Tag Archive for Neurotransmitters

Our Weight, Our Health, our Moods, Our Sleep? Depends on our GUT BUGS.

igor scientistI got to spend all day Wednesday at a seminar called “The Gut Brain Connection”; I was in Heaven. There’s a LOT of new information on the bugs in our gut because the NIH and it’s European counterparts have culminated a multi-year, multi-multi-million dollar study that’s revealed all sorts of FASCINATING facts.  It turns out that there’s a whole lot more to know about the bugs in our stomachs other than “antibiotics kill them, so eat yogurt”.  A whole lot more.

I’m going to bullet point some facts, and highlight some resources if you’re interested in studying it further.  Know this though:  our gut bacteria interacts with and has ENORMOUS effects on our ENTIRE BODY.  Way more than scientists and doctors had ever guessed.

* Our bugs send information to every cell in our body, even our DNA.

* Bad bugs send Bad information, and Good bugs send Good information.  What we have in there really matters.

* There are probably over a 1000 species of bugs, totaling over 100 TRILLION bacteria just in our intestines!  Three to five pounds of bacteria JUST IN OUR COLON alone!!!  You’ve got to admit that’s a fun fact.

* Statistically, if you’ve got Anxiety/Depression/”brain/emotional” conditions, you’ve  got gut issues:  you’re either low in good bacteria, have a leaky gut, and/or hosting too much bad bacteria, or all 3.  Our bugs are DIRECTLY involved in making our Neurotransmitters, Dopamine and Serotonin (among others).

* Dopamine is made in equal parts in the gut and the brain.   Here’s what Dopamine does:  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine deficiency results in Parkinson’s Disease, and people with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction. (LIKE FOOD ADDICTION)

* Serotonin is made primarily in the gut, 90%; only 10% is made in the brain.  Here’s a brief explanation of serotonin: Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter that is found mainly in the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Much of the serotonin is located in the GI tract where it is used to regulate digestion. Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep, appetite, learning and memory.

* Our gut bacteria play HUGE roles in making sure adequate amounts of these 2 neurotransmitters are produced.

* What compromises our good gut bacteria, which should number in the 100s of TRILLIONS, and mostly populate our Large Intestine?  So much:  Sugar, Flours, Processed Foods, Antibiotics, EVERY SINGLE OTC AND PRESCRIPTION DRUG bayer Chemicals, and Stress/Cortisol.  Every thing on this list pretty much decimates our gut flora either directly or by changing normal pH levels.   Look at the list again and go over your week, then go over your kid’s week.

* MSG, which is a known neurotoxin and has horrible effects on gut bacteria and brain cells, takes 10 – 14 days to clear the body.  Other names for MSG:  Natural Flavors and Yeast Extract.  (FDA approved) (Read Your labels, and your kid’s labels)

* Being Diabetic and Pre-Diabetic ALWAYS CHANGES GUT FLORA. ALWAYS.  If this is you, supplement with a good probiotic.

* The toxic waste from both C-Dif and E Coli harm the gut wall (leaky gut, here you come).  So does alcohol.  Anything that harms the wall harms the body’s ability to make and maintain good bacteria and sets up an environment for bad bacteria.

* Gut bacteria have a direct link to normal weight or obesity.

* It can take anywhere from 4 weeks to several MONTHS to repopulate gut flora after antibiotics.  THINK ABOUT THIS BEFORE YOU POP SOME FOR YOUR NEXT SORE THROAT.  There are so many holistic, wonderful treatments out there you could use instead that are just as effective with no side effects.

* Anxiety and Depression increase BAD gut bacteria, it’s the Cortisol.

lard be gone* Starving yourself by either not eating, or eating very low calorie, initiates stress and anxiety, via the hormone cortisol, which tells the  neurotransmitters and bacteria in your gut to signal your thyroid to SLOW DOWN, and then they signal fat cells to STORE MORE.  The body will do ANYTHING not to starve. (there’s that communication I was talking about)

* Ghrelin is a hormone which INCREASES appetite.  Alcohol and sleep deprivation INCREASE ghrelin.  So does stress.

* Stomach fat is (1) VERY metabolically active (2) it produces a lot of ESTROGEN (3) fat bellies are full of INFLAMMATION, that’s why they’re hard (4) that inflammation is Inflammatory Cytokines that don’t just stay in the belly, the shoot around the Whole Entire Body through the blood stream, wrecking Havoc and creating disease.

* Probiotics are great, and now we know that specific strains can be used to specifically target specific conditions.  Cool.

* Nothing beats Probiotic Foods and Drinks:  cultured and fermented vegetables, keifer, kombucha, and real yogurt.  Numbers wise, there’s millions and millions more bacteria in food, and a wider range of species, than in any pill supplement.  If you’re trying to correct a condition or improve health, use the pills along with the foods/drinks.  ***** Vinegar does NOT make a food cultured or fermented!!*****

* A single course of antibiotics can wipe out up to 20 species.  Sometimes, they DON’T make a come back.

* Want to learn more?  Here’s some of the most current revelations from different researchers involved in the study talking about everything from babies, to birth, to diabetes, the immune system, and IBS.

The take away?  What we eat matters.  How we stay healthy and well, matters.  It matters what we put in our body.  Really.  Everything we eat either helps us or harms us.  Be a Real Whole Foodie!

