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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.

Manage Stress Effectively – Energize!

Filed in Adults, Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Exercise, Sleep, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/26/2017


manage stress with bands - brendawatson.com

Today let’s continue to Energize as we move through the RENEW Total Body Detox program, fully described in Detox Strategy! I’d like to share two of my favorite movement programs with you – as I promised in my last post. As we Energize we are better able to manage stress in all areas of our lives.

 

Rebounding to Health

A rebounder, aka mini-trampoline, is an excellent detoxification tool. Most sporting goods stores carry rebounders or you can find many rebounder suppliers online.

No matter your fitness level, there is a rebounder program for you. Even a “soft walk”, where you simply shift your weight from one foot to another, lifting your heels as you do so, serves to stimulate that ever-important lymph flow. Rebounding so effectively moves lymphatic fluid that it has been referred to as “lymphasizing”.

In addition to clearing the lymph glands, rebounding will provide aerobic exercise (once you’ve worked up to a sustained motion for fifteen to twenty minutes), oxygenating your body.

When you jump up and down on a rebounder, the force of gravity alternately pulls and then releases each cell. Toxic material is flushed out and nutrients are absorbed. During this process white blood cells are also produced. Even a short (two- to three-minute) rebounding session will dramatically increase your white blood cell production, again strengthening your immunity.

Rebounding also exercises the musculoskeletal system, protects and strengthens the cardiovascular and peripheral vascular systems, and helps restore bone density.

It’s best to use your rebounder at least once daily. Short, frequent rebounding sessions can be as beneficial as a single long one. You may find this a simple way to effectively manage stress.

Of course, if you have health issues, always consult with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise routine.

 

Exercise Bands for Strength Training

There are many benefits that are realized as you increase your strength. These include:

  • Injury prevention through correction of muscle imbalances
  • Delay (or even reversal) of muscle mass loss experienced with aging
  • Decrease in total cholesterol and improvement in the ratio of good to bad cholesterol (lowering the risk of heart disease
  • Increased bone density
  • Increased circulation that moves toxins and amplified the body’s detox process

It may be difficult to find time to visit a gym inside of the busy lifestyles that we live these days. Using exercise bands for strength training allows for a work out anytime.

These flexible elastic bands or tubes provide a progressive stimulus to your muscles to help build lean mass and increase your strength. Initially used in rehabilitation setting, exercise bands are rapidly becoming common in a variety of fitness and sports settings.

The bands are extremely portable and don’t take up much space, fitting easily into your overnight bag, purse or backpack. You can go through a complete workout program using just a couple of bands with different resistance levels. And you don’t need a lot of space to do your routine.

Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of exercise bands for me personally is that they don’t aggravate my chronic neck problems. People with pain issues can safely and comfortably work with resistance bands in a number of effective ways. Bands don’t rely on the force of gravity to provide resistance like exercise machines and dumbbells. Instead, it’s the stretching of the band that creates the resistance: the further you stretch it, the greater the resistance. Simple, safe and easy to manage.

Not only do the bands increase strength, but they also help build flexibility, power, balance, and speed. And because they improve circulation, they help you maximize your body’s detoxification at the cellular level. Extra added benefit – they stimulate burning off fat, which eliminates more toxins, while increasing lean muscle mass and improving your overall fitness! And all these improved functions will serve to help you manage stress with ease.

 

In Conclusion – Mind Your Spirit to Manage Stress

To Energize, sometimes we need to exercise more than our physical bodies by addressing and nurturing that all-important mind-body connection.

I’m a big believer in engaging in activities that help one cope with inevitable stress and create a relaxed mind. We all live busy lives and typically have more to-dos than we can possibly handle. Learning to relax both mind and body is the key to inner peace, increased confidence and a sense of wellbeing. More accomplishment will be yours, both at home and at work. You’ll feel more alive and capable to handle whatever stressors may present.

