Shannon's health and fitness blog

The Tower Garden

Tower Garden® is a state-of-the-art vertical aeroponic growing system, now being offered by Juice Plus+. It’s perfect for rooftops, patios, balconies, terraces—just about any relatively sunny place outside.  Using aeroponics and a specially formulated Tower Tonic plant food, it grows almost any vegetable, herb, or flower—and many fruits—in less time than it takes in soil.

Technology. Vision. Passion. It took all three—and more than 5 years—to fully develop Tower Garden. Tim Blank was Greenhouse Manager for Epcot’s cutting-edge agricultural display until 2005. He left and founded Future Growing with the dream that someday everybody on the planet would have access to healthy food in their own home and local community.

With vine-ripened produce right outside your back door, Tower Garden makes it convenient to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Not only that, because Tower Garden produce is better tasting, better looking—even better smelling—you and your family will likely find yourselves wanting to eat more fruits and vegetables.  So you’ll reap additional nutritional benefits as well.   You can grow up to 20 plants with your standard Tower Garden, and you can grow a wide variety of what you and your family like to eat, from gourmet lettuces and leafy greens to luscious tomatoes, strawberries, and melons.

Each Tower Garden holds 20 plants and can grow anything from gourmet lettuces and herbs to beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes.  Best of all, because of the patented aeroponic growing system, the plants will grow in less time than it would normally take in the soil.

When you purchase Tower Garden, you’ll have a full range of customer support to help ensure a successful growing experience, including their online Resource Center.

Tower Garden’s key advantages to traditional gardening

  • Comes with everything you need to start growing
  • Compact design fits almost anywhere, including patios, decks, porches, balconies, terraces, or rooftop gardens
  • Soil-free system means there is no weeding, tilling, kneeling, or getting dirty
  • No gardening experience is necessary
  • Grows many fruits and almost any vegetable, herb, or flower—faster than in soil
  • Uses less than 10% of the water and land involved in traditional gardening
  • Reduces the need for pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides
  • Fewer issues with climate, such as heat, cold, drought
  • Help is just a call or click away

Because it utilizes aeroponics, Tower Garden’s closed-system technology recycles 100% of its nutrients and water. Plants therefore use less than 10% of both the water and the land that are commonly used in conventional and organic farming.*

Plus, the aeroponic growing system reduces the need for pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides. That’s because the all-natural earth minerals found in Tower Tonic® produce strong, healthy plants that can better protect themselves from plant pests and disease, and because the soil-less system is not subject to ground pests. So Tower Garden allows you to decide whether to use any chemicals

What Can You Grow?

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Amaranth (vegetable type)
  • Arugula
  • Bayam
  • Beans: Lima, bush, pole, shell, fava, green
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Raab
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage and Chinese cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard, all types
  • Chicory
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • Cress
  • Dandelion, Italian
  • Eggplant, European and Asian
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Gourds, edible and ornamental
  • Kale
  • Kinh gioi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Komatsuna
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce, all types
  • Mesclun Varieties
  • Melons, all types
  • Misome
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard Greens
  • Ngo Gai
  • Okra
  • Pak Choy
  • Perilla
  • Peas, all types
  • Peppers, all types
  • Radicchio
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Squash, all types
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes, all types


  • Angelica
  • Anise Hyssop
  • Basil, all types
  • Bee Balm
  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Catmint
  • Catnip
  • Chamomile
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro (Coriander) and Culantro
  • Citrus Basil
  • Cumin
  • Cutting Celery
  • Dandelion
  • Dill
  • Echinacea (Coneflower)
  • Epazote
  • Feverfew
  • Flax
  • Garlic Chives
  • Goldenseal
  • Hyssop
  • Lavender
  • Leaf Fennel
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Grass
  • Lovage
  • Marjoram
  • Mexican Mint Marigold
  • Milk Thistle
  • Mint, all varieties
  • Nettle
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (leafy types only)
  • Passion Flower
  • Pleurisy Root
  • Pyrethrum
  • Rosemary
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • Salad Burnet
  • Saltwort
  • Savory
  • Shiso
  • Stevia
  • Thyme
  • Valerian
  • Wormwood
  • Mibura


