The Gut-Brain Connection

August 10, 2020

We’re all hearing how important gut health is for overall health, but many are surprised to learn that it directly impacts our mental health as well. Your thoughts, your feelings, your stress level – it’s all connected. Listen in to learn how to best support your gut to best support your brain.

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Transcript:

MELANIE: Welcome everyone to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Today, we'll be discussing the gut brain connection to your moods and memory. So I'm excited. I think it's going to be a wonderful talk topic, but you may be asking yourself, "what do you mean when you say gut brain connection, Melanie?" Well, Dr. David Perlmutter, author of *Grain Brain*, and a number one New York times bestseller and *Brain Maker*, his latest book, uncovered the role your intestinal health plays in your moods and memory. It is so interesting to realize how the health of your gut is connected to the health of your brain. It's amazing. Dr. Perlmutter is a well known board certified neurologist who comments on the fact that the rates of neurological disorders are sky rocketing. He went on to say that the rates of ADHD are skyrocketing. The rates of debilitating anxiety are skyrocketing. The rates of depression are skyrocketing. The rates of Parkinson's are skyrocketing. The rates of autism are skyrocketing. The rates of Alzheimer's are skyrocketing. In fact, the rates of every brain problem have all increased dramatically. He points out that the health of your brain is often dictated by the health of your intestinal tract. And today we're going to explore the gut brain connection. So you heard her voice joining me this morning is Jennifer Anthony who's a nutrition educator at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. You may remember her as Jennifer Schmid. She changed her nutrition and gut health to help put her anxiety and an eating disorder into remission. I'm sure that Jen and her personal story are going to help everyone who's listening to really understand this gut brain connection. Jennifer, I so admire your journey and how far you have come in your health journey. You and I have definitely dug through the mud to get where we are.

JENNIFER: Yes we have.

MELANIE: And we want to shout from the rooftops.

JENNIFER: Yes, we do. Absolutely.

MELANIE: But I'm excited for you to share your story of recovery with our listeners today.

JENNIFER: Thank you, Melanie and I am thrilled to be here today to share my story. It's so wonderful to be in the studio with you, Melanie, and it's wonderful to be back. It has been a couple of years. And some listeners out there may recognize my voice, whether it be on previous shows or classes and they've heard my story before. And as I share my story today, I would like to focus on the good parts and the hopeful parts of my story as much as possible. So I'm going to share kind of a brief part of my story in the beginning and then we'll circle back as the show goes on. So I've struggled with my digestive health most of my life and I would say a lot of anxiety as well. In the late nineties, when I was in my early twenties, I developed an exercise addiction, which led to an eating disorder. And then in 2012, I had two emergency intestinal surgeries followed by a diagnosis of osteoporosis. And I was just in a horrible, miserable place.

MELANIE: And you were very young at the diagnosis. How old were you Jennifer?

JENNIFER: 38.

MELANIE: 38, diagnosed with osteoporosis. Devastating.

JENNIFER: Yeah, it was devastating and I felt hopeless. And after working with Nutritional Weight & Wellness, not only have I reversed my exercise addiction, eating disorder, but also my osteoporosis. So I'm just thrilled to be here to share my story.

MELANIE: It is fantastic.

JENNIFER: It is.

MELANIE: I'm really, really happy about that.

JENNIFER: I am too. I can't say it enough. The underlying reality is that my poor intestinal health was one of the main causes of my high anxiety level. And it may surprise you because it surprised me at the time that the root cause... this was the root cause of my eating disorder. And when I learned this, it was incredibly freeing because any of the listeners out there, whether you have struggled with eating disorder or any type of addiction, you know that guilt shame cycle. It just draws you further and further into that addiction. So this was so incredibly freeing for me.

MELANIE: I can't imagine. I can't imagine that journey that you went through. Well, to get a deeper understanding at Jennifer's journey, she said I could share what she told me this morning before the show. Jennifer, you told me you have been in and out of a variety of treatment centers, mainly for an eating disorder. And as you mentioned, you were plagued with anxiety.

