with Cody, and I had this most beautiful angel baby. But after about four months into his life, he started having all these symptoms of allergies. Now, this is 1994, and nobody talked about allergies then. Nobody talked about mercury toxicity. Well, little did I know, but for a full year I was nursing him, and I had a mercury-cracked amalgam filling. So that was one of the things—hidden allergies—that ended up just totally throwing off his gut and triggering anaphylactic reactions in him. He had skin allergies and eczema from head to toe. We were in the hospital all the time. I had to carry an EpiPen.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 4:05
And he was one of those bubble boys, meaning if he was exposed to a little bit of mold or a little bit of rubber—I mean, that’s the crazy thing, rubber! We’d go into a sporting goods store, and he’d come out with literally a state of respiratory distress; he couldn’t breathe. It was super, super scary. And for a mother who was a doctor at that time, I didn’t know anything about allergies. Really, we didn’t. Back then, we also did vaccinations because we didn’t know much about that either. So as a sports medicine specialist, you just don’t know about that. That’s not what we practiced, right? So I started learning more and more about allergies and mold; mold was one of his biggest [issues]. And I became a mold specialist. I was very much a helicopter mom. I must tell you, it was very difficult for all of us because I constantly had to make his food dairy-free and gluten-free.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 4:57
But what ended up happening [was that] he had cerebellum meningitis from an MMR and chickenpox vaccine. And that set me on a completely different path. I quit doing chiropractic and started learning more about allergies. And I was the only chiropractor—in fact, the first chiropractor—to be involved with and go to classes with the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, which you know really well. [It’s been] an organization for a very long time. That was in 1996. Cody was about a year and a half [old] by then. And I learned to be an allergy specialist through AAEM. I begged them. I was the only chiropractor because this is [for] a medical professional, but they knew that I was really desperate.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 5:43
So I started doing that, and I just went into allergies and taking care of people with their environment. The environment is really key—the environment outside and then the environment inside, which is your gut. So I became a gut specialist, an allergy specialist, and an environmental medicine specialist. I’ve been doing that since 1996, obviously. But I’ve been practicing altogether for 31 years.
Dr. Jill 6:09
Wow, what a story! And you know what I love? This is so common because it’s always either ourselves or someone we love really dearly where we come up against our training—all of us, no matter what background, [whether] allopathic, chiropractic, osteopathic, or whatever else—and we come up against what we’ve learned in school and not knowing the answer for this situation, right?
Dr. Susanne Bennett 6:30
Dr. Jill 6:31
Like, “What else is out there? We’ve got to find the solution.” I remember just a little vignette where, in medical school, I was the first medical student at Loyola to start an integrative medical club. We had an interest in acupuncture, chiropractic, and all these things coming into allopathic medicine and introducing the students to this. So of course I was really interested in that, but I kind of got this name in the schools; “Jill is the weird one.” Even back in medical school, I was the one who was pushing the envelope, and the attendees kind of tolerated me, but they always knew: “You know what? She’s got some idea that the mind and body are connected,” or, “you know, these crazy theories.”
Dr. Jill 7:04
But the funny thing is, 5, 10, or 20 years later, almost to a tee, all of my close colleagues from medical school have called me about a friend, a family member, or their own health and said, “Hey, Jill… ” And they don’t say it out loud, but they might say, “You know, I used to think you were a little crazy. But now I know the desperation of someone who’s looking at someone they care about who is sick, and I’m wondering if you have any answers.” Humbly, I was grateful to usually have some functional medicine insight that they might not have had. But over time, the truth wins out, and the truth is that when you see wellness in your son or wellness in ourselves or the people that we love, [and] what really works, right? Because it’s not in a textbook all the time.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 7:42
There’s no doubt. There’s no doubt that you’ve got to go with what feels right. Just like you said, listen to your own voice. And I’m not talking just about doctors; I’m talking about everyone. If it doesn’t feel right, whether you have a child or for yourself, you’ve got to go in a different direction. Really open yourself up, because there are so many answers out there. For Cody, after I started working on allergies, looking at his gut, changing everything, and making sure that we had a clean environment… You know, my first book was The 7-Day Allergy Makeover. That book is all about Cody’s experience, Cody’s story, and how you can clean up your life in seven days by looking at seven different aspects of your life, whether it’s your kitchen, your food, or your air and your water. I mean, I can tell you tons of things about water and how you can clean up a very little bit, systematically, and change your life from the inside out. There’s no doubt.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 8:42
So within about a year and a half, Cody [went from] an anaphylactic, highly sensitive child to a very highly functioning child and went into regular school. I mean, he didn’t have any mental issues or anything like that. Thank God! I would say that because of the MMR vaccine and chickenpox. He could have become an autistic child, but it stopped at the cerebellum and didn’t go higher. What I mean is that the toxicity of the vaccine didn’t go up to the brain, where all the cognitive functions are. It stopped at the cerebellum, which is a little bit lower in the brain. So he wasn’t able to walk. Literally, he couldn’t walk for weeks and weeks.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 9:24
Back then, I was a gluten-free and dairy-free person, probably before any of us here. It was since college, which was in the 80s. I had sausage fingers. I had very, very swollen hands, and I couldn’t understand why, at such a young age, I would have these arthritic hands. So I started digging at UCLA. That’s where I went for my undergraduate at the Biomedical Library there. And there was something about celiac [disease] and symptoms similar to what I was going through—gut symptoms and my joints. So I just kind of said: “You know what? It doesn’t hurt. I’m going to stop eating my pizzas and my donuts,” as we all do. I mean, I’m telling you, I ate a lot of junk food back then. And sure enough, within like a week, it changed my life. It changed my life. And that’s what you and I constantly preach about: We’ve got to start from what we put in our bodies.
