Microbiome…What Did You Say?

The first time I heard the term microbiome during my training to become a Certified Health Coach I looked it up to see what it meant. Here is what Wikipedia has to say: A microbiome is “the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space. The term comes from a Nobel Prize recipient, Joshua Lederberg (5/25/1925-2/2/2008), an American molecular biologist who among other things discovered that bacteria can mate and exchange genes. Pretty cool stuff huh!

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https://www.broadinstitute.org/news/4199

The term I use as a Health Coach is “gut flora” which sounds just a little less scientific. The truth is our digestive system is important for us to understand if we wish to remain healthy. It often is not the first place we think to look when we’re not feeling well but it is the system that processes and absorbs nutrients so if it’s off we are not getting our nutritional needs met.

Microbiome comes up a lot in the work I do with people in my health coaching practice seeking to improve their health. What I have learned and pass along is that we can be healthy but if out gut flora is not balanced we run the risk of compromised immune or nervous systems and this can also create and imbalance in our hormones resulting in mood and in some cases more serious mental health issues. Let’s take a look at the digestive system to gain a little insight into what it does to keep us healthy.

 

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We actually start digesting food the minute we come into contact with it. In fact smelling food starts our salivary glands working even before the food enters our mouth. When we take the time to chew our food (chewing until food becomes fairly liquid is best) it enters the next leg of the journey pre-digested helping the process along. The food then travels to our stomach where it mixes with acids before going onto our small intestine where the nutrients are absorbed and then to our large intestine where water is absorbed. The health of our gut flora is most critical at this point as the villi in the small intestine absorb our nutrients. If the villi have been damaged by too much unhealthy fats, chemicals and sugars they are unable to gather nutrients from the food we eat.

 

Our liver works to process the toxins that travel with our foods. Some of these toxins are excess sugars and fats, pesticides, heavy metals and other foreign substances.

 

digestive system

My mother was always saying “chew your food” while my father would say “where’s the fire slow down”. As a rather hyper kid mealtime was one more thing that got in the way of being outside running around which helped me manage all that energy. I was fortunate to have had an abundance of fresh real foods available to me as a kid growing up in northern California, pre Silicon Valley Santa Clara County. There were small farms and ranches all around me so fresh produce, nuts and fruit was available at farm stands and in the grocery stores year round. We ate wild meats most often such as venison, wild fowl and fish so the possibility of hormones or antibiotics that are so commonly in meats we find in the store now was not there.

I grew up in a generation where healthier food options were the norm. I can remember when McDonalds opened in Gilroy and fast food became available. Children since the 1970s have increasingly been exposed to more fast foods, processed foods, chemicals and GMOs in their food supply. Food production standards claim to be higher but they are not taking into account the fact that so much of what most people eat is not live food. The most important thing I can teach the people who come to me seeking improved health is to eat real, fresh food free from chemicals and GMOs. Skip the processed, fast foods and beverages that provide nearly zero nutritional value and wreck havoc on our digestive systems.

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It’s in our control to begin to eat healthier and to treat our bodies well. If we assume our body will withstand the unhealthy foods and drinks we consume without adverse effects over time we will find ourselves with health issues at some point.

Visit a local farm or farmer’s market this week and find some real food.

Be Well

http://leanne_yinger.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com

Musing about Peace – Ask the Children

A mamma house sparrow has taken up residence in my yard next to the pond. She started making her nest early in May by pulling apart the string I’d strung for my snow peas. We came to an understanding about the string which meant I cut pieces into manageable sizes for her to carry off without disrupting my pea fence. I love it when things can be negotiated and resolved, when we can share our resources so all life can benefit. I also love watching her care for her babes as they grow into strong healthy birds who will likely make other nests in or around my yard. Supporting the perpetuation of life in this small way is extremely rewarding to me.

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This week has brought much news about places in our world where negotiation and resolution is all but lost. Where coming to an understanding about resources and land have gone woefully wrong. As I listened to the news of the Middle East and the escalation of force I couldn’t help thinking about the people there who are simply trying to get by one day at a time like me. People who are exhausted by the constant threat of violence at the hands of leaders who can’t seem to listen to their “enemy.” How can we live in a world where our neighbors live in constant fear of war, of guns and bombs that in fact do kill, and not have a better answer? Do we abandon the children of the world who are truly the most vulnerable by saying that’s just how it has been…what’s to be done about it?