JENNIFER: I was.

MELANIE: When did you start learning about this gut brain connection?

Speaker 3: Yeah, this was that as Oprah says, that aha moment for me. So I recall I think it was 2005 and all I remember is that I was driving somewhere in Bloomington and I heard Dar's... Darlene Kvist's voice for the first time on Dishing Up Nutrition. And at first I was really resistant to make changes in what I was eating, but something really resonated with me. And I continued to listen over the years and I remember hearing a lot about how food can affect your mood. And when I hit that rock bottom moment of getting that osteoporosis diagnosis with a prescription of Fosamax from my doctor that was the moment that I was crying out for help. And as a woman of faith, I started to pray and the Lord put it on my heart to go to Nutritional Weight & Wellness. And I made an appointment with Romaine. She is one of the dietitians that Nutritional Weight & Wellness, or was, and that appointment with Romaine changed my life. And as the listeners, I'm just some, some of the listeners right now might be going to their phones or their computers and looking at Romaine's name right now at weightandwellness.com, but unfortunately she no longer lives in Minnesota. She moved to Georgia and she's a dietitian there and she moved there to be with her mother. And I am so very fortunate to have connected and learned from her. You know, she was a PERFECT dietitian for me. I believe it was no accident. I believe I was meant to work with her. And fortunately, for all the listeners out there, all of the dietitians and nutritionists and Nutritional Weight & Wellness can help you heal your intestinal tract too. Infact, I still try to make an appointment at least once a month. And I have worked with Melanie and had a lot of help from you. Thank you so much. And some of the other dietitians and nutritionists too, because I want to keep my gut health in check and other areas of my health as well. So I have put into practice daily what I learned at Nutritional Weight & Wellness and I want to share that knowledge and my passion with you. Now, remember I had received treatment at many eating disorder centers over the years and knew in my heart there had to be a better answer for me. So during the day, my day job, I'm a licensed and certified dental assistant in a very busy dental practice. And before COVID-19, I taught a variety of nutritional classes for Nutritional Weight & Wellness and I miss it so much. I love it so much.

MELANIE: And you're great! I mean, your students love you. I hear it all the time when I have clients come in the office.

JENNIFER: Thank you so much. I, I just, I miss it. I look forward to doing it again. It will happen again and I'll even have the opportunity to do some zoom classes as well. So I'm looking forward to that.

MELANIE: That'll be great. There's really so much information to share today. So let's get started with some of the statistics I want to share about brain disorders: about one in four adults in the U.S. Suffer from some of the diagnosable mental disorder. Depression affects one in 10 adults and is the leading cause of mental disability. Medication like Prozac or Zoloft are among the antidepressant drugs most often prescribed in the U.S. and we were talking, Jen, that there's actually a shortage of Zoloft right now due to the anxiety and depression in our country.

JENNIFER: Yes, that's right.

MELANIE: We know drugs treat depression, but not the cause of the depression. And the good news is the leading science research is discovering that brain health and brain diseases such as depression and anxiety are connected to what goes on in our gut. Research is now telling us that we are actually... what actually takes place in our intestines today may determine your risk for anxiety, depression, and memory problems. I know in clinic, I'm seeing so much anxiety and this was even prior COVID. Surprising amount of anxiety and depression that I'd never seen in 35 years of practice.

JENNIFER: Yeah. It seems to increase over the years

MELANIE: You bet. It's sad and you may be thinking what happens and you got stays in my gut. However, in reality, researchers are finding all of the various microorganisms that live in your gut, especially the good and bad bacteria, that affect your brain health. And we want to talk about that when we come back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Melanie Beasley. And I have been a registered and licensed dietitian for many, many years. And I've worked with a variety of clients with a wide range of nutrition needs. Joining me today is Jennifer Schmid...Anthony. I got that wrong. Who came to Nutritional Weight & Wellness as a client a while, how many years Jen? 15?

