MindBody Fitness

Feeding Your Flora With Prebiotics

A balanced and healthy gut flora or microbiome requires more than taking in adequate probiotics. Prebiotics are a form of indigestible fermented fiber that help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. They act as a fertilizer that allows your gut garden to flourish and thrive.

Prebiotic fiber resists digestion in upper GI tract, ferments in the colon and fuels the growth of probiotic microorganisms that are essential to not only a healthy gut but our overall health. A well balanced microbiome are due to to byproducts of fiber fermentation called short-chain fatty acids or SCFA’s.

SCFA’s – do many beneficial things:

– Help balance gut pH.

– Boost nutrient absorption.

– Help prevent leaky gut.

– Butyrate help to reduce and fight the growth of colon cancer cells.

– Help support satiety and improve glucose and lipid metabolism.

– Reduce inflammation.

Eat Your Prebiotics

Eating more whole, plant-based foods is the healthiest way to get prebiotics in your diet. Also, the less they are cooked the greater the prebiotic content.



Unripe bananas





Jerusalem artichokes






Anti-Anxiety Foods

Consumption of unhealthy fats and refined sugars and flours create biochemical conditions that weaken our systems and drive anxiety. James Gordon, MD explains “This is a dynamic system at the intersection of psychology, biology, digestion and the nervous system.”

Anxiety drugs, as we know, treat symptoms and do not address the root cause of anxiety. It is through food that the brain gets the needed chemicals to make neurotransmitters – like serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and GABA which drive mood states and changes. These neurotransmitters send signals throughout the nervous system and digestive tract ( where 95% of serotonin is produced). Essentially, maintaining a healthy brain and gut is vital to controlling anxiety.

The following nutritional strategies can help alleviate symptoms while building greater resilience in battling the stressors we face each day.

1. Blood Sugar Stabilization.

A calm brain and nervous system requires steady blood sugar levels. Glucose which is derived from carbohydrates circulates through the bloodstream and powers every cell in the body. It is essential to neurotransmitter function. Your brain consumes 1/2 of your body’s glucose at any given time. If you go too long without eating, the body releases cortisol which activate specific enzymes that trigger more glucose production. According to Alan Christianson, MD: “The body makes more glucose by using cortisol to pull protein out of muscle tissue. Delaying meals puts an ongoing demand on cortisol output, which breaks down muscle tissue and leaves blood sugar less stable.”

This surge on cortisol can render you irritable and jittery. Snacks loaded with sugar trick the brain cells into releasing serotonin – which is why we crave sweets and carbs when we are stressed. Ultimately, this causes problems as pancreas releases insulin to drive the sugar out of the blood and into the cells. This resulting low-blood sugar drop or crash also feels like anxiety: fatigue, heart palpitations and dizziness.

Better Strategy – avoid refined sugars and starches and consume nutrient dense foods every few hours – complex carbs ( vegetables, brown rice, sweet potatoes, squash, berries, apples and legumes), , healthy fats ( cold water fish, avocados, coconut, almonds and cashews) and high quality protein ( grass fed meats, organic cage free eggs, red, black and pinto beans, pumpkin and sunflower seeds). To pacify sugar cravings try 85% dark chocolate.

Supplement with magnesium and B complex – deficiencies have been linked to anxiety.

2. Support Calming Neurotransmitters:

Protein steadies blood sugar and their amino acids help make serotonin and dopamine. Some amino acids calm the body like tryptophan while others excite the nervous system like phenlylalanine.

Better Strategy – eat smaller meals that revolve around plant-based proteins such as beans and legumes.

3. Focus On Healthy Fats:

Fats actually make up 60% of your brain and assist in regulating anxiety by enabling neurotransmitters to move quickly and efficiently between neutrons. Omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids play a key role in brain health. The right balance should be between 4:1 and 2:1 which will help regulate your body’s inflammatory response.

Processed and refined foods tend to be high in omega-6 and really drive inflammation. An immune system that’s over activated strains every cell in your body. Inside the brain, inflammation stimulates the amygdala ( the fear center) and increases anxiety by impeding neurotransmitter movement within the cell walls. Omega-3’s are anti inflammatory and keep the brain cells permeable and neurotransmitter activity and movement efficient and speedy.

Better Strategy – eat more omega-3’s ( cold water fish, flax and chia seeds, nuts, seeds and dark leafy greens). Eat less omega-6’s (processed foods and vegetable oils).

