Digestive Care Expert Brenda Watson

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.

 

 

Baltimore, cancer, cytoreductive surgery, Dr. Armando Sardi, Dr. Leonard Smith, Enzymes, fiber, gall bladder, gastrointestinal cancer, HIPEC, liver cancer, Mercy Hospital, omega-3, Probiotics, Short Bowel Syndrome, Skinny Gut Diet, spleen

 

Join me on The Healthy Heart Summit.  Why?Because heart disease is the #1 cause of death for men and women. Yet, it is often addressed with stents and bypass surgeries that only treat the symptoms, not the causes. It’s time to dispel the myths and misinformation about the causes of heart disease, and learn how to give you and your family a long, healthy life together.WHY ATTEND?Dr. Steven Masley created The Healthy Heart Summit to address the great deal of misinformation that exists on lifestyle and heart disease–far too many myths are still believed. The 30 Healthy Heart Summit expert speakers will give you the most current information about avoiding (and recognizing the signs) of heart disease, and life-changing advice on how to live your life with a healthy heart.

Register for FREE now at the following link

The Healthy Heart Summit will:

  • Tune up your heart, energy, waistline, memory and even your romantic life.
  • Find out which healthy techniques are practical, useful and can make a difference.
  • Learn how to prevent 90% of cardiovascular events.
  • Gain access to our internationally-renowned doctors, nutritionists and health experts!

Here are a few of the incredible experts who will also speak at The Healthy Heart Summit:

  • Mark Hyman, MD: Chair of The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Stephen Sinatra, MD: Cardiologist and the father of metabolic cardiology
  • Sara Gottfried, MD: Harvard-trained physician, expert on hormones and heart health
  • JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS: NY Times best-selling author, nutritional expert
  • Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC: President, American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine

With 25 additional presenters sharing their expertise about heart health, this invaluable (and FREE) resource is intended for men and women everywhere!

Better yet, if you register today, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFTS as soon as you register!

  • 30-Day Heart Tune-Up Guide, by Steven Masley, MD. Discover key nutrients, effective medical testing and how to identify your cardiovascular risk in this handy guide.
  • The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up Book (Chapter 1), by Steven Masley, MD. Preview chapter 1 of The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up Book and tune-up your heart, energy, waistline and sex life in 30 days flat by changing just a few simple habits!
  • Also, access to the first 2 talks of the summit (as available)!

The Healthy Heart Summit (ONLINE and FREE) takes place from July 13-20, 2015!

Register for FREE at the following link today

I’ll see you at the summit!

cardiovascular disease, CHFS, CNS, Dr. Steven Masley, FACC, Healthy Heart Summit, heart disease, JJ Virgin, Mark Hyman, MD, Mimi Guarneri, Sara Gottfried, Stephen Sinatra

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

brain, cardiovascular, fecal transplants, fermentation, food sensitivities, genetic testing, microbiome, pet health, stem cell, toxicity

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.

bile, blended drinks, detoxify, fiber, liver, Ninja, toxins, Vitamix

If you happened to catch my newsletter this week, you’ll know that my mind has been on your liver (and mine).

In the grand scheme of health, your liver is one of your very dearest and most important friends, one to maintain an excellent relationship with – every bit as important as your Mom or Dad, spouse/partner or children.

Calling the liver a workhorse is putting it very mildly. In our toxic world, a properly functioning liver may be where the line is drawn between life and death – and it’s certainly critical for a vibrant quality of daily living. In my newsletter I shared with you how it functions and the many implications of dysfunction.

I thought it might be fun to offer you a favorite delicious and easy “liver support” recipe, and then describe for you what it is about the liver reinforcing ingredients that make them super heroes of good health.

Since my eating plan, Skinny Gut Diet, is an 85% plant based program, I’m always looking for yummy salad dressings to dress up the essential and foundational veggies. Here’s a favorite of mine.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Sun Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • juice + zest of 2 lemons
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • a little less than a teaspoon of ground pepper (added by me)
  • 1 Tbsp. raw local honey — (I personally like some stevia or erythritol here)
  • pinch of Himalayan sea salt (to taste)

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add more avocado if you desire a thicker consistency.

 

And now to describe those ingredient super heroes:

Olive oil – cold-pressed oils (flax and hemp too) support the liver by providing a lipid (good fat) base that sucks up harmful toxins during digestion.

Lemon – contains high amounts of vitamin C, which aids your body into converting toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water. By the way, drinking freshly squeezed lemon in the morning helps stimulate your liver.

Avocado – helps your body produce glutathione, a compound that is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins.