Edible Flowers include:

  • Calendula
  • Carthamus
  • Dianthus
  • Hyacinth Bean
  • Marigolds
  • Monarda
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansies
  • Salvia
  • Scarlet Runner Bean
  • Sunflowers (dwarf varieties only)
  • Violas

Ornamental Flowers include:

  • Ageratum
  • Agrostemma
  • Ammi
  • Amaranth, Globe
  • Amaranthus
  • Artemisia
  • Aster
  • Bells of Ireland
  • Bupleurum
  • Cardoon
  • Safflower
  • Centaurea
  • Celosia
  • Coleus
  • Cosmos
  • Craspedia
  • Datura
  • Delphinium
  • Digitalis
  • Eucalyptus
  • Euphorbia
  • Forget-me-not
  • Hibiscus
  • Impatiens
  • Kale, ornamental
  • Morning Glory
  • Nigella
  • Petunia
  • Phlox
  • Poppy
  • Polygonum
  • Ptilotus
  • Salpiglossis
  • Rudbeckia
  • Sanvitalia
  • Scabiosa
  • Snapdragon
  • Statice
  • Stock
  • Strawflower
  • Sweet Peas
  • Thunbergia
  • Verbena
  • Yarrow
  • Zinnia

April 10, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Smooth Sailing

Ever have those days when you’ve eaten something and your digestive system is letting you know it isn’t happy?  Or there are those foods that you know you’re not supposed to eat, but just can’t help yourself?  For me, those foods are dairy and gluten.  Gluten is never a problem for me to avoid, but dairy calls my name almost daily.  I do a very good job of abstaining, but there are occasions when I give in.  Thankfully I have found something that eliminates any digestive problems.  Arbonne’s Digestive Plus provides prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes to help support optimal digestive health. It works even if you’ve eaten something that feels heavier in your stomach than you’re used to, or you’re just plain bloated.  Each single-serving stick packet contains a mild-flavored powder that can be added to any cold or room temperature liquid.

For more information click here:

March 26, 2012 Posted by | Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring cleaning

This week marks the change of seasons.  Spring is upon us again.  Of course, here in Southern California, we are blessed with great weather all year long.  Yet, something about beautiful, longer sunny days, flowers blooming, and birds singing remind us that summer and all its fun is just around the corner.  This is the time when we start thinking, “Uh oh, I have to wear a bikini soon.  Better ramp up those workouts!”  For me, spring marks a time when I replace those comfort foods with lots of veggies.  Ok, so I know my idea of comfort food is sweet potato chips and gluten/dairy free muffins from Kean coffee.  It’s all relative, right?

The real spring cleaning starts in April.   An entire month to prepare for summer and fun at the beach!  If you’re looking not only to lose weight, but have increased energy, improve your digestive system, eliminate aches and pains, and feel great join me April 3 to start April”s 28 Days to Health cleanse.  You will learn how to improve your diet permanently, how food affects your health, and how to control cravings, energy fluctuations, and mood swings.

For those committed to their health by March 31, 2012 the program fee will be waived 100%.  After April 1, the fee will be $50.00.  For more information contact me at

March 25, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great advice for those just starting to run or those who need a little motivation to get back into the game 🙂

   My Pilates teacher asked me during my last class if it was running season yet to which I replied – “It’s always running season!” But I do understand where she’s coming from. It’s tough running, or doing anything really, outside during the short, cold winter days. Especially for those who just beginning to run and aren’t fully into the addictive power of the sport yet.  Now, as the days grow longer and the weather warmer it’s easier to get outside and be active.

But if you still need motivation to move from your bum and into a healthier life, here are some things that might give you the kick you need.