4. A Healthy Microbiome:

A healthy and well balanced gut with a diverse micobial ecosystem plays a significant role in modulating the critical neurotransmitters that affect our moods. Specifically, serotonin. Since most of serotonin is produced in the gut, it’s clear how a healthy and balanced gut flora is vital. A healthy gut is key to reducing inflammation which is a driver of most serotonin-triggered anxiety. Inflammation can also trigger cortisol imbalances which is what drives our stress levels up. Here again we see the intersection of psychology, neurology and gut function.

Research has shown that anxiety is an inflammatory disorder with a genesis in the gut.

Best Strategy – to keep and maintain a healthy gut flora by eating nutrient dense foods as well as probiotic ( sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha) and prebiotic foods ( cooked and raw onions, raw leeks, asparagus, chicory and garlic)

You Are What You Eat and What Your Food Eats

According to Maya Shetreat-Klein, MD, an integrative neurologist: “If we are what our food eats, we are only as healthy as the soil our food is grown in.” Research indicates that the health- promoting properties of the food we consume are truly connected to the health of the soil.
In fact, soil is a living ecosystem and if properly managed, is a thriving and complex ecology of bacteria, fungi and other living organisms from which we benefit tremendously. Sadly, modern day commercial farming is ruining our soil – as seen with pesticide application and tilling. As a result, the nutritional value of many our vegetables and fruits are significantly lower than that of the same produce grown 50 yrs ago. Statistically significant declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C have been found.
Donald Davis, PhD, of the Biochemical Institute at the Univ. of Texas concludes: “Modern farming’s reliance on synthetic fertilizers and plant cultivars bred for high yields has led to trade-offs between yield and nutrient concentrations.” The good news is research is showing that more ecosystem-friendly farming can stimulate plants to retain their nutritional value and diversity.
A paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that crops grown organically possessed significantly higher levels of phytonutrients- supporting the finding that organic farming is much better than conventional farming in supporting soil health.
Another study compared flavonoids levels ( phytonutrients that protect against CV disease, cancer and dementia) in organic tomatoes vs traditionally grown – had much higher levels. Additionally, the organic plots produced similar yields to the conventional fields, refuting the notion that organic farmers sacrifice quantity for quality.
Unfortunately, most food and agriculture research is funded and dominated by large well-financed companies that want to promote their commercial products ( chemicals and dangerous pesticides) and care little about the health impacts.
There are, in fact, more life forms in one teaspoon of healthy soil than there are humans living on the planet. Through photosynthesis ( a solar energy conversion process) plants create a sugar based carbon fuel that supports their own growth. Only about 40% is streamed through their roots, sending energy to microorganisms in the earth. In exchange, these microorganisms feed plants the mineral nutrients they extract from rock, sand, silt and clay within the soil.
Just like humans, plants rely on the soil’s microbiome for chemical defenses against pests and communication with other plants. In soils with vast biodiversity it’s common to find some microbes that are closely related to disease organisms. But these microbes don’t cause disease, yet the plants produce compounds in response to them. As a result, they develop a strong set of defenses – just in case the microbes’ disease- causing relatives come along. These plants will have the capacity to fight off disease more effectively than those grown in bad soil and offer a diverse spectrum of phytonutrients for humans.
Grazing animals also play a critical role in this dynamic ecosystem. Animals raised in pastures contain meat, eggs and dairy are much higher in nutrient value. Animals here elevate the soil’s organic matter by 60%. It’s been said that: “Nature never farms without animals.” A real beneficial cycle exists -animals are brought onto the land which makes the soil healthier, making plants healthier and in turn making the animals healthier which are than passed on to humans.
Conventional Farming – Harmful to the Soil:
Fertilizers have transformed into chemicals ( insecticides, herbicides and genetically modified varieties) which help produce greater crop yields with less labor. Farms grew larger, less diversified and animals were moved off the pasture into high production confinement facilities, essentially becoming industrialized. The following illustrates how a complex natural system became simplified and destroyed the soil.
– Use of chemical fertilizers – plants are force-fed synthetic compounds (often petroleum based) designed to maximize growth and yield. This process interferes with the natural relationship between plants and microorganisms.

– Insecticides, fungicides and herbicides – reduce biodiversity which is critical in the farm ecosystem. Fungicides can destroy the beneficial fungi in the soil that connect plant communities, and help plants access water and nutrients.

– Tilling the ground – in effect, destroys the vibrant underground ecosystem where the soil microorganisms reside and function and make up the vital structure of the soil.

– Monoculture planting – raising single crops versus a diverse array of plants. This reduces costs but comes a cost of disrupting soil ecology. We need a diversity of microbes to do their specialty work. According to biologist Anne Bikle: “Fewer kinds of microorganisms in the soil means that plants receive less in the way of beneficial compounds and molecules that soil microbes make.”