Garlic – activates liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also contains high amounts of allicin and selenium that aid in liver cleansing.

Turmeric, as mentioned in the name of the dressing, is widely recognized as an anti-inflammatory nutrient. It’s actually the liver’s favorite spice and boosts liver detox by assisting enzymes that actively flush out dietary carcinogens. In order for turmeric to be absorbed into your circulation, it’s helpful to eat it along with pepper in a roughly 8 to 1 ratio.

And of course, pour your liver-loving dressing over your favorite salad, making sure to include leafy greens like arugula, dandelion or spinach. These greens help increase the production and flow of bile, which removes waste from the organs and blood and assists the liver in detoxification.

I think it’s interesting to see specific functions of liver supportive foods. More options are listed here. Come to think of it, the list looks a lot like the shopping guide from Skinny Gut Diet! Come join us in our Facebook Group, and let’s support our livers together.

To Your Health~

arugula, avocado, dandelion, garlic, lemons, liver, olive oil, pepper, Skinny Gut Diet, spinach, turmeric

Fermented foods are on my mind today. Yes, I’m glad to see that there’s an article about their health attributes written about them nearly every day. In contrast, it’s interesting to me how often I’m asked if my recent eating plan, Skinny Gut Diet, can “work” if a person doesn’t like fermented foods. Someone just the other day posed that in our Facebook support group.

When I created Skinny Gut Diet – even though the word “diet” is in the title, I envisioned this program much more as an eating plan – for life. And the reason fermented foods were included was their incredible health benefits.

Having been such a strong advocate of probiotics for so long, I’ve been fermenting in many different ways for decades. So my answer to the question was – if you are only interested in “losing” weight – eliminating processed carbs, increasing good fats, regular protein intake, essentially following the 3 rules of Skinny Gut Diet, will certainly direct you to reach your goal. By the way, Rule #2 is “eat living foods daily”. “Living foods” includes both non-starchy vegetables as well as fermented offerings, so you can understand how weight loss might result, even sans fermented goodies.

What’s important to understand in the bigger picture of creating a life of vibrant health is – omitting fermented products will negate an easy and affordable way to balance your gut with good probiotics. Those helpful microbes support stronger immunity and detox capabilities for your body.

In my newsletter recently I wrote about my granddaughters, and how varied their palate is due to the fact that they had only been offered healthy foods to eat since birth. Fermented foods like sauerkraut were among their choices, and they now love them.

It’s clearly a matter of “palate conditioning”. And if you don’t enjoy fermented foods, listen up – it’s not just about pickles and sauerkraut at all!

I know – it’s the sour taste you just don’t like. Well there are recipes that include some sweet aspects that persist even through the fermentation process. My friend Donna Schwenk offers this one – Cultured Broccoli Salad in a Jar. The grapes retain much of their sweetness, probably because the outer skins are left intact. Really yummy.

And I look at it this way. If the requirement for a sweeter taste is what’s blocking you from fermented foods, and you’re eating sweet stuff anyway in other foods, then when you prepare your fermented foods, add in a bit of sweetener. Isn’t it better to eat something sweet that contains wonderful probiotics too, than just something sweet made with other forms of carbs?

Another friend of mine has a recipe for Pickled (fermented) Beets that she makes. Everyone loves it! One day I asked her for the recipe and was somewhat dismayed to learn that she adds in a bit of sugar AFTER the fermentation process. No wonder it was so delicious. Although personally I didn’t eat the beets again quite as voraciously, it occurs to me that for those of you who have that sour aversion, this could be an option. You just need to calculate approximately that added sugar when you’re noting it in your daily food journal.

And don’t forget the option of kefir! Did you know that milk kefir contains 35-50 different strains of bacteria? Now that’s diversity.

Kefir can be added to everything from coleslaw to pudding. Here’s a great recipe we include in Skinny Gut Diet for kefir ice cream! Imagine that favorite treat – guilt-free! And remember to substitute zero-calorie sweeteners like erythritol or stevia for at least 2/3 of the regular sweetener suggested in other dessert recipes. This will lower your sugar count considerably.

Also consider kombucha. It’s now available even in grocery store chains. Kombucha offers you the gut balancing good yeast called S. boulardii. Often store-bought kombucha can be a bit too sweet, so limit this, or dilute it a bit. Your label is your guide, so be sure to check it out.

If you’re not a kitchen type, no worries. I simply can’t believe that you won’t find a recipe you will learn to love right here. The great news about fermenting is that the bacteria do the work for you. Yours is a simple assembly job. Couple that with a dash of willingness to experiment – for the good of your own gut – and I’ll bet you’ll be eating fermented foods in no time. Palate diversity is a very good thing.