Dr. Jill 10:20
Yes. Yes, and I love that you mentioned water because, as I always say, we can get complex with supplements and treatments, and there’s some really cool stuff out there, but it starts with clean air, clean water, and clean food. And we’re going to talk about food today at length. But it’s so interesting because it can be quite simple in how you first approach [it]. You mentioned water, and I know a lot of the listeners would be interested in knowing more. I’d love to know your take on [this]: Do you recommend patients test [their] water? What kind of water do you drink? Tell us a little bit about water.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 10:48
Absolutely. So this water here has been [through] reverse osmosis. There are many different filtration systems. And I purify my water for many reasons. In Los Angeles County, we naturally have arsenic in our water. And arsenic, for my body and for my family’s bodies, is not good. Arsenic is one of the more toxic metals that can cause havoc with the brain, your immunity, your kidneys, and your liver. It’s neurological, for sure. So I clean my water completely with a reverse osmosis unit. It’s a countertop unit. And then, from there, I structure it. And I know a lot of people don’t know what structured water is. Next week, I’m literally doing a whole series on water. It’s called My Water Series. So if anyone wants to learn more about it, go to my website, DrSusanne.com. And that’s Dr. Susanne with an S, not a Z. And you just basically put your name in. It’s right in the front. You’re going to get, in fact, how to make kimchi—a little recipe about that kind of stuff, about kimchi. Just put your name in. And next week, you’re going to get a series of water information.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 12:06
Structured water is very interesting. Structured water is the most natural water anyone can drink. You’ve seen the rivers, the creeks, and all the mountain water. In Colorado, you get such incredible water. The action of going through rocks and streams and flowing and literally turning—a hairpin turns and all that—creates structured water. And what structured water means is that in H2O, which is the water molecule, there are two hydrogens and one oxygen, and they bind to each other in a specific way. It creates a hexagonal shape. That means there are six atoms within the hexagonal water. And that hexagonal shape is what’s called structured water.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 12:58
So the best water is [from] natural springs, right? That’s what I’m talking about. But in the modern world, we don’t have that. Our water comes from pipes. Our water is treated. Our water is chemicalized. In fact, when I purify it with reverse osmosis, you lose that bond because the minerals in the water also create the resonance [necessary] to create hexagonal water. That is very powerful water. Why? It goes into our cells much faster. Nature is beautiful. It’s created some amazing things, and one is hexagonal water, or structured water. And it goes into the cell much faster than regular H2O. Regular H2O [is what] you get from tap water. Not only that, it improves your ability to function because you can detox better, right? Your energy level will go up. Your body’s ability to use that in your mitochondria and to use water for dehydration, [and] all of this. Really structured water is, to me, the best water.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 14:10
So I basically use reverse osmosis, but reverse osmosis water is not structured. And I have a unit that I’ve actually started [to use]. My patients all get it, and it’s called Vitalized Water. And if you want, I’ll show you the unit because I wasn’t sure we were going to talk about [it]. But it’s basically—
Dr. Jill 14:28
I love it. I love it. I love show and tell. This is great.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 14:32
This is show and tell. This is a pitcher called Vitalizer Plus. It’s called Vitalizer Plus. Basically, you use it with RO water, distilled water, or regular drinking water, not tap water because that’s not clean.
Dr. Jill 14:51
Dr. Susanne Bennett 14:52
And definitely, if it’s natural mineral water, you don’t need to, because that’s supposed to be a little bit more structured. But what I like about Vitalizer Plus is that it consistently gives you structured water. And it also remineralizes your RO water—reverse osmosis water—with this mineral basket. So it swirls. When I do it, there’s a vortex action [like a] tornado inside. And that is what creates the structure too because it’s creating a magnetic [effect]; it’s magnetic water and oxygenated. So there are many, many different things that this unit can do. I have asked the company, and they’ve given my people $100 off on the unit. All my people who are getting it get $100 off. And my assistant takes care of it. You guys can just email my assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org. And you just tell him, “I want the Vitalizer,” and he’ll take care of it for you. But just tell him that you’re part of my tribe, and he’ll give you $100 off. You can’t find this anywhere online. And the company, because I tell so much about this water to all my patients, has given me this opportunity to drop that price down for everyone.
