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      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

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

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Self Serving Donations by Coke and Pepsi

Filed in Adults, Children, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity, Sugar, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 10/26/2016


Boy drinking Coke and Pepsi - brendawatson.com

Today I am unhappy to reveal dismaying behaviors of two specific corporations – Coke and Pepsi. This particular study reported by the New York Times examines data from 2009 – 2015 – very recent events.

Just last month I blogged on a study that revealed the dark manipulation of information that had occurred by the sugar industry back in the 1960’s. These deeds played a significant part in shaping the low fat/high carb food trends that in the end resulted in our current health epidemic of diabetes and heart disease.

This new study, published earlier this month in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, takes a comprehensive look at donations made to health organizations by beverage giants, Pepsi and Coke. At the very same time these corporations were spending millions of dollars lobbying against public health measures designed to tax sodas or educate about the associated dangers of sodas and obesity. Goodness gracious! What’s wrong with this picture?

In a nutshell – the goal of the Coke and Pepsi donations seems to be to distract public health groups from focusing on sugar related reforms. The following organizations are cited in the study as having received large contributions from Coke and/or Pepsi, and in many cases have subsequently “lost interest in” soda reform or tax initiatives, or oddly chose to take no position:

  • Save the Children – $5 million from Pepsi and seeking more from Coke
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – $525,000 from Coke in 2012 and $350,000 in 2013
  • N.A.A.C.P. – $1 million between 2010 & 2015 from Coke
  • Hispanic Federation – $600,000 between 2012 & 2015 from Coke
  • American Diabetes Foundation – $140,000 from Coke between 2012 & 2014
  • American Heart Association – $400,00 from Coke between 2010 & 2015

A tremendous amount of money has been spent in lobbying against soda reforms. In 2009 alone, a federal soda tax was proposed to curb obesity and help fund healthcare reform. Coke, Pepsi and the American Beverage Association together spent $38 million lobbying against the measure. That proposal didn’t have a snowballs chance… Additional millions have been spent in vigorous lobbying since then.

These are a just a few of the discoveries made by the study’s authors, Michael Siegel, a professor at the Boston University school of public health and Daniel Aaron, a student at Boston University’s medical school.

In a quote by Aaron, the study’s co-author “We wanted to look a what these companies (Coke and Pepsi) really stand for, and it looks like they are not helping public health at all – in fact they’re opposing it almost across the board, which called these sponsorships into question.” Sadly it appears that positions of “health groups” can be, and too often are, swayed by funding.

This report clearly shows that Coke and Pepsi spend a lot of money to look good, with thinly veiled ulterior motives. I doubt you’re tremendously surprised at this information. And I’m sure you’ll agree that knowledge is power. In truth, we all vote with the dollars we spend. Perhaps this information regarding how these companies conduct their business will impact the choices you make at the cash register.

Sickeningly Sweet Sugar Cover-up

Filed in Diabetes, Diet, Digestive Health, Heart Disease, Obesity, Sugar, The Skinny Gut Diet, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/23/2016


Hand Refuses Sugar - brendawatson.com

When I hear Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), I think of reports I’ve read on clinical trials, animal studies, and information that impacts disease processes. Last Monday a very different type of study was released, as reported by the The New York Times. This study reveals how the sugar industry paid scientists back in the 1960s to cover up the link between sugar and heart disease while purposefully blaming fat for cardiovascular issues. No kidding!

A large number of documents have been uncovered clearly proving that the Sugar Research Foundation, (today the Sugar Association) generously funded three well-respected Harvard scientists to write a prestigious article in the New England Journal of Medicine. Studies presented by men of this caliber shaped the conversations around nutritional practices at that time, and still do today. The handpicked studies that were included focused on the negative effects of saturated fat on heart health, minimizing any potential sugar issues, simply linking sugar to tooth decay.

Back in the 60’s, scientific discoveries were revered. Food manufacturers completely embraced the idea that fat was literally the cause of cardiovascular disease. As a result they removed the fat in their products. Removing fat left them with a big problem – fat makes food taste delicious! No fat, no flavor.

The sugar manufacturers were prepared. Sugar also stimulates taste buds. The switch was made. Food manufacturers from that point c hose to add sugar rather than fat to flavor their foods. The impact that one decision had on the American public is literally obscene.

