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    • Heart Health

      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.

  • Brain Health
    • 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 .

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    • 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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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.

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!

Eliminate Hidden Toxins in Your Body – the Natural Way!

Filed in Adults, Cleansing, Cleansing & Detox, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Environmental Toxins, Herbal Cleansing, Preventable Issues, The Detox Strategy, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 05/09/2017


eliminate - happy liver - brendawatson.com

Step 2 of the RENEW Total Body Detox program is aimed at eliminating toxins that have accumulated inside your body for years. Eliminate represents the first “E” in RENEW.

Many people ask “How do I know I am toxic?” Here are some simple questions that might indicate the presence of toxins in your body.

  1. Have you experienced a gradual loss of energy to the point that you find yourself tired and worn out by the end of the day?
  2. Has you energy level over the years decreased to the point you have developed a new accepted level of low energy that you think is normal with age?
  3. Does you skin look unhealthy, pale or chaffy?
  4. Are you experiencing changes in your mood or even depression?
  5. Have you experienced weight gain for no apparent reason?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are probably experiencing the effects of hidden toxins in your body.

Detoxification is a natural, ongoing process in the body. You are always naturally cleansing. By choosing an herbal detox program, we can enhance the body’s natural processes.

An herbal detox program could be the very solution you have been looking for in order to live your happiest and healthiest life.

The tradition of herbal cleansing has been recorded in the cultures of the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Europeans, and American and Asian Indians.

Unfortunately in the last 10 years many people believe they can cleanse by simply drinking a tea, shifting your food choices, or fasting. Even though it is important to clean up the diet while cleansing you need herbs and fiber to have a positive impact on your organs and create vibrant health.

I have seen miraculous health changes in people I have worked with when they choose a total body cleanse. It has changed their lives. My life absolutely changed from one of constant issues to consistently vibrant health when I focused on specific cleansing programs like the one I’ve laid out below.

The most effective detox programs use a combination of herbs that create:

  • Laxative effective to make sure the bowel is eliminating toxins that are leaving the organs.
  • Diuretic effects which increase urine flow.
  • Diaphoretic effects which induce sweating.
  • Blood purifying properties which assist in the removal of toxins from the body. Ultimately, purifying the blood is the most important aspect of detox, as the blood is the avenue which brings nutrients to all the cells, tissues and organs of the body.

 

Why Choose a Total Body Detox which combines herbs that affect the Channels of Elimination?

Your detox program should include a combination of herbs that will support your body’s channels of elimination (liver, colon, kidneys, blood, lymph, lungs, and skin and by means of several different mechanisms.

  • Liver – Herbs in the cleansing process will stimulate bile production in the liver, one of the most notable ways the liver rids the body of toxins. Once bile is stimulated by herbs, the toxins flow to the gallbladder and then the small intestine. Herbs also help prevent fat deposits in the liver. Note: fatty liver is the #1 liver problem people have today, especially if fat is present around the waist area of the body.
  • Colon – Herbs stimulate the colon to move waste along quickly. This will not cause too much elimination. It will just enhance it. By adding fiber into your detox program, once the gallbladder dumps the bile into the small intestine, soluble fiber absorbs the toxins and sends them out through the colon.
  • Kidneys – Herbs stimulate urine output. Many toxins leave through the urine, especially caffeine and nicotine.
  • Blood and lymph – Herbs stimulate circulation of blood and lymph which are both essential for cellular waste removal.
  • Lungs – Herbs promote discharge of mucus from the lungs which assists in the removal of airborne toxins.
  • Skin – Herbs promote healthy skin due to the cleansing of the bloodstream.

These benefits of Total Body Cleansing are why we all need a targeted herbal program for a specific time. Statistics show us the average person has close to 90 difference chemicals circulating in their bloodstream. That’s right, 90!

 

How do you pick a Total Body Cleansing program that is right for you?

I have worked with thousands of people who have detoxed their body with the type of herbal products I developed as a result of my decades of work.

