Answers to Listener LIVE Event Questions

These are a handful of questions to come up during the original launch of the 5 pound challenge. After taking The Down5 Pounds Challenge, if you have questions that you would like answers to please email and I or my team will be more than happy to assist you in getting those answers!

Questions from Day 1:

Q – What vitamin/nutrient would your body be lacking if you crave salt?
A – Cravings are generally a sign of a) blood sugar instability, and b) adrenal stress. Without the ability to stabilize blood sugar, the highs and lows of it will continue to trigger a stress response. That’s why we discuss it first, on Day 1. Review the Food 101 slides for the discussion about blood sugar. As for a lengthier conversation about adrenals, stress and stress belly, watch for Wednesday’s conversation.

Q – What are Dr. Pucci’s thoughts on beans, legumes, & veganism?
A – In the lexicon of veganism, beans are a stable source of protein. That said, beans have to be cooked long and slow to preserve the protein or else they convert to carbs. Beans and legumes are “lectins” and lectins is a term used to describe a whole suite of foods whose botany produces a protective biological mechanism, an anti-nutrient, to ward off critters. That can have health effects on vulnerable humans.

Our only concern with veganism is that a) vegans rarely get sufficient healthy fats (the fuel source for hormones and blood sugar stability) and b) too many rely on pasta and other carbs for fuel. And then beans and other legumes are certainly known to cause a lot of gastric distress.

Q – Do you agree that a well-balanced meal should always include Protein – Good Carb-Vegetables-Good Fats?
A – If we’re talking about shocking the body to release weight, more proteins, fats, vegetables and, of course, water and fiber.

Q – Are frozen vegetables okay?
A – Yes. Include fresh when you can because remember: All your dark leafy greens, microgreens, and such, do not come frozen.

Q – So what about oatmeal (is it okay as a carb)?
A – Oatmeal is a cereal grain that is less processed than, say, Cheerios, but does not contain sufficient protein or fat or vegetable to constitute a great breakfast. We find that although it can be a go-to option once in a while most often it is not the best choice particularly if that choice is instant.

Oatmeal and muesli really want to be soaked overnight to release the anti-nutrient component and slowly cooked, like beans. It should be thought of as savory, not sweet, and as a base for nuts and seeds, a dollop of fat, an admixture of protein powder or colostrum, and the like.

Q – What should be your biggest meal of the day?
A – Ideally, mid-morning to midday. When you are expending the most energy. That said, we focus on breakfast, a midday snack, sometimes a salad with protein or complex carb, and then dinner. It really depends on your schedule and what your body needs.

Q – What about intermittent fasting?
A – As with dietary strategies (macro) there are all kinds of tools like fasting to essentially change up your body’s routine. They each serve a different purpose. The key for intermittent is the word “intermittent”.

Q – Does starvation work to help you lose weight?
A – Yes! And that’s where a lot of the myth about calorie restricted diets comes from. Unfortunately, in a calorie restricted diet you will also cannibalize muscle, lose water weight and so on.

Q – If I’m trying to reduce inflammation, should I limit my carbs?
A – There’s a lot of confusion about what constitutes inflammation. If you sprain your ankle and it swells, that’s good inflammation. Inflammation is an immune reaction, so the question is if you are trying to calm your immune system and carbs are a trigger, should you consider removing them?

Q – I’m curious about ways to support adrenal fatigue. More water, limit caffeine, whole foods diet (which is the core of this challenge), but is there anything else that you can do to support that? Possibly even a supplement?
A – What we would want to consider is how well your body is handling stress. If it is producing excessive amounts of cortisol, we might want to take a look at what’s triggering that. For example, we might want to look at your blood sugar.

Also, particularly for women who are in their transitioning phase (or males in andropause), the adrenals are working overtime to both produce hormones that the ovaries and testes no longer produce. So, you might want to test for that.

Questions from Day 2:

Q – What is the best way to determine if you have a food issue or if certain foods cause inflammation?
A – I think this question is about a food sensitivity instead of anaphylaxis and that we’re really trying to figure out whether the body is producing antibodies to a particular food and if that’s affecting self-tissue, like thyroid.

Q – Since you are speaking on fasting, do you recommend a fast with food where you are getting the benefits of cellular regeneration?
A – Sure, yes something like a bone broth-type fast.

Q – Do green tea and herbal teas count towards your water?
A – Sure, yes.

Q – Is avocado oil good to cook with at high temps?
A – Yes.

Q – I have heard different opinions about how many times a week you can have red meat. Some people say it doesn’t matter but others say limit red meat. In my last annual checkup my LDLs were slightly elevated and the doctor said to limit red meat and dairy. What’s your take on this?
A – Probably get a more expert opinion from a functional medicine doctor, but also, be sure you are eating grass-fed/pasture raised. It’s correct that there are a lot of growth hormones and antibiotics in industrialized cattle operations and GMOs in the feed supply itself.

