Digestive Care Expert Brenda Watson

If you’ve been following me for any time at all, you’ll know that I’m an advocate of gluten free eating. Dr. William Davis of Wheat Belly fame has certainly given us ample evidence why the modified wheat of today may be regarded by our bodies as an invader that often causes our immune systems to over-react. Unpleasant symptoms of all types can be the result ranging from low energy to digestive upset to autistic symptoms to chronic health conditions.

Years ago I found out through DNA testing that I had a genetic pre-disposition to celiac disease. That information ended my gluten consumption immediately. However, this is not the case for everyone who believes they may have a gluten issue. Testing can be very helpful to understand your own body.

If you’ve been to Europe or another country and eaten wheat without experiencing symptoms as some of my friends have reported, and then you returned home and found wheat once again your enemy, this blog may be for you. In general, the wheat in Europe seems different from that consumed here in the US. Not always, with our trade avenues these days, but many times. No matter your personal gluten situation, I hope you find some interest in this food for thought.

Mike Adams, well known as the Health Ranger, made some noteworthy points in his post and audio report. I’d like to share some highlights here.

Gluten-free has become a buzzword across our society, similar to fat-free or sugar-free. These terms are used by food manufacturers to imply that the product inside a package is a healthy one, and is often more expensive as well. In too many cases, “healthy” may not be as true an association as we might hope.

Mr. Adams points out that most (not all) gluten-free products that are sold in the grocery store are potentially peppered with GMOs and MSG. If you’re curious, check out the ingredients on the package. Remember, unless specifically labeled “organic” – and I mean each ingredient, there are significant chances that you may be buying GMOs. It’s a darn slippery slope.

The majority of the time, ingredients like corn, maltodextrin (which is derived from corn), soybean oil and soy lecithin may be GMO in nature. And did you realize that “yeast extract” is a favorite way that manufacturers hide MSG on a label? There are many other terms that mask MSG as well.

Here’s the kicker, at least according to Mr. Adams. In many cases it may not be the gluten that you’re sensitive to in the first place – it may be the glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. He believes that the residual toxicity left in wheat from spraying that chemical could create symptoms similar to gluten sensitivity.

So it follows if you’re eating non-organic wheat products like bread, cakes, pasta, cereals – you may be getting a rather unwanted dose of that toxin on a regular basis. If you’ve not read about the potential risks of glyphosate, check out what Dr. Mercola has to say here.

Ultimately, whether products contain gluten or are gluten-free, the conversation comes down to eating REAL food – not processed. If you’re seeking out organic fruits and veggies (which haven’t been sprayed with glyphosate, by the way), if you can access quality protein, and you read your labels carefully, you and your loved ones’ exposure to toxins in our food supply is lessened considerably. And never forget – the healthier your gut is, the better your body can deal with whatever digestive or immune challenges you may encounter.

Time and again we circle back to the importance of making organic choices whenever possible. Understanding the source of our foods is becoming more important daily. Knowing your farmer is indispensable if at all possible.

Many people in our society are legitimately gluten sensitive. If you’re like me, you’re choosing gluten-free foods because you’re striving to achieve more health. Please use this bit of information as support in truly reaching that goal. And for those of you who find you can enjoy organic wheat – good for you!

Here’s to selecting “organic” and “unprocessed” foods for a healthy future!

celiac, DNA testing, Dr. William Davis, gluten, glyphosate, GMO, Health Ranger, Mike Adams, MSG, RoundUp, Wheat, Wheat Belly

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Egg-ceptionally delicious!

I do editorial reviews monthly for Alive Magazine, a Canadian publication I really appreciate. Today I’d like to share a very creative slow cooker recipe right from this month’s offering  – Issue 399.

Slow cookers are one of my favorite kitchen implements and in the winter, the soups, stews and roasts that can be made are only limited by your imagination. In Skinny Gut Diet we’ve even dubbed the slow cooker as one of our “power tools”. Today I’m offering you a particularly interesting breakfast idea, hopefully one you and yours will enjoy throughout the day.

Egg-Ceptional Slow-Cooked Frittata

Eggs and vegetables – in my mind, that’s a perfect combination for a meal or snack. Add in – “totally easy to prepare” – well, this could be the perfect breakfast, and a great way to keep your blood sugar balanced and your family healthy. Once prepared, this frittata can be made into meal or snack portions and can be safely refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days (if it lasts that long…) Grab and go – easy and nutritious.

