Tag: gut health

The Best Natural Probiotic (Hint: It’s Not Yogurt)

apple core

I recently talked about how important it is to have good gut health. Your gut plays such a huge role in your overall health. But in the article, what I didn’t really focus on was how to achieve a healthy gut. And we’re not talking about crunches so you can have chiseled, six-pack abs here. Rather, we’re talking about hosting a multitude of good bacteria and a diverse amount of different bacteria species inside your gastrointestinal tract (the microbiome). 

So what’s the easiest and best way to do that? In the article on gut health, I mentioned taking a probiotic. If you eat a low-fiber diet rich in processed (junk) food, then you should definitely be taking a high-quality probiotic. 

But there’s an even easier, and perhaps healthier way to achieve a healthier microbiome. It turns out that the best probiotic source is …. Wait for it … wait for it…..

Best natural source of probiotics

So, is the best way to get lots of friendly, diverse bacteria in your gut by eating lots of yogurt? How about kombucha? Or is the best source of probiotics some other fermented food like kimchi or sauerkraut or kvass? 

Turns out it’s none of these. 

An article in The Atlantic, which references a study in Frontiers of Microbiology, suggests that the single best natural source of probiotics is: an apple. 

The average apple, the study says, contains about 100 million bacteria. 

Now, after I read that fun fact, my first reaction, I’ll admit, was the following, “Big deal, my probiotic supplement contains 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units).” That’s right, my probiotic supplement, in just one tiny little capsule, contains almost 10,000% more bacteria than an apple. 

But here’s the thing. It turns out that eating the apple might be better for you than popping a pill. The reason why? For the same reason eating unprocessed whole foods (especially fruits and veggies) is better for you than vitamin supplements. 

Makes sense, right? After all, whole foods offer the whole puzzle of interlocking health pieces, from micronutrients, antioxidants, as well as fiber, which the good bacteria feed on. On the other hand, supplements, perhaps probiotic pills included, represent, only a few pieces of the total health puzzle. 

In other words, just like in many other aspects of life, it’s quality that usually matters, not quantity. The 100 million or so bacteria in the typical apple are comprised of a myriad of different types of bacteria. Compare that to the average probiotic supplement, which contains maybe a few different friendly microbe species.

Work On Your Core – Apple that is

Now, before you rush out to your local supermarket and stock up on apples, there is a catch. Approximately 90% of the bacteria in the apple is contained, not in the skin, or the juicy main part of the flesh, but in the core. 

If you’re like most people, you probably throw the core away. And when you do that, it’s like throwing away the world’s best probiotic pill down the toilet. 

So from now on, it’s all about the core. Eat the seeds, too. They actually contain a trace amount of the natural toxin, cyanide. But if you eat an apple or two a day, core included, it’ll still keep the doctor away. 

Do you struggle to get enough vegetables in your diet? If so, don’t feel bad. You’re in good company. Approximately 9 out of 10 people don’t eat enough veggies, especially green leafy ones, which most nutritionists (like myself) consider the healthiest kind. 

The good news is that if you’re not getting enough leafy greens in your diet or can’t stomach the thought of eating apple cores, I have an easy solution for you….

Organic Green Drinks (Core Included)

Chef V’s Organic Green Drink is the easiest way to get your full day supply–and then some–of dark, leafy greens veggies. Containing two kinds of kale; collard greens; green leaf lettuce; curly parsley; green chard, and dandelion greens, Organic Green Drink is raw and cold-blended. This means the fiber and micronutrients are preserved for optimal nutrition and, yes, gut health. Fresh produce, suggests The Atlantic article, might just be the best source of natural probiotics in general. (But that finding seems like a no-brainer in my opinion.)

And guess what else is in Chef V Organic Green Drink? That’s right … an apple! Core and all. 

For every 16 oz of Green Drink you consume, you’re gut benefits from hundreds of millions of good bacteria. And remember, it’s not just the quantity of good bacteria that matters, it’s the diversity. 

