Vegetarians: Tips for Improving Gut Health (with or without Meat) – Podcast 66

Steve and I are not dogmatic about “diet.” No judgement here…

We believe everyone has a custom diet that works for them and it’s up to each and every one of us to test and tweak until we figure it out.

In fact, some interesting conversation at the Ancestral Health Symposium brought forth the idea that whether you’re Paleo, Primal, WAPF, SCD, GAPS, Vegan, or Vegetarian… we all have a lot in common.

Most of us are NOT eating the Standard American Diet.

We care about getting healthy.

We care about the environment.

We care about the animals on this planet.

We care about sustainability.

And there’s typically only a few subtle tweaks separating us. Whether that be meat… or properly prepared grains… or sleeping upside down on the ceiling like a bat (?). In many cases, we have more IN common than we don’t have in common.

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So, we have the utmost respect for anyone trying to get healthy.

That said, we use the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as the foundation to creating a custom diet that restores gut health. And lately, we’ve had a lot of clients that have:

1) Either been vegan or vegetarian in the past…


2) Decided to transition animal products back into their lifestyle.

So, on this podcast, we decided to have an open discussion about optimal food for gut health, including tips for improving digestion (meat or not).

Note: Before you listen, please know that our current position is based on science, practice and research that a diet including animal products is the healthiest option for humans. Here are a few experts who present balanced positions on why a meat-based diet is optimal for human health: Chris Masterjohn, Mathieu Lalonde and Denise Minger.

We’re looking forward to your feedback in the comments.

On Today’s Podcast, We Cover:

1:12 What Steve and Jordan had for breakfast (in honor of RHR)
2:54 The common traits each of these “healthy diets” share
7:28 Why many people initially feel better after removing meat
10:54 The long-term problems we’re seeing with clients that don’t eat animal products
14:48 What to do about the digestive epidemic we’re seeing (meat or no meat)
18:20 How to transition back to animal products if you’re having long-term problems
28:00 The climactic wrap-up (and an interesting case study)


Thank you again for listening and we look forward to an open discussion in the comments.

Let us know your point of view. Have you been vegan or vegetarian in the past? Did you feel better at first? Did you reintroduce animal products?

– Jordan

P.S. – If you can’t see the audio player below, download the MP3 here. Also, make sure you subscribe on iTunes and leave a review – thanks!

Jordan Reasoner

About Jordan Reasoner

Jordan Reasoner is a health engineer and author. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007 and almost gave up hope when a gluten-free diet didn’t work. Since then, he transformed his health using the SCD Diet and started to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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14 thoughts on “Vegetarians: Tips for Improving Gut Health (with or without Meat) – Podcast 66

  1. Avatar

    Thank you for the information, i was always confused about meat. I am currently on the SCD Diet (phase 3), and i have trouble gaining and even keeping my weight, so obviously i had to eat a lot of fat and meat/fatty fish to get the calories in. Fruits and vegetables only does not seem to be enough, and there is only so much oil/fat that i can add to each meal.

    I want to eat much less meat though, because i can not afford the grass fed version. I would love to get about 80% of the calories from other sources, and eat only a small amount of meat with each meal, that way i could buy the grass fed meat.

    My Problem really is that i can not gain weight, and in phase 3 of the SCD Diet, my options are limited (i don’t tolerate dairy or nuts yet). Do you have an idea how i can achieve my goal?

    • Avatar

      HI Mary – that’s really tough, as there are only so many legal foods to eat. Fat is going to be your best source of calories, but we uderstand there’s only so much you can tolerate. We’d encourage you to find your upper tolerable limit with fat and consume that amount daily. Doing the SCD diet is tough with out meat and at that point becomes about consuming as many veggies and fruits as you can tolerate.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you so much for this web page with a lot of useful information!
    Actually paleo diet and the idea that we should eat meat seems to be very logical.
    But I can’t eat meat (after gluten allergy I developed a lot of other food sensitivities). So no chicken, no beef – 100%. I’ll try rabbit, maybe it will work out.
    Can I actually heal my gut eating vegetables and fish? It’s the only choice I have…
    I was vegetarian for 5 years. It seems that by eating more gluten food, legumes (instead of meat) I was intoxicating my body….
    I am not a doctor, not a scientist. I am just telling my experience. I would like to start eating meat to heal myself but I can’t… Do you have any suggestion?

    I was vegetarian for 5 years

    • Avatar

      Hi Adrian, thanks for sharing this really interesting video.

      Jordan and Steve promote a diet that emphasizes tons of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and sustainable, grass-fed meat, too.

      While we respect vegetarianism and veganism as a lifestyle choice, our research shows humans need nutrients only animal products can survive to reach optimum health.

      Nonetheless, we’re always open to learning new things and we appreciate you sharing this with us!

  3. Avatar
    Kristin LaMonda says:

    I decided to purchase the 90 day SCD Lifestyle Training Program you guys authored and I’m on my 16th day. Although I experimented with adopting a vegan and vegetarian diet in years past, I mainly ate like a ‘flexitarian’ eating a variety of animal products but vegetable/fruit/grain focused. These 16 days have been quite difficult! I am trying to suppress a growing aversion to meat so that I can see this through. I have shifted toward eating more fish and seafood and chicken and that is a little easier but just a little. I’ve listened to many of your podcasts and have taken notes. I suspect that I am one of those women who has low stomach acid making it difficult to properly digest meat and extract the nutrients I need. I’ve always been a little squimash about eating meat but now … it’s really starting to disgust me! I have recently added Sweedish Bitters and hope that will aid in my digestion of meat. I may try the Betaine HCL you mention and see how that affects me. If it’s so common that people have low stomach acid, I wonder why this isn’t heavily featured as a possible precondition to address before beginning the intro diet. I think it may have helped me. I’ve been so tempted to quit many times and, admittedly, still don’t have the conviction I’d like. Still, I’m grateful for your research, passion to help others, and dedication to continue learning and passing that information on to your readers.

