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Drinking Your Greens

The explosion of green smoothies and juices is everywhere.  Within the last couple months, 3 new juice places have opened within one mile of my house and grocery stores and Starbucks are now selling pre-packaged juices.  Are they as good for you as they seem and what are the differences?  My friend, Elizabeth Girouard, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, wrote an excellent article that answers many of these questions and explains why we all should give green drinks a try.  We have posted a portion of her article below.  Read on to learn more.

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I am often asked:  What’s the rage with Green Smoothies? 

This is a great question.  Many of my Healthy Eating Challengers still start off their days with a Green Smoothie – and here are a few reasons why!

Green Smoothies are:

1)  an easy way to get in more than 3 servings of vegetables

2)  easier to digest since the blender starts the digestion process for you by breaking  down the veggies’ cell walls.  This means your body can quickly assimilate the nutrients.

3)  a great vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient and anti-oxidant infusion to start the day.

4)  a nutrient dense powerhouse that can improve your immunity to colds, flus and other potential bugs.

5)  able to help alkalize our bodies which reduces our susceptibility to disease

6)  filled with dark leafy greens that have a lot of chlorophyll which delivers oxygen to our bodies that can increase our energy levels.

7)  able to help diminish cravings and reduce hunger as it is providing nourishment to your body.

8)  able to help you lose weight as you are adding in more vegetables and crowding out the less beneficial foods for your body!

Other related questions that I often receive are:

What’s the difference between juicing and blending (smoothies)?  And, is one better than the other?  And, does juicing increase my blood sugar?

Read the rest of the article at: http://tinyurl.com/pwr8w5h

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Your Second Brain

Our bodies contain a second nervous system, separate from our brains, made up of about 500 million neurons that contribute to your physical and mental well-being.stomach_tummy

Meet your stomach. With its vast network of neurons lining the stomach, it is often referred to as the “second brain” in our bodies. This enteric nervous system in our stomach goes far beyond simply  processing the food we eat and giving us “butterflies” when we are anxious. The “brain” in our stomachs, in connection with the brain in our skulls, contributes to our mental state and plays key roles with some diseases in our body.

The condition of our stomachs will directly correlate to brain function. Your gut produces more hormones than any other part of your body, including 95% of the body’s serotonin. When your gut isn’t functioning properly, you could experience emotional distress. Up to 90% of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) also suffer from mental-health issues. This relationship between the two brains may also cause other diseases, like osteoporosis, since the gut regulates bone mass.

So, what you put in your stomach can directly affect your mental and physical functionality.

When our stomach does not function properly, it indicates an imbalance. Cutting-edge research is investigating how the stomach controls the body’s immune response and function. At least 70% of our immune system is a function of the gut, which is responsible for expelling and killing foreign invaders. Trillions of microscopic bacteria fill our stomach (called the intestinal microbiome) and are essential to life as they help the body extract nutrients from food, regulate tissue development and kill off germs.

If we aren’t feeding our stomachs with the right nutrients, these vital bacteria are not able to do their job. It is believed that our modern diet of processed foods is disrupting the function of the microbiome in our stomachs, therefore our stomach function. In addition, excess amounts of stress, alcohol and antibiotic medications destroy these beneficial bacteria.

There are ways to recoup the healthy balance in your stomach. This includes swapping junk foods for natural, healthy foods, getting outside, exercising to relieve stress and adding probiotics to your diet to balance the healthy bacteria in your gut.

From a personal perspective, my son was getting sick every month, to the day. We thought he had an immunity problem. After a lot of blood work and many doctors’ appointments, nothing was found. I decided to put him on Florastor Kids probiotic to see if it was an issue with the balance of the bacteria in his stomach and it literally fixed him. He has not been sick since. I am a believer in probiotics.

Future research will continue to help us discover the connection between the two brains and the impact it has on our health. For now, it is important to feed your stomach (and hence, your mind) with healthy, natural foods as often as possible and keep a high activity level to maintain a natural balance in your body.

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