Since the age of 17 I have studied a large number of the spiritual philosophies from around the world. Ultimately, the unifying piece of all for me has been meditation, or commonly these days, it seems to be termed ‘mindfulness’. I have blogged many times about the healthful effects of mindfulness – a state of active, open attention to the present moment. The myriad chronic conditions that benefit from decreasing stress and allowing the moment to just “be” are notable – diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, depression – and the list continues.
So what is it in our lives that keeps us from taking that small amount of time for ourselves to relax into our breath and go within? Many times the simple practices of mindfulness get lost, and often in the best of times, leaving us feeling empty when we thought we might be overflowing with happiness. The regular practice of going within offers far-reaching joyful benefits – and there’s a reason it’s called a practice.
I’ve noticed that through the years, my own personal “rules” for how things must be to contact that peace within have shifted spaces and formats.
These days there are free resources all over the internet to help us let go of anxiety and find peace within our seemingly chaotic days.
Recently I suffered an intense loss in my life and like many others in times of grief, my meditation practice has grown even more dear to me. What has shifted strongly through my own letting-go process is not only do I have a certain place where go to practice, I have recently placed objects there that have deep significance to me.
I am a vibrational person, as I believe we all are, and I use my toning bowl to create sounds I love. I may play some music. I may read for a while, perhaps light a candle, sometimes chant. There may be alligator tears, or giggles that surprise me. I’ve seen my willingness increase dramatically to confront the inevitable painful mental blocks and searing emotions that arise around those times of loss in our lives. I’m allowing the love and light that is present in all to heal me. And no matter when I arrive, I always walk away closer to the heart of beloved peace.
In the past, even 5 minutes would do. However now as I recognize my own need for healing, I’ve made a serious commitment to my daily practice. Without fail I spend a minimum of 20 minutes which may turn to an hour. Some days I have to get up at 5 a.m. to keep this commitment. And believe me, it’s worth it.
For you, it may be a place in the woods, a tiny spot in a garden, or even a chair in a library where you find yourself willing to breathe and be still. Others are able to meditate through physical movement like tai-chi. I’ve watched artists in meditation as they create their own form of beauty. It’s all good.
For now, I’d like to offer you 7 points that may be helpful if you’re considering a regular mindfulness practice.
- Whether you’re sitting on the floor, a chair, or wherever – be comfortable.
- I believe it’s most effective for you to make a sacred place where you return each day, at least in the beginning. There is something soothing about repetition.
- Be sure your legs are at ease. If you’re sitting in a chair, have your feet flat and spaced a few inches apart.
- From your head to your seat, it’s best to have your spine upright, not slouching.
- Allow your hands to be open with your palms resting on your thighs.
- My suggestion is to keep your eyes open and relaxed, gazing downward and directed 4-6 feet in front of you. This is not nap-time.
- Leave your mouth slightly open so your jaw is relaxed. That way air can move easily through your mouth and nose.
Remember, breath is your spirit. If you find your mind wandering and you’re thinking about situations, emotions or sensations, you can let them go by saying (even out loud) “I’m thinking” – and then focus your attention on an out-breath. Repeat as necessary. There is no wrong way. You are loved.
Ultimately it comes down to the question of how willing are we to commit our time, to loosen our grip on daily life, and be honest with ourselves.
My request for you today is that you take some breaths and moments just for you – and yes, do that each day. It will be my pleasure to meet you across time and space in the present moment of peace.
Happy mindful meditation to you.
Last weekend was a wonderful experience for me and I wanted to share it with all of you!
A number of us from Vital Planet Pets attended Expo East in Baltimore. This is a yearly gathering where health and wellness companies of all types come together to showcase their products and hopefully, gain interest from health food store buyers nationwide.
As I’ve mentioned before, Vital Planet Pets is my brand new company, just started this year. Our goal is to provide the highest quality pet supplements available – yes, on the planet!
