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BOOKS & MEDIA

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Interview for Diners Magazine in Bogota, Colombia. 2023.

 

"I healed my gut without the need for restrictive anti-inflammatory diets," chef Tomás Rayes. 

What led you to focus on this branch of gastronomy?

I used to suffer from severe gluten and lactose intolerance. For years. It got worse and in my 30’s I had chronic inflammation and had to remove grains and legumes as well. This led me in 2013 to start producing a food and health documentary called Beyond Food The Movie which we launched from Los Angeles in 2017 worldwide on-demand. Along the way I met many mentors who taught me a few things and recommended books, literature, and so on.

I learned about fermentation, inflammation, metabolism, and finally thanks to a genetic test of my microbiota I saw that my gut flora and gut wall were the main two things I needed to heal and strengthen.

I understood that my chronic inflammation was a symptom of the state of my digestive system and I stopped focusing on anti-inflammatory diets and the mind of restriction. I healed my gut, learned how to make sourdough bread and today I can eat dairy without a problem.

What are food systems and how do you use them to heal?

A system is something that has specific cycles and occurs regularly. 

To enjoy your health as a whole you don't need just one thing. You need to heal and restore your digestive system, and eat according to the needs of your metabolic type. 

In order to enjoy your food and full health with energy, you decide what is important to you, write it down and practice it. That's a system.

 

These are the main food groups for a powerful gut:

1. Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, chili peppers, brined vegetables, etc.) 2.

2. Slow-cooked bone broths for their amino acids and glycosaminoglycans and their profound effect on the digestive system, joints, muscles, skin, etc.

3. Adaptogens

4. Jun Kombucha for the ECGC and organic acids that support the liver and kidneys.

5. ACV for the minerals, microorganisms, it also helps regulate stomach acidity.

6. Organic or regen ag vegetables that are in season, local for a diet rich in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

7. Real sea salt for minerals.

8. Mineral water, not tap water, for minerals and just the sheer magic that live water is.

9. Pastured and/or antibiotic and growth hormone free meats. If you workout a lot, at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

 

Is it true that the stomach and gut are the second brain of the body?

Yes, we have 3 brains in fact. The brain, the heart and the gut. After the brain, the digestive system is where you have the most neurons.

Neurons are messengers of information that allow you to breathe, think, eat, etc. And from the digestive system to the brain and back is a vital communication highway of immunity, nerves, stress, metabolism, mood, etc.

All of your body systems are in dialogue with your 4 genomes and vital functions to make decisions, adapt and ultimately, biologically communicate to your progeny what kind of world you exist in.

What is most important for gut health?

At the level of your physical body, having a gut flora that is rich in quantity and diversity and repairing your gut wall so that your small intestine can recognize and absorb what is good for it and not let through what is not.

This will also build your immunity as 70-80% of immune cells live there, as well as the production and storage of serotonin and dopamine. This is not to say that with nutrition alone you are, but it is the foundation.

Besides that, exercise, sport, play and stress regulation are vital. If you are in a state of constant stress whether physical, mental, emotional, excess of social networks or any subscription that has you in a loop of "serial perception" where you see new things every two seconds, or also, you are too still, white light until night, little sunlight, all this will also affect you profoundly.

 

What foods should be avoided to avoid having gastrointestinal problems?

Not only which ones but ask yourself if they have been processed as we have done for thousands of years: for example soy, bread, corn, beans, all have ancestral processing techniques such as fermentation or nixtamalization to make them more digestible and nutritious.

 

Avoid foods that are ultra-processed, sanitized or come from extreme industrial processes such as: vegetable oils, industrial deli meats, pro-inflammatory corn flakes with excess sugar, meats made in laboratories, grains and legumes that are not organic or have not been properly treated.

Is bloating of the abdomen the first indicator that something is wrong with the digestive system?

Not necessarily, but it is a clear indicator of inflammation. But it could be reflected in allergies, autoimmune things, joint pains, hands, arthritis, brain fog, etc.

Think of the digestive system as the first point of contact with the nutrients your body needs to do what it does best: keep you in balance, and its primary function is to protect your vital systems such as the heart and respiratory systems. If necessary, your body will begin to sacrifice non-vital things like skin, hair, metabolic processes, and so on.

How did you integrate gastronomy with the magnetic discharge theme?

The living matrix, the very tissue of the body is one of our main antioxidant defense systems. It is a system that requires occasional recharging through conductive contact with the Earth's surface-the "battery" of all planetary life-to be optimally effective.

It helps reduce inflammation, stress, pain, improve your circulation, energy, sleep. There are many scientific studies on the subject.

 

What is your daily eating, physical activity and work routine like?

It is based on my values, needs and desires. I would advise anyone who wants to create theirs to first review what they value above all else in their life, what states of consciousness or emotional states they want to live in and prioritize from there.

While I don't eat fermented foods daily nowadays, I did when I was healing my digestive system. However I do eat them regularly, once a week or so and cook almost daily with bone broth.

Between 6 and 6:30 a.m. I wake up without an alarm clock. I stretch in bed. I have some water. From 6:30 to 7:15 a.m. I meditate, read, do breathing exercises, write, drink black coffee. 7:30 to 9 a.m. I drink a blend of cacao and adaptogens we sell at fuegoancestral.co in Colombia and 5g of creatine before I play tennis or go to a functional gym. I work out 6 days a week because I love it.

I have breakfast around 10 a.m. and lunch around 3:30. I start work every day at 10 a. m. and stop at 4 p. m. From 4 to 6 p. m. I am usually writing time from 6 to 8 p. m. I see clients. I do yoga twice a week. Infrared sauna once a week.

I don't eat at night except when I have guests for dinner or go out to a restaurant. 

Sport, training and yoga regulate your mood, your nervous system and give you a special kind of vitality.

I love being present, being in my body, and practicing gratitude daily to remember all the good that exists in my life, my inner circle, and my soul family and tribe that cultivates an intentional and conscious communication and lifestyle.

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