Success Story! Recipe and Meal Ideas:)

You’re going to love this Success Story – I do!  Aimee so perfectly describes a Diet Roller Coaster that it should be in a dictionary.  Here’s her story:

After years dieting and just coming off of a strict low/no fat, 750 calorie diet AND topped off with 10 days of a Liver Detox, my body was MESSED UP. I came off the cleanse with out of control cravings and immediately gained 45lbs in a matter of three months, not to mention that I was a weepy, grouchy, exhausted mom. Did I mention that I was grouchy? I could not stop eating things that I knew were wrong for me – especially at night – I couldn’t stop to save my life! I heard of Debbie Abbott from a good friend of mine who said “Debbie has a gift of explaining things so that they make sense.” I signed up for a class that she had on Digestion and it really answered many things that I had been struggling with for a long time. Following the advice has completely changed my health around from the inside out:) I hadn’t realized that even though I was eating, my body was literally starving for nutrients. It is taking a while to undo all of the damage that I have done but Wow! what a difference in my energy and mood! The inflammation in my joints has significantly decreased as well. It is such a relief to know that I have the information that I need AND that I trust. I was also able to relay this message to my mom who had a blood sugar of 210. She and I rejoiced in the fact that within a few months of monitoring and eating correctly, her blood sugar is now staying around 80. No medication…just eating correctly and exercise. Thank you Debbie for all of the words of wisdom that you are so willing to share with everyone. You have truly made a difference in my life:)

If you want to be a healthy weight, and have a healthy mind and body, you’ll need to give your body what it wants.  And it doesn’t REALLY want ice cream, crackers, wine, or cookies.  Honest.  That’s your self-destructive urges talking there.  Your body wants the Nutrients necessary to perform all it’s functions.  Let’s look at just a few.

Your body needs to build your brain, which is 60% fat/25% cholesterol.  Glucose/sugar has a devastating effect on brain cells/neurons/connections. Glucose “glycates” parts of the brain, that means function and communication is ruined.  How well do you think a low fat, high carb diet is going to make your brain function?

Your body needs to digest food and then absorb the nutrients from it so that those nutrients can be sent throughout your body.  If you’ve compromised gut function by taking acid suppressors, then food breakdown and nutrient absorption isn’t happening.  Pretty soon, all those warnings on the antacid box will start coming true:  weak bones, weak immune system, vitamin B deficiencies, etc.

Your body needs to make Neurotransmitters, so that you can feel Even and Normal.  You’ll need protein, fat, and minerals to do that, which are absent in Cereal, Pasta, and Bread.

Your body demands a certain level of calories or it’ll TURN OFF your thyroid gland, and quit making Serotonin (a feel good neurotransmitter).  Low calorie diets also force your body to take muscle proteins and convert them into fuel, slowing down your metabolism even more.

Your body wants a LOT of healthy fats (saturated animal fats, coconut fats, olive/avocado oils), Tons of vegetables (everything from leafy greens to cruciferous, to starchy), some protein, some fruit, and some nuts and seeds.  Real Whole Food.  Eat enough at each meal that you’re not hungry again in 2 hours, that’s ridiculous.  We shouldn’t need to be on an all day eating schedule for several reasons; two are: (1) to go into hormonal Fat Burning Mode, glucose levels need to be completely NORMAL, 80-100mg/dcl of blood  (2) the gut’s not meant to function constantly, it’s a long explanation, but it needs rest periods.

I’ve posted enough Success Stories now that you should be seeing the pattern:  no one improves by going on a diet and adding medications.  No one.  Your body doesn’t want to starve, and will resist you, and NO ONE IS DEFICIENT IN A MEDICINE.  No one.

To reinforce that starving yourself isn’t necessary, and is in fact, disastrous, here’s a chocpbcakecake that we made Friday night for a family dinner, it was Delicious!!!  I got the recipe off of All Day I Dream About Food.  We served it after eating a dinner of 10 hour chicken (put a bunch of breasts in a big pan, a cup of water, lots of S&P and herbs,cover w foil,  200*, then shred), a bunch of broth/kale/onions/tomatoes/garlic/asiago cheese,  and roasted sweet potato (lots of butter and salt).

Honestly, Honestly, I SWEAR, if you want to be a healthy weight, with a healthy mind and body, low cal/low fat/tons of exercise ISN’T the way to do it.  You have to, you MUST, work with your body.  Give it the nutrients it uses to build every cell, every tissue, and give it the calories it needs to NOT SHUT YOU DOWN.  Go back and look at Aimee’s Diet Roller Coaster description.  Then make the decision to get OFF the Diet Roller Coaster like she did.  You can do this!

P.S. I didn’t make that cake, 2 of my daughters did.  I actually never make anything that has that many ingredients; I trend towards shorter recipes, like this recipe here.


Lose Weight Without Dieting, and No Recipe Paleo Meals

I’ve had more emails in the past week than in the past couple of months;  I’ve struck a nerve asserting that you can be slim without dieting.  Some women are asking if it’s actually possible, since we’ve all been brainwashed with Diet Propaganda since birth; and some women are lamenting their Food Addiction. ( They believe it, they just can’t stop eating.)

Two different issues, but the resolution is the same:  Real Whole Foods.  Make your meals comprised of Good Fats, Clean Proteins, and TONS of vegetables, some fruit, some nuts and seeds, and dairy if you can tolerate it. These foods contain the nutrients that make up every single cell in our body.  Glucose/Carbs/Starches/Sugars – they make nothing.  Our body uses a tiny MOLECULE of glucose inside the cells for fuel.  Our cells can also use fat and ketones for fuel.  That’s how people who live in areas with little to no vegetation thrive.  God designed our body to only be able to store a tiny bit of Glucose/Sugar/Carbohydrate, and convert any extra to Fat.

Changing gears here, until the mid 1900s, American’s didn’t have a weight problem. Health problems were horrible diseases like Typhoid or Cholera.   Check out this chart which relates changes in our food supply to how Heart Disease