 

Here’s a Cleanse For a First-Time Cleanser

If you have never taken an herbal cleansing formula, I recommend that you start with a Basic Total Body Cleanse. This is formulated with all the herbs you need for cleansing while providing gentle colon stimulation to assist your channels of elimination.

The formulation includes herbs which support liver health like artichoke, blessed thistle, dandelion, milk thistle, to name a few. Also included are herbs like mullein for the lungs, parsley for the kidneys, burdock for the skin.

For best results, this program should be taken for two weeks. It’s easy… 2 caps in the morning + 2 caps in the evening with a scoop of fiber. Done for the day!

 

For More Experienced/Constipated Cleanser

If you have cleansed on a regular basis or have a tendency toward constipation, are overweight, have skin problems, or lung congestion, consider a Total Body Herbal Cleanse that is more advanced and concentrated. You will cleanse for a longer period of time. I found 30 days is ideal for most people.

An Advanced Cleansing Program will have some of the same herbal combinations as the basic cleanse program but with a higher concentration of herbs.

When you look at the label on an Advanced Cleanse, in the morning formula you will see Extracts 4:1 or Extracts 5:1 instead of whole herbs. This means the herbs in this formula are more concentrated.

Once again, look for two formulas to be included in your cleansing product – one for the morning and another for the evening. The evening formula will also be stronger, meaning it will create more colon elimination. Many people require this, with more toxins leaving the body.

 

Begin Your Internal Detox Program Now.

Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced cleanser, you can now choose a specific formula that is geared to eliminating silent toxins from your body. I’ve made this program easy to follow. Believe me, it will definitely fit into your busy lifestyle.

If you missed last week’s blog on beginning your Total Body Detox program, here is a link to the article. And for even more detailed information, pick up my recent book Detox Strategy.

Check back later this week for more practical tips on how to Eliminate toxins from your body – the natural way!

Sleep More in Class, Teens Learn More. Surprise!

Filed in Adults, Heart Disease, Preventable Issues, Sleep, Teens, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 02/24/2017


Sleep Deprived Teen - brendawatson.com

Sleep. How great it is when we’ve rested well the night before. How distressing it can be when that just wasn’t the case. Over the years I’ve offered many tips and hints on how to grab those extra winks.

Recently I enjoyed reading a report in the Wall Street Journal about organized napping in high school. According to study after study, lack of sleep in adults reduces workplace efficiency, can lead to overeating, and recently was even associated with stress on the heart.

            Short-term sleep deprivation has now been shown to affect heart function. Read more here.

Babies and school age children tend to get the healthful sleep they need, largely because we adults are able to make sure that happens. Stress increases and circumstances shift as our youth enter high school. Studies show that our teenagers are the age group most seriously impacted by lack of sleep. It’s generally agree that 8.5 to 9.5 hours nightly are needed to optimize teen growth. Many of these youth fall very short of that goal and school start times have been associated.

How much sleep is enough? Find out.

Did you realize that in 2014 the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement for high school to begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m., allowing teens to get more sleep nightly? A study of over 9,000 students was conducted that compared early and late school start times. Marked improvements in class performance as well as bettered national test scores were recorded with later arrival to school. Daily attendance improved. And here’s an unexpected stat. Car crashes by drivers 16 to 18 years old were reduced by 70% when school began later, at 8:55 as opposed to 7:35.

Inside of heightened pressure to perform for college and other activities, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believe that insufficient sleep as a teenager may be associated with weight gain, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, drug use – and subsequently, poor academic performance. I’m sure you’ll agree – falling asleep in class just doesn’t bode well for a student’s future.

            Check out the CDC report.

If you parent a teen, you may be thinking “my child’s school never read that report!” Your son or daughter’s required arrival time to class is probably around 7:30. Since institutions tend to be slow to change the way things are structured, it may be by adding napping to the high school curriculum, students may find some additional winks.

