Treat Yourself to Whole Foods! , with Leslie Cannon

| Episode 25

More often than not, whenever bacteria come up in discussion, it’s usually associated with illness or infection! How much do you know about the good bacteria in our bodies and where to get more of them?

On today’s episode, we’re chatting with Leslie Cannon, the creator of KePro. Through sharing why she created KePro, we learn more about the importance of having enough of that good bacteria in our bodies! 

Click the play button above to listen to our conversation with Leslie Cannon.

Highlights from Today’s Episode

  • What biofilms are and the role they have in the body 
  • How food impacts gut bacteria and how our gut bacteria impacts our overall health
  • The positives and negatives of probiotics

Industry Spotlight: Leslie KePro For You

Leslie Canon will help you understand more about the benefits of good bacteria in our gut and all about probiotics.

Learn More: KePro

Colon Health Podcast with Dr. Dac and Ariel Bridges

About the Colon Health Podcast

Co-hosted by Dr. Dac Teoli and Ariel Bridges, the Colon Health Podcast features guest interviews with expert physicians, leading researchers, nutritional scientists, integrative health specialists, and other foremost experts in colon health.

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Episode Transcript

Ariel: Hello, everybody. And welcome back to another episode of the “Colon Health Podcast.” I’m your host, Ariel Bridges. And today, we have Leslie Cannon with us on the show. Hi, Leslie? How’s it going?

Leslie: Hi. Awesome. So glad to be here with you today.

Ariel: We are so glad that you are here. Just to kick things off, can you please share what it is that you do with our audience?

Leslie: Yes, I am the creator and manufacturer of a gut health product called KePro. So we’ve been making that for quite a few years now. KePro is an all-natural product that has basically what most people refer to as kefir. And then we added coconut, which is a superfood. But we did the entire coconut in the right way so that way we take care of the microbial needs that your body has, along with also the healthy fibers, electrolytes, and healthy oils and fats that are so missing in the American diet. And then we made it taste really good. You can put it in a smoothie, which makes a perfect storm for your gut health. And it just works wonders.

Ariel: So this is bad, but I haven’t had breakfast yet. And this sounds very, very good. And I’d love to dive in more about the product. But I wanna know, can you share just some background information and journey about what brought you to developing this product? How did you come to develop it? Just giving us some background information on the birth of KePro?

Leslie: Sure. I actually have a really long history in the food industry with working with manufacturers, retailers, R&D, creating food, mostly for bakery items. And back in 2011, my personal doctor, he looked at me and said, “Leslie, my cancer patients are starving to death. I want you to make them X, Y, Z.” So he gave me the criteria and I did it. And then he came back and said, “Now add 30 grams of fish protein.” I went, “Uh.” That took a year and a half and wound up…it was good, but it was more of a band-aid. So fast forward a little bit. I ran into a gentleman by the name of Jack Mathis, who actually, his father started a dairy back in 1912.

And Jack was actually the first person to bring kefir to the United States. So he gave me a foot and a half worth of research just on kefir. And once I went through that, the microbiology part of it up to date and speed, and made it and thought “It’s missing something.” So I added coconut, the whole coconut because that really helps with the healthy fibers, and oils, and electrolytes, which a lot of us, because of our diet, we’re kind of missing some of those things that we need, and they get off balance. So we balanced it to make it really good for gut health because that’s the main issue because of our American diet.

Ariel: Fascinating. So this started out as a product that was to get cancer patients the nutrients that they need, and it turned into this other thing that is for everybody who can drink KePro.

Leslie: Yes, everybody can, unless they’re highly allergic to milk or coconut. That’s the only two ingredients outside of cultures for it. But what we did find very interesting, the cancer patients, when you lose your gut bacteria, certain part of it, you actually lose your appetite. And that’s what the doctor was trying to explain. He said, “When they lose their appetite, that’s when they really go downhill faster than the treatment itself.” So with KePro, it actually does have that bacteria in it that helps over time build back your appetite if you’re missing it, but it also can help your sugar cravings because you’re balancing your gut bacteria back out again.

A lot of times when we’re doing things like overindulging in foods that we may not really think about, bread, crackers, any of your dry flour carbs, and then, of course, sugar, those tend to swing your microbiology in your gut and your intestines off to where the bad bacteria can start to take hold. And science has proven that these bad bacteria can actually send signals to the brain to get you to crave these foods that you really shouldn’t be eating, that we all love and enjoy. So KePro helps kind of keep that in balance, keep your good bacteria healthy, and then also give you the nutrients and minerals that your body needs.