Interesting tidbit – Mark Hegsted, one of the paid-off scientists, became the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1977 he helped create the precursor to our governmental dietary guidelines. I’m sure you remember that chart. At the base of that old food pyramid was carb after carb after carb. These days we realize that carbs become sugar in our bodies, with a very similar impact to eating table sugar! Seeds of obesity and diabetes were planted.

Fast forward to 2016. Diabetes and obesity are now in full force. In retrospect we can clearly grasp the sickening of America.

Back in the 60’s, science was revered. And at that time researchers were not required to disclose their funding sources. That transparency wasn’t encouraged as regular practice until the 80’s. Who knows what other scientific research was manipulated by unscrupulous nutritional (or pharmaceutical) factions? Someone does, and they’re not talking, we can be sure.

By the way, all associates in this group, executives as well as scientists, are no longer alive.

As our future unfolds, I would like to believe that our citizens today are more discerning with regard to information that they accept. Even mainstream news regularly offers sound advice to avoid sugars, processed carbs and processed foods of any sort these days. I’m happy to notice that we’ve come a long way!

I wrote Skinny Gut Diet specifically geared to help the busiest person achieve lasting health. This easy eating plan minimizes dietary sugars while maximizing the high quality proteins and fats that diminish aggravating sugar cravings. The great bonus is that these food choices help balance blood sugar and eliminate unwanted pounds too.

I invite you to check out our Skinny Gut principles and do some of research for yourself and your family. After all, those are the results that count the most!

And please, keep in touch with me as you shift your lifestyle and support your health!

4 Tips to Light Up 2016!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food as Medicine to Balance Your Blood Sugar

Filed in Diabetes, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Inflammation, Metabolic Syndrome, Sugar | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/13/2015


I’m so happy to see that people are becoming so much more aware of the sugar in their diets, and the impact it has on their health. The term “blood sugar” is now common in conversation and most of us are happy to learn of ways to control the fluctuations that may result in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, or other inflammatory conditions like cardiovascular issues.

Obviously eliminating the processed high carb, high sugar offerings is key. Exercise is also an integral piece. I’m not talking about Olympic endurance training. Simple movement like walking on a regular basis will be extremely supportive of your entire well being.

And personally I really enjoy the concept of food as my medicine. Here are some foods that research has found to have blood stabilizing effects on your day.

Anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant pigments found in red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables. In addition to balancing blood sugar and decreasing inflammation, they also have exhibited protective actions for the cells of the pancreas. So next time you enjoy berries, eggplant, black currants, red cabbage or dark beans you’re doing your blood sugar a big favor.

Apple cider vinegar slows down actions of your stomach and increases efficient utilization of glucose. It also has a positive effect on enzyme activity. If you are concerned about the possibility of type 2 diabetes, consuming apple cider vinegar at bedtime may help lower your next morning fasting glucose level.

Fiber, a personal favorite of mine, is a true friend to blood sugar balance. In short, fiber absorbs and dilutes the digestion process of carbohydrates and has demonstrated a decrease in post-meal blood sugar readings by an average of 20 percent. Populations in other countries that consume large amounts of fiber are virtually free of bowel diseases.

Both types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, are found to be helpful, so please be generous with those leafy greens, legumes, low-glycemic fruits, chia, hemp, ground flaxseed and psyllium and even some quality whole grains. Your blood sugar, and your overall digestion will appreciate it.

Chromium is a micromineral that is critical for sugar metabolism, and is widely available in supplement form. However it’s nice to know that you can find chromium in broccoli, organic eggs, barley, oats, green beans, onions, and nuts, so chromium can be delicious too.

This last suggestion may not be supported as conclusively by research as by traditions, and I’ll offer, enjoyment. Although there have been studies linking cinnamon with lower fasting blood glucose, it seems the effects are not long-lasting. Adding cinnamon to your steel cut oatmeal may directly help to balance your blood sugar for that meal, but you better keep the cinnamon shaker around for lunch and dinner as well.

In my experience, when cinnamon is added, many times it seems to satisfy my craving for something sweet. Have you noticed that too? So in a round-about way, that’s sugar control.

I hope these simple “food as medicine” suggestions will serve helpful on your own path to balanced blood sugar and excellent digestive health.

