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What to Eat for IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)

Happy Healthy Gut

“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” Ann Wigmore

Knowing what foods are safe to eat when you suffer from chronic digestive angst is really hard, but there are definitely a few core ideas (and rules) to keep in mind when searching for answers. The following recommendations are ones that have certainly helped me, and I continue to eat this way because I can’t imagine going back to feeling the way I did before. Here are my top suggestions:

EAT YOUR VEGGIES!

Nobody ever said to you, “don’t eat your vegetables!” Most of what we eat throughout the day, every day, should be vegetables. They are completely necessary for proper digestive function, and yet most of us don’t consume nearly the amount we should. Not only should we be focusing on increasing our overall intake, but we should also be experimenting with variety, and become aware of what is in season. Our bodies naturally process food that is whole and in season much better than foods that are processed and from thousands of miles away. (For example, living in the pacific northwest, my body wouldn’t process a pineapple in January the same way it would kale.)

LIMIT ANIMAL PRODUCTS

Let’s get real: animal products are not that great for your body. Despite the fact that various meat and dairy industry representatives swear up and down that animal products are a necessity for your health, we all know that can’t be true. Animal meat is very high in saturated fat, which isn’t at all good for us; especially ground beef. Unless purchased from an organic, grass-fed only farm, almost all meat (99% of what is out there), comes from factory farms, and it’s not healthy. The thing is, factory farms are a cesspool of nutrient-deficent meat due to too many growth hormones in the feed, routine antibiotics, and largely diseased animals due to the inevitable overcrowding that occurs. It is also the number one contributor of crazy environmental pollutants.

Dairy is bad, too. Cow milk is meant for calves, not humans. We don’t feed cows human milk, right? Dairy causes allergies and intolerances, which can contribute to ear infections, sinus problems, constipation, and other digestive issues.

Good Food

STOP EATING PROCESSED FOOD

We are living in a new age of food. Or “food.” The nation’s rates of chronic disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, digestive disease, etc, are skyrocketing at a pace never seen before. This is largely due to two things: increased consumption of animal meat, and increased production/consumption of highly processed food. In developing countries, where processed food is nil, these diseases are not present. It’s yucky, and needs to go. This type of food is “dead” because there is nothing nutritionally valuable left for it to offer. A good rule of thumb is to take a look at the list of ingredients, and rule out anything that contains un-pronouncables, and over 6-8 ingredients in total.

STEER CLEAR FROM GMOS

Genetically modified food is lab-created, nutrient-void, and poses considerable risk to your health. It is currently under investigation to prove its role in increased cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, autism, and among other things, decreased immune system function. Download the iPhone app ShopNoGMO to learn which food companies are GMO-free, and which ones aren’t. You can also visit www.gmoshoppingguide.com.

EAT WHOLE FOODS

Whole foods are exactly what they sound like. They’re still in their whole form, and haven’t been processed. These foods are nutritionally dense, and our bodies thrive on them. They’re super simple for our digestive systems to process, which lends more energy (that would have been diverted to heavy, unclean digestions attempts) to other parts of your body. Foods in this category are whole fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, (preferably sprouted!), dried fruit, etc, If your digestive system is giving you trouble, try eating this way: completely eliminate dead food, and switch to a diet rich in whole foods.

Green smoothie

NEW FOODS TO INTRODUCE

Once you eliminate the yucky foods, you can introduce an awesome assortment of foods that heal. These include such wonder items as digestive enzymes, probiotics, whole grains, sprouted grains, sprouts, wheatgrass, fresh veggie juices, sea vegetables, fermented goodies, tofu, tempeh and seitan, organic lovelies, and more! Food is our best ally against digestive unease and good health: we need to use it properly!

The right food nourishes your body, mind, and soul.

Those who know me, know that I am VERY into healthy eating and consuming food that I believe lends to more usable energy. I don’t want to feel good- I want to feel AMAZING! Ask me how, buy the book, or visit www.facebook.com/happyhealthylife.org.

Be Food Forward!

Happy Healthy Gut: book signing this weekend!

