Reset Your Reality

By Brett Casper, author of The Political Gut: Quantum Nutrients, Two Brains, Upside-Down Diets

One day in early Spring 2010 I opened my first bottle of kombucha, GT’s Synergy. It was new in New York City at that time. I’d heard that kombucha was good for hangovers, and I was really hungover. I remember the day exactly. It was a grey, cloudy day, and the bottle had a big round, bright orange $5 sticker on the cap. There was only this one Korean deli in SOHO that was selling it at the time. And so I kinda just chugged all 16 ounces. To my surprise, I felt a lot better, almost right away. Most notably my headache went away and my energy improved.

I remember being kinda shocked by how instant the gratification was. It was like someone had just given me an injection of positivity. This one solitary decision, seemingly innocuous at the time, changed the course of my life forever. It also reset my reality.

At the time, I had been working as a professional artist creating advertising campaigns with celebrities and luxury brands. As you could guess, there is a lot of late nights and partying involved with this lifestyle. So, I started regularly picking up my $5 kombucha at the Korean deli to cure my hangovers.

That summer I had a British roommate sublet my spare bedroom. One day, she brought home a kombucha kit and made kombucha. I had the same realization everyone else has. It’s cheaper to brew my own! And I already had a massive collection of teas since I’m fascinated by it.

So, I made 3 gallons of peach peony Rishi Tea in an old, brown, glass milk jug, which I found at the junk store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Surprisingly, it was delicious and had a freshness to it, like pop rocks in my mouth, sparkly and delightful to drink. The best part was that I could make any flavor I wanted.

After that, I started drinking kombucha regularly. Suddenly I began feeling like I would be healthier if I ate less meat. We love to BBQ, so steaks, burgers, and hot dogs were on the menu often. Not to mention the Reubens, Italian subs, kebabs, and so many meaty choices in NYC.

I made the decision and stopped eating meat for a year. It was a good experience and I learned a lot about how meat was affecting my personality. There’s a chemical fed to slaughterhouse animals called ractopamine. It is used to increase lean muscle growth in animals. Ractopamin in also banned from use in 160 countries. 

According to the NIH “ractopamine is fed to an estimated 80% of all beef, swine, and turkey raised in the United States. It promotes muscle mass development, limits fat deposition, and reduces feed consumption.” In other words, this chemical increases profits.

“However, it has several undesirable behavioral side effects in livestock, especially pigs, including restlessness, agitation, excessive oral-facial movements, and aggressive behavior.” Pigs happen to be very smart and share genetic traits with humans. This is what makes it possible for pig-to-human heart transplants.

When I was eating meat regularly. It made me aggressive to the point where I noticed the difference in my personality. I then started thinking a lot about how what we consume in turn controls our world view and personality. If just one bottle of fermented tea filled with bacteria. Or a few steaks could affect my personality and mood, how are all of the other chemicals and messaging really affecting my life through my decision making processes, mood and energy levels?

Over a decade later, more and more research shows the bacteria in our gut control us — our thoughts, decisions, mood, clarity, energy levels, fear response, and even the voices in our head. After drinking this first bottle of kombucha it was like a light switch was turned on. In an effort to discover my true self, I began my search for what I call true objectivity.

True objectivity to me is being able to guide my decision-making processes by minimizing any outside influences from inputs like food, drugs, advertising and media, essentially, testing our notion of free will. I want to be making decisions as close to gut level instinct as possible. 

What happened was that I ended up cutting out all sugar, alcohol, drugs, meat, processed foods, chemicals and preservatives, to the point where I am eating an entirely organic diet that consists solely of spring water, fruits, vegetables, grains, eggs, greens, nuts, olive oil and occasional portions of fish. I even cut out caffeine, honey and stopped drinking kombucha. Going full circle, and I didn’t stop there. I also stopped using shampoos, conditioners, creams, deodorant and sunscreen. Using only the most basic of soap. I don’t put anything on my body.

I never felt better in my life. Never have I had more energy and really felt high on life — just by changing my diet and eliminating all the toxic inputs. My personality changed completely and so did my outlook.

To build on my research. I spent two years during COVID lockdowns working as an Instacart Shopper. While everyone was home, I was spending seven days a week in all types of supermarkets. I got to know every product and its ingredients very well. The one thing that stood out most is if you buy food processed into a package in the United States, it’s nearly impossible to avoid corn syrup, sugar or one of the other 56 legalized versions of sweeteners.

Cutting out sugar 100% from my diet was one of the most difficult tasks to fulfill. Now, if I consume anything with sugar in it, I can feel the effects of the sugar right away. I can’t focus and feel antsy. Scientists say they still can’t figure out what is causing the rise in ADHD.

Traveling to 28 countries and counting, and living in four, has really helped put things in perspective for me. Experiencing new cultures has given me room for objectivity and comparison. When seeing many versions of something, you can put them side by side and do what the human brain does best: look for inconsistencies, enabling critical thought. Because, well, you don’t know what you don’t know.

As the former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously said, there are “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns.” If you’ve never known how it is to feel when eating healthy, you only know what you know. Not only that, you only know who you are as that person. We are born into paradigms, and have no comparison and, therefore by extension, lack objectivity.

The final ingredient was meditation, because you have to control your mind for your mind and body to work as one. This is really important. Learning how to be objective and think critically, while having a flexible mind are the most powerful tools available to us in history. A flexible mind has the ability and great benefit of being able to serve not only society, but our personal mental and physical well-being.

If we spend each day clean-minded and toxin free, meditating first thing in the morning or right before bed with intention, focused on creating a positive mental image of the reality we want to live in, and millions of people are doing this regularly, the chances of manifesting the wavelength and bringing these ideas into reality are quite good.

If we all are simultaneously projecting a collective, positive well-being, a heart-centered idea of what we want the world to be; if we are all manifesting this new society, where caring, gut health and the environment have value, where love, equality and kindness are the focus, where human creativity and expression are a feature, not a bug, then we will be able to flip the upside-down world back right-side up.

It is as simple as a collective change in our ways of thinking: freeing up time from our busy schedules for the benefit of ourselves and our fellow humans, focusing less on earning money and the ego, and more on earning positive merit, putting your health first and paying positivity forward. This way we will be able to rebuild ourselves from our most natural states, free of corruption, addiction, and toxic thinking.

This moment in history is an inflection point. We owe it to our children and future generations to be custodians of human possibility and good health. Each person has the power to change the world, first by making the change they want to see within themselves.

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BOOK LINK: The Political Gut: Quantum Nutrients, Two Brains, Upside-Down Diets

Brett Casper is a food expert and the founder of wellness brand Pure Luck®, recognized internationally as a “pioneer” in the kombucha space. “NY Magazine” recognized him in 2012 for opening New City’s first Kombucha Café and “Food and Wine Magazine” rated his Pure Kombucha™ as “Top 5 Best” kombuchas in the USA.