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      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.

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      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.

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      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 .

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      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).

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Summer Diet Reboot

Filed in Adults, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Exercise, Preventable Issues, Recipes, Supplements, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/21/2017


summer diet reboot-brendawatson.com

When the weather starts warming up in spring, we get inspired to lose a few pounds so that we’ll look great when it’s time to get into a swimsuit. But that plan often goes awry when summer begins. Longer days bring vacations and celebrations—and extra opportunities to eat enticing treats (often sweet) that pack on weight. Next thing you know, those five or ten pounds are right back where they started. If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s time for a summer diet reboot to get you back into your bikini.

 

Cut the Carbs, Up the Fiber to Kick Off your Summer Diet Reboot!

It’s not the first time you’ve heard me say that carbohydrates—starchy carbs and sugars, in particular—are the main reason your waistline is expanding. If you had to do just one thing to lose weight, that’s where I’d recommend you start. Plan your meals around healthy proteins and low-sugar vegetables. (And no, potatoes and corn are not vegetables—they’re starches!)

Eat a vegetable egg scramble for breakfast, a salad topped with chicken for lunch, and a salmon filet with a side of green veggies for dinner. Eat high-protein snacks in between meals to keep your cravings down. If you’re in a hurry, a high-protein, high-fiber meal replacement shake will keep you going without cravings.

 

Nurture Your Gut

If your gut bacteria are out of balance, they could be making you fat. (I wrote a whole book on this topic. If you haven’t read The Skinny Gut Diet yet, check it out.) Good health begins in the gut. If you don’t have enough beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, in your gut, your health—even your weight—could be affected. Eat foods rich in probiotics, like low-sugar yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables, as well as foods rich in prebiotics, like leeks, garlic, onions, and asparagus. You can also take probiotic and prebiotic supplements to replenish good gut bacteria.

 

Prepare for Parties

Summertime is fun time. You will likely attend at least a couple parties before summer is over. And if parties feel like an open invitation to eat whatever delicious morsel you encounter, you’ll want to come prepared. Before you leave for your next party, be sure to eat a high-fiber snack or meal replacement shake to fill you up so those tasty treats won’t look so appetizing.

Parties usually come with two drink options: water or sugary libations. Unless you’re sure you can make it through a whole party on water alone, I recommend bringing a low-sugar option. I love mixing carbonated water with a splash of pomegranate juice and a squeeze of lime. Fill up a pitcher and bring some to share. You could also brew a refreshing herbal tea and bring a pitcher on ice.

If the party is sure to offer beer or sugary margaritas, you can bring a low-sugar option. Create a delicious mojito by mixing six ounces of club soda, six ounces of lime juice, three tablespoons of crushed mint, and six servings of liquid stevia together in a pitcher before you leave. At the party, add 12 ounces of white rum and pour over ice. Salud!

 

Get Moving

If you have fallen out of the habit of exercising, now is a great time to get back in gear. Regular exercise not only helps to keep you trim, it puts you in a good mood. Even a moderate walk can change your outlook. You don’t have to take on a complicated workout schedule, but you do need to get your body moving on a regular basis. Take a walk around the block after dinner. Skip the elevator and take the stairs next time you get the opportunity. Grab a set of weights and pump some iron when you need a break. Better yet, grab a workout buddy so that you can motivate each other and have some accountability.

 

Connect with Your WHY

One of the best ways to motivate yourself to stick with a new habit is to remember WHY you want to adopt it in the first place. So to motivate yourself to lose weight, think about why. Sure, you want to look good in a swimsuit, but dig a little deeper. Most likely you’ll find that you want to be healthier. And why do you want to be healthier? It might be so that you can live longer to spend time with the people in your life who mean the most to you. Or you may want to not be reliant on medications, or on other people to take care of you, as you get older. Or you may simply want to feel good again.

Once you discover the underlying reason why you want to lose weight, keep it in mind. Maybe you post a picture of your family on the fridge. Maybe you post a picture of you when you were healthier next to your computer. Maybe you post the phrase, “I feel amazing!” as the screen saver of your phone. Whatever your reason, connect to it when you can. It will keep you on the right track.