1. New workout gear – I’m not saying to go buy an entire new fitness wardrobe, but having clothes/shoes that make you feel good about getting outside for a run/bike/swim. I highly recommend going to a running or…

View original post 275 more words

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and whether you celebrate or not, chances are you’ve had your share of McDonald’sShamrock Shake.  I know some people who can’t wait for this time of year, just to indulge in that minty creaminess. Did you know that all that yumminess runs between 420-1,110 calories a shake?  The small Shamrock Shake packs in 10 grams of fat, 72 grams of carbs and 62 grams of sugar. You’d have to run 5-6 miles just to burn off that shake!

Last year Hungry Girl came out with a healthier version that I like to share with Shamrock Shake lovin’ friends.


3/4 cup light vanilla soymilk (personally I would switch this to almond milk 🙂

1/2 cup Breyers Double Churn Free Creamy Vanilla fat-free ice cream

1 tbsp. Coffee Mate sugar free French Vanilla powdered creamer

1/4 tsp. peppermint extract

2 drops…

View original post 79 more words

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Power of the Pomegranate


When I was a kid my great grandmother had a pomegranate tree right outside her front door.  I would pick them off the tree, pick the seeds out and enjoy their tartness.  She always told me they were good for me.  Little did I know that I should have kept up that healthy habit. My paternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s and I certainly don’t want to inherit this devastating disease.  As a result, I have added 6oz. of pomegranate juice to my daily regimen.Pomegranate juice contains high levels of antioxidants and may help prevent heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have found a strong correlation between oxidative stress and Alzheimer’s disease, and antioxidant rich pomegranate juice may help reverse some of the damage caused by oxidative stress. Pomegranate juice also provides good sources of folate and polyphenols, nutrients that appear to help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  The antioxidants in the juice may also help keep cholesterol in a form that is less damaging, and may also reduce plaque that has already built up in vessels.  Pomegranate juice has been shown to have potent anti-atherogenic effects in healthy humans and in mice with plaque buildup — possibly due to its antioxidative properties, researchers from Israel recently concluded. In their study of healthy male volunteers, pomegranate juice was shown to decrease the likelihood of LDL “bad” cholesterol to form plaque. Another Israeli study showed a decrease in the development of atherosclerosis in mice whose diets were supplemented with pomegranate juice.


Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is directly related to Alzheimer’s disease onset, according to D. Allan Butterfield, director of the Center of Membrane Sciences at the University of Kentucky. The brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients exhibit intense damage from oxidative stress in the form of free radical formation, inflammation, the degeneration of fats and proteins, and damage to DNA and RNA.

Vitamin E

Pomegranate juice is a good source of vitamin E. Recent research links high concentrations of vitamin E in the diet to reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease onset. A 2010 study led by Yian Gu of Columbia University Medical Center followed 2,148 adults 65 years of age and older; of this group, 253 developed Alzheimer’s disease. The group that developed Alzheimer’s ingested significantly less vitamin E in their diet. The researchers hypothesized that vitamin E’s powerful antioxidant effect helped the first group ward off Alzheimer’s. The study results were published in the journal “Archives of Neurology.”


Pomegranate juice is also an excellent source of folate. Folate deficiency has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Butterfield notes that evidence exists that Alzheimer’s patients are deficient in folate, and that folate supplementation may help to retard the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Pomegranate juice therefore may help Alzheimer’s patients manage their condition and may help to slow down the disease.


Pomegranate juice is also abundant in polyphenols, which have shown significant positive effects on the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients. Polyphenols boost the brain cells’ resistance to oxidative stress, help to control the degeneration of fats and also appear to avert the death of the cells, notes Butterfield .

Antioxidants in pomegranates include polyphenols, such as tannins and anthocyanins. In fact, pomegranates may have even more antioxidant power than cranberry juice or green tea, Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, a nutrition advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research, has written in the AICR’s “Nutrition Wise” newsletter.