As Dr. James Hamblin, author of The Atlantic article on probiotics puts it, “Food is the main way that our gut biomes are populated throughout our lives, and microbe-rich foods [especially the 7 certified organic greens in my Green Drink] seem to be important to maintaining diversity.”

Best Source of Natural Good Bacteria: Conclusion

Remember, when it comes to eating apples, don’t think if you throw away the core that you’re still getting a decent amount of probiotics. In fact, it’s only by eating the core that you’ll get the same strains of bacteria that are sold in pricey probiotic pills.  

Eating a plethora of fresh produce every day supports the intricate interconnectedness of the immune and digestive systems. By eating a wide variety of fresh produce, we feed our gut microbes the fiber and sugars they need to support our health. We scratch the bugs’ back, they scratch ours. 

And whether you eat a huge fresh salad everyday or not, Chef V Organic Green Drink is the perfect way to gently wake up your digestive system in the morning, and gently cleanse your vital organs, and, of course, feed the friendly microbes in your gut.

Chef V’s Favorite Supplements For Improving Gut Health

Did you know there’s a non-stop party in your gut? It’s true. In your microbiome—the home of your trillions of bacteria, both the friendly and unfriendly kind—your gut bacteria are constantly eating our leftovers. If only we could claim them as tax dependents! So how can you make sure you’re feeding the good guys in your gut and not the bad? Chef V has one simple solution and offers her 3 favorite gut-supporting supplements…

It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie and it’s kind of creepy if you think about it…

In your gut, there’s a constant war going on. It’s a 365/24/7 battle between your good gut bacteria and your harmful bacteria. Your good bacteria craves things like green leafy veggies to your diet—whether you eat or drink them. That’s how they grow and multiply and crowd out the unfriendly bacteria. 

When we eat and drink unhealthy food, it’s the potentially-harmful bacteria that thrives in the gut. But never ever blame yourself for indulging. You see, it’s not you, it’s your unfriendly microbes—they have a huge impact on what you decide to eat. 

Besides sipping on Organic Green Drinks every morning instead of eating a big, typical breakfast, I have a few other ways for you to support your gut microbiome. I’m not usually one to be a big promoter of supplements. But having a healthy gut microbiome is so important. Because after all, health starts in the gut! 

So here are my top 3 gut health supporting supplements.

collagen

Collagen Protein

Who hasn’t heard of collagen by now? But I’m not talking about collagen implants for your gut. Nope, your lips are beautiful enough. And I’m not talking about collagen cream for wrinkles. The collagen I’m talking about for gut health comes in powder form that you can add to smoothies or even your morning Green Drink. 

But there’s something all collagen products have in common. They are formulated to help your own body make more collagen. And what is collagen? It’s the most abundant type of human protein in the body. What makes you, you is tens of thousands of proteins. There are different types of collagen but just know that collagen is king when it comes to your body. 

And here’s what collagen does. It’s basically the glue that holds all of your skin, muscles, organs and tissues together. Gut lining included. 

The problem is that after age 40, your levels of collagen start declining. And the collagen you do have gets weaker. So by taking collagen powder, we can support our gut health by strengthening the protective barrier of the gut so nothing leaks out of it that’s not supposed to. 

leafy greens

L-Glutamine

If you have frequent bloating, constipation or other digestive issues, L-glutamine is another powder that can help support your gut. While collagen is a protein, glutamine is a building block of protein (an amino acid). 

So you already know that collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Well, glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the protective barrier of your gut. Roughly one-third of your body’s glutamine goes to your gut. 

And if you have a lot of stress going on, that stress could gobble up a good amount of glutamine. In light of this, it might help to take an L-glutamine supplement. (L-glutamine is just glutamine in supplement form.)

Marshmallow Root

Another supplement that can be great for your gut microbiome is not the same kind of marshmallows you roast by a campfire. Back in the day, before modern food processing methods were invented, marshmallows were actually made with the root from the plant. 

Marshmallow root has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for all kinds of things. And the cool thing is research studies support it for gut health. And here’s how it works. 