Due to increased awareness of sleep teen needs, here are some great napping programs that are cropping up in schools across the country:

  • Students with good grades get a weekly first period free so they can sleep in.
  • Quiet time for students – 20 minutes at the beginning and end of each day with closed eyes, no talking. One group is actually practicing transcendental mediation!
  • The Path Program in Boston has high-schoolers spend one period each day in a special area designed with comfy chairs and yoga balls to rest and de-stress. Counselors are available to offer guidance on good sleep habits.
  • A New Mexico pilot program purchased Restworks EnergyPods through a government grant. These pods, originally designed to afford stress relief in the workplace, seem perfect for students as well. After a 20-minute session, participants report emerging rested and refreshed.

Although most sleep professionals still feel an earlier bedtime is preferred over napping, I feel hopeful when I hear about these innovative rest programs. After all, these are the young people who will be shaping our futures. I for one would like to imagine they will be clear-minded and well-rested.

Shed Pounds Slowly? Gut Bugs May Be Missing Link

Filed in Adults, Diet, Digestive Health, Human Microbiome, Obesity, Probiotics & Gut Flora, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 02/08/2017


Shed Pounds - brendawatson.com

Attempting to shed pounds but feeling a bit discouraged? I read some fascinating research that I hope will motivate you. Please give the healthy choices you’re making a bit more time!

The study itself was published last week in the journal Cell Host & Microbe and was conducted by a team led by Jeffrey Gordon, Director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University. I’ve been following Gordon’s lab for some time. In fact, I shared their previous research in my book, Skinny Gut Diet. If you have a copy you know that Gordon suggested that a person’s potential for obesity can partially be predicted. He measures the ratio of Bacteriodetes (I called those the Be Skinny bacteria) to Firmicutes (Fat bacteria) in their gut. Gordon’s initial research was done with mice. We decided to run our own lay research study with our human Skinny Gut group (you can meet them all in the book) and we found Gordon’s observations to hold true. Fascinating.

Understand what microbes are in your gut!

Gordon’s more recent lab results suggest that despite your best efforts, your gut may not be on your side with regards to losing those extra pounds quickly! If you’re hosting an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria in your gut, your microbiome (the community of microbes in your gut) may actually require extra time to reset back to health if you are making a switch from a Standard American Diet (SAD), high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats to more healthy, calorie restricted, plant-based fare.

Initially in the study, fecal samples from humans following the SAD diet were compared to those following a healthy diet. I’ve blogged often on bacterial diversity, and how increased diversity of bacteria in the gut is often an indicator of vibrant health. Once again this has been found to be the case. The people on the SAD diet demonstrated a much less diverse microbiome than those on the healthy diet, suggesting generally that the SAD group would also be more prone to immune issues, digestive issues and silent inflammation.

Read more about bacterial diversity

Next the researchers implanted germ-free mice with the two sets of human donor’s gut microbes. Once implanted, both groups of mice were then fed the same healthy plant based diet.

Listen up here – this is the very interesting part. Although all of the mice responded overall to the diets, the group implanted with the SAD diet microbes responded more slowly than the mice that had only received more healthy microbes. Apparently there seems to be a transitional time needed for the mice with the SAD guts to shed pounds and regain health as efficiently as the more healthy ones.

A fascinating additional quirk in this study was when the SAD mice were placed into the same cages with the healthy mice, their gut health improved more quickly than the SAD mice who were living only with other SAD mice. How wild is that? Communal living anyone?

The practical goal of this research was to gather information that would pinpoint specific bacterial strains. Gordon’s team was seeking microbes that might be used to diversify and balance the gut. Normalized weight and increased health are most certainly the desired outcomes. No doubt, this research will continue well into the future. Hopefully one day research like this will result in a specific probiotic formula designed to combat obesity. But that’s still in the future.

Probiotics help you shed pounds.

So lets get back to you! If you recently switched from a SAD diet to more healthy choices and your weight loss isn’t diminishing as quickly as you might hope – hang in there. Good news – prior research shows clearly that your good microbe populations actually shift quickly. It just may take some time until you notice those changes in your skinny jeans.

Check out 4 excellent things you can do to fuel your weight loss

Shed pounds TODAY!