Maintenance Insurance Plan for Wellness

Filed in Adults, Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Exercise, Longevity, Supplements, The Detox Strategy, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/08/2017


maintenance of wellness-brendawatson.com

Over these last months it’s been my pleasure to introduce you to the RENEW Total Body Detox program. I hope you were able to implement many tips and suggestions from my posts. As I’ve mentioned a number of times, each of our health journeys are completely unique. The goal is not completion but awareness and diligence and a commitment to improvement. Maintenance of your health is an ongoing decision.

Following is the maintenance insurance plan I promised at the beginning of our time together. These suggestions are sure to fortify your newfound Wellness.

 

Daily Doses of Support

Following is a short list of supplements to consider in your daily maintenance program, depending on your particular circumstances. They will help support the natural structure and functions of your body and encourage a healthy self-detoxification system.

Supplements Highly Recommended for Everyone

  • Multivitamin and mineral formula
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)
  • Calcium and magnesium (for women)
  • Magnesium (for men)
  • Fiber
  • Probiotics

Optional Nutritional Support as Needed

 

Weekly Commitments
  • Exercise at least four to five days a week.
  • Take saunas and steam baths two to three times per week or as often as your health care professional recommends, working within the limits of your time constraints and financial considerations.

 

Annual Cleansings

Two-step herbal cleansing at least twice a year

Targeted herbal programs once a year

Hydrotherapy, based on your colon hydrotherapist’s advice

Some people find that spending an extended period of time (from a few days to a week or more) at a cleansing and detoxification center is extremely valuable. This focused approach can be especially helpful to those dealing with multiple health issues or who simply need more structure.

 

Maintenance – In conclusion

As you implement all aspects of RENEW with vigilance, you will realize the gifts of true health. Peace and renewed energy, clarity of mind and digestive stability will be yours. As the months and years pass, it will be difficult to remember your previous pesky issues. Aging can be graceful and easier than you might think. Please choose to RENEW!

Stay tuned. In my next series of posts I’m looking forward to sharing summer travel and wellness tips for your whole family!

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.

Nourish Your Body Daily With Essential Nutrients

Filed in Adults, Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Environmental Toxins, Enzymes, Herbal Cleansing, Omega-3 & Fish Oil, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Recipes, Supplements, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/15/2017


Nourish - green drink - brendawatson.com

Let’s recap where we are in the RENEW Total Body Detox program. You began by Reducing your daily toxin exposure in your home environment. Then you began to Eliminate toxins from inside your body. As this process continues, you’ll want to Nourish your cells with as much good nutrition as you can get from both your regular diet and supplementation. This will help you fortify your immune system so it’s capable of fighting the daily battle against toxins. .

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding nutritional supplementation. Skeptics will say that “you get all the nutrients your body needs from the diet”. I’d like to know what they’re eating, because the average American diet is severely lacking in many of our essential nutrients.

An incredible myth in our culture is that “Your body gets all the nutrients it needs from the Standard American Diet”.

Surveys in North American show that the diets of more than 60% tested are deficient in essential nutrients. As we’ve discussed, especially those nutrients needed to support proper detoxification.

Symptoms of nutritional deficiency are not always obvious. You don’t need to have scurvy to have a vitamin C deficiency. Plainly put, if you don’t equip your body with the nutrients it needs to support its internal structures and functions, it won’t be able to withstand the toxic environment in which you live.

Your vitamins A, C, E, minerals such as selenium and most amino acids are critical to liver health and function. With this said, it is important to take a whole food multi-nutrient formula everyday to supply your body with these valuable nutrients.

As I’ve already mentioned, omega-3 oils, our good fat, is also severely lacking in the American diet. Those good fats are needed not only for proper liver function, but for a healthy cardiovascular system, for nerve and brain function, hormonal balance, proper elimination, a good immune system, and even to promote a positive mood!

That’s why taking a highly concentrated, enteric coated Omega-3 supplement can make a big difference in your health.

Another important player in supporting our health is the good bacteria within our digestive tract. At least 70% of our immune system in our digestive tract and the bacteria is the main wellness-supporting factor. Many factors can affect the balance of this good bacteria, so it’s important to keep the levels high.

Eating foods like plain yogurt, kefir, along with fermented veggies are great additions to the diet that provide good bacteria, however for many it is necessary to regularly take a bacterial supplement called probiotics. Look for one that offers from 50 to 100 billion bacterial cultures per capsule.

We should know by now the benefit of eating raw fruits and veggies, not only for the nutrients, but also for the enzymes they provide. For some of us it is difficult to get the enzymes we need strictly from raw foods. An enzyme supplement with every meal will strongly support efficient digestion. Enzyme supplements will also ensure you absorb more nutrients from your food.

