Optimizing Your Microbiome For Health & Performance With Sara Bird And Rob Pellow

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About this episode:
In this week’s episode, coach Adam talks with Viome’s Sara Bird (Director of Laboratory Operations and Product Development) and Rob Pellow (Director Strategic Partnerships & Performance) about all things microbiome, gut health, and how you can personalize your nutrition to help improve your health and performance.  

Episode Highlights:

  • What shapes your microbiome
  • Personalizing your nutrition for your microbiome
  • Why fiber is so important
  • Chronic and acute inflammation and how it relates to gut health
  • How “superfoods” can differ among individuals

Guest Bios

Sara Bird (Director of Laboratory Operations and Product Development):

Viome's Sara Bird

Sara received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Stanford University and has focused her career in the microbiome space. At Viome, Sara is responsible for ensuring that all customer samples are processed efficiently and with the highest quality. Sara has been a lifelong athlete, focused the last ten years on cycling, and is passionate about improving her own health and wellness for optimal performance.

Rob Pellow (Director of Strategic Partnerships & Performance)

Viome's Rob Pellow

Rob works with Viome‘s professional athletes, including Olympic gold medalists and multiple-time Grand Slam winners, to better understand their Viome results and to strategically implement their food recommendations for optimal performance. Rob played ice hockey at the University of Delaware, where he won a national championship in 2012.

About Viome:

Viome is on a mission to help people understand what they uniquely need to be healthy through analysis of their unique biology in areas like the gut microbiome, and cellular and mitochondrial health. The ultimate goal is to prevent and reverse chronic diseases such as diabetes, anxiety, depression, and obesity, and empower people to live healthier lives. Over 125,000 customers have taken Viome’s Health Intelligence™ or Gut Intelligence™ tests with >95% satisfaction. The company has created a breakthrough therapeutics platform that combines advanced Metatranscriptomic sequencing technology developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratories with powerful Artificial Intelligence and Translation Science knowledge.

For more information visit www.viome.com

Viome is offering TrainRight Podcast listeners $10 off their orders with coupon code: TRAINRIGHT

 

Follow Viome:

https://www.facebook.com/MyViome/

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Episode Transcription:

Adam Pulford:

Welcome back or welcome to the TrainRight Podcast. We’ve got a dynamic duo on today’s episode, Sara Bird and Rob Pellow from Viome. Sara, could you tell our audience a bit more about what you do at Viome and how you got started working with them?

Sara Bird:

Sure, Adam, and thanks for having us. So at Viome, I am the director of laboratory operations and product development. So my role is really to help Viome scale and grow the business. I’m mostly focused on helping our laboratory team, which is where you actually send in those precious poop samples, helping us try to be as efficient and the highest quality as possible and also for too how we can scale the laboratory operations as our business expands.

Sara Bird:

A little bit more about me. So my background is in microbiology. I got my degree in microbiology from UC Davis and then went on to do a PhD in microbiology and immunology at Stanford University. My scientific background is actually in the study of RNA viruses. So I worked on host pathogen interactions on poliovirus when I was at Stanford. But yeah. But I’ve always been really interested in the microbiome, partly because I haven’t been a lifelong athlete myself, and as I’ve learned how important the microbiome is for overall health and wellness, like we’ll be discussing today, I’ve always just been really keenly interested in that field.

Sara Bird:

So for the past few years, I have worked in the microbiome industry, transitioned, like I said, a bit from the scientific and R&D side into the operations and business side of things. But I really pull from my own personal interest in kind of optimizing my own health and wellness and how I can kind of bring that perspective as both an athlete and a scientist to my role at Viome.

Sara Bird:

It’s really great working at a company with so many like-minded individuals, and Rob and I will both tell you how much we really enjoy doing kind of bit of our own biohacking and optimizing our own health and wellness. So it’s really fun working with a company that thinks about how to turn those into meaningful products for our customers.

Adam Pulford:

Absolutely. I understand that you know how to race a bike too, right?

Sara Bird:

Oh, yeah. So the past, I would say, I think it’s been about 10 years or so, got into cycling kind of through my dad and my uncle who’ve been lifelong cyclists. I am actually a cat 1 cyclist myself. So I would consider myself a little bit more on the weekend warrior side these days. But especially during this time when there’s not a lot of racing going on, it’s been fun to ride with my friends on weekends and go for those Strava KOMs and QOMs. Haven’t quite gotten into the [inaudible 00:03:08] myself. But there’s still time in the summer, so we’ll see.

Adam Pulford:

Well, I’m right there with you. I’m right there with you. Thank you for that, Sara. Rob, how did you get involved with Viome, and what is your key role there?

Rob Pellow:

Yeah, thanks Adam. So I do not have nearly the technical background that Sara does. But what I do at Viome is I am the director of strategic partnerships and performance. So what that means is I work with our professional athletes, including our Olympians and grand slam winners and help them understand their Viome results and then ultimately implement those food recommendations and supplements to optimize their performance.

Adam Pulford:

Very cool. Your athletic background, I mean, you slapped some pucks around on the ice, right?

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. So I am not an endurance athlete, aside from hopefully pseudo marathon. I think I’ve never run more than about two miles in a given stint. But yes, I played ice hockey at the university of Delaware, was fortunate enough to win a national championship there in 2012. Yeah. It was a good time.

Adam Pulford:

Very cool. Well, thank you both for being on the show. Welcome. Rob, it’s been fun just kind of dialoguing with you. I was actually introduced to you through one of my athletes, a CTS athlete named Jeff Mahin, the great connector of business peoples. Since then, this experience of the Viome journey has been really interesting, and we will get into that here later on in the show it. But it’s been super fascinating. So I wanted to bring you both on the show and talk about how this could apply to our listeners and help athletes improve their performance. So before we get into the science, Rob, will turn to you first. I gave a bit of a overview of what Viome does in the intro. But for our listeners, could you summarize a bit more about what Viome does and kind of your guys’ mission at the company?

Rob Pellow:

Yeah, sure. So I think that’s a great place to start. So at a high level, Viome is a biotech company that our mission is to make illness optional. Adam as you and I were chatting earlier. That’s kind of a cookie concept to say, make illness optional. Optional implies that there’s some sort of choice involved. But really, what we’re doing at Viome is we’re helping people understand what their body uniquely needs to be healthy, and the way that we’re doing that is through understanding the function of your human cells. So think like your immune cells, your mitochondria, and your microbiome, and when you understand how all of those cells are actually functioning and are they doing what they should be doing, or are they malfunctioning in some way, then you can create really precise nutritional and supplement recommendations to ultimately prevent and reverse chronic disease.