4 Ways to Fuel Weight Loss

Filed in Adults, Constipation, Diet, Dietary Fiber, Digestive Health, Fermentation, Inflammation, Prebiotics, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Stress, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 02/02/2017


Fuel Weight Loss - brendawatson.com

As we say goodbye to the month of January, and begin to notice Valentine’s Day candy donning the grocery store shelves, I hope that your New Year’s resolutions to shift your dietary choices have not waned! No Peeps for you! With that thought in mind, I wanted to share 4 things that will most definitely fuel your weight loss. Let’s say goodbye to that plateau! Don’t give up! Remember, it takes three weeks to establish a new habit and we are barely beyond that in 2017~

It’s time to give yourself a break, especially if you made a dramatic switch from a so-called “Western diet” last month, one that was high in saturated fats and sugars, to a more healthy, calorie restricted, plant based diet. Am I talking to you? There is a good reason that your weight loss may have stalled. It’s all about your microbiome, the microbes in your gut.

You need to know that in many cases it takes time for your good gut bacteria populations to multiply and restore. Increasing your probiotic (good guy) population is at the core of successful and lasting weight loss. Do not despair – there are excellent things you can do help rebalance your gut TODAY, and continue to melt those pounds away!

 

1. Include a daily probiotic supplement.

That choice will directly encourage positive changes in those communities of good bacteria in your gut. When you’re considering a probiotic, look for one that offers at least 10 different types/strains of bacteria and at least 30 billion live cultures to increase your diversity. Make sure the formula includes bifidobacteria, the main bacteria in your colon.

 

2. Add fermented foods to your diet.

Fermented goodies are an excellent way to invite new and different microbes into your life. The process of fermentation provides lactobacillus strains of bacteria – necessary for proper absorption of nutrients along with intestinal repair and decreased inflammation, just to name a few important jobs those good guys do. Fermented veggies are delicious as condiments or even side dishes daily. Kefir provides you with an extensive variety of bacterial strains. Kombucha is rich in both healthy yeasts and bacteria. Let these foods be your friends!

 

3. Increase fiber in your diet.

Soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic, feeding those good microbes in your gut. Prebiotic foods like raw dandelion greens, garlic, leaks, jicama, and raw or cooked onions are delicious to include in your daily meals. Acacia fiber is an excellent fiber supplement that is tasteless and simple to add to your foods or smoothies for an extra fiber boost. Insoluble fiber found in vegetables, oats, beans and legumes provides bulk for your stool, which leads to me to #4.

 

4. Avoid constipation!

Many people notice initially when they make a dramatic dietary shift, they begin to experience changes in bowel habits. That makes total sense since the bacteria and other microbes also reorganize with dietary change. During the shift, both weight loss and bowel regularity may slow. Bottom line, constipated people simply don’t lose weight easily. Their bodies are too overwhelmed with toxicity and inflammation.

Should you experience constipation, please make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids. All three of my previous suggestions help to normalize your bowel and relieve constipation. However, depending on your circumstance, for a short time it may be wise to consider supplementing with a natural laxative formula. Remember, it’s imperative to avoid constipation, no matter what. Look for natural ingredients in a supplement formulation like magnesium, aloe, rhubarb and triphala.

Many people have great success adding magnesium citrate or other form of magnesium into their daily regimen. Magnesium deficiency is widespread so looking into ways to add magnesium for optimal health is always a great idea for well-being.

Learn more about magnesium here.

AND, hang in there! Be kind to yourself. Please don’t stress about immediate results. We know that stress itself decreases your ability to lose those pounds. Instead focus on your increased energy levels, perhaps a skin condition is resolving or you notice your mood has improved and/or your mind has cleared! It only gets better as your gut balances.

Social Media for Weight Loss

Filed in Adults, Diet, Fermentation, General, Probiotics & Gut Flora, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Jemma Sinclaire on 12/27/2016


Social Media Support

By now we’ve traversed the majority of the most sinful food offerings this holiday season, and the residuals may still be with us on our hips. No worries. Let’s simply begin again. It’s time to make a few sincere decisions to enjoy some different foods and behaviors to usher in a healthier new year. Notice I mentioned different foods – not less. I’m not talking about deprivation here. So please let’s consider how using social media may drive success.