For even more information on these important nutrients and additional tips on detoxification, check out my book – Detox Strategy.

Perhaps my favorite way to Nourish all the cells in my body is through using my high speed blender and making green drinks. I’ve been blending green drinks to consume daily for 10 years now and have noticed a steadily increasing vitality. I want you to know that I actually feel better as the years pass! And I credit blended drinks with a lot of my success.

So without further ado I’d like to share with you right here, right now…

My Favorite Blended Green Drink recipe! Nourish your body daily!

Place the following in order into a Vitamix or equivalent high-speed blender. Makes 1 quart. Be sure to drink within 2 days for maximum nutrient value.

  • 3 stalks chopped celery
  • 1/3 English Cucumber with peel
  • 1/2 lemon with peel
  • 1/2 inch of ginger with peel
  • 1/2 avocado – meat only
  • 3-4 sprigs cilantro
  • 3-4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1 handful chopped kale
  • 3/4 pink lady or gala apple with peel – seeded
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 handful ice

I feel one of the most important aspects of this particular recipe is that it provides approximately 19 grams of fiber per batch! As we’ve discussed, fiber is responsible for helping to rid toxins from your body. With this in mind, I want to strongly suggest that you drink at least a quart of Blended Green Drink daily as you Nourish your body and journey through your RENEW Total Body Detox program.

I recommend 30-35 grams of fiber daily. If you find that difficult to achieve at times through food choices be sure and purchase a high quality fiber product to supplement.

Please be in touch and let me know how you progress! I’m happy to answer any questions that come up~

Healthy Colon Action Steps for a Happy Life!

Filed in Adults, Cancer, Colon, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Exercise, Fermentation, Heart of Perfect Health, Omega-3 & Fish Oil, Prebiotics, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Sleep, Stress, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 04/06/2017


Healthy Colon Awareness Ribbon - brendawatson.com

There are many ways to look directly at the gut connection to cancer. I believe the most important information you can receive is how to support and maintain a healthy colon.

I realize now that in these four posts honoring Colon Cancer Awareness Month I have only scratched the surface of the information I would love to share with you. Over the years, I have learned so very much interacting closely with so many people. In the 1990’s, I also practiced colon hydrotherapy in a holistic cancer clinic in conjunction with a medical doctor who cared primarily for cancer patients. It was an honor to witness the amazing health changes that occurred for people who used natural methods of healing. I was also regularly humbled by the devastating effects that chronic disease and cancer can have on the body.

Today I’m offering you tests and natural solutions that I hope will be informative and helpful to you. Whether you are personally touched by cancer or simply looking to maintain vibrant health (and that most important healthy colon), there are valuable tips for you here.

To begin, I previously mentioned that colon cancer can, in some cases, manifest silently. What I mean is that the patient reports having no symptoms. For this very important reason, please be sure to schedule a colonoscopy screening when your doctor advises.

Do you have a healthy colon? Find out about cancer screening now

Over the years I’ve seen colon hydrotherapy be a profound therapy for people. I never thought I would see the day when traditional gastroenterologists would embrace colon hydrotherapy. But the time has finally come. One of the first digestive care clinics that I founded began receiving patients from a local GI doctor for pre-colonoscopy treatment. He reported positive feedback from his patients. He also noticed beneficial results in their digestive tracts. I’m so happy that acceptance of colonoscopy by mainstream GI doctors is increasing. Today, you may find it acknowledged as an alternative to the toxic and uncomfortable pre-colonoscopy treatment. Additionally, many alternative cancer doctors are embracing colon hydrotherapy in the design of their total programs. This therapy fits perfectly with other integrative therapies that seek to restore total health to cancer patients.

Learn more about colon hydrotherapy here

There are a number of functional tests that I believe provide extremely important baseline health information. They are useful for both understanding your colon and maintaining your overall well being. I explained and listed them in detail in my recent book, Heart of Perfect Health.

In my mind, no discussion of cancer is complete without addressing nutritional choices. Revising a person’s diet and providing supportive natural supplementation in the face of a cancer diagnosis is now widely embraced. Thank goodness! So lets talk specifically about what I believe to be the basic, essential nutritional support for both maintenance and healing.

