Restoring the Biome… And Our Place Within It

by nielskunze on December 14, 2017


In determining Self from Other, context is everything.


Healthy, living tissue cannot be infected.


Restoring the Biome… And Our Place Within It

“Don’t eat poop!”

That’s probably the most oft-heard refrain during my forest walks with the dogs. They’re not interested in their own or each other’s, but the exotic, hair-laden morsels from other carnivores or the ungulate “raisinettes” seem to be practically irresistible.

Am I wrong to insist that they “Don’t eat poop!”? Perhaps.

Strangely, when the dogs chomp down mouthfuls of select dirt, I don’t object at all; I even praise them for it. And they do it every day. “Eat dirt and live!”… so then… “Eat shit and live!”… even better…?

What do they seem to know that we have such difficulty accepting?

Inner and outer are reflections of each other… or, perhaps, each is the full context for the other. The external reality can only make some kind of sense in the context of each unique inner reality; and that inner reality only remains functional and relevant in the immediate context of the world. As within, so without.

We carry a representation of the world in our bellies. We have to, or we wouldn’t be able to meaningfully interact with it. The lining of our gastrointestinal tract is our primary interface with the world around us. The very necessary microbes that make their home in our gut must closely resemble the microbes which reside in and on our daily food and the living soil in which it grows. They have to, or we wouldn’t be able to digest it. For everything which Nature builds, she also provides the means to break it down again— mostly via microbes.

But what happens when we eat highly processed food laden with chemicals and preservatives, having no discernible connection to the soil, to the environment, to life? The short answer is: Look around! We end up with a very sick and ailing population, disconnected, angry. Highly processed foods— with shelf-lives longer than our own life expectancy— end up in our bloodstreams unmediated. They aren’t really “handled” or processed at all by the bacteria in our gut. In the longterm, the gut microbiome starves and diminishes as we too slowly starve and degenerate on such a diet.

We absolutely require the microbial life which surrounds us— and interpenetrates us… that IS us.

Somehow the dogs seem to know this. They wouldn’t dream of passing up any and every opportunity to sniff each other’s butts, to chomp down mouthfuls of highly-varied soil, to taste every turd left as gifts along our forest trail, to drink from puddles rather than streams… to essentially expose themselves to the greatest variety of microbes that they possibly can. The dogs don’t fear germs in the least… and they almost never get sick.

“But a dog’s stomach acid is much stronger than ours, so they don’t get infected.” Really? Is that what you think is going on here? Do you suppose that they don’t inhale all of the same microbes with every greedy breath sniffing out all these various treasures? How are they “protected” in their sinuses? In their lungs? They’re not; they WANT the microbes! They collect microbes as avid connoisseurs.

Healthy, living tissue is never sterile; it is integrated with the microbiome community. We are unique communities rather than individuals (when we’re healthy).

Cancerous cells, for instance, approach sterility as they progress. Cancer creates a hostile environment for the helpful microbiota, driving them out and away from tumour sites. Cancer is a disease of profound isolation.

Interestingly, recent studies have shown that the absence of specific species of bacteria in the body is reliably predictive of specific types of cancer. The connection couldn’t be more clear: as diversity within the microbiome diminishes, susceptibility to metabolic and chronic diseases catastrophically increases.

So What’s the Answer?

In the last decade, probiotics and prebiotic substances (food for microbiota) have been touted as a viable solution. These are minimally beneficial at best. In the case of probiotics this is easy to see. A “good” probiotic will contain perhaps a dozen or so species of beneficial bacteria— billions of identical copies of each. A healthy human gut biome contains 10,000 to 20,000 different species of bacteria. Adding 12 select ones to the mix— without also providing a suitable environment in which they can thrive— is obviously practically useless. Many people begin with a probiotic regimen which returns favourable results at first, but rarely does it completely resolve any longstanding digestive issues. Picking “this” bacteria over “that” bacteria is not the way.

Like everything in nature, the microbiome is self-organizing and self-regulating, adapting intelligently to environmental stressors as they occur to the very best of its ability. When inner and outer are in balance, and when communication systems are intact and highly functional, this is more than adequate.

Our world is grossly out of balance and communication has largely broken down.

Enter redox signalling molecules…

A Foundational Solution

The journey back to balance will likely be a long one. Unfortunately, we’ve been relentlessly conditioned to demand quick fixes. There are certainly instances when the imbalance is so profound that immediate solutions must be employed as a matter of mere survival— like when a major bacterial infection threatens one’s life and antibiotics are needed as an immediate stop-gap measure. But we won’t be able to carpet-bomb our bodies back into balance; and never mind the environment.

And that’s why I’m rather enamoured of this first product I’ve been studying and employing in my own life. I’m ready to present an initial review of Dr. Zach Bush’s flagship product Restore. It appears to be the perfect first step to set the foundation for building real and lasting health, for ourselves— and the planet.

What is Restore? It’s a weak dirt tea. That’s what it looks like; that’s what it tastes like; that’s what it is.