JENNIFER: Eight years.

MELANIE: Eight years ago. She went on to complete the training program to become a fantastic nutrition educator because of the health benefits were exactly what she needed. Jennifer has been teaching a variety of in house nutrition classes that she mentioned in person, and up until the COVID-19 restrictions and then she'll be doing some zoom, but now she has taken to teaching classes via zoom and co-hosting our Dishing Up Nutrition radio show to spread her inspiring personal story of recovery. And we will be right back.

JENNIFER: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. During my recovery journey, I have learned the importance of avoiding sugar and processed carbohydrates to manage my anxiety and moods. So when I think back to my early twenties, I realized I was more concerned about the shape of my body and not my health. And because I lacked important nutritional information, I chose a bagel and fat-free cream cheese over eggs for breakfast. You know, I had a misguided fear. I had... I was fat phobic. I was concerned about cholesterol and I thought eggs were bad for me, but I'm happy to say while I was training to become a nutrition educator, I learned two important facts based on actual research. Number one, in a research study, it found that older adults who had the lowest cholesterol had the poorest memory.

MELANIE:  Fascinating.

JENNIFER: Isn't it? And number two, our bodies need cholesterol to make hormones. And what form of cholesterol am I talking about? The LDL, which people refer to as bad cholesterol. It's not all bad. No wonder my menstrual cycle had stopped for 20 years, but I'm happy to say with working with dietitians and nutritionists at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, I was able to restore that and get my cycle back two years ago, which is something I could've never hoped for.

MELANIE: That's wonderful.

JENNIFER: Yeah. So, you know, it's important for us to get that accurate nutrition information. Now, before break, we were talking about how the good and bad bad bacteria can directly affect our brain health. And some of you have heard the famous quote from the Nobel Laureate, Elie Metchnikoff, who said, "Death begins in the colon." And then 90% of all human illnesses can be traced to an unhealthy gut.

MELANIE: 90%.

JENNIFER: 90%! And I mean, I'm sure all of us have heard Hippocrates: "All disease begins in the gut." I believe that, but I also believe that all HEALING begins and starts in the gut. So here's some interesting facts: ever since the FDA approved antidepressants over 30 years ago, we have all believed that drugs can cure mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. In fact, in 2005, the sales of antidepressants increased by 400%. And also in 2005, antidepressants became the number one prescribed drug in the U.S. Now, remember, these medications do not treat the real cause or the root cause of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. They only treat the symptoms. Now, an analogy I like to use in classes is if your house is on fire, you call the fire department, they pull out their hoses and they start spraying the smoke, you going to be like, what are you doing? The house is on fire! Put out the fire, right? That's what we do when we're, we're trying to mask the symptoms. We want to get to the root cause.

MELANIE: And I think it's important, you know, it's important to say when that house is on fire, you'll do anything to put that fire out.

JENNIFER: Absolutely.

MELANIE: But then you want to say, hey, what caused this house to go on fire? So it doesn't keep happening.

JENNIFER: Exactly. Exactly. So before I was taught the gut brain connection, I thought medication could solve or help my eating disorder and anxiety. And I discovered that it did not.

MELANIE: Yeah. It's... you know, you hear a lot about drugs that you have to add in on top of antidepressants and you have to say, well, what's going on there that the antidepressant isn't working and it all is root cause comes from that gut health. And here's some rather shocking information about the sale of drugs prescribed to treat ADHD: 85% of all ADHD drugs are used right here in the U.S.

JENNIFER: It's amazing.

MELANIE: And most are prescribed for our children's ADHD symptoms have a lot of adults now, some prescribed drugs for ADHD. And as we paint the picture of the gut brain connection, I really want to explain that most antidepressants meds are designed to alter the neurotransmitter activity in the brain. So do you realize that the chemicals in your brain are all produced in your gut? I think that's surprising.

