• Gut Health
  • Heart Health
    • Heart Health

      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

  • Skin Health
    • Skin Health

      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

  • Brain Health
    • Brain Health

      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

  • Diet & Health
    • Diet & Health

      Healthy pH levels, whether in the colon or systemic, are found when you eat a high-fiber diet, high in vegetables and fruits, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. Complement this with foods and supplements high in beneficial bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, and you will be supporting optimal health (which begins in the digestive system).

  • About Brenda
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    • Pet Health

      Our dog’s health is precious! They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. A daily probiotic formula is a great way to ensure good health. Make sure you choose one that delivers the recommended potency level and strain count. There is nothing quite like a healthy and happy dog. Happy Dog. Happy Life!

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My thoughts on Madelyn Fernstrom on the Today Show talking about Detox Diets

Filed in Cleansing | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/30/2009

This morning, as I was watching the Today show, a segment came on about Detox Diets and whether they were good for you. The guest was Madelyn Fernstrom, the Today Show Diet and Nutrition Editor and frequent contributor to segments and iVillage content.

My first thought was “Oh no, they’re going to bash the concept of detox”. But I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, I felt the segment was very complementary and fair. Madelyn Fernstrom stated that a detox diet done right, such as getting away from processed foods, eating clean vegetables, drinking more water can be helpful support to your natural detoxification process. She also mentioned that on the other hand doing something to extreme, like not eating at all could be damaging to some people.

A question was posed by the host about juice fasting and Madelyn agreed, as I do as well, that doing a juice fast for 2 to 3 days, for a healthy person, should not be a problem and in fact could make them feel good. But again, to the extreme, and doing a fast when you are on medication, have major health issues or for long periods could be harmful.

The Master Cleanse, a 10 day fasting program of water, some lemon juice and maple syrup, was addressed. Again, I agree with Ms. Fernstrom on her comments that this type of fasting may give you some calories, but no nutrients. And to go without nutrients for 10 days could be harmful to many people. She also reminded us that most celebrities who tout these extreme cleanses are under the supervision of their physician when they do them.

In my book, The Detox Strategy, I explain about the different types of cleansing and detox programs available, when, why and how to do them correctly. The reason most people do a detox program is to help support the body’s organs that are responsible for this function. For example, the liver and the body’s largest detoxification organ, can become sluggish, which slows the body’s natural ability to detoxify. Herbs, like dandelion, artichoke and milk thistle can work to increase the bile flow from the liver, one of it’s means to rid the body of toxins. Herbs are important because they can help support all of the body’s 7 channels of elimination, including the lungs, kidneys, skin, lymph, blood, colon and liver. Fiber can also be an important part of a detoxification program, as it absorbs the toxins the body is trying to get rid of.

I also explain in my book that helping your body to detoxify is not only about diet, but about your daily environment, from your home to your office. I give suggestions about how to clean up your food, your water, your home, even the air you breathe. I explain how to nourish your body so that you support your body’s natural detoxification process, ongoing. In The Detox Strategy, I give you a full spectrum approach to cleansing and detoxifying your body.

Everyone deserves to feel as alive and energetic as possible, and The Detox Strategy can help you do just that.

Our Senior Citizens Should Eat Healthy Too

Filed in Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Omega-3 & Fish Oil, Seniors, Supplements | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/23/2009

I recently read in one of my natural news update reports that the Department of Health and Human Services will be awarding $100 million dollars in funding to provide meals to tens of thousands of low-income older Americans.   This will be divided out between Senior Citizen centers, community services, home delivery, and Native American nutrition programs.

The article goes on to state that it is difficult for many seniors to afford the right foods to keep themselves healthy and active.  And that without nutritious meals, the health of many older Americans declines; they become more susceptible to illness; their ability to manage their chronic diseases is reduced, and they may lose their ability to remain at home, and independent in their community.

The fact that this funding is being provided is wonderful, however, I question what most organizations who feed the elderly consider a nutritious meal.  Just in my experience with my own elderly mother, I saw the types of foods being offered, and was appalled.  The fact that the center she was frequenting was serving lots of white starches, loads of sugar and a small portion of protein was very disturbing to me.  I wonder if there is any nutritional training provided for senior centers, community organizations and other organizations, specifically to geriatric nutrition.

When my sisters and I where looking at nursing care facilities to help care for my mother, the nutrition aspect was a main focus for me.  Again, I found most facilities were severely lacking when it came to meal preparation. Pair this with the fact that a lot of elderly do not have a great appetite to start with and all they may tend to eat is the sweets.  We have recently moved my mother to a smaller intimate facility who allowed us to have some input into her nutrition.  The facility has since started making healthier changes to all their patients’ meals, which I find exciting to see.

In addition, most facilities will not let you give your loved one an omega-3, a multi-vitamin or any supplement without a doctor’s prescription.  The elderly need this even more, especially those in any type of continuous care facility.  When, as in my mothers case, she loses her appetite, I am able to make her a fiber and protein shake from the FitSmart line, adding in some of the Renew! Multi-Nutritient powder.  She loves the flavor, thinking she is drinking a milk shake, and it is actually providing her with a balanced nutritional meal replacement.

With this major funding being provided, I feel we should take this opportunity to re-evaluate the meals that the elderly are being provided, and make some positive changes to provide not only good lean proteins, but healthy complex carbohydrates, as well as adding in some healthy oils or foods to provide the omega oils needed for so many conditions.

It’s time we take better care of our elderly citizens.

Organic Food Too Pricey? Healthy Eating is Still an Option

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/17/2009

I was watching 60 Minutes the other night, as I try to do every week. They had a segment and interview with Alice Waters, a famous restaurateur in Berkley, California. She is trying to bring more awareness to eating not only organic, but locally grown food as well. This morning I read many of the comments made on cbsnews.com about this segment.

I understand the viewpoint of many of the comments made about being able to eat organically in these tough financial times. Many people I talk with at lectures and on the road struggle just to buy a few supplements once in a while, and add trying to feed an entire family organic foods and this can become quite impossible. That is why I have developed some tips to help those who cannot afford or do not have availability to organic foods all the time. One tip is the washing of your fruits and veggies. In speaking with people, I realized a lot of people do not wash, I mean really wash, their produce. There are a number of commercial veggie washes available now that are designed to remove the wax, as well as pesticides and herbicides from the outside of the vegetable. I recommend soaking your produce for about 5 minutes in some of the wash before rinsing well. You can also make your own veggie wash with equal amounts of vinegar and water or add some grape fruit seed extract or baking soda into the mix.

If you can afford some organic, the Dirty Dozen list from the Environmental Working Group is important to know. These are the twelve most pesticide laden of our produce and the most important to buy organic if you can. Here is the link to the list: http://www.foodnews.org/

As far as availability of organic foods goes, I have traveled all over the United States and Canada, and can tell you they are definitely not available in a lot of places. And if they do have any at all you are going to pay even more for the little available. Luckily, I think they are recently starting to become more readily available at mass market stores such as Walmart and Target Superstores. I think this is bringing the concept and availability to more Americans and also bringing the price down.

Sometimes buying organic frozen foods can be helpful during the times when fresh organic may not be available, as during certain seasons. Of course, again, if funds allow you to do so. I just bought some Cascadian Farms organic broccoli florets at $3.29 for a 16 oz bag. I think that is pretty comparable to the Birdseye brand at the same price for a 14 oz bag.

I must say one very loud bravo to Alice Waters in relation to what she is currently doing to help teach kids about nutrition. Her foundation called Chez Panisse Foundation (the name of her famous restaurant) and The Edible Schoolyard is worth applause.

Stress and Your Health

Filed in Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Enzymes, General, Omega-3 & Fish Oil, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Supplements | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/17/2009

I was recently looking around the CNN.com web site and read an article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta about dealing with economic stress and the effect it has on your body.  Dr. Gupta was right on the money (no pun intended) when, in his article, he mentions that stress has a huge impact on your body.  He goes on to say how stress can cause not only headaches, but also an impaired immune system and even digestive complaints.

I fully agree with that, especially about the digestive system being affected by stress.  And when the digestive system is compromised it affects the body as a whole and can lead to many other complaints around the body. Take myself as an example — when I get stressed, I tend to get constipated.  When this happens, I find myself more susceptible to getting colds or the flu or just headaches and fatigue, not to mention that my skin tends to break out.

Dr. Gupta gives some stress busting tips like laugh more, meditate and plan a budget. What he does not mention is how very important it is, especially during these times of economic stress, to take extra prevention with your health, particularly the digestive system.

A strong digestive system is your foundation to health. That means not only try to make better food choices, but if you can afford, take a few supplements as well.  The best supplements to help keep your digestive system strong and functioning properly during stress are fiber, at 35 grams per day, digestive enzymes with every meal, 2 grams of omega-3 oils daily, and at least a 50 billion culture count of probiotics daily. See, there’s HOPE for us all! Just adding these simple items can help protect your body from the debilitating effects of these stressful times.

Can Exercise Help You Kick the Habit?

Filed in Cleansing, General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/13/2009

It’s no secret that staying active is good for you, but did you know that exercise—even moderate exercise—might just help you quit smoking? In a study published recently in the journal Psychopharmacology, researchers at the University of Exeter in England found that physical exercise generates changes in brain activity that may help reduce nicotine cravings.

Results of the study revealed that after no exercise, participants experienced heightened activity in the areas of the brain linked to reward processing and visual attention, but that after only 10 minutes of moderate cycling the same brain activity was not observed. Further, participants reported fewer nicotine cravings after exercise. This may be because exercise increases dopamine levels in the body, which in turn elevates mood and may make smokers less likely to feel as though they want or need a cigarette. Exercise also reroutes the flow of blood in the brain to areas less associated with pleasure and reward.

