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Health & Fitness
Natural Sciences

The Probiotic Life

Updated 3 days ago

Health & Fitness
Natural Sciences
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The Probiotic Life is platform to share stories and conversations with people who have devoted their lives in some way to better human life and heal our planet. I interview people who are involved in the art and science of working with microbes, and have changed the way they live because of the interactions or lessons they've learned from nature, and more specifically, from their area of discipline.

Read more

The Probiotic Life is platform to share stories and conversations with people who have devoted their lives in some way to better human life and heal our planet. I interview people who are involved in the art and science of working with microbes, and have changed the way they live because of the interactions or lessons they've learned from nature, and more specifically, from their area of discipline.

iTunes Ratings

15 Ratings
Average Ratings

Probiotics rock!

By moonseed dancer - May 29 2019
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Thank you for this wonderful show! Enjoyable and informative.

Where do I start?

By Lisasfrog - Apr 05 2019
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Very interesting. Lots of great information for a newbie. Thank you for getting this educational info out to us! Love it. I do love the Australian accent too! Curious—where do I start with probiotics? And how do prebiotics fit into this?

iTunes Ratings

15 Ratings
Average Ratings

Probiotics rock!

By moonseed dancer - May 29 2019
Read more
Thank you for this wonderful show! Enjoyable and informative.

Where do I start?

By Lisasfrog - Apr 05 2019
Read more
Very interesting. Lots of great information for a newbie. Thank you for getting this educational info out to us! Love it. I do love the Australian accent too! Curious—where do I start with probiotics? And how do prebiotics fit into this?
Cover image of The Probiotic Life

The Probiotic Life

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

The Probiotic Life is platform to share stories and conversations with people who have devoted their lives in some way to better human life and heal our planet. I interview people who are involved in the art and science of working with microbes, and have changed the way they live because of the interactions or lessons they've learned from nature, and more specifically, from their area of discipline.

Rank #1: 018 - Korean Natural Farming probiotics with Drake Weinert

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In more of a how to episode, Drake joins us again to share with us some of the preparations of Korean Natural Farming. We talk about the how to, but also delve into how we can use these preparations for our plants, our animals, and how we can use them to boost the helth of our own microbiome. 

Drake's Links:

Drake's Facebook

Korean Natural Farming Facebook Group

Show Notes

Indigenous Microorganisms (IMO) As Baths

- IMO pile: nutrients with indigenous organisms, added carbohydrates, fats, and oils 

- you can have a dry bath in IMO

- creates an artificial fever in your body, raises temp like a sauna

- cooks pathogens & parasites out of your body

- opens pores to let good microbes back in

- microbes reduce in number in every successive generation living in cities

- IMO baths can restore those lost microbes

- these restored microbes are now present in your body to fight off disease like armour

- good for humans and livestock both

Nutrient Cycle Theory

- how do you know when your plant is a teenager?

- learning to diagnose the changeover period in plants, and what they need

- nutrient cycle theory: 3 stages in a plant’s life

- 1) accumulative growth - growing leaves, 2) changeover growth - flowering, 3) reproductive growth - fruiting

- to recognise changeover period: look for “yellowing”, plant looking pale - it’s having “morning sickness”

- feed it the right food, help it have an easier transition between flowering and fruiting, just like a pregnant woman

- give it calcium phosphate to help grow the “bones” of the plant in this stage

More About IMO

- 2 branches of KNF: microbes and foods

- IMO comes under microbes branch

- gather indigenous microbes from the dankest part of the forest

- IMO start to build soil structure

Master Cho

- was almost killed for not charging money for his farming 

- faith in humanity, vision for restoration through farming

- knows land so well he has developed intuition about what’s happening with it

Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ)

- literally “green juice from heaven” in Korean, food for plants and humans

- how to make: can use food material that would otherwise have been discarded, mix with sugar

- Drake used rambutan peels and seeds, not much fruit

- could also use things like palm tree or milkweed, readily available plant materials

- it’s the hormones and enzymes in the plant that make a medicine

- it’s immediately bioavailable into your body as it’s already “digested”, so your body can absorb it as a pure food

- picking tips of plants before dawn to FPJ, as they contain maximum enzymes and hormones for plant growth at that time

- for human consumption: use a food safe container, make it where you would make your other food

- use common sense, pick plants that are known to be safe for eating

On Drake’s Farm

- WhoGrew Farms

- OH Makai field 1 

- if you check out these links, you can see Drake’s gardens, follow the schedule of looking after his plants, using KNF methods, and see the impact they have

- make your product with enough care that you would drink it, then you can be sure it will be good for your plants

- they use their homemade Fish Amino Acid as flavouring in kimchi

- Drake has not gotten sick from eating his homemade products, in fact he is healthier now

Advice for those wanting to learn KNF

- go learn from someone already using the methods

- some people have made deals where they can use other people’s land to try out these farming practices

- make a variety of FPJs from available materials, keep them in your fridge to use in drinks, desserts, etc

- making water soluble calcium: toast chicken eggshell, dissolve in vinegar

- use your nose: if it smells funky, or it has mould, don’t eat it

- health is diversity: give your body diverse microbes

Final Thoughts

- Drake would like to create tech programs to help people understand natural farming

- returning to older style of eating: keeping microbes in the food instead of trying to kill them all

- discussion of how Ben started out making FPJ and other products

- could we ferment jellyfish?

- may the beneficial microbes be with you

Feb 22 2018

1hr 5mins


Rank #2: 011 - Dr. Elaine Ingham

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Dr Elaine Ingham is regarded as one of the leading soil microbiologists world wide, and is known for her enthusiastic communication about soil biology, compost, and compost teas.