  4. Avatar

    Obviously you guys are very pro-meat because SCD is your dominating worldview, but there’s a ton of research out there that says veganism is the way to go. The China Study, Engine 2 Diet, Joel Furhman’s books, The Gerson Institute. In the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead the guy juiced away his autoimmune disease.

    You guys started by saying that the anti-SAD community should come together and have a nice kumbaya moment, and I agree with you that there’s too much in-fighting amongst all of the pro-healthy lifestyle folks. But then you spent most of the show railing against anyone that doesn’t eat meat.

    What do you think about the above-mentioned books/research/documentaries on veganism?

  5. Avatar


    I think you guys are very helpful pioneers in your efforts and I applaud your efforts to help others. Of course SCD is far more natural approach to IBD than SAD. I have done SCD for 3 years. Could never get the total inflammation down or rid of parasites regardless of tweaking the diet and doing anti fungals etc. I was always eating lots of meat.

    So I kept digging, and by Gods grace came across a master herbalist and expert nutritionist. He knew more about diet than anyone else I have ever met and has shared much medical literature written by very famous medical doctors. People will always argue about health theories, so all I can say is by my Christian faith I went back to the orginal eating plan for humans which was mainly fruits and that immediately took my inflammation away. I was doing SCD 100% then realized if you keep doing the same thing you get the same results. I started by STOP eating, did some liver and gallbladder flushing and did a juice fast. The body needs to rest and detoxify. Meats and improper food combining introduce a lot of toxins, that sickly people cannot handle well. once I balanced my ph, I saw more parasites and bacteria die off than ever before. Believe me, I had tried every antifungal and some presription before. Acidosis is key to longevity. Its been proven. Also check out Dr. Dave Klien, he has an excellent approach that supports the acid/alkaline approach after suffering years from UC and trying various IBD diets.

    The famouns Hundza tribe noted not too long ago by Dr. Robert Mccarrison to have lived mainly on fruits, veggies, nuts and small amounts of raw dairy and meat if any. You cant argue with longevity, it is the ultimate test of a successful diet.

    Again thanks for your work!

    • Avatar

      Brandon, Bravo for following God’s original plan for us. I really don’t care what all the research, says. Our creator knows what we need. No one is going to tell me His plan is trumped by research. I have celiac disease and IBS. I did the SCD for a long time and my IBS got so much worse. My bowels never moved. I am about 8 months into my vegan venture, slowly losing the animal products in my diet. I eat an occasional egg, and thats it. And soon I will eliminate that. Feel the best I have in a long time. Prayer led me to do this and I am so grateful that I do not have to harm and consume animals for my benefit. Blessings, Jan

  6. Avatar

    Great podcast guys. You handled this subject so gracefully. I think that personal experience beats research any day when it comes to working out the right diet for me. Eight years ago eating meat was an instrumental part of my recovery from IBS. I was zinc deficient for sure. Before switching to a modified Paleo diet that healed me I was a raw foodist. This was done purely for healing reasons, not by choice. The healing argument for raw food sounded rock solid, but I was getting worse. I think that checking in with your body and experimenting with different ways of eating is the way to go. Thanks again.

  7. Avatar

    I have always been a big meat eater and love to hunt/fish. However with IBD I cannot deny that little to no animal products have more scientific backing as for being healthier and nourishing since we were really never intended to eat meats. Dr. William Hay was probably the best medical doctor in our American history. He is the one of the only doctors that had a 100% cure rate and his approach was to reduce anything that produces stomach acid. All disease can be lead back to an overly acidic body. Meat is one of the worst offenders for acid production. Primitive tribes that ate very little if any meat have been proven to live much longer than heavy meat eaters. PH balance is key and the more stomach acid you produce the more you rob alkaline reserves and that leads to disease and eventually death. I dont totally avoid animal products, but the science is there, little to no animal products along with a alkaline diet free of processed foods is a proven way to alleviate disease, especially IBD.

    • Steven Wright

      Actually Brandon, biology and evolution do not support anything you just said. Our intestines are not the fermentation kind found in animals that eat mostly plant matter like cows and gorillas. Instead we are omnivores meaning we’ve evolved to eat meat and plant matter. You can see this in our teeth and gut formation.

      Also, you have not done the research into hunter and gatherer tribes. I’d encourage you to read Weston A Price’s book. And to do some reading on these tribes. It is true that you can find people who subsisted on almost nothing but plant matter and yet you also find people such as the Inuit who ate no plant matter (basically 98% animal products) and were almost completely free of IBD and most western diseases. Also, PH balance in the blood has been thoroughly debunked. Please read and

      I appreciate your comment and point of view but please do more research. Also, if you are going to claim a 100% cure rate (which is never true) I’d expect a heck of lot of science and case studies to back it up. Thanks!

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