Demon Sugar Strikes Again!

Filed in Adults, Children, Chronic Disease, Diabetes, Diet, Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease - NAFLD, Obesity, Sugar, The Skinny Gut Diet, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/06/2015


This week it seemed there was an explosion of information shining the spotlight on the toxic effects of sugar. Not a new battle cry from me, of course. Still, to see such supportive scientific study done, especially with regard to protecting our younger generation, is heartening.

One unique study reported in Time magazine was particularly interesting. Please take a few moments to read Time’s article here.

The study was conducted by Dr. Robert Lustig, from the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Lustig is no stranger to educating people about the dangers of sugar through both books and research. He and his colleagues wanted to determine if sugar was more than just an incidental finding of metabolic syndrome. He was looking for causation, and he may have found it. He believes his study has produced the “hard and fast data that sugar is toxic irrespective of its calories and irrespective of weight.” Those are some fighting words!

The design was innovative in that it simply shifted foods containing added sugar to other types of foods, many times other carbohydrates. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 were the subjects of the 9 day trial, and there was no attempt at all to put the subjects on a “healthy” diet or to decrease the number of calories of foods consumed. In fact, the caloric content was held stable. The only difference in the eating plan was that the children were not getting their calories from foods with added sugar. Their total dietary sugar intake was reduced to 10% of their calories.

For example, sweetened yogurt was replaced with baked potato chips, pastries were swapped with bagels and turkey hot dogs were subbed for chicken teriyaki (nixxing that sweet sauce) . Not what I would consider health food (and neither did Dr. Lustig suggest that it was).

Amazing things still happened to the physiology of those young bodies. Fasting blood sugar levels dropped dramatically along with insulin production. No surprise since insulin is needed to metabolize carbohydrates and sugars. Triglyceride and LDL levels also improved and I smiled the widest when I read that they showed less fat in their livers. After only 9 days!

Fatty liver disease, for many years seen most prevalently with alcohol abuse, has been a disturbing and debilitating finding in recent years in overweight people diagnosed with sugar handling issues. Lower liver fat is really something to jump and dance about in my book! Happy liver, happy life! And to think that these great results came about from research only looking at “added sugar”. As you know, in my Sugar Equation, and in Skinny Gut Diet, I also take into account the very real sugars represented by carbs too.

So when I read another article about how the food industry is threatening to withdraw financial support from the World Health Organization, my spirits fell a bit. The WHO’s new guideline on healthy eating is slated to suggest that sugar should account for no more than 10% of a healthy diet. The food industry is pressuring the WHO to restate that recommendation at 25%. Gosh, in that 9 day clinical trial I just shared with you, the 10% number produced wonders!

All I can say is – I think I’m hearing the other side of the coin rearing up against the WHO – profit! Sugar is money, and the huge food industry leaders have a whole lot of clout these days in establishing policy, don’t they?

It was amazing to me that the WHO actually received a letter from ambassadors “insisting the report should be removed on the grounds that it would do irreparable damage to countries in the developing world”. What? The nerve of a statement like that when sadly in developing countries around the world where the soft drink industry is strong, it’s now common to see malnutrition coexisting with the obesity that’s so common in more affluent countries.

So, let’s get back to the good news. Finally the scientific evidence showing “what’s wrong with this picture” is pointing toward the appropriate perpetrator. Sugar is simply poison, or perhaps to use a more societally acceptable word – sugar is a toxin. Please teach your children well, for a brighter future for all!

The Coffee Table's Turned

Filed in Diabetes, Heart Disease, Inflammation, Sugar | Posted by Brenda Watson on 10/30/2015


Coffee in America. To many of us a very desirable liquid that invokes strong emotions of enjoyment, representing a sense of well-being and providing focus. Coffee seems to sharpen us up, help us to get things done. In these stressful times, coffee can offer an important enhancement to the day, or the night.

With my habits I like to find reasons why my chosen patterns might offer me some health benefit in addition to an emotional lift. At the very least I’d like to think that my daily choice isn’t overly harmful.

I recently had to smile as I browsed this information about coffee. I happen to enjoy a morning cup as much as the next person, after all. So when I read that Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health feels coffee is an excellent beverage choice, I wanted to share his positive findings with my fellow coffee lovers.