Dr. Jill 16:19
Awesome! I love it because water is so key. And I love that you mentioned [that]. So many patients ask, “What should I do for filtration?” And I love RO water because it’s clean, but the minerals are depleted. So you have to find a way to either take extra minerals or replenish your water. So I think that’s really important because, especially for the whole-house filters, I don’t know that there are a lot of options besides RO. That’s the main thing on the market. So [it’s good for] someone [who] wants their shower and bath water all filtered, which is great. I love clean water, but you really need to put those minerals back, or you’re drinking an acidic product. And when you put that acidic water in your body, you shut down enzyme processes and things that need a more alkaline environment. I love that you’re talking about that.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 17:01
Did you know that I actually tested out all of these waters with an actual pH meter? And with RO water, you’re absolutely right: It’s actually acidic; it is not neutral.
Dr. Jill 17:15
Dr. Susanne Bennett 17:15
Neutral is pH 7. It’s below. And alkaline, and of course, through the Vitalizer, it goes up to like 8-something.
Dr. Jill 17:26
Wow! So you’re going to get alkaline [water], which is kind of what I usually drink if I can. I don’t have the Vitalizer yet, but I’m interested. So I love that.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 17:33
[inaudible] So water is very important. And because you’re drinking much more structured water, meaning it gets into our cells more, you don’t need to drink as much. Everyone tells me: “Oh, I don’t need to drink eight glasses. I’m better at six. I’m fine.” Like, your skin—you have hydrated skin. You live at a high altitude, honey. And I’m telling you, it dries you out like crazy. I live in hot, sunny California, so definitely dry skin [is a factor]. The one thing that I really recommend everyone do is get a hygrometer. Hygrometer—basically, get any online, anywhere. And this is 47%, which is actually pretty good. You want to keep your house around 45 to 50. Don’t do much more than 50 because then molds [inaudible].
Dr. Jill 18:20
Right, then you have mold issues, yes.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 18:22
But below 40—40 is the lowest [it should be at]—it’s too dry. And that means the ambient air sucks water out of your skin. It really, really does.
Dr. Jill 18:32
And especially, again, a lot of my listeners are [in] Colorado, Utah, and all this area here. Arizona is super arid. And you know, it’s funny because you and I love anti-aging creams, products, and things. I think that really helps us to stay youthful-looking. But honestly, I think hydration is the number one way that I stay looking fresh and youthful, if that’s possible. Hydration is number one. It’s just like clean air, clean water, and clean food. We can do a lot of fancy lights, devices, procedures, and creams, but really, hydration is so critical. So I couldn’t agree more with you. I love that. We all want to look young like you.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 19:08
Honey, I think I’m about 10 years older than you. Something like that, right? More. Even more.
Dr. Jill 19:15
Oh, I don’t know, but you look like 26, so… [laughing]
Dr. Susanne Bennett 19:19
Thank you. Thank you. You can spray water—people don’t realize—after a shower. And a shower is very drying because unless you filter the whole house… And whole house filters are usually carbon filtration [systems]. Carbon, again, is not something that will take out the mercury, the arsenic, the uranium, or the fluoride. It will not take out fluoride. But it will take out chlorine, chloramines, and maybe larger cysts. Like, I’m talking about—
Dr. Jill 19:50
Protozoa and stuff, yes.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 19:52
Exactly. But you could just spray yourself. That’s what I do. Before I put my moisturizer on and all that yummy stuff, I spray myself with vitalized water. So you’re hydrating and hydrating, and then you put it all on.
Dr. Jill 20:05
Oh, great, great ideas. We haven’t even gotten to food yet. So kimchi has been your story.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 20:11
Dr. Jill 20:12
I remember before your book came out, you were like, “Jill, I’m going to have this coming out, and we’re going to talk about this.” I’m like, “I don’t even know what it is.” But I want to hear the story because this is a traditional Korean food. So there’s this neat story of you and who you’ve been and some of your ancestry, and then also how this can be such a powerful healer. So tell me just a little about the history of kimchi and how you got into the power behind fermentation.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 20:38
Absolutely. Thank you for asking that. So I’m from Korea—Seoul, Korea—and I was born there and lived there until I was 12. From the moment that I remember, in fact, my sweet grandma would feed me white kimchi juice, which means there was no red pepper in it. And it’s a fermented vegetable that all Koreans eat. For thousands of years, Koreans would make this vegetable because, in the wintertime, starting in October up until even May, it could be frozen. It’d be so frigid, frigid cold. There’s no vegetation; there are no vegetables. So in the olden times, that’s what we used to do; they would dig a hole, put a big earthenware pot in it, and then make this vegetable… And I’ll tell you, the vegetables are very unique. And the thing that I always say is that if you have ginger, garlic, sea salt, and any veggie that you want to use, you will make kimchi.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 21:51
There are like 250 different kimchis in Korea. Today I’m going to share with you three [different kinds]. But [you can use] any vegetable that you want, usually the crunchy kind instead of juicy. And when you salt it and brine it, what that does… Now, Koreans didn’t know 2,000 years ago that salting did this, but they realized by trying it out that it would preserve the vegetables. So what salting does is kill all the pathogenic bacteria and viruses, as well as possibly parasitic [organisms] and fungi, of course, mold. So by brining properly for a certain amount of time and then mixing it with other types of vegetables, you’re creating the medium for lactic acid bacteria.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 22:38
Now, what is lactic acid bacteria? It is acid-loving bacteria. They love salt. Salt. But all the bad ones, like Klebsiella, E. coli, and Streptococci, don’t like salt, and they actually die in salt. So that’s the beauty of the balance between how salt will kill off the bugs, and then when you put all the veggies together and let it sit for a few days, you end up getting this lactic acid bacteria, [or] probiotic growth. And I’m talking about diversity. You can have over a thousand different strains of probiotics. A thousand. Now, Jill, you know, we all talk about probiotics. We’ve been giving it to our patients. And usually, if we’re lucky, we might have 24 strains. I’m talking about 1,000—900 to 1,000 strains in a tablespoon of kimchi. So the diversity is high. Now, as we all know across the board, people in America, in modern times, when you don’t eat fermented food, you have very low diversity in the gut. And that is one of the biggest factors in immune deficiency.