Q – Is bison good for you?
A – We happen to love bison. Pasture raised, see above.

Q – What is the importance of daily exercise/movement?
A – Very. We will be discussing this more particularly as we focus on the brain!

Q – How is grapeseed oil?
A – Similar to avocado – high heat, flavorless. Really best thought of either as a frying oil or for emulsifications such as mayonnaise.

Q – For stool testing, do you recommend the GI-MAP stool test?
A – We are currently using the GI Effects from Genova but we like the GI Map as well. The design of the GI Map stems from the notion of sequencing the gut biome, and connecting the particular strains to specific disease. It still has some value as a functional test.

Q – I’m confused about what types of fats are good to use. What are the best cooking fats?
A – For cooking, we recommend: ghee, coconut, red palm oil, any tallow or lard or duck fat. That’s for pan frying. Olive oil can be used for sauteing at low heat; for instance, for your garlic preparations. Anything that needs to be browned does best with actual butter, so unless you have a known dairy allergy or sensitivity, some grass-fed or pasture raised butter is an option for many.

Canola, peanut, safflower, soy oils, etc, are really considered to be ‘modern’ seed oils; meaning, they come out of the agribusiness agricultural sector. They are not delicacies and more than that, they are ‘oily’ and oxidized. We really do not use any of these except to clean the grill.

We also have used or have on hand: walnut, sesame and avocado for various purposes. Sesame, for example, is a good oil to drizzle on an appetizer. Walnut is great for over a steak or mushrooms. And so on.

Q – Regarding developing food intolerances, would eating one egg for breakfast every day (as part of a more complete breakfast that includes greens) eventually create an intolerance to eggs?
A – If someone has a leaky gut, or has a known sensitivity, then rotating food is always the best option. But in general, no.

Q – If you mostly stay away from grains, what are the best carb/filling foods?
A – The good news is that there are a ton of options. But I think what you’re asking about is less about snacking foods and more about what you would use with meals like dinner. You would look at things like winter squashes (spaghetti, butternut, acorn, etc), seeds like wild rice, and sweet potatoes.

We think of carbs as condiments not as main parts of the meal, and have developed a rhythm of having fewer carbs over the weekend into the beginning of the week when our brains are fresh. And maybe by Thurs/Fri add a few more in as the amount of energy expended relative to the end of week time crunch, tightens. But, that’s just a personal habit.

Q – What’s your opinion on taking apple cider vinegar for weight loss?
A – We like ACV more as a stomach health aid and for taste. More to the point, ACV is not a weight loss strategy so much as it creates the conditions for good acidity in the stomach. What does seem to help is drinking a water/ACV prior to eating to simply feel full and eat less.

Questions from Day 3:

Q – Why do MDs automatically put people on birth control pills and statins?
A – Because that’s how they’re trained. Plus, they don’t really have time to get to the root of the problem. To answer the big Why.

Q – Should we be restricting or eliminating carbs?
A – If your goal is weight loss, then yes.

Q – So when a female’s testosterone is elevated, and their estrogen is borderline low, how does someone correct that?
A – I think maybe the question is what or where is the concern? Meaning, do we want all the markers to be correct, or is the elevation causing symptoms or is it a signal of a potential future greater imbalance. I think maybe this is where Dr Pucci talks about getting clear on the why.

Q – My question or problem is the late night snacking. Around 10 or 11 pm I get an irresistible urge for sugar. Now from day 1 video I’m thinking if I load up on complex carbs at dinner I won’t experience the dramatic drop in blood sugar which causes the cravings. Am I on the right track?
A – You’re on track, and complex carbs are good. But maybe look at adding more fiber and healthy fats toward the end of the day. You are craving the sugar because your blood sugar is dropping; not to mention, could have an underlying bacterial overgrowth (SIBO, etc). Try having your late night snack as celery or apple with almond butter. You get the protein, the fiber and the healthy fats.

Questions from Day 4:

Q – How much water do you recommend to start with before coffee or tea?
A – We don’t have a precise recommendation. A good strategy is to make the water first in an 8-10-12 ounce glass or water bottle and begin drinking it while you are preparing nutritional supplements, breakfast, coffee and going about your morning routine

Q – Why should we not use K-cups for coffee?
A – The process of making coffee using k-cups imparts chemicals into the coffee when the high-heat stream of water passes through and into the cup. This is also true of all plastic lids.

Q – Can you tell us about your protein shakes and how you use them?
A – Most often as a post-breakfast, mid-morning “snack: or post-workout recovery. In the active part of the day. You can certainly use them as a meal replacement, too.