JENNIFER: It really is. I always thought they were made in the brain.

MELANIE: Of course! And they're also controlled by the activity of your gut bacteria. You know, that microbiome that we hear that buzzword all the time. Ads on TV and in magazines advertise that SSRI medications increase the neurotransmitter serotonin. That's our feel good. Truth be told the actual production of the neurotransmitter serotonin takes place in your gut when we eat animal protein and have sufficient bifido bacteria in our gut. It's a magical combination. We actually make the building blocks for serotonin in your gut. And when I say gut, I'm talking small intestine... is primarily where we're finding those neurotransmitters being made. Healthy gut equals healthy brains. May be hard to wrap your head around the fact that your key brain chemicals are made in your intestinal tract.

JENNIFER: Yes. And this is what changed everything for me. This is what really drives my passion too. And after getting my gut healthy, giving it the good bacteria, increasing my animal protein, I wasn't eating enough. So what does that look like? Four to five ounces at meals, two ounces at snacks and Melanie...

MELANIE: Cooked protein.

JENNIFER: That's right. Cooked protein. And I will never forget, 10 days after meeting with Romaine. It was a cold November afternoon. I was headed home from work. And I thought to myself, you know, I'm not really feeling it today. I think I'm going to go home. I was headed to the gym and I turned the corner and I just started to sob. I almost had to pull over, but thankfully there's a stoplight. And the reason I was crying was it was like, am I really free of this? Am I really free of this addiction? You know, it was like getting out of prison. Because in that moment, I discovered the most powerful drug on the planet and that is just eating real food. And from that moment on, I just wanted to share my story. And so I'm just grateful to have this platform. So let's take another look at the gut brain connection, specifically the gut brain connection to ADHD, which we've discussed before. It's more prevalent now. And a study conducted in 2011 found a remarkable improvement of ADHD symptoms with a restrictive diet. The research found that half of children diagnosed with ADHD are hypersensitive to certain foods. Some of the common ones, such as dairy, wheat, and processed foods that contain artificial ingredients. You know, these are the ingredients that when you turn and look at that label, ones you can't pronounce, ones you don't recognize, ones that are hidden in the quote unquote natural flavoring and also food dyes and food colorings, MSG. And we could go on and on.

MELANIE: Yes, I always love to ask a client, you know, when we talk about reading labels, I always say that, you know, there's really not much of a label when you pick up the broccoli, when you pick up the cauliflower, pick up the sweet potatoes or the chicken.

JENNIFER: That's right. There's no barcode.

MELANIE: There's no barcode. So if you can, if you can pluck it or chase it, it's a good food.

JENNIFER: That's right!

MELANIE: This study connecting gut health and ADHD, it was published in the Journal of Pediatrics, November 2013. They found that constipation was three fold higher in children with ADHD. So if moms are listening who have children with ADHD, they're probably saying, oh my goodness, that's so true. They also found fecal incontinence with 67% higher in children with ADHD. This research looked at nearly 80,000 children. I really want to get into that when we get back from our break. It was a really large study looking at the digestive problems and how these digestive problems are linked directly to brain function. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. This may be one of the most important times in our lives to plan, prepare real food in advance. This type of eating plan that we are recommending helps with weight management, improve memory, better moods. So we share that information about, we want to tell you about our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss online classes as well as classes via Zoom.

JENNIFER: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before break, Melanie was talking about our nutritional weight loss classes online on zoom and I wanted to talk a little bit about that. So we have 12 weekly classes to attend live via zoom led by an experienced teacher PLUS a moderator to be sure you get all of your questions answered. So we keep the class size small, so you can receive personalized attention. And of course you can attend these from the comfort of your own home. You don't need to travel anywhere. And you've got this accountability too of other class members to keep you on track. And there are three different series in August, so you want to sign up soon. Give our offices a call at (651) 699-3438 to sign up. So for also in the month of August, we are offering all of our 90 minute online classes for only $10 a class, which is a great deal. Here's some of our very popular classes that you may want to take a class at a time convenient for you and again, from the comfort of your own home. These classes are *Five Steps to Boost Your Metabolism*, *Good Foods, Good Moods* - one of my favorites. *Getting a Good Night's Sleep* and *Eating to Reduce Pain and Inflammation*. These 90 minute online classes are information packed with practical and very doable ideas. So sign up for any or all of these 90 minute classes at weightandwellness.com. So before we went to break, we were talking about the gut brain connection to anxiety and depression and also ADHD.