Dr. Jill 23:48
Yes. I always say diversity is king. And I’ve even taught physicians that when you give a probiotic of 10 or 20 or 26 strains, you could be creating a monoculture, which is the exact opposite of what you want because you’re giving these small amounts. And yes, they might have been studied strains, but there is no evidence that any regular lacto, bifido, or Bacillus bacteria create diversity. So really, I would say you have to come back to food, and fermented foods are some of the best. So you got interested—
Dr. Susanne Bennett 24:17
No, what happened was this: I went to Korea in the 50th year of my life. I went there with my family because my son wanted to go. And I couldn’t believe how terrible everyone in Korea was eating. They had every pastry shop, coffee shop, McDonald’s, and pizza parlors. Everyone, everyone eats crappy food. What was concerning me was that they were eating so crappy, but everyone was very beautiful and skinny—[from] young people to old people. The obesity level—I looked it up—5.6. America is close to 40.
Dr. Jill 24:59
Dr. Susanne Bennett 25:00
So what is going on? I mean, in modern times, they’re eating the worst food. And at every meal, they eat kimchi. Every meal! Even with the tacos, they eat kimchi on the tacos. So I realized back then, “This is really amazing!” So when I came home, I became a kimchiologist. I just dove into kimchi science because I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I just ate it. [inaudible] food. It was just food that we ate, you know? It didn’t even occur to me. And I’ve been practicing natural medicine for so long. It didn’t even occur to me. I talked about it, but it wasn’t like: “You know what? I really want to know.”
Dr. Susanne Bennett 25:37
Anyway, I found out that there is so much power in kimchi as an antimicrobial agent, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-histamine. It is very good for cholesterol, reducing triglycerides, reducing sugar levels, hemoglobin A1C, insulin, resensitizing insulin receptors, and glutathione production, which is incredible. What else? There are so many different kinds of good bacteria. Your immunity is skyrocketed [by it].
Dr. Jill 26:07
Oh, bacillus—is that bacillus that you were mentioning?
Dr. Susanne Bennett 26:09
Dr. Jill 26:10
Yes, because I’m a huge fan. I was going to say, for our listeners, those are [inaudible] probiotics. And those are actually some of the best for diversity, which makes sense of why you’re getting increased diversity with this. And the other thing is that I wanted to stop it because I have a population of patients like you that have mold and MCAS, and they have histamine issues. So there are a lot of fermentation products that they can’t do, especially kombucha, which I’m not a huge fan of. Tell me what the difference is with kimchi and why it might be good for histamine.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 26:40
Koreans have done the studies. In Korea, there’s the World Institute of Kimchi. The government has created a big, huge building where only scientists [work]. All they do is study kimchi. And what they found was that kimchi did not increase histamines in the body. What they were saying is that because of the mineral content—did you know that minerals hydrate you, and when you’re hydrated, you don’t have histamine problems?
Dr. Jill 27:07
Yes. Water is the number one anti-histamine, so that makes perfect sense.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 27:10
That’s right. And minerals we need for the cell salts. And then, number two, there are a lot of nutrients, especially ginger and garlic, and also polyphenols that reduce histamine in kimchi. That’s the reason why they say: “You know what? Kimchi is not something that really stimulates histamine.” Now, if you’re allergic—[for example], if you’re allergic to the red pepper—let’s not eat it. But you can make kimchi without the red pepper. Make kimchi with the vegetables that you love and that your body loves and craves. You don’t have to make it with the typical cabbage. In fact, in my book, The Kimchi Diet, I tell people to start with cucumber.
