Welcome health fans! I’d like to stick with the good, bad and ugly theme for the Weekend Wrap because as I am doing my research, I inevitably come across the trifecta: healthy things to add to our routines, harmful things that should be avoided, and unsavory tales about Big Pharma, Big Food, Big Ag, Big Foundations, government agencies, etc. that we should all be aware of to protect ourselves and our families. Let’s get started on this fine Monday!
The Good: Recipes by Gwyneth and the importance of a healthy gut
Today I’d like to focus on our digestive system, A.K.A. our guts. Firstly, let’s discuss what’s good and yummy, as in recipes from It’s All Good: Delicious Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Tershen, 2013. If you are looking to take your diet up a notch in terms of eliminating gluten, dairy and refined sugar, then this book is a wonderful reference because the recipes are healthy AND delicious. (You can also check out her lifestyle website, www.Goop.com, for more good tips.) Just look at the picture of the banana date muffins I made this weekend! They taste as good as they look, and are vegan, refined sugar and gluten free. In the book, Gwyneth openly describes the health crisis which caused her to take a hard look at her lifestyle, her eating habits, and…the resulting health of her gut. What she learned was not good, so she got to work figuring out how to feed her family delicious and healthy food that “is all good”. I am glad she did!
The more I dive into nutrition literature, the more I learn about the importance of our gut health. The gut is where our food is digested, nourishment is obtained, and immunity from disease arises. According to Anne Baker, Certified Nutrition Therapist (http://nourishholisticnutrition.com/gut-health/protect-yourself-naturally-by-improving-gut-flora/), between 70 and 80% of our immunity resides in our gut. Additionally, we each have 400 to 500 types of bacteria living in our intestinal tract. Some of these are good bacteria and some of these are bad bacteria. When we eat properly (e.g. do not consume antibiotics which kill both) the ratio of good to bad bacteria remains around 85% good to 15% bad. However, most of us actually have many more bad bacteria living in our gut than 15%. This imbalance manifests itself as many common health conditions which are treatable by natural means – see her website for more info. Would you also believe that the gut may have its own intelligence? See the post below from Marc David, the Founder and Director for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, about the enteric nervous system (the gut-brain):
All the evidence indicates that our gut health is critical to our overall health. I will continue to focus on this topic because of its importance. Right now, I am reading and will review a book called The Unhealthy Truth: One Mother’s Shocking Investigation Into The Dangers of America’s Food Supply – and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself, by Robyn O’Brien, 2009. Robyn elaborates on the damage that processed foods and GMO’s have on gut health, and the correlations to an increase in food allergies in kids. This is stuff we all need to know to protect ourselves.
The Bad: Antibiotics from conventionally-raised factory-farmed meats
The amount of antibiotics given to conventionally-raised livestock is truly alarming. Even if you are not taking an antibiotic medication, you will be exposed to antibiotics from the conventionally-raised meat that you consume, and this exposure will wreak havoc with your gut flora. Furthermore, the increase in antibiotic resistant superbugs is in large part due to our abuse of antibiotics in conventionally-raised factory-farmed meats:
“The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said that the report shows that drug-resistant hazards in the food supply pose a serious threat to public health. One-third of the 12 resistant pathogens that CDC categorized as a ‘serious’ threat to public health are found in food.” [ Food Safety News February 24, 2011]
Learn more about all of the above here:
The bottom line is to make the investment in organic, grass-fed, free range meats and only take antibiotics for serious bacterial infections. This is an investment in your health as the grocery bill will be higher, but the doctor’s bill will be lower as a result.
The Ugly: Lordy, Lordy…More FDA hijinks
In case you were unsure, the FDA is a joke as they are not looking out for our best interests but rather those of their Big Pharma Overlords. Know that Big Pharma and the FDA are both corrupt and protect yourself by not considering a blessing by the FDA as a guarantee of safety:
And that wraps it up for today! Life is full of good, bad and ugly, and I do my best to focus on the good and shine a light on the bad and ugly so that they can be diminished. As Gandhi instructed, let’s be the change we wish to see in the world.