How To Locate Healthy Food From Good Soil

⁃ Buy organic ( best way to avoid pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and GMO’s)

⁃ Speak with farmer and ask questions ( Do you till? Do you use chemicals? How does the farmer promote biodiversity? Do animals graze on the farm?

⁃ Engage your senses ( use your eyes, sense of smell – healthy plants that interact with good soil produce strong and specific smells and tastes).

⁃ Buy meat, eggs and dairy from pasture raised animals. Grazing animals basically eat healthy herbs all day long.

⁃ Grow your own food by focusing on nutrient-dense plants. But you need to start with healthy soil.

The low- fat era is thankfully coming to an end as we learn more about the real health benefits of certain fats and separate out the harmful ones. Research now has shown that many chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, many autoimmune diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are more directly connected to diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugar.

In reality, we need fat for a wide  range of health promoting metabolic functions, including building cell membranes, absorbing vitamins, producing hormones, helping to moderate our glycemic load and supporting critical brain finctions.

Unfotunatetly, in spite of medical and scientific discoveries the 2 organizations that people rely on for nutritional  advice ( USDA and AMA ) have been slow to respond and create new guidelines.

Get Your Fats Straight !

One must consider the source and impact on our bodies. For example, the saturated fat found in grass-fed beef or in coconut oil  (which contain MCT’s, medium-chain triglycerides) are very different from the saturated fat found in processed meats or packaged foods. In fact, saturated fats have been unfairly disparaged because they are often grouped with processed trans fats. Healthy saturated fats can actually assist you in burning fat, improve and speed up brain function and optimize your cholesterol profiles. The real culprit in the staggering increase in obesity and insulin resistance is due to increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and unhealthy trans fats!

Not all fats are created equal:

1. Consume more anti-inflammatory fats – whole foods like wild salmon, sardines, walnuts and chia seeds are great sources of inflammation-busting omega 3’s, essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are essential to cell function and growth. Your body cannot make its own omega 3’s so they need to be added to your diet.

2. Eliminate refined oils – vegetable oils (often used in restaurants) such as corn, soybean, sunflower,  safflower and canola are all heavily processed and high in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids and prone to oxidation in the body. Omega 6’s both fuel the body’s inflammation pathways and reduce the the availability of anti-inflammatory omega 3’s leading to even greater inflammation.

3. Embrace animal derived fats – these include grass-fed butter,  glee,  beef and cage- free eggs.

4. Strive for variety – the healthy fats all deliver specific  benefits: extra-virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, avocado can enhance the body’s absorption of beta-carotene and carotenoids. Grass-fed butter delivers an excellent supply of Vitamin K2  and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid with anti-cancer properties.

5. Be mindful of high-heat cooking – if you heat an oil past the point at which it begins to smoke, free radicals and other carcinogenic compounds can form.

Health Fats:

– Ghee ( saturated and keep in cool, dark place)

–  Coconut oil ( saturated and keep in cool, dark place)

– Grass fed butter ( saturated and refrigerate)

– Extra-virgin olive oil ( monounsaturated and keep in cool, dark place)

– Avocado oil ( monounsaturated and refrigerate)

– Sesame seed oil (Polyunsaturated and refrigerate)

– Walnut, Flaxseed and Hemp Seed oil (polyunsaturated and refrigerate).

Get the Skinny on Fats

Healthy fats are a great source of energy for the body. They are, in fact, instrumental in weight management and metabolic function, nutrient and vitamin absorption, regulating and supporting immune and hormonal function and body temperature, gut function, neurotransmitter regulation. Not all fats are created equally and can have profoundly different effects on the body. A low-fat diet carries many risks: hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance that accompanies diabetes and cancer, leaky gut, and a variety of cognitive disorders.

According to David Perlmutter, M.D. ” For the greater part of the past 2.6 million years, our ancestors’ diets consisted of wild animals and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Today most people’s diets are centered on grains and carbs – many of which contain gut-blasting , microbiome-damaging gluten whose downstream effects reach the brain. Even setting aside the gluten factor, one of the main reasons that consuming too many grains and carbs is so harmful is that they spike blood sugar in ways other foods, such as fats, meats, fish, poultry and vegetables, do not.”

Low-Fat Diet Risks:

1. Compromised Brain Function: Essentially, the brain is made of fat and requires healthy fatty acids in order to optimally perform. Cholesterol, is in fact, vital to brain neural function that we must get through diet. In fact, studies have shown that low naturally occurring total cholesterol levels are associated with poor cognitive testing results including: executive functioning, abstract reasoning, attention/concentration and word fluency. This translates into unpredictable mood changes, low energy, poor job performance, brain fog and much more.