To sum up the interesting article, Prof. Rimm differs with the generally held opinion that water is the best beverage to consume under all circumstances. He feels other beverages, and in fact food, provide much of the hydration our bodies need. He states there really isn’t a set amount of water that a person requires daily (those 8 glasses are not true for all!). He asserts that the amount of hydration needed is relative to the individual, their energy output, their environment, and their liquid intake. He goes on to say that coffee is definitely healthier than sugary soda (boy, I’m with him there!) and that coffee’s ability to enhance memory for up to 24 hours after consumption is a huge plus.

Prof. Rimm states throughout the article that unsweetened beverages are the way to go (I wonder if he’s seen my Sugar Equation), and he says that since coffee really is almost completely water, a person is actually hydrating when enjoying their cup of Joe.

He also sites a study that shows that coffee isn’t as strong a diuretic as we have been told, and even heavy coffee drinkers build up tolerance to any diuretic effects. Coffee is also high in natural polyphenols, those micronutrients that research is showing more and more to have a positive impact on chronic degenerative illnesses like cancer, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.

Prof. Rimm even mentioned that people who drink two to three cups of coffee daily show lower rates of diabetes than those who don’t drink any coffee. What an interesting observation.

So if you happen to enjoy your morning Java, you too can smile as you remember the benefits it may offer to you. Just one catch here – if your favorite coffee drink is a mocha with whipped cream – literally overflowing with sugar and perhaps even topped with chocolate shavings, the healthful benefits of the coffee itself may well be lost in the poisonous effects of the added sugar (sorry, I just had to add that!) One tip – erythritol, perhaps monk fruit sweetener, maybe even stevia – all may be great to sweeten your coffee so it’s “just right”~

Inspired By ‘Sweet’ Success

Filed in Adults, Sugar, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 09/11/2015


Happy Friday to everyone! I’m feeling very inspired today!

You may have heard me speak before about the Skinny Gut Facebook group. It’s a closed group, which in this case means that you simply need to request to be added.

It was started earlier this year by Amber who is extremely sharp, very motivated and has a heart to share great information. It has gently grown to over 1,000 people at this point – all of us exchanging nutritional and life tidbits. I’ve really enjoyed stopping in regularly with answers to specific Skinny Gut questions.

Which leads me to this morning’s inspiration. I never tire of hearing how happy people can actually be, even when they’re not eating bread, potatoes, rice, whole grains or pasta. Imagine that.

One of our members has lost over 15 pounds in six weeks and I laughed out loud when she imagined that her Sicilian grandmother would be turning over in her grave if she heard about her granddaughter’s new eating plan! Then she added that Grandma would be very happy about the zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers that were being consumed instead. Lovin’ those veggies!

We all desire happiness, and to so many of us, food choices can be wrapped up in the warm emotions of childhood and memories of joy-filled gatherings with friends and family. Sugar and carbs especially. Terms of endearment even register that love affair – “how are you doing Honey”? or “Sweetheart, I hope things are good with you”. It’s entertaining to notice how many conversational references we have to sugar or carbs in our daily interactions. Even something like “couch potato”. Vegetables just don’t seem to get the same kinds of attention. Hmmm.

Another member of the Facebook group mentioned that she’d even like to overcome her reliance on any daily sweets. In addition to the carbs mentioned earlier, she’s choosing to eliminate ‘allowed’ low carb sweeteners and fruits, striving to totally reset her palate. I’ll be very interested to hear about her experience.

Since overcoming the carb habit, I’ve personally discovered that there’s actually a subtle underlying sweetness in many foods I wouldn’t previously have regarded that way at all.  And it becomes easy to understand how spices and herbs have been so highly valued throughout history – they offer such wonderful flavor nuances when not overwhelmed by sugar. I’ve even noticed that as my taste buds shift, I feel more satisfied with less quantity of food.

One person posted how comfort foods had always been her downfall, however since making Skinny Gut food choices over the last two weeks, her carb cravings have disappeared – along with over 10 pounds.