Join us as Elaine and I talk about life in the soil and explore how living soil cleans water, nourishes plants, and is the genesis of our own microbiome. If you haven’t heard her talk before, you might want to get that notepad ready! 

Her website is:

If you want to take her online classes:

The research farm she is currently doing trials on:

Jan 03 2018

1hr 10mins


Rank #3: 037 - Teaming With Microbes With Jeff Lowenfels

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In this episode we talk to Jeff Lowenfels about his trilogy of books: Teaming With Microbes, Teaming With Nutrients, And Teaming With Fungi. He frequently travels and lectures on these subjects which has led to his nickname “Lord of The Roots.”

Jeff also writes the longest running garden column in North America; The Alaska Dispatch Garden Column, having never missed a week in 41 years.

Join us for this lively conversation as Jeff shares how he came to write Teaming With Microbes, and how he changed direction after giving 25 years of wrong advice in his garden column. We touch on his book Teaming With Nutrients and delve into Jeff’s third book in the series; Teaming With Fungi.

We talk about how everything is connected, especially in the soil, and how important soil life is for our own existence.

You can find out more about Jeff on his website

Check out his Twitter:

Thank you for tuning in to this conversation! Let us know what you’d like to hear on the Probiotic Life.

You can support us by giving us a rating and review, and at

Show Notes to come.

Sep 15 2018

1hr 6mins


Rank #4: 041 - Bokashi & Effective Microorganisms With Cuauhtemoc Villa

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Join us in this fascinating interview with bokashi expert Cuauhtemoc Villa.

He is a friend of the microbes, student of their ancient wisdom, and teacher of their ways. He has years of experience working with Effective Microorganisms, and creating custom blends of bokashi specific to the needs of the plants he works with. He does work in bio-remediation of land and waterways, and teaches school kids these practices. In conjunction to this, he also teaches Indigenous Agricultural Practices.

Cuauhtemoc shares a bit about he got involved with the microbes and shares with us some basics of how to brew EM and make bokashi.

His passion for the microbes is amazing, and he’s changing people’s lives as he shares their wisdom; he gives a lot of hope to the kids that have forgotten who they are, the ones that other give up on.

I hope you get inoculated with inspiration from this interview!

Learning how to grow plants and microbes is therapy for your soul!

Some things Cuauhtemoc is involved in:

Reach out to him here:

Instagram: bokashi4u

Facebook: Cuauhtemoc Villa

Some recommendations from Cuauhtemoc:

Video: Microbe Power

Books he recommends:

Earth Saving Revolution

Dr. Teruo Higa

Growing A Revolution

David R. Montgomery

If you are keen to build soil health, and in turn, your own health, get yourself a Microbiometer!

It’s a way of testing and monitoring the microbial biomass in the soil, to see how much life you’ve got down there. Check out our affiliate to purchase one, and in turn, support the podcast.

When you go to the checkout, enter the promo code ‘probioticlife’ for $10 dollars off your purchase.

Feel free to shoot us an email with any questions, comments, or guest suggestions. Also, we’re looking for inspiring original music to share on the podcast, so send us an email if you’ve want to share your creative energies. Thank you for being on this journey as we discover what it looks like to live a probiotic life!

May the beneficial microbes be with you…

Show Notes to come.

Jan 19 2019

1hr 4mins


Rank #5: 006 - Drake Weinert

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In this episode I interview Drake Weinert. He is a teacher and farmer in Hawaii. He shares a bit about his story, and what led him on this path. We mainly talk about Korean Natural Farming and how it is used as probiotics for soil, plants, and humans! This method of farming is quickly becoming known in the regenerative agriculture movement, and is widely used in South-East Asia. Drake shares with us how everybody is a farmer of microbes.

Oct 07 2017



Rank #6: 038 - Probiotic Permaculture With Geoff Lawton & Sam Parker-Davies

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In this episode, it is a pleasure to bring you an interview with Geoff Lawton & Sam Parker-Davies of Zaytuna Farm in New South Wales, Australia.

Geoff is a world renowned permaculture designer, advisor, and teacher. He’s worked in over 30 countries around the world, and has taught over 15,000 students.

Sam is a student of Geoff’s, learning to follow in his footsteps, and is just a few years in to his permaculture journey. He contributes a fresh look at Geoff’s significant work through the eyes of a new, but deeply engaged learner.

I had the privilege of talking to them both about their experiences, and what permaculture means to them.

Of particular note is our discussion of the property they live on. Zaytuna Farm is a self sufficient site for permaculture demonstration, and is also the base for the Permaculture Research Institute.

A recurring theme that comes up in this conversation is creating abundance, and how a rich and fulfilling life comes from creating abundance around us.

Join us as we dive in to the world of permaculture!

Here are the links we mention:

Zaytuna Farm

Permaculture Research Institute

Permaculture Global

Permaculture Circle radio

Geoff Lawton Online


If you’re keen to do a bit of citizen science and test the microbial biomass in your soil, check out

Enter the promo code ‘probioticlife’ when you order, and get $10 off your purchase. This helps support the podcast.

Show Notes to come.

Oct 14 2018

1hr 8mins


Rank #7: 023 - Soil Health, Gut Health, and Regenerative Agriculture with Dr. David R. Montgomery

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Dr. David R. Montgomery is a professor of geomorphology in the department of Earth & Space Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. In this episode David shares a bit of his story, and we delve into the details of building healthy soil, and how it’s connected to our own health. He does a great job of communicating the science, and explaining these details. I had a great time interviewing him.

Thanks to everyone who supports us in some way shape or form. We always love hearing how you’re living a probiotic life.