Marshmallow root soothes inflammation in the gut lining. Beyond that, it might help to build back up the sticky layer of mucus that surrounds the gut barrier. 

So if you want to improve your gut and, by extension, your overall health, try marshmallow—just not the candied kind. 

These are by no means all the supplements that may help support your gut microbiome. And you don’t have to take all three at once. I just love giving you a few options so you can achieve your health goals. 

Love, 

Chef V

5 Reasons Dark Leafy Greens Are Awesome For Gut Health

How many times have you heard “FOLLOW THE SCIENCE” over the last two years? Well, there’s no debating that dark, leafy green veggies are some of the most health-promoting nutrient dense-foods on Earth. In this article, certified nutritional therapist, Veronica Wheat Kress, aka Chef V, lists 5 research-backed ways that dark leafy greens improve gut health. All disease starts in the gut. So make sure you’re taking care of your digestive system by consuming dark, leafy greens every day. Not getting enough greens? (DO THIS.)

I’m probably not rocking your world by telling you this news: dark, leafy green veggies are the best and most affordable superfoods on the planet. But what you probably didn’t know about my fave greens are how they specifically help improve gut health. So let’s dive right in. 

gut health

#1: Contains Sulfoquinovose

Last year, a team of researchers in Austria were the first ones to discover how bacteria in the gut process a sugar found in dark, leafy greens called sulfoquinovose. Nutritional hipsters like myself call it “SQ.” 

SQ contains sulfur. But it’s not the same as the rotten-egg sulfur smell you’re probably thinking of. And even though it’s a sugar, SQ doesn’t act in the gut the same way sugar does. Sugar—I’m talking about the kind in white table sugar packets—feeds a large number of different kinds of bacteria in the gut. But SQ only feeds certain bacterial species that are found in healthy people. 

And when these healthy bacteria digest SQ, an energy source for other friendly bacteria is formed. Evidently, your harmful bacteria don’t want to have anything to do with dark, leafy greens. 

So the more dark, leafy greens you consume, the more SQ your gut produces. This causes the good guys in your gut to multiply while kicking out the bad party guests. 

leafy greens

#2: Produces Short-Chain Fatty Acids

This kind of relates to SQ, but I’m about to get a little gross here. You see, when you consume dark, leafy greens, your body can’t digest some of the fiber. But your friendly bacteria can in your colon. And when the bacteria eats the fiber, it produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

SCFAs are basically the poop of your gut bacteria. You thought probiotics were vital for great gut health? Well, they are. But it’s actually the SCFAs that provide us with so many health benefits.

For instance, SFCAs act like fertilizer for the cells that line the mucous lining of the small intestinal barrier. This prevents your food from leaking out into the bloodstream.  

It’s pretty creepy to think that the more bacterial poop you have in your gut, the better your health. But it’s true. SCFAs improve communication with your cells. And when your cells are more communicative, your immune function, mood and other systems improve.

sore stomach

#3: Decreases Methane

For people with digestive problems like gas and bloating, there is usually more methane-producing bacteria in the gut. So if good bacteria poops short-chain fatty acids, harmful bacteria has stinky methane gas. 

Most of us only associate methane gas with cows. (Climate change has brought that to our attention.) But eating unhealthy food also causes the release of methane albeit internally in your gut. 

#4: Lowers Inflammation

Dark leafy greens contain another sulfur compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane and other antioxidants like quercetin (which has received a lot of attention over the last couple years because of a certain worldwide virus) are inflammation fighters. 

People with gut dysbiosis—too many harmful bacteria, not enough friendly ones—often have chronic inflammation in the bowel or elsewhere in the digestive tract.

By eating more dark, leafy greens, your body may develop with a more normal inflammatory response—including in the gut. 

#5: Contains Cellulose 

Like the walls that keep your home warm and cozy, plants have cell walls. These walls are made of sugar called cellulose. Because your digestive system can’t fully digest cellulose, it’s considered a fiber. Cellulose helps fertilize your good bacteria. It does this by increasing the amount of starch that gets fermented in the colon. This increases the amount of short-chain fatty acids (bacterial poop) that your good bacteria produce. 