So, should you be inspired to experiment with a different eating plan this week, I’d like to share our three easy rules:

  1. Eat more GOOD fats (like avocados, seeds, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil)
  2. Eat living foods every day (lots of low carb veggies, some low carb fruits, fermented veggies and other fermented offerings) and
  3. Eat protein at each meal and snack (that’s every 2-3 hours – remember to have at least an ounce of protein). These tips can be your ticket to knocking out those sneaky carb cravings that might threaten your best lifestyle-shift intentions. And please be generous with the herbs and spices, too.

Inspiration is always an experience I cherish. Thank you to all the beautiful people who take the time to share their successes so I can continue to live inspired – and pay it forward.

Back to School Health Tips

Filed in Children, Cold and Flu, Common Cold, Diet, Digestive Health, General, Immune System, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Sugar, Teens | Posted by Brenda Watson on 08/28/2015


Goodbye to summer! I hope yours was enjoyable and relaxing.

Here in Florida, we’re hoping that the heat will lift soon. The kids are headed back to their classes and with the new school year comes the inevitable increase in colds and flu. Lots of excited little human beings in an enclosed space together, laughing, touching and generally sharing their bacteria with anyone in coughing or sneezing range.

How can we parents help to support our children’s immune systems and overall health while minimizing the chances of bringing home the newest variety of bacteria or virus?

Although these simple habits can be taken for granted as obvious, verbal suggestions and leading by example seem to make all the difference. We all remind each other to:

  • Wash hands after using the bathroom.
  • Sneeze or cough into our inner elbow, rather than into our hands
  • Try not to put fingers into noses or mouths – generally avoid touching the face
  • Avoid the drinking fountain at school – bring bottled water if possible – there are some great eco friendly options available

And my favorite – it’s never too soon to teach our children about the dangers of sugar, and that sugar actually increases their chances of getting sick by feeding bad bacteria that make for unhappy sneezes and coughs. So minimizing sugar, both at school and at home, is one of the healthiest things we can all do together.

Which brings me to something I’d really like to say. Over the last decade, I’ve watched our awareness slowly shift from simply treating symptoms of disease to the sound concept that maintaining our natural health is the most intelligent choice we can make – on a daily basis. Sadly, American marketing techniques are often ahead of our best intentions.

Natural health isn’t always “natural” or “healthy”. We can be tricked by products that might contain a few positive nutrients lost in other ingredients that are downright unhealthy, like sugars. Gummy vitamins are the perfect example.

Sure, our kids love them because they taste like candy. Guess what – they ARE candy! And candy isn’t the way to maintain health – period.

Moms and Dads, please read the labels on those supposed healthy vitamins. If you go to your local health food store and ask, they will show you products that are sweetened with stevia or erythritol or other healthy sweeteners. Spend wisely and really preserve your children’s wellness.

Two other valuable tips:

  1. After breakfast, be sure to give your children a quality multi-vitamin that contains extra vitamin D and,
  2. Before bed, give your kids a probiotic. Their immune systems will love you for it!

Misery and suffering can be optional. Let’s all maintain our health together.

The Many Tastes of Fermentation

Filed in Adults, Children, Diet, Digestive Health, Fermentation, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Sugar, The Skinny Gut Diet | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/29/2015


Fermented foods are on my mind today. Yes, I’m glad to see that there’s an article about their health attributes written about them nearly every day. In contrast, it’s interesting to me how often I’m asked if my recent eating plan, Skinny Gut Diet, can “work” if a person doesn’t like fermented foods. Someone just the other day posed that in our Facebook support group.

When I created Skinny Gut Diet – even though the word “diet” is in the title, I envisioned this program much more as an eating plan – for life. And the reason fermented foods were included was their incredible health benefits.

Having been such a strong advocate of probiotics for so long, I’ve been fermenting in many different ways for decades. So my answer to the question was – if you are only interested in “losing” weight – eliminating processed carbs, increasing good fats, regular protein intake, essentially following the 3 rules of Skinny Gut Diet, will certainly direct you to reach your goal. By the way, Rule #2 is “eat living foods daily”. “Living foods” includes both non-starchy vegetables as well as fermented offerings, so you can understand how weight loss might result, even sans fermented goodies.

What’s important to understand in the bigger picture of creating a life of vibrant health is – omitting fermented products will negate an easy and affordable way to balance your gut with good probiotics. Those helpful microbes support stronger immunity and detox capabilities for your body.