Rob Pellow:

So we’ve actually had Mayo Clinic, UnitedHealth Group, GSK, who’s the world leader in vaccine creation and a number of others partner with us to use this technology to move humanity forward. But I’ll add that’s a very kind of big concept. I think more we’re going to chat about today is why we work with so many athletes today, certainly more than we worked with two years ago. The reality there is when you understand how your body is functioning at a cellular level, and you can improve that function by understanding what foods to eat more of or what healthy foods to avoid. You can really improve performance, and that’s something that a lot of athletes seem to be very interested in. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

Absolutely, and yes, to make illness optional. That is a very bold statement. But I love it me come out swinging with it. I think as it applies to our listeners who are just addicted to that performance and to overall health and wellness, I mean, it’s going to hit the sweet spot. So I understand that there’s two kind of services that you provide at Viome. It’s the health intelligence service and the gut intelligence. Could you just go high level what those are and what that means?

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. So the health intelligence would be mac daddy at-home test, really creates a complete digital snapshot of your overall health. What that’s doing is it is an at-home blood test and at-home stool test and helps you and I chat about don’t mix those two together.

Adam Pulford:

No. Don’t mix those two together.

Rob Pellow:

When we get those back at the lab, what we’re able to see is the microbiome tests will show you, how is your microbiome functioning? You have trillions of microbes that are breaking down your food, producing hormones and neurotransmitters and all of these types of metabolites to run your body. So how is that system functioning? Then we’re also looking again at the blood, which is, what is your mitochondria doing and the powerhouse of the cell generating all of your energy, and how are your immune cells and other human cells functioning? Are they doing what they should be doing, or there signs of inflammation and bad behavior?

Rob Pellow:

From all of that, then we can make really precise nutritional guidelines and supplement recommendations for people. So that’s the health intelligence. The other product you mentioned, the gut intelligence is simply the microbiome test on its own.

Adam Pulford:

Got it. Got it. So I mean, how does Viome analyze people’s microbiomes? I mean, how does that work?

Rob Pellow:

I’m actually going to turn that one over to Sara, the lab master. How does that at a high level go down?

Sara Bird:

Yeah. So we’re really fortunate at Viome to have tapped in and licensed some really amazing technology from Los Alamos National Laboratory. So Viome-

Rob Pellow:

Which is the US government, for those who aren’t familiar. We took this formerly defense technology and commercialized it, which is why it exists nowhere else.

Sara Bird:

Exactly. Exactly. So at a really high level, we do things at Viome slightly differently than some other companies in the microbiome space have done this. So we look at the actual activity of the microbes that are in your gut and also look at the activity of the human genes that are being expressed. So we’re not just looking at who’s there. We’re really asking the question, what are they doing? We use a technology called sequencing to do that. Then there’s a lot of hand-wavy parts after that with our really fantastic AI and data science data team. But basically, after we do the sequencing, we run what’s called a bioinformatic pipeline that can then pull out the specific sequences that we’re looking for. It then goes into an AI engine that generates and all the score is that you end up seeing your app pulling from a lot of translational science and systems biology.

Sara Bird:

The other key component to this is we collect really valuable metadata. So that’s the data about the data. You get that when you answer those questionnaires. So we are trying to learn things about, are you heavy drinker? Are you a smoker? Are you on a vegetarian diet? Do you exercise? So that metadata coupled with the actual results of the sequences in your sample gives us the scores that you see in your app.

Adam Pulford:

Got it. So you’re getting the actual samples from the humans, as well as the information from a questionnaire in order to get that done in there, so hand-waving, the greatest adjective in the world on the front side of things, but there’s a lot of data going into this analyzation process.

Sara Bird:

Exactly. We really are a data company. We have over 125,000 customers at this point. So the cool thing is the more samples that we collect, the better our engine gets and the stronger the data gets, the more we learn about different relationships between the microbiome and human health and disease. So it’s a really powerful tool, and it only gets better over time.

Rob Pellow:

To clarify one other thing too, about the hand-waviness. So-

Adam Pulford:

Please, Rob.

Rob Pellow:

Yes. So I’m not a scientist, but I will fill in some technical terms here on hand-waviness. The AI system, which to Sara’s point, we are almost a data company was created by the head engineer who created the IBM Watson project. So our AI is this unbelievable engine that all of this data gets put through.

Adam Pulford:

Got it. Got it. So definitely more than hand-waviness, but still a good adjective.

Rob Pellow:

Definitely.

Adam Pulford:

Still a good adjective. Well, let’s actually explore some of these terms, and I’m going to learn here along with our audience. But Sara, I’ll turn to you since you’re the smartest person in the room. Could you describe to us what a microbiome is or the microbiome and why humans need to know about it?

Sara Bird:

Yeah. Sure. So we’ve all kind of heard about the microbiome at this point. It’s made lots of splashes in the news. But at a high level, so the microbiota is the collection of all these microorganisms that live in and on our bodies. So yes. You have microbes, not just in your gut, mostly the large intestine. You have microbes in your nose, in your mouth, on your skin, and yes, men and women, men have microbiomes in the semen. Women, you have microbes in your vagina. Microbes are everywhere, right? We’ve evolved with them.

Sara Bird:

When we talk about the actual microbiome, that’s the collection of the genetic material of those microbes. So one thing that’s really fascinating is so humans have something like 20,000 or 21,000 genes, which sounds like a lot. The microbes in the collective microbiome is over a hundred times that many genes. So when we think about going back to our biology class, and we remember that genes, which are the DNA, DNA makes RNA, which then makes a protein, and the protein goes and does some sort of function, if you think about these microbes that contain a hundred times the number of genes that can make a hundred times the number of functional products that have some sort of effect on our bodies, it’s kind of astronomical.

Sara Bird:

On top of that, we’re just scratching the surface about what we’re really learning about the microbiome. So we do know quite a bit, way more than we knew even a year ago. But there’s still a lot to cover there. As you can imagine, this means that the microbiome influences literally everything about us. So from weight gain, weight loss to our mood, our immunity, sleep, food cravings. So yeah. Absolutely. It’s really important area for all of us to at least try to understand a bit more about.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. No. I mean, my mind is being blown as we sit here virtually and distanced. So let me understand this a little bit better. So we’ve got a bunch of microbes and things helping us, but they could also hurt us, right, as we live. So there must be a balance, or it must be a homeostasis. How do you seek homeostasis and when you’re out of balance, and what does that mean?