Twitter: @dig2grow

Facebook: dig2growbooks



- study of topography

- soil erosion

- works on the here and now of geography

- looks at sustainability, long term perspective

Geology & the Human Element

- David wanted to learn about the world

- took geology, “competing against [their] lack of knowledge”

- saw how ecosystems & farming impact soil erosion

- wrote a book about how religious thought & geological science have historically affected each other

- wrote a book with his wife about how microbial life influences health of plants, people, farms

Formative Influences

- spent lots of time playing outside as a kid

- his wife Anne (a biologist) had a similar experience

Humans Have a Lot to Learn

- when it comes to modern impact on natural age, humans are in the driver’s seat

- we are still figuring out the blueprint of how this earth works 

Soil & Geology

- takes lots of micronutrients to grow a healthy plant

- the vast majority of these come from the ground

- need to get rocks broken down and their minerals released into the soil

- this is mostly done by microbes

- soil is a grand recycling system, that takes organic material and returns it to the ground to feed new life

- earth is the only planet we know of currently where this is the case

Soil Around the World

- discussion of specific places in the world, where availability of different mineral elements has greatly impacted the botanical world

- most soils around the world have the basic sets of minerals needed for plant growth, but they are often locked up in the soil unreleased

- it’s possible to add the nutrients needed to the soil

- we need to bring the biology back to the soil

The Soil & Our Gut

- aha! moment while writing The Hidden Half of Nature”

- striking similarities between soil system and human gut

- inflammation is a very important part of immune function, goes to fix problems

- we don’t want to be constantly in inflammation

- what you are feeding your microbes has a direct impact on your immune system function

- we need to eat fibre for our gut function, to feed our microbes

- what we eat and how we treat the soil really does matter

- probiotics are the microbes; prebiotics are what we feed the microbes

Restoration of Farmland

- discussion of restoring farmland

- 3 principles in common shared by farms where soil was restored quickly

- 1) no-till or minimum-till farming

- 2) keep the land covered with cover crops to act as green manure

- 3) plant a diversity of crops

- these all promote the growth of beneficial microbial life

- these are all against modern conventional agriculture

- the places that used the conservation agriculture made the land even better than nature had it in the first place

- the future of biodiversity is tied to the future of agriculture

- on all markers, these regenerative farming techniques are a win

Final Thoughts

- American indigenous agriculture: they were practising crop diversity on their planting

- all of the people David & wife Anne interviewed shared a common desire to rebuild the land’s fertility, as the foundation of our civilisation

- past civilisations stopped their soil to their societies’ detriment

- if we can change these practices in our current century, that would alter the arc of history, and we need to get it right this time

- David’s books: 1) Growing A Revolution: Bring Our Soil Back To Life; 

                           2) The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health; 

                           3) Dirt: The Erosion of Civilisations

- books available wherever books are sold



Twitter: @dig2grow

Facebook: dig2growbooks

Mar 29 2018

1hr 7mins


Rank #8: 009 - Sandor Katz

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Sauerkraut & Science with Sandor

Wonder what’s so good about fermentation? Join us as Sandor shares on how he came to write ‘The Art of Fermentation’ and some of the benefits of fermented foods. We talk about the microbiome, and some of the recent discoveries in science regarding microbes. Join us for this delicious conversation on the Probiotic Life.

Sandor’s Website

Nov 15 2017

1hr 5mins


Rank #9: 032 - Medical Mycology And Molecular Biology With Julie Wolf

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In this episode we talk to Julie Wolf who is the communications specialist at the American Society for Microbiology. She has her PHD in medical mycology, and teaches at a community bio-lab in New York.

As part of her work with ASM she hosts the podcast ‘Meet the Microbiologist’, and I thought it would be fun to talk to someone who talks to microbiologists for a living.

Join us for this intelligent and thoughtful interview as we hear how Julie got into studying medical mycology and her work with the American Society for Microbiology. We also talk about science communication, genetic modifications, citizen science and molecular biology.

Follow Julie on Twitter:


And Listen to her podcast:

Meet the Microbiologist

And check these too!

ASM Blogs


Biotech Without Borders

Thanks for the feedback and the reviews, and all who are supporting the podcast. Feedback helps us to serve you better!

You can now support us on Patreon

And may the beneficial microbes be with you ;-)

Show Notes

Julie Wolf

- focus on medical mycology

- story of how she came to choose studying single-celled fungi instead of pathological bacteria

Medical Mycology

- very few fungi that can cause disease in humans

- our ability to be warm-blooded protects us from most fungi growth

- our natural microbiota contains common fungi like candida, which can only grow too numerous under specific stressors to our microbiome such as antibiotics

- those with compromised immune systems are more vulnerable to disease-causing fungi

- idea that there is a small microbiota population that form the foundation of the microbiome, most of these are bacteria, some are fungi

Julie’s Current Work

- Julie is a science communicator

- digests scientific technical reports into smaller summaries

- making the “take-home message” clear

- she hosts a podcast “Meet the Microbiologist”, and a youtube series “Microbial Minutes”

Shaping Her Mindset

- her interest in science came late in life

- tried a few things before taking a microbiology class, realised how cool and intelligent these simple organisms are

- became fascinated with bacteria

- tried her hand at research in a lab as an undergraduate

- learned the importance of a mentor, had a graduate student who was very important in fostering her curiosity

- inspired her to want to be a good mentor herself

Effective Communication

- in Julie’s observation, science folk can struggle with how much detail to include when presenting to others outside their field

- sometimes take-home message gets lost in jargon

- lead with the most interesting facts, and cut to the chase

Citizen Science

- “GenSpace”: a community biolab in New York, a place for people to visit and experience hands-on all kinds of science

- many people interested in bioremediation and mushrooms

- strong community now pursuing mycoremediation

- discussion of how to get into molecular biology for citizen science

- more examples of citizen science happening currently

- research is just starting to understand and explore the myriad possibilities with citizen science and biolabs

- Julie provides some examples of this

Genetic Modification

- FDA only counts adding genes as genetic modification, Julie thinks deleting genes should also be counted

- everything we eat has DNA in it, so don’t be afraid of eating something with a different genetic sequence, it’s all broken down through the process of digestion

- the politics of GMO is a separate issue than the science of it

- we now have the knowledge to understand what is being changed in the genetic information when we put microbiota through certain processes

- this is safer than just irradiating fungi and then taste it like we used to do!