Q – Do you recommend a Fitbit?
A – Sure, fitbits are great for tracking your workouts; meaning, quantifying the number of steps, heart rate and so on. The apps we’re talking about are more for how to organize, visualize, bring mental clarity and so on. Take a look at the app guide in the resources section.

Questions from Day 5:

Q – Have you ever heard of those alarm clocks that go off in the morning and create an effect that’s supposed to be like daylight? Supposedly the idea is to help you regulate your circadian rhythm? Would you recommend using one?
A – Yes, why not! And yes, establishing and following your body’s natural circadian rhythm is ideal. There are numerous studies about night-shift workers and others whose health is affected by not having access to daylight or getting out of synch with natural rhythms. One strategy, if you’re sleepless or restless, get up. Then go to bed the same time every night regardless of how little sleep the night before.

Q – Do you recommend IR sauna after cardio? Or stretching?
A – After cardio, probably do an active recovery/stretching routine since you’ve already sweated out the toxins during cardio.

Q – What’s the difference between dysbiosis and leaky gut?
A – Dysbiosis is overgrowth, or an imbalance in the good v bad bacteria. Leaky gut is a breakdown in the mucosa, the gut lining, that allows inflammatory proteins to pass into the bloodstream.

Q – What is your opinion on grounding sheets?
A – You can try it. But a better strategy is to move all electronic devices and wi-fi out of the bedroom.

Q – Should you just turn off the Wi-Fi router at night before bed?
A – If you can, yes. Or, set your phone to airplane mode if that’s what you use as an alarm clock.

Q – How long does it usually take to heal the gut?
A – It takes a while, since it’s typically a condition that took years in the making. But, kaizen – continuous small improvements day after day after day!

Q – What is recommended for those who suffer with constipation?
A – This is an example of where we need to understand why. In other words, there could be a multitude of reasons including too many medications, sedentism, lack of fiber, slow thyroid, poor hydration, obstruction. The list is endless. What we don’t want to do is take a lot of supplements hoping to ‘fix the problem’ instead of getting to the root.

Q – Why do you not recommend a reverse osmosis system for drinking water, and what would you recommend?
A – Reverse osmosis is expensive and works if you add back all the trace minerals and nutrients.

Participants who have implemented the strategies learned in the 5-Day LIVE Weight Loss Challenge have reported less pain, fewer headaches, more energy and weight loss. However, The Down5 Pounds Challenge is not the promise of a cure and does not constitute medical advice. To learn more about The Down5 Pounds Challenge: How to Curb the Midlife Madness Overtaking Your Gut!, please visit our website at For questions or To dig a little deeper into your own unique biochemistry or learn about root cause healing and functional medicine, visit us at Get Well Now and schedule a Discovery Call.

About Dr Pucci - Dr. Doug Pucci, Founder, Pucci Wellness Center, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition. Contact (201) 261-5430.


Food 101 is about food, and specifically how food is metabolized into energy. Why excess energy from simple carbohydrates induces a stress response that produces fat.

We begin to examine the food we eat and separate the “good” from the “bad” in each category (carbohydrates, fats, proteins). There are so many myths about food, fad diets, dietary strategies, and so on, that we want to tease these apart. All too often patients become paralyzed about what to put in their mouths or on the table.

Gaining Weight, Eating Too Often and Still Craving the Wrong Foods? is a primer on some of the ways that even a good dietary plan, such as keto, paleo and vegan, can go wrong.

The gut is not a sterile or empty environment. Indeed, it is filled with life. Learn about the GI Effects test from Genova, and the gastrointestinal tract. This test gives us indications for five broad categories that affect digestion and colon health: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, metabolic imbalance and infection.

Gut Health and Weight Loss is a look at why starving ourselves to lose weight isn’t the answer. And for most people, an excessive amount of exercise isn’t either.

Fiber is Key to a Healthy Gut Microbiome is about the life teeming inside and the fuel it craves. We’ve always known that fiber-rich foods are important to good health, but scientists are now finding out why.

Why A Diversity Of Probiotic Strains Matters? How to know whether the probiotics we’re taking are right for us? Is yogurt really the best choice? Dr. Pucci explains why diversity matters.

Stress Eating and Healthy Weight is about avoiding the tendency for takeout and a few suggestions for stress management techniques.

Toxic Stress is Causing Leaky Gut is about how cortisol stress begins to erode our barrier system, the lining of our mucosa, when toxins permeate the gut.

Foods that Trigger Immune Reactions is about the pro-inflammatory nature of modernized grains, fats and dairy and why these trigger an immune reaction.

Food Scores Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) App application to learn which of our produce is ranked highest in pesticide use and which is adhering to pesticide free guidelines.

Answers to Listener Questions A ton of questions came up during the LIVE taping. Register for The Down5 Pounds Challenge to review the complete list of answers related to food, what we eat and why.

Easy Breezy Morning Routine is about the 10 tiny habits that will create change and even transform the day.