We are so excited to introduce to you Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a true pioneer in the field of gut health who also happens to be one of our most loyal customers here at Greenheart Juice Shop. Dr. Chutkan is an integrative gastroenterologist based out of Washington, DC and has written three incredible books about the microbiome and the importance of gut health. I first discovered Dr. Chutkan through her interview on one of my favorite podcasts, The Rich Roll Podcast (you can listen to it here: Live Dirty, Eat Clean), and was intrigued to learn more about how integral gut health is to every bit of our well-being. Not only does she speak well to a very complex subject, she also happens to be one of the sweetest women we’ve met. We hope that you enjoy reading this interview with her and don’t forget to check out her website at www.gutbliss.com!
Q: Dr. Chutkan, tell us a bit about yourself.
A | My dad is from India and my mother is Jamaican, so I love anything spicy! Growing up I lived in Jamaica, the Bahamas, France and Spain. I went to Yale for undergrad and Columbia for medical school and residency. I moved to DC in 1997 and have been on the faculty at Georgetown since then. In 2004 I opened The Digestive Center for Women, an integrative gastroenterology practice that focuses on dietary and lifestyle interventions to treat GI problems. These days, my focus is on the microbiome; the trillions of organisms that live in and on our bodies, whose health and survival is very much linked to ours.
Q. What lead you to want to practice gastroenterology?
A | My dad and brother are orthopedic surgeons so that’s what I planned to specialize in, but when I did my clinical rotations in medical school I fell in love with the gut. Lots of people think the digestive tract is messy and gross but it’s actually a beautiful organ. The frond-like villous projections in the small intestine that increase the absorptive surface are gorgeous, and the entire system from mouth to anus is incredibly complex and well designed. Plus, you get fantastic feedback from your gut every time you use the bathroom. Genius!
Q. As you know, all of Greenheart Juice Shop’s products are raw and unpasteurized. Can you explain how this fits into your motto of “live dirty, eat clean”?
A | During pasteurization they heat food (or drink) to very high temperatures to destroy any dangerous bacteria that may be present. It’s a useful process for getting rid of infectious organisms but unfortunately all the good bacteria are killed off along with the bad, so pasteurized foods don’t have the natural benefits of unpasteurized ones in terms of containing health-promoting bacteria. And consuming food in its unadulterated raw state whenever possible provides the most bang for your buck in terms of nutrients. So Greenheart juices really meet my criteria for living dirty - from produce that was actually grown in dirt rather than assembled in a factory; and eating clean - no additives, preservatives, or other shady ingredients.
Q. What is your favorite Greenheart Juice?
A | The Rooster is my fave but I also love Summer Garden if I’m feeling for something a little sweeter.
Q. When you’re not working, where can you be found?
A| At Down Dog Yoga in Georgetown (which is even better now that it has a Greenheart Juice Shop inside), or on the Capital Crescent trail.
Q. What are your favorite places to eat in the DC area?
A | Leopold’s in Cadie’s Alley in Georgetown for the best kale salad in the city; Rasika for amazing Indian food (and now just a block from home since we moved to West End); Fiola Mare for fabulous seafood, and Teaism in Dupont for a bento box lunch.
Q. What is a perfect day for you?
A | A family run through Rock Creek Park with my husband, daughter and Hugo (our 15 month old German Short-haired pointer), followed by a big breakfast of eggs, smoked salmon, oatmeal and a green juice. Then a couple hours curled up on the porch reading something engrossing (currently toggling between Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and The Human Superorganism by Rodney Dietert). Maybe a little evening flow with music at Down Dog and then binge watching 3 episodes in a row of Game of Thrones with my husband.
Q. What is next for Gutbliss?
A | We have an amazing product line that we recently launched - completely natural digestive products that I’ve used in my practice on hundreds of patients that are gentle, safe and incredibly effective. We’re also creating a virtual medical practice called The GutBiome Institute for people who want to learn more about their microbiome and improve their overall health by optimizing their digestive health.
H E A R T + T A B L E