MELANIE: Yep. So what affects the... Let's talk about Jen, what affects the health of the intestinal tract? There are many, many possibilities and here are some of them: being born through a C-section, surprisingly, can have effect on that gut health, not being breastfed, or having several rounds of antibiotics. We understand that antibiotics change the level of good gut bacteria sometimes they're necessary, but we always have to be aware of that they can compromise the intestinal wall or lining, which changes the guts ability to make those healthy brain chemicals. This can mean reducing the levels of important neurotransmitters, right?

JENNIFER: That's right. In fact, a study out of Germany found a high prevalence of gluten sensitivity in children with ADHD. So when these children followed a gluten free diet, now, when I say gluten-free, that means a hundred percent. That didn't mean they had a cheat day on a Saturday eating pizza. They gave it up a hundred percent. So when that happened, the parents reported a significant improvement in the behavior and functioning of their children. And in Dr. Perlmutter's book, *Brain Maker*, he shared that ADHD is simply a manifestation or inflammation in the brain, also known as neuroinflammation due to triggers like gluten and the downstream effects of a sick microbiome or what we would call a sick intestinal tract. Something I also refer to as an inflamed gut. When you have an inflamed gut, you have an inflamed brain. Also, when you, another way to look at that, if you calm the gut, you calm the brain.

MELANIE: And I think a lot of people don't realize is that whenever you have an inflamed gut, you're also, it's not only about not making the neurotransmitters, but you can't absorb or activate certain nutrients for the body, so the body can become nutrient deficient in certain areas. Now, Jen, you want to turn the attention to anxiety I think so, let's talk about that.

JENNIFER: I do. That sounds good. When I was working with my dietitian at Nutritional Weight & Wellness eight years ago, she explained that many studies have linked anxiety with a high level of inflammation in the gut. So some of the physical symptoms of anxiety and frequent headaches.... Of anxiety or things like frequent headaches, body pain, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, or GI problems. I also think of high heart rate, heart palpitations, shaking. And anxiety is characterized by fear, nervous thoughts, and out of control worry about the future. And I think a lot of listeners and people can resonate with that going through a pandemic, for sure. So before I met with my Nutritional Weight & Wellness dietitian, my way to manage anxiety was to exercise compulsively. You know, it did work temporarily, but then the problems came back even worse and I told myself it was a way to kind of feel like I was in control. I was in control of my problems and it helped me feel like I was keeping in shape and are worse things to do to take my anxiety out on. But in reality, it was all to help manage my anxiety. So you might be wondering what was the root cause of my anxiety? Why did I have so much anxiety throughout my life and in my childhood? And perhaps you want to know that gut personal gut brain connection or that biochemical reason why I had that much anxiety. So, you know, I'm starting out, I was born a twin and I was premature. We were born naturally and I was breastfed, however, my mom was on prophylactic antibiotics. So I wasn't getting that good bacteria that I would have gotten. And back then...

MELANIE: And it's critical to know that the mother's microbiome is passed on the child's microbiome when they pass through the birth canal and when they're breastfed. So you had all... some good components there, but your mom just couldn't pass on what she didn't have.

JENNIFER: Exactly, exactly. And probiotics weren't a thing back then. I also, as a child took a lot of antibiotics for ear infections, bladder infections, kidney infections, and so on. The other thing Melanie I wanted to talk about was with compulsive exercise, you know, your body is going to have your blood flow go to the extremities when you're exercising so that blood is kind of robbed from your intestinal tract. So you don't have that village of good bacteria. So it kind of robs you of that as well. So that's another component.