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A commercial jetliner flying over the Crimean Peninsula carrying people who innocently thought they were going on vacation or off to visit family and friends is shot down as if it posed a threat. How has it come to a place where we have allowed the insanity of disagreement to escalate into acts such as these and not yet in human history been able to come up with a better solution? Again children are among the victims.

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And the crisis at our southern borders directly linked to the abuse of children in Central America. Do we turn our backs on them? Do we say “not our problem” and send them back to the hell they came from? Can we really think that we are free from responsibility in this crisis? Did we not provide the weapons to the now drug lords in Central America who are forcing children into drug use and distribution or death? Do we really believe there is no link to the increase in the availability of drugs like heroine in our cities? These are some of the faces crossing our borders illegally…do they pose a threat to us?

Immigration Overload Hot Spot

At 10 I sat with my father at the dinner table long after the rest of my family had left to discuss my thoughts about war. I have older brothers and was very worried they would be drafted and have to go to Vietnam. My brother Jay was in fact drafted and went to Vietnam. I remember asking my father why we can’t all lay down our weapons. All decide that they are destroying our peace, freedom and in some cases our lives. What is it that keeps us holding tight to the hatred, greed and violence that breeds this behavior? At 10 it was very simple I wanted all weapons destroyed. My father interjected and said that so long as there is more than 1 person on this Earth there is potential for conflict. At 10 I rejected that thinking and stood my ground stating we can learn how to live in peace. It is not as clear to me now how we go about this peacemaking but my conviction remains and I believe that if we are truly motivated by the right things we will find a way. Perhaps we start by asking the children of the world and truly listening to what they have to say.

peace quote

Peace and Brightest Blessings

 

 
 

 

 

Social Media & Life

Kira's Good Eats Kitchen

I woke early this morning to my dogs begging to go out for a walk. It’s one of those days where the air is heavy with rain but it has yet to start so I was a bit slow moving. I grabbed some tea and their leashes and off we went. During our hour long walk we passed fishermen in boats and on the shoreline and a tall stand of cattails growing along the edge of the lake. fishing (640x480)wind

beautiful wildflowers and manicured gardens of all sorts. peawildflower1

The scenery was breathtaking and I felt truly blessed. cottage

As we walked we passed a woman walking her black lab. She didn’t look up to greet us as everyone else we passed had done. She was walking and texting (a skillset I have not achieved) and I found it unsettling that we did not exchange even a hello. I thought how sad she is…

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Social Media & Life

I woke early this morning to my dogs begging to go out for a walk. It’s one of those days where the air is heavy with rain but it has yet to start so I was a bit slow moving. I grabbed some tea and their leashes and off we went. During our hour long walk we passed fishermen in boats and on the shoreline and a tall stand of cattails growing along the edge of the lake. fishing (640x480) wind

beautiful wildflowers and manicured gardens of all sorts. peawildflower1

The scenery was breathtaking and I felt truly blessed. cottage

As we walked we passed a woman walking her black lab. She didn’t look up to greet us as everyone else we passed had done. She was walking and texting (a skillset I have not achieved) and I found it unsettling that we did not exchange even a hello. I thought how sad she is missing all this beauty and the joy of sharing it with others. We continued on our walk and came upon a bunny sitting pensively as my dogs approached. She was careful not to move hoping she wouldn’t be noticed…fully present and aware of her surrounding. For this pretty little rabbit it is a matter of life and death that she is paying attention to what goes on around her.

dfw-cottontail 

Being more fully present is something we may wish to consider as a healthier approach to living as well. I got to thinking about what I would have missed had I chosen to stay in bed and not taken this walk. If I had gotten up and gone straight to the computer to write my blog post and newsletter this morning. I remembered this youtube piece I’d seen recently by Gary Turk called “Look Up” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY and it solidified my resolve to walk away from my computer, iphone and other devices more often. To make a conscious effort to be fully present when I am with the people I love…and to seek out new people to love and new adventures.

sunset Pontoosac 001

 

After all, at the end of the day would like to see first hand a sight like this…or hear about it on social media?

First you need only look: Notice and honor the radiance of everything about you… Play in this universe. Tend all these shining things around you: The smallest plant, the creatures and objects in your care. Be gentle and nurture, Listen… As we experience and accept all that we really are… We grow in care. Anne Hillman

Be Well

http://leanne-yinger.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com https://twitter.com/Kiraskitchen5