Sara Bird:

Yeah. No. You hit the nail on the head with homeostasis is definitely the right word to use there. So there’s a lot of stressors in our lives. Poor sleep. You go on vacation, and you start eating a lot of rich foods, and you just feel really crappy after that. Your stomach’s in a lot of pain. You feel lethargic. Let’s say you get sick. Maybe you’re an athlete, and you’re training a lot, all of a sudden, and you’re feeling run down. There’s a lot of stressors in our lives, and those stressors affect a lot of our function. They’re also going to affect the microbes that are in our gut as well. They’re going to respond to those stressors. So if those stressors are built up in there over time, it’s going to have an effect on the microbes that are responding, right?

Sara Bird:

So as an example, when those microbes see the different foods that come into your digestive tract, they’re going to respond to that food, help you digest that food, and create different types of metabolites or respond to that digestion. But as the balance starts to shift, it might favor microbes that aren’t as beneficial to your system. So if you’re not able to bring it back to balance and the balance shifts in one direction and other, you can certainly end down some paths that will ultimately lead to increase inflammation. That’s really what happened. We started to think about when we see things getting a bit out of balance.

Adam Pulford:

Okay. So if I have a bad day of racing, I could just blame it on a microbiome. That’s out of balance. That’s another good excuse, Sara?

Sara Bird:

Okay. Possibly. No, I mean, absolutely. It is how many-

Adam Pulford:

I mean-

Sara Bird:

… factors that go into it, right? Depending on how your microbiome was going as you went into that race, no, absolutely.

Adam Pulford:

I mean, I’ve never heard it from one of my athletes, but it might start [crosstalk 00:17:01]-

Sara Bird:

I wish I knew about that when I was racing. I might’ve pulled that excuse though.

Adam Pulford:

Sure. Right. For sure. I’ll see in one of my athletes comments on training peaks, for sure. So you said a key word there, inflammation. Okay. As the nerdy techie people call it, let’s double-click on inflammation here for a minute. Is all inflammation bad?

Sara Bird:

Oh yeah, great question. So inflammation is definitely not all bad. It’s a perfectly normal part of our immune system. So if we didn’t have any inflammation, we would probably not be here for very long. We’d be in pretty big trouble. But we can break this down a bit further. So you can think of inflammation two kind of broad categories that we’re all inherently familiar with, but just to kind of touch on them. So let’s start with acute inflammation. I’ll give a couple examples of acute inflammation. So back in 2014, I raced the North Star Grand Prix, formerly the Nature Valley Stage Race, and there’s quite a few [inaudible 00:18:05]. There’s quite a few criteriums during that race, and every single one had at least four or five crashes, and I remember on stage, it was three or four. I endured and landed hard on my chest and got a ton of road rash?

Adam Pulford:

Inflammation sitting.

Sara Bird:

No fun. Exactly. Not fun. But thankfully, I was able to continue and finish the race out. But of course, what inevitably starts happening is my body starts to try to heal that road rash. You get scabbing. You get redness and swelling and warmth to the side of the wound. That’s an active inflammation, but your body’s healing that. It’s what’s supposed to happen when you have any kind of injury. Another example of acute inflammation could be when Coach Adam gives you a five-by-five-minute VO2 max set that you’re just really not excited about. You know it’s going to be really hard, but you’ve got through it. Then the next day, your legs are kind of sore.

Sara Bird:

So you had likely some micro tears in your muscles that now your body’s going to go and have some inflammation at that site to help repair your muscles. That’s another example of acute inflammation. Then of course, there’s the, “Hey, I caught a cold. I’m kind of out for a week. I’ve got a sore throat. Maybe a fever and some aches. But if I take it easy, no big deal. My inflammatory system, my immune response is going to kick in and help me recover, and I’ll be back to baseline again.” So that’s some examples of acute inflammation. Where things start to get a little ugly is when you start to get into the chronic inflammation, which can be caused by a variety of things. But we have been sort of talking about some of those stressors. So sticking with the cyclists example, and I think we all know… I mean, I can relate to this when you’re a new cyclist, and let’s say you’re pretty athletic. So you move up really fast.

Sara Bird:

You were like cat five to cat two in one summer because you’ve just figured it out. You’re winning your races, and then maybe you decide, “Okay. I’m going to get serious. I’m going to get coach.” You think, “Well, I just have to train more and more and more.” It’s just an interesting volume. But you don’t have the years of base in there to really help you. Your coach might give you that recovery day, and then if he sees your file, and you were at this said zone through the entire time because you didn’t really feel like you needed to ride recovery, and then maybe you weren’t sleeping well, and then maybe you got a cold on top of that. Every time you’re going out and doing that training, it’s like a series of acute inflammations. But you’re not allowing yourself to recover, and now you’re heading to a point where you might be over-trained, and that could lead to the symptoms of chronic inflammation.

Sara Bird:

So we’re really talking about there is you’re not allowing your body to get back to that baseline at the cellular level. Your body is expressing and making a lot of proteins and inflammatory markers that are keeping systems on when they should really be off, and you’re really not going to feel great, and you’re not going to be able to perform at the levels that you want to be.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. Those are really good examples, all perfect scenarios that I’ve seen firsthand before. So yeah. Thank you for those examples. That’s really good. If I could ask a little bit more about chronic disease, do you say the athlete is following Coach Adams program perfectly, which is a perfect program. Right?

Sara Bird:

Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

But they are following. Everything’s going well. But there’s still some weird coach, I got this weird lingering thing going on. I just feel kind of sluggish, bad, and I’m not seeing anything necessarily in the data. I mean, we’re following textbook training parameters. Could there be a chronic inflammation thing going on just from other aspects of life, not the training side?

Sara Bird:

Oh, absolutely. I mean, we’ll talk today about the food side. Definitely, you eat. Your microbes are going to be metabolizing those into byproducts that might not work best for you. There’s obviously other stressors, like if you’re just not sleeping, and it could also be an indication of some sort of viral or other type of infection as well, or maybe there’s of course genetic predispositions to some sort of diseases. But if you haven’t looked at your diet yet, that would be a good place to start.

Adam Pulford:

All right, Sara. So you talked about metabolism, and you said the word metabolites. Can you talk us through what happens in human physiology during metabolism, whatever the metabolite is?

Sara Bird:

Yeah, yeah. Of course. So okay. So you all know you eat your lunch, and food goes into your stomach, and your digestive enzymes start to break down that food, and then it goes into your small intestine, and there’s a lot of surface area in your small intestine because it’s designed to really rapidly absorb those key vitamins and minerals and nutrients in the food that give you energy and allow yourselves to perform the basic functions that they need for you to live. Right?

Sara Bird:

But you can’t digest everything. You thankfully have a bunch of helpers in there that are ready to break down other carbs, fats, and proteins that you’re not able to digest. So let’s just take an example. So let’s say I am eating an Apple. So that Apple contains sugar. Sugar is made of glucose and fructose. So the fructose, once it gets into my system, it’ll go off and be further broken down in the liver. But that glucose, we all know about glucose as athletes. It’s right with energy. It gets absorbed by ourselves and goes down a pathway to help make ATP and energy for your system and not some metabolite.