Restore is an aqueous preparation made from an ancient layer of fossilized sediment from about 50 million years ago— according to conventional geological dating. Whether the dating is correct or not, the significance of this particular strata of layered deposit is that it comes from a time when life was extremely diverse and thriving on our planet. The soil was irrepressibly alive, fostering diverse growth amidst very complex ecologies. The evidence for this is replete in the soil… and that’s the point.

When Dr. Bush examined the fossilized record of this ecologically vibrant soil, he was shocked to discover molecular remnants of what appeared to be iterations of common chemotherapy drugs. “What the heck are chemotherapy drugs doing in ancient soil deposits?” A fair question… with an intriguing answer.

The molecules Dr. Bush was examining were carbon-based redox signalling molecules, the artifacts of an ancient communication network laid down by the tens of thousands of microbes coexisting in that life-giving soil. Typically, these structures consist of a “backbone” of numerous stable carbon rings with “tails” of reactive oxygen and hydrogen exchange sites. The exchange of various reductants and oxidation species formed the basis for an ancient microbial “language.”

The microbes were an intelligent community in constant communication with each other, responding and adapting to environmental stressors and challenges with balanced intellectual precision. Living soil is smart soil. And all life communicates… constantly.

Our Modern Predicament

Seventy years of chemical agriculture has devastated the topsoil of Earth’s arable land. Comparatively, our modern soil is nearly devoid of life— it’s a far cry from the virility of our ancient lands. The soil is grossly out of balance; the “food” which grows there is likewise unbalanced; and all the creatures feeding on that “food” are bound to be similarly unbalanced, as we are.

Just one chemical bomb— glyphosate, the main active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup— has become so pervasive in our environment that it is virtually impossible for any creature on Earth to completely escape its devastating effects. If you eat the food, drink the water or breathe the air anywhere on Earth, your physiology is impacted by the ubiquitous presence of glyphosate.

The main effect of glyphosate in our bodies, much to our detriment, is to cause some degree of leaky gut. The gut membrane, our primary interface between the inner and outer worlds, has been compromised. It can no longer function properly, dividing Self from Other. The lines defining our biological integrity have become blurred. Dr. Bush conservatively estimates that 95% of people residing in North America have at least some degree of leaky gut. I rather think that it’s closer to 100%. (Europe is marginally better due to a staunch resistance to Monsanto’s life-destroying business plan.)

Even if we take every reasonable precaution to limit our exposure, eating organic, purifying our water, and living close to nature, glyphosate— a water-soluble antibiotic— has already penetrated the water table. It’s in the water; it’s in the rain; it’s in the air we breathe. And we’re still relentlessly dumping over 2 billion kilograms of the stuff into the environment annually. And glyphosate is just one of many many troublesome culprits.

So now that I’ve scared the bejeebers out of you, let’s get back to the first solution. Restore has been clinically tested to show that it very effectively mitigates or even eliminates the worst of glyphosate’s devastating effects. It tightens up the tight junctions in our gut wall, restoring integrity and intelligence. With the leaks in our guts effectively plugged, we can begin to rebuild a functional Self in the context of a very complex Other (environment).

Restore Invites and Supports Microbial Diversity

Dr. Bush refers to Restore as “compost” for the garden that is our gut. Although it doesn’t actually contain any viable microbes, it rather provides the intriguing artifacts of a timeless language— a template, a blueprint— of a very advanced microbial society. It shows the way, in a language that our microflora can readily understand, as to how inclusivity can predominate in a paradigm of sustainable balance. It’s like the wisdom of the Ancient Ancestors has been forwarded through time, showing the way for peaceful co-existence.

The community of microbes centralized in our gut— all 1.5 quadrillion of them— can be thought of as a vastly complex bio-computer which also interfaces with our human nerves, cells, systems and chemistry. Restore is the main circuit board in liquid form, providing the means and the template for exquisite communication and co-operation. It’s not a perfect solution because, obviously, the world today is vastly different from the world of 50 million years ago. But in providing a viable blueprint for such a functionally diverse ecology, Restore gives our microbiome a consistent and persistent chance for higher intelligence and adaptability. I’m willing to bet that those little buggers are willing to learn… as long as we ourselves are.

My Personal Experience With Restore

I’ve been on Restore for a little more than 6 weeks now, taking the recommended 3 teaspoons a day before meals. (I don’t eat 3 meals a day; I only eat 1 in the evening… but you get the idea.) At first, I was a little disappointed as it seemed that the product wasn’t doing much of anything. For the first 5 days I noticed nothing at all. And then suddenly something shifted in my digestion. (I’ll spare you the defecatory details.) Something was happening…

Then it took me about 2 weeks to notice that I hadn’t been having my customary and well-habituated after-dinner beer anymore. I would always have one beer, sometimes two, right after supper. I really enjoyed it. Now, suddenly, I didn’t even want it.

It’s been fully 6 weeks since I last had a drop of alcohol. And so far, I don’t miss it a bit. I’ve also given up wheat in the same timeframe. These abstinences were not at all planned; they weren’t even conscious decisions. The once-persistent craving for these things just naturally fell away without any fanfare. I’ve long known that many of my cravings didn’t really belong to me— the hungry human. Rather, they were the expressions of microbial preferences and imbalances. Next on the list seems to be sugar. I’ve always been a sweet-tooth and the sugar craving seems to be diminishing more slowly, by degrees. But I’m not fighting anything; and I’m not making lists of “shoulds” and “should-nots”. For now I’m trusting that the complex ecology of my inner reality is working itself out bit by bit as I slowly move toward a more robust sustainable health… based in biodiversity, communication and higher intelligence.

I regard Restore as foundational and rather essential. I believe that virtually everyone can benefit from it. Strangely, it’s more for the non-human parts of us; smart food for our community, our partners, our rightful context. If the task is to reintegrate ourselves with the nature which created us as a billion-year project, then Restore is the perfect starting point. It promises the possibility of reconnecting us to our true Ancient Ancestors and the full potential of the bio-computer which is our microbiome… which is an integral part of the biosphere of all Earth.

A Bit of Woo-Woo Speculation

Philosophically, my background is Vedic— Vedanta. Everything is consciousness— consciousness at play. In the introduction to this series (previous essay) I referred to three seats of consciousness: the head, the heart and the gut. Although these may be viewed as three distinct “brains,” ideally they should represent a whole conscious continuum, of singular infinite potential.

When our three minds are disconnected from each other or in poor communication, we are lost, like a rudderless ship set adrift upon a Sea of Confusion… slowly leaking. Our “natural” inclination in such a circumstance is to identify with the head and its very limited 5-sense empirical perception/conception of the world. We are then literally lost in illusion.

Currently, there is a great deal of fear, excitement, and confusion about the possibility of our transhumanist future… where humans more and more merge with machines, finally becoming “Borg.” That’s not a future I relish… nor do I think it’s even viable.

When I look at the natural living world, at the balanced diversity and incalculable complexity which spawned us, I see intelligence, vast unfathomable intelligence. The ecologies of the natural world are our real tech, our inheritance, our endowment, our far-reaching future. We have the real opportunity to plug back into that intelligent biological mainframe, the Earth’s magnificent biosphere— instead of being its destroyer. The “socket” to plug into is in our own bellies. The direct descendants and allies of our Ancient Ancestors are intelligently connected to God, to Source. For they understand the very nitty-gritty of life, right down to the tiniest detail… and they’ve been at it for billions of years… building and sustaining.

The unfortunate situation for our wise microbial companions, however, is that they are housed under a conscious directive characterized by isolation, survival of the fittest, every man for himself… within the typical modern human host. In clinging to our head-based identities of stifling restriction, where every challenge is a fight, we deny our rightful heritage of living wisdom, we alienate the very ones who built us and sustain us, and we force the environment around us to conform to our limited conception of ourselves and the world… and everyone suffers.

“We’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden.”

I’m not really one to tell others how they should meditate. But with this new understanding of our greater context— our living context— sitting quietly and contemplating our own navels doesn’t seem so unreasonable anymore. The head might do better firmly seated in the heart, fully embraced by the Source-connected community in our bellies. With the proper foundation, there’s really no limit to where we might yet go…

A Little Note on Apple Cider Vinegar

I know there’s many readers who are on a strict budget, and for that reason I’d like to include just a little addendum here. Real, living apple cider vinegar with the “mother” included (making it cloudy, like Bragg’s) has many health benefits, especially for the gut and the microbiome. And it’s relatively cheap. If you’re hesitant to shell out the bucks for Restore, start with ACV.

ACV is one of the few foods containing the enzyme necessary to rapidly break down glyphosate. Taken before every meal (1 to 2 tablespoons in a glass of water), ACV will help to break down any glyphosate contaminating our food and thus preventing glyphosate from activating the zonulin pathway which causes the tight junctions in our gut to open— or essentially leak. It won’t, by itself, repair and tighten the tight junctions like Restore has been shown to accomplish, but it will help to prevent the situation from getting worse.

I will return to a further discussion of ACV in the final essay in this series where I explore several such minor accompanying modalities.

We need to begin to actually care about the quality of life in the soil… and it will in turn care for us.

Here’s a really great up-to-date conversation with Dr. Bush and Dave Asprey (Bulletproof), inspirational and revolutionary!

Eat Dirt: The Secret To a Healthy Microbiome – Zach Bush – #458

Restore is available at:

(In the next instalment, this essay series will examine the other redox signalling product, ASEA. It doesn’t compete with Restore; they’re complimentary. Please stay tuned.)

For inquiries and further health discussions, you may contact me at

(I get hundreds of spam emails on that account daily, so try to put something eye-catching in the Subject box— like my name perhaps. Once we’ve established contact, I’ll give you my private email to continue the discussion.)

Go to the next essay in this series The Real Magic of Redox Signalling

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