Dr. Jill 27:57
Ah, yes. Let’s talk about recipes. What are your favorite options for this? What would you recommend for people? I love this.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 28:03
When I came back from Korea and figured out, “I’ve got to have everyone start eating kimchi,” I realized [something] through trial and error. I first told people to go in and get the kimchi at the store—the cabbage one, which everyone knows—and that’s napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, or whatever you want to call it. Well, that cabbage made everyone very gassy, very bloated, and they were running to the bathroom all the time. And I said: “You know what? I’ve got to figure this out, please. I can’t be telling people to do this.” And I figured out that [it was] all about FODMAP. And I figured out that low FODMAP is the best for phase one. There are four phases. So the low FODMAP [food] is cucumbers, so you start with cucumber. The second one is bok choy, or mustard greens. The third one is here: Radish kimchi. The third one [is] radish. And then the fourth is the regular cabbage one. So every two weeks, I have you make kimchi, and you start inoculating your body, seeding it little by little.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 29:09
You’re not going to have gas at all with cucumber. Little by little, I mean just a tablespoon to two tablespoons a day, and then you start increasing. And now I eat maybe a half of a cup a day, maybe a little less, and I probably go up to about three to four hundred billion CFUs a day, [which] is what I take in—three to four hundred billion. Now remember, those supplements you get might be 5, 10, or 20. I’m doing hundreds of billions. Someone who actually made a movie about fecal transplants, fecal implants… You know what those are, right?
Dr. Jill 29:48
Dr. Susanne Bennett 29:50
You know, to help with a lot of gut disorders, especially inflammatory gut disorders. But anyway, she wanted to use my stool because she felt that with my diversity and the health of my gut, she would have a really good transformation. I’m telling you, that’s what you need. Anybody who wants or is interested in fecal transplant, you’ve got to find someone who’s got major [inaudible].
Dr. Jill 30:20
I love that you’re saying this, and it’s okay; here we can talk about anything. And a lot of my patients ask about this. There are good indications, especially for C. diff. colitis. It’s not yet labeled in the US for [something] like Crohn’s colitis, but there’s lots of good evidence coming out. But the funny thing is, I’ve always said, and even in a lecture said: “You know what? Fecal transplants have amazing results. There’s a lot going on with the research, but if it were me, I don’t know that I’d pick anyone in the US because our diet and our diversity are so low.” So I understand that very well because I was like, “I would want someone from, like, Papua New Guinea in a totally indigenous culture and has never had any exposure to any of the processed foods.” But that’s pretty impressive that someone mentioned it because it is—it’s all about gut health and diversity. And who in the US really has that anymore unless you’re eating fermented foods like kimchi?
Dr. Susanne Bennett 31:10
Exactly. So the first, again: Cucumber kimchi. There’s my cucumber kimchi.
Dr. Jill 31:13
Oh, that looks good! I’d like to try that. See, I’ve never tried it, so now I have to give it a try. Question for you: What’s your favorite?
Dr. Susanne Bennett 31:22
My favorite? It’s hard to say. When I travel and I come back home—I don’t have any here today—I love water kimchi because I just drink the juice. Dongchimi is an ancient way. Dongchimi came before, in fact, all these kimchis. These kimchis, with the red and all of that, are around 350 years old. Dongchimi’s one of the older ones, hundreds and hundreds of years old. It’s a radish, and you make it with water. If you follow me on Instagram or on my Facebook page, there’s a lot about that. Oh, the kimchi diet group—you can go on to the kimchi diet group and you’ll learn. Anyone can join. It is a private group, but I teach you how to do all kinds of these on the Kimchi Diet Facebook group.
Dr. Jill 32:08
I’ll put links on all of these for the people watching [inaudible].
Dr. Susanne Bennett 32:11
Yes. Dongchimi is my favorite because I can drink it quickly, it’s not spicy, and it just soothes my gut. You know that there’s such a thing as psychobiotics. It really helps with your mood. GABA goes up, and serotonin goes up. It really helps, even with dopamine and focusing. A lot of these lactic acid bacteria make good neurotransmitters. And remember, we all have this gut-brain connection, right? We want that. So whenever I go on a big trip—I don’t fly anymore, you know, I’ve got my RV now—when I come back and I just want to settle down, I have some kimchi juice or eat some kimchi, and it settles me down so I can go to sleep.
Dr. Jill 32:55
It’s like home. So tell me this: Is it an acquired taste? What would you say? Tell me a little about taste. What does it taste like?
Dr. Susanne Bennett 32:11
Acid ferments. Now, fermentation can take long. Like, sauerkraut—we all know sauerkraut, right? Please do not get the sauerkraut in the middle of the aisle, where it’s been literally zapped with heat. You need to go to the deli section on the outskirts and [get] the sauerkraut there because that’s where it’s really cultured. Sauerkraut takes about three to six weeks to make. Kimchi—two days. Sometimes even one, depending on the ambient temperature. You can eat kimchi within a day.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 33:32
Cucumber kimchi—you can start eating it the day you make it. I have not even opened this yet. This was made about 10 days ago. I’ve not opened this. But once I can see that it’s fermented within about a day or two, I pop it in the refrigerator. So it slows down the fermentation process. As more and more days go by and it’s in the fridge, it will turn slowly. But it’ll turn in a way where it becomes sour. The sourness is the acidity. When it’s sour, that means the pH has gone down and there are a lot more lactic acid bacteria. And you want that. Now, everyone asks me, “What do I do about the smell?” Kimchi smells. You know how sauerkraut smells. [With] kimchi, the reason why it smells is that there’s a great deal of garlic. Now, garlic, to me, is a superfood all in itself. Garlic.