- discussion of golden rice example

- discussion of dengue-resistant mosquito example

- openness to these genetic modifications can depend on what the stakes are for the people most likely to be affected

- the idea of “the natural order of things” and fear of messing with it, can fail to take into account how things were before our own time

- ex: common diseases people used to die from until we developed techniques to prevent it, used to be “the natural order of things”

Current Projects

- educating researchers on how best to communicate their results in a headline-driven, time-poor world

- the more interesting you make your headline, the more likely people will be to read what you have written

- Julie is most excited and happy to be involved in podcasting and interviewing

Final Thoughts

- A Probiotic Life, by Julie: taking care of her own health and the environment to the best of her abilities

- using as little waste as possible, balanced diet, getting sleep

- technology and science are advancing rapidly

- don’t let this pace can put people off: if you’re interested, just jump in

- podcast recommendation: Vincent Racaniello does several, all on science

Jun 08 2018



Rank #10: 029 - Fascinating Fungi And Radical Mycology With Peter McCoy

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In this episode we talk with Peter McCoy. He is most well known as one of the founders of Radical Mycology, a grassroots organisation and movement that teaches the many ways to work with fungi for personal, societal, and ecological resilience. He describes himself as an interdisciplinary, systems-oriented mycology educator.

Join us as we talk about traditional uses of fungi, myco-literacy, what fungi can teach us, and Peter shares a bit about his journey.

In 2016, Peter released the book Radical Mycology: A Treatise on Seeing & Working With Fungi. He is the lead cultivation expert for the Amazon Mycorenewal Project, and a mycology advisor to Open Source Ecology and Permaculture Magazine North America.

Apart from his work with fungi, he is also a community organiser, artist, musician, lecturer, and teacher. Peter’s daily practice centers on cultivating, researching, and foraging for new intersections between healthy human and fungal relations. He is available for consultation on mushroom cultivation and remediation design, site surveys, lectures, informal talks, and teaching assignments.

Check out all that Peter is up to:

Radical Mycology

Radical Mycology: The Book

Radical Mycology: A Treatise on Seeing & Working With Fungi

Mycologos School

And shoutout to the band Confiture… bringing funky tunes to ears near you…

Show Notes

Mycology As Activism

- came to see mycology as a huge piece of the puzzle to nature’s restoration

- wanted to actively contribute to earth’s betterment

- did some self-education as a young adult that broadened his worldview

- got involved in some projects which made him realise you can be part of making changes

- creating solutions and community, instead of basing identity on what you are against

- began to bring mycology up as a potential solution to current issues, not always received well

- found like-minded people and ideas began to evolve

- realised this was the piece of the puzzle he could contribute

- solutions that mycology creates fold into social issues as well as environmental issues

Mycology in Cultural Awareness

- discussion of fermentation & Sandor Katz

- mycology is unfamiliar and even somewhat feared in popular awareness

- Peter works to de-stigmatise fungi and show how great it is

- discussion of historical uses of fungi/mycology

- many approaches to mycology beyond food, ethno-mycology

Getting Educated!

- for Peter, mycology gives him access to new perspectives on many aspects of life

- it reminds him that there is still mysteries out there to discover

- most people don’t know much about fungi; one way Peter is working to address that through his book

- building community around mycology, to bring it into the cultural awareness at a social level

- has in mind for the future a much more structured form of education to bring deeper study of mycology to people

- “Radical Mycology 2.0” is coming

- mycology is not taught in schools, so there is a hole to fill in offering education

A New Way to See the World

- sense of connection that comes for many people, in learning the magic and mystery of fungi

- a whole new way of seeing the natural world

- teaching mycology through the the eyes of ecological awareness

- for Peter, sometimes the things that are least talked about are the most interesting, such as the benefits & deliciousness of probiotics

Ecological Remediation

- according to science, it seems likely that fungi were the first larger-celled structured organisms on earth (after bacteria)

- fungi are central to earth’s biology & uniquely powerful

- discussion of how fungi supports soil, animal, and plant life

- fungi are capable of breaking down many kinds of toxic substances that other organisms cannot

- in the long run, fungi will probably be able to break down almost all man-made substances

- this branch of research (micro-remediation) is very young, with not many fully realised examples, but there is so much room to explore

- this exploration is something that many people will be capable of doing eventually in their own backyards, and potentially make big discoveries

Fungi in Our Future

- in the further-off future (100, 200 years), possibly all man-made systems could be affected and improved by fungi

- fungi has a long shelf life, & makes an incredible building material

- discussion of growing mushrooms for common household & natural medicinal uses

Closing Thoughts

- fungi already influence your life in a million ways

- now is the perfect time: there is so much opportunity to get involved in cultivating fungi at this particular point in history


- Peter’s book is at publishing website:

- this coming October: Radical Mycology Convergence

- join the newsletter on any of their social media platforms

May 17 2018

1hr 8mins


Rank #11: 007 - Jessica Chiartas

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Soil, Life, and Microbes

In this episode I interview Jessica. She is at University of California, Davis, and is currently working on her PHD.