In addition to regular exercise, herbal cleansing may provide the added boost smokers need to reduce cravings and cut back on cigarettes. Look for a natural cleansing formula made with ingredients like wasabi, pine bark extract, and N-acetyl-cysteine (an amino acid) to help absorb and eliminate harmful toxins from the lungs and body, together with fenugreek seed and mullein leaf to promote healthy lung and respiratory function.

Did You Know That Eating More Fiber Can Help Reduce Suffering from Heartburn and GERD?

Filed in Digestive Health, Enzymes, Heartburn, Supplements | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/09/2009

A recent study conducted at the VA Medical Center in Houston analyzed more than 900 employees to determine the “onset, frequency and severity” of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) symptoms, including heartburn. The goal of the study was to find out if those symptoms were affected by diet, and whether or not a change in diet may help relieve suffering and prevent the recurrence of the disease. Results indicated that eating high amounts of dietary fat was associated with a greater risk of heartburn (indigestion) and GERD, but that a diet high in fiber was directly related to a reduced risk of heartburn and GERD.

Read more detailed information of the study by visiting: http://gut.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/54/1/11#BIBL

Doctors Tell Heart Patients on Plavix to Seek Alternatives to Prilosec

Filed in Digestive Health, Enzymes, Heartburn, Supplements | Posted by rbingham on 03/04/2009

Almost everyone recovering from a heart attack, heart or stent surgery is prescribed Plavix. Its benefits in reducing blood clots and therefore further heart problems appear to be significant. However, it can irritate patient’s stomachs and so it has become common practice to almost automatically give Plavix patients a proton pump inhibitor such as Prilosec. In a study just published in the prestigious medical journal – JAMA, Dr. Michael Ho scrutinized 8,200 patient records and identified that the addition of Prilosec increased the risk of a return to hospital for heart problems during the next 18 months by 25%.

Leading Doctors including Dr. Steven Nissen of Cleveland Clinic, a candidate for the role of FDA Commissioner are now saying that there should be no automatic prescription of Prilosec with Plavix and that patients should seek alternative medications to solve their stomach problems.

See http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101386673

Take this advice an important step further:

People on Plavix should look outside the aisles of drugstores that are overloaded with heartburn and stomach acid medications. Not only do these drugs now appear to increase heart risk, but they do not get to the root of the problem of heartburn and acid reflux. Instead, nature has provided us with real solutions in the forms of digestive enzymes. These enzymes are now available in health food stores and online, for example, at http://www.renewlife.com/category/enzymes.aspx

Are Parasites Causing Your Sugar Cravings, Joint Pain, Fatigue, and Gas and Bloating?

Filed in Parasites | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/01/2009

A parasite is an organism that lives by feeding upon another organism. Parasites living in the human body feed on our cells, our energy, our blood, the food we eat and even the supplements we take.There are several types of parasites: protozoa are single-celled organisms that are only visible under a microscope, while worms come in all sizes from threadworms, that measure less than one centimeter, to tapeworms that grow up to 12 meters in length.
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Gas, Bloating, Cramps
  • Irritability / Nervousness
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Persistent Skin Problems
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia/ Disturbed Sleep
  • Anemia
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Post Nasal Drip
  • Sugar Cravings
  • Allergies
  • Rectal Itching
  • Brain Fog
  • Pain in the Umbilicus
  • Bed-wetting

Take The Parasites Self Test

Answer each question below. If you score 3 or higher, then a parasite cleanse may be helpful to you. 
1. Do you experience regular fatigue and/or muscle aches and pains?YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

2. Do you experience normal bowel movements with bouts of intermittent diarrhea or constipation?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

3. Do you have unexplained weight loss and/or fever?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

4. Do you have a distended belly?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

5. Do you grind your teeth while you sleep?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

6. Do you have dark circles under your eyes and/or acne?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

7. Do you have insomnia or disturbed sleep?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

8. Have you traveled outside of the United States?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

9. Do you regularly eat unpeeled raw fruit and/or vegetables?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

10. Do you have pets that sleep in bed with you or do you
eat after contact with your pets?

YES ( ) NO ( )  (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

Total Score ____

A score of 3 or higher indicates you may be suffering from Parasites. Visit this link to learn more about parasites: http://www.brendawatson.com/pdf/parasites.pdf

How do I Promote the Detoxification of Parasites from the Body?
1. Internal parasite and Candida cleanse.2. Strict diet excluding carbohydrates.

3. Maintain good intestinal bacteria using probiotics.

4. Supplement with a fiber supplement to absorb toxins from cleansing.

5. Supplement with enzymes and hydrochloric acid to digest food and deter parasites in the stomach.