Book Signing!

Hey, all! Just wanted to let you know that I will be at Save-on-Foods on Sumas Way in Abbotsford, BC this weekend to promote and sign books! Visit me from 11-5 on Saturday and Sunday (March 8 and 9), and receive Vega testers and Silverhills Bakery goodies!

See you there! xo

5 Digestive Health Dos and Don’ts

Bran Flakes

Digestive health seems like a very trendy topic these days. Not an exciting trend, like colourful Spanx or beanie caps (these ideas are why I’ll probably never be a trendsetter), but just a popular topic of discussion.

I absolutely believe that the entire body rides the ebb and flow of one’s digestive tract—if your gut’s off balance, your whole body and mind will be off, too. An unhealthy gut is correlated with psychological stress, insomnia, weight gain, chronic disease, and more. Who needs more motivation to keep our tummies happy and healthy than that?!

The following are my 5 digestive health dos and don’ts. They’re not complicated; just common sense.

The Dos:

1-      Drink alot of water and herbal teas. More than anything, your body needs to stay hydrated in order for all of our systems to be able to work properly. The human body is made of more than 70% water—so you need to replenish constantly.

2-      Eat your plant foods. I know—no surprise here. But vegetables and whole grains are absolutely crucial to great digestive health. Aside from being full of antioxidants (which fight free-radicals that contribute to abnormal cell division, ie: cancer), veggies are teeming with fibre. We need way more fibre than most of us consume. Fibre sweeps the colon clean, and regularity is the key to good digestive health. Which brings me to:

3-      Stay regular. If you don’t know the last time you had a bowel movement, then that’s a major problem. You should be moving your bowels at least once a day, optimally closer to 2 or 3 times. And they should be relatively large, easy, and painless.

4-      Take a daily probiotic. This extra influx of good bacteria makes a world of difference to the goings-on of your intestinal flora. Your gut is a place where bad bacteria should be eliminated—not permitted to run rampant. You need loads of good bacteria (probiotics) if you want to have a great-working gut.

5-      Relax. Deep, conscious breathing, adequate sleep (8 hours), exercise, and a good attitude all contribute to better digestive function.  The brain and gut are indeed connected—a calm mind will facilitate a calm tummy. So keep calm and…chill out!

The Don’ts:

1-      Don’t eat the wrong foods. Animal products (meat and dairy), processed food, sugar, and anything else that might piss off your intestinal tract are no-nos. Your digestive system has a tough time with these foods. By cutting them out, you give your gut a giant advantage.

2-      Don’t become chronically dehydrated. So many of us are, and our intestinal tract needs a lot of water to do its job. Don’t forget to drink water.

3-      Don’t be stagnant. If you drive to work, sit at a desk, drive home, then sit on your couch and watch TV all night, your tummy has no chance. You need to move in order for your food to move, too.

4-      Don’t think that it’s normal to only have a bowel movement twice a week. It’s not. (Well, in North America it probably is, but it definitely shouldn’t be.) What goes in, must come out. Remember that.

5-      Don’t be scared to go if you’re not at home. Get over it. Everyone goes, so just go. If you wait, you might miss the opportunity until tomorrow, and then it becomes compacted—and then you’re in trouble. Doing this regularly leads to chronic constipation, and diseases like diverticulitis and possibly even bowel cancer. I don’t mean to scare you, but it’s true.

I had to learn all of this the hard way, and if you’re reading this, you probably have, too. But if you’re still living on Oblivious Street, then please take these recommendations to heart. Your health and happiness is important, and the bowel has so much to do with that.

Happy Tuesday!

Book Launch! Happy Healthy Gut is Officially Released

Beet Juice

Hey, everyone! I’m so excited for this book release. Today’s the magic day, so I thought I’d let everyone know exactly what this book is about. January is the month to take better responsibility for your health and happiness, and since those words are in the title, I thought I’d take advantage.