Dr. Jill 34:33
Yes. Let’s talk about garlic and ginger because those are some of the powerhouses in this, aren’t they?
Dr. Susanne Bennett 34:38
These two. Again, if you can get me ginger, garlic, and sea salt… This is sea salt. This is [inaudible] sea salt from Korea. You can get this online. Oh, if you can’t find the Korean one, just get kosher Celtic sea salt. But it’s got to be coarse. It’s got to be coarse. Anyway, if you have those three ingredients and a veggie—even cabbage—you can make kimchi anywhere. And in fact, listen, you don’t even need to have any fire. I make kimchi the old, ancient way, where there’s no fire involved, just my hands, cutting, and then jarring it. That’s it.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 35:23
Some people use heat to make rice porridge and put it in there. You don’t even need that; you really don’t. I like to put an apple or pear in it to give it a little bit of substrate food. Bacteria need food too. What’s beautiful about these two, especially these two, [and] why this is important is that the flora, the microbiome from garlic and ginger, is a big part of the microbiome you’re making in your kimchi. So every vegetable has its own unique microbiome and your own unique flora. And you don’t want to wash it, zap it with hot water, or boil it before you make your kimchi. You know how pickling [takes place]—everything is boiled. Everyone should know that in pickling, pickles, and pickled foods, there are no bacteria there. So don’t think that that’s good food. Now, you have nutrition, you’ve got fiber, you have minerals—you have lower levels of vitamins because you’ve got to heat it—but you don’t have bacteria. You need ferments, and this is a wild ferment, everyone. Wild ferment.
Dr. Jill 36:34
You don’t add probiotics to that. You actually just go purely from… Okay.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 32:11
No. Yes. In a lot of fermented foods, they add a starter. Now, Koreans have done studies about that too. They studied that they added a starter, and then one is a wild [version]. What is wild? Again, it’s all about the vegetables. You naturally allow the vegetables that have bacteria on them to grow and multiply. With starter, they found that even at the end, after it’s been fermented, it doesn’t change the diversity or even the number. So don’t even do it. Don’t waste your money.
Dr. Jill 37:11
It’s, like, just flat. Wow, this is so fascinating and so important for the gut.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 37:15
You can see that this is all bubbled up. I’m going to try and… Oh, I hope it doesn’t… Because sometimes, if you open it up when you haven’t opened it for a while—
Dr. Jill 37:26
Dr. Susanne Bennett 37:27
The pressure, yes. I’m going to just see.
Dr. Jill 37:29
Okay. This’ll be fun—a real live explosion.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 37:32
Oh, it was a little gassy. Oh, look, do you see the gas? It just came up.
Dr. Jill 37:36
Dr. Susanne Bennett 37:37
Yes. A little gas. I love the smell! I love the smell, but everyone would say it smells kind of like, you know, someone fattooted around. The truth of the matter is that when you do fermentation, you are creating carbon dioxide gas as well. You know, there’s gas and sulfur in it from the garlic, and that creates the odor. But the fastest way to get rid of kimchi breath is to eat ginger. Ginger is your antidote. Ginger is the antidote for garlic. When you make kimchi, you have to have a two-to-one ratio. And that’s my ancient [lineage], my entire lineage from my mother’s grandmother’s side—all my kimchi recipes come from them, from my ancestors. And the ratio is two to one. So it’s two parts garlic to one part ginger when you’re making kimchi. And that’s when you’re going to get the most amazing-tasting kimchi in that two-to-one ratio. But I wanted to talk about garlic and why garlic is important.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 38:56
All right. I learned something about garlic from my mother [from] a very, very young age. When my mother was just about 20 years old, that’s when the Korean War was happening. She lived in Incheon, which is [in the] North, much closer to North Korea. Although Incheon is in South Korea right now, back then there wasn’t a demilitarized zone. There wasn’t such a thing back then because it was wartime, right? They created it later, in the late ’50s, I think.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 39:29
So anyway, my mother told me a story about a girl. They had borders. My mom lived in a nice house with many rooms. So they had borders. And it was a woman and a daughter. And the daughter got cholera during the war. Now, cholera—most people don’t really know what cholera is. But it’s dysentery—bacterial dysentery—Vibrio cholerae, which is the bacteria. And most people die from it because you lose everything. You’ve got just water coming out of you. And the scene is terrible. Young people, children, and adults—everyone dies from cholera. At least they did in the past. My mother said that the mother of that girl got five to six cloves like this, crushed them up, and gave them to her every day. Over a cup! This little girl would take a cup of garlic, and it saved her life!
