Digestive Care Expert Brenda Watson
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Fresh Cranberry Relish Delight

This delicious relish is a new twist on an old favorite. A refreshing hint of sweet without all the sugar, this cranberry delight is sure to please.

fresh-cranberry-relish

15 minutes to prepare
Serves 16

1 large unpeeled orange, cut into wedges and seeded
One 12-ounce package Fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 apple, chopped
1 cup pecans
½ cup fresh orange juice

  1. Blend orange, cranberries, apple, and pecans in a food processor until evenly chopped, but still chunky. Transfer to bowl.
  2. Add the orange juice. Cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

cranberry relish, Thanksgiving

sgvy-stripe

Have you heard? Skinny Gut, Vibrant You begins airing nationwide next week, and I couldn’t be more excited. The path to weight loss success starts here!

So many people ask me the secret to losing weight and keeping it off—an issue I struggled with for a long time. Today, I am here to tell you that you are not entirely responsible for your weight gain or your poor health. There is actually a missing piece to the puzzle.

It has to do with the trillions of bacteria inside your gut and whether they are in balance or out of balance. They are the underlying reason why you struggle to lose weight and achieve optimal health. But, by addressing your gut balance you will finally be able to lose the weight and keep it off—plus enjoy the side benefits of fewer digestive problems, a stronger immune system, and even a better mood.

In Skinny Gut, Vibrant You I reveal how living a Skinny Gut lifestyle can help you regain vibrant health. Be sure to tune in to this eye-opening special that reveals the science behind your inner weight loss secret and provides simple ways to achieve permanent weight loss.

Click here to find out when it will be airing locally, and be sure to watch Skinny Gut, Vibrant You starting next week!

For a quick preview of my new special, click on the link below!

lose weight, Public Television, Skinny Gut lifestyle, Skinny Gut Vibrant You, weight gain, Weight Loss

Homemade stuffing is one of the biggest temptations at Thanksgiving dinner for those of us who are limiting grains and starches. But rest assured that I have a delicious breadless stuffing option that you and your family will love.

grain-free-stuffing

60 minutes to prepare and cook
Serves 6

1 large sweet potato or yam, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped (organic, if possible)
2 medium Granny Smith apples, chopped (organic, if possible)
1 pound pork sausage
4 tablespoons apple cider
3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup organic chicken broth
1 cup dried tart cherries (with no added sugar)
1 cup chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper
Parchment paper

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the sweet potato or yam pieces on a cooking sheet and dredge with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the bacon on another baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake both sheets for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside to cool, removing the bacon from the parchment paper. Save the bacon grease.
  2. In a large skillet, sauté the onions, celery, and apples in 2 tablespoons of bacon grease on medium heat. When the onions begin to soften, add the pork sausage and apple cider, and sauté until cooked, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, chicken broth, sweet potatoes, dried tart cherries, walnuts, and crumbled bacon. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

breadless stuffing, grain-free stuffing, Thanksgiving, The Skinny Gut Diet

i-quit-sugarWe are all familiar with the enticing pull of sugar—sweet desserts, succulent fruits, and refreshing juices have graced our lips on numerous occasions. If you are among the many who fear you could never give up your sweet treats, I have a book for you. I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson is a complete 8-week program that gradually weans you off sugar, week by week.

If you have the sinking feeling that you eat too much sugar (and you need to do something about it), this book is a great introduction for you. The book is beautifully designed with plenty of tips and how-to’s that will help you succeed every step of the way. With over 100 delicious recipes, like Zucchini “Cheesecake” and Coconut Curry Meatballs, or on-the-go snacks like Meal-in-a-Cracker, I Quit Sugar is a treasure trove of good advice.

Sarah Wilson quit sugar in January of 2011 as an experiment and never looked back. She suffered from the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (a disease that involves an attack of the thyroid by the immune system) and knew that sugar negatively affected the disease. She was addicted to sugar, but was able to break her habit with the 8-week program that she outlines in the book. The book will show you how to take sugar out of your diet and get well.

I love her “facts to arm yourself with”:

  1. Fat doesn’t make you fat (sugar does).
  2. Fat fills us up—so we can’t gorge on it.
  3. But, we gorge on sugar. In fact, we’re designed to.
  4. Sugar turns directly to fat.
  5. Sugar messes with our hormone systems.

And that’s just the beginning. I would add that starchy carbohydrates break down into sugar and have a wide range of negative effects of their own, but sugar is certainly the biggest culprit when it comes to its stronghold on our health, and it’s a great place to start.