I have blogged often on the importance of getting enough sleep to reduce the stress levels in your body. Just about every system in the body, including the detoxification process, is affected by the quality and amount of sleep you get nightly. A full eight hours has been found optimal to maintain your metabolism and supporting hormonal balance. Establishing habits that support healthful sleep patterns will result in boundless rewards in the areas of vitality and energy.

For some people, physical exercise is enough to de-stress and provide much needed relaxation. For others, a practice such as yoga and mediation prove more effective. As I mentioned previously, I find yoga to truly help me become more attuned to my body and its needs. I’m able to tap a source of renewed strength and spirit to deal with life effectively.

Your personal journey to manage stress can take many forms. Many people find great value in counseling or perhaps reading and listening to enlightening material. Whatever form works for you, choose to engage regularly. Dedication to the practice of decreasing stress, perhaps more than any other pursuit, will reward you with the life you love to live.

Energize, Power Up! through Breath and Movement

Filed in Adults, Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Digestive Health, Environmental Toxins, Exercise, Herbal Cleansing, Skin, Stress, The Detox Strategy, The Road to Perfect Health, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/23/2017


Energize woman with dog-brendawatson.com

Today I’d like to focus on the second E in the RENEW Total Body Detox program as you Energize your entire body – and by that I mean your immune system as well as your mind and spirit. Listen closely – I don’t encourage you to add new movement programs into your schedule until you have developed your stable routine around food choices.

It’s important to understand that a functional lymphatic system is a critical aspect of detoxification. You’ll recall that lymph is the clear fluid filled with immune cells that moves around the body in a series of vessels, delivering nutrients and collecting cellular waste while helping to destroy pathogens. Both breathing and movement serve to powerfully stimulate lymph flow and immune function.

 

The Magic of Deep Breathing

The mere act of breathing in and out encourages lymph circulation through the body. The deeper you breathe, the more you can achieve this effect. It has long been known that exercise stimulates this movement of lymphatic fluid, but the role of breathing wasn’t entirely recognized until technology provided the means to photograph lymph flow. This direct observation shows that deep breathing causes the lymph to shoot through the capillaries like a geyser. Therefore, you can think of the breath as the pump for stimulation of lymph flow.

Our daily lives are stressful and most of us are shallow breathers, which means we just breathe in our upper chest, and don’t fill the diaphragm, rib cage and intestinal area regularly with oxygen. So here is a good breathing exercise you can do anywhere, at any time.

Simple breath to free stress – and Energize~

As you inhale, count to 7 and allow your ribcage and abdomen to expand. Then hold that breath for a count of 7. Finally slowly exhale to the count of 7. Try it and let me know if you feel the same stress relief that I notice whenever I remember to do this simple process.

 

The Magic of Movement

Movement of your body squeezes lymph nodes, which are concentrated in the neck, underarms, groin and behind the knees, helping to pump toxins out of the body.

Slow movement exercises, such as yoga and tail chi can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. Yoga, which I like to do, focuses on both stretching and controlled breathing.

Walking, one of the most accessible forms of exercise is also the perfect starting point for people who are not accustomed to any type of physical activity. As you build up to longer, more rigorous walks you’ll begin to sweat more and unload toxins through your skin.

Whether you’re choosing a 20-30 minute walk after dinner each night, or three 10-minute walks throughout the day, your health benefit will be the same. Leisurely, slow-paced strolls won’t accomplish this if your goal is to Energize.

Your goal in any movement program over time will be increase the workload of your lungs and heart. You’ll notice your heart rate will naturally increase as your breathing comes more quickly (and deeply).

A word of caution here. If you are transitioning from a sedentary lifestyle into one that incorporates regular exercise, please start slowly. Gradually increase the time you engage in your chosen activity and the intensity of your effort. All too often I watch people go too fast and end up tired, strained, and sometimes injured. Before long, they are physically and mentally burned out. They lose interest and soon enough they are back where they started. Please don’t let this be you!

No matter your movement choice, remember to place your attention on your breath, keeping in mind how effective full breathing is to your health. I can’t stress this often enough.