About the book (description from amazon.com):

Millions of Americans deal with daily digestive malfunction and attribute it to genetics or faulty wiring. Jennifer Browne reveals the common denominator present in almost all chronic digestive angst: food. What we choose to fuel ourselves with has a direct impact on every part of our bodies, starting with the digestive system. Browne urges us to own responsibility for our own health and make conscientious decisions regarding the cause and effect foods have on our digestive tracts. Written in frank, humorous laymen’s terms and sharing her own personal success story along with others’, Browne passionately educates her readers on why a plant-based diet is the only prescription necessary for a happy, healthy tummy. Discover the direct correlation between digestive trauma and factory farming; the incredible benefits of juicing, fermenting, and sprouting food; the reason why GMOs lead to IBS; and what ingredients really just translate to “sugar” or “lab-created chemical.” “Happy Healthy Gut” is an easy read that is truly important and highly informative for anyone who has ever dreamed of a perfectly functioning digestive system.

About the Author (description taken from amazon.com):

Jennifer Browne is an advocate for nutrition education and digestive disorder cessation. She is passionate about promoting clean, “wholistic” food practices and avoiding the slew of “non-foods” that make up our current food system. Browne was diagnosed with IBS in 2001 and has been symptom-free since 2010 when she adopted a mindful, plant-based diet.

Buy the Book (link to amazon.com):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1626360413?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1626360413&linkCode=xm2&tag=girlunin-20

Happy Healthy Gut Cover Design

Enjoy your weekend! Keep healthy!

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #7

apple

Here’s sneak peek #7 of Happy Healthy Gut! I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more…

From Chapter Eight (Chemically Speaking):

“The definition of food: “material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies.”[i]

Notice how the definition emphasizes the food’s ability to sustain growth, repair, furnish energy, and nourish? Now think of fast food, processed food, and all the chemicals tossed into the mix of what’s being eaten on a daily basis by the majority of North America.

A significant amount of people are not eating food. They’re just eating.

Reductionism is the act of removing targeted nutrients from the whole of one food (extracting calcium from broccoli, for example), and isolating it in order to either market this nutrient by itself in the form of a calcium supplement, or to add it to an existing preparation in order to make it more attractive to the consumer, such as ‘calcium fortified’ orange juice.

The argument for reductionism sounds well intentioned: by adding a nutrient to orange juice that it does not naturally possess, the consumer can take advantage of ingesting that nutrient without having to eat broccoli. Win-win! Except…

Recent studies have shown that by removing the nutrient from its original whole food, it does not work as well, if at all.[ii] Scientists are beginning to understand that the complexity of that particular nutrient needs the environment of that whole food in order to activate the benefits. For example, perhaps there is an element to the food that helps that nutrient be absorbed when eaten, and without that element, it just won’t happen. This could be an “ah-ha moment” for all those who have hailed reductionism as the next best thing since (iron fortified) sliced bread. The result is this: the whole food will always be more nutritious, in every way, than the sum of its parts. For anyone experiencing digestive unease, you already know that we could all definitely benefit from better nutrient absorption.


Chapter Eight: Chemically Speaking

[i] “Food.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2012. Web. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/food

[ii]Nutraceutical.” Wikipedia. 2012. Web. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutraceutical

A Guide to a Successful New Year's Cleanse

Beet Juice

This is the time of year when we all begin to feel pretty overindulged. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do something about it. So, if you want to join me for a day or two of nutrient injection and junk extraction (hee hee), then here’s your guide:

Tips for a successful cleanse

1-      Choose a day when you will be home.

2-      Plan ahead. Buy your groceries the day before, and make sure your juicer is clean and ready to go. About a week before your cleanse (even if you’re only doing one day), begin weaning your body off alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, meat, dairy, sugar, and wheat. Your body will have an easier time adjusting to liquids for 24 hours if you prepare it for purity.

3-      You will have better success if you drink a lot of water and tea throughout the day of. It will help keep your stomach full.

4-      Buy organic produce. The idea is to have as much nutrient absorption as possible by consuming only liquids, so why buy produce that is covered in pesticides? Try and get it all organic.

5-      Have planned activities at home to keep you busy (like a giant puzzle or a fabulous book), but don’t do anything strenuous that will make you starving (like working out).