Dark, leafy greens aren’t just reservoirs of awesome nutrient density. Yes, they are chock full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. But you could also say they are Mother Nature’s most awesome food for gut health. 

And if you’re not eating enough of them, here’s the perfect solution

Holiday Gut Health Survival Guide: Chef V’s 5 Tips For Success

Holiday Gut Health Survival Guide - Chef V & Coco

Holiday gut health – You win, turkey… no, I’m not talking to you, I’m talking turkey to the poultry that maybe you felt powerless against during Thanksgiving, slathering it in gravy or cranberry sauce and everything else that goes with the holiday. With repeat right around the corner (leftovers and Christmas dinner), you may run the risk of overwhelming your digestive system. So follow these 5 tips for a healthy gut during the holidays…

Holiday Gut Health Survival Guide Tip #1: Eat one big meal a day

If you love to pig out during the holidays, I have great news for you. Feasting like a Roman gladiator is totally doable, if you know how to do it right. And here’s how. 

Step #1: When you wake up in the morning, don’t eat anything. Instead, first drink a tall glass of water. If you have electrolyte drops, add them to your water or sprinkle a teaspoon of sea salt and stir. The minerals in the salt or drops will help give your cells a zero-calorie energy boost. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon to give your liver a little helping hand in the detoxification process. 

Step #2: Roughly 30 minutes after you chug some water, break your fast with a low-calorie, low-sugar Organic Green Drink. If you’re not getting enough green leafy veggies in your diet, this is the easiest way to get ‘er done. There’s no excuse not to consume enough veggies when you get them delivered to your front door in cold-blended juice form!

Step #3: Eat a light meal or have a plant-based protein drink about an hour or so after Green Drink. 

Step #4: Eat one huge late lunch. At around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, eat whatever you want and as much as you want. Just make sure to avoid high-sugar junk. For dessert, treat yourself to some berries and a piece of dark chocolate. 

Step #5: You can have a very light snack no later than 7 p.m. A small portion of nuts, a piece of fruit or yogurt. Then don’t eat anything or drink anything with calories until 11 a.m. or later the following day. The beauty of combining one main meal a day and intermittent fasting is that you can eat as much turkey and stuffing as you want. Your digestive system will have plenty of time to work. For even better results, exercise in the morning before breaking your fast. 

digestive bacteria

Tip #2: Don’t Take An Antacid

Holiday gut health – If you have acid reflux because you ate way too much, taking an antacid may offer immediate relief, but it comes at a price. If you’re going to take an antacid once or twice a year, most likely that’s fine. 

But frequent use of antacid creates chronically-low stomach acid. If you don’t have enough stomach acid, you’ll have indigestion all the time; the very problem that antacids are supposed to eliminate. (And don’t get me started about Zantac, the most popular antacid of all time. It was pulled off the market because it contained a cancer-causing chemical.)

Tip #3: Take Digestive Enzymes

Instead of taking an antacid to help eliminate symptoms of indigestion, solve the root cause of indigestion. And what’s the root cause? You can blame it on sluggish digestive enzymes. 

Your body contains several kinds of digestive enzymes, starting with amylase. Before your food even enters your stomach, your eyes and nose spring digestive enzymes into action. Your sense of smell and sight sparks your salivary glands into action. Spit (saliva sounds so much nicer) contains amylase, an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates. 

There’s also lipase to break down dietary fat and pepsin for protein and several others. But if your digestion is sluggish, your digestive enzymes need outside help. Enter digestive enzyme supplements. Now, I’m not in the supplement business so I’m not going to recommend one brand. But I encourage you to do your research (read product reviews) and start taking digestive enzymes with every meal—especially the massive holiday ones. 

Chef v walking

Tip #4: Walk It Out

Holiday gut health – Been there, done that. Before I became a certified nutritional therapist, I would celebrate the holidays by overindulging. But then I read research studies that said walking right after a meal was a great way to control blood sugar and lose weight

It’s so easy not to do anything after a big holiday meal. The furthest people want to walk after a big meal is from the dining room to the living room where the couch and TV are. 