I recommend this book to anyone who can’t bear the thought of giving up sugar. I am here to tell you that you can, and I Quit Sugar will help you on your way.

Sarah has agreed to giveaway one free copy of her book. To enter, simply share in the comments what you’re doing to lead a sugar-free lifestyle and we’ll pick one lucky person at random to win a copy of her book. Good luck!

book review, fat, I Quit Sugar, Sarah Wilson, sugar

Every Friday for six weeks I have been sharing with you a recipe from my new book, The Skinny Gut Diet. If you have tried it all, but you still can’t lose weight, then this book is for you. You are not entirely to blame for your extra pounds. As it turns out, the bacteria in your gut play a major role in whether or not you will lose weight—and keep it off—for good.

cacao-avocado-chia-mousse

Cacao, avocado, and chia mousse is a decadent dessert that you don’t have to feel guilty about. When you have a craving for sweets, this simple yet delicious dessert is all you need, with only 1.6 teaspoons of sugar (that includes sugar that breaks down from starchy carbohydrates), as calculated using my sugar tracker calculation:

teaspoon-tracker

0.6 teaspoons of sugar
15 minutes to prepare and cook
Serves 4

1 avocado
¼ cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Place the avocado, vanilla, and almond milk in a food processor and process until smooth. Stir in the chia seeds. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Scoop into individual bowls and serve chilled.

avocado, cacao, carbohydrates, chia, dessert, mousse, sugar

skinny-gut-diet-pollySurgical weight loss is a hotly contested topic. Some feel it’s a miracle. Others, like Polly Bauer, one of the participants in the Skinny Gut Diet project, have a different story to tell. Of course I knew from personal experience that by eating the right foods for a balanced gut, most of us are one step closer to losing weight and keeping it off for good. But would that prove to be the case after a lifetime battle with weight and ultimately a surgical failure?

Polly is an acclaimed international speaker and credit card industry expert who recently co-authored an award-winning book titled, The Plastic Effect: How Urban Legends Influence the Use and Misuse of Credit Cards. For 44 years she has been educating corporate executives, merchants, and consumers on the use and abuse of credit cards. (Her new book is a must-have if you carry plastic!) It was fascinating when Polly shared with me that the core concepts she learned following the Skinny Gut Diet were as critical in providing her with optimum physical health as understanding credit is to strong financial health.

I’m thrilled to tell you it was Polly’s good fortune to lose 37 pounds on our Skinny Gut Diet program and experience the resilience of her digestive system. Her return to health was a testimony to the powers of healing inside us all. Read her story below.

What attracted you to the Skinny Gut Diet?
I knew I would have a proven, tested, well researched program to dedicate myself to. When I start a program, I go all in. I’ve been following Brenda Watson for a decade or so and greatly respected her knowledge base and integrity. When I heard about the possibility of being a part of the original Skinny Gut group, I pursued the opportunity.

Tell us about your success with the Skinny Gut Diet.
I began to understand food and nutrition in a way I had never grasped it previously. I was surprised how easy the meals and snacks were to prepare, once I got the hang of it. I came into the program after a lifetime of dieting, and a failed lap-band surgery. I was haunted by the misery of daily nausea and frequent vomiting. I was ecstatic, after starting the supplement program, to see those horrible chronic symptoms simply vanish. There are no words to describe my relief and gratitude.

What surprised you most about the Skinny Gut Diet?
In a very short period of time I completely lost my sweet and salt cravings. They disappeared around Day 5! I never had really understood how sugar, and also carbs (even gluten-free ones) were damaging my health.

How easy is it to follow the Skinny Gut Diet away from home?
I travel internationally as a speaker, so this was somewhat of a concern early on. I quickly realized that I could easily order foods that were healthy for me everywhere I went. Once I understood the nutritional component of the foods, I became empowered to dine globally and stay with the program – no problem!

Why do you think the Skinny Gut Diet worked so well for you?
Through my lifelong battle with weight, I always placed too much emphasis on what the scale said in the morning instead of how I felt inside and how I fit into my clothes. It was an interesting experience with the Skinny Gut Diet. I am a person who wants results quickly. With the Skinny Gut Diet I was continuously motivated by how rapidly my body dimensions were changing. Other participants mentioned they noticed the same thing. It seemed like I was literally shrinking, even when the numbers on the scale didn’t decrease as quickly as I might have liked. I experienced “looking good and feeling better” results faster than I ever had before and that kept me committed. This is truly my lifestyle – for life. I’m a Skinny Gut Girl forever!