You know how passionate I am about probiotics and also herbal and nutritional supplements to help manage our toxic daily lives. Well, our pets are even more at risk than we are! Think about it – they’re much closer to the ground and floor where they are exposed to pesticides and whatever we bring into the house on our shoes. They lay on carpets, play in dirt, chew on unmentionable things – oh my! As a matter of course and safety they are vaccinated, de-fleaed, and receive antibiotics when necessary. Believe me I know. I share my life with three doggies on a daily basis and love them more than I can say. I want them around for a long time so I know I need to support their immune systems and vitality daily. I sincerely wanted to communicate this message at the show.
Our booth was placed with the other creative fledgling companies upstairs. It was all so exhilarating! We were unveiling products that we were presenting to the buyers in a totally new way, hoping that there would be interest in the pet supplements that are our passion. And we were not disappointed!
People visited our booth constantly, and retailers were expressing their excitement to carry our new condition specific therapeutic supplements for their own pets, and the pets of their customers – that’s you! So you can look forward to seeing more Vital Planet smiling dog and cat faces from the shelves of your favorite health food stores. Hooray!
And you just have to hear this – I was blown away! One woman from the show who purchased our product Skin & Coat for her dog emailed us when we returned. She said she had already spent hundreds of dollars trying to help her beloved friend. She was absolutely thrilled to report that after only a few days, she could already see a difference in her German Shorthaired Pointer’s coat. Just imagine how much better her dog feels too! Stories like this make everything worthwhile.
The time has come to help our four-legged friends enjoy the same health that we two-leggeds strive to achieve day to day. Please look for Vital Planet Pet products on your health food store shelves. If you can’t find them, let us know!
We’re here to help you to decrease chronic discomfort in your beloved dogs and cats as you give them the chance to heal from the inside out with Vital Planet Pets!
Thank you for your support.
Happy Friday to everyone! I’m feeling very inspired today!
You may have heard me speak before about the Skinny Gut Facebook group. It’s a closed group, which in this case means that you simply need to request to be added.
It was started earlier this year by Amber who is extremely sharp, very motivated and has a heart to share great information. It has gently grown to over 1,000 people at this point – all of us exchanging nutritional and life tidbits. I’ve really enjoyed stopping in regularly with answers to specific Skinny Gut questions.
Which leads me to this morning’s inspiration. I never tire of hearing how happy people can actually be, even when they’re not eating bread, potatoes, rice, whole grains or pasta. Imagine that.
One of our members has lost over 15 pounds in six weeks and I laughed out loud when she imagined that her Sicilian grandmother would be turning over in her grave if she heard about her granddaughter’s new eating plan! Then she added that Grandma would be very happy about the zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers that were being consumed instead. Lovin’ those veggies!
We all desire happiness, and to so many of us, food choices can be wrapped up in the warm emotions of childhood and memories of joy-filled gatherings with friends and family. Sugar and carbs especially. Terms of endearment even register that love affair – “how are you doing Honey”? or “Sweetheart, I hope things are good with you”. It’s entertaining to notice how many conversational references we have to sugar or carbs in our daily interactions. Even something like “couch potato”. Vegetables just don’t seem to get the same kinds of attention. Hmmm.
Another member of the Facebook group mentioned that she’d even like to overcome her reliance on any daily sweets. In addition to the carbs mentioned earlier, she’s choosing to eliminate ‘allowed’ low carb sweeteners and fruits, striving to totally reset her palate. I’ll be very interested to hear about her experience.
Since overcoming the carb habit, I’ve personally discovered that there’s actually a subtle underlying sweetness in many foods I wouldn’t previously have regarded that way at all. And it becomes easy to understand how spices and herbs have been so highly valued throughout history – they offer such wonderful flavor nuances when not overwhelmed by sugar. I’ve even noticed that as my taste buds shift, I feel more satisfied with less quantity of food.
One person posted how comfort foods had always been her downfall, however since making Skinny Gut food choices over the last two weeks, her carb cravings have disappeared – along with over 10 pounds.
So, should you be inspired to experiment with a different eating plan this week, I’d like to share our three easy rules:
- Eat more GOOD fats (like avocados, seeds, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil)
- Eat living foods every day (lots of low carb veggies, some low carb fruits, fermented veggies and other fermented offerings) and
- Eat protein at each meal and snack (that’s every 2-3 hours – remember to have at least an ounce of protein). These tips can be your ticket to knocking out those sneaky carb cravings that might threaten your best lifestyle-shift intentions. And please be generous with the herbs and spices, too.