Ariel: So, let’s take a deeper dive into the topic of gut bacteria. So you were just sharing a bit about how those other foods, the foods that we tend to, I feel like, snack on a lot, those crackers, and cookies, and things can impact our gut bacteria in a bad way. Can you give us another explanation and some examples of how food can directly impact the gut bacteria that we have, and how gut bacteria can impact our overall health, even outside of just our GI system?

Leslie: So when you’re eating natural foods, like if you have a garden, you go out and you get food from your garden, you bring it in, and then you just do the normal. It’s gonna have some what we call healthy bacteria, plus it’s gonna have the nutrients that you need. This is good. It helps keep your body nourished, and it gives you the good bacteria. When you buy processed foods, or go out to eat, or get foods with chemicals, which would be your preservatives, emulsifiers, those things are put into these foods to give it a shelf life, which is a great thing, right? Because we don’t want food to make us sick. We don’t want anything in there that shouldn’t be in there. But these things that keep out the bad bacteria also keep out the good bacteria. So when you put these in your body, a small amount, but then you’re doing it every day, you’re killing off very small amounts of your good and bad bacteria, because it can’t discriminate between the two.

So over time, that’s what happens. So you eat a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, 80% of the time, you’re probably gonna have really good gut bacteria and a healthy digestive system. So with natural foods, you also have enzymes. So you need the bacteria, the enzymes, and all the calcium, the minerals, and all these other things, what we call micronutrition, and all works together to digest your food well. When you’re missing some of these over time, that’s when people start to get gas, bloating, and reflux. And reflux is nothing more than your body’s ability to not be able to break down those foods really well. So that’s what’s happening. It’s coming back when the hydrochloric acid goes into the stomach, it’s coming back up a little bit because your stomach is having a hard time passing that food on through because it’s not breaking it down really well.

Ariel: Thank you for explaining that, and going into further detail. I feel like that raised a question for me about probiotics. Whenever we’re talking about good and bad gut bacteria, I feel like the topic of probiotics comes up. Can you share some positives and negatives of using probiotics, and your thoughts there?

Leslie: Sure. Back probably in the late 1990s, going into the early 2000s, scientists started breaking down and going into individual strains of bacteria and what they do. Now, the dairy industry did this for dairy a long time ago. So they started cherry-picking these different strains instead of using them in whole cultures. And your body needs a lot of diversity in bacteria, not just a few strains. Well, bacteria, doesn’t like to give you a long shelf life in your food. So they had to come up with a way to try to keep them alive and also give products a shelf life. So they came up with dehydrating them and put them in a capsule, which is good, but you’re limited to how many you can put in there. But it’s better than nothing. The other thing is when you take it into a pill, you completely bypass your mouth, which also needs good bacteria because that’s where your digestion starts, is in your mouth because it has enzymes and saliva. So that does the very first part.

So when you do things like natural kefir, kimchi, kombucha, all your natural fermented foods, you’re getting a full spectrum. When you buy them in the grocery store, it can’t be quite as full spectrum as what you would do if you got it naturally. So, you really need probiotics. The bad thing is that if your gut health is already swung to the bad and you start taking probiotics, it can actually give you symptoms, gas, bloating, diarrhea, not make you feel really well. But that should let you know that there is an issue that your gut bacteria is unbalanced, and you need to get it back in balance. If your gut bacteria is healthy and you’re taking them, you’re probably gonna not notice anything, which is good because you’ve got good bacteria in your body.

Ariel: That is really interesting. And I think that’s something that probably happens often to people that they don’t realize is they’re like, “Oh, I’m feeling sick in my stomach. I’m having these symptoms. Let me take probiotics to improve my gut health.” But then they’re taking probiotics and they’re still feeling poorly. And they’re like, “Why isn’t this working?” And it’s because their gut health is already out of balance.

Leslie: Right. And like we said, not only do you need probiotics, but you also need certain nutrients because calcium actually helps to activate enzymes. So, if you’re missing enzymes in your food naturally, then your body has to kick in and work a little harder. If you’re deficient in calcium, magnesium, potassium, then your body’s gonna have a harder time doing all the different functions that it takes to break down your food properly. And that’s kind of why, when you take only a probiotic pill and you’re missing all these other nutrients, that you think, “Well, they’re really not working good.” So you kind of need to get things that work for your entire body, all the nutrition.

So more of the foods that you can get as whole foods that have more natural nutrition that work together, that’s what’s important. So much of what our industry has done is broken everything down to parts are [SP] us, and you either have to go get a whole bunch of those different parts to make it all work. And that can be kind of complicated. So, it’s better to try to get them from natural foods than have probiotics in it, so that all works together, and all you have to do is just eat it and enjoy it.

Ariel: I love the simplicity of it too because I feel like we often are overthinking when it comes to all this kind of stuff, but it’s really as simple as eat some good foods and you will feel good.