Would you recommend the Skinny Gut Diet to others?
Absolutely! Keep this secret all to myself? Never. I tell everyone I meet!

You can read more about Polly’s story on page 28 of The SkinnyGut Diet. She’s truly an inspiration!

Keep the success stories coming! Join my Skinny Gut Online Community to ask questions, get more information and connect with other Skinny Gut Dieters to share tips and stories.

balanced gut, Skinny Gut Diet, Skinny Gut Dieters, The Plastic Effect

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Day-Night Cycles Affect Gut Balance

Only over the last century have humans been exposed to such a huge alteration in the sleep-wake cycle that, previously, was dependent only upon the revolution of the earth in relation to the sun. With the advent of lighting and airplanes, the rhythms of daily life have changed for most of us, and have changed drastically for some of us who engage in shiftwork or who travel great distances on a regular basis via plane.

Might these alterations of daily life have an effect on the microbes living within our guts? And if so, might those alterations play a role on our health? Researchers from the Weismann Institute of Science set out to find the answers to these questions. In a study published in the journal Cell, the scientists determined that yes, disruptions in daily cycles do have an impact on gut bacterial composition and function, and those alterations trigger obesity and other metabolic abnormalities.

Shift workers and frequent flyers, especially those who cross numerous time zones on a regular basis, are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and infections. The scientists wondered if gut microbes play a role.

The researchers first used an animal model to determine whether alterations in day-night cycles play a role on gut microbes. They found that changes in day-night cycles, powered by the circadian clock, triggered changes in gut microbial composition and function. Sixty percent of the gut microbe composition was altered (dysbiosis) in those mice who experienced a change in day-night cycle. They determined that these alterations were the result of an altered feeding schedule, and that they could be reversed by reverting to a feeding schedule that mimicked the normal day-night cycle.

Next, the researchers determined that these fluctuations of the gut microbiota triggered metabolic abnormalities such as fat accumulation and glucose intolerance (simply put, high blood sugar), which were ameliorated after administration of antibiotics, confirming the fact that the gut microbe dysbiosis was responsible for the metabolic abnormalities.

To test these effects in humans, they analyzed the gut microbes of two adults over the course of several days and found similar fluctuations in composition and function. Next, they analyzed stool of two adults who took a flight from the United States to Israel. They tested stool before the flight, 24 hours after the flight (jet lag), and two weeks after the flight. They found dysbiosis of the gut microbes under conditions of jet lag when compared to before the flight or two weeks after. Interestingly, they also found an abundance of the Firmicutes bacteria, which have been linked to obesity and metabolic abnormalities in humans.2

To take the study yet one step further, they transplanted stool from the dysbiotic, jet lagged humans into the digestive tracts of mice without gut microbes and found that those mice gained more weight and body fat and had higher blood sugar levels compared to mice that received stool from the individuals before and after being jet lagged.

“Our inner microbial rhythm represents a new therapeutic target that may be exploited in future studies to normalize the microbiota in people whose lifestyle involves frequent alterations in sleep patterns, hopefully to reduce or even prevent their risk of developing obesity and its complications,” noted the researchers. They recommend that “probiotic or antimicrobial therapy may be tested as potential new preventive or therapeutic approaches.”

Another recent study from the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found an increased risk of ulcerative colitis in people who get less than six hours of sleep per night. Ulcerative colitis is a severe digestive disease that involves inflammation of the colon and has been linked to gut bacterial imbalance. The results of this study are not surprising, given what we have just learned about the effects of the sleep-wake cycle.

The adverse health effects of sleep deprivation are widespread. Perhaps one day we will be able to combat these effects by improving our gut microbes without having to alter our poor sleep habits. Time and more research will tell.

References

  1. Thaiss CA, Zeevi D, Levy M, et al., “Transkingdom control of microbiota diurnal oscillations promotes metabolic homeostasis.” Cell. 23 Oct 2014;159(3):514–29.
  2. Ley RE, Turnbaugh PJ, Klein, et al., “Microbial ecology: human gut microbes associated with obesity.” Nature. 2006 Dec 21;444(7122):1022–3.
  3. Ridaura VK, Faith JJ, Rey FE, et al., “Gut microbiota from twins discordant for obesity modulate metabolism in mice.” Science. 2013 Sep 6;341(6150):1241214.
  4. Ananthakrishnan AN, Khalili H, Konijeti GG, et al., “Sleep duration affects risk for ulcerative colitis: A prospective cohort study.” Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Apr 26.

dysbiosis, Firmicutes, gut microbiota, jet lag, metabolic abnormalities, microbes, obesity, Probiotics, shift workers, sleep-wake cycle, ulcerative colitis

Research continues to show that probiotics promote immune health. In particular, they have been found to have a beneficial effect on upper respiratory tract infections, which include cold and flu. Up to 80 percent of your immune system resides in the gut, so it’s not surprising that gut bacteria play a major role in immune health. A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition is adding to the rapidly growing body of research on this topic.