But if you can just force yourself to go for a walk immediately after a meal, it’s really the simplest thing to do to prevent excess blood sugar from getting stored in the liver and eventually as body fat. See if you can get someone to join you. If not, listen to some good tunes or a podcast to make the time go by quicker. Even just 10 minutes will do your body and your gut some good. 

probiotics

Tip #5: Make Perfect Poop With These Helpers

Holiday gut health – In this article I wrote about preventing food poisoning while travelling, I mentioned a probiotic yeast that’s the best for preventing diarrhea. It’s called Saccharomyces Boulardii. Buy it and take it before you eat a huge meal. It’s always good to have on hand. 

This probiotic is the only one that’s a fungus. (Yeast is a fungus.) That may sound gross to take a fungus. But remember that edible mushrooms are the fruiting body of fungus and they are one of the best things to consume for immune support. Anyway, S. Boulardii is the best probiotic if your poops could use an image makeover. 

Tip #6: Have A Great Healthy and Safe Holiday Season!

That about says it all!

Healthy Gut, Smooth Skin, Glossy Hair And Strong Nails

kale

The best veggies for a healthy gut, skin, hair and nails are the same ones in Chef V’s mega-popular Green Drink. And it’s no coincidence that these same veggies are also the best for helping you cleanse and detox. Chef V covers how each of the veggies benefits your beauty.

I created the recipe for Organic Green Drink several years ago back when I was a private chef. Over time, demand grew for my Green Drink and that’s really the catalyst for launching Chef V.

I did a ton of research for the Green Drink recipe. I wanted to select the best veggies that would not only taste amazing cold-blended, but that would also be the best for a 3 day cleanse or 21-day detox. And as it turns out, the seven veggies in Green Drink not only happen to be the best for cleansing and detoxing, they also happen to be the best veggies for skin, hair and nails.

Now I admit, it would be a pain in the behind to have to chop green kale, black kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, green chard, curly parsley and green leaf lettuce every day. And then have to juice it. Then clean up.

The main reason why I transitioned from being a private chef to launching Chef V: making healthier easier for people just like you. And it doesn’t get any easier than having a bottle of our certified organic Green Drink delivered to your home.

Not only can you lose weight, gain energy and sleep more soundly by having Green Drink every day, but there’s also a very good chance your skin, hair, and nails will look better.

So let’s take a look at how the ingredients in Green Drink are the healthiest veggies for skin, hair, and nails.

your microbiome - bacteria

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Kale

Sure, there’s some excessive kale craziness these days. But for good reason. Kale is rich in vitamin K. And it’s really hard for most people who eat the average American diet to get enough K. Vitamin K actually helps minimize dark circles in your eyes. That’s why it’s one of the best veggies for the skin.

In fact, kale can even help tighten your skin. How? Well, one of the reasons why your skin isn’t as tight when you get older is that the aging process weakens your collagen. Collagen is the body’s main structural protein. In fact, over one-third of the thousands and thousands of proteins in the body is collagen proteins. Collagen provides strength to your tendons, ligaments, teeth, nails, hair, bones, gut lining, and much more….

The vitamin C in kale along with the antioxidant, lutein, promotes collagen regrowth and production. In addition, vitamin A in kale helps prevent damage to the skin. It also repairs damages to the epidermis.

There’s a good reason why kale has been added to several beauty products. Because it’s such an efficient detoxifying nutrient, kale can help clean your pores. It’s even beneficial for your hair pores. Moreover, kale contains fatty acids such as omega-3s. These fatty acids provide moisture to your hair and skin.

There’s even a nail polish with kale extract. Supposedly, it can help stimulate keratin production. Keratin is the other main protein that’s in your nails.

These facts about kale make it one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails. So drink your Green Drink and schedule that kale facial!

weight and your microbiome

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Dandelion

Another incredible detoxifying green veggie in our Green Drink is dandelion. Dandelion widens your pores. That’s how it helps your body get rid of toxins. And according to this article, dandelion shrinks wrinkles. It may also help whiten dark spots and reduce fine lines.