1 tbsp (15 mL) grapeseed or coconut oil

10 large organic eggs

1 ½ tsp (7ml) finely chopped fresh dill or ¾ tsp (4mL) dried dill

2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard

5 oz (140 g) baby spinach

2 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped

1 cup (250 mL) grated sweet potato

½ cup (125 mL) diced roasted red peppers

½ cup (125 mL) corn kernels, fresh or thawed if frozen

2 oz (56 g) crumbled feta cheese

(truthfully, any veggies you have on hand will be delicious in this – kale, mushrooms, peas, green beans, asparagus – be creative and empty your frig into the slow cooker!)

Grease a 5 quart (4.7L) or 6 quart (5.7L) oval slow cooker with oil.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, dill, and mustard. Stir in spinach, green onions, sweet potato, roasted red pepper, and corn (or whatever) until well combined. Pour into oiled slow cooker and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with lid and cook on low until frittata is set and cheese is melted, about 2 ½ to 3 hours.

Cut into portions and serve either warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8.

Note – Each serving contains: 178 calories; 10 g protein, 12 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 8 g total carbohydrates (3 g sugars, 2 g fiber); 280 mg sodium

Here’s to slow and steady cooking on your way to vibrant health!

Alive Magazine, eggs, frittata, recipe, slow cooker, vegetables

Last Monday it was reported by NPR that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) will soon be publishing yet one more reason to leave those PPIs alone! Protect your kidneys! You can now add kidneys to previous evidence of increased risk of bone fracture, infections and possibly even cardiac issues. This is another warning to all of you who regularly choose Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid to quiet your heartburn, indigestion or GERD.

I have been blogging on the potential issues associated with regularly blocking the normal production of stomach acid for many years. These serious medications, not viewed as potentially dangerous by the medical community until recently, have caused unbelievable heartache and misery for countless Americans. I’ve seen and heard about the damage they produce firsthand as I’ve spoken on digestive health and have been privileged to personally meet with so many of you over the years.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been thought to be so safe that they are now available over the counter. The only difference between a person’s prescription PPI and the ones at the drugstore is the dosage. So we can do math, can’t we? More heartburn? Just take more Nexium, omeprazole, or similar. NO!

Don’t get me wrong. These drugs can be life saving – short term. That’s the key – short term. While a person is healing from an ulcer or surgery it can be absolutely essential to decrease the amount of acid that’s created in the stomach so the tissues can heal properly. After the healing is complete, those drugs need to go – fast!

Even after a short period of time it can be challenging to wean off PPIs. The longer you depend on them, the harder it becomes. We think of addictions and what comes to mind is pain pills or heroin. Sadly, proton pump inhibitors are every bit as physically addicting, just in a different way.

Morgan Grams, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health led the research resulting in the upcoming JAMA Internal Medicine article. The study focused on evaluating the potential for PPIs to increase the chances you’ll develop chronic kidney disease. While the report wasn’t conclusive in itself, the findings were disturbing enough to cause Grams to warn all of us to only use these drugs when they are absolutely necessary.

Here’s the core issue. If you experience heartburn or indigestion of any type, there’s a reason. Your body is trying to tell you that something needs to be changed. Often it’s your diet (sorry, but that’s the truth). Actually, dietary shift can make a huge positive impact on digestive issues over 80% of the time.

It also might be that it’s time to purchase some digestive enzymes. As we age, our enzyme and acid production decreases so we can use a little help in that regard.

Commonly, after years of unhealthy eating habits, our internal bacterial balance is way out of wack. Probiotics can be your lifesaver in this case.

I implore you – before you start popping PPIs to quell that burning feeling, get a tiny bit creative. Try other digestive aids. Even bust way out of your box and consider a different eating plan! It’s not fun to suffer. I know that. However ignoring the real issue that is screaming for your attention by covering up the symptom will come back to bite you – possibly in your kidneys.

I wish only good digestion for you always!

bone fracture, chronic kidney disease, diet, Enzymes, GERD, heart disease, Heartburn, indigestion, infection, JAMA, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, Morgan Grams, NPR, PPI, Probiotics, proton pump inhibitor

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Let’s Talk Shower Health

When you hopped into the shower this morning, chances are you didn’t give a lot of thought to the water temperature. You prepared your shower like you have time and again, perhaps precisely the same for years.

Showers for me range from gloriously relaxing after a particularly intense workout to very rudimentary – in and out as quickly as possible. Now I can add that I’ve learned something about one doctor’s idea of optimum conditions for a maximally healthful experience. So for fun, I thought I’d share this info.

Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist with the Cleveland Clinic was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. You can read the entire article here.

Bottom line:

Optimum temperature – 112 degrees Fahrenheit. (No, I don’t expect you to carry a thermometer in the shower. Pleasantly warm and not uncomfortably hot seems to be the suggested “just right” heat intensity.)

Yet again this is one of those ‘age dependent’ situations. It seems as we mature, our protective lipid layer replenishes itself at a slower pace. It’s important to do our best to maintain that precious layer as it provides our skin its youthful appearance. So taking two showers a day at 40 may reveal dry patches that simply weren’t there at 20.

I enjoyed Dr. Piliang’s analogy comparing the action of the hot water to washing butter off a knife. In our skin’s case, we want the butter to remain even as we release environmental toxins and bacteria. Sadly, according to the doctor, applied emollient products don’t effectively replace the oils we lose.

As for that quick 15-second blast of cold water at the end of the shower – seems it may be great for aligning the keratin on the hair, giving it a smooth appearance that better reflects light. And cold water splashed on the face after the facial pores are nice and clean may close them up tight for a more vibrant look.

On a bit more serious note, while you may have a world class filter on your tap water in the kitchen where you and your family drink, unfortunately showering in water that contains chlorine or chloramines may present a substantial health risk – one you may not have considered. Please give some thought to the purchase of a shower filter. It will greatly improve those precious benefits of shower-time even more!

Here’s to your clean and radiant health!

chloramine, chlorine, Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Melissa Piliang, shower, shower filter, water

So now the decadent celebrations are behind us and it’s time to recommit to our healthy selves. However, there may be some leftovers in the frig, and also those delicious gifts you may have received may still be close by! If the gifts were well-sealed, re-gifting may be an option. Donation is a good idea too. Okay, I’m smiling.

I was devilishly curious, and decided to search “Favorite New Year’s Foods” on the internet. Whew! I felt bloated just reading the ideas! Between the Lobster Mac and Cheese and the Peanut Butter Parfait (peanut butter, banana and bacon with waffle cookies – aptly labeled ‘Year-End Splurge’) not to mention the various New Year’s liquid libations – all I can say is WOW!

If your holiday season included any of these type of foods or drink, your digestion and overall health may be on a downslide about now. Not only that, but with so many people out and around, you’re more likely to be exposed to winter-time bugs that could land you on the couch with a cold or the flu. And it may have been, and might continue to be, difficult to pull off eight hours of sleep each night. After all, it’s time to get back to “real” life. The holidays many times take a toll, even as we love them so much.

I’d like to suggest some crucial supplements to light up your health in 2016. If you’re not already including these in your daily routine, visit your local health food or vitamin store to get the following today. Your body will thank you.

Digestive Enzymes
Let’s start by giving your digestive system some help breaking down those higher quality foods I’m sure you’ll be choosing now. Even good foods need the help of enzymes to release and absorb the nutrients within! Why end up with a stomachache when you can plan ahead by taking digestive enzymes with every meal and snack? Look for an enzyme formula that has:  Protease for protein digestion, Lipase for fat digestion and Amylase for carbohydrate digestion.  Take with or immediately after your meals to help you digest better during your days ahead.

Probiotics
Up to 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut. That one fact still fascinates me to this day—and I’ve been saying it for years! The 100 trillion bacteria in your digestive system play a vital role on your immune health. Eating a diet high in starchy carbohydrates and sugar—the epitome of what might have been your holiday fare—throws off the balance of bacteria in your gut. Taking a high-potency multistrain probiotic every day will help to keep your gut in balance and your immune system in check.

Constipation Control
If you tend toward constipation, especially when your diet is less than stellar, arm yourself with an effective constipation formula. Look for a product that contains magnesium hydroxide, which acts as a stool softener that will gently, yet effectively, help to improve your bowel movements. If you are not experiencing at least one healthy bowel movement per day (and by healthy I mean well-formed and at least one and a half feet long), then you need to do something about it. A good constipation formula without harsh stimulant herbs is your best bet to get your digestion moving regularly in the first place.

Sleep Help
If you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, your body and mind could be suffering. Adequate sleep is essential for you to perform at your best and make those new year’s resolutions your reality. If you can’t seem to settle in without tossing and turning each night, a sleep formula may help you. Look for a formula that contains L-theanine, 5-HTP, and melatonin, three ingredients that will help you rest easy as you make ready for this New Year.