In my newsletter recently I wrote about my granddaughters, and how varied their palate is due to the fact that they had only been offered healthy foods to eat since birth. Fermented foods like sauerkraut were among their choices, and they now love them.

It’s clearly a matter of “palate conditioning”. And if you don’t enjoy fermented foods, listen up – it’s not just about pickles and sauerkraut at all!

I know – it’s the sour taste you just don’t like. Well there are recipes that include some sweet aspects that persist even through the fermentation process. My friend Donna Schwenk offers this one – Cultured Broccoli Salad in a Jar. The grapes retain much of their sweetness, probably because the outer skins are left intact. Really yummy.

And I look at it this way. If the requirement for a sweeter taste is what’s blocking you from fermented foods, and you’re eating sweet stuff anyway in other foods, then when you prepare your fermented foods, add in a bit of sweetener. Isn’t it better to eat something sweet that contains wonderful probiotics too, than just something sweet made with other forms of carbs?

Another friend of mine has a recipe for Pickled (fermented) Beets that she makes. Everyone loves it! One day I asked her for the recipe and was somewhat dismayed to learn that she adds in a bit of sugar AFTER the fermentation process. No wonder it was so delicious. Although personally I didn’t eat the beets again quite as voraciously, it occurs to me that for those of you who have that sour aversion, this could be an option. You just need to calculate approximately that added sugar when you’re noting it in your daily food journal.

And don’t forget the option of kefir! Did you know that milk kefir contains 35-50 different strains of bacteria? Now that’s diversity.

Kefir can be added to everything from coleslaw to pudding. Here’s a great recipe we include in Skinny Gut Diet for kefir ice cream! Imagine that favorite treat – guilt-free! And remember to substitute zero-calorie sweeteners like erythritol or stevia for at least 2/3 of the regular sweetener suggested in other dessert recipes. This will lower your sugar count considerably.

Also consider kombucha. It’s now available even in grocery store chains. Kombucha offers you the gut balancing good yeast called S. boulardii. Often store-bought kombucha can be a bit too sweet, so limit this, or dilute it a bit. Your label is your guide, so be sure to check it out.

If you’re not a kitchen type, no worries. I simply can’t believe that you won’t find a recipe you will learn to love right here. The great news about fermenting is that the bacteria do the work for you. Yours is a simple assembly job. Couple that with a dash of willingness to experiment – for the good of your own gut – and I’ll bet you’ll be eating fermented foods in no time. Palate diversity is a very good thing.

Happy fermenting!

Early Menopause and Early Menstruation—Possible Causes

Filed in Environmental Toxins, Menopause, Sugar, Teens | Posted by Brenda Watson on 02/23/2015


The average age of a girl’s first menstruation has been decreasing in recent years. While there are a number of potentiation causes, consumption of the contributing of sugary drinks is the topic of a recent study published in the journal Human Reproduction. Researchers followed over 5,500 girls aged nine to 14 years and found that those who drank more than 1.5 servings of sugary drinks per day had their first period 2.7 months earlier, on average, than those who consumed two or fewer drinks per week.

“Our findings suggest that frequent consumption of sugar sweetened beverages may be associated with earlier menarche [onset of menstruation],” noted the authors. “A one-year decrease in age at menarche is estimated to increase the risk of breast cancer by five percent … thus, a 2.7-month decrease in age at menarche likely has a modest impact on breast cancer risk.”

In another study published in the Public Library of Science ONE journal that included over 1,400 women aged, on average, 61, researchers found that those women who were exposed to high levels of chemicals found in everyday household and personal care items experienced menopause two to four years earlier than those women with lower levels of these chemicals.

“Chemicals linked to earlier menopause may lead to an early decline in ovarian function, and our results suggest we as a society should be concerned,” noted Amber Cooper, lead researcher. “Many of these chemical exposures are beyond our control because they are in the soil, water, and air, but we can educate ourselves about our day-to-day chemical exposures and become more aware of the plastics and other household products we use.”

The researchers tested the women’s blood and urine for 111 chemicals from the following categories: dioxins/furans, phthalates, phytoestrogens, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), phenols, organophosphate pesticides, surfactants, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Both of these studies are cause for concern. Although they do not prove causation, they suggest that reducing sugar intake in young girls, and reducing chemical exposure in women is a priority.