Are you thinking – “what?” I know – neither Facebook or Twitter taste delicious. Not a lot of calories are burned as you furiously type. And I still insist that social media can make a great impact on your health – no chewing required.

Would you agree that the trick to creating a positive outcome around any goal you set is accountability? In my experience, goals really do manifest when we write them down and – here’s the most important part – when we tell other people. We recently experienced that first hand with our Skinny Gut Diet group.

So think about it – where better than on Facebook or Twitter to announce your intentions to your friends – all at once? You will undoubtedly get lots of “likes”, a few “loves” and many words of support. These can be motivational nuggets when those treats you’ve gotten used to nibbling on over the holidays seem to be calling your name. We’ve had a Skinny Gut Facebook closed group for some time now. Stop by and check it out. You’ll notice a lot of evidence of tremendous motivation and encouragement there!

You may even find that a few of your friends continue to inquire as to how you’re progressing toward your objectives. Again, support and encouragement are vital to reaching any goal that makes a difference in your life! I think you may find others eager to join in your commitment too! Stating a goal publicly is courageous, and inspiring beyond what you might imagine!

Moving into 2017, I challenge you to get creative and design some new habits around your food choices. Fermenting veggies is totally fun and easy, and you know these efforts will ultimately be a great gift for everyone’s digestion and waistline! Here’s even a probiotic-rich dessert snack, perfect for football season, that provides those good bacteria and is amazingly delicious.

Let’s face it, deprivation rarely results in a real-life eating plan that makes a long term difference. The trick is to find a program that offers simple concepts and basic rules for success. Also recipes that provide a lot of tasty enjoyment and at the same time, contain healthy ingredients. I’m very proud of my book Skinny Gut Diet, as I have seen hundreds of people make real lifestyle changes and enjoy great success with the program.

We are so fortunate these days to have many options and ways to substitute ingredients to surprise our friends and neighbors. My favorites are grain free, gluten free, minimal sugar recipes. Recently I blogged on making brownies with pinto beans and a bit of almond flour. I’d suggest you wait to mention the pinto beans until your friends are chewing up their last bite. They’ll be clamoring for the recipe, no doubt. It’s so much fun to create guilt-free decadent desserts! Post those on social media too to spread the fun around~

Most importantly, don’t by shy – share your triumphant moments! We can all succeed together as your own determination and momentum builds. Happy healthy motivated 2017 to you!

High Blood Pressure – in Kids?

Filed in Adults, Children, Chronic Disease, Diet, High blood pressure, Obesity, Teens, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/07/2016


Blood Pressure and the Heart - brendawatson.com

Recently I’ve been noticing different articles that focus our attention on childhood ailments that previously were only adult conditions. One article I read was citing that high blood pressure in children is on the rise. What?

High blood pressure in adults is recognized as the silent killer since many times there are no obvious symptoms. I have blogged many times on this subject, and ways to recognize and control it. I have even shared a study where probiotics reduced high blood pressure in people who supplemented regularly over 8 weeks.

In adults it’s estimated that one out of three people has hypertension but only about half of them have the situation under control. The pre-hypertension group of adults is also one out of three.

It’s tough to realize that today I’m talking about a study conducted with middle school and high school athletes. Twenty percent were found to be overweight and 24 percent were considered obese, with 15 percent actually diagnosed with high blood pressure – and these are teenagers. Too much sugar, whether from sodas, candy, bread or cakes, fast foods, poor fats, huge amounts of salt. Worse yet, I often meet kids who literally have an aversion to vegetables.

And here we are right back to dietary choices at the crux of this situation. On one hand this is fantastic news since theoretically diet can be controlled much more easily than say, genetics.

However in my recent fascinating interview with Kenneth Fine, M.D., brilliant researcher, gastroenterologist and founder of EnteroLabs.com and the non-profit Intestinal Health Institute, something that really rang true to me was said. And I quote “Change strikes fear in every human being, but dietary change strikes terror!”