2. Compromised Cardiovascular Function: New research support the findings that heart disease, including coronary artery disease, is linked more to inflammation than from high fat intake, including saturated fats. An inflammatory diet includes, gluten, GMO’s, refined sugars and carbs and processed vegetable oils. Clinical studies actually show the benefit of monounsaturated fats on heart health – promoting healthy blood lipids, lowering cholesterol naturally, lowering blood pressure, improving insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. Healthy fats include: coconut and olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados, wild caught fish, grass fed dairy and beef, cage-free organic eggs, flax and chia seeds. Even though saturated fats can raise cholesterol but it is not linked to heart disease.

3. Hormone Imbalances: Cholesterol and other fats are essential to building cellular membranes and hormones ( testosterone and estrogen). Cholesterol is also needed to manufacture vitamin D – which acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. Additionally, a low fat diet is associated with an increased risk for infertility and other hormonal issues in women.

4. Weight Gain and Overeating: Latest research supports the connection between fat intake, your hormones, food cravings and weight fluctuations. Fats, in fact, turn on your fat burning mechanisms by impacting the ghrelin hormone levels, controlling insulin resistance, glucose regulation and enzyme activity and ultimately food cravings.

5. Higher risk of Insulin Resistance and Diabetes: Healthy fats are the key to insulin resistance, glucose regulation and, thus, diabetes. Mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity by modifying cell membrane composition. Even saturated fats have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance may also been linked to adherence to weight loss diets.

6. Elevated Risk of Depression: Fatty acids ( specifically, omega 3’s) are critical to brain functions that regulate mood. Some neurotransmitters are in fact synthesized from fatty acids. Trans fats, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect and raise the risk for depression.

7. Gut Issues: High fat and high fiber foods are correlated to a healthier gut microbiome. This not only affects the gut lining but also the brain (as the brain and gut are connected via the vagus nerve). A diet high in sugar and processed carbs disrupts the gut microbiome balance and feeds pathogenic bacteria.

The Types of Fats:

1. Saturated Fats:
– Important for bone health. Help with calcium absorption.
– Protect liver from toxin damage ( alcohol, prescription meds, household chemicals, metals, pesticides).
– Protect cardiovascular function (including reducing levels of lipoproteins and inflammatory substances).
– Enhance lipid profiles by enhancing HDL cholesterol.
– Decreases triglycerides and lessens impact of LDL cholesterol.
– Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) found in grass-fed beef and raw dairy also aids in fat burning.

Medium-chain saturated fats (MCT) found in coconut oil and milk and grass-fed butter are easily metabolized and used for energy as they are passed directly to the liver.
– They have powerful antibacterial and antiviral and antioxidant properties.
– They help repair gut lining issues and leaky gut syndrome and are effective in neutralizing candida virus symptoms.
– Help promote weight loss by increasing thermogenesis (calorie expenditure).

2. Monounsaturated Fats:
– Possess oelic acid and found in olives, olive oil, avocados, eggs, and some nuts.
– Benefits cardiovascular function – reduces LDL and elevates HDL cholesterol.
– Decreases oxidized LDL cholesterol, reduces oxidative by-products such as free radicals.
– Helps lower blood pressure.
– Decreases blood clot formation.

3. Polyunsaturated Fats:
– Omega 3’s ( eggs, wild caught salmon, sardines, flax seeds, grass fed beef)
– Many anti-inflammatory benefits.
– Critical to cellular structure and integrity in the body and brain.
– Integral to cell membrane formation, regulating gene expression and cellular function.
– Been shown to prevent and alleviate anxiety and depression.
– Supports cognitive function and prevents age-related cognitive decline.

Clean Eating 

It’s time to stop thinking about dieting and start thinking about eating right. It’s about eating real food that nourishes the mind and body, and really helps you function at peak efficiency. This is called CLEAN EATING.

Clean eating focuses on developing consistent healthy habits that enable you to retrain your taste buds to appreciate real food while eliminating highly processed foods that are comprised of sugar, trains fats and chemicals.

Making Better Choices:

1. Eat more foods in their natural state: unsalted nuts, grass-fed and free-range meats, organic fruits and vegetables.

2. Think outside the box: elimninate foods that come from a box – they are mostly processed! The closer the food is to its original form, the healthier it is.

3. Read the labels: simply, the heathlier the food the fewer the ingredients. If you cannot pronounce the ingredient you shouldn’t be eating it.

4. Get to know the enemy:  the list below all negatively impact our bodies by affecting cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and trigger a whole host of inflammatory responses.

– Trans fats – raises bad (LDL) cholesterol and lowers good (HDL) cholesterol increasing risk for heart attack an stroke.