Like kale, dandelion also contains lots of beta carotene and vitamin C. It’s also rich in B vitamins and vitamin E, which is a standard ingredient in many skincare products. Moreover, the minerals and trace minerals in dandelions may actually help regrow hair.

collard greens

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Collard Greens

The reason why collard greens are one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails is the same reason as kale and dandelion: it’s loaded with beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A). One benefit of Vitamin A for your skin is the production of sebum. You can think of sebum as a waterproof lubricant for your skin. Without sebum, your skin would feel like it’s been scorched in a sauna for hours. And sebum is also in your hair. Without enough of it, your hair feels like straw.

Collard greens also contain iron. And one major factor for thinning hair is low iron intake.

probiotic

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Chard

Here’s why I think chard is one of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails….

Just one serving of it contains over 700 percent of your vitamin K suggested intake. It’s also got about 200 percent of your beta carotene needs and about half of your daily vitamin C needs. And chard is also very high in minerals such as magnesium. Getting enough magnesium in your diet is very important for healthy skin. It can help balance the amount of oil you have. Obviously, you need some oil but not too much. If your skin tends to run on the oily side, magnesium can reduce the amount of oils.

Chard is also high in biotin. Biotin is vitamin B7. There’s a good reason why many hair care products contain biotin. That’s because biotin stimulates hair follicles. Consume enough chard and your hair may benefit by appearing shinier and fuller in texture. And like all the other of the best veggies for your skin, chard is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants repair and help regenerate new skin cells.

Best Veggies for Skin, Hair & Nails: Parsley

Poor parsley. Most people just eat a tiny bit of it as a post-meal garnish to freshen the breath. But here’s why you should consume more of it. (And what easier way to get your daily dose of parsley than having one or two Green Drinks per day?)

Parsley is a wrinkle destroyer. As I say above, vitamin C-rich foods help encourage the production of collagen in your body. And parsley is particularly rich in vitamin C. And the more collagen production your body undergoes, the more wrinkles and fine lines will fade.

Moreover, parsley is a natural antibiotic. Thus, it can help kill bacteria-causing acne. There are several other benefits of parsley for your skin as well. But this post is already long and we’ve got one more of the best veggies for skin, hair, and nails to cover:

21 day detox from Chef V

Lettuce

One of the main reasons why lettuce is good for your skin is it contains the following three minerals: silica, sulfur, and phosphorous. You don’t need a large quantity of these minerals from the foods you eat. That’s why they are called trace minerals. But these three trace minerals are vital for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Without a doubt, you’re not going to get many benefits by eating iceberg lettuce, which is devoid of nutrition. But green leafy lettuce can also protect your skin against harmful UV rays.

So now do you see why I selected these six veggies (7 really; Green Drink includes two different types of kale)? Not only are they the best-tasting and most detoxifying, but they’re also the best for your skin, hair, and nails.

Chef V and Kale

How To Prevent Food Poisoning (From Food & People)

how to prevent food poisoning

The news cycle moves at warp speed so you may not remember that recently I wrote about why I don’t include romaine lettuce in my Organic Green Drinks.

In case you missed it, let me sum up: more than any other green leafy veggie, romaine is the most susceptible to e. coli poisoning.

If you want to keep your gut healthy, don’t buy store bought bagged lettuce. It’s like playing Russian roulette with your immune system. Instead, try growing your own.

But eating contaminated food isn’t the only way you can get sick. In fact, not to freak you out or anything but a recent Consumer Reports article says many people “caught” food poisoning not from the romaine, but from people who ate it.

I wanted to share with you some tips from the article on how not to “catch food poisoning.”

food poisoning bacteria

Hand Sanitizer vs Hand Washing: Which Is Better

If you’re on a cruise, definitely use hand sanitizer whenever possible. Norovirus is a disease caused by food contamination. It most often occurs when you’re shacking up in close quarters to other people.