 Awesome benefits of movement!

Check out these 13 inspirational reasons to exercise! You will dramatically support detoxification at many levels, too.

  1. Increased stamina and energy
  2. Increased flexibility
  3. Increased blood circulation
  4. Better sleep
  5. Stress reduction
  6. Increased self-esteem and sense of well-being
  7. Increased oxygen supply to cells and tissues
  8. Increased muscle strength, tone and endurance
  9. Release of brain chemicals called endorphins that act as natural tranquilizers
  10. Increased progesterone and decreased estrogen production in women, potentially easing PMS and cramps
  11. Decreased food cravings
  12. Decreased blood sugar levels
  13. Weight distribution and maintenance

Stretching and Cooling Down 

Don’t forget to stretch after any exercise routine (never before). Stretching is important to keep your body limber, but it should not be done without having warmed up your muscles first through other exercises. Stretching will then help your muscles recover faster, prevent tightening, and increase flexibility. Your goal is to comfortably hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

 

Endocrine system out of balance? Energize!

No discussion of tools to Energize your body can be complete without recognizing the hormonal system and the impact that has on your overall vitality. Your hormonal system includes many more organs and glands than those I’ll mention here. The complex interaction of your endocrine glands intensely affects you in so many ways including your sleep, your weight, and your overall sense of wellbeing. A full discussion of these systems is out of the scope of this post, but can be found in my recent book, The Road to Perfect Health.

Today’s tips will focus specifically on the adrenal and thyroid glands.

As discussed previously, toxins like fire retardants and perchlorate from dry cleaning can impact the efficiency of these endocrine glands.

According to thyroid.org, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.

Additionally, adrenal fatigue is a surprisingly common affliction, with some experts stating that 80 percent of the Western world can expect to be affected at some point in their lives, as stated by adrenalfatiguefocus.org.

Please check back shortly for my next post where I will detail two of my favorite movement exercise programs – rebounding and strength training with exercise bands. Until then – breathe and Energize!

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!

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.

Dementia Concerns? Speed-training!

Filed in Brain, Dementia, Digestive Health, Exercise, Mental Health, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 08/05/2016


Dementia in Brain Strengthened by Speed Reading - brendawatson.com

Have you ever worried that dementia might creep up on you? If so, do you have any idea what you might do now to lessen your chances of dementia developing? I know that I’ll do just about anything to maintain the sparkle in my brain! I think I found something great for us. I’d like to introduce you to a computer exercise named “speed-training”.

An article I read in the Wall Street Journal described the results of a 10-year study regarding dementia. It was reported that speed-training may greatly reduce our future risk of developing dementia.

The study funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Nursing Research, involved 2,832 healthy individuals between the ages of 65 and 94. Research was conducted at six sites around the US. It was a random trial where participants would receive one of three cognitive training programs, with a fourth group set up as a control. The study continued for 10 years!

The results of the ‘first of its kind’ study were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last July 24th. Toronto was the site of this event which was the world’s largest gathering of Alzheimer’s researchers in one place. The study, named ‘Active’ (Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly) was very happily received.

The speed-training subjects were initially given 10 one-hour training sessions over five weeks, with an instructor on hand should help be needed. Booster sessions were provided for certain participant groups a year later and then three years later. As I mentioned earlier, the subjects were followed for 10 years.

Some participants only received an initial 10 hours of training at the start of the study. This group demonstrated on average a 33% lower risk for developing dementia all those years later. The group that received the additional follow-up sessions showed a risk reduction of 48%! Please note however that these results are still considered preliminary pending peer review and publication.

No matter, I find these initial findings very hopeful! I was pleased to learn that the computer program is available now since it’s common for exciting research data to be presented years ahead of our ability to actually make use of it.

I was interested to read that the Active study included previous research on other brain training as a part of their report. At different points, I have initiated these types of programs into my own daily routines. 