As for other possible health benefits, while more studies are needed, there are indications that:

  • Pomegranate juice may improve blood flow to the heart in people with ischemic coronary heart disease (CHD). In a study of 45 people with CHD and myocardial ischemia (in which not enough blood gets to the heart muscle), participants who drank about 8 fluid ounces of pomegranate juice daily for 3 months had less ischemia during a stress test. Study participants who did not drink the juice, meanwhile, had evidence of more stress-induced ischemia. The study noted no negative effects to drinking pomegranate juice (even on blood sugar levels or body weight). Lead researcher, Dean Ornish, MD, believes pomegranate juice may even be able to help prevent heart disease in people who do not already have it.
  • Pomegranate juice may slow prostate cancer growth. Antioxidants are known to help prevent and repair DNA damage that can lead to cancer. “Pomegranate juice won’t fend off cancer by itself, but studies suggest it may be a wonderful addition to the balanced, plant-based diet recommended by the American Institute of Cancer Research,” says Collins. Men who have already had preliminary treatment for prostate cancer may benefit from a daily dose of pomegranate juice. The juice appeared to suppress the growth of cancer cells and the increase in cancer cell death in lab testing, according to research from UCLA. Allan Pantuck, MD, said in an email interview that he guesses a combination of elements in pomegranates — rather than any single component — is probably responsible for these health effects.

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Elderly, Food, Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oil..oops, I mean water, water everywhere!

Today in my daughter’s science class, the science teacher asked how many of the kids drank out of stainless steel water bottles.   Shockingly, my daughter and one other child were the only ones to raise their hands!  Honestly, I really don’t see any reason why anyone would still be drinking out of plastic bottles.  It is expensive,  toxic to our health, and destroys our environment.  I bet if I asked all the parents of those children about buying organic and healthy food for their families, they would claim that it is too expensive.  However, before I stopped using plastic water bottles, I spent $90 a month on bottled water for just my daughter and I.  $90 would certainly buy a lot of fruits and vegetables for the month, don’t you think?

My daughter also tells me about the large numbers of children who keep the same plastic water bottle at their desk for months on end and keep refilling it.  These bottles have never been meant for multiple use.  They are for one time use only and will just keep leaching all kinds of toxins into your water for every use after that.  Anyone who has any concern about their own health, our environment and/or the burdens of the oil industry would do well to filter their tap water and make the switch to stainless steel (my current bottle cost me $2).  If you need any more convincing, watch this video:

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Children, Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Posture Police

One of my biggest peeves is bad posture.  Ask any one of my clients, and they will tell you that I am the posture police.  Poor posture is the number one cause of musculoskeletal pain, something your doctor probably won’t tell you.  And the longer you remain is a compromised position, the tighter those muscles surrounding your joints will become.  Keeping good posture can make a difference to the long term health of your spine and the rest of your body.  Not only that, but people with poor posture are more likely to have poor self-image and less self-confidence (Watson & MacDonncha 2000).

Posture is a state of skeletal and muscular balance and alignment that protects the supporting structures of your body from progressive deformity and injury (Britnell et al. 2005).  Whether you are erect, lying, squatting, or stooping, good posture allows your muscles to function with maximum efficiency.  With good standing posture your body’s joints are in a state of equilibrium with the least amount of physical energy being used to maintain this upright position.

Posture muscles help to fix or stabilize a joint.  They prevent movement, while other muscles create movement.  They are composed of muscle fibers that have a particular capacity for prolonged work.  For instance, as you lean forward slightly to walk upstairs, the posture muscles surrounding the spine help to prevent the upper body from falling too far forward.

There are three natural curves in a healthy spine.  The low back (lumbar spine) curves inward and is called the lordotic curve.  The mid-back (thoracic spine) is curved outward. The neck (cervical spine) curves slightly forward or inward and thus has a lordotic curve.  “Neutral spine” usually refers to the lumbar region.  Neutral spine is a pain-free position of the lumbar spine attained when the pressures in and around the pelvis joint structures are evenly distributed.  The pelvis is balanced between its anterior and posterior positions.

Exercise programs that are designed for musculoskeletal injury prevention involve neuromuscular control components.  These programs involve joint stability exercises, balance training, proprioceptive training, plyometric exercises, and skill-specific training.  They provide multiple stimuli to improve the body’s neuromuscular control mechanisms.

