• 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
  • Blog
  • Shop

Are Your Sleep Habits Making You Fat?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/30/2010


As if losing weight isn’t hard enough in the first place, now our sleep habits might be making it even harder! A recent study done at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and published in the journal Sleep found that in people under 40 who got five or fewer hours of sleep per night (or, to a lesser extent, more than eight hours of sleep nightly) the accumulation of fat around the organs—also known as visceral fat—was higher. 

What a lot of folks don’t realize is that visceral fat is actually more dangerous than subcutaneous fat, which accounts for those familiar “love handles” and “thunder thighs”, and that fat around the organs is associated with some pretty significant health problems—including metabolic-related diseases like type 2 diabetes. Results further showed that women of minority seemed to be at the greatest risk for visceral fat accumulation, largely because they are the group that gets either too little or too much sleep. 

What this study helps bring to light is that fat accumulation—and the health consequences that come with it—does not occur simply because of poor eating habits, and that other factors such as sleep, stress and lifestyle also play a large part in America’s growing obesity problem. This concept of looking at the ‘whole picture’ is one that natural health practitioners have been practicing for decades, and it’s essential for all of us to remember if we’re going to make important changes in how we look at our health.

As for the study, researchers concluded that getting between six and eight hours of sleep each night is best, which coincides with many other studies linking sleep and overall health. While each person may differ, the best way to test if you are getting enough sleep is to gauge your sleepiness when you wake up. Sure, some people take longer to transition from sleep to waking, but if you’re still really groggy an hour after waking, you’re probably not getting enough sleep.

Bacteria in Bottled Water

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/28/2010


Sure, those nifty plastic bottles are convenient, but when’s the last time you actually stopped to think about what’s in your bottled water? Not only is it usually as contaminated (or more) with harmful chemicals as tap water, and its damage to the environment is beyond repair, but now a recent study is giving us one more reason to avoid bottled water.

Researchers in Canada found that the bacteria levels in more than 70 percent of bottled water samples exceed the recommended safe levels for humans to drink, and in some samples they found over 100 times the recommended safe levels of bacteria…yikes!

Now, I know it’s impossible to remove 100% of the bacteria from water—it just can’t be done. Bacteria are everywhere, but at very low amounts they pose no threat to our health. It’s when the levels of bacteria are much higher that we need to worry, especially folks who are more vulnerable to bacterial infections, like infants, older adults, pregnant and nursing women, and people who are immunocompromised (that is, their immune systems are weakened because of illness or treatment). 

The general consensus is that a good home filtration system is best, and if you need water on the go, do yourself a favor and invest in a stainless steel or BPA– and phthalate-free water bottle that you can fill up at home and carry with you. Yes, convenience is usually a good thing, but I think I speak for the majority when I say that our health and the health of our environment are much more important.

Wed 7/28/10 on the Poop Scoop: Healthy Immunity Starts in the Gut

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/27/2010


Did you know that a healthy gut can help you fight back against colds and flu? This week on the Poop Scoop I’ll be talking with renowned medical doctor and nutrition expert Leonard Smith about the importance of a strong digestive tract for boosting immunity and warding off harmful bacteria and viruses. After all, more than 70 percent of your body’s natural immune defenses live in your gut!

Dr. Leonard Smith is a prominent general, gastrointestinal and vascular surgeon, as well as an expert on nutrition and natural supplementation. For the past 25 years, Dr. Smith has studied countless holistic medical programs, including those focusing on immunity, longevity, nutrition, exercise, chelation, stress management and the relevance of mental and spiritual attitude with regard to healing. Acknowledging the effectiveness of whole organic foods and nutritional supplementation, Dr. Smith strives to stay on the cutting edge of research and keep pace with the latest advances in the field of functional nutrition.

Log on and listen to Brenda’s Poop Scoop LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5 pm (EST) right from your computer. Missed an episode? Visit the Episode Directory on my website and listen to past shows from the archive!

Easy Exercise 101: Get Practical!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/26/2010


My Weekly “Renew You” Challenge – I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say things like, “But I just don’t have time to exercise during the day…” so here’s a little tip that’s worth repeating: Stop over-thinking it and get practical!