Sara Bird:

So metabolite is really any product of a metabolic pathway. But that Apple also has fiber and microbes love fiber. They take that fiber, and they break it down into their own metabolites. So one of the most well known metabolites of the microbiome are what’s called short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids are really important in our own energy and metabolism and digestion. As I mentioned, so good sources of these short-chain fatty acids are foods that are high in fiber, like fruit and vegetables and legumes. Some well-known short-chain fatty acids or one of the most well known is one called butyrate.

Sara Bird:

So just to give that as an example, butyrate provides energy directly for your cells and your gut. It helps continue down that glycolysis, that glucose metabolism pathway that your cells need. So it provides support in that area. But butyrate also has some antiinflammatory effects. It can lead to the production of antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals, and that’s really important for athletes that are constantly under a lot of stress and training load. Butyrate is also linked to… If you have low butyrate levels, it’s linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Sara Bird:

So you definitely want good levels of butyrate if possible. But even having said all that, none of that really matters if you’re not in the right context. So everything Rob and I are talking about today, it really is important that this is all very personalized. So just because you have microbes that are producing lots of butyrate, you might also have microbes that prevent them from producing butyrate. So your context is really important because everyone’s gut composition is so different. So it is very hard to make a lot of generalizations about what these microbes are doing, but just know that you have microbes that are producing good and bad compounds.

Sara Bird:

So the same microbes can produce something or a metabolite that will be potentially beneficial or harmful, and you also have different microbes that can produce both beneficial and both harmful compounds. So at Viome, we really try to get in there and figure out, what is the activity of all of those microbes in your gut to really understand the whole picture that’s working for you.

Adam Pulford:

I’m glad to hear that because I think I’m low on the whole butyrate thing. When you were talking about the bad things that happened from that butyrate not being able to process, I started to get worried. But apples are on my avoid list. But we’ll get into that here soon. So basically, we eat food, food produces energy. We all get that listening here. But if I understand this whole thing, which goes to Viome is you’re analyzing how the food stuff we eat gets converted into molecular energy and then help to guide what that food stuff is either minimizing or maximizing our health performance, and again, at the cellular level, how to live our best lives. Is that-

Sara Bird:

Exactly. I know that. These metabolic pathways that are all kind of working in concert, sometimes they work with each other. Sometimes they work against each other, and it’s about finding that balance and making sure you have the right energy that lets you perform at your best.

Adam Pulford:

The orchestra of microbiome, we can make an analogy about that. Something like that. Okay. So that’s really good and really deep into the science. I’d say let’s shake off a little bit for listeners who maybe went cross-eyed there. I thought it was awesome, Sara, man. I feel like I could keep on talking about [inaudible 00:27:48] and biochemistry for a while. But to you, Rob, can you tell our listeners what the volume process looks like? So when I’m talking about is you go online, you order a thing. What does that look like for people too.

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. So as complex and more than that science sounded that Sara just regurgitated, the process could not be simpler. So it is legitimately-

Adam Pulford:

It’s true. That’s true, for example.

Rob Pellow:

So you go to viome.com. You purchase one of the tests. It arrives at your house with everything that you need to complete it. So basically, two little sample collection tubes to collect some blood, to collect a little bit of stool, a little bit of poop and then prepaid envelopes to mail them back. All you do is you register the test so that we know who’s it is. You fill out a questionnaire so we know a little bit of background information, and then from that point forward, everything becomes digital. So you’re operating within our app. So when the results come back from the lab, hey, here’s what we saw from an activity standpoint in your microbiome. Here’s how we see that your immune cells and your mitochondria cells are functioning. All of that information gets displayed in the app in a series of what we call scores, which are all explained here. This is what it means for your metabolic fitness, how well you break down sugars, and do you convert them to fats or do you burn them efficiently? Here’s what we saw with your immune cells. Here’s your biological age.

Rob Pellow:

Then from all that information, here are the foods that you should be eating and/or avoiding that are considered “healthy”. So we break those down into four categories for you as well. So you basically get an entire encyclopedia of foods and how good or bad they are for you.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. That’s a perfect summary, which has been my experience as well with that. So those four food groups, I want to talk about those in a minute in. Disclaimer for our listeners. I know that this is a little product forward, but you’ll see where we’re going with this because it kind of needs to be with where we’re going with the whole performance side of things. So Rob, could you describe what it’s like the definition of superfood versus the enjoy food, the minimize food, and then be avoid food?

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. So I think people have this general sense that things like avocados or kale are healthy for everybody. The reality is it’s highly dependent on your unique body. So all that stuff that Sara just described about the complexity of these systems and the uniqueness from person to person is what drives whether a food is actually good for you or not. So yes. We have a superfood list. I think that term gets thrown around a lot. When people look at their superfood lists, what they tend to notice is all of these foods look healthy, and that’s not really a surprise.

Rob Pellow:

What people fail to realize though is that those foods are on their superfood list for very specific reasons related to them, and more often than not, a lot of those foods are going to be on other people’s avoid or minimize lists. Adam, you and I were talking about this earlier. Is there an avoid food for you? They are an enjoy food for me. You have watermelon as a superfood. I have it as an avoid. What determines that is based on, is this going to spike my blood sugar more so than another type of carb?

Rob Pellow:

Is it going to feed a virus that I have, all of these types of things. So it becomes a bit more clear when people look at their avoid list and see what are considered healthy foods on there that they would never have expected they should be avoiding and that these foods actually could be detrimental to their health.

Adam Pulford:

Perfect. Perfect. Okay. So when an athlete gets their results, okay, and they want to start improving their health, wellness, and performance. So they stop eating the avoid stuff for a while, and how long is a while? What does that look like?

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. That’s a great question. I’m going to drive you nuts here because almost all of my answers are going to start with it depends. The reason for that is the avoid foods are not going to be on there for a singular reason. They’re going to be on there for many possible reasons. So for instance, we look at your avoid foods and I hope you don’t mind if I go through some here.

Adam Pulford:

No. Let’s do it. Let’s dive into Coach AP in the microbiome that makes him up. Clearly, it’s just not [inaudible 00:32:32].

Rob Pellow:

So you’re going to be on there for different reasons. So let’s look at yours. So some of your avoid foods, apples, bell peppers, cucumbers, melon, wheat bread, which this was the first I’ve seen on here for this particular reason, tomatoes. Those are six foods on your avoid list because you have different viruses that are known to live on or subsist on those foods.

