Care and Feeding of the Gut Microbiome – Part 3 of 3

This month we close this 3 part series on the care and feeding of the gut microbiota. Last month we looked at what to consume in moderation to strengthen your microbiome. This month we look at what to include to keep all of your gut micro-buddies well fed and well cared for. Studies have shown that microbial diversity is key to how well they function together. Therefore, the suggestions below are intended to increase microbe numbers and diversity. Along with the list below, remember to eat smaller portions and chew your food thoroughly. The microbes that comprise the microbiome are small and mighty, but they don’t have teeth.

1.Play Outside

Over the past 200 years, people have gradually moved away from open rural spaces toward densely packed urban areas. As a consequence of that migration from farm to city, we don’t go outside to work or play nearly as much as we did even 30 years ago. Think about this: the majority of people living in the western hemisphere work or go to school indoors during the day. When not in school, young people are more likely to spend their free time watching screens (TVs, computers, tablets, and phones) than playing in a park. The same is true of adults, especially in the colder regions.

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PBNM Solidarity Statement

I am going to step away from our usual focus on the importance of nutrition in health for a moment. Fear not, we will return to our regularly scheduled programming….

Right now, our national house is on fire. Nationwide. Our house is burning. The flames of racism, white supremacy, and associated privilege have been carefully tended and fanned in The USA for more than 400 years. African Americans have borne the worst of the inferno for all those years just because of the color of our skin.

This month, with COVID19 deaths taking a higher toll among African Americans, and sky-rocketing unemployment, and all the other pre-existing conditions, the situation reached ignition point. Then, a few seriously misguided people have added gasoline and BOOM! The house is exploding. We have another holocaust. Again.

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Moderation for Gut Microbiome Health – Part 2 of 3

There is a lot of buzz about the gut microbiome and its importance in human health. With the impact of the coronavirus, understanding the connection between gut microbes and immunity is more critical than ever. Last month we looked at what foods and chemicals to avoid to strengthen the gut flora. This month, we will look at what to consume only in moderation to support the 100 trillion microbes living in the human digestive system and thereby support the immune system’s fight against all types of potential illnesses.

The study of the microbiome is still in its infancy. Even though there is still a lot to learn, there is research upon which we can draw. In study after study, the evidence shows that anyone who eats can make a big difference in supporting their gut flora.

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Never a Better Time to Boost Your Immune System

At the writing of this article, more than 277,000 cases of Covid-19 have been reported here in the United States and the number is rising rapidly each day. Most of us are staying home to save lives and to “flatten the curve.”

At this time many in the collective are feeling the effects, feeling the fear, feeling disempowered; even powerless. We are looking to the government, the news stations, social media, and supplements, but how many of us are looking at our plate?

I have been hearing stories of younger populations with no known underlying health conditions contracting the more severe form of the virus requiring hospitalization, even depending on respirators to breathe.

What if we are overlooking something right under our nose? Is it possible that the standard American diet may be creating an underlying health condition that is leaving millions at higher risk?

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Care and Feeding of the Gut Microbiome – Part 1 of 3

Like many students of human health, I have been watching the discoveries related to the human gut microbiome. By way of definition, the gut microbiome (also called gut microbiota and gut/intestinal flora) consists of all the microbes (viruses, protozoa, bacteria, fungi, etc.) that live in our digestive system. Researchers are only just beginning to find the surprising connections among the gut microbiome, brain, mood, health, disease, and performance.

For example, recent discoveries show that

Humans live in complete, permanent, and desirable symbiosis with hundreds of trillions of microbes like bacteria, viruses, fungi. It turns out that we have more microbe DNA than human DNA.
There are about 2+ pounds of these microbes living in and on the human body. That’s inside and out.
Most of the microbes live in the digestive system or gut, where they play essential roles in many other bodily functions, organs, and systems. We can’t live without them.

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The Plant–Based Easter Egg Makeover

Whether decorating eggs or deviling them, it is estimated that 180 million are purchased for Easter every year. Why has this become a tradition around the world? Easter is a religious holiday, but customs like Easter eggs may be linked to Pagan practices. An ancient symbol of new life, the egg has been associated with springtime Pagan festivals.

Decorating eggs for Easter goes back as far as the 13th century. One theory for this custom is that eggs were once a forbidden food during the Lenten season. People would paint and decorate them to mark the end of the period of penance and fasting. Then they would eat them on Easter as a celebration.

Flash forward many centuries and many advances in science and nutrition; we now suspect that eggs may be incredibly inedible. A 2010 study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology found a 19% increased risk for cardiovascular problems in people that consume the most eggs.

A 2019 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tracking 30,000 participants found that eating ev

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Grocery Shopping in Times of Panic

In times of near-apocalyptic crisis, it is natural to go into survival mode. For example, fearing the end of the world, people will go to the store in a panic and buy as much food and other household necessities as possible. In these times of COVID19’s swell, surge and spread, people are running true to expectations. We anxiously enter the grocery store. It is overcrowded with people. We check the aisles. Cookies – Gone. Ramen Soups – Gone. Deli Meats – Gone. Pancake Mix – Gone. Kids’ Cereals – Gone. Boxed Instant Meals – Gone!

This was my shopping experience today. I saw a man’s cart which was heaped high like the other overfilled carts in the store. What caught my attention was that his cart was loaded with several frozen pizzas, and cheese pastries, boxes of prewrapped snack cakes, fruity artificially colored cereal, and refined flour crackers, lunch meat, 2 30-can cases of beer, 2 bottles of wine, and a half dozen boxes of toaster pastries. All this along with boxed mac ‘n cheese, fruit snacks, and a case of high caffeine soda. Looking at what this gentleman planned to purchase kind of took my breath away! My first thought was, ‘Is this your idea of feeding your tribe for the next 15 – 30 days?’ My second thought was, ‘Is this how your tribe eats every day, even without panic in place?’

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Being Mindful About Feeding the Brain

A while back, I worked at a beautiful senior living facility. It had an excellent reputation as one of the best in the county. Sons and daughters would bring their elderly parents there to live because it was clean and bright, and the surroundings very inviting. The place had wonderful caregivers. They offered graduated levels of assistance for the residents so that if they needed more or less care, it was available.

In the time I worked there, I met many seniors with the beginnings of memory loss, Alzheimer’s Disease, and dementia. Often within 6 months, we could see a noticeable decline in these residents’ mental ability as the diseases advanced. Medications would be added to their daily regimens, to no avail.

Meals at the facility were of the typical American type: lots of refined white flour, sugar, meats, gravies, cheeses, overcooked vegetables, minimal fruits, and desserts. The kitchen manager was a lovely lady who did her best to please everyone. I had read that nutrition could make a difference for people with these illnesses, so I spoke with her.

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March usually has us thinking of St. Patty’s Day. It sure does for me. I grew up hearing tales of our Irish ancestors fleeing the emerald isle for greener pastures during the potato famine of the 1840’s.

My mother and her father, Poppy Joe, would put on an impressive Irish brogue as they told tales of Irish immigrant life in New York city towards the end of the 19th century. Back then, the Irish were considered dirty. There were even signs hanging in windows that said, “Irish need not apply.” This was at once both fascinating and baffling to me. Why such discrimination? Who were these people that were my relatives? What was this faraway land?

Growing up I had the most amazing time taking Irish dancing lessons in the basement of a neighboring family. The parents of this large brood of 6 kids were Irish and they had real brogues, not the made-up kind of my mother and Poppy. I learned the “Jig.” It was great fun.

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