Jessica shares her story about her journey from pharmaceutical sales rep. to becoming a soil scientist. 

In this information packed interview, we talk soil carbon and the interactions between soil health and human health.

She is working on a science communication platform called Soil Life. 

Check it out on Facebook and Instagram

Hope you enjoy!



California Soil Resource Lab

Soil Microbial Ecology Lab

Books referred to:

I Contain Multitudes

Ed Yong


Daphne Miller

Dirt Is Good

Jack Gilbert

Oct 27 2017

1hr 2mins


Rank #12: 008 - Chris Trump

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Farming, Philosophy and Kuleana

In this interview with Chris, he shares the story about how his family converted 800 acres of macadamia trees over to Korean Natural Farming methods from conventional petrochemical agriculture. We dive into the philosophy behind his farming techniques, and how it ties in with traditional Hawaiian culture. 

Enjoy this conversation with a man who is creating life, and living a probiotic life.



Korean Natural Farming Facebook Page

Nov 06 2017

1hr 15mins


Rank #13: 042 - Regenerative Cannabis Cultivation And The Soil Food Web With James Rickbeil

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Join us in this episode as we talk with James Rickbeil and dive deep into the soil food web. James is a soil food web enthusiast, compost artist, and a student of Dr. Elaine Ingham getting certified as Soil Food Web consultant. He is also a cannabis grower who is passionate about regenerative living soil systems. On Instagram he’s known as @microbeherder and he’s been posting some great clips of what he sees down the lens of his microscope.

In this conversation James really highlights some of the main connections between soil health and human health and talk about how our microbiome affects everything in our body.

We also talk about the recent event he participated in called “The Science of Regenerative Cannabis Cultivation Conference”

There is lots of golden nugs in this episode, so belt up and get ready for a ride!

Be sure to check out James on Instagram @microbeherder

If you are keen about soil health, go on over to and pick your self up a microbiometer… You’ll be able to get a better picture of how much life is in your soil, and you’ll be supporting the podcast by purchasing from our affiliate.

Enter the promo code ‘probioticlife’ to get $10 off your purchase.

May the beneficial microbes be with you!

Show Notes to come.

Feb 06 2019

1hr 16mins


Rank #14: 024 - Biophilia, The Gardeners High, And The Immune System With Anne Biklé

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Anne is a biologist, an author and an avid gardener. She co-wrote The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health with her husband David Montgomery, who was our guest in the previous episode. Her interests and expertise have led her into environmental planning, public health and watershed restoration.  

Join us as Anne shares a bit of her journey, and the insights she’s gained from building soil in her garden. She shares about her case of “plant lust” and how she’s started noticing the diversity of insects in her garden.

Though Anne touches on the immune system briefly, we focus on gardening in this episode, mostly because I’m also a fanatical gardener. I may have acquired a case of the “gardeners high” Anne refers to just by talking about gardening…

Enjoy this delightful conversation with Anne Biklé.



Twitter: @dig2grow

Facebook: dig2growbooks


Early Life

- developed a case of “plant lust” in childhood, viewed green things growing as magical

- both of her parents had an interest in putting in landscape that was tailored to the Colorado climate

Love for Nature

- “biophilia”, term coined by EO Wilson, meaning: we have an innate need to connect with nature, innately know that to harm nature is wrong

- Anne decided to grow food for insects, to see what kinds she could draw into her garden

- observing a mini-ecosystem within your own backyard

- all life forms are connected to each other; when we forget this, we begin to allow ourselves to do harmful things

Educational Background

- studied Natural History, a branch of biology

- later developed an interest in microbial biology

Perceptions of Nature

- Anne aims to draw biology in around her in her everyday life as much as possible

- “gardener’s high”, losing track of time when around plants

- there is mystery to explore behind the natural forces and elements e.g. soil

- soil is dark coloured, which has negative connotations for many people

- we also can’t see the life in the soil at a glance so it appears dead to the naked eye

- soil is the land equivalent of the sea; most life on earth dwells in the soil

- there’s evidence for a bacterium in healthy soil that can affect our mood positively

At Anne’s Place

- they had some terrible soil

- laid wood chips on top of the garden beds

- scattered lots of coffee grounds into the soil

- Anne & David realised that you can make soil, you don’t need to import it in

- anyone can make soil, if you have the inclination and the materials

Bokashi Compost & the Immune System

- soil has a metabolism, just like our gut

- Bokashi can be made full of things that make the soil a bad place for pathogens to survive

- our immune system is made up of many specialised cells (that become immune tissue) that live right next to our stomach & intestines - especially our large intestine

- a person with gut problems likely also has an issue with their immune system

- if the microbiome takes a hit, the immune system doesn’t have the info it needs to know how to look after the person, and may start seeing problems where there isn’t one = autoimmune conditions

- your gut and soil are very similar & both need to be “mulched”

- the microbiome is made up of trillions of organisms that are alive and need to be fed

- eating a diverse diet, especially diverse plant foods, feeds the maximum amount of your microbiota, and keeps the diversity in your gut alive


Twitter: @dig2grow

Facebook: dig2growbooks

Apr 06 2018



Rank #15: 027 - Microbial Ecology Connects Us All: Microbiome Research With Jack Gilbert

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In this episode we explore the research that’s going on pertaining to the microbiome as we talk with Jack Gilbert. He is one of the leading scientists in the area of microbial ecology. If you have done any reading about the microbiome online, you’ve probably come across his name.

