• 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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Wellness!!! Goal Achieved!

Filed in Adults, Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Exercise, Herbal Cleansing, Longevity, Recipes, Supplements, The Detox Strategy, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/31/2017


wellness puzzle - brendawatson.com

Congratulations! If you have arrived at this last step and already applied some of the recommendations given in these posts to your own life, you are on your way to being in the best health that you can be. This step in the RENEW Total Body Detox program is focused on W – which stands for Wellness. This is the part where you see the entire plan in action. It’s your daily schedule that will keep you on the path to vibrant health and longevity.

Wellness is about putting together and following a personal schedule that works with your unique life. Everyone must set forth his or her own personal plan for jump-starting, nurturing and maintaining Wellness. This entails not only the daily decisions you make, but also the weekly, monthly, and yearly actions you take to continue supporting your all-important W.

Clearly, fostering a healthy body is not something you can do through a single action. It requires a commitment to constant vigilance in your environment, honoring your dietary changes regularly, as well as completing periodically procedures such as colon hydrotherapy or total-body herbal cleanses every six months.

Remember, the essence of the RENEW program is simply a blueprint consisting of practical concepts and easy, actionable steps that can help you achieve a more vibrant, healthier you! As you implement Wellness, you’ll sustain the perils of living in a polluted world, as well as the (often) unavoidable hazards related to aging with ease. It’s a multisystem approach for total-body health and transformation.

My previous posts (the links I’ve provided below) are intended to serve as your guide as you transform your Total Body Detox program into your new lifestyle. So here’s one idea of how to embrace Wellness!

 

Please personalize this Blueprint to create your very own Total Body Basic Detox Schedule

6:00 a.m.       Wake up. Drink glass of room-temperature or warm fresh-squeezed lemon water. Take one dose of probiotic supplement.

6:30 a.m.       10 to 20 minutes of exercise – rebounding, a workout with exercise bands, perhaps yoga, or cardio and remember to BREATHE. Drink a glass of water during or after exercise.

7:00 a.m.       Take morning dose of total-body basic herbal detox product with glass of water. Dry skin brush whole body before showering.

7:30 a.m.       Have a good breakfast. Take enzymes, oils, and whole-food multi-nutrient with the meal. Nourish!

11:00 a.m.      Have at least 8 ounces of Blended Green Drink. More is great!

12:30 p.m.      Have lunch. Take enzymes with meal. Nourish!

3:00 p.m.      Have at least 8 ounces of Blended Green Drink. More is great!

5:00 p.m.       Optional short rebounding session (5 to 10 minutes).

6:00 p.m.       Have dinner. Take enzymes and oils with meals. Nourish!

7:00 p.m.       Optional walk for 15 or 20 minutes.

8:00 p.m.       Sauna or soak. Relax and meditate.

9:00 p.m.       Take evening dose of total-body basic herbal detox product and fiber supplement before bed with glass of water. Optional: herbal tea.

As you implement your RENEW Total Body Detox program, you will be establishing habits that will allow you to continue your new schedule (with minor adjustments), effectively RENEWing your health for years to come. Get all the details in Detox Strategy.

In my next post I’ll be offering some reminder maintenance tips for Wellness – bringing it all together.

More Strategies for Eliminating Toxins Effectively

Filed in Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Digestive Health, Environmental Toxins, Herbal Cleansing, Liver, Skin, The Detox Strategy, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/11/2017


eliminating toxins with skin brush - brendawatson.com

I’d like to follow up my last post on Eliminating toxins from within your body with some additional (and favorite) strategies to assist you as you continue your RENEW Total Body Detox program. Easy, practical, effective.

 

Focused Liver Detoxification

This is a completely different type of cleanse program as it is focused on specifically the liver. Liver cleansing can be completed after a Total Body Cleanse, or even as a stand-alone program.

Why do we need to target the liver? 

The liver uses a 2-part detoxification process to get toxins (chemicals, prescription drug residue, alcohol, recreational drugs, and even over the counter like ibuprofen, etc) out of the body. In order to do this efficiently the liver needs certain nutrients which most people are not even aware of. While a Total Body Detox at least 2x a year is needed for vibrant health, a specific Liver Detox is extremely important for everyone who lives in our toxic environment today.

Many people do not think they have a liver problem unless they go to the doctor and their liver enzymes are elevated or the doctor does a sonogram and sees a fatty liver. Let me tell you 80% of liver function can be impaired without a single symptom. Yes, 80%!!