Inspiration is always an experience I cherish. Thank you to all the beautiful people who take the time to share their successes so I can continue to live inspired – and pay it forward.
Goodbye to summer! I hope yours was enjoyable and relaxing.
Here in Florida, we’re hoping that the heat will lift soon. The kids are headed back to their classes and with the new school year comes the inevitable increase in colds and flu. Lots of excited little human beings in an enclosed space together, laughing, touching and generally sharing their bacteria with anyone in coughing or sneezing range.
How can we parents help to support our children’s immune systems and overall health while minimizing the chances of bringing home the newest variety of bacteria or virus?
Although these simple habits can be taken for granted as obvious, verbal suggestions and leading by example seem to make all the difference. We all remind each other to:
- Wash hands after using the bathroom.
- Sneeze or cough into our inner elbow, rather than into our hands
- Try not to put fingers into noses or mouths – generally avoid touching the face
- Avoid the drinking fountain at school – bring bottled water if possible – there are some great eco friendly options available
And my favorite – it’s never too soon to teach our children about the dangers of sugar, and that sugar actually increases their chances of getting sick by feeding bad bacteria that make for unhappy sneezes and coughs. So minimizing sugar, both at school and at home, is one of the healthiest things we can all do together.
Which brings me to something I’d really like to say. Over the last decade, I’ve watched our awareness slowly shift from simply treating symptoms of disease to the sound concept that maintaining our natural health is the most intelligent choice we can make – on a daily basis. Sadly, American marketing techniques are often ahead of our best intentions.
Natural health isn’t always “natural” or “healthy”. We can be tricked by products that might contain a few positive nutrients lost in other ingredients that are downright unhealthy, like sugars. Gummy vitamins are the perfect example.
Sure, our kids love them because they taste like candy. Guess what – they ARE candy! And candy isn’t the way to maintain health – period.
Moms and Dads, please read the labels on those supposed healthy vitamins. If you go to your local health food store and ask, they will show you products that are sweetened with stevia or erythritol or other healthy sweeteners. Spend wisely and really preserve your children’s wellness.
Two other valuable tips:
- After breakfast, be sure to give your children a quality multi-vitamin that contains extra vitamin D and,
- Before bed, give your kids a probiotic. Their immune systems will love you for it!
Misery and suffering can be optional. Let’s all maintain our health together.
I love grilled food. I prep it in the kitchen and hand it over to my husband Stan. He then dons his alter-ego of Fabulous Grill Master! Hopefully you have someone in your house who undergoes the same transformation. I have only to wait patiently for a marvelous meal to appear after that.
My single assistant tells me that no husband is required. She assumes the same Grill Master alter-ego herself. Grilling just seems to mean “fun” for everyone!
Two appealing aspects of kebob (also known as kebab) recipes – they’re extremely easy to prepare and most are naturally high in protein while relatively low in carbs. If there’s a place for virtually risk-free experimentation, it seems to be with kebobs. Your wild idea will most likely turn out to be a big hit!
In this particular creation, beyond the base of chicken or shrimp, one mango is shared between 8 servings, giving us the heavenly taste of that summer fruit with very little sugar per person. The avocado provides tasty and healthy really “good” fat.
I hope you like them as much as we do.
1 ¼ lb of chicken tenders, cut into chunks or large shrimp, peeled
1 mango, peeled and cubed – approx. 1 inch diameter
2 small avocados cubed into approx. ¾ inch pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes
Juice of ½ orange
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove grated
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
Alternate threading either chicken or shrimp with mango, avocado and tomatoes onto 8 skewers. Whisk together orange juice, oil, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Brush some of the liquid mixture on the completed skewers and set aside in the frig for a quick marinate. 15 minutes will do just fine.
Preheat your grill to medium-high and grease the grate. You’ll want to grill your kebobs until your chicken or shrimp are done through. Turn your skewers and baste with more of your liquid mixture at around 3 minutes. It will probably take 6 minutes or so to fully cook your chicken or shrimp, but keep a watchful eye on them in case they’re ready earlier.