MELANIE: It can disrupt the microbiome. I've seen several clients that have finished a marathon or an iron man or something, and their gut bacteria has been disrupted from that excessive exercise in order to train for that. So many children are born through C-section and many are bottle fed and many need antibiotics. How do you support good intestinal health so you are able to stop a future brain disease, such as Alzheimer's, depression, and anxiety? We always look to research in this company to answer these questions. Brain health always begins in the gut. Many people have lifestyle habits and food choices that also affect the health of their intestinal tract. We talked about how antibiotics can be a problem for the gut. Well, so can chlorinated water. Chlorine kills bacteria.

JENNIFER: That's right. A lot of people don't think of that.

MELANIE: Doesn't know good bacteria from bad bacteria, just like antibiotics. And antibiotic means against life. Anti = against. Also tap water can have a lot of medicinal residue as well as chlorinated water. Gluten, soda, alcohol, fast food, sugar, food dyes.

JENNIFER: Right. And you know, what's interesting. You mentioned soda. I heard some research the other day from Mark Hyman. He was quoting some research about high fructose corn syrup. And I had never heard this before and we teach a lot about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup in our classes. And listeners, I'm sure you have seen this on food labels. I mean, it's prevalent in a lot of different foods. And this quote, this research is from a Dr. Bruce Ames and he was talking about how high fructose corn syrup can damage the gut lining. Now the gut lining is only a cell thick, but that can lead to autoimmune disorders because you can get what's known as a leaky gut or gut permeability. And so things can leak through. So I found that fascinating.

MELANIE: It is fascinating. So we want to, again, roll those labels over, see what you're eating. It's it's also shocking. It's true that children's vitamins can contain not only high fructose corn syrup, but red number 40 or artificial sweeteners, and which often causes an outburst in some children that red number 40.

JENNIFER: Yes. Especially.

MELANIE: We need good gut health to produce B12, which is essential for our nervous system and our brain health. If you are low in B12, you may experience more memory problems, but Jennifer, let's get back to your recovery. Let's talk more about that.

JENNIFER: Sounds good. So at the time, my dietitian Romaine helped me understand that gluten was probably a big problem for me and that I wasn't able to digest certain foods because my intestinal lining had become so damaged. And so I had to eliminate some foods. I eliminated gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, and we started out on bone broth and I make my own. And it's just very important, very healing for the gut and animal protein. I mentioned before and I eat grass fed beef. I like a free range organic chicken. I really prefer the bone in chicken thighs with skin on. That's probably one of my favorites. Lamb and duck. I just I have more of a wider variety of proteins than I ever have. And yes, I'm one of that very small percent of people who enjoy liver too. So I'm lucky.

MELANIE: You were telling me this was fascinating, so I'm going to challenge our listeners. B12 is, I mean, a liver is such a nutrient dense food, so and I grew up eating chicken livers, which I DID NOT like, but you were saying that the beef liver is much milder, so.

JENNIFER: It is very mild.

MELANIE: So I'm challenging everyone to try some grass fed beef liver out there. Grind it up and put it with your beef.

JENNIFER: Exactly. That's you can do like a 50:50 grind and that really makes all the difference too. And I like it with bacon, who doesn't like bacon?

MELANIE: It's bacon. So that's the thing that I, I think makes everything better is bacon in our world. out. Well, let's head out for a break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. There are two things that the staff at Nutritional Weight & Wellness have in common: we are all passionate about eating real food. We are passionate about the benefits of eating the real food and eating real food is not always an easy task.

JENNIFER: That's right.