– Food coloring and synthetic food dyes:  linked to tumor development

– Artifical sweeteners: promotes leaky guy syndrome and insulin resistance.

– High-fructose corn syrup: glucouse intolerance and insulin resistance.

– Nitrites and nitrates:  been associated with ovarian and kidney cancers.

5. Eat Smarter:

– Eat more organic foods:  butter, full fat yogurt ( natural probiotics), grass- fed and free-range meats.

– Almond or Rice milk ( if lactose intolerant)

– Wild fish

– Raw nuts and seeds

–  Organic Eggs

– Coconut oil.

– Garlic powder

– Chia seeds

– Quinoa

– Fermented foods ( miso, sauerkraut, kimchi)

– Seasonal  organic vegetables and fruits ( asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, blue and purple berries)

– Sprouted grain bread ( if you eat bread)

POWER FOODS:   That reduce inflammation, hypertension, and packed with vitamins and minerals.

Dark cherries

– Dark leafy greens

– Beets

– Avocado

Nutrient- dense spices:   Reduce inflammation, strengthen immune system, improve glucouse tolerance, reduce risk of onset of Alzheimer’s and boost cognitive function.

– Ginger

– Crushed red pepper flakes

– Thyme

– Tumeric

– Cinnamon

– Rosemary

The Metabolic Truth

Metabolic function ( the whole range of biochemical processes as it relates to the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy) is impacted by many factors. Epigenetic ( switching or activating genes on or off) research has given us a clearer picture of what we can and cannot control as it relates to metabolic function. Optimal function is not only affected by what we eat but also how we digest our nutrients and the conditions in our body that facilitate this outcome.

Obesity has been and continues to be a a major health challenge. It is the precursor to many illness and diseases ( diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, autoimmune and neuro- degenerative disease to name a few). The good news is that these conditions can be treated and prevented provided you understand the triggers and causes. For purposes of this blog, I want to underscore the bad foods to avoid and the good foods to include as it relates to enhanced metabolic function.

Bad Foods to Eliminate:

Sugar:  found in many refined and processed foods, fruit juices, sodas, energy drinks and bars, breads, cereals, etc. It is associated with impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, interfering with fat metabolism by directly impacting key hormonal activity and causing inflammation in the gut lining and leading to  leaky gut.

Vegetable oils:  Canola, soybean, corn, cottonseed and sunflower oil.They are high in harmful omega 6 fatty acids. These GMO products cause cellular inflammation and destroy healthful bacteria  in the gut (microbiome).

 Conventional Dairy:  Loaded with drugs, hormones and antibiotics. Replace with coconut milk or organic goat dairy.

Wheat:  Contain gluten and phytic acid which are triggers for leaky gut leading to systemic inflammation  and interfere with digestive enzyme activity and amylopectin which leads to blood sugar spikes and fat storage activity.

Artificial Sweeteners: Found in diet sodas and some protein powders ( Aspartame, Splenda etc) which kill probiotics in the gut. Replace with Stevia.

– Conventional Peanut Butter and Peanuts: High in omega 6’s which are highly inflammatory and can trigger candida and leaky gut. They also can act as a food allergen. They are also susceptible to a mold that produces a mycotoxin called aflatoxin which is categorized as a carncinogen !
Good Foods to Add:

Chia and Flax Seeds: High in fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium,  antioxidants and omega 3’s and increase energy and metabolic function. They help reduce food cravings, lower blood pressure and help you stay hydrated.

 Green Leafy Vegetables: High in magnesium, vitamin K and chlorophyll.

Cruciferous Vegtables:  Helps reduce estrogen ( key in reducing inflammation and increasing fat metabolism). They are rich in carotenoids, Vitamin C, E and K, high in fiber. They also contain glucosinolates which are broken down into sulforaphane – high in anti cancer properties. Ex: kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, collard greens.

Root Vegetables:  Ex: Beets and carrots, garlic, onions. They are great pre- and probiotic foods.

Berries ( blueberries , raspberries). They are high in resveratrol and flavonoids.

Coconut oil and milk: They contain medium chain fatty acids which are easily processed into energy by helping the body to burn more fat and less sugar.

 Grass fed beef , cage free eggs, avocado, nuts, seeds and  wild caught salmon: Great sources of healthy protein and fats.

TAKE AWAY: Less sugars and more healthy fats, fiber and quality proteins.

More Suggestions:

– Drink ionized and purified water 

– Consume bone broth and  drink fermented juices 

– Take fat burning supplements:

Ex:  Whey protein and/ or collagen protein. Probiotics ( remember all health begins in the gut) which help balance hormones, restore gut flora and help with detoxification. Green tea ( high in chlorophyll and Polyphenols). Adaptogenic herbs ( grapefruit essential oil and Rhodeola rosea) 


– Need  only 20-30 min 3 – 5 x / week. Blend cardio with strength training for optimal results. 

– Interval or high intensity training yields best metabolic results. This raises HGH and works on ghrelin and leptin hormones, helps with glucose tolerance and insulin receptor sensitivity.

Probiotics – What To Look For

Probiotics are becoming a valuable nutritional  tool that helps restore a balanced gut microbiome which in turn has powerful implications for controlling inflammation and related auto immune diseases. But it’s very important to select the right one.

Probiotic rich foods and drinks have become very popular and are intended to support gut health, but many store bought or products available online may also contain added sugars to improve taste or serve as preservatives, which in reality counteract their micobial benefits. Food and supplement companies  often add sugar to mask the sour flavour that the fermentation procees naturally creates. The added sugar changes the diversity of gut bacteria and produces an overgrowth of certain yeast species.

Probiotics are intended to help maintain the right symbiotic relationship between friendly bacteria and yeast in your gut. This ideally prevents overgrowth, minimizes pathogenic bacteria and promotes a non – inflammatory environment.

Sugar laden probiotics can over stimulate yeast production. Excess yeast in the gut can lead to candida fungal overgrowth which can lead to chronic fatigue, digestive issues, leaky gut, brain fog and autoimmune disease.

How To Shop for a Probiotic:

1. Check the nutrition  label for added sugars. Flavored kefirs can often contain up to 38g of sugar.

2. Look for the amount of “live bacteria”. Pasturization naturally destroys many naturally occuring probiotics. Optimal amounts are between 10 – 50 billion CFU  (colony-forming units) of live bacteria.

3. Be mindful of processed probiotic foods. They may also contain artificial sweeteners and coloring. Avoid dry bars and cereals that are advertised as probiotic that aren’t live or raw.

4. The best probiotics will also cover a broad spectrum of lactobacillus and bifida bacterium.

Healthy Probiotc Rich Foods:

– Sauerkraut

– Pickles

– Kimchi

– Tempeh

– Miso

– Kefir ( preferably goat or coconut )




Breakfast: Fuel the Mind and Body

Skipping breakfast has profound effects on the mind and body systems – a sluggish metabolism as the body shifts into” starvation-mode”, potential weight gain, lower energy levels, and weakened cognitive abilities ( poor concentration, problem solving, reduced alertness). The body physiologically needs calories to function optimally.

Both the mind ( brain function) and the body need both fats and carbohydrates. Glucose ( sugar) from carbs is needed to metabolize fat is and is the exclusive fuel source for the brain and red blood cells.

The liver’s stored glycogen supplies the body with glucose throughout the night. According to Enette Larson- Meyer, a nutritionist and author: ” When you wake up, blood sugar may be low and the liver may be running low in glycogen. This limits the glucose that is available for the energy needs of the brain and body.”

Larson- Meyers says ” You need glucose ( that comes from carbohydrates) for brain function and- if you exercise in the morning – as a substrate for muscles so that you can get an intense workout in and recover well afterward. Studies in children have shown that a little suger helps them think better and not be so sluggish.”

Breakfast should include protein, which is needed for muscle building and repair and maintenance of hormones and enzymes. Research indicates that protein is better absorbed and utilized if intake is spread throughout the day. In fact, if protein is eaten at several small meals, the body can use all nutrients more effectively and helps to lower the glycemic effect of carbohydrates.

Breakfast should also include fiber, vitamins and minerals.

According to Larson-Meyer you should still consume breakfast even if you aren’t hungry. ” Just because you don’t feel hungry doesn’t mean you don’t need the calories. It might mean you need them more than you think”. Diminished appetite is thought to be a protective adaptation when the body is experiencing a starvation response.

Dan Benardot, at Georgia State University, has studied how large energy deficits ( skipping breakfast) affects athletes. He found that athletes may have less lean body mass and higher fat levels as a result. According to Benardot: ” Both the low blood sugar in the long periods of not eating and the overly large meals that follow can lead to surges of excess insulin, an effect that encourages extra body fat.”

If your fuel tank is empty ( low calorie state) and you rev the engine, the body will demand more fuel in the form of glucose and fatty acids from the blood. If the fuel is not available, the body will break down muscle protein to meet the energy demands. In addition, by driving the body into a greater energy deficit, one might be more inclined to to get hungrier and binge later.

Endurance training requires ample stored carbohydrate. Both carbs and fats are needed. According to Larson-Meyer: ” Even if you are burning a slightly higher ratio of fat, with impaired performance you may not be burning as many total calories of fat as you could if you were well-fueled.

Breakfast should comprise 25-30% of the total calories needed. Ideally the morning meal should include carbohydrates and fiber ( fruit, oatmeal, cereal, vegetables), protein and some healthy fats( eggs or egg whites, low-fat milk or yogurt, nuts, beans, avocado).

Don’t be shy on being creative for breakfast. Ex: smoothies, soups, bean burritos.

Daily Detox

Eating certain foods can profoundly  impact your body’s natural detox functions. You will feel and look better. These foods can provide nutritional support to several organs that possess powerful detoxification capabilities. For example: your liver neutralizes environmental toxins and pollutants. Your kidneys filter waste from your blood. Your skin releases toxins via sweat. The digestive system shuttles waste out of your body. Your brain via the glymphatic system processes and breaks down tau proteins ( the hallmark of Alzheimer’s). Your body needs extra help to cleanse itself considering the vast array of toxins we are exposed to ( metals, glyphosate in pesticides,  phalates in plastics and parabens in our cosmetics, GMO’s and gluten to name a few).

One way to reduce the toxic load is to eat foods that optimize the body’s natural detoxification systems and processes. Robert Roundtree, MD, at the Institue for Functional Medicine says ” The longer these toxins are in contact with our cells, the more likely they are to cause damage to our organs and other bodily systems.” He adds: ” It’s better to help the body eliminate toxins at the time of exposure than to allow them to accumulate at high levels before going on a radical cleanse”.

The Liver Supporters 

Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, bok choy, onions, leeks, garlic and watercress.

These foods contain compounds  that elevate cellular response of enzymes in the liver and help remove foreign elements from the body. The liver behaves like an inspection facility – deciding  what’s beneficial and what’s not ( a two-fold process in fact).

The Hydrators

Water, herbal teas, celery, watermelon and cucumbers.

The human body is 78% water. As such, consuming water and water-rich produce facilitates balance and protects against dehydration. Furthermore, fluids assist the kidneys in waste product removal from the blood, directing crucial minerals back into the bloodstream and helping flush out unnecessary compounds out in the urine.

It’s almost important to drink purified or filtered water to avoid contaminates and chemicals that plague our water supplies and eat organic water based foods to avoid the same issues.

The Metal Detectors

Turmeric, seaweed, cilantro, onions and garlic.

These help with heavy metals like lead, mercury and arsenic which increase the risk of organ  damage and cancer. Curcumin, the active ingredient in Tumeric can bind to these metals and help remove them from the body. Active ingredients in seaweed can bond to lead and mercury and aid in removal.

The Colon Cleansers

Lentils, artichokes, raspberries, barley and apples.

These foods which are fiber based truly help to move food through the colon and help remove toxins.They also feed the healthy gut bacteria. This in turn helps decrease inflammation and build immune function.

The pH Balancers

Vegetables and citrus fruit.

The pH balance in the body varies greatly depending on part and region. For example, the stomach is highly acidic and the outside lining is quite alkaline. The rest of the body prefers a more alkaline state. A diet low in starchy vegetables and heavy in animal proteins shifts the pH to more acidic. Other foods that shift the pH include dairy, sugar and processed carbs. These foods cause the body to neutralize the pH with alkalizing minerals. If there aren’t enough minerals in your diet, your body pulls them from your bones- affecting your biochemistry and bone mass.

Interestingly, acidic fruits like oranges and lemon have an alkalising effect!

The Inflammation Fighters 

Salmon, sardines, hemp oil, flax seeds and walnuts.

These foods are high in omega 3 fatty acids. They fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation sets off reactions that produce oxidative stress, which in turn leads to the production of free radicals which cause cellular damage and potentially leads to cancer and many autoimmune diseases. Omega 3’s also target toxins directly ( ex: PCB’s which are man made chemicals used in industrial and commercial applications)

The Cultured Club

Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh.

These foods help balance the microbiome in the gut. A well – balanced gut microbiome aids in digestion, metabolism, nutrient absorption and  generation, reduces bloating and boosts immune function. Good bacteria also bind to toxins (found in food and water) and help rid the body of them.

The Skin Facts

Jalapeño peppers, organic green tea and black tea and organic coffee.

Your skin is your largest organ! It provides a barrier for keeping unwanted foreign substances out. Sweating also aids in detoxification, specifically,  of toxins such as heavy metals.

Your skin much like your gut hosts a variety of health and immune boosting microbiome. As such, it’s important not to assault  the skin with chemically -laden and toxic skin care products. Your skin in fact is a bi-directional gateway – keeping harmful things out and releasing toxins that need to be removed.

Seaweed – A real superfood 

Seaweed is one of the world’s most environmentally friendly crops. It actually can capture and store carbon from the environment more efficiently than most trees and plants, and as such, may play a role in combating climate change.

It’s also one of the most nutritious foods in the world. It grows in mineral rich waters – rich in iodine, iron, calcium, vitamin A,B and C, high in protein, omega 3’s and soluble fiber. This marine algae can be brown, red or green.

Brown algae ( kombu,wakamb and arame) known for high iodine content.

Red algae ( dulse and nori) high in protein.

Green seaweed ( chlorella) high in antioxidants.

According to Emeir McSorley, PhD, out of Ulster University in Norhern Ireland seaweed contains specific chemicals that can prevent and relieve a number of chronic ailments: ” The benefits of eating seaweed not only include nutuonal value, but also the bio active compounds they contain that are unque to a marine environment.” Researchers believe seaweed has the potential for fighting the following diseases.


A study out of Universitty of South Carolina’s Cancer Center revealed that several compounds found in Brown seaweed (alginate fiber; fucoxanthin, a carotenoid; the polysaccharides fucoidan and laminarin; and polyphenol defense compounds) play a significant role protecting against cancer. Additionally, another study showed reduced estrogen levels associated with lower breast cancer rates after consuming seaweed.

Gut Microbe Imbalance:

Studies show that kelp has demonstrated the ability to shift gut microflora composition. The polysaccharides in seaweed may also act as a prebiotic – foods that fuel a healthy gut microbiome.

Metabolic Syndrome:

Seaweed has the ability to alter some biological processes connected to metabolic syndrome. A 2011 Japanaese study found that alginic acid in kombu ( brown algae) may prevent type 2 diabetes by blocking the absorption of triglycerides – fat molecules, at high levels, can indicate insulin resistance. Flucoxanthin ( brown seaweed) has been shown to lower blood glucose and insulin levels.

Flucoxathin has also been shown to block the accumulation of abdominal fat and inhibit overall weight gain. Additionally, diets that include aliginate helped lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.



Magnesium – what is it and why it’s important

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals that is vital to your overall health. Magnesium deficiency is quite common and has profound effects. According to Katthie Swift from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine ” It works in partnership with other nutrients as an important catalyst for more than 375 reactions that we need to keep our systems going strong.”

Magnesium, a vital electrolyte regulates many biochemical reactions like protein synthesis, blood glucose control and blood pressure. It also impacts cardiovascular function, digestion and sleep functions. Additionally, it helps regulate muscle function and nerve transmission. It helps your muscles relax. Magnesium deficiency is often manifested by neuromuscular problems like cramping, spasms, fibromyalgia and facial tics.

If magnesium levels drop too low you may experience numbness, tingling, mood swings, abnormal heart rhythms and possible seizures.
Magnesium at work:

1. Heart Function – is vital to heart muscle function. This electrolyte assists in transport of calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes. It also is crucial in all nerve and muscle function – particularly keeping heart and peripheral blood vessels relaxed.

2. Insulin Regulation – assists  insulin in regulating blood sugar by controlling proper insulin secretion from the pancreas. Studies indicate that magnesium deficiency is  linked to insulin resistance which is a precursor to Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and some cancers. 

3. Detoxification – magnesium assists the liver in detoxing, removing and neutralizing toxins from the body. It helps by activating other nutrients like thiamine and glutathione to do their jobs in detoxification and antioxidant defense. Adequate levels of magnesium counters the damage by environmental toxins and heavy metals. 

4. Vitamin D metabolism – the mineral is  crucial to vitamin  D absorption. It is as also been shown to help reverse vitamin D resistance. According to Andrea Rosanoff PhD, ” Magnseium is crucial in supporting the proteins that transport vitamin D in the blood.”

5. Bone health – 50% of your body’s magnesium is stored in your bones. It is involved in cellular activity that is responsible for breaking down bone tissue ( osteoclasts) and building new bone ( osteoclasts). Magnesium is just as important as calcium as it pertains to bone health ( preventing osteoporosis).

6. Restorative sleep – this multifaceted mineral aids sleep by stimulating neurotransmitter receptors that help our brains relax so we can fall asleep. 

Testing for Magnesium Deficiency:

The magnsieum red blood cell test ( mg RBC) is the best test currently  available. The ionized – magnsieum blood test looks at actual magnesium ions in your blood – providing a more accurate reading. 

Good Sources of Magnsuium:

Quinoa, almonds, cashews, spinach, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, white and black beans, avocado, brown rice and halibut. 


Organic bound magnesium salts like magnesium citrate, glycinate or  gluconate. 

300 – 500 mg recommended dose.