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Exercise, Health, Mind-body awareness, Personal training, Physical therapy | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How holes are formed in your gut

By Dr. Mercola

Leaky gut is a condition that occurs due to the development of gaps between the cells (enterocytes) that make up the membrane lining your intestinal wall.

These tiny gaps allow substances such as undigested food, bacteria and metabolic wastes,that should be confined to your digestive tract, to escape into your bloodstream — hence the term leaky gut syndrome.

Once the integrity of your intestinal lining is compromised, and there is a flow of toxic substances “leaking out” into your bloodstream, your body experiences significant increases in inflammation.

Also, your immune system may become confused and begin to attack your own body as if it were an enemy (autoimmunity).

Most often, leaky gut syndrome is associated with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease, but even healthy people can have varying degrees of intestinal permeability leading to a wide variety of health symptoms — and this can be influenced heavily by the foods you choose to eat.

Grains Contain Anti-Nutrients

In the United States, we’re told that grains (especially whole grains) are an important part of a balanced diet, necessary for obtaining our daily requirement of healthy nutrients and fiber.

However, according to a growing number of experts, including Dr. Loren Cordain, a professor at Colorado State University and an expert on Paleolithic lifestyles, humans are NOT designed to eat grains, and doing so may actually be damaging to your gut.

Dr. Cordain explains:

“There’s no human requirement for grains. That’s the problem with the USDA recommendations. They think we’re hardwired as a species to eat grains. You can get by just fine and meet every single nutrient requirement that humans have without eating grains. And grains are absolutely poor sources of vitamins and minerals compared to fruits and vegetables and meat and fish.”

Ironically, since we’re often told that whole grains are the best for our health, the high-fiber bran portion of grain – a key part that makes it a whole grain — actually contains many of the anti-nutrients.But the problem isn’t only that there are superior sources of nutrients; grains actually contain anti-nutrients that may damage your health. Dr. Cordain states:

“Grains are the seeds of a plant. They’re its reproductive material, and plants don’t make their reproductive material to give away for free to other animals. If they did they’d become extinct, and so the evolutionary strategy that many plants, particularly cereal grains have taken to prevent predation is to evolve toxic compounds so that the predator of the seeds can’t eat them, so that they can put their seeds in the soil where they’re meant to be to grow a new plant and not in the gut of an animal to feed it.”

Grains — Especially Whole Grains — Increase Intestinal Permeability

There is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that grains, as well as legumes, contain anti-nutrients and other problem substances that may increase intestinal permeability. This includes:


Gliadin is the primary immunotoxic protein found in wheat gluten and is among the most damaging to your health.  Gliadin gives wheat bread its doughy texture and is capable of increasing the production of the intestinal protein zonulin, which in turn opens up gaps in the normally tight junctures between intestinal cells (enterocytes).

In celiac disease the body will make antibodies to gliadin after it is digested by the intestinal enzyme tissue transglutaminase, resulting in severe autoimmune damage to the delicate, absorptive surfaces of the intestines. It does not, however, require full blown celiac disease to suffer from the adverse effects of this protein. In fact, it is likely that our intolerance to gliadin and related wheat proteins is a species-specific intolerance, applicable to all humans, with the difference being a matter of the degree to which it causes harm.

This helps to explain why new research clearly shows gliadin increases intestinal permeability in both those with, and thosewithout, celiac disease.


Lectins are a key mechanism through which plants protect themselves against being eaten, and are found in highest concentrations in their seed form — which makes sense, considering that seeds are the plants’  “babies” and whose survival ensures the continuation of their species.

When animals consume foods containing lectins, they may experience digestive irritation, along with a wide range of other health complaints. The degree to which the adverse effects are expressed depends largely on how long that species has had to co-evolve with that particular form of plant food it is eating.  Since humans have only been consuming unsprouted grains and beans in large amounts for approximately 500 generations, we still suffer far more than certain rodents and birds, who have had thousands of generations longer to adapt to this way of eating.