Jack has been involved in many research projects, and has published studies which relate to many areas of microbial ecology. He shares with us a bit of his story and we cover a lot of ground relating to all things microbial, but the theme that stood out to me is how we are all connected, how we need to steward our environment wherever we are, and how we need to use our brains to critically evaluate the information presented to us.

Jack does a great job communicating these concepts and ideas, and I really enjoyed chatting to him.

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Here are some ways to find out more about Dr. Jack Gilbert:

Lab Website

Google Scholar


Show Notes

- faculty director of The Microbiome Centre

- professor at the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago

- senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory

- co-author of Dirt Is Good (with Rob Knight)

- learned microbiology & physical chemistry in many different fields

- spent time in Antartica studying bacterial proteins

- got interested in understanding how microbes reacted & adapted to their environments in the world

- this became his new passion

- over the last ten years has become involved with human microbiome research

- came to view the human body is simply another ecosystem seeking equilibrium, much like the sea/soil/plants, and we can treat it as such

What Aspect of Research is Jack Excited About Currently?

- systems biology: viewing the world in a very connected way

- how do microbes affect everything else in their environment?

- capturing the complexity of these connections, so it can be predicted and adjusted

Gaps & Progress in Modern Research

- concept of “one health”, the health of humans and all ecosystems are intrinsically linked

- discussion of microbial environments in Amish and Hutterite communities

- what are the associations between people and their disease, and other issues?

- research is suggesting that consequences of severing ourselves from our environment could be much more severe than the risks of interacting with that environment

- interact with your environment while still using common sense, e.g. wash your hands after petting animals

- some authorities say they must give blanket statements regarding possible exposure to pathogens, in case of people not using common sense

- you may be saving lives by doing this, but what is the cost to people’s quality of life and potential to develop lifelong health complications?

- what product could be created to provide to people who don’t have access to a natural environment, to help their immune systems develop?

Making Changes

- for specialised information to become actionable to people who don’t know that field, it must be put in a form that people can understand

- Jack goes out and talks to many groups of people, because for change to happen, popular opinion needs to be swayed

- finding a balance between letting the public know scientists are working on solutions to help them, but discouraging them from taking the untested research into their own hands

Context is Everything

- in a public bathroom, hot soapy water for cleaning is fine, sterilising the floor does little to prevent someone catching infectious illness

- however, where someone is immunocompromised or with open wounds, e.g. a hospital, sterilisation is more beneficial

- gearing public statements of what the public should be doing are geared towards protecting the most vulnerable in our society; unfortunately, this could potentially have negative impact on those who are not so vulnerable

- listen to your doctor, be informed, and critically evaluate whatever you are told

Current Projects

- boosting children’s immune systems, immunology

- ways to make plants more resilient to stress and disease

- ways to negate use of fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides

- all these contribute to the “one health” mandate

Closing Thoughts

- examining the role by which the world around us can be leveraged to impact health positively

- being more engaged with the world around us, cultivating and interacting with a more biodiverse environment

- Jack’s book “Dirt Is Good” is a guide, with all the questions Jack’s ever been asked about how the microbiome relates to our health; the decisions we can make with the information we currently have

Apr 28 2018



Rank #16: 020 - Nutrition: Building the Soil Within and Without with Darren Hey

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Darren Hey is a nutrition expert and a teacher of Natural Living. His studies include the philosophies of natural hygiene, nature cure, and biogenics

We talk about these philosophies, about nutrition, about the gut, and more. He has a great way of communicating this, and tying it all into the Probiotic life.

If you want to reach out to him, check out his Facebook page:

Show Notes


- very diverse career background

- all types of work have been some form of training his body to make it stronger and fitter

- this made him realise you need to nourish your body well

- philosophies of natural living: the body is self healing when you align with life conditions

- 3 streams of philosophy: natural hygiene, nature cure, biogenics

- became an educator in natural living and healing

- Q of how do you get/grow high quality food? led him to permaculture

- recently completed apprenticeship with Geoff Lawton 

- teaches on true health science, not info pushed by corporate dogma

Natural Hygiene & Nature Cure

- cleanliness inside and outside

- cleanliness does not mean sterility, which is devoid of life

- looks at health holistically

- when you provide your cells with what they need in the right ratio they are effectively immortal

- cells require: energy, nutrient, the removal of waste product

- nature cure is very similar, but uses fasting a little bit differently


- biogenics: came from teaching of ancient sacred society of Essenes, as deciphered by scholar Edmond Bordeaux Szekely

- Essenes lived in accordance with natural law, how to align yourself with beneficial forces

- natural forces (such as water) have memory and energy flow; water will die if you interrupt its natural flow

- water behaves as if it is frozen inside our bodies, to facilitate energy & information along our nervous tissue

Steps Along Darren’s Path

- found mainstream perception of life dry and unfulfilling

- went on a search for meaning, for answers

- intuitively sensed there was something more

- experience in army of how easily info can be manipulated, where the public receives incorrect or incomplete info

- truth has become his highest value

- as many others, reaching a point of breakdown and injury, caused him to reevaluate

- began to ask how he brought himself to that point, develop awareness of his own responsibility

- high value for self-actualisation

- people not knowing or outright ignoring their own health is the cause of chronic illness & mental health crisis

Lessons learned from Nature

- nature provides everything that we need

- life is working for us, not against us

- how can we work with the living forces around us?