Leslie: That’s it. And you know, we have a rule that’s called the 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of the time eat a really healthy diet, and 20% of the time eat whatever you want. So that way you’re not completely knocking out the other stuff that we all enjoy, but you can enjoy it too and not feel bad about it.

Ariel: Yes. I love that too. It’s all about not necessarily a balance, but a mixture, it’s like a give and take. It’s like do what you need to do for the majority of the time so it’s not so terrible if you treat yourself every once in a while.

Leslie: Right. And with that on the 80-20 rule, we try to really kind of educate people that cooking food at home and getting a lot of things out of the produce department, instead of what we call the processed package food in the middle of the grocery store is so much better for you. And there’s so many really good dishes like the Mediterranean dishes that they’re simple and easy. They usually have a light meat with pineapple or mango and papaya, which all have digestive enzymes to help you break down that food. So it’s really interesting what you can learn and how you combine foods, how it really impacts your body’s health.

Ariel: Ooh, I’m getting so hungry talking about all of these delicious whole foods. So I’m going to do a small pivot. I’d love to chat with you about biofilms. We were talking about this a bit before we turn the mic on and I’d love to share some of that with our audience. Can you share a little bit about what biofilms are and what role do they have in the body?

Leslie: Ooh, biofilms? That was something I had to learn about. So biofilms are the protective coating, and they coat like a mucus all the way down to your intestines, but also pretty much it coats all the organs in your body. And that’s your body’s defense mechanism to keep bad things out and to keep good things in. So your biofilms, when you eat, your food goes down, you know, through your stomach, then it goes to your small intestines. And then from there, it goes into your large intestines, which all have biofilms. And think of it as just this really clear jelly-like substance. And depending upon what you’re eating, you’re either putting really good things into your biofilms or you’re putting bad things into your biofilms.

And this is when they start calling SIBO is because your biofilms are starting to get taken over with bad bacteria. And then IBS is when it’s really getting a little bit worse. And then IBD they’re getting a lot worse. So your colon is so important to your overall health and keeping the colon really healthy and well covered with good bacteria is more important than we really understand. And your body’s way of letting you know there’s a problem is through symptoms. So gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and all this has to do with your colon because your colon is a very large organ in your body. And it does a really important role from, you know, your stomach digestion food, but then right just before it hits the small intestines, that’s where it pulls all the nutrients out and everything else kind of goes through it. So keep your biofilms healthy and you’ll have a healthy life.

Ariel: So, so interesting. It’s such a big part of our body and our health that I feel like a lot of people don’t even know exist. Biofilms.

Leslie: Yeah. I didn’t know. Most of us don’t know. We don’t hear about it. And it is so important because you talk about things that go wrong, colon cancer, you know, digestive issues. And those really can just make our life so miserable and take away the quality of our life so much. So when you’re eating, when you kind of stop and think, “Is this a good food or is this a bad food? And am I eating the good food more than the bad?” And once you start getting that balanced out and getting nutrition that your body needs, it really makes such a huge difference in the quality of your life.

Ariel: Oh, I love it. Leslie. We are almost out of time. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience? Any parting thoughts, or where can our audience find KePro?

Leslie: They can find it on our website. We do have it. It’s an online product now. So they can go to and order it there. And we ship it directly to you. It is a cold shipped product because there’s no chemicals. So we keep it cold. When you get it, just put it in your refrigerator, make a nice smoothie, or put it in your yogurt, put it in overnight oat. Just any way you want it, just don’t heat it.

Ariel: Excellent. And is there anything else you wanted to share with our audience about biofilms, probiotics, gut bacteria, any other parting thoughts?

Leslie: Really, it’s real important. We don’t think about it, but gut health is becoming such a huge thing now. So when you’re really looking for probiotics, cheaper is not always better, quality you’re worth it. So go ahead, do your investigative work if you want, and make sure that you get quality probiotics and quality food. It’s so important for your health, especially nowadays we’re so inundated with marketing and we get confused of where the real science is and where the marketing is. Then there’s so many things to choose from. But remember, keeping natural is the best. And it has been such a pleasure to be with you today. And I’ve so enjoyed it. And thank you so much for having me.

Ariel: Leslie, thank you so much for being here, and I love ending the podcast on that note. You are worth it. Get that delicious whole food, get those high-quality probiotics. It’s definitely worth it to make that investment into your health, one billion percent. One final thank you to Leslie. Thank you so much for being here. I really do appreciate it. And for everybody out there that’s listening. Like I always say at the end of the podcast, we all have colons, make sure you ask your questions, do your research, and have a conversation. All right. I’ll see all of you, or I’ll chat with you, rather, next time on the “Colon Health Podcast.” Bye, everyone.

Leslie: Thank you so much.