Adam Pulford:

I eat the hell a lot of tomatoes, salsa in particular, if anybody knows me, a lot of chips and salsa, FYI.

Rob Pellow:

That’ll do it. So some point along the way, you contracted the virus that lives on a tomato. It’s now hanging out in your gut, and if you continue to feed it, it can continue to have a negative impact in different ways of inflammation. So-

Adam Pulford:

[crosstalk 00:33:19].

Rob Pellow:

Which is not great. Here’s the silver lining.

Adam Pulford:

Please, please.

Rob Pellow:

Because this is on here as a virus or the reason that this is an avoid food is because of the virus. Avoiding that food for, let’s say three to six weeks is in almost all cases, that virus is going to start, get taken care of by the immune system. It’s just not going to be there anymore. So a lot of these foods can be added back in after the fact.

Sara Bird:

This happened with me Adam if it makes you feel better. I had tomato as an avoid, and I reduced it, and now it’s off of my avoid list. So in fact, it’s also [crosstalk 00:33:53].

Adam Pulford:

Thank you. You should have seen the walk, walk, walk thing going on over here because it was pretty bad. So to hear that, that’s really good. I guess where my head is going say, as coach is okay, we test a thing, we see a thing, and it says, “Don’t do this, or do this.” So then if I go and do what I should [inaudible 00:34:14] should for, what was it? Three to six weeks raw? [crosstalk 00:34:17]-

Sara Bird:

Yeah, about three weeks.

Rob Pellow:

Six weeks in the case of the virus. Yeah.

Adam Pulford:

In the case of the virus. Okay. So I saved tomato virus free for three to six weeks. Do I then get another gut intelligence test and scoot my poop and send it back to you guys? Or what do you recommend there?

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. I mean, we would say give it a good four months before you do a full retest. But if you were an absolute fiend about salsa, and you were clean, let’s say for… you were tomato sober for three to six weeks.

Adam Pulford:

Tomato sober. I like it.

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. I think you could probably add those back in more often than not. If you’re like me, so Sara had the experience where the virus went away. I’ve had brown rice viruses and blueberry viruses, where I just chosenly continued to eat those things. On subsequent tests, four months later, still had those viruses. But yeah. For three to six weeks is typically it. One thing I do want to point out though is not all the foods on the avoid list are going to be due to this reason.

Rob Pellow:

So for instance, you have spinach as an avoid food, which I think would be hard pressed to think of as anything other than great for everybody. The reality is you have that on your avoid list because spinach contains a lot of purines, which hopefully I don’t nerd out too much, but it contains a lot of purines which produce uric acid, and you’re producing so much uric acid right now that adding more spinach to the mix is actually going to be detrimental to you, and yeah. [crosstalk 00:35:47]-

Adam Pulford:

All right. So get you some gout. That’s good. That’s [inaudible 00:35:55]. So okay. So I will admit that when I was… I think this is coming from my first test. So I was eating a crap ton of spinach leading into this, and then I saw that, and I pulled back on the whole spinach dream. There’s no more spinach going in because I read that, and I was like, “Adam doesn’t want any of that in his life.” So Viome, thank you. You’ve helped pull back the spinach uric acid situation in my life.

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. Who knows? You responding like that may have calmed the system, and maybe you’d be able to add that back in, hopefully if you like spinach.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. No. I love spinach. I love all those. Well, cucumbers, I don’t really care about, so whatever. But the rest of those, and you said wheat bread. Is that right?

Rob Pellow:

Wheat bread, which I would have expected. You [inaudible 00:36:48] avoid foods on here because they would be expected to spike your blood sugar in an unhealthy way. I thought that would be the reason. But apparently, you have a wheat bread or sprouted wheat bread virus as well, which you made and broke the record.

Adam Pulford:

[crosstalk 00:37:02]-

Rob Pellow:

I’ve done a lot of these reviews. I’ve never seen as many viruses.

Adam Pulford:

So okay. Yeah. This sucks. I’m going to just lean into my inner Sheryl Sandberg, Brene Brown here and just lead into the vulnerability. So all right. How do you get viruses? Is it from not washing produce or… I mean, you can’t wash sprouted wheat bread. So how do you pick these things up?

Rob Pellow:

It can be a handful of different reasons. Part of it is too, if you’re eating at restaurants, which we’re not doing a ton of these days, but if the restaurant is using utensils for multiple different food types, viruses can kind of zip around the kitchen that way, and you end up with one that maybe you’re not having black pepper, and you end up with a black pepper virus. So that’s the only way. I definitely know that I got my blueberry virus because I was eating raw, picked blueberries that I picked myself and just never washed.

Adam Pulford:

So good, though. So tasty.

Rob Pellow:

So it’s typically kind of the washing. It can be due to some other factors as well, though.

Adam Pulford:

So all right. All right. We’re getting vulnerable here, Robe and Sara. Because I’ll say this too, which has been interesting. For all of the listeners, we’re going to talk about poop and gas and all the things. Okay. So first steps. So after that, I read the whole spinach thing, and I was like, “No way.” But meanwhile, Kristin, she’s eaten all the spinach. She’s fine. But I will say that… Excuse me. Because I went off of tomatoes and spinach for a while after the first test. To bring listening up to speed, I had done two tests now, the first of which I did not add here very well because it lasts like five days without salsa, and then I was like… I just went back to it. So then I did my second test and whatever.

Adam Pulford:

So to be open and frank here, what I was experiencing was in the morning, I would wake up, and I had bloating. It wasn’t super severe. But it was to the point where I was like, “I just want to go do my bathroom thing right away.” It was uncomfortable and all this kind of stuff. Then it was fine. Then you go about your day and no real issues throughout the day. But it was always the morning bloat. Right? So with that becoming from the tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, avoid food situation, is that the only thing?

Rob Pellow:

It certainly could be? I mean, I think it’s probably more so part of what’s going on than necessarily the entire thing, because what’s interesting about what you’ve said is we haven’t talked about this before, but we looked at your scores, and that was all reflected in what we saw in the sample or what the labs on the sample. I certainly don’t look at it. So that’s very interesting. But to answer your question, it is more likely the whole orchestra than necessarily a couple of bad players. I think that’s difficult for people to wrap their minds around. Everybody wants to say, “Do I have candida, or do I have a particular parasite, or do I have this virus?”

Rob Pellow:

That in that alone is my problem. But as what Sara pointed out earlier is it’s a highly complex system that works together in unison, and you need everybody pulling in the same direction.

Adam Pulford:

The [inaudible 00:40:30]. Got it.