Dr. Jill 40:30
Wow. And it’s not surprising, Susanne. When I’m treating dysbiosis and disorders, garlic is probably my favorite. I use a lot of things, but when there are tough bugs, like methane, Klebsiella, or these tough strains, I love garlic for that reason, because it’s so powerful.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 40:50
Which one do you use? Do you use supplements or real garlic?
Dr. Jill 40:54
Well, I love using real garlic, but patients aren’t as compliant. So I use the allicin extract. Allimed or Allimax—they’re both the same one. They’re really powerful. It’s 450 milligrams of allicin extract. So it’s a very high-potency garlic.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 41:07
I’m glad that you use that because it’s easier to take, there’s no doubt. Even with allicin, it will give you a little odor. But you know what? I’ve got a story for you on that one. I came back from—where is that? Down in Cancun, there’s a little place near the Tulum area. I went. And I went swimming in ‘el cenote’, which is like a large cavern with water. I went swimming in it. It was a beautiful, beautiful place. But when I came out, the mosquitoes got me, and I didn’t know anything about dengue back then. But anyway, I came back home, and I realized I was super sick because I had… Do you know a bullseye from a tick bite? I had five of them on my body. Five! And I was really suffering fast.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 42:02
I’ve got vials. You know how to do muscle testing. I had these vials. And I rarely get my tropical disease vials. In America, we don’t get tropical diseases. But I ended up scanning my vials, and I ended up getting dengue. Oh my gosh, it freaked me out, of course. And I was working; it was already Monday morning because I flew back on Sunday, and I started downing allicin. I’m, like, looking, [thinking]: “What is going to help me? What’s going to help me?” I’m taking 10 allicin gels three times a day. That day, I stunk like garlic all day. My patients were going crazy. But I’m going to tell you that large, about a five-inch bullseye, became about half of a dollar. It shrank up so fast with allicin. So I believe exactly what you’re saying. It works beautifully. And we’re lucky to have this available. We’re so lucky.
Dr. Jill 43:02
We are. And a lot of times, there’s bacterial overgrowth, but there may also be fungal overgrowth or viral loads. And I feel like the allicin extract is good for viral, fungal, bacterial, and protozoan [infections]. In fact, I was at the Swiss Mountain Clinic last year, not this year, but hopefully again next year. And one of my favorite things… These are allopathic, regular medical doctors from Germany that treat people there. And they use garlic in many forms, including garlic enemas to treat protozoa—so, parasites. So they use garlic freely. Yes, I know it sounds really awful. I don’t use them frequently here, but part of their protocol for treating parasites in Germany and Switzerland was garlic.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 43:42
Well, you could do—it’s called mullein—garlic drops for the ear. You could do it for the vagina. I wouldn’t put it in the eyes or the nose. Oh!—speaking of the nose, if you have white kimchi, meaning without red pepper, use the liquid, the kimchi juice. You can swipe your nose for chronic rhinitis and chronic sinusitis infections. Absolutely. It’s on the internet. You can find [information] online about it. So don’t use a red pepper one, but regular [white kimchi]. There’s a bacteria called Lactobacillus sakei that’s in the juice. And the scientists found out that when you get these chronic sinusitis or rhinitis issues, what’s lacking is that bacteria. So you’re replenishing it. And you don’t have to go all the way back like you’re doing a COVID test. You just have to put it right in the front, and it’ll just multiply and go up there.
Dr. Jill 44:41
Wow! That’s a great, great pearl. Gosh, I love talking to you, Dr. Susanne. This has been so fun. Just to end with some tips, we talked about immune-boosting foods. I love garlic and ginger. Is there anything else you want to share about immune-boosting foods in general?
