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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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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!

More Strategies for Eliminating Toxins Effectively

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


eliminating toxins with skin brush - brendawatson.com

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

 

Focused Liver Detoxification

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

Why do we need to target the liver? 

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

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

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

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

These nutrients:

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

Morning formula:

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

Night formula:

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

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

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

 

Sweating

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dry Skin Brushing

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

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

 

Soaks and Baths 

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

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

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

 

Colon Hydrotherapy

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

 

Hydrate with Water

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

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

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

 

Eat and Drink Your Greens!

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

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

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

Texts – New Teenage Health Food?

Filed in Diet, Fermentation, General, Leaky Gut, Skin, Teens, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 08/19/2016


Texts are like health food for teens - brendawatson.com

Are your kids back to school yet? If not, hang in there, the time is fast approaching! And perhaps this year, you can consider sending healthy texts to make a difference in what your teen chooses to eat! Now that’s a novel idea~

My beloved granddaughter has been staying with me this summer and she’s off to college on Monday. Add to that her birthday was last Wednesday, so to celebrate Stan and I took her on a trip to the Florida Keys. To increase the fun we invited some close friends of ours that have teenage daughters too. It was a non-stop texting and photo shoot (whatever did one do before the selfie?), tons of laughs and of course a food fest!

I had to grin when I checked out the Wall Street Journal and saw this article – “Appeal to Teens Vanity to Get Them to Eat Better”. I just lived and breathed that title!

The study published online in the British Journal of Health Psychology stated that “teenagers are more likely to eat healthier foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, if they are reminded it will improve their emotional well-being, attitude and appearance”.

I’ll bet you’re not surprised that the daily reminders were delivered via text. The abstract of the actual study can be found here. In a nutshell, texting proved to be a helpful tool in stimulating teenagers, ages 14 to 19, to increase their positive nutrient consumption.

While teens who received texts about increased health benefits and decreased cancer risk did consume more fruits and veggies than a control group that didn’t receive texts, the group that showed the most improvement in their eating habits received texts that focused on optimistic attitudes and a more attractive appearance.

That makes perfect sense to me. When I was that age, prevention and disease processes were the furthest things from my mind. After all, when you’re a teenager, it’s very clear you’ll live forever, won’t you? That’s the attitude that makes jumping off bridges and rock climbing just another day in the life! How I looked and how happy I was were of paramount importance!

As I consider these findings, I realize once again that the most important reminders any teenager can receive are those he or she experiences right at home. My granddaughter will come into the kitchen when something different is being prepared, and although her adorable nose may turn up a bit, her curiosity wins out time and again. You see, for years I’ve offered whole food, sometimes unusual substitutes for processed junk food on my table. As a grandmother, my influence goes only so far, but I believe that the seeds of health awareness have been firmly planted.

I find it a bit unsettling that she is recently recognizing more and more food sensitivities. Those allergic reactions point to Leaky Gut Syndrome and damage already done to the intestinal wall. Sadly, gut dysfunctions are happening at earlier ages than ever before, even in those considered “healthy teens”. (Tip for Mom – fortify your teen’s belly with a good probiotic daily!)

My granddaughter’s path is her own, and never before was her independence asserted more than during this vacation. She’s growing up and I look forward to watching her become a fine young woman. She knows I’m always here for her.

I’m thinking perhaps I should consider creating a series of texts that will let her know that live greens and fermented foods will make her skin glow (and that’s the total truth)!

Or maybe I will sneak a copy of Skinny Gut Diet into her suitcase. She just might get bored and read it one day – especially if I tell her she will definitely be even more beautiful if she does!

Glowing Skin From Your Gut

Filed in Diet, Fermentation, Omega-3 & Fish Oil, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Skin, The Skinny Gut Diet | Posted by Brenda Watson on 07/22/2016


Biking, hiking, picnics, swimming – all these activities can place stress on your skin. While a small amount of sun helps support your vitamin D levels, too much can provide more than just a healthy glow.

While we all have sunscreen and hats, the truth of the matter is that a really healthy skin glow actually comes from inside out.

I thought I would take a few minutes to offer some easy and very effective tips on maintaining that glow we hope will last on our skin for decades.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are just that – essential for skin health, specifically omega-3s and omega-6s. Your body can’t produce those EFAs, so they need to be included in our daily nutritional choices. Omega-6s are easily obtained from our diets. In fact, there is more concern about too many omega-6s than too few, so lets discuss how to up those critical omega-3 levels.

Did you know that walnuts, flaxseeds, leafy green veggies are high in omega-3s. However, in order for your body to convert these foods to the form that your skin requires it takes energy, enzymes and a properly functioning digestive system. That’s why if you’re serious about making sure your omega-3 levels are up to par, you’ll probably choose high quality fish or omega-3 fish oil supplements.

Increasing antioxidants is a good idea as well, as they are depleted by not only sun exposure, but also by stress and environmental chemicals. Antioxidants block cellular destruction and slow the aging process.