Sara Bird:

Yeah. Adam, I would just point out that Viome aside, what you’re doing is really powerful and that you’re actually pausing to observe how you’re feeling. I went years with just ignoring like, “Oh, I have a stomach ache. That’s just normal. That’s fine.” I wish I knew what I knew now. I mean, even if you’re not going to do a test like Viome, but you’re just interested in feeling better or optimizing performance, just start to take note of what happens after you eat certain foods. Just doing that alone can have a big impact.

Adam Pulford:

Yeah. That’s a really good point. I am very diet neutral, evolving diets or food choice. It’s like, whatever. What I love is when athletes and my athletes in particular bring more awareness to the food that they’re putting into their mouth and how it makes them feel throughout the day during training sessions, throughout the day, at night, all this kind of stuff. So the awareness is huge. I think that the Viome product can help with that awareness, for sure. So thank you, Sara, for bringing that up.

Adam Pulford:

So the other thing, all right, so what I’m learning too is my self-talk of salsa, right, five days, no salsa, salsa silver if you will, thank you, Rob for trademarking that. Then I was like, “No, I’m back on the salsa bandwagon.” Then I was going do all the things. But then recently, after this next test, I drew the line in the sand. I’m like, “You know what? For science, I’m going to not do salsa.” But not only for science, but because of the self-talk of, if there’s a substance or a thing or even an activity or something that you can’t give up for three to six weeks, that challenged me in my self-talk in terms of, huh, do I really need salsa in my life? My wife’s probably going to listen to this. She’s like, “Oh my God, he’s having a religious moment.”

Adam Pulford:

But what I’m saying is for those who say they do this test, and there are love foods on your avoid list do some awareness and reflection on, why do you need that in your life, and what is the cost benefit of getting rid of it for the greater outcome, right?

Sara Bird:

Yeah. I mean, we’re talking mostly to athletes today, right? As athletes, we love a good challenge. So why not take that as any kind of challenge? You said it for science, I just always encourage people be their own scientists and do an experiment and try something, see how you feel before and after. You never know how it’s going to make you feel, and you might actually decide you don’t like that thing you thought you love for me. I see popcorn every single day, no joke. I just accepted the gut blow. I thought that was just normal. Then I realized, I finally put two and two together, and that was still happening every once in a while because I love it. But I don’t need to have it because I know that I don’t-

Adam Pulford:

Interesting.

Sara Bird:

… really get along with it. So great.

Adam Pulford:

Interesting. Interesting. Okay. So let’s zoom back out because there’s more than just feelings and rainbows and stuff like that going on. You guys actually measure stuff. Sara, I’ll go back to you. Client, they go to Viome. They get seven scores dumped into their app, and it’s one walk through those seven scores, starting with the inflammatory activity and onward and just kind of briefly describe what each of those mean?

Sara Bird:

Yeah. Sure. So yeah. We had these seven scores that make up an overall gut microbial health score. So first, you have the inflammatory activity. So this just measures the activity or expression of all those microbial genes that can contribute in some capacity to inflammation, whether that’s in your gut or contributed towards some distal sites. I don’t think I mentioned this, but it’s kind of amazing 70% of your immune cells live in your gut. So there’s a lot of immune activity that can take place there.

Adam Pulford:

Did not know that.

Sara Bird:

Yeah. It’s kind of incredible. So when things aren’t homeostasis, like we talked about, and then you have a healthy, robust immune response, this isn’t really a big deal. You eat foods. You maybe ingest some small environmental toxins, but your body responds quickly. But if your microbes are now in an environment where they perceive something that’s possibly threatening, they could respond by producing some sort of metabolite that will ultimately hopefully protect them, but it might have a negative effect on your health.

Sara Bird:

So a poor score here would indicate that you have a proinflammatory environment. So we would tailor food recommendations to include nutrients that might activate more antiinflammatory pathways and/or calm down some of those proinflammatory functions. Okay. So then next we have your metabolic fitness, which Rob touched on. This is looking at signatures in the microbes that are associated with blood sugar regulation, insulin resistance, weight control. An example would be going back to that butyrate metabolite we talked about. So while that’s a really good metabolite for any energy production, it can also help with insulin sensitivity. So if you had a good butyrate pathway score, that would potentially boost your metabolic fitness score.

Sara Bird:

Then digestive efficiency. So this looks at quite a few, at least 12, I believe, different pathways and all the activities of the microbes that contribute to those pathways, and it’s looking at the overall function of your GI tract and how well your microbes can actually digest your food. So just a really quick example. There’s a pretty well known metabolite called TMA or trimethylamine. So this metabolite is produced from some of your microbes, usually after eating a food, having choline, some meat products. So this metabolite can get further converted into another metabolite called TMAO, which has linked unfavorably to some cardiovascular effects.

Sara Bird:

So you want to have a low TMA score. I eat a lot of meat, and my score is really low. So it doesn’t mean you can’t eat meat. Everything, again, depends on your context, right? So there’s a lot of [crosstalk 00:46:57].

Adam Pulford:

It’s the orchestra. It’s the orchestra.

Sara Bird:

Exactly. It’s one of the orchestra. So then we have gut lining health. This is a really cool, and it looks at your overall health and integrity of the intestinal barrier, including this protective mucosal layer. So your large intestine has a big layer of mucus. It helps prevent pathogens and their toxins from getting into your bloodstream. So we want that. But in a proinflammatory environment, you can get cracks in your intestine, and it can lead to more permeability or what we sometimes call leaky gut. When that happens, endotoxins like bacterial lipopolysaccharide, which is found on the membranes of some bacteria, those can get into the bloodstream or some other potential environmental compounds or even the bacteria themselves.

Sara Bird:

Those can cause inflammation effects throughout your body. So you really want a strong gut lining. So we look at activity of some pathways that contribute to the overall health of your gut lining and give you a score based on that. Protein fermentation. That’s an interesting one for athletes. So basically looking at how well you are digesting protein. So I don’t want to generalize too much, but we eat quite a bit of protein as athletes, at least I do to repair our muscles and help our muscles grow.

Sara Bird:

But if you aren’t digesting your protein fully, if you don’t chew your food a lot or your own digestive system isn’t working at full capacity, well, your microbes will take over and digest that protein for you. Some of the metabolites and byproducts of the bacterial protein metabolism can be a bit harmful and lead to some pro-inflammatory effects. So we’re looking at your overall ability to digest and metabolize protein with that score. And then… Go ahead.

Rob Pellow:

Sara, can I add one thing there? So one of the things, Adam, that we noticed anecdotally is that if you were to talk to our chief translational science officer, she’d tell you athletes, people in the paleo community, people who are doing the one meal-a-day, big steak type of eating, their protein fermentation scores typically don’t look great because, to Sara’s point, all that excess protein, you’re overwhelming the system all at once with too much protein, and the excess literally just sits around and ferments like a rotting pumpkin.