We are mostly exposed to lectins from grains, beans, dairy products and nightshade plants, such as potato, tomato, and chili peppers. However, bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) has a prominent role to play in lectin-induced adverse effects, due to the fact that it is a relatively new form of wheat, and contains wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) – a particularly resilient and problematic lectin, considering it is not eliminated through sprouting and is actually found in higher concentrations in whole wheat.

Studies indicate that it has the potential to contribute to a wide range of adverse health effects, including gut inflammation and damage to your gastrointestinal tract:

Pro-inflammatory–WGA stimulates the synthesis of pro-inflammatory chemical messengers (cytokines) in intestinal and immune cells, and has been shown to play acausative role in chronic thin gut inflammation. Immunotoxicity–WGA induces thymus atrophy in rats , and anti-WGA antibodies in human blood have been shown to cross-react with other proteins, indicating that they may contribute to autoimmunity . In fact, WGA appears to play a role in celiac disease (CD) that is entirely distinct from that of gluten, due to significantly higher levels of IgG and IgA antibodies against WGA found in patients with CD, when compared with patients with other intestinal disorders.
Neurotoxicity— WGA can cross your blood-brain barrier through a process called “adsorptive endocytosis,” pulling other substances with it. WGA may attach to your myelin sheath and is capable of inhibiting nerve growth factor, which is important for the growth, maintenance, and survival of certain target neurons. Excitotoxicity— Wheat, dairy, and soy contain exceptionally high levels of glutamic and aspartic acid, which makes them all potentially excitotoxic.  Excitotoxicity is a pathological process where glutamic and aspartic acid cause an over-activation of your nerve cell receptors, which can lead to calcium-induced nerve and brain injury. These two amino acids may contribute to neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, and other nervous system disorders such as epilepsy, ADD/ADHD and migraines.
Cytotoxicity—WGA has been demonstrated to be cytotoxic to both normal and cancerous cell lines, capable of inducing either cell cycle arrest or programmed cell death (apoptosis). Disrupts Endocrine Function—WGA may contribute to weight gain, insulin resistance, and leptin resistance by blocking the leptin receptor in your hypothalamus. It also binds to both benign and malignant thyroid nodules , and interferes with the production of secretin from your pancreas, which can lead to digestive problems and pancreatic hypertrophy.
Cardiotoxicity—WGA has a potent, disruptive effect on platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1, which plays a key role in tissue regeneration and safely removing neutrophils from your blood vessels. Adversely Affects Gastrointestinal Functionby causing increased shedding of the intestinal brush border membrane, reducing the surface area, and accelerating cell loss and shortening of villi. It also causes cytoskeleton degradation in intestinal cells, contributing to cell death and increased turnover, and decreases levels of heat shock proteins in gut epithelial cells, leaving them more vulnerable to damage.

As we noted earlier, the highest amounts of WGA is found in whole wheat, including its sprouted form, which is touted as being the most healthful form of all … The traditional ways of addressing many of these anti-nutrients is, in fact, by sprouting, fermenting and cooking. However, lectins are designed to withstand degradation through a wide range of pH and temperatures. WGA lectin is particularly tough because it’s actually formed by the same disulfide bonds that give strength and resilience to vulcanized rubber and human hair.

New Report Warns of the Sugar in Cereals Marketed to Kids

One of the most common ways we consume grains is in the form of cereal, many of which are marketed to kids and adults alike as “health foods.” But cereal is anything but healthy, not only because of the grain it contains but also because many (particularly those for kids) contain excessive amounts of sugar.

A new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that many popular children’s cereal brands contain more sugar than snack cakes and cookies. For instance, one cup of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, which is nearly 56 percent sugar by weight, has more sugar than a Twinkie, while a one-cup serving of 44 other children’s cereals analyzed contain more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.