MELANIE: That's why you have us. But it can be done. In fact, last week I moved. So following my real food plan was a little more challenging because I needed to clean out my refrigerator. I didn't have to haul it and move it. I just hate wasting food when you're buying good quality foods. So I put on my creative cook hat and managed to prepare a home cooked meal made with real food. My body said, thank you. My back said, thank you. And my family appreciated that I wasn't crabby or irritable.

JENNIFER: Or hangry.

MELANIE: Or hangry. So this month of August, we have a class special that Jennifer will share on the other side of this break. We'll be right back.

JENNIFER: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss online program is so much more than just a weight loss plan. I love teaching these classes because I'm able to see and hear about the benefits our class participants experience from eating real food. Now, some of you may be wondering what are some of the benefits? Well, here are just a few, I mean, we could spend the whole rest of probably an hour talking about that.

MELANIE: Both of us... between the two of us.

JENNIFER: That's right. So let's just.. to name a few would be more energy, who doesn't want that? Sleeping better through the night, better moods, improved memory, ability to focus, less body pain, less anxiety, and fewer wrinkles, who doesn't want that? So Nutrition 4 Weight Loss is a combination of classes and individual sessions with a dietitian or nutritionist and if you want more details, call (651) 699-3438 or read about our programs at weightandwellness.com.

MELANIE: And when we went to break, we were talking about liver. So yes, I'm going to pick that up again because I feel challenged. What are some of the other things Jen, that you eat throughout the day? I think our listeners would be really fascinated. What were some meals, what are some meals, throughout the day that you start with and you end with that work to build those neurotransmitters, that magical brain chemistry, that has you so fantastically healed.

JENNIFER: Yes, so I like to start my day... mornings are busy, right? I like to make the, from our Weight & Wellness Cookbook, the egg bake. The crustless quiche, I think we've referred to it as, and so I'll make that on a Sunday and that'll be in the fridge and I just warm a piece up in the morning and that works really, really well. For a snack throughout the day, I think a protein shake works great. And you could do that as a meal for breakfast and you can find that recipe on our website as well. And I also, when I make a meal, for example, let's say our sheet pan salmon on our website, I'll make a few batches of that and I'll have leftovers, so I can take that for lunch. Okay. So that might, that would be what a lunch.

MELANIE: Cook once, eat three times.

JENNIFER: That's right. That's right. And then for dinner, I'll just maybe talk about what I'm making for tonight. I'm making a steak tip hash and I love to use my cast iron skillet. And so I will be cooking up some steak tips that are marinating in my fridge right now. And then in that hash is some sweet potatoes, red and yellow bell pepper, and I'll talk that with some scallions.

MELANIE: What's your address again?

JENNIFER: And I do, I do love to cook. I have an Instapot as well. I absolutely love it. Very easy. And you can make some delicious meals and extend those through the week as well.

MELANIE: You ever make bone broth in that?

JENNIFER: I have not. I like to use my slow cooker for bone broth, but I know that you can do that. I should try that.

MELANIE: I know we have another nutrition educator, she likes it on the stove. I like it in the... I like everything fast. So I like it in the... I do make it in there. But, tell us more about the Genesis of your healing when you went to Romaine.

JENNIFER: Okay. So, you know, I had such a damaged intestinal lining at the time, like I mentioned before, I had stopped absorbing food and the doctors didn't really know what to do. They had wanted me to try the BRAT diet. I don't know if you've heard of that, Melanie.

MELANIE: Oh of course.

JENNIFER: Bread, rice, applesauce, and toast. Yeah. And that just caused more problems for me. So we started out with a bone broth. We did cooked vegetables. Always cooked and, of course, the meat and I mentioned the variety of meats that I like to eat. And I add a healthy fat to those vegetables, not only for nutrient absorption because you absorb more vitamins and minerals, but we know that healthy fats are very hydrating. The intestinal tract. We teach that in our classes and it's so true. It's very...

MELANIE: And our skin listeners.