So after a Total Body Cleanse completing a specific Liver Detox only enhances your health.

The ideal Liver Detox will supply the necessary nutrients that support the 2-part process of ridding the body of stored toxins in the liver.

These nutrients:

  • Protect the liver from chemical toxins.
  • Provide antioxidant support that becomes depleted due to everyday food choices and environmental stressors.
  • Stimulate the bile to release toxins to the gallbladder.
  • Cleanse the kidneys for safe toxin elimination.
What to look for in a complete Liver Detox Formula

Morning formula:

Alpha Lipoic Acid,  Artichoke, Dandelion, Green Tea, Methionine, Taurine, Milk Thistle, Selenium, and Turmeric

Night formula:

Belleric Myrobalan fruit, Boerhavia Diffusa root, Eclipta Alba root and herb, Andrographis, Piccorhiza.

The Liver Detox formulas do not create colon elimination so remember – regular bowel movements are critical during this program. Also added fiber is necessary to pick up toxins being dumped into the digestive system.

Liver detoxification may be the most overlooked and critical component of a healthy lifestyle in our world today.

 

Sweating

With the skin being our largest organ of our body, it is a prime participant in elimination of toxins. Because of its size and area, it actually eliminates more cellular waste, through the pores, than the colon and kidney combined. And it does this through sweating.

Some people have told me that they don’t sweat. As a matter of fact they avoid sweating as much as possible! We have gone from a population that is outside and sweating to being inside in a climate-controlled environment as much as possible.

Let me tell you this – if you don’t naturally sweat, you are not detoxifying well. You MUST encourage your body to sweat. Either go outside for activities or use a sauna. Eliminating toxins through sweating is a must!

A sauna will accelerate the removal of toxic metals as well as pesticides and chemicals that are stored in the fatty tissues of the body and are not easily dislodged.

I prefer the infrared sauna. You can actually buy a one-person portable infrared sauna that you can use in the privacy of your home.

 

Dry Skin Brushing

Another way to further your goal of eliminating toxins already in your body would be to use a dry skin brush before taking your morning shower.

Dry skin brushing increases circulation and helps the immune system function at optimum levels.

 

Soaks and Baths 

Detox soaks and baths at home are both relaxing and cost effective. You’ll want to fill a clean tub with hot filtered water (a shower filter or whole-house filter is recommended). Make the water as hot as you can comfortably tolerate. There are a number of therapeutic substances that can be used in your bathwater.

Epsom salts contains magnesium to relax muscles and sulfur to aid in detoxification and help increase blood supply to the skin. A quarter of a cup of salts is a good start with a gradual increase to as much as two to four pounds per bath.

Ginger root helps the body to sweat, so toxins are drawn to the skin’s surface. To prepare a ginger bath, place half-inch slices of fresh ginger in boiling water over a stove; turn off the heat, and steep for thirty minutes. Remove the ginger, and add that water into a tub already filled with hot water.

 

Colon Hydrotherapy

Colon hydrotherapy has shown excellent benefits for detoxification. Colon hydrotherapy irrigates the colon and removes waste from the body very safely and quickly similar to sweating and urination. For more information, please visit the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy’s website at http://i-act.org/.

 

Hydrate with Water

I know you’ve heard this before – drink more water! There is a huge benefit in making sure your body is properly hydrated – just please don’t drink the unfiltered tap water.

Water helps detoxify the kidneys, helps to dilute toxins, and it is imperative to have enough water to transport nutrients in and waste out.

Adding lemon to your water is a great way to help stimulate bile and cleanse your kidneys.

 

Eat and Drink Your Greens!

Eating plenty of raw foods including greens and beets as well as blending your veggies into smoothies are extremely beneficial habits to put in place. Greens and high quality veggies supply your body with the antioxidants and nutrients it requires for eliminating toxins. Blending rather than juicing allows you to benefit from the fiber that is so important in your veggies. A clear, flavorless fiber supplement added to your blended drink can greatly increase your ability to clear toxins as well. Be advised, in order to properly breakdown vegetables into the most delicious smoothie consistency it is best to use a high-speed blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix.. For a less expensive option, check out the NutriBullet.

The purpose of these suggestions is to assist your liver and the channels of elimination function at their peak level to rid your body of toxic buildup.

In my next post look forward to N for Nourish as you continue cleansing inside and out with your RENEW Total Body Detox program!

Your Very Own New Year’s Miracle

Filed in Adults, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Obesity, The Skinny Gut Diet, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 12/26/2015


At this holiday time, exclamations of “how delicious those sugar cookies are!” always seem to accompany an unspoken fervent prayer that “this time – just this time – please don’t end up on my hips!”

Well, I have a New Years Miracle to share with you to help you stay slim through the last of 2015, and beyond!

Two years ago at this season it was my great pleasure to be working closely with ten wonderful people conducting research on weight loss, food choices and digestive care supplements. That project resulted in the best-selling book Skinny Gut Diet. I’m happy to report, since it was published last October I’ve received multitudes of testimonials reporting healthy lifestyle changes along with hundreds of unwanted pounds shed.

Fast forward to last week. The magazine Woman’s World delivered their December 21, 2015 issue to the newsstands. Please pick up a copy and flip immediately to page 18 to see one of our Skinny Gut group, Danielle Andrew, looking absolutely beautiful in her holiday attire. Danielle lost 22 pounds (and has kept it off), achieving her results eating her way through not one, but two holiday seasons. How does she do that?

So here’s your New Years Miracle. Hold onto your hat. The wonderful miracle is FIBER! Yes, soluble, stir-in fiber! Danielle achieved and maintains her weight loss goals with fiber as one of her foremost allies.

Here’s the deal. Stir-in fiber is tasteless. It soaks up extra calories and toxins from your digestive system. It helps you feel full while eating less, and also assists in balancing your blood sugar. Remember your fiber before parties or meals that could offer potentially irresistible temptations, and you’ll be able to say “no, thank you” with a smile.

And as a bonus for you java lovers out there – soluble fiber is a great addition to coffee. Although it can easily be mixed into any type of beverage, or soft food for that matter, coffee stands out as a great choice.

Coffee has a natural diuretic effect, it boosts energy (which we all need at this time of year) and that cup of Joe has properties that increase the appetite suppressing effects of fiber. And adding some holiday flavors to your coffee like peppermint or eggnog definitely makes the spirit bright!

Additionally, there are some terrific anti-oxidants in coffee to help enhance your immune system that also support the immune boosting effects that fiber offers. Research out of the University of Illinois has shown that soluble fiber actually helps people recover 50% faster from bacterial infections (you MUST read the article!).

So next time you find yourself in the digestive care aisle, do your hips a favor and pick up some stir-in, soluble fiber. You can join Danielle in losing weight during the rest of the holiday season, and then keeping it off through the year! Now that’s my kind of miracle!

Probiotic Pumpkin Pie Anyone?

Filed in Immune System, Probiotics & Gut Flora | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/24/2015


Thanksgiving just isn’t complete at many of our tables without Pumpkin Pie. Would you agree?

That pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon scent of a baking pie, be it Grandmother’s recipe or Libby’s suggestions off the side of the pumpkin can, is standard beloved aromatherapy of the season, so it’s with a smile and a wink that I post this recipe for you today. If not for the Turkey Day table, it might be a great additional to next Sunday’s dinner!

My friend Donna Schwenk has recently launched her new book called Cultured Food for Health. On page 154 of this wonderful book she offers a “Raw Kefir Pumpkin Pie”.

Okay, so ‘raw’ kind of defeats the aromatic aspect of the traditional celebration, but I’m hoping the greater value of this recipe may pique your interest, since it will provide so very many helpful probiotics for your family’s digestive tracts. I’m sitting here laughing at the image of a pie filled with multitudes of good bacteria. And it’s really the truth.

Kefir packs between 30 and 56 different types of bacteria, and research on the health of the gut shows over and over that diversity is the key – the more different types of good guys, the stronger your immune system seems to be. Let me know if you try this, and how you like it!

 

Donna’s Raw Kefir Pumpkin Pie

Makes 8 servings

 

For the Probiotic-Packed filling

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 3 to 4 hours in water and then drained

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup Kefir Cheese

½ cup maple syrup (or a zero calorie sweetener like erythritol/lohan)

½ cup coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

 

For a raw crust (or of course, you can make your own recipe or pick up a frozen gluten free one!)

1 cup walnuts

1cup pecans

1 cup raisins

Pinch Celtic Sea Salt

 

To make the probiotic filling, combine the cashews, pumpkin, kefir cheese, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg in a blender or food processor on high speed. Pulse until completely smooth. This can take a few minutes.

To assemble the crust, pulse the walnuts and pecans in a food processor until they’re crumbs, then add the raisins and salt and pulse until the moisture begins to stick together.

Pour the filling into the crust, then cover it with plastic wrap.

Place the pie in the freezer until solid, about 5 hours. Before slicing and serving, let the pie sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften a little.

Donna offers a wonderful recipe in her book to make Coconut Whipped Cream to top this fabulous pie! You’ll find it on page 179 of the book when you bring one home for your very own.

As an alternative, I like to whip up some organic heavy cream and add a bit of stevia or zero calorie sweetener to taste. And let’s not forget the eternal crowd pleaser – delicious ice cream as a pie topping.

Whatever your combination, I wish you a Happy Healthy Joyful Thanksgiving filled with lots of great food and love all around! Don’t forget those probiotics! They love you too!

Altered Gut Microbiome Linked to Heart Disease and Stroke

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 12/26/2012


The gut connection to overall health, a connection Brenda and I have been exploring and educating about for many years, is growing stronger every day. Week after week, researchers around the world are linking digestive function—usually gut bacterial balance—to a range of health conditions in many different areas of the body. Particularly interesting have been the links between heart health and gut health. Brenda has blogged on a couple of these connections along the way, and many more are mentioned in our last two books, The Road to Perfect Health, and Heart of Perfect Health.

The connection between the gut microbiome and human health is currently being explored as part of the Human Microbiome Project, which I blogged about not long ago. This project has inspired a new wave of research into the effects of the gut microbiome and is delivering interesting findings. In a new study from Sweden published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers compared the gut microbiome of stroke patients to that of healthy subjects, and found some major differences.1

One interesting difference they found was that genes in bacteria required for the production of carotenoids—a group of antioxidants that includes beta carotene—were more frequently found in healthy subjects, who also had higher levels of beta carotene in the blood, when compared to stroke patients. This is interesting in light of the fact that some studies looking at the effects of beta carotene supplementation for heart health have failed to show a benefit for reduction of cardiovascular risk,2 and yet other studies have found a link between beta carotene levels in adipose tissue and cardiovascular risk.3

What all this suggests is that beta carotene is most beneficial when produced by our gut bacteria. Jens Nielsen, an author of the study, stated, “Our results indicate that long-term exposure to carotenoids, through production by the bacteria in the digestive system has important health benefits. These results should make it possible to develop new probiotics. We think that the bacterial species in the probiotics would establish themselves as a permanent culture in the gut and have a long-term effect.”

The researchers also found increases in bacteria of the genus Collinsella in stroke patients, while Roseburia and Eubacterium were increased in healthy subjects. Further, genes associated with inflammatory processes were found to be enriched in the stroke patients, while genes associated with anti-inflammatory processes were enriched in healthy subjects, “suggesting that the metagenome may contribute to the development of symptomatic atherosclerosis by acting as a regulatory of host inflammatory pathways,” stated the study. “Even though our study cannot provide evidence for direct causal effects, these findings indicate that the gut metagenome may have a role in the development of symptomatic atherosclerosis.”

This is exciting research, but more is needed to work out the details. Another author of the study, Fredrik Backhed, predicted, “By examining the patient’s bacterial microbiota, we should also be able to develop risk prognoses for cardiovascular disease. It should be possible to provide completely new disease-prevention options.”

That’s not all for the gut connection. In a study published in the journal Diabetes in 2007, it was shown that a high-fat, high-sugar diet decreases the amount of bifidobacteria in the gut and promotes intestinal uptake of bacterial cell wall antigens such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and peptidoglycans. These bacterial products create major upregulation (increase) of the inflammatory response in the blood, which leads to endothelial dysfunction and eventually to atheroscleroisis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries. On the other hand, a diet that was 80–90 percent plant based (vegetables, seeds/nuts, soaked legumes, sprouted whole grains, and fruit) attracts and helps to maintain the optimum microbiome including many species of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

These are exciting times for the gut, indeed. To reiterate, optimal digestive function—and gut microbial balance—is the foundation upon which total body health is built.

 

References

  1. F.H. Karlsson, et al., “Symptomatic atherosclerosis is associated with an altered gut metagenome.” Nat Commun. 2012 Dec 4;3:1245.
  2. S.T. Mayne, “Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and disease prevention in humans.” FASEB J. 1996 May;10(7):690-701.
  3. A.F. Kardinaal, et al., “Antioxidants in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction: the EURAMIC Study.” Lancet. 1993 Dec 4;342(8884):1379-84.
  4. P.D. Cani, et al., “Metabolic endotoxemia initiates obesity and insulin resistance.” Diabetes. 2007 Jul;56(7):1761-72.

Altered Gut Microbiome Linked to Heart Disease and Stroke

Filed in General | Posted by lsmith on 12/26/2012


The gut connection to overall health, a connection Brenda and I have been exploring and educating about for many years, is growing stronger every day. Week after week, researchers around the world are linking digestive function—usually gut bacterial balance—to a range of health conditions in many different areas of the body. Particularly interesting have been the links between heart health and gut health. Brenda has blogged on a couple of these connections along the way, and many more are mentioned in our last two books, The Road to Perfect Health, and Heart of Perfect Health.

The connection between the gut microbiome and human health is currently being explored as part of the Human Microbiome Project, which I blogged about not long ago. This project has inspired a new wave of research into the effects of the gut microbiome and is delivering interesting findings. In a new study from Sweden published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers compared the gut microbiome of stroke patients to that of healthy subjects, and found some major differences.1

One interesting difference they found was that genes in bacteria required for the production of carotenoids—a group of antioxidants that includes beta carotene—were more frequently found in healthy subjects, who also had higher levels of beta carotene in the blood, when compared to stroke patients. This is interesting in light of the fact that some studies looking at the effects of beta carotene supplementation for heart health have failed to show a benefit for reduction of cardiovascular risk,2 and yet other studies have found a link between beta carotene levels in adipose tissue and cardiovascular risk.3

What all this suggests is that beta carotene is most beneficial when produced by our gut bacteria. Jens Nielsen, an author of the study, stated, “Our results indicate that long-term exposure to carotenoids, through production by the bacteria in the digestive system has important health benefits. These results should make it possible to develop new probiotics. We think that the bacterial species in the probiotics would establish themselves as a permanent culture in the gut and have a long-term effect.”

The researchers also found increases in bacteria of the genus Collinsella in stroke patients, while Roseburia and Eubacterium were increased in healthy subjects. Further, genes associated with inflammatory processes were found to be enriched in the stroke patients, while genes associated with anti-inflammatory processes were enriched in healthy subjects, “suggesting that the metagenome may contribute to the development of symptomatic atherosclerosis by acting as a regulatory of host inflammatory pathways,” stated the study. “Even though our study cannot provide evidence for direct causal effects, these findings indicate that the gut metagenome may have a role in the development of symptomatic atherosclerosis.”

This is exciting research, but more is needed to work out the details. Another author of the study, Fredrik Backhed, predicted, “By examining the patient’s bacterial microbiota, we should also be able to develop risk prognoses for cardiovascular disease. It should be possible to provide completely new disease-prevention options.”

That’s not all for the gut connection. In a study published in the journal Diabetes in 2007, it was shown that a high-fat, high-sugar diet decreases the amount of bifidobacteria in the gut and promotes intestinal uptake of bacterial cell wall antigens such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and peptidoglycans. These bacterial products create major upregulation (increase) of the inflammatory response in the blood, which leads to endothelial dysfunction and eventually to atheroscleroisis, or the buildup of plaque in the arteries. On the other hand, a diet that was 80–90 percent plant based (vegetables, seeds/nuts, soaked legumes, sprouted whole grains, and fruit) attracts and helps to maintain the optimum microbiome including many species of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.

These are exciting times for the gut, indeed. To reiterate, optimal digestive function—and gut microbial balance—is the foundation upon which total body health is built.

 

References

  1. F.H. Karlsson, et al., “Symptomatic atherosclerosis is associated with an altered gut metagenome.” Nat Commun. 2012 Dec 4;3:1245.
  2. S.T. Mayne, “Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and disease prevention in humans.” FASEB J. 1996 May;10(7):690-701.
  3. A.F. Kardinaal, et al., “Antioxidants in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction: the EURAMIC Study.” Lancet. 1993 Dec 4;342(8884):1379-84.
  4. P.D. Cani, et al., “Metabolic endotoxemia initiates obesity and insulin resistance.” Diabetes. 2007 Jul;56(7):1761-72.

Chia Seeds After Menopause

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/10/2012


Renew You Challenge

Let’s start this week off right!

Here is your newest weekly challenge (I mean opportunity!) to help set you off on the right foot and in the right direction for bringing health to your week. You could even add it to your calendar. Join us! 

If you don’t know what chia seeds are, today is your lucky day. You may remember chia seeds as those seeds you could spread over a clay “pet” to eventually sprout into a Chia Pet. Chia seeds, from the Salvia hispanica plant, are native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia was cultivated by the pre-Columbian Aztecs, and is said to have been an important dietary staple, for good reason.

Chia seeds are rich in nutrients—one tablespoon of chia seeds provides 2,375 milligrams of the omega-3 ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), 2.5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of dietary fiber. Plus, if you eat the black seeds (as opposed to the white ones, which are less common), you get the benefit of added antioxidants found mostly in the rich-colored seed components.

The omega-3 ALA is considered the “parent” omega-3 because it is converted in the body into EPA, and then, to a lesser extent, into DHA. The conversion rate is generally quite small, however, though it can vary depending on a number of factors. A recent study published in the journal Plant Foods for Nutrition found that chia seed consumption was able to raise blood levels of EPA in postmenopausal women by 30 percent, which is higher than estimates between eight and 20 percent previously found in healthy adults.

Previously, it was known that reproductive women converted ALA into EPA 2.5 times greater than healthy men. This new study suggests that postmenopausal women may have an increased ability to convert ALA into EPA. Important to note, however, the study only involved 10 women, so further studies will be needed to confirm these results.

In the meantime, chia is such a great source of nutrients; it’s an easy way to obtain fiber, protein, and omega-3s each day. This week, add some chia to your life. For a yummy chia treat, add two tablespoons of chia to ½ cup of juice. Let it sit for about 15 minutes (or longer, if you’d like) and enjoy as a snack. The seeds gelatinize when they soak, creating an interesting texture that resembles pudding or jello. Delish!

Plastics Leach Toxins

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/10/2011


 

Plastic products are made with an array of toxic chemicals—different chemicals depending on the final function of the plastic. Sure, plastics are convenient, there is no doubt. But I have to say, we’ve gone overboard with our dependence on plastic products.

A recent study has found that one-third of plastic products tested released toxic substances. The test they did was simple—they soaked 83 randomly selected plastic items in pure water for 1 to 3 days. Then, they were able to test for acute toxicity by adding water fleas to the water. As it turned out, one-third of those plastic products released chemicals that were acutely toxic to the fleas.

This was an eye-opener, because think about how little it took to leach chemicals off these plastics. All it took was pure water! Think about that bottle of water you drink every day. Think about that baby bath, filled with plastic toys. Think about that swimming pool. In fact, five out of 13 children’s products, including bath toys and inflatable armbands, were found to release toxins.

Plastics are everywhere, and they’re almost impossible to avoid. But if you can take measures to reduce your exposure and lessen the amount of plastics you use, you’ll be exposed to fewer chemicals. Obviously from this study, it doesn’t take much for toxins from plastic to be released.

Let’s Hear it for Soluble Fiber!

Filed in General | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/30/2010


So check this out, a new study is taking the benefits of soluble fiber to a whole new level! Recently scientists discovered that soluble fiber increases the anti-inflammatory compound interleukin-4 (IL-4) in the body when a bacterial infection occurs, which basically means it helps fight off the infection. Pretty interesting stuff, huh?

Not only that, but researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of soluble fiber may even help reduce the inflammation that occurs in people who eat high-fat diets—a theory they’ll be following up on in future studies.

The bottom line is that a high-fiber diet provides oodles of health benefits for your whole body—including heart health, better digestion and regularity, and even healthy weight loss—so it’s important to get enough fiber in your daily diet. I recommend at least 35 grams daily of both soluble and insoluble fiber, since both types are crucial for overall health…but what’s the difference?

Soluble fiber acts like a sponge and helps soak up waste and toxins in the digestive tract, while insoluble fiber helps to “scrub” the colon free of debris and promote healthy elimination. Scientists point out, however, that a lot of people may not know the difference between them, so hopefully this will bring about better labeling on fiber products!

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.