If you need a recap of why sugar is a health disaster, you can find one here. However, as it pertains to leaky gut, you should know that sugar, like grains, can upset the balance of bacteria in your digestive tract, encouraging damage to your intestinal lining that can lead to leaky gut. So, sugary children’s cereals are a double-edged sword, assaulting your fragile gastrointestinal tract with both damaging sugar and grains. Please do your kids a great favor and offer them a healthier breakfast instead.

Are Grains Causing Your Leaky Gut Symptoms? This Food is the “Antidote”

As you might suspect, leaky gut can cause digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas and abdominal cramps, but it can also cause or contribute to many others you may not, such as fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, allergies, psychological symptomsautism and more.

It’s a vicious cycle because once your digestive tract has been damaged, it allows various gut contents to flood into your bloodstream where they wreak havoc on your health. The key to preventing this lies in altering your diet to eliminate the offending foods — including sugars and grains — as well as introduce healthier ones that will support a proper balance of bacteria in your gut. To restore gut health, and prevent leaky gut from occurring, eating traditionally fermented foods is essential.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride explains:

“Fermented foods are essential to introduce, as they provide probiotic microbes in the best possible form … fermented foods will carry probiotic microbes all away down to the end of the digestive system. Fermentation predigests the food, making it easy for our digestive systems to handle, that is why fermented foods are easily digested by people with damaged gut. Fermentation releases nutrients from the food, making them more bio-available for the body: for example sauerkraut contains 20 times more bio-available vitamin C than fresh cabbage.”

On Dr. Campbell-McBride’s web site you can find recipes for many traditionally fermented foods, including sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kvass and more.

If you regularly eat fermented foods such as these that have not been pasteurized (pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics), your healthy gut bacteria will thrive. If these foods do not make a regular appearance in your diet, or you’ve recently taken antibiotics, a high-quality probiotic supplement will help give your gut bacteria the healthy boost it needs. Once your gut flora is optimized, your leaky gut should improve naturally. As Dr. Cordain explains:

” … when we have a healthy flora of bacteria in our gut, it tends to prevent leaky gut.”

Is a Return to the Paleo Diet Right for You?

During the Paleolithic period, many thousands of years ago, people ate primarily vegetables, fruit, nuts, roots and meat—and a wide variety of it. Today, these staples have been largely replaced with refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, cereal, bread, potatoes and pasteurized milk products… and a much narrower selection of fruits, vegetables, roots and nuts.

This is precisely the recipe for a leaky gut, and all of its associated health problems, which is why simply returning to a Paelo diet by eating foods that are concordant with your genetic ancestry may help you become healthier. This includes focusing on whole, unprocessed foods including vegetables (except corn and potatoes) and free-range organic meats, while avoiding sugars and grains.

As Dr. Cordain states:

“The nutritional qualities of modern processed foods and foods introduced during the Neolithic period are discordant with our ancient and conservative genome. This genetic discordance ultimately manifests itself as various chronic illnesses, which have been dubbed “diseases of civilization.” By severely reducing or eliminating these foods and replacing them with a more healthful cuisine, possessing nutrient qualities more in line with the foods our ancestors consumed, it is possible to improve health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.”

January 24, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health Implications for the 21st Century

I know this video is long, but please take the time to watch.  I really didn’t think I would sit and watch the entire thing, but I was so fascinated that I couldn’t tear myself away.  This is the researched and scientific study of the evolution of man and our diet, from millions of years ago to present day, as well as the health implications of the changes we have made to our diet.  This presentation will answer any question you have as to whether our diet should be meat based or vegetarian.  It discusses grains and the implications on our health.  It shows how dairy contributes to osteoporosis by disrupting our acid-base balance.   He also talks about oils and sugars and the effect on our health.  I found it interesting that the year that high fructose corn syrup was introduced into our diet was the same year I started gaining weight as a child.  Make sure you listen to questions from the audience at the end where he addresses how our diet increases inflammation in our body and it’s effect on the liver.  I was shocked to find out that people are now primarily getting cirrhosis of the liver from obesity, rather than alcohol use!

January 23, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health, Weight loss | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment