Special Guest: Dr. Jeff Bland

Pilar talks with functional medicine pioneer Dr. Jeffrey Bland about his vision for systems-based, personalized lifestyle medicine, why the conventional model of disease diagnosis and treatment is no longer working for us, and about our societal awakening to the interconnectedness of the systems on which our health and wellbeing rely.

This week we have an extraordinary guest, functional medicine pioneer Dr. Jeffrey Bland. Jeff Bland, PhD, is something of an international legend in functional medicine circles. He is a preeminent scientist dedicated to systems thinking, and a thought leader intent on transforming health care as we know it.

Dr. Bland is a former biochemistry professor who once served as director of nutritional research at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. He worked directly with Pauling, a two-time Nobel laureate, and considers him a mentor.

Dr. Bland is also the principal author of more than 120 peer-reviewed research papers on nutritional biochemistry and medicine. So, Jeff is a serious scientist, but he’s also a profoundly caring human being, once who’s concerned about the health of real people and the fate of medical practitioners.

That’s just part of what led him to help create the Institute for Functional Medicine, and more recently the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute. It’s also what led him to write six books for the lay public, including his latest (and one of Pilar’s personal favorites) — The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life.

Bland’s latest venture is Big Bold Health, and we talk about that project, among others, as we cover everything from new thinking about genomics and personalized medicine to chronic disease reversal and the importance of taking charge of your own health.

We wrap up with some experiments to help you begin more boldly owning your own health in ways that work for you.

By the way, if you want to watch the video of this interview, it’s available at Pilar’s YouTube channel. And if you want to see Dr. Bland interview Pilar for his Big Bold Health podcast, both videos are linked in the show notes below.

“Functional Medicine with Dr. Jeff Bland” Episode Highlights

  • How the Institute for Functional Medicine, the Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute and Big Bold Health evolved in relation to one another
  • The three tiers of the projects: Practitioner education, being on the leading edge of new information and technology, and consumer-driven action
  • The conventional model of disease diagnosis and treatment, and why it doesn’t work for autoimmune and other non-communicable chronic diseases
  • Why economics rather than results is driving our disease-care system
  • Dr. Bland’s argument against using the terms “good” and “bad” for genes that cause disease states
  • Creating a new healthcare system built around individual function (physical, physiological/metabolic, cognitive and behavioral/psychological) rather than the presence or absence of disease
  • The dismal failure of the top 20 most prescribed drugs in America to actually create a positive health effect (60% effective at best)
  • Our societal awakening to the interconnectedness of all systems that contribute to our health and wellbeing, in large part due to the wealth of information we can now access

Dr. Bland’s Experiment of the Week

(Note: This episode was recorded before the COVID-19 outbreak. Please wait to perform this experiment until after stay-at-home orders are lifted, or try it during an online gathering!)

The next time you’re in a large group of people of different ethnicities, genders and ages, be a conscious listener for 10-15 minutes. Don’t try to listen for any particular information, just take in all that you can and get totally absorbed in the environment around you. Listen to every piecemeal conversation and observe body language. Notice how people meet, greet, move, think and communicate. Doing this experiment frequently can help you reset and reconnect to the much larger picture you are a part of.

Pilar’s Experiment of the Week

Read Dr. Bland’s most recent book, The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life. Or

Educate yourself on functional medicine by checking out one of the articles in Experience Life magazine, listed below in Resources. Or

If you suffer from a chronic disease, or know someone who does, search online for the name of the disease and include the words “reversal” and “functional medicine” (in quotes) in your search. Notice: Do the results expand your thinking, help you understand the role you might be able to play in your own healing, and give you a sense of expanded options about where you might be able to seek support in improving your health?


Have You Read Our Books?

You’ve heard us talking about them for years. Wouldn’t you like to among the very first to read them? Both are on shelves now!

The Healthy Deviant: A Rule Breaker’s Guide to Being Healthy in an Unhealthy World by Pilar Gerasimo.


The 4 Season Solution: The Groundbreaking New Plan for Feeling Better, Living Well, and Powering Down Our Always-On Lives by Dallas Hartwig



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