It’s important to realize that a chronic microbial imbalance or overgrowth (dysbiosis ) anywhere in the digestive tract can trigger immune imbalance. From mouth to anal canal, this imbalance can negatively impact your body’s immune system. In a healthy, balanced system, the thousands of genetically damaged cells, which can become cancer, are easily destroyed and recycled by your natural defenses. There is evidence to suggest we all have abnormal cells most of the time. It’s how your body’s immune system handles these cells that will determine if and when you develop cancer. In addition, with aging there is often a depletion of beneficial bacteria (especially bifidobacteria) with an associated decrease in natural killer cells (protector cells). This may partly explain the increased incidence of most cancers with aging.

The HOPE program (High fiber – balanced soluble/insoluble, balance of Omega-3 and 6 essential oils, pre & Probiotics, and digestive Enzymes) may do much to help prevent cancer. A supplemental HOPE program would also be wise to follow if you or a loved one are currently dealing with cancer.

The HOPE Program + Skinny Gut Diet eating plan = The Best YOU ever!

High-fiber Prebiotic soluble fibers plus good bacteria (probiotics) create short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Butyrate is the most notable SGFA with regard to colon cancer. Butyrate levels are generally accepted even by traditional medicine as an indicator for colon cancer risk. Butyrate is the fuel for the cells that line the colon. In addition, butyrate triggers the destruction of sick colonic cells (exposed to toxins and harmful microbes).  This happens especially when combined with EPA/DHA omega-3s. Without healthy levels of butyrate, the colon cells may grow uncontrolled, turning into cancerous cells.

Omega oils Both the balance (ratio) and total amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential oils have profound effects on cellular function. This balance of oils can result in either health – or cancer. There is much evidence that too much omega-6, or too high of an omega-6/omega-3 ratio can actually be a factor in promoting cancer. The current ratio in our society is believed to be anywhere from 12/1 to 20/1, but should be about 4 to 6/1! There is much scientific evidence that suggests this very high imbalance, the result of eating too much omega-6 (the oils most used in salad dressings, food additives, and cooking), is responsible for many of our modern illnesses, including cancer.

On the other hand, high normal levels of omega-3s have been shown to prevent and even be helpful in overcoming various cancers. This includes colon cancer. Omega 3s are already recognized as a companion therapy with chemotherapy treatments.

However, we must remember that everything is a question of balance, and that too much omega-3 is not recommended either. There are several labs that can measure both the omega-6, omega-3 ratios and other important fats in red blood cell (RBC) membranes. I think it is important to periodically (2 to 3 times per year) check your levels if using any more than a maintenance dose of fish oil, and especially if using high doses for any serious illness.

Cost effective lab test to measure your Omega 3/6 ratio, and more!

Probiotics Another way to look at the value of probiotics in the prevention of cancer is to look at what happens to the food we eat when it is acted on and transformed by pathogenic bacteria. Normal proteins, fats and carbohydrates in our daily diet can be converted into toxins, known as carcinogens, when acted upon by harmful bacteria as I mentioned in my last post.

The good news is that this toxic build-up can be minimized by regular consumption of prebiotics and probiotics and/or fermented foods along with an 80 to 90 percent plant-based diet. A plant-based diet is supportive of the lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, and beneficial E. coli and S. thermophilus strains as well as other probiotics so necessary for a healthy colon. However diet alone may not be enough. I suggest a high potency, multistrain probiotic daily to insure your continued health.

Enzymes We discussed how enzymes maintain good health in our last post. Well, the lack of different enzymes has been strongly implicated in prevalence of various cancers. In some cases this seems to be related to a chronic shortage of pancreatic enzymes specifically. There is evidence to support that proteolytic enzymes, either from the pancreas or taken orally, are absorbed systemically. These enzymes have been found to decrease tumor production and growth through many mechanisms.

In summary, a predominantly plant-based diet plus the HOPE program, coupled with appropriate detoxification programs, good bowel elimination with colon hydrotherapy, high-quality sleep, moderate exercise and stress reduction with meditation, including psycho-emotional-spiritual reconnection, will all be helpful in both prevention and as alternative therapies for cancer recovery – and will support and maintain your healthy colon for life!

Digestive Dysfunction = Gut Gone Bad!