Serve your kebobs garnished with basil.
Kebobs and a side salad based in bitter greens like I suggested last week in this refreshing recipe are a great pair. Makes 8 kebobs and one happy group of people!
Is it summer enough for you yet? Here in Florida it’s either hot, or raining, or hot and humid from the recent rain. In the spirit of cooling off, I’m offering a recipe treat this week.
I seem to crave light foods almost exclusively – and easy prep is a must. So salads and more salads are appealing. Adding in bitter greens makes this combination especially valuable as a gentle cleanse for your liver.
And although watermelon is not a low sugar food, how can you go an entire summer without a little taste of the fruit that seems to represent summer itself?
It’s also a great season to find beautifully colored tomatoes that can really dress up this delicious mixture. Artistic vision meets simple nutritious delight!
Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Yummy Roasted Nuts
1 cup mixture of walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkins seeds
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or coconut vinegar
1 garlic clove – pressed or minced
1 tsp raw honey
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of cubed watermelon
3 tomatoes, colors optional, cut in wedges
3 cups arugula
Place nuts on a roasting pan in the oven or toaster oven on ‘broil’ or ‘toast’ – just until you hear the pumpkin seeds pop – usually a little over 5 minutes, depending on your oven. Set them aside to cool.
For dressing, combine oil, basil, vinegar, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Place watermelon, tomatoes, arugula and dressing in a medium-sized bowl and toss together.
Garnish with roasted nuts.
Serves 2 to 3.
07/30/15 1 Comment | Posted by Brenda Watson in Adults, Cancer, Chronic Disease, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Immune System, Omega-3 & Fish Oil, Prebiotics, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Ulcerative Colitis
I’m writing to you today as I fly home from Baltimore. My assistant, Dr. Jemma Sinclaire and I traveled there to officially begin a clinical trial that has been in the works for a couple of years now. I hope you enjoy the story of how this project came to be.
Years ago I met Dr. Amando Sardi. He’s an extraordinary gastroenterologist and oncological surgeon at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Sardi and his team have perfected a surgical technique that has saved countless lives. When cancer is found in the gastrointestinal tract, many times a part of the intestine needs to be removed, along with other organs, like the gall bladder, spleen, and/or parts of the liver or stomach that may also be cancerous. Removal of parts of the intestine is called “bowel resection”.
Historically, after a surgery of this type, a person would then have to undergo whole body chemotherapy, a difficult and extremely taxing process to endure. It was not uncommon for the cancer to be technically gone, however the patient may have passed away from complications of the treatment.
Dr. Sardi’s unique treatment “perfuses the peritoneum” with chemotherapy. That means that after he removes the obvious cancerous growths and parts of the intestines that are involved, he fills the intestinal cavity with the cancer killing drug instead of allowing it to travel the entire body. In this way, the medicine is focused in the exact area where any remaining cancer cells may be, sparing the rest of the body from the debilitating side effects of chemo.
The total procedure is called Cytoreductive Surgery with Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) and Dr. Sardi has an amazing survival rate when he performs this protocol. However, after the initial healing phase, the quality of life the patients experience is often “in the toilet”. Sadly, chronic diarrhea is often unrelenting.
The term “Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS)” is used to describe those symptoms that may arise after bowel resection, diarrhea being one of the most persistent.
Initially, after a dramatic procedure of this type, there is a period of time during which a person’s body is stabilizing and adjusting, attempting to compensate for functional loss. It constantly amazes me how the human body is able to recover from that level of trauma.
Then the next phase of healing begins. Dr. Sardi’s vision, to be explored during the clinical trial, is to introduce appropriate nutritional support, through diet and supplementation along with targeted medication that will help a person to experience the highest quality of life possible. Surviving cancer surgery is one thing. Living life after cancer with a compromised intestinal tract is quite another.
This clinical trial was birthed in a conversation Dr. Sardi and I had about what might be possible for these people who had already endured so very much.
Through the Renew HOPE Foundation, Dr. Leonard Smith, Jemma and I along with Dr. Sardi’s team have designed a one-year research project that includes 10 patients who are all at least 2 years post surgery. Their cancer markers are within normal ranges. They are grateful to be alive.