6-      Don’t make food for other family members, if you can avoid it. The temptation to chow down has proven too great for me many, many times.

7-      Don’t worry about protein. This is a low-protein day, but that’s okay. You can fill up on protein-rich foods the next day.

8-      If you feel shaky and cold on the day of your cleanse (which is totally normal, especially in the winter), try taking a bath with Epsom salts. Although the salt will help your body to detox further, the warm water will feel really good and calm your confused nerves.

Green Juice

The Plan

7:00am:           16 oz. of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it.

8:00am:           Juice (in the following order): 1 chunk ginger, 4 carrots, 1 peeled    grapefruit.

10:00am:         Juice (in the following order): 2 green apples, 4 fennel fronds, 6 romaine lettuce leaves, handful of parsley, 1 large cucumber.

12:00pm:         16 oz. miso broth.

2:00pm:           Juice (in the following order): 1 chunk ginger, 1 small beet, 2 large carrots, 2 red apples, handful of basil, 1 large cucumber.

4:00pm:           8 oz. coconut water.

6:00pm:           Blend 1 cup water, 1 banana,

4 kale leaves, 1 cup spinach, 1 cup frozen pineapple, ½ cup rolled oats.

In addition to everything above, try to drink about 64 ounces of water or herbal tea throughout the day. The last “meal” is more solid, because it will help you to sleep on a fuller stomach, and create a bit of bulk for a good bowel movement in the morning.

  • If you don’t own a juicer, then you can blend fruits, veggies, and water in your blender. (Unless you own a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix, I don’t recommend trying to blend roots. Just do the softer items, like fruit, cucumbers, and green, leafy veggies.) You’ll get way more fiber this way, but most of us need more of that, anyway. The idea is to remove the foods that aren’t helping us, and inject our bodies with good nutrients, so this still kinda works.

aloe vera

Shopping List

Fruit

  • 1 lemon
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2 green apples
  • 2 red apples
  • 1 banana
  • Ginger
  • Frozen Pineapple

Veggies

  • Fennel (with at least four fronds)
  • Romaine bunch
  • Kale bunch
  • Spinach bunch
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 beet

Other

  • Rolled oats (1 cup)
  • Miso broth (buy in packets in health food aisle)
  • Coconut water (unsweetened—look at ingredients. Should just be coconut water.)
  • Herbal tea
  • Epsom salts (for bath–if you want)

*Repeat this for 2 days if you want, but I don’t recommend anything longer, unless you have prior experience with cleanses.

Here’s to an amazing 2014, and a Happy Healthy Gut!

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #6

gut-second-brain

Welcome to sneak peek #6 of Happy Healthy Gut! I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more…

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday!

From Chapter Seven (Filthy Food):

“Many of us are guilty of making a beeline to our family doctor or walk-in-clinic and demanding antibiotics at the first sign of a sniffle or cough, and too many doctors just hand them right over. It’s that easy. The problem with today’s ridiculous overuse of antibiotics is serious. More and more bacteria are becoming antibiotic resistant, which means a large variety of these life-saving concoctions are becoming useless. It also means that people are more and more commonly being treated with two or three rounds of antibiotics in order for their infections to be successfully treated.

This, in turn, wreaks major havoc on our intestinal flora. Antibiotics kill all bacteria; good and bad. Our tummies harbour millions of good bacteria, designed to break down food. If all that bacteria is slain through routine use of antibiotics, our guts get thrown off their delicate balance, which is why antibiotics are routinely known to cause things like diarrhea, nausea, and yeast infections.

If you are suffering from a chronic digestive disease, particularly one that can cause routine infections, such as diverticulitis or IBD (colitis or Crohn’s disease), then you are no stranger to antibiotics. But this situation creates an awful circle of events…having to treat an infection with antibiotics, only to leave your immune system thrashed from it (most of your immune function comes from your gut),[i] which finally leads you to end up predisposed to more infection.