But when you’re on land, hand sanitizers are overrated. They don’t kill all the bad germs. You’re better off just washing your hands with soap and warm water for about 20 seconds.

And definitely don’t ever use antibacterial soap. It weakens your immune system. You see, you want your hands to be clean. But not too clean. You want your immune system to “exercise” by being exposed to and fighting pathogens. Antibacterial soap also kills your good bacteria. Another concern about antibacterial soap is the potentially cancer-causing chemical, triclosan. Triclosan can also make you more vulnerable to developing allergies.

I prefer to use natural products whenever possible. That’s why I use Dr. Bronner’s hand sanitizer. You can also make your own natural hand sanitizer using a blend of essential oils. To make one, you’ll need a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba. A few of the best essential oil sanitizers are lemon, tea tree, and orange. You can also add some aloe vera oil.

But if you do want to protect yourself with commercial sanitizer, get one that’s alcohol-based and contains at least 60 percent alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol). Any less and it won’t kill all the bad germs.

food poisoning good bad flora

Opening and Closing Doors

Let’s say you’re a good boy or girl and you just went potty in a public bathroom and washed your hands with warm water for 20 seconds.

You’re feeling all high and mighty about your sanitary practices and open the door to go back to your table at the restaurant. But what if the person who just went to the bathroom before you didn’t wash their hands? And what if they have a food-borne illness that’s brewing but not yet fully developed? That person just grabbed the metal door handle and you just touched it.

So whenever you have to open a metal door, even if it’s right after washing your hands, use a paper towel. Even better, to be more environmentally friendly, tear off a small extra piece of toilet paper to open the door. If you have to touch a metal surface like a door handle or railing, make sure you sanitize your hands afterwards and definitely do not touch your eyes or nose with your hands before doing so.

Sorry if it seems like I’m being your mommy. I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you to wash your hands. You’re probably doing that already.

But keep in mind that 2018’s e. coli outbreak was the deadliest in decades. About 200 people got sick and 5 people died.

Some of the people who got sick didn’t eat the contaminated romaine. Rather, they became ill by somehow being in contact with people who ate the bad romaine.

Now I hope you’re not eating while you’re reading this. Because what I’m about to tell you is gross: E. coli can be transmitted through the tiniest piece of poop. All it takes is a trace amount, a microscopic, nano-poop-particle, to both become sick with food poisoning or to infect someone else.

See why I’m preaching hand washing in this post?

True, I might be slightly nagging like a good-intentioned mama. But I do care about my follower’s health and wellness….

Preventing Food Poisoning: Conclusion

Again, sorry if I seem a bit over cautious. I don’t want you to live in fear. Eat, drink and be merry! (In moderation, of course.)

But don’t forget this sage sanitary advice to prevent food poisoning.

Keep in mind the stronger your immune system is, the lower your chance of getting sick from contaminated food. Of course, if you’re on a trip to a foreign country and drink water with bacteria your system isn’t used to, you may get a touch of traveller’s belly. That’s why you should carry a potent probiotic with you.

The strain, “Saccharomyces boulardii” is a great one. It’s a tropical species of yeast that’s naturally found in lychee and mangosteen fruit. Buy it and bring it with you for overseas trips. If you get the “D word” (it’s so nasty, I don’t even like spelling it out) from eating or drinking, it can help. I actually recommend taking it as a preventative. You can take it for several months in a row without side effects.

And don’t forget to feed the good bacteria in your gut with “prebiotics.” Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers. They are what the bacteria in your gut love to chomp on.

Know what’s a great source of prebiotic fiber for your gut? Green leafy veggies. My Organic Green Drinks contain 7 green leafy veggies. It’s the perfect way to start the day and make your belly bacteria happy. And a happy belly means a strong immune system.

To your health….

Chef V

Chef V and tropical green drink

SIBO: The Number One Reason You Shouldn’t Snack All Day

SIBO - snacking

How many times a day do you do it? 

You’re not really hungry but you stroll into the kitchen and open the fridge or pantry…

It’s not like new food has magically materialized. 