I wish you good health and happiness as we say “Hello” and “Welcome” to 2016 together!

5-HTP, amylase, Constipation, digestion, Enzymes, L-theanine, lipase, magnesium hydroxide, melatonin, Probiotics, protease, sleep

At this holiday time, exclamations of “how delicious those sugar cookies are!” always seem to accompany an unspoken fervent prayer that “this time – just this time – please don’t end up on my hips!”

Well, I have a New Years Miracle to share with you to help you stay slim through the last of 2015, and beyond!

Two years ago at this season it was my great pleasure to be working closely with ten wonderful people conducting research on weight loss, food choices and digestive care supplements. That project resulted in the best-selling book Skinny Gut Diet. I’m happy to report, since it was published last October I’ve received multitudes of testimonials reporting healthy lifestyle changes along with hundreds of unwanted pounds shed.

Fast forward to last week. The magazine Woman’s World delivered their December 21, 2015 issue to the newsstands. Please pick up a copy and flip immediately to page 18 to see one of our Skinny Gut group, Danielle Andrew, looking absolutely beautiful in her holiday attire. Danielle lost 22 pounds (and has kept it off), achieving her results eating her way through not one, but two holiday seasons. How does she do that?

So here’s your New Years Miracle. Hold onto your hat. The wonderful miracle is FIBER! Yes, soluble, stir-in fiber! Danielle achieved and maintains her weight loss goals with fiber as one of her foremost allies.

Here’s the deal. Stir-in fiber is tasteless. It soaks up extra calories and toxins from your digestive system. It helps you feel full while eating less, and also assists in balancing your blood sugar. Remember your fiber before parties or meals that could offer potentially irresistible temptations, and you’ll be able to say “no, thank you” with a smile.

And as a bonus for you java lovers out there – soluble fiber is a great addition to coffee. Although it can easily be mixed into any type of beverage, or soft food for that matter, coffee stands out as a great choice.

Coffee has a natural diuretic effect, it boosts energy (which we all need at this time of year) and that cup of Joe has properties that increase the appetite suppressing effects of fiber. And adding some holiday flavors to your coffee like peppermint or eggnog definitely makes the spirit bright!

Additionally, there are some terrific anti-oxidants in coffee to help enhance your immune system that also support the immune boosting effects that fiber offers. Research out of the University of Illinois has shown that soluble fiber actually helps people recover 50% faster from bacterial infections (you MUST read the article!).

So next time you find yourself in the digestive care aisle, do your hips a favor and pick up some stir-in, soluble fiber. You can join Danielle in losing weight during the rest of the holiday season, and then keeping it off through the year! Now that’s my kind of miracle!

coffee, fiber, Skinny Gut Diet, Weight Loss, Woman's World

At this extremely busy time of year, it may seem like even more of a challenge to maintain your weight along with your good attitude. Could it be because you are not getting enough sleep?

Through the years I’ve blogged often on how important sleep is to your health. And it’s simply so important that I wanted to have a chat about it again.

I read an interesting article describing how metabolic syndrome, described as insulin resistance, a pro-inflammatory state, hypertension-elevated sympathetic tone, dyslipidemia, dysglycemia and obesity – is actually a survival advantage for animals in the wild during seasons of stress, like in the winter. Their physiological processes are tied to their biological clocks, which regulate all the major activities of the body like behavior, metabolism, reproduction and immunity. As days shorten and animals behave differently, they sleep more or less. As a response, their bodies create “metabolic syndrome” which helps them to survive. Here’s the news. Animals don’t suffer any pathology from the metabolic changes since they are not chronic, ongoing adaptations.

The biological clock pacemaker system for our own bodies is located primarily in the hypothalamus. Sleep disruptions whether too little sleep, even too much sleep or medical conditions like sleep apnea over time have been found to lead consistently to metabolic syndrome in humans. Sadly for us, due to chronic stress and sleep disruptions, our bodies respond as though winter survival is necessary all year long, every day! This may explain why, although we may try to lose weight through excellent dietary shifts, the pounds may stubbornly stay glued to our hips.

Sleep deprivation can also change your genes! In one study conducted in the UK, blood samples taken after just one week of getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night showed changes to more than 700 genes due to sleep deprivation alone. Eek! The genes affected seemed to be in the area of immune, stress and inflammatory responses. I don’t know about you, but I really want those particular types of genes to be in top form in my body!