To make matters worse, if you are eating meat or consuming dairy, then you are getting a double, triple, or maybe even a quadruple dosage of these antibiotics, depending on where you buy your meat. Factory farming is a breeding ground for disease largely due to overcrowding and fecal contamination. That means that antibiotics are routinely being pumped into cows, chickens, and pigs in every feed, in order to keep them alive to either be productive, or until they get mature enough to slaughter. In fact, farmers routinely treat these animals before they get sick, because they know that their animals’ chances of contracting disease is extremely high given the conditions in which they are forced to live.”

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #5

Holstein cows

Hey, all! Here’s another sneak peek of my new book, Happy Healthy Gut. I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more…HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

From Chapter Six (A Pitch for Plant-Based):

Dairy is not much better. When a baby is born, their bodies are designed to digest their mother’s milk easily. When they are weaned, on average at about twelve months old, their bodies quit making it possible to digest milk. Milk is something that is specifically designed for babies who cannot consume anything else for months, due to underdeveloped digestive systems, and lack of teeth. We don’t bottle human breast milk and still drink it into our forties, right? (Unless you’re my brother-in-law…but that was a happy accident.) Even cows wean…the baby calf stops nursing from her mother around age two. After that, no more milk. Nada. She’s like, “Here, eat some grass…”

Ever wonder why so many people are lactose intolerant? It’s because our bodies are not designed to consume lactose, the sugar in dairy, or casein, the protein. It makes us gassy, constipated, irritable, and full of mucous. This is a train wreck for people with irritable bowels of any form. Eliminating dairy from your diet could be your life saver, especially if you live in a country like the United States, which permits antibiotics and growth hormones to be directly injected into conventionally farmed cattle, therefore creating heavily hormone-laced products, and very unnatural, miserable animals. I’m not letting Canada off the hook here. While it’s true that Canadian laws are stricter when it comes to these practices, the country’s laws make it legal to add both antibiotics and hormones to the cows’ feed, unless the products will be certified as organic.”

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #4

bigstock-vector-pill-with-plant-16954631

Here’s another sneak peek of my new book, Happy Healthy Gut! I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more!

From Chapter Five (Healthcare 9-1-1):

Factory-farmed animal products are just one example of how we are causing detriment to our health, typically without us knowing so. Misguided information and general ignorance towards what is being put in our food is literally killing us. American general practitioners have an average of twenty hours’ worth of nutrition education, with eighteen of those hours being centered on infant formula.[i] This means that a nutritionist, who possesses considerably less education than a medical doctor (typically one to two years of study compared to ten to twelve), has more basic knowledge about diet and nutrition than a heart surgeon who deals with the effects of coronary heart disease, contracted in most part by terrible dietary choices that often occur on a daily basis.

This is a major problem.

In fact, as Dr. T. Colin Campbell emphasizes in The China Study, which is a thirty-eight year-long study that shows a very strong correlation between casein (cow milk protein) and cancer, “the health damage that results from doctors’ ignorance of nutrition is astounding.” [ii]

When confronted with treating patients who have any type of chronic disease (not limited to digestive disease), most doctors will order expensive tests, prescribe expensive drugs, and if all else fails, recommend expensive surgeries. All of this expense adds up to an unbelievable sum of money spent on treatments that are typically ineffective, or could be treated more efficiently through dietary changes and real, fact-based, nutrition education for the public. Ergo, our skyrocketing healthcare costs and devastating, life-threatening cuts. Who benefits from dealing with our health issues in this typically ineffective and overly expensive manner?

Pharmaceutical companies do.

If you were able to eradicate your digestive disease symptoms naturally, it would amount to billions of dollars in lost drug sales for major drug companies. It’s deeply unfortunate, but it is not in anyone’s interest but your own to actually cure what ails you. That means that only you can accomplish this properly, through food and lifestyle rehabilitation. Don’t take that as scary or hopeless information…it’s some damn empowering knowledge! Use it, mon ami!”


[i] Campbell, T. Colin, PhD  and Thomas M. Campbell, MD. The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight-loss, and Long-Term Health. Dallas, TX: Benbella Books, 2006,

p. 327.

[ii] —. p. 329.