Filed in Adults, Cancer, Chronic Disease, Constipation, Diarrhea, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Heart Disease, Heartburn, Immune System, Indigestion, Inflammation, Liver, Preventable Issues, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/21/2017


digestive dysfunction girl - brenda watson.com

As we move into the third week of Colon Cancer Awareness Month it’s time to discuss what can go wrong in your gut. Last week I presented a very brief overview of how a healthy gut works. This week I’d like to help you recognize signs of digestive dysfunction. The result is multiple disease processes like constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, myriad chronic health conditions and even cancer.

However there is one critical point I must make, and I can’t stress this too strongly. In my 30+ years of working closely with people experiencing all levels of digestive issues, I have seen far too many cases of colon cancer. The unfortunate thing I’ve noticed time and again was this – when a person was diagnosed with colon cancer – they thought they had healthy digestion! Needless to say, they were floored by the diagnosis. When I questioned them further, I might hear “I had a little indigestion here and there” or “sometimes I was constipated”. Often they didn’t notice anything that might have tipped them off to a life-threatening situation brewing inside them.

That’s why it’s so important to truly understand and appreciate what really happens in your own body to do with digestion and absorption. The colon can be very quiet for a long time as disease smolders within. I believe this knowledge has fueled my passion to continue, day after day, to implore people to recognize that their gut is literally the core of their health.

What can go wrong? Intestinal toxemia = poisoning of the intestines!

Intestinal toxemia occurs when the bacteria in the gut act upon undigested food. This interaction can produce toxic chemical and gases. These toxins, in turn, can damage the mucosal lining, resulting in increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut). The net result is that the toxins are then able to spread throughout the body via the bloodstream.

7 common habits that may be poisoning your intestines:

  1. Inadequate amounts of living foods and quality proteins in our dietary choices
  2. Not chewing our foods thoroughly
  3. Drinking with meals
  4. Over-consumption of processed foods (including sugar!)
  5. Overeating in general
  6. Eating foods that we know we are sensitive or allergic to
  7. Inadequate water consumption between meals resulting in low-grade dehydration

Poisoning your intestines is a process that progresses over time. The good news is that you can reverse that process by changing your behaviors.

In the words of Dr. John Matsen, ND, “If you don’t digest your food quickly, some microorganism will digest it for you, making toxins.” These toxins created inside our bodies are called “endotoxins”. I want you to know that they are every bit as damaging to your body as external environmental toxins. We call those “exotoxins”, and are very familiar with the dangers of substances like pesticides, radon or car exhaust.

If the above mentioned habits continue for an extended period of time, the certain result is an overtaxed digestive system. That happens whether you experience mild to severe digestive symptoms, or no symptoms at all. Supporting organs such as your liver and pancreas become overburdened.

Ultimately, your once healthy gut begins its downhill spiral toward altered digestive function. Diagnoses like constipation, diarrhea, IBS or even IBD, along with cardiovascular issues, hormone imbalances, arthritis, fibromyalgia – the list goes on and on. And yes, even cancer.

This is primarily how the sad tale of disease begins – and if you truly understand this, you have the power to change your story and restore your health once more!

Digestive dysfunction. Please don’t let this happen!

Some major dysfunctional results of poor habits:

  • Deficiency of HCL – disrupted protein digestion and decreased stomach pH allowing harmful organisms access to the body
  • Pancreatic insufficiency – reduced enzyme and bicarbonate secretion – inefficient digestion of foods, reduced absorption of nutrients
  • Imbalanced intestinal pH – also reduces proper food breakdown and absorption and compromises immunity

You may think I’m being overdramatic – linking almost all variations of chronic disease processes to the gut. In two words – I’m NOT! Daily more and more supporting evidence is disclosed in clinical trials that prove that your digestion – breaking down and absorbing the nutrients you intake – is absolutely essential to every function in your body.

The premise is so simple it’s unbelievable that many Americans still fail to see the relationship between what goes in their mouths and the way they feel and function. As I mentioned, I think it’s largely due to the forgiving nature of the gut. Symptoms often don’t occur until quite a large amount of damage has been done. And it also has to do with our society’s obsession with simply eliminating symptoms. Many people don’t seem to care to understand what may have been causing that discomfort in the first place. Nexium be gone!

Next post I will give you an action list of exactly what you need to do to understand and heal your gut! Until then, eat lots of living foods!

Healthy Gut Function 101

Filed in Constipation, Diarrhea, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Exercise, Gut Solutions, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/16/2017


Healthy Gut Anatomy - brendawatson.com

In this post let’s continue looking at digestive functions, in honor of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Understanding good digestion is key to a healthy gut. So I’m offering a quick review of how your digestive system works, top to bottom – when it’s working properly that is.

