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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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    • Skin Health

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

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    • Brain Health

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

  • Diet & Health
    • Diet & Health

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

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

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Can Clutter Up My Weight?

Filed in Adults, Diet, Digestive Health, General, Household, Mental Health, The Skinny Gut Diet, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 02/19/2016

February seems to bring out the organizing, aligning, revising side of my personality. Maybe it’s the new year, or maybe it’s the coming of spring – I’m just ready to clear the clutter and move forward!

Even in the midst of chaos, the kitchen has always been one place I strive to maintain clean and clear. I was very interested to read this report conducted by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab on the value of an uncluttered kitchen.

In the final analysis it seems that clutter in the kitchen fuels an out of control mindset, and triggers indulging in snacks and comfort food (in this report, cookies).

With that in mind, I thought I’d offer some tips on clearing your kitchen environment and prepping for successful snacks. As we called these types of concepts in Skinny Gut Diet – Power Tools!

First, if your kitchen is cluttered, it could be your cabinets are so full that extra objects have to sit on your counter because they have nowhere else to go. Scan through your cabinets one at a time and lessen the load. Box up the stuff you never use, and move the once or twice a year plates, pots or appliances to a higher, less trafficked shelf. This will help get objects off the counter and out of sight. Ahhh…

A small basket might do the trick for the paperwork that tends to piles up. If you live with others, possibly designate a place where everyone’s homeless mystery items might be placed until they are put in their proper location.

Next let’s organize the kind of snacks that support your clear minded goals. The value of allotting some time on the weekend to plan your weekly snacks cannot be over-emphasized!

Since eating at least an ounce of protein every 2-3 hours helps to balance your blood sugar and eliminate cravings, easy-to-grab protein snacks make things simple.

Roll-ups are a favorite at my house. Sliced proteins like turkey or ham and cheese, with a slice of pickle, a bit of sauerkraut, mustard, a slice of avocado or red pepper in the middle are very satisfying. Sometimes we roll them in a veggie leaf. For clean fingers, cover them with a paper towel and store in a plastic bag, a few at a time.

Pre-measuring single serve packets of almonds or sunflower seeds is a great strategy when you’re on the go. Tip – beware of carrying full canisters of nuts with you. Although nuts can be great snacks, overindulgence in these foods will demolish your low carb eating plan. Remember – nuts and seeds have as many carbs as they do protein in most cases.

Please believe me, the time it takes to pre-prepare your protein snacks (and lunches too) will pay off happily as your cravings cease, your blood sugar stabilizes, and your unwanted pounds shed.

And for a natural boost to your mindset, explore and enjoy lots of fermented foods, from pickles to kefir to sauerkraut to kimchi. According to research, those good bacteria just may balance your mood, helping you remain calm and collected in the midst of a day that may not resemble your clean and tidy kitchen at all!

Clutter – be gone! And let healthy snacks take your place!

Beware of the BPA Substitute

Filed in Environmental Toxins, Household | Posted by Brenda Watson on 08/13/2014

You have likely heard of bisphenol A (BPA), the hormone disrupting chemical found in many plastics. In fact, you may even purchase ‘BPA-free’ plastics in an effort to minimize your exposure to BPA. Many of us do. But you might want to rethink your approach based on some new research. The chemical that manufacturers use to replace BPA is BPS, or bisphenol S. As the name suggests, BPS is similar to BPA. Due to this similarity, some researchers have questioned the safety of BPS.

In a recent study presented at the meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society, researchers found that young zebrafish (which exhibit similar development as humans, surprisingly) had increased hyperactivity and brain changes when they had been exposed to BPS during brain development stages early in life.

“BPS, termed the safe alternative to BPA, may be equally as harmful to developing brains,” noted Deborah Kurrasch, PhD, lead researcher. “Society must place increased pressure on decision makers to remove all bisphenol compounds from manufacturing processes.”

BPA has been linked to many conditions, including obesity, reproductive cancers, and hyperactivity in children. Could it be that BPS induces similar harmful effects?

This is not the first study to suggest BPS is not the safe alternative we think it is. And it won’t be the last. Until they find a better, safer substitute, your best bet is to avoid plastic containers as much as possible. Opt for glass instead, which is about as safe as it gets when it comes to chemicals. Glass is inert, so it won’t leach any toxins. Be sure to share this news with others, because I suspect many people don’t realize that ‘BPA free’ may not be as safe as we are led to believe.

Chemicals in Food Packaging May Be Harmful to Health

Filed in Environmental Toxins, Household | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/21/2014

You may not think about the chemicals used to produce the wide range of packaging that encases the foods you buy and eat on a regular basis, but it might be time to do so. Environmental scientists warn that these chemicals might be harmful to our health over the long term, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. The scientists call this packaging food contact materials (FMCs)—as the name suggests, these are packaging, storage, processing, or preparation materials that come into direct contact with food.

There are over 4,000 different chemicals used in FMCs, and the effects of these chemicals on humans is not even being considered in routine toxicological tests. “Since most foods are packaged, and the entire population is likely to be exposed, it is of utmost importance that gaps in knowledge are reliably and rapidly filled,” state the researchers.

Although not legally considered contaminants, FMCs are a significant source of food contamination, the researchers say. “As a result, humans consuming packaged or processed foods are chronically exposed to synthetic chemicals at low levels throughout their lives, including the most sensitive periods of development.”

They call for studies into the effects of these widespread chemicals and their associations to disease. Currently, we hear about some of these toxins—BPA and phthalates are the most common, but there are so many more that aren’t even being considered. In the meantime, when you purchase food, try to minimize packaging as much as possible. Purchase your food in glass containers—the most inert of all packaging—when possible. Just be sure to recycle!–

EWGs Dirty Dozen Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals

Filed in General, Household | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/20/2013

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is at it again. Famous for their Dirty Dozen list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides, EWG has a new Dirty Dozen—for hormone-disrupting chemicals. They have compiled a list of the 12 worst endocrine-disrupting chemicals and how to avoid them. Here is the list:

  1. Bisphenol A (BPA)
  2. Dioxin
  3. Atrazine
  4. Phthalates
  5. Perchlorate
  6. Fire retardants
  7. Lead
  8. Arsenic
  9. Mercury
  10. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
  11. Organophosphate pesticides
  12. Glycol esters

For more information about these chemicals, their damaging effects, and how you can avoid them, see EWG’s guide here.