As presented, tthree different types of brain training studied all led to improvements in cognitive function and the ability to perform daily living skills, such as preparing a meal. Especially relevant is that speed-training surpassed the other techniques in reducing the incidence of at-fault car crashes and averting declines in health. I was truly excited to learn that it seemed to be effective in preventing symptoms of depression too. Now that’s some computer program, I’d say!

The specific exercise used in the study was developed by the research team. However usage rights were acquired by Posit Science of San Francisco. They’ve developed a more user-friendly version of the game called Double Decision. That program is now part of the company’s BrainHQ online service. A monthly subscription including access to Double Decision is $14/month or $96/yr.

Speed-training is designed to improve the speed and accuracy of processing visual information and expand the useful field of view (UFOV). UFOV is the visual area within which a person can make quick decisions and pay attention without moving their eye or head. It seems UFOV decreases as we age, and a decline in UFOV is associated with a decreased ability to perform daily tasks, particularly driving a car.

Clinical studies on the brain that validate subjective testimonials can be hard to find. That’s why I am excited to discover a study like this.

“For the majority of brain fitness products sold today the marketing hype has exceeded the science. The Active results will definitely provide a big credibility boost to the field,” says Murali Doraiswamy, director of the neuro-cognitive disorders program at Duke University Health System in Durham, N.C.

I certainly imagine this is just the first of many long-term studies with a focus on brain fitness. A future clinical trial has already been proposed to determine the optimal dose of speed-training (that’s a question that occurred to me!). The research team also wants to clarify the effects this activity has on the brain.

Speed-training seems to offer huge benefits with very minimal risk, if any at all. Imagine if we couple brain fitness exercise with food choices that support brain and body health.  Dr. Perlmutter makes excellent suggestions in Brain Maker and I know that Skinny Gut Diet recommendations are great brain food, too! These reasonable efforts can yield giant rewards over time. Brain exercise and brain diet are a natural pair.

By the way, the recommended time to begin speed-training is age 50. Have you tried this exercise or one like it? Did you feel that the time you spent was valuable? Please let me know. My wish for you is a clear mind and healthy body always!

Food Journal Into Summer Clothes

Filed in Adults, Diet, Digestive Health, Exercise, General, The Skinny Gut Diet | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/20/2016


Food Journal for Weight Loss - brendawatson.com

As the days get longer (and in this area of the country, much hotter) thoughts turn to swimming prospects, and inevitably to bathing suits. While it’s easy to ignore weight loss goals while bundled in coats and boots, once again at this time of year, they tend to move up in priority.
So let’s dust off an excellent tool that will help jumpstart your quest to attain your perfect weight for your frame – and this year’s bathing suit. Begin a new food journal!

Please don’t groan. The whole experience can now be much less labor intensive than years ago. In the past you could only write in your daily entries manually and then you had to research the nutrient content in a separate way. I’m so grateful to our original Renew HOPE Foundation clients who tracked their foods carefully during the years we offered those programs. The data we gathered multiplied in value later as we gathered research for Skinny Gut Diet.

Fortunately, with the wonderful apps available to anyone with a computer or cell phone, the information gathered by the participants in our Skinny Gut Diet project was considerably less tedious. Today digital options for recording your daily eats abound, even including photo journaling.

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion of food journaling recently in the Wall Street Journal. While very useful for identifying food allergies and triggers for gut symptoms, far and away food journals are most commonly used for weight loss.

The article points out a number of interesting studies that validate food journaling as a great tool in support of your weight loss goals.

Over the years I have observed the people most successful with their food journal are consistent and accurate, carefully logging their foods until the habit is established. Then the accountability factor kicks in. As weeks go by, “aha” moments are joyfully attained and real and lasting change takes place.

So why do a large number of people find the food journal process, whether computerized or handwritten, nothing but a tiresome chore? Truth is, it takes more than a just few days to achieve those “aha!” realizations, and far too often the commitment to journaling ends in the length of time it takes fish to spoil in the refrigerator!