Let me show you the path your food takes in a healthy gut.

Did you realize that the digestive process – the breakdown of your food into nutrients that can be absorbed – actually begins in the mouth? It starts with the secretion of the enzyme ptyalin. At the other end from the colon! This enzyme, mixed with saliva, is crucial to proper digestion of carbohydrates. Food properly chewed into small particles will be completely mixed with the saliva/enzyme mixture. When a person swallows their food after only a few short chews, as so many of us busy people do, there is insufficient time for ptyalin to do its job. Consequently, when you gulp your food, your digestion is impaired. Those large, inadequately chewed food particles are harder for the body to handle and can result in gas, bloating and indigestion. Sound familiar?

In addition to chewing food thoroughly, care should be taken to restrict fluid intake with meals. Over-consumption of liquids may dilute some specific digestive agents which are manufactured in your stomach. The breakdown of protein requires an extremely acid environment, and to handle that job, HCl and the enzyme pepsin are synthesized there. Diluting these digestive substances can result in impaired digestion as well.

It’s important to know that enzymes are complex proteins that cause chemical changes in other substances. They are the basis of all metabolic activity in the body, facilitating more than 150,000 biochemical reactions. They literally empower every cell in the body to function. There are three types of enzymes in the body: metabolic, digestive and food enzymes.

Metabolic enzymes run, heal and repair the body. Your body could not function or heal without them.

Most enzymes required for digestion are manufactured by the pancreas. There are about 22 pancreatic enzymes, chief of which are protease (digests protein), lipase (for fat digestion) and amylase (for carbohydrate digestion).

Food enzymes also digest food: however they are supplied to the body solely through the diet, only from raw foods. These raw foods primarily supply enzymes to digest the food in which they’re found, and aren’t particularly helpful to digest other foods.

By the way, cooking at temperatures of more than 116 degrees destroys food enzymes. Enzyme deficiencies are widespread in the American culture because virtually all food in the standard diet is heated during processing.

The majority of nutrient absorption is accomplished in the small intestine through intricate interactions between enzymes, probiotics (good bacteria) and the various foods being digested. In a healthy gut the food particles have been broken down well. If not small enough, bloating and gas can be the uncomfortable result.

In addition to absorption of nutrients, your intestinal tract is also home to a large part of your lymphatic system. That system consists of the spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow and other tissues responsible for defense against infection. In fact, the number of cells of gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) exceeds the number of plasma cells in the other parts combined! Your intestinal tract is a huge player in your immunity as well as your digestion.

I could share many blogs just focused on the amazing abilities of your intestine as it maintains your healthy gut, but I promised a brief discussion here.

So on to the colon! The final stages of digestion occur in the colon with the absorption of water and a small number of nutrients not absorbed by the small intestine.

Important point – one needs to have one good bowel movement per day, but two to three are ideal. A “good” bowel movement is one that is walnut brown in color, with a formed consistency, about the length of a banana. The stool should be free of odor, leave the body easily, settle in the toilet water and gently submerge. (Forgive me for TMI!)

Take a look at this chart to determine if you have a healthy gut!

The transit time for food – the elapsed time it takes for a meal to enter the mouth and then exit the rectum – should ideally be less than 24 hours. However, too short a transit time may result in a loose stool. Transit time is related to exercise and the consumption of fiber and water. When transit time slows, putrefied material stays in the colon longer, and toxins can enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall. One possible result might be constipation.

The colon houses three types of bacteria: good, neutral and bad. In fact, the majority of bacteria can be found in the colon. A balance of approximately 85% good to no more than 15% neutral or bad is desirable for health maintenance. This balance will assist the body in normal elimination of solid waste.

Now that you have a sense of good digestive function, in my next post I’ll take a look at factors that negatively impact your healthy gut. An unhealthy gut will ultimately set the stage for different disease processes.

Travel Advice for your Gut

Filed in Constipation, Diarrhea, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Enzymes, GERD, Heartburn, Indigestion, Probiotics & Gut Flora | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/24/2016


Travel advice with friends - brendawatson.com

Summer vacation, 4th of July – wonderful opportunities for travel and sampling exciting and different foods. Whether you’re visiting family, or jetting to the Far East, the fun ends abruptly when your digestion becomes distressed! With that in mind, I thought I’d offer some travel advice for your gut that may afford relief for belly troubles during your time away from home – and offer new life to your vacation.