Little things like taking the stairs instead of using the elevator can make a BIG difference. Don’t believe me? Just try it! And if it’s only one or two floors, why not go back down and then climb right back up? It only takes minutes, and even if you feel silly, chances are nobody will see you—they’re probably all taking the elevator!

Another good tip? Whether you’re going to work or to the grocery store, try parking at the far end of the parking lot instead of right up close to the door. Adding those extra steps is a great way to fit some exercise into your hectic day. So come on folks, get practical!

Feeling Happy? Positivity Protects Against Heart Disease

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/23/2010


Hey, guess what? Feeling good is good for you! A recent study found a connection between positive emotions and a lowered risk of coronary heart disease—pretty neat, huh? Specifically, they studied something called “positive affect,” which is basically just another way of saying that someone is experiencing positive emotions, and what they found was that increased positive emotions actually decreases your risk of developing heart disease by 22%… wow!

But before you roll your eyes and say, “Oh, now you expect me to be chipper and pleasant all day?” let’s not get carried away. Positive affect doesn’t mean you can’t have a slump here and there. Let’s face it, everyone has their down days. But overall, if you’re able to experience emotions like joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm, and contentment more often than negative emotions, you’re already on the right track to a healthier heart.

When it comes to good health, we simply can’t ignore the impact that our emotions have on our bodies…even the gut! When you experience emotions like anger, anxiety or stress, healthy digestion slows down, and that can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation and other problems. I bet a lot of you are nodding your heads, right? Of course! We’ve all paid the price of negative emotions at one time or another, which is why it’s so important to turn that frown upside-down. And the next time you’re feeling upbeat, remember: your heart is getting the benefits!

Beef for Dinner? Think Again.

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/21/2010


When’s the last time you really thought about where that steak on your plate came from? Or how that juicy burger ended up on your grill in the first place? If you’re like most people (and believe me, I’ve been guilty of this too) you’d rather remain in the dark when it comes to how your food—especially your meat—is raised and processed, but a recent USA Today article may just have you reconsidering.

The article, which focused on how our country’s beef supply is inspected, stated that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, “is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for…dangerous substances, which has resulted in meat with these substances being distributed in commerce.”

Concerning? Absolutely. Shocking? Not necessarily. The reality, folks, is that the testing of U.S. beef for harmful substances is basic at best. There are no limits set for many “potentially harmful substances,” and sometimes high levels of pesticides or antibiotics are found in the same meat you bring home for you and your family to eat. But, since no limits are set for these substances, the meat passes inspection and lands at your local grocery store.

Hopefully, the recent spotlight on our less-than-adequate meat inspection standards will bring about more awareness and a better, safer way of monitoring where our meat is coming from. In the meantime, choose organic, grass-fed beef when red meat is on the menu…and even then, only in moderation!

Wed, July 21st on the Poop Scoop: Hormonal Imbalance and Its Effect on the Brain

Filed in General | Posted by bcooper on 07/20/2010


What if there was a better, safer way to help people we love who are suffering from depression, anxiety, even insomnia? What if we could find a way to deal with addiction—from everyday food cravings to a need for alcohol and even drugs—that focused on the body as a whole rather than just the symptom? Well, guess what? When it comes to your health, everything’s connected—and nobody knows that better than Dr. Rick Sponaugle, founder of Florida Detox® and my guest on tomorrow’s Poop Scoop.

Join me and Dr. Sponaugle to learn more about the link between hormonal imbalance and how it affects the body’s brain chemistry and may contribute to a wide range of physical and emotional disorders, especially in women. A pioneer in the field of addiction treatment, Dr. Sponaugle is changing the way “brain” conditions are treated and has seen incredible breakthroughs using natural therapies to balance brain chemistry, correct nutritional deficiency, and balance the body’s hormones. If you or someone you love suffers from anxiety, depression, insomnia or addiction, don’t miss what Dr. Sponaugle has to say about the remarkable treatment techniques that can accelerate your recovery.

Log on and listen to Brenda’s Poop Scoop LIVE every Wednesday from 4-5 pm (EST) right from your computer. Missed an episode? Visit the Episode Directory on my website and listen to past shows from the archive!

Antibiotic Resistance, What Can I Do?

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/19/2010


Think about it, when was the last time you washed your hands with soap that wasn’t antibacterial? Heck, it’s almost impossible just to find normal soap these days, and instead every label and package screams “antibacterial” in a way that makes plain old soap seem downright ineffective.

But there’s a problem—one of the biggest contributors to the antibiotic resistance problem we’re facing today is exactly that: the overuse of antibacterial soap. And really there’s a lot of speculation about whether or not antibacterial soaps actually clean any better than regular soap. But even more concerning is that their widespread use might even be making harmful bacteria even stronger and more resistant to antibiotics. Yikes!

So how does all that work? Well, say you have a group of bacteria and you treat them with an antibiotic. Usually, the vast majority of those bacteria will die and the infection gets under control. But sometimes, the few bacteria that survive are genetically more resistant to that particular antibiotic. Those bacteria then multiply, resulting in a second infection that can’t be effectively treated by the antibiotic that worked the first time. Hence, antibiotic resistance. 

But how do bacteria get that way in the first place? Well, it happens in the genes of the bacteria. For example, mutations may occur over time, and those mutations are passed on to the next bacterial generation. So, when a population of bacteria is exposed over and over to the same antibiotics, eventually its collective DNA mutates in such a way that it becomes resistant to that antibiotic. 

What does all of this mean for you? Essentially, our obsession with antibacterial soap may actually be increasing the resistance of the bacteria it is supposed to be fighting, which is not good! So this week, instead of reaching for the antibacterial soap the next time you scrub up, your challenge is to try using just regular soap and warm water instead. Coupled with about 20 minutes of hand-washing, this tried-and-true method should effectively get rid of germs.

Good Bacteria Help Right from the Get Go

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/16/2010


Being as passionate as I am about digestive health, I talk a lot about the good bacteria in your gut and how important they are for a healthy body—especially a strong digestive and immune system. But here’s something that a lot of folks may not know: those trillions of microscopic organisms start setting up shop in your intestines as soon as you’re born!

Essentially, babies are exposed to all that good bacteria as they travel through the birth canal, so it’s no wonder scientists have been studying whether or not being born vaginally or by Caesarean section (C-section) can affect a child’s health later on in life. Take the study done recently at Stanford University, where experts examined the bacteria found on babies immediately after they were delivered.

What researchers discovered was that the bacteria found on vaginal birth babies as opposed to those delivered by C-section were significantly different, and that the difference may make Caesarean babies more prone to certain health conditions as they grow older, including things like asthma and allergies.

So why such a difference? It has to do with exposing the body to certain bacteria right away so that it can better understand how to respond to them later, and babies who are exposed to their mother’s beneficial vaginal bacteria may have somewhat of a head start. Still, experts have suggested that supplementing with probiotics may help C-section babies better develop their gut bacteria.

While there’s a lot more to the connection that scientists are still working to understand, it gives you a pretty good idea about just how important the bacteria in your gut really are when it comes to developing a strong and healthy body…and why I’m so pro probiotics!

Giving Back with the Power of Probiotics

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/15/2010


Recently I was given the chance to be a part of something really amazing. A friend of mine went to Haiti on a mission organized in conjunction with All Children’s Hospital in Tampa. Their goal was to set up a medical clinic and provide much-needed care for those in need, and ReNew Life had the opportunity to donate several cases of Ultimate Flora probiotics to more than a hundred kids living at Danita’s Children Hope for Haiti Children’s Center

Danita’s Children was founded in 1999 by the remarkable Danita Estrella to provide a place where all children could be loved, cared for, and receive the spiritual, emotional and academic guidance they need to help them grow into strong and healthy adults. It’s not just an orphanage—but a school, a church, and in my opinion a living, breathing community of hope that shows the world what it means to truly make a difference. So thank you to Susan and all those who were involved for this one-of-a-kind opportunity to spread ReNew Life’s message of healthier living for all.

Visit Danita’s Children online today to learn more or to find out how you can help make a difference!

 Curious about Probiotics? Research shows that vibrant health begins in the gut with the right balance of intestinal bacteria, but where and how you live can have a significant impact on that healthy balance—resulting in poor digestive function and a breakdown in overall health. Daily probiotics can help replenish good bacteria in the digestive tract and restore needed balance to the body.