An entertaining episode of Secret Eaters, a UK based TV show that examines weight issues in England, conducted a research project with two groups of people. One group was allowed to sleep soundly through the night. The other group was awakened a number of times to focus and complete a survey. The groups weren’t told the true reason for this study. The next day, the two groups were offered the same foods. The group whose sleep was disrupted actually consumed 35% more carbs and fats than the well-rested group. Wow!

If you’re confounded by weight that just won’t budge, please carefully review your sleeping habits. Turn off the television, drink hot tea, journal, pray, meditate, breathe. Here are some other great tips to help you get to sleep.

Allowing your body and mind to recognize that it can rest and restore itself will pay off in so many ways, and certainly give you a happier holiday season. Although it may be winter outside at this time of year, our bodies in our warm, safe houses don’t need to behave as though it’s “metabolic winter” in the wild. That good night sleep may keep those pounds at bay and put big smiles on your face too!

biological clock, genes, metabolic syndrome, sleep, sleep deprivation, stress

Dogs are a huge part of my life. My husband Stan and I share our home with three King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and they are a source of constant joy, giggles, and craziness. Their sweet spirits actually inspired our new company, Vital Planet Pets.

At Vital Planet we offer the highest quality dog supplements that can be found anywhere. From exemplary probiotic formulas to condition specific nutritional/herbal/energetic formulations, our products are life changing and effective for our canine friends.

We even have a great cat probiotic! Cats don’t despair, we’re coming out with a full line for you in 2016.

Which leads me to this week’s blog topic. I have a great present for dog lovers out there! I hope you enjoy reading this article that I found in the Wall Street Journal as much as I did entitled “Why Dogs Are Some Scientists’ New Best Friends”.

Dogs actually develop a lot of the same diseases that we humans do, making them valuable subjects for research.

Hold on now, don’t freak – we’re not talking lab rat experiments here. No scalpels or cages! What’s so cool about this research is it’s being conducted using saliva samples for DNA testing and behavioral observation.

The University of Massachusettes Medical School is launching a study of canine genetics, behavior and personality. Interestingly named Darwin’s Dogs, the team is attempting to answer important questions about human conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder and autism. Somehow I wouldn’t have imagined that. Seems Dobermans are known for “canine compulsive disorder” that’s similar to OCD in humans!

When we at Vital Planet talk to people about the value of ongoing maintenance of the health of their dogs rather than waiting for nasty disease to show up, I always remind them that dogs are essentially like us. They have the same endocrine system, the same organs, a skeletal system, a nervous system. One major difference is that they have a shorter digestive tract and longer teeth, which impacts their food requirements of course. However, the similarities far outweigh the differences.

In this article I enjoyed learning that a dog’s DNA is so close to ours that they can be our best friends in even more ways than ever. For example, recent research on osteosarcoma, the most common type of bone cancer in children and frequently found in dogs showed that the composition of the tumors in children compared to those in dogs was virtually indistinguishable. Collecting more specimens from dogs could result in positive progress in understanding the etiology of this heartbreaking disease process.

One of our Vital Planet products, Daily Detox, is designed to support healthy functioning of a dog’s liver. Along with probiotics, the liver is our front line defense against our poisonous environment. If you think about it, dogs are even more toxic than we are. They’re smaller and closer to the ground. They are exposed to the same pollutants in their environments as we are, at closer range in some cases. Studies have been done clearly showing their increased toxic levels. This comparison information can allow us to better understand the impact that these toxins are having on humans on a day-to-day basis.

There’s actually a company called Dognition that enrolls dog owners as “citizen scientists”. The humans are asked to have their dogs complete different games or specific tasks. Then the collected data is submitted.

I must say, I was wondering how reliable that data might be. Apparently studies have also been conducted comparing data validity between lab and this type of at-home collection. The citizen-scientist data was found “useful and reliable”. I love this!

Dr. Hare from Dognition is looking at the environmental or behavioral factors that affect both the human and their dog. He calls this concept “one health” and defines that as ‘how animal research can help human health, and vice versa’.

For far too long an animal’s position in research has been a frightful one-way street. It delights me to imagine that our awareness is expanding in these avenues to recognize our dogs much more as beings deserving of respect and appreciation – for their salivary DNA and even their behaviors!

cats, Darwin's Dogs, Dognition, dogs, liver, Probiotics, toxicity, University of Massachusettes Medical School, Vital Planet Pets, Wall Street Journal

Thanksgiving just isn’t complete at many of our tables without Pumpkin Pie. Would you agree?

That pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon scent of a baking pie, be it Grandmother’s recipe or Libby’s suggestions off the side of the pumpkin can, is standard beloved aromatherapy of the season, so it’s with a smile and a wink that I post this recipe for you today. If not for the Turkey Day table, it might be a great additional to next Sunday’s dinner!

My friend Donna Schwenk has recently launched her new book called Cultured Food for Health. On page 154 of this wonderful book she offers a “Raw Kefir Pumpkin Pie”.

Okay, so ‘raw’ kind of defeats the aromatic aspect of the traditional celebration, but I’m hoping the greater value of this recipe may pique your interest, since it will provide so very many helpful probiotics for your family’s digestive tracts. I’m sitting here laughing at the image of a pie filled with multitudes of good bacteria. And it’s really the truth.

Kefir packs between 30 and 56 different types of bacteria, and research on the health of the gut shows over and over that diversity is the key – the more different types of good guys, the stronger your immune system seems to be. Let me know if you try this, and how you like it!

 

Donna’s Raw Kefir Pumpkin Pie

Makes 8 servings

 

For the Probiotic-Packed filling

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 3 to 4 hours in water and then drained

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup Kefir Cheese

½ cup maple syrup (or a zero calorie sweetener like erythritol/lohan)

½ cup coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

 

For a raw crust (or of course, you can make your own recipe or pick up a frozen gluten free one!)

1 cup walnuts

1cup pecans

1 cup raisins

Pinch Celtic Sea Salt

 

To make the probiotic filling, combine the cashews, pumpkin, kefir cheese, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg in a blender or food processor on high speed. Pulse until completely smooth. This can take a few minutes.

To assemble the crust, pulse the walnuts and pecans in a food processor until they’re crumbs, then add the raisins and salt and pulse until the moisture begins to stick together.

Pour the filling into the crust, then cover it with plastic wrap.

Place the pie in the freezer until solid, about 5 hours. Before slicing and serving, let the pie sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften a little.

Donna offers a wonderful recipe in her book to make Coconut Whipped Cream to top this fabulous pie! You’ll find it on page 179 of the book when you bring one home for your very own.

As an alternative, I like to whip up some organic heavy cream and add a bit of stevia or zero calorie sweetener to taste. And let’s not forget the eternal crowd pleaser – delicious ice cream as a pie topping.

Whatever your combination, I wish you a Happy Healthy Joyful Thanksgiving filled with lots of great food and love all around! Don’t forget those probiotics! They love you too!

Cultured Food for Health, Donna Schwenk, immune system, Probiotics, pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving

The University of South Florida here in Tampa is known for its world-class research and treatment of diabetes. Over the last 15 years grant monies have supported the Diabetes Center’s efforts to examine both prevention and environmental causes of this dramatically rising health risk.

An interesting article in The Tampa Tribune just the other day reported exciting findings of a new study spearheaded by USF researcher Ulla Uusitalo. The results stated that infants with a high genetic risk of developing Type 1 diabetes who were given probiotic-rich formula or supplements in their first 27 days of life were 60% less likely to develop islet autoimmunity, a precursor to the disease. Wow!

Uusitalo, an associate professor of pediatrics at USF, worked with an international team of coauthors and researchers studying the diets and blood samples of 7,473 high-risk children, ages 4 to 10. The study was conducted between 2004 and 2010 and the children studied lived in such diverse places as Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Washington as well as Germany, Finland and Sweden. The study is known as “The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young” and the future intention is to follow the children until they’re 15 years of age.

Although Uusitalo is very clear that the study doesn’t prove that probiotics can prevent the disease, it is nonetheless heartening that research is now looking at what might help prevent a disease from manifesting, as opposed to focusing on what might cause the disease symptoms to develop. What an important distinction!

The article, published this month in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, is one of the first of its kind, and I’m so happy to see that the star of the show is probiotics! Those good bacteria deserve lots of applause!

As Thanksgiving week approaches, I’m very grateful to reflect on the positive direction that awareness of our microbiome (that garden in our gut) seems to be moving. I’m also thankful each time I see another article that educates on the harmful effects of sugars and processed foods and offers healthy alternatives.

I can’t think of anything that has a more profound effect on overall health than feelings of gratitude. So at this happy time, I wish you many grateful moments, and lots of probiotics too.

 

Diabetes Center, islet autoimmunity, JAMA Pediatrics, microbiome, Probiotics, The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young, type 1 diabetes, Ulla Uusitalo, University of South Florida

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