You’re probably laughing at this point, but this is why these chronic health issues exist at all – for both teens AND adults! Sometimes it seems the most difficult thing in the world to do is to change your eating habits! This is the point where education and parent-child-community interaction becomes so critical.

Since this condition is widely overlooked in children for a number of reasons expressed in the article, I’m pleading with you as parents to insist that your child’s blood pressure is monitored regularly and here’s why.

Apparently a condition called left ventricular hypertrophy can develop in just a few years in young people with hypertension. That’s where the heart’s main pumping chamber enlarges. The good news is if the blood pressure irregularity is noticed and brought under control, the heart can heal completely. Unrecognized, the condition will progress and can eventually lead to heart failure.

I wanted to share a resource I found recently – Teachabletaste.com. This website was created by Mott’s Applesauce, and many of the recipes are easy, delicious and even align with many of the Skinny Gut Diet principles. Enrolling your kids in creating healthful meals will have long-range effects as they grow through their teens and beyond.

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!

Probiotics – Good Summer Bugs!

Filed in Adults, Breastfeeding, Fermentation, Human Microbiome, Infancy, Obesity, Probiotics & Gut Flora, The Skinny Gut Diet, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/10/2016


probiotics - brendawatson.com

Although obesity remains one of our most pressing health problems today I’m hoping that for many Americans as the summer days unfold it may be an easier time to let go of some extra weight. In the heat, heavy foods just don’t seem quite as inviting as they were when it was cold outside. Moving around in humidity is much easier when you’re feeling lighter, and salads and light fruits are much more appealing in steamier weather. Fermented foods, which provide good bacteria known as probiotics become an excellent condiment with most any meal. Have you tried fermented salsa lately?

As always, I’m on the lookout for any new information regarding those great bacteria called probiotics. In addition to being present in fermented foods, the probiotics that we carry around inside of us also seem to impact our tendencies to accumulate weight. I found something I’d like to share with you in this article.

In my recent book Skinny Gut Diet we explored the different bacteria that have been researched thus far that play a part in whether we tend to be more fat or skinny. We actually tested our participants’ microbial ratios throughout our study and noticed that as the Bacteriodetes increased, their weight also decreased! That had also been the findings of many research studies and is mentioned in the article above. Fascinating!

Additionally, when I interviewed Rob Knight formerly of the University of Colorado and currently with the University of California, San Diego, it was clear in his studies of the Human Microbiome Project that the greater diversity of bacteria that a person’s gut environment portrayed, the more likely that person was to be healthy and balanced over all. I look forward to sharing that segment along with many more fascinating interviews with you this fall. The upcoming show is called Natural Health Breakthroughs with Brenda Watson. Keep an eye out on your local Public Television Station.

These type of studies are still in their infancy, and I’m certain much more will be learned about the actual benefits or health challenges that are directly associated with specific microbial species. Whether the research reflects obesity issues, cardiac challenges, or mental disorders, it will certainly be exciting!

What I loved reading most was research that is currently going on in Puerto Rico under the guidance of Maria Gloria Domingues-Bello of N.Y.U. It was found in previous studies that when newborns travel down the birth canal, they ingest bacteria that help them digest milk. There is a lot of evidence that babies raised on formula as opposed to breast milk are much more likely to suffer from allergies, skin conditions and even digestive issues and obesity. Babies raised on formula simply do not receive critical substances in breast milk that promote good bacteria and retard the growth of bad bacteria.

Dominguez-Bello’s new clinical trial will monitor the weight and overall health of babies born by cesarean section. These babies will be swabbed immediately with a cloth laced with the mother’s vaginal fluids and resident microbes as they come into the world. How interesting it will be to see the impact that Mom’s natural bacteria have as these children grow and develop.

I love these studies on newborns, as they are most certainly our future. However, no less important to our world is helping you to understand healthy choices that will nourish the good bacteria in your own life! And it’s easy, especially in this season to enjoy large amounts of fresh veggies and fruits along with fantastic fermented goodies. Here’s my bonus gift for you today – one of my favorite recipes! And easy to make. Happy summer probiotics to you!