Dr. Susanne Bennett 44:57
When I look at immune boosting, I look at many different [things]. You’ve got to look at the macro level to the micro level. When I do macro, I’m talking about what kind of foods, right? That’s macro—what you could eat. But I also look at: What foods have specific ingredients in them? So the things that we all know about right now because of COVID are zinc and selenium. And zinc is a very difficult mineral to find in food. The highest level you’ll find is in oysters. But I don’t recommend [eating] a lot of oysters because, to get a decent level, you need to have three oysters per day. Three oysters mean you get about 30 milligrams of zinc. But oysters could have mercury in them, and they could also have dinoflagellates, which [in the] ocean [are] single-cell animals. But they can cause all kinds of bad problems in your gut and your body. So instead of that, I say [that for] zinc, you want to take food. And the higher levels of zinc will be in animal proteins. So get some protein in. And there are a lot of vegans here. If not, then I highly recommend taking chelated zinc supplement-wise.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 46:18
When it comes to zinc, do not take it on an empty stomach because some people get nausea. You could even vomit from it. Start slow, anywhere from 10 to 15 milligrams, and go up to [something] like three times a day to boost your immunity. They even talk about zinc in combination with drugs for COVID. But I don’t recommend the drugs. I just do it all naturally; we can all do it. Studies show that kimchi actually kills COVID. I don’t know if you know that. They are finding that your immunity builds so that the COVID goes down. They also found that kimchi stops the opening of the ACE2 receptors. So it’s important; get kimchi in you.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 47:07
I talk about zinc and selenium. Selenium—what are foods that are high in selenium? Sardines. Yes, sardines. I love sardines because they’re very high in RNA as well, which is really good for the brain. And then Brazil nuts—you can do a few of them. I always peel off the skin. Peel it off, because that can get really moldy.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 47:07
And then foods that build your immune system. Protein is the number one way to build your immunity. People don’t realize that. All of your immune boosters, let’s say, [such as] immunoglobulins—that’s protein. Or white blood cells, or natural killer cells—all protein. So you’ve got to get your proteins up.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 48:00
And if you’re vegan, I highly recommend getting amino acid supplements. I take Super 8 Aminos. These Super 8 Aminos have the eight essentials. They’re building blocks for your immune system. And even your gut, your brain, your transverse—all of that. So protein is very, very key—high, high, high. So when it comes to antiviral herbs, I use olive leaf and Andrographis. Olive leaf and Andrographis. Viragraphis is the one that I get from Xymogen. But they are both immune boosting, and they also quelch the over-hypersensitivity reaction that you might have with COVID. When they have that—what do you call it?—storm…
Dr. Jill 48:49
Yes, cytokine storm.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 48:50
Yes, exactly. It quelches that. It keeps it from happening. You don’t get super hyperimmune reactive, and you don’t get that hyperimmune inflammatory reaction. So olive leaf, as well as Andrographis, are both natural herbs. And those are both [things] that you can take long-term. Long-term—what is long-term? A month to two months if you need it.
Dr. Jill 49:15
Yes, totally. Some of the other ones, like echinacea, are better for pulsing or short-term [use]. I don’t recommend them long-term. So I totally agree with you on that. And I love that you mentioned amino acids. Like you, I’ve taken amino acids for years, and I am not a fan of the BCAAs, which are branched-chain amino acids. It’s just three of them. So just like you, I want the whole spectrum of amino acids. I like Thorne’s Amino Complex, but there are others. Claire has one. So it’s really good to get the full spectrum and get those every day if possible.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 49:46
Absolutely. Absolutely. And there’s another supplement that I take. It’s a natural ingredient called shilajit. Do you know what that is, Jill? Shilajit? A lot of people haven’t heard about it. Yes. It comes from the Himalayas. And this is ancient goo. I call it ancient goo because between the rocks in the Himalayan mountains, this black type of exude—it’s like exude—oozes. It almost looks like oil, but it’s thicker than oil, like honey. It is really honey. And what they found was that it’s an ingredient of old minerals—the trees, plants, woods, roots—all this mixture. By ancient, I mean, like, millions of years old. And what the Himalayans, the Tibetans, and the people that live there have found—they’ve studied this extensively in India as well—is that all of these little ingredients that are in it is an adaptogen. It’s an immune builder. It’s amazing for high altitude sickness. It’s incredible for activating mitochondrial function.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 51:07
You know that I wrote the book Mighty Mito. So energy is [what it’s] all about. And that’s one of the nutrients that I talk about in the Mighty Mito book. And shilajit, you take a tiny, little bit, and you just mix it in water. You would think that it’s like crude oil because it looks and kind of smells funky like that, but it’s water-soluble. It’s not oil; there’s really no oil in it. You put a tiny little [bit] like a pea size, in and mix it in. And you just drink it, and you can feel all your cells opening up and activating.
Dr. Jill 51:39
I’m excited for that energy. Oh my gosh. What amazing pearls! What exciting stuff on kimchi! I learned a lot. And where is the place for people to find more information about you? Repeat your website, and then [tell us] where to get the book.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 51:52
Sure, sure. My website is DrSusanne.com. I’m available on Instagram. Right now I’m posting a lot about my RV trips and stuff, which is a lot of fun. I just came back from Zion. [inaudible] and those red Canyon rocks. It was infrared energy charging my body up. It was fabulous. So you can find me on Instagram, and then also, like I said, if you just put your name in, there’s a pop-up that comes up, and it has a little information about kimchi and the recipe for the cucumber kimchi, wherever that is. You’ll be able to make your own this week during your Labor Day weekend. And then my book is available on Amazon. All of my books are available on Amazon.
Dr. Jill 52:52
Awesome. Well, I am so glad to have you! We will have to do this again sometime. Yes. Let’s see the book. If you want to learn all about kimchi, I love it. Look at that gorgeous smile. Thank you for taking your Friday before Labor Day with us, and we’re so grateful for you, friend. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. And we will be sure to share this. I’ll give you links so you guys can watch it again. And thanks again.
Dr. Susanne Bennett 53:17
I so appreciate you, Jill. Jill, you are major to me—a rock star in our world of natural health and medicine. And I really appreciate you inviting me here. Thank you so much for letting me just share a little bit about what I love and what I’m passionate about.
Dr. Jill 53:33
You are so welcome. We will talk soon, my friend.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.