Yet you find something to snack on. 

But even when you’re done eating the last crumb, you’re already thinking about the next snack. 

And all day long, it doesn’t stop. Popcorn on the couch at 11:00 at night while you’re binge-watching your favorite show. 

Nothing wrong with unwinding after a hard day’s work with some mindless show. 

But because I know about SIBO and how it can cause terrible bloating, constipation, gas, and skin problems, I avoid snacking almost entirely—especially after dinner. 

gastritis from SIBO

What is SIBO? 

SIBO stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. 

Because of the popularity of probiotics, lots of people know about the importance of having a healthy gut microbiome. 

Not sure what a gut microbiome is? 

It’s everything in your gut that’s not you, like bacteria and fungus. 

It’s important to have enough of these invisible friendly freeloaders in your gut. That’s because they help metabolize food and release byproducts that keep you healthy. 

In other words, if you take care of these microscopic critters, they will take care of you. 

Many people know it’s important to have enough friendly bacteria in the gut to keep the potentially disease-causing bacteria and yeast from overwhelming the immune system. 

But what few people are aware of is exactly where the good stuff should be. 

Yes, in the gut … but where exactly? 

The answer is your colon. 

And, no, the colon is not the same as the rectum, where poop comes out of; the colon is another term for the five-foot long large intestine.

Gut bacteria should predominantly be present in the large intestine. But when you snack a lot, it can cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine or SIBO. 

colon

What Causes SIBO?

There are other root causes besides snacking. But not giving your digestion enough of a break is one of the biggest culprits. 

Chronic stress, medication, serious illness, surgery, hormonal imbalance (excess estrogen) … these are some of the other contributing SIBO factors. 

But I want to focus on snacking here because almost everybody can relate to it and it’s really easy to correct. 

So here’s why snacking can cause SIBO…

The bacteria in your small intestine normally gets literally swept down into the large intestine several times a day by a process called the migrating motor complex or MMC. 

Not to geek out on this highly complex function of human physiology but the basics of the MMC are important to understand. 

If the majority of your bacteria sits in your small intestine, you will not be able to absorb nutrients very well. 

Malabsorption of nutrients can cause autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, mood disorders and lots of other health concerns. 

So you really need the bacteria to migrate from the small intestine to the large intestine. Otherwise, the friendly bacteria (probiotics) can’t digest their favorite food—prebiotic fiber—that eventually create short-chain fatty acids. 

Short-chain fatty acids improve gut-brain communication. And basically every factor of health such as immunity is determined by gut-brain communication. 

intermittent fasting

Why Snacking Causes SIBO

But it can take up to 4 hours in between meals for most of the bacteria to be swept into the colon. 

You probably already know that frequent snacking is bad for managing blood sugar levels and keeping insulin levels low. 

Now that you know about the MMC, add it to the list of why you really should never snack in between meals—unless you have a medical condition such as type 1 diabetes that necessitates eating frequent small meals. 

SIBO is another good reason to give intermittent fasting a try. I like the routine of finishing my dinner by 8 p.m. and then breaking my fast 16 hours later with Organic Green Drink. 

Doing a 16 hour fast will help your body not only sweep all the excess bacteria down into the large intestine, it will also help your body get back in balance. Digestion requires an enormous amount of energy and resources. When you deprive your body of food short-term, it can focus on other tasks like self-repair. 

 (Fasting for 12-14 hours will also yield positive results but build up your temporary daily fast to 16 hours eventually.)

How To Get Tested For SIBO and Fix It

You have to get diagnosed for it by a medical doctor. You can also find a functional health practitioner who can run some diagnostic tests and assess your gut health. 

Fixing SIBO requires dietary adjustments, probiotics and prebiotic fiber, for starters. You may have to eliminate all added sugars, gluten, processed soy, white flour, and wheat flour for the time being. Eat a plant-based diet consisting of real food (nothing packaged or processed) and stop snacking. And stop walking past the fridge and pantry so much! 

Chef V and kale

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