In the study, 57 children aged three to five were given a probiotic formula containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains (two L. acidophilus strains, B. bifidum, and B. lactis at a total dose of 12.5 billion colony forming units) along with 50 mg of vitamin C or placebo daily for six months. Those children taking the probiotic plus vitamin C experienced a 33 percent reduction in the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections as well as a 30 percent decrease in the number of school absences. They also had fewer unscheduled visits to the doctor, less antibiotic treatment, and reduced number of days that cough medicine was used.

Vitamin C has well-known effects on immune health, and so likely complemented the effects of the probiotics. Young children experience up to 12 colds per year, a number parents would love to see go down. In addition to proper hand washing, and a healthy diet, children may benefit from probiotic supplementation to protect them from cold and flu.

antibiotic, Bifidobacterium, Children, cold, flu, immune health, Lactobacillus, Probiotic, upper respiratory tract infections, vitamin C

Every Friday for six weeks I am sharing with you a recipe from my new book, The Skinny Gut Diet. If you have tried it all, but you still can’t lose weight, then this book is for you. You are not entirely to blame for your extra pounds. As it turns out, the bacteria in your gut play a major role in whether or not you will lose weight—and keep it off—for good.

Lemongrass-Chicken

Lemongrass chicken is a perfect Skinny Gut meal. With protein, nutrient-packed Swiss chard, prebiotic scallions, and coconut oil for healthy fat, your palate will be pleased and your gut bacteria happy. This meal only 1.6 teaspoons of sugar (that includes sugar that breaks down from starchy carbohydrates), as calculated using my sugar tracker calculation:

teaspoon-tracker

1.6 teaspoons of sugar
25 minutes to prepare and cook
Serves 4

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 fresh chile, such as serrano or jalapeño, seeds removed, flesh minced
2 fresh lemongrass stalks, outer layers removed, minced
1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 bunch (about 1 pound) Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
4 scallions, green and white parts thinly sliced

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, shallot, curry powder, chile, and lemongrass. Add the chicken and tamari and stir to coat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat ½ teaspoon of the oil in a large sauté pan or wok over high heat. Add the marinated chicken and stir fry, turning every few minutes, until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the water and continue to cook until the chicken is fragrant, appears glazed, and is cooked through when pierced with a fork or a knife, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and heat the remaining ½ teaspoon oil in the same pan. Add the water and continue to cook until the chicken is fragrant, appears glazed, and is cooked through when pierced with a fork or knife, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and heat the remaining ½ teaspoon oil in the same pan. Add the ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the chard and stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until the chard is wilted and the ginger is fragrant.

Place the chard on a serving plate and top with the chicken pieces. Serve garnished with the scallions.

gut bacteria, healthy fat, lemongrass chicken, prebiotic, Skinny Gut

Omega-3 fats are known to be beneficial to brain health, especially the omega-3 fat DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is found in cold-water fatty fish and in algae, and can be obtained by consuming fish high in DHA (salmon, sardines, and herring, in particular), fish oil supplements, or vegetarian DHA supplements derived from algae. Throughout every phase of life, DHA plays a role in protecting and improving brain health.

In a recent study published in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, researchers compared the fatty acid levels of breast milk with children’s academic test scores. The researchers used data on DHA content of breast milk and test scores from 28 countries. They found that higher amounts of omega-3 DHA in mothers’ milk strongly predicted later test performance in their children. DHA levels predicted test scores even more strongly than national income or dollars spent per pupil in school.

“Human intelligence has a physical basis in the huge size of our brains—some seven times larger than would be expected for a mammal with our body size,” noted Steven Gaulin, one of the researchers. “Since there is never a free lunch, those big brains need lots of extra building materials—most importantly they need omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA.”

While economic well-being did play a role in predicting test scores, “If you had to choose one, you should choose the better diet rather than the better economy,” noted Gaulin. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

Dietary omega-3 intake in the United States is woefully low, and to add insult to injury, omega-6 intake is extremely high. To combat this imbalance, be sure to eat plenty of fish high in omega-3, and add a DHA supplement to ensure you are getting enough.

brain health, DHA, docosahexaenoic acid, fish, fish oil supplements, omega-3, omega-6

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