We are teaching them about the HOPE Formula (High fiber, Omega-3s, Probiotics and digestive Enzymes) which I believe are the foundation of digestive health – for everyone.
Additionally we’re using aspects of the Skinny Gut Diet and are helping these people to rebalance the bacteria in their remaining bowel. It always comes back to supporting the good bacteria when you’re goal is improving digestive wellness and supporting the immune system.
I hope that soon we will be able to relate to you that the quality of life these people experience will be much improved.
I felt truly honored to meet with our first 5 patients along with Dr. Sardi and his excellent team, and I look forward to our next year together. I promise to keep you updated.
06/18/15 0 Comments | Posted by Brenda Watson in Adults, Alzheimer's, Brain, Cats, Dementia, Depression, Dogs - Pets, Environmental Toxins, Fermentation, Heart Disease, Human Microbiome, Immune System, Longevity, Obesity, Parkinson's, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Weight Loss
Many of you who know me or have followed me for years know I’ve dedicated a great deal of my life to sharing knowledge on natural health options that you may not have known about. Things like digestive health, cardiovascular care, toxicity, weight loss and more. Well I’m at it again!
I am currently working on a new television series called Natural Health Breakthroughs with Brenda Watson.
What is Natural Health Breakthroughs?
This new series is designed to bring you the latest and most innovative health care options.
Health options that you can benefit from such as Stem Cell Therapy, Integrative Cardiovascular Therapy, Fecal Transplant, and the latest Genetic Testing. I also cover topics such as Food Sensitivities, Brain Health, Gut Health, Effects of Environmental and Chemical Toxicity, even Natural Health for your pets.
These things are not secret, but they are not widely known either. And what’s not being shared are the amazing success stories all around us – people like you and me doing things far better than relying on drugs or having unnecessary procedures.
This information is something everyone should have, but I need your help to make that happen.
So far I have been able to fund and produce five episodes. These five episodes are complete and ready to go and include: Integrative Cardiovascular Care; Better Health For Your Brain; How Fermented Foods Could Change Your Life; The Gut Microbiome and How It’s Changing Health Care; Toxicity and It’s Detrimental Effects on Generations to Come.
Now I need your help to finish the next five episodes.
The next five episodes are slated to include: Stem Cell research and therapies and how to get them; how genetic testing could change your health care; food sensitivities and why they may be your hidden issue; latest research on obesity and surprising factors in your weight gain; natural health options for your pet and much more.
Now, here’s the thing! In order for any television station to air this series they need at least 10 episodes. With your help we can finish the next 5 and be able to bring this information to you and your family.
I can’t imagine the information I already have in the 5 episodes so far just sitting there not able to be viewed by the thousands of people it can help. That thought just makes my stomach turn!
In order to make the right decision about your health you have to have the information. It is a choice after all. And that’s exactly what I am trying to do – give you choices for your health.
To find out more about my new show and how you can help please visit my page on the website Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/BrendaWatson
Here comes the summer, and with it, the opportunity to sweat! Of course, when you’re in your business clothes, you may not perceive that as a positive. Maybe if you remember that sweating is one of the most important ways that your body eliminates toxins, it will lessen your dismay at possible perspiration stains on your blouse.
I’ve been writing a lot lately about loving your liver, and suggesting that from time to time you make an effort to cleanse. So I decided to share one of my favorite blended detox drinks here today – one that includes ingredients that will help promote optimal liver function.
2 ribs of celery
1 cup chopped green cabbage
1/3 lemon or lime
1 small beet
1 whole Granny Smith apple
A handful of spinach
And/or dandelion greens and/or arugula – these liver supportive greens tend to be more bitter, so add them depending on your “bitter tolerance”
Handful of ice cubes, if desired
Place ingredients in Ninja or Vitamix and blend until smooth.
You might even consider adding some flax, chia or soluble acacia fiber to your drink that will increase your fiber intake. During a liver detox as bile flow is stimulated from the liver to the gallbladder to the gut, it’s helpful to provide extra fiber to absorb those released toxins, preventing them from being reabsorbed back to the liver.
Make loving your liver a habit. Believe me, it’s one that will pay off in the long run.