- this gives you your greatest chance for wellbeing

- also reveals which parts of you sees life as an antagonist: this creates opportunity for emotional & mental healing

The Disrupting of Nature

- water seeks 4 degrees Celsius and retreats from warmth, which creates the cycle of how water moves around the earth

- by interrupting and polluting nature, you destroy the habitat water requires

- life is seeking homeostasis, in all the trillions of processes happening at every moment in your body

- physical symptoms are messages that something is out of balance

- treating the symptoms instead of finding the cause interrupts our bodies’ attempts to self-heal

- this shuts off our opportunity to get back in balance and heal naturally

Getting Back In Alignment

- nature within us, nature around us, and our own nature

- we are not meant to live separated from natural processes

- we need technology that frees humanity, is earth-friendly, obeys natural law

- law of energy conservation: don’t push life beyond its ability to recuperate, or it will die

- get familiar with the laws of nature operating within us, learning what your senses are telling you

- willingness to face the truth

- take responsibility for your journey, self-education

- surrender to life’s prerogative in your body, that it is out of your control and has its own laws

Illness, Bacteria, and Healing

- your body will tell you the truth about what is happening in your consciousness

- illness and injury come from spirit & mind attempting to heal the body, or spirit & body attempting to heal the mind

- energy can’t be created or destroyed, only transformed

- you can transform it to your benefit or to your detriment

- the monomorphic idea of germs = disease, kill bacteria = cure disease is not quite correct

- when illness manifests, bacteria are the last thing to show up; disease was already well on its way before that

- if you keep creating toxic conditions in your body, the bacteria will keep transforming and coming back

- infection is the body attempting to clean house

- “the germ is nothing, the terrain is everything”

- waging war on bacteria is a sure route to destroying higher life forms, while the bacteria will survive

Final Thoughts

- soil food web inside you as well as your garden

- for high quality food pay attention to the biology of the soil

- permaculture is by design, food growing conditions that work in harmony with the laws of nature

- many organisms that live in soil also live in our bodies

- these benefit serotonin production within our bodies, boost natural immunity & detoxification, help with nutrient assimilation

- the seat of our physical mind is in our gut, modern science verifies this

- your ability to think clearly and powerfully depends on your gut

Mar 07 2018

1hr 8mins


Rank #17: 017 - Nick Mahmood

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Righting the Wrongs: Ecological Responsibility

Nick Mahmood and family run Green Source Gardens, which is a legal cannabis farm in Southern Oregon. They are committed to creating rich diversity in their soils, and growing the highest quality medicine possible. They promote agricultural practices that not only provide results, but also heal and build soil.

They commit to not disturbing the soil in order to achieve a healthy and thriving biological soil ecosystem. They focus on poly-culture gardens where diverse plant species work in collaboration with one another. 

Their methods are rooted in experience and influenced by research, including but not limited to the growing styles dictated by Bio-dynamics, Permaculture, indigenous agriculture, and love. 

Join us as Nick shares some of his story and philosophy of how the earth and cosmos create everlasting abundance. We talk about bio-remediation and ecological responsibility.

Green Source Gardens




Green Source Gardens

- legal commercial cannabis garden in Southern Oregon

- exemplifying biological remediation practices

- Living Soil Symposium - check it out here

Nick’s background & mindset

- felt a lifelong connection to the natural world

- attended alternate school that nourished the desire to be outside

- mother gave him freedom to explore and to find out who he was a person, gave him responsibility without micromanaging

- went walkabout after graduating college, explored the world

- these experiences fuelled his passion for his love of nature

 Cannabis discussion

- Nick believes we ascribe too much power to it, both negative and positive 

- he sees it as a plant like any other, part of the entire bigger work on planet earth

- part of the bio-remediation team, helpful with water filtration

Agricultural remediation

- building systems for our planet to function in the future

- empowering people to know they don’t need the shops to grow things

On Nick’s Farm

- Nick finds “farm” a loaded word, as it’s associated with a monocultural crop growing, production-based model

- farms of the future will be a much more integrated model

- focus on cleaning the water & replenishing the water table

- their gardens are giant digestion chambers, keep feeding organic matter back to the ground to break down

- build carbon in the ground, create space for biological diversity to flourish

- practice with the intention to become regenerative, right the wrongs to the earth

Ecological responsibility

- encourages people discern between companies when buying, don’t choose those who are damaging the environment

- do research before you buy

- if we treat financial gain as more important than ecological responsibility, we end up making a lot of sacrifices that damage our future

What does regenerative living look like for Nick?

- virtual walkthrough of Nick’s farm

- completely dependent on the organic matter (mostly from animals) that they gather

- building bio-swales

- “Hugel culture” or hill culture

- working towards a system that doesn’t require a lot of people to manage

- less energy-intensive growing practices, working with the existing climate, instead of trying to control the climate

Advice to buyers

- look for markers that this grower’s practices resonate with your values

- is there evidence of biodiversity?

- are they working with the existing ecology or against it?

- living and buying with mindfulness

Reflections on regeneration

- Japanese idea of “shinrin yoku”: going into nature and using all the senses to imbibe the microbes, the air, the freshness, be present and mindful

- reflection on indigenous ideas of natural world and returning to “earth worship”

- learning to look at the landscape, see what’s not working and find remediative solutions

- maintaining integrity until business practices surrounding crop growth become ecologically sustainable

- putting money into businesses that are ecologically oriented

- making whatever sacrifices that means so the next generations don’t suffer

Creating life wherever you are

- understanding that the earth IS us

- if you want to look after yourself, look after our environment

- abundant life happens when we start to honour the earth

- how things are going to play out depends on the choices we make now

- wake up and do good things!

Feb 14 2018

1hr 3mins


Rank #18: 003 - Tim Kershaw

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In this episode I talk with Tim about his journey from chef to fermentation artist to urban farmer. Tim has some great insights into the food industry, and shares a bit on how his philosophy has evolved from his experiences. We talk food, health, and lifestyle in this conversational and contemplative interview.