I appreciate the study info provided by My Fitness Pal stating that people who have friends on the app and connect regularly seem to lose twice as much weight as those who don’t connect with friends. Personally I think that interpersonal support is critical for almost everything in life. Another Power Tool – Sharing with Others!

By the way, My Fitness Pal was the app we were able to edit and use in Skinny Gut Diet and we continue to appreciate it in our community today. Because Skinny Gut Diet focuses on counting nutrients rather than calories, it was fortunate that the program allowed changes to be made regarding nutrients tracked.

I also really liked the suggestion in the article to write out what you plan to eat and record it in your food journal before eating it. It seems the process can be a deterrent to poor choices. Planning ahead has always been the cornerstone of success – for me at least. Great idea!

Some people enjoy merging food journaling with exercise tracking. It seems to help them to maintain interest. Others are best engaged when they can comment on emotional and physical experiences and relate them back to food choices.

In Skinny Gut Diet we used food journaling as one of our Power Tools. Have you had success with journaling in the past? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Toxic Heart, Toxic Body

Filed in Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Environmental Toxins, Exercise, Heart Disease, Heart of Perfect Health, High blood pressure, Inflammation, Skin, Stroke | Posted by Brenda Watson on 02/26/2016


As American Heart Month 2016 winds down, I’d like to shift my focus to an area that we don’t always associate with heart issues – toxins. Toxins are everywhere; there is no doubt about it. In the air we breathe, in the water we drink, in the food we eat, in our homes, in most products we use—even in the most pristine places on earth—toxins are there. Truth is, toxin accumulation can directly impact our cardiovascular system, and many times will manifest as high blood pressure, increased atherosclerosis, and ultimately heart issues.

Toxins are chemicals that interfere with normal functions in the body, and most have been associated with adverse health effects. At this point, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regularly measure over 200 toxic compounds, tracking the levels in different aspects of our population. However there are 80,000 chemicals currently in use! Although the CDC adds new chemicals to track annually, it’s simple to see that we will never be able to really understand the full impact of the substances we’re all exposed to. The sad fact is many chemicals contribute to cardiovascular disease – either directly, or indirectly – through an increase in oxidative stress and general systemic inflammation.

So what is oxidative stress, also known as oxidation anyhow? It is one of the main drivers of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is at the root cause of heart disease, and for that matter, all other chronic disease as well.

Consider this analogy illustrating the destructive properties of oxidation: Oxidation is like a punch thrown from a bully (the oxidant), and it can easily lead to a full-blown fight if enough molecules get involved. Destruction results. Oxidation occurs when there are not enough antioxidants (the peacekeepers) around.

Oxidative stress triggers inflammation and regarding cardiovascular issues, it initiates the destruction of the lining of the blood vessels, called endothelial dysfunction.

Atherosclerosis involves endothelial dysfunction and chronic inflammation in the artery walls, progressing to the buildup of plaque and eventual cardiac complications such as heart attack and stroke. So I’m sure you can clearly see how toxins that increase oxidative stress are definitely the enemy. And antioxidants are our friends.

It is a myth that nothing can be done about toxin exposure. The fact of the matter is that supporting the body’s seven channels of elimination – colon, liver, lungs, lymph, kidneys, skin, and blood – through diet and cleansing will help improve the body’s natural detoxification abilities. A healthy eating plan and cleansing routine will fortify your heart right along with every other part of your body.

In addition to the antioxidants your body naturally produces, you also obtain antioxidants from your diet. A diet high in antioxidants includes plenty of deeply colored fruits and vegetables. This important step helps decrease oxidative stress and general systemic inflammation.

Regular exercise stimulates sweating and the release of toxins from your skin. Different herbal formulas help support the organs of elimination. Next month I plan to discuss cleansing in more detail.

In my book, Heart of Perfect Health, I offer information and targeted programs designed to protect your heart for the rest of your life. Toxins may be all around us, but we have ways to release them – and renew our health.