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. For anybody in the bodybuilding community who’s tried to drink their weight in protein on a daily basis, those terrible farts that they get, all that excess methane is a clear sign of protein fermentation.

Adam Pulford:

Yup. Yup. Which is why we give protein recommendations [inaudible 00:49:41] sitting are certain to athletes to space it out throughout the day. So this makes a lot of sense. I can only use so much. Right.

Sara Bird:

Exactly. Yeah. All right. So then there’s a couple more. So we have a gas production score. This is exactly what it sounds like. Microbes produce gas. We inherently know this. So we look at the overall activity of the gas production by those microbes. Of course, if you have a lot of gas production, you’re not going to feel great. It’s associated with different digestive difficulties and discomfort and potentially some inflammation in the gut. So in particular, we look at some methane and sulfide gas production pathways and give you a score based on how active those microbes are with those pathways.

Sara Bird:

Then the last one is active microbial diversity. So just briefly, in the microbiome field, as a measure of gut health, we’ve often looked at the total number of species of microbes in your gut as a readout for how healthy your microbiome is. We do it a little differently at Viome, like I mentioned earlier. We don’t care so much about the exact number of microbes you have, but how many of them are active? So how many active microbes you have, because if they’re active, that means they’re doing something, right? So we’re more interested in what your microbes are doing.

Sara Bird:

So in general, if you have more active microbes that’s going to be associated with a greater overall gut health. This gives you redundancy and resiliency in the face of some potential harmful elements that may be present in your gut. So if you have a low score, it’s because you don’t have a very diverse active microbial population, and if you do want to nerd out on this score, you get actually a whole list of all the active microbes. So you can just go look at that list and start going into Wikipedia and learning about the microbes that are actually active in your stool. So it’s kind of cool.

Adam Pulford:

I’m definitely going to do that. Rob, I’ve got question for you, but I think you had something there.

Rob Pellow:

I was just going to point out because I love anytime I can hand out a gold star, for you in particular, you have a high diversity of microbial richness, meaning you have not only just a large number of microbes in general. You also have a large number of beneficial microbes, and you are producing a ton of butyrate. So the gas methane.

Adam Pulford:

I love it. I love the gold stars. I’ve accessed my information here, and I am looking at metabolic fitness, and it looks like I’m crushing that as well.

Rob Pellow:

You are.

Adam Pulford:

Nice. What does that mean? I mean, you just went over it, Sara. But specifically, can you… I’ve got 83. I think that’s up to a hundred. Is it beneficial-

Sara Bird:

Oh, wow.

Adam Pulford:

… to go up to a hundred, or what does that mean for an old coach like this?

Rob Pellow:

83 is very good. What does metabolic fitness really mean? It means that you break down sugars and certain starches better than others. So when we look at your superfoods, and we see watermelon in there, which has a good sugar content, and that’s a superfood for you. I mean, the proof is in the pudding on what that really means. You handle sugars very well.

Adam Pulford:

So okay. So a couple of questions here as we just go down the rabbit hole of Coach AP’s microbiome. First of all, I’ve been eating just crap ton of watermelon lately, and I just get excited to… I mean, it’s hot here, right? So it’s cold and sugary and refreshing and delicious. So there’s all those things. But is there any part of my microbiome that tastes watermelon in my mouth. It just gets exciting. It was like, “Ooh, more of that.” Or how does the orchestra react to a superfood? Does it get excited?

Sara Bird:

Yeah. I mean, it’s just like anything. You’re going to possibly be selecting for whatever microbes are going to be active when they see the compounds of the nutrients in the watermelon. Right? So it could be many different species of microbes. But yeah. Whatever components, there’s multiple nutrients in the watermelon, but probably the fibers, for example, with the sugars, you are definitely selecting for microbes that are very active, and we’re seeing that activity in your results.

Sara Bird:

So there are some other small signals that the bacteria may be responding to. But the nutrients in those foods make it down to the large intestine where you have bacteria that are just ready to go when they see those components of the watermelon.

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. Actually, Adam, the minute that you start chomping on some watermelon, your body starts sending signals down to the digestive track to prepare the microbes that that specific food is coming, and there’s this additional connection between the microbiome and the brain. This gut brain connection that then it goes up to your brain. So to your point, the whole orchestra starts to play as soon as you start chomping on some watermelon.

Adam Pulford:

So it’s interesting, more anecdotal evidence here sauerkraut and trout are on my superfoods list. I mean, growing up in Northern Minnesota, I had a fair amount of sauerkraut in my life, but not recently. So I started aiming for those two things, and every time I do, sometimes even together, which is a delicious meal for anyone wanting to try something different. I just light up. I’m like, “Oh, this is amazing.” So these superfoods, you might be eating them already, or you might not. It could introduce something that could not only help your performance but also just liven up your palette a little bit.

Adam Pulford:

Question, Rob, and maybe this is the last thing on my microbiome, but it’s interesting to me because Sara just went through the list, and I look at my metabolic fitness through the chart, but my digestive efficiency is scraping the bottom of the pyramid. How does that work when I’m metabolic fitness, yeah, but then I am not that efficient? What the heck is going on.

Rob Pellow:

That is simply the rate and efficiency with which food passes through the digestive tract. So that can be host or a reflection of a number of different other scores. So for instance, you producing a lot of uric acid. Sara mentioned TMA, trimethyl alanine earlier. You’re producing a lot of that. I don’t know if you’re eating a lot of eggs or what. Then interesting. Your oxidative score was not great. The gas that you mentioned off showed up in the scores. So-

Adam Pulford:

Gas production is 83 folks. This is not good.

Rob Pellow:

Not good. [crosstalk 00:56:31].

Sara Bird:

You beat me.

Adam Pulford:

Digestive deficiency is 16, Sara. Oh, God. We’re going to have to take this offline.

Sara Bird:

Well, there are a lot of scores that go into the digestive efficiency. So you just have a little bit of an imbalance, but frankly. So you’ve already started to add in these additional superfood. So again, the microbiome, it’s dynamic. Once you make these changes, you’re going to just reshuffle that orchestra completely. So it will be interesting to see what it looks like in a few months from now.

Rob Pellow:

If it makes you feel better, metabolic [inaudible 00:57:10] butyrate, diversity, inflammation, all of these scores, you’re knocked out of the park. So [crosstalk 00:57:16]-

Sara Bird:

Sounds pretty good.

Rob Pellow:

… much about that one yet.

Adam Pulford:

Thank you, Rob. Thank you. That does make me feel so much better about myself, and I’m just going to stick to sauerkraut and trout and watermelon for the rest of my life. So well, you two, we’re getting close to the top of the hour, and I kind of want to summarize and wrap up. But before we do, I’ve got a few questions for each of you, and these questions are kind of like summary questions and also kind of curiosity questions for our listeners. Because everybody that tunes into this, it’s just they’re addicted to that performance. They want to know more. They want to learn more.

Adam Pulford:

Some of them may take the advice from this podcast and go and do the product thing and all those kinds of things. Some may not. So let’s jump into these questions and see what you guys have to say. Question one is for Sara. Is anyone’s microbiome the same, meaning if you were living in the same house, family, or whatever? Are they the same, or is it different even between siblings, and then does the microbiome change over time?

Sara Bird:

Yeah. Okay. So your first question, no. No one has the exact same microbiome as anyone else. If they did, I would love to see that data. There’s just so much nuance or so many factors. We’re talking about trillions of these microbes, right? Your environment, everything from your environment and your genetics. Your whole context plays a huge role in what’s shaping your microbiome. To transition to the second part of your question, the cool thing about the microbiome is that it’s dynamic. So changing your diet or changing your sleep patterns or if you unfortunately had to take a dose of antibiotics, all of those kinds of things are going to affect that microbiome.

Sara Bird:

So it’s cool that it’s dynamic. It means you can change it. It means that if you are having problems, it’s not the end of the world. You can get yourself on a path to better digestive health.

Adam Pulford:

That is good to be able to change it if it is bad. Then as Rob told me just before this, getting the dog changes your microbiome. Who would’ve thunk? Who would’ve thunk? A question too for Rob. If someone is listening to this podcast and they’re uncomfortable scooping their poop, or they’re uncomfortable just sharing their information, I guess, what knowledge could you share with them to improve their microbiome, generally speaking, without this individualized approach that Viome offers?

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. I think certainly, again, it depends. I’m going to preface it with that. But generally, I think-

Adam Pulford:

Of course, it does.

Rob Pellow:

… as a culture, you could benefit from more fiber in our diet. The microbes that are in our digestive tract, they live off of fiber, and most of us just don’t eat enough. So mixing in more leafy greens, mixing in more different types of vegetables and resistant starches, like sweet potatoes and things like that is generally a good place to start. But again, the devil’s in the details, I’ve seen plenty of people have all kinds of problems with cauliflower and different types of starches. So I would caution people a little bit.

Rob Pellow:

The other thing I would give is just on the protein side. We talked about it a little bit. I think as athletes, we tend to overdo it on the protein side, and more is not always better. There are some detriments to overdoing it on the protein side.

Sara Bird:

I would just add to that, if you don’t have the means to do some of these tests or some of the other biohack tools that are available to you, but just do what we’ve discussed earlier, just to be a scientist and take notes. Think of a question and try to answer it with some key observations. How do I feel after I eat this watermelon? I mean, it works great for Adam. Does it really work great for me and just start to-

Adam Pulford:

Flying high in watermelon right now.

Sara Bird:

Right. So just being really in tune with what’s going on in your body can be really powerful.

Adam Pulford:

Cool. Okay. So the final question goes to both. Since I shared some of my information for each of you, what’s one cool thing that you learned from your Viome test results?

Sara Bird:

Should I go first, Rob, or do you want to go?

Rob Pellow:

Lead off, all you.

Sara Bird:

I was pretty low on probiotic foods. So I had a lot of foods in my superfoods that were like kimchi and sauerkraut. I just thought I was getting… I looked through and I realized, “Yeah. I really haven’t been incorporating those into my diet much at all.” But I also found that a lot of my superfoods were things I eat a ton of, which is my three go-tos are avocado eggs and kale. So that was really exciting. I felt a little bit validated there. Then on my avoids, I also had some of those viruses, so tomato and pepper, which was kind of interesting. But like I said, I was able to get the tomato off of my avoid list. So yeah.

Adam Pulford:

I’m working on it, Sara. So tomato sober, here we go.

Sara Bird:

You got it.

Adam Pulford:

Rob, what was interesting when you scooped your poop?

Rob Pellow:

Oh, God. So I always considered myself to be very healthy and eat pretty clean. For a long time, I was on more of the traditional bodybuilder diet of white rice, steamed broccoli, grilled chicken. I avoided starchy carbs like potatoes like the plague. When I got my results, it basically said you need to avoid white rice at all costs, and you need to eat a ton of potatoes. I probably should have guessed that. I am Irish. But making that [inaudible 01:03:32] of four weeks, my energy levels dramatically changed. I had sustained energy through the day. My percent body fat went from 14 to 10, changing nothing else, and I was eating significantly more carbs just generally, switching from mostly white rice and things like that to potatoes. So that opened my eyes to this whole thing.

Sara Bird:

That was the biggest thing for me too. It was the energy levels. I do keep a lot of track of my sleep and try to do different things to optimize that. So I don’t think that was a real factor. I already had that pretty dialed in. But just my energy levels through the day have dramatically improved in the last few months since I’ve made those changes.

Rob Pellow:

Yeah. [inaudible 01:04:17]-

Adam Pulford:

That’s super cool. That’s super cool. Well, I’m glad to hear that it’s helped you get us to look forward to getting my energy levels up in gas production, I guess [inaudible 01:04:30]. But no. This has been an awesome conversation, you guys. For our listeners who find you as interesting as I do, can they find you on the socials?

Sara Bird:

Yeah. I’m not as active as I once was, but I’m on Instagram @sarawbirdie, S-A-R-A-W-B-I-R-D-I-E, which is my nickname.

Adam Pulford:

Cool. Rob, are you a social media guy and hanging out on one platform versus the other, or are you a TikTok guy or something?

Rob Pellow:

Oh, men. Maybe I should become a TikTok guy.

Sara Bird:

You would be great at TikTok.

Adam Pulford:

10% body fat, shop the away on Irish potatoes. You’d better do something with that.

Rob Pellow:

I know. I think there’s something there. Yeah. I’m a bit of an embarrassment to my generation when it comes to social. I am on Instagram. I believe it’s Rob Pellow. That is the extent.

Adam Pulford:

Got it. Keeping it simple. I like it. So for those listening that are interested in Viome, you can go to @myviome on Instagram, @Viome on Twitter and Facebook. Give them a follow. For the listeners who want to give this a shout, you can go to viome.com and use TrainRight for an additional discount on either service that Rob talked about earlier. So you guys, thank you again so much for spending about an hour with us on the TrainRight Podcast, really enjoyed the conversation, and looking forward to having Athens to put this in place and increase their performance.

Sara Bird:

Thanks, Adam.

Rob Pellow:

Thanks for having us, Adam.

Adam Pulford:

Bye.


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