Great news – your diet can easily and deliciously be rich in antioxidants! Goji berries, wild blue berries, cranberries, blackberries and dark chocolate are excellent sources, (keeping in mind your teaspoons of sugar if you’re following the Skinny Gut Diet). I’m happy to tell you that spinach and kale are also rich with antioxidants along with artichokes, cilantro and pecans.

Green tea has long been appreciated for its antioxidant properties as well. And of course, supplements can fill the gap if you’re on the go and don’t feel you’re getting enough dietary support.

Fermented foods and probiotics support digestive balance. Skin health ultimately comes back to the gut. Your skin is a reflection of your digestive system. If your intestinal system is inflamed, your skin, which is your largest organ of elimination, may be the avenue your body uses to deal with those toxins! Fermented foods and probiotics maintain digestive balance while providing additional immune support and myriad other critical functions for vibrant health.

And last but not least (for right now anyway) – your vitamin D levels could surely benefit from some supplementation too. We are almost universally as a nation vitamin D deficient. Make a point to have those levels checked, as vitamin D is critical to skin health and overall well being.

I love the water, I love the Florida sun, and I also really love my skin. I hope these tips will be helpful for you as you enjoy the rest of the summer along with me.

 

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.

Let’s Talk Shower Health

Filed in Adults, Personal Care, Skin | Posted by Brenda Watson on 01/08/2016


When you hopped into the shower this morning, chances are you didn’t give a lot of thought to the water temperature. You prepared your shower like you have time and again, perhaps precisely the same for years.

Showers for me range from gloriously relaxing after a particularly intense workout to very rudimentary – in and out as quickly as possible. Now I can add that I’ve learned something about one doctor’s idea of optimum conditions for a maximally healthful experience. So for fun, I thought I’d share this info.

Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist with the Cleveland Clinic was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. You can read the entire article here.

Bottom line:

Optimum temperature – 112 degrees Fahrenheit. (No, I don’t expect you to carry a thermometer in the shower. Pleasantly warm and not uncomfortably hot seems to be the suggested “just right” heat intensity.)

Yet again this is one of those ‘age dependent’ situations. It seems as we mature, our protective lipid layer replenishes itself at a slower pace. It’s important to do our best to maintain that precious layer as it provides our skin its youthful appearance. So taking two showers a day at 40 may reveal dry patches that simply weren’t there at 20.

I enjoyed Dr. Piliang’s analogy comparing the action of the hot water to washing butter off a knife. In our skin’s case, we want the butter to remain even as we release environmental toxins and bacteria. Sadly, according to the doctor, applied emollient products don’t effectively replace the oils we lose.

As for that quick 15-second blast of cold water at the end of the shower – seems it may be great for aligning the keratin on the hair, giving it a smooth appearance that better reflects light. And cold water splashed on the face after the facial pores are nice and clean may close them up tight for a more vibrant look.

On a bit more serious note, while you may have a world class filter on your tap water in the kitchen where you and your family drink, unfortunately showering in water that contains chlorine or chloramines may present a substantial health risk – one you may not have considered. Please give some thought to the purchase of a shower filter. It will greatly improve those precious benefits of shower-time even more!

Here’s to your clean and radiant health!

Bacteria and the Skin

Filed in Human Microbiome, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Skin | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/18/2014


When someone talks about the bacteria that are found in and on the human body, the conversation usually turns to the gut because that is where the majority of these microbes are found. But the skin is an often overlooked habitat for a large diversity of microbes that are only recently being recognized as important for human health.

In a new study published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) journal, researchers found a difference in the bacteria on the skin of people with wounds that heal quickly compared to those on people with chronic wounds. “Our data clearly support the idea that one could swab a wound, profile the bacteria that are there and then be able to tell whether the wound is likely to heal quickly or persist, which could impact treatment options,” stated Matthew Hardman, PhD.

They also found that mice lacking a certain gene had a different array of bacteria that were associated with slower wound healing. The gene has also been linked to Crohn’s disease and is known to help cells recognize and respond to bacteria. “Taken together, our studies in humans and mice offer good evidence that the skin microbiome has a direct effect on how we heal,” noted Hardman.

While the bacteria on skin play a role in skin health, recent research has found that probiotics, when taken orally, also affect skin health. The study, by scientists from L’Oreal and published in the journal Beneficial Microbes, found that two months of supplementation with the probiotic Lactobacillus paracasei NCC 2461 (ST11) decreased the reactivity of skin in people with sensitive skin when compared to placebo. The study will likely lead to the development of a nutritional approach to skin sensitivity—a beauty-from-the-inside-out approach.

The skin is the body’s largest organ and protects us from invaders in a similar way as the digestive tract protects the inside of the body from potential invaders within the digestive system. So it makes sense that bacteria also play a vital role to the health of the skin. We will likely see that the bacteria on our skin also play a role in many different areas of health.