Diarrhea is a common gut reaction when it senses something irritating or a bit too unusual. In many cases, your system simply wants whatever food or drink you’ve chosen out, and quickly! There are also those cases where you may have consumed tainted food or water along your route. Of course, whether camping or simply enjoying a different environment, sanitary conditions can be less than ideal.

When traveling, it’s always a good idea to consume all foods hot and fully cooked to avoid unwelcome food-borne pathogens. And should the hot days entice you to don your bathing suit, avoid swallowing the water that is so refreshing to your body.

Taking your probiotics daily offers you the best insurance against traveller’s diarrhea and peaceful digestion in general. However in case of unpleasant disruption be sure to have a particular probiotic on hand called Saccharomyces boulardii. This probiotic yeast shines in cases of even the toughest diarrhea and doesn’t require refrigeration. You may also want to supplement with goldenseal (constituent berberine) to help additionally curb symptoms and for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Personally, when I travel I tend toward constipation. I’ve read that up to 25% of travelers have reported similar discomfort. For some people, a fiber supplement will be helpful. Truthfully, supplementing on a daily basis with fiber while striving to reach at least 30 – 35 grams daily is a valuable maintenance practice, rather than just using fiber once constipation has set in.

Drink plenty of fluids, especially in this hot summer weather to avoid dehydration and further constipation. I have found consistently that an herbal formula that contains magnesium hydroxide along with aloe, rhubarb, possibly triphala taken with probiotics is a very helpful combination. I never leave home without these.

No travel advice for your gut would be complete without addressing occasional heartburn. The possibilities while traveling to trigger those unpleasant symptoms are abundant. New foods, hearty portions amid friends and family could produce an unhappy gastric result.

Breathe before you begin eating, chew your food thoroughly, and don’t forget your digestive enzymes! Food is to be enjoyed, and paying attention to what’s on your plate rather than eating without a thought can make a huge difference in your digestion. Do your best to focus on taste rather than quantity.

It’s best not to drink liquids with your meals, as that will dilute your stomach’s natural acids whose job it is to effectively break down your food.

When traveling, wear comfortable clothing. Did you realize that tight waistbands can compress the valve that controls acid flow? And whatever you do, avoid laying down to sleep immediately after you eat, as the acidic stomach contents can easily seep into your esophagus when you’re laying in the bed and create irritation.

As a last resort, should symptoms persist, you can immediately relieve heartburn with one or two teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cold water. Please use this method infrequently. Diminishing your stomach acid using any type of antacid today can often lead to even more issues in the future.

Happy, healthy, and comfortable trails to you and yours!

Surprise! You’re Addicted!

Filed in Adults, Diet, Digestive Health, Enzymes, GERD, Heart Disease, Heartburn, Indigestion, PPIs, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Reflux | Posted by Brenda Watson on 01/14/2016


Last Monday it was reported by NPR that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) will soon be publishing yet one more reason to leave those PPIs alone! Protect your kidneys! You can now add kidneys to previous evidence of increased risk of bone fracture, infections and possibly even cardiac issues. This is another warning to all of you who regularly choose Nexium, Prilosec or Prevacid to quiet your heartburn, indigestion or GERD.

I have been blogging on the potential issues associated with regularly blocking the normal production of stomach acid for many years. These serious medications, not viewed as potentially dangerous by the medical community until recently, have caused unbelievable heartache and misery for countless Americans. I’ve seen and heard about the damage they produce firsthand as I’ve spoken on digestive health and have been privileged to personally meet with so many of you over the years.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been thought to be so safe that they are now available over the counter. The only difference between a person’s prescription PPI and the ones at the drugstore is the dosage. So we can do math, can’t we? More heartburn? Just take more Nexium, omeprazole, or similar. NO!

Don’t get me wrong. These drugs can be life saving – short term. That’s the key – short term. While a person is healing from an ulcer or surgery it can be absolutely essential to decrease the amount of acid that’s created in the stomach so the tissues can heal properly. After the healing is complete, those drugs need to go – fast!

Even after a short period of time it can be challenging to wean off PPIs. The longer you depend on them, the harder it becomes. We think of addictions and what comes to mind is pain pills or heroin. Sadly, proton pump inhibitors are every bit as physically addicting, just in a different way.