Happy fermenting!

detox, diversity, Donna Schwenk, erythritol, Fermenting, immunity, kefir, kombucha, palate, pickles, Probiotics, S. boulardii, sauerkraut, Skinny Gut Diet, stevia

Sometimes it seems like everything that I love to eat, and even the foods that I’ve learned to love to eat, are found have something ‘wrong’ with them. Do you know the feeling?

My entire career has been built on my respect for research and its value, however every so often when I read articles that are based on research studies, it takes me back to that old adage – a little knowledge/information can be a dangerous thing. It can be that studies examine very small populations, and then provide statements, that when taken out of context, may be misleading.

It’s frustrating when I read an article that shares information about some of the most wonderful foods on the planet – cruciferous vegetables – and then the message associates them primarily with the rather negative term “goitrogens”. It’s difficult enough to get people to eat veggies to begin with in this country. That’s a sad fact unto itself. Just let someone who already is struggling with greens on their plate read an article about possible issues with “goitrogenic foods” – all bets are off. No more veggies for those people! Boy are they relieved! And that’s a really sad thing.

This blog is specifically written for you if you’re learning to love broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach and other foods considered goitrogenic (bet you didn’t realize strawberries and peaches are in that family too!). This is also for the very well-intentioned nutritionally oriented person out there that is overwhelmed by so much information about what is “good” to eat. It certainly can be very confusing!

So let’s take a closer look. The definition of “goitrogen” is technically – any substance that could potentially lead to a goiter – and not always foods, by the way. A goiter is that swollen area of the neck that happens when the thyroid gland is enlarged. In many cases it appears when a person is severely iodine deficient, a condition that is actually rare these days due to accessible thyroid testing. The goitrogenic foods are called that because it’s possible for them to inhibit the body’s iodine metabolism under certain circumstances. Actually, more accurately, some of the enzymatic nutrients they contain, once converted in the body, could have an effect on iodine uptake.

Hypothyroidism is a common issue today, and here’s the confusing part. One cause of hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. So in these cases, it would be logical to limit your intake of anything that might decrease your ability to absorb iodine, at least until you have your iodine/thyroid situation understood and under control. However, the impact that cruciferous veggies might have on your iodine is extremely minimal when you eat them in moderation (the key word!).

And hypothyroidism can commonly be the result of an autoimmune response against the thyroid like Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease. In those cases, iodine deficiency isn’t even your issue. Healing your immune system will be your action plan and there are other factors to consider as well. If you suspect a thyroid issue, please consult an integrative practitioner for a well-rounded program.

If you don’t have an iodine deficiency or if you’re managing your diagnosis of hypothyroidism well, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne who wrote the book “The Paleo Approach” feels that the research doesn’t justify avoiding these vitality packed foods. Keep in mind that steaming your cruciferous veggies reduces the enzymes responsible for the goitrogenic effect by two thirds. And you might consider increasing your intake of iodine rich foods like seaweed to help balance your system.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, well-respected vegan, author and medical doctor, states that “it would be almost impossible to consume enough cruciferous to harm the thyroid”. He goes on to say that “a person would have to consume an insane amount of cruciferous to have a negative effect on thyroid function”. We’re back to that very appropriate word – for almost any situation – MODERATION.

Recognizing the nutrients available in our foods and balancing our intake goes a long way toward eliminating the “bad food” vs. “good food” concept when it comes to Mother Nature’s offerings. Instead we can strive to support our bodies by providing whole food nutrients in the best, most delicious, and beautiful combinations. Cruciferous (goitrogenic) veggies have been found to deliver substantial anti-cancerous properties, along with numerous other beneficial nutrients. Not the least of them is fiber, which is so essential in my favorite function – digestion!

There’s an old term that fits perfectly in this situation. “Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!”

It comes back to listening to our own bodies, and focusing not so much on what there is to fear, but instead on how we can create health and vitality, one mouthful at a time.

 

cruciferous, Dr. Joel Furhrman, Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, fiber, Goitrogens, Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, hypothyroid, iodine, The Paleo Approach, vegetables

I’ve been addressing constipation issues a lot recently, due to the fact that they seem epidemic in our country! And constipated people are very commonly magnesium deficient.

It’s been really great to interact with the people on the Skinny Gut Facebook group – and whenever someone seems stuck in terms of weight loss, my first question is always – are you eliminating? If the answer is no, then shortly thereafter comes the inevitable magnesium discussion.

Simply, magnesium is critical for an amazing number of processes in your body – heart function probably topping the list. According to the World Health Organization, low levels have been implicated in hypertension, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Besides those serious conditions, Dr. Dean who wrote the excellent book The Magnesium Miracle cites heart palpitations, leg and muscle cramps, migraines, insomnia and fatigue are associated symptoms. Do I have your attention?

Since magnesium is so important to simply living, it’s easy to see why our bodies will use whatever is available as soon as it can be absorbed into our circulation, and many times, magnesium doesn’t make its way to the colon to assist in elimination if needed.

In times past, we were able to get most of our magnesium from our foods, but farming and food production practices have disturbed the mineral content of the soil. Couple that with increased toxins that our bodies need added magnesium to process daily, we find ourselves at a magnesium deficit. So you are aware, high magnesium foods include dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, dark chocolate, and more. Bone broths are also a great source of magnesium (make sure they come from a clean animal source though – free range, hormone free or organic). Keep in mind, to get the magnesium (and other nutrients) from foods you eat, you need a relatively balanced digestive system that’s able to properly breakdown and then absorb the nutrients.

Since magnesium is responsible for so many basic health processes, it would be logical to assume that it might be a go-to product to suggest to anyone in a doctor’s office presenting with the symptoms I mentioned. It’s cheap too. Maybe that’s the reason that medical doctors don’t know about it! No profit for pharmaceutical companies there!

Magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide are the two forms that are most commonly used to increase bowel movements. Magnesium oxide is the least absorbable form – meaning that it doesn’t get into your body easily. That’s why it can make its way to the colon to help with stubborn constipation issues. It won’t be absorbed in the upper intestine.

Keep in mind that if you’re taking magnesium oxide, you really aren’t improving your magnesium level overall. It’s not unusual to take different forms in various products to effectively help your body repair and resume normal function.

The worst side effect you will have with magnesium supplementation will possibly be a watery stool. Many of us who have dealt with stubborn constipation issues don’t see that as a bad temporary issue. Magnesium will not harm you, and you can increase your dosage, and then taper off when your bowel begins to eliminate regularly and normally. Don’t be frightened of a bit of experimentation with increasing dosages.

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if inexpensive and easy magnesium supplementation could truly make a difference in our daily health and vitality? I honestly think it can.

What have been your experiences with magnesium? I’d love to hear.

avocados, bananas, beans, bone broth, Constipation, dark chocolate, dark leafy greens, Dr. Carolyn Dean, dried fruit, fish, heart palpitations, insomnia and fatigue, leg and muscle cramps, magnesium, migraines, nuts, seeds, The Magnesium Miracle, whole grains, yogurt

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What Does “Fresh” Really Mean?

I was walking through the produce section of the grocery store the other day and a lady looked at me and asked where the locally grown produce was located. I replied with “I usually look for the areas of organic vs. conventionally grown”. Her question got me thinking because the locally grown conventional produce could actually have just as much pesticide residue as regular conventional produce, wherever it is grown.

I started considering the new “food vocabulary” we now have to know as we walk into a grocery store. It’s an ever-changing environment when it comes to food. So what does it all mean? Let’s look at some of the words we frequently use these days to describe our food.

At least the term “organic” has strict guidelines. Technically, “organic” on a label certifies that the food was processed in accordance with US Department of Agriculture regulations that promote sustainability and MINIMIZE exposure to pesticide and other synthetic materials. Notice the word ‘minimize’. Believe me, this gets crazy. I decided to follow the link above to view the “allowed synthetic substances”. The list alone had me feeling like I was being sucked down into quicksand – and yet, all these regulations are certainly better than no regulations by far! I’m so glad someone takes the time to make those lists!

The term “natural”, when seen on meats and egg products means MINIMALLY processed (that word again). If you’re interested, here’s more explanation on what that could include – and bottom line – that word “natural” means next to nothing. The FDA doesn’t technically define the word, however the agency says it won’t object to the claim “natural” as long as there are no artificial or synthetic ingredients in a particular product. The truth is that the word “natural” has become a billion dollar marketing ploy, with 60% of Americans purchasing a food more readily if that word is on the label.

“Local” may be defined as products from a person’s own state, or sometimes from bordering states as well. A different definition could be anything brought into a store within 24 hours of harvest. Wow, now that’s a big difference! To get it to the store within 24 hours, it better be close – and that sounds fresh to me!

“Artisan” products of all types have historically been defined as ‘handcrafted, made in small batches’. This term was used to denote premium quality, explaining higher prices. In today’s world, it’s a term fast food chains are now claiming. I just cannot imagine “artisan” and “Domino’s” in the same sentence. Can you?

“Seasonal” is a term that’s heard often as well. One definition refers to the window of time in which a given food is freshest, ripest and most abundant in a particular region. In other words, ‘grown near me now’. That has a good ring to it.

And one more – the term “fresh”! Another mind boggler!! “Fresh” could mean the following – ‘just picked or gathered produce, live or unprocessed’, or even ‘dishes made the day they are sold’ – I read this in Consumer Reports. HMMM?? Really, that could mean just about anything.

I hope you’re laughing along with me – or at least a bit confused too. I don’t think I’m alone in all this. One thing, I’m grateful we’re defining and considering words like “organic” and “seasonal” instead of “processed”, “artificially flavored” and “trans fat” today. Hopefully those terms are on their way out! We’ve come a long way.

I can tell you though, the next food related definitions I would really like to understand are the words MINIMIZED and MINIMALLY!! What are your favorites?

artisan, FDA, fresh, local, locally grown food, meats, natural, organic, produce, seasonal

We have a war going on inside of our guts! It is a constant battle between all kinds of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Do you know what they are all fighting about? FOOD! So to support our health it logically follows we should find out what feeds the good guys and stick to those foods. Right?

The specific foods of choice vary for the different bacteria – good and bad (tip – the bad guys love sugar and carbs). I wrote a lot about that recently in The Skinny Gut Diet. The book is based on how the ratio of different bacteria in the gut reflects whether we are lean or overweight. One of the main nutrients necessary to support good bacteria is fiber.

An interesting recent study shows that when microbes are starved of fiber they actually feed on your gut lining!!! This certainly explains why people very commonly end up with leaky gut (intestinal permeability). The average American only gets about 12-15 grams of fiber a day in their diet. This amount is well below the amount documented as necessary for a healthy digestive system. I’ve been suggesting 35-40 grams daily for years.

Apparently, in the absence of fiber, the microbes are gobbling up the delicate mucosal lining. A thick healthy mucosal lining creates a natural barrier between our gut and our bloodstream, keeping undesirable toxins and undigested proteins where they belong – in the bowel. A thin mucosal lining begins to allow those irritating substances to pass into general circulation – the lining begins to “leak”. Various inflammatory conditions throughout our bodies are the eventual outcome – diseases like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and diabetes are some examples.

The study shows that dietary fiber and the diversity of the gut microbes are the crucial elements with regard to keeping your gut lining healthy.

How does this work? A group of researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School found when they fed a group of mice a high-fiber diet the result was a healthy gut lining. When they switched the mice to a more fiber-free diet the mucosal lining layer dramatically diminished.

They then took a different group of mice and fed them a high fiber diet and a fiber-free diet on alternating days. It would be like us having a healthy day of eating with plenty of fiber in our diet and the next day eating all low fiber foods like those found at McDonald’s. I call this Yo-Yo eating. On examination, they then found that the Yo-Yo diet created a thinner mucosal lining – ½ the thickness of mice consistently fed fiber. Obviously the mucosal lining was seriously affected by dietary input.

In another study, adults with diminished gut linings were given a high fiber bar daily. Their mucosal lining thickened. As soon as the daily fiber was discontinued, their lining returned to its original compromised state.

When the gut lining thins it can manifest in severe health consequences in humans as well. A Swedish research team published a study last year that showed a link between bacteria penetrating a diminished mucus lining and the condition called ulcerative colitis, a form of severe bowel inflammation.

I hope you find these studies as interesting as I do. They show how extremely reactive the gut microbiota is to dietary input, specifically lack of fiber. Rapid diet changes likely served us in our evolutionary history in times of feast or famine, but they don’t do us any favors today.

In our culture, with so much junk food at our fingertips, we commonly shift back and forth between healthy and unhealthy food choices, often from one day to the next. We make poor food choices, and then feel guilty the next day and choose better foods = Yo-Yo dieting. Admit it, we always knew that way of eating couldn’t be healthful, and now here’s even more evidence. Science is showing us how choosing chronic low fiber diets over our lifetime, and worse yet, over generations, might very well permanently alter our guts and our health.

Studies like these make it even clearer how our gut bacteria are our key to vibrant health or debilitating disease. So keep eating that fiber! Lets feed the good guys and maintain our gut lining!

alteration in gut bacteria, diabetes, fiber, gut lining, gut microbes, high blood pressure, intestinal lining, metabolic syndrome, microbiome, mucosal lining, ulcerative colitis

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