Aug 31 2017

1hr 4mins


Rank #19: 028 - Soil Health, Mindset And Integrity With Nicole Masters

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In this episode we talk with Nicole Masters of integrity soils. She is an expert in ecology and soil science with over 20 years experience. She advises farmers on how to improve the health of their land an ecosystems.

Nicole shares about how she went from wanting to be a great white shark researcher to an agroecologist. We talk soil health, worm compost, producer and consumer mindsets and integrity. This conversation gets in to the detail about soil, but we also cover the overarching idea that mindset changes everything. Nicole mentions one of the best ways to live a probiotic life is to support your local farmers.

Just a note that half way through the interview a cable decided to quit, so I had to re-record my side of the conversation from that point on… Luckily it was my side, not Nicole’s.

Check out what Nicole is doing by visiting her website:




Thanks again to Confiture for a sample of their funky jazz.

Check them out at:

Show Notes

Scientific Background

- Bachelor of Science (Ecology) at Otago University

- originally went to be a great white shark researcher

- study focus shifted from zoology to botany to soil

- light went on for her when she began to study soil

- this passion has now continued strongly for 20 years

Formative Experiences

- spent her early life in aircraft looking down at the earth

- the eruption of Mt St Helens put things in perspective for her, how powerful the earth is and how small we are

- saw a need to disrupt the current trend towards people living among their own man-made pollution

- willingness to be part of a conversation about what’s possible for transformation

- realised the mainstream farmers are the ones that she needed to be talking with, enter their worlds and make transformation profitable

Key Things to Know About Soil

- gastrointestinal system is very similar to the soil system

- the rhizosphere, or root interface with soil, is the most biodiverse system on the planet

- how do we support a very diverse ecosystem

- modern farming techniques are disturbing microbiology

- this depletes biodiversity and lowers nutritional value of food grown

- quorum sensing/quenching discussion

- sending out a little signal that tells biology to turn on a particular response

- plant can send a chemical signal asking for what nutrient it requires, and if the microbiome is intact it will send the plant that nutrient

Worms Farming

- the worm castings are the best part

- the perfect worm farm makes no leachate, if it’s making leachate you need more carbon in there

- most vermicast is bacterial dominated, which is the environment weeds prefer

- use white (soft) wood chips to make it more fungal friendly

- get liquid form by running water through a finished (fully processed) vermicast

- leachate is not good to use on plants, pour it back into the worm farm

Current Focus

- workshops in Montana on how to assess soil health/pasture quality

- addressing sodium deficiency around the world to improve nutrition, animal health, erosion

- working with crop producers to reduce nitrogen and herbicide use, while keeping equivalent yield and higher profit margin

- how do we identify what a limiting factor might be on a property?

- working with clients’ goals, what outcomes do they want to see from these changes?

- evidence is showing that applying herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are altering plants’ physiology, making them more susceptible to pests and diseases

- discussion about nitrogen & compaction

Integrity Soils: What Does This Name Mean to You?

- integrity: describes something that is whole and complete

- resilient, complete soils that will stand up to pressure

- being trustworthy and above board in all business practices

- dealing with childhood & personal wounds so you are whole as a person

- a call to work at these aspects as you interact with others, and in your work

Lessons Learned from Mother Nature

- Nicole has developed a feel for soil over time, while being ready with facts to persuade the skeptical

- the interconnectedness of everything

- water movement through a landscape

- aligning more closely to how things would have been naturally

- shifting from feeling out of control to feeling happy, excited about working with nature and what might be possible

- see weeds as an indicator of something happening, an opportunity to address an imbalance, rather than something to be killed outright

- cover crops as a step into regenerative agriculture

Change for the Future

- voting with your dollars: buy clean foods, ring to let companies know you won’t buy non-clean food

- Nicole believes this is the way to make clean food production go mainstream

- producers respond to consumer demand

- being willing to pay a premium for nutrient-dense food, which you need less of to feed yourself

- conversation on these topics happening on every level

Closing Thoughts

- consider the “underground workforce”: how am I support the microbiology within my soil?

- refractometer is a good investment, quick key to checking nutrient density

- carbon is the currency of the planet, and our soil has been running low on it

- food actually does taste less sweet than it used to due to lack of soil nutrients

- make those greens sweet and tasty again, that’s how to get the younger generation excited about this

- “Dirt in your Skirt” podcast

- currently writing about doing triage on soil, Nicole’s step-by-step process

- - get the newsletter!

May 13 2018

1hr 9mins


Rank #20: 040 - Kefir Grains For Health With Dominic Anfiteatro

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In this episode, we bring you an interview with Dominic Anfiteatro from Adelaide, South Australia. Dominic was featured in Sandor Katz’ book ‘The Art of Fermentation’ and is a kefir alchemist of sorts. Join us as he shares his story of how he came across kefir. I enjoyed the way Dom tells stories… He also tells the story of where kefir grains come from, and why you should eat your kefir grains!

Among the topics we discuss are: silken kefir, the systemic anti-inflammatory nature of kefir grains, adding kefir grains to other foods, continuous secondary fermentation, and water kefir. You can tell Dom is passionate about what he does, I really enjoyed chatting with him.

Thanks for hanging out with us here on The Probiotic Life! We love hearing from you, we love hearing how you are living a probiotic life, and love hearing feedback about the podcast! You can support us by giving us a rating and review,

You can find all of Dom’s fantastic info on his website:

Check out a video of Dom’s giant kefir grains

Here’s another video of his water kefir grains

Check out our affiliate at

Enter the promo code: probioticlife to get $10 off your purchase

Show Notes to come.

Dec 09 2018

1hr 18mins