Morgan Grams, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health led the research resulting in the upcoming JAMA Internal Medicine article. The study focused on evaluating the potential for PPIs to increase the chances you’ll develop chronic kidney disease. While the report wasn’t conclusive in itself, the findings were disturbing enough to cause Grams to warn all of us to only use these drugs when they are absolutely necessary.

Here’s the core issue. If you experience heartburn or indigestion of any type, there’s a reason. Your body is trying to tell you that something needs to be changed. Often it’s your diet (sorry, but that’s the truth). Actually, dietary shift can make a huge positive impact on digestive issues over 80% of the time.

It also might be that it’s time to purchase some digestive enzymes. As we age, our enzyme and acid production decreases so we can use a little help in that regard.

Commonly, after years of unhealthy eating habits, our internal bacterial balance is way out of wack. Probiotics can be your lifesaver in this case.

I implore you – before you start popping PPIs to quell that burning feeling, get a tiny bit creative. Try other digestive aids. Even bust way out of your box and consider a different eating plan! It’s not fun to suffer. I know that. However ignoring the real issue that is screaming for your attention by covering up the symptom will come back to bite you – possibly in your kidneys.

I wish only good digestion for you always!

4 Tips to Light Up 2016!

Filed in Adults, Cold and Flu, Constipation, Diet, Digestive Health, Enzymes, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Sleep, Sugar | Posted by Brenda Watson on 01/02/2016


So now the decadent celebrations are behind us and it’s time to recommit to our healthy selves. However, there may be some leftovers in the frig, and also those delicious gifts you may have received may still be close by! If the gifts were well-sealed, re-gifting may be an option. Donation is a good idea too. Okay, I’m smiling.

I was devilishly curious, and decided to search “Favorite New Year’s Foods” on the internet. Whew! I felt bloated just reading the ideas! Between the Lobster Mac and Cheese and the Peanut Butter Parfait (peanut butter, banana and bacon with waffle cookies – aptly labeled ‘Year-End Splurge’) not to mention the various New Year’s liquid libations – all I can say is WOW!

If your holiday season included any of these type of foods or drink, your digestion and overall health may be on a downslide about now. Not only that, but with so many people out and around, you’re more likely to be exposed to winter-time bugs that could land you on the couch with a cold or the flu. And it may have been, and might continue to be, difficult to pull off eight hours of sleep each night. After all, it’s time to get back to “real” life. The holidays many times take a toll, even as we love them so much.

I’d like to suggest some crucial supplements to light up your health in 2016. If you’re not already including these in your daily routine, visit your local health food or vitamin store to get the following today. Your body will thank you.

Digestive Enzymes
Let’s start by giving your digestive system some help breaking down those higher quality foods I’m sure you’ll be choosing now. Even good foods need the help of enzymes to release and absorb the nutrients within! Why end up with a stomachache when you can plan ahead by taking digestive enzymes with every meal and snack? Look for an enzyme formula that has:  Protease for protein digestion, Lipase for fat digestion and Amylase for carbohydrate digestion.  Take with or immediately after your meals to help you digest better during your days ahead.

Probiotics
Up to 80 percent of your immune system is in your gut. That one fact still fascinates me to this day—and I’ve been saying it for years! The 100 trillion bacteria in your digestive system play a vital role on your immune health. Eating a diet high in starchy carbohydrates and sugar—the epitome of what might have been your holiday fare—throws off the balance of bacteria in your gut. Taking a high-potency multistrain probiotic every day will help to keep your gut in balance and your immune system in check.

Constipation Control
If you tend toward constipation, especially when your diet is less than stellar, arm yourself with an effective constipation formula. Look for a product that contains magnesium hydroxide, which acts as a stool softener that will gently, yet effectively, help to improve your bowel movements. If you are not experiencing at least one healthy bowel movement per day (and by healthy I mean well-formed and at least one and a half feet long), then you need to do something about it. A good constipation formula without harsh stimulant herbs is your best bet to get your digestion moving regularly in the first place.

Sleep Help
If you find it difficult to fall asleep at night, your body and mind could be suffering. Adequate sleep is essential for you to perform at your best and make those new year’s resolutions your reality. If you can’t seem to settle in without tossing and turning each night, a sleep formula may help you. Look for a formula that contains L-theanine, 5-HTP, and melatonin, three ingredients that will help you rest easy as you make ready for this New Year.

I wish you good health and happiness as we say “Hello” and “Welcome” to 2016 together!