JENNIFER: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. If you want glowing skin, you want to hydrate and eat those healthy fats. I also have incorporated taking bifido bacteria and that is a probiotic. Not only does it help me digest my food better, it helps to break down the food. Now, one of the things I love about bifido is that it's what 70% of our good bacteria is made of. And it's what's in breast milk. That's what we're first introduced to. And I started out slow because my body wasn't used to that. So we have a powder form and a capsule form. So I started out on the powdered form cause I didn't think my intestines would be able to break down those capsules well. And I started out at just a half a teaspoon once a day, and then I, to this day now I can take the capsules. And now I'm up to three capsules about three times a day before meals. And so again, I have that good bacteria, I eat the animal protein, and it has made ALL the difference in my anxiety level. Why? Because I'm making those neurotransmitters.

MELANIE: Bifido is magical.

JENNIFER: It is. It really is.

MELANIE: And you know, we need that bifido not only for feel good mood neurotransmitters, but also the neurotransmitters that help us not to crave.

JENNIFER: That's right. Yes.

MELANIE: And so, many of our clients as we introduce, I always start with bifido always, their digestion straightens out, but their cravings begin to go away so that they can then kind of adhere to the plan.

JENNIFER: That's right. It is, it is one that works very well for most people. And I wanted to do this Dishing Up Nutrition radio show and podcast to let listeners know that my careful diet and key supplements, like I was talking about the bifido balance has changed my life, and what I'm also want to mention is another thing that was a big game changer for me was slowing down and chewing my food. And I will say after my second intestinal surgery, the same surgeon had done the second one, he happened to be in the hospital at that time. And he came into me and he said, Jennifer, your intestinal tract is not going to work like it used to. So every time you eat, I want you to think milkshake. And other words, you need to chew your food up because your intestinal track can't do that work. And we also know, Melanie, that we have a lot of digestive enzymes in our saliva and we want to use those. And I think the average American chews four to six times.

MELANIE: We pill our food.

JENNIFER: We do!

MELANIE: Chew, chew, swallow. Chew, chew, swallow. So now you want the listeners, we want the texture of baby food before we ever swallow.

JENNIFER: Right! And I forget, we all forget, but we also want to be in that rest and digest state before we eat.

MELANIE: Wonderful.

JENNIFER: That means sitting down when you eat, that means taking a deep breath, you're going to digest your food so much better. So if you're going to take anything away from this show about improving digestion, you can do that. It's free. Just slow down and chew your food. It really does make a difference.

MELANIE: Now as a busy as a busy practitioner and when you're working, are you able to do that?

JENNIFER: Not every day. Sometimes I am eating on the fly and putting, you know, a bite of food in my mouth and on the run. But when I do get a chance, I do have a seat, I do take a few breaths, and I do think about, am I chewing my food? Especially if I'm having a hard day, especially if I am having a little bit of anxiety, that's when I know, okay, Jennifer are you in your rest and digest state right now? So that really, it really does make a difference to think about that. And you know, some listeners might be wondering, do you exercise still? And yes, I do exercise. But I do it for enjoyment. It's not a "have to". It's a "want to".

MELANIE: Wonderful.

JENNIFER: You know, before I would, I was working out compulsively four to six hours a day. How did I have that time while I didn't sleep and I didn't have a social life, but I am definitely free of that. And you know, most of us are dealing with this pandemic. The pandemic fears and restrictions and it has kind of brought a new level of environmental anxiety. But with my eating plan and key supplements, I can say, life is good. Life is great. I went from being miserable to thriving health.

MELANIE: And you know, when you are in pain.. you know... joy is wonderful. Peace is fantastic, but relief is everything.

JENNIFER: Everything.

MELANIE: So that is what my passion, your passion, is always with our clients is to start giving them relief so that then they can have the season of joy in their life and get that back again.

JENNIFER: That's right.

MELANIE: Because so many things disrupt that digestion, disrupt that microbiome, that then creates further problems of not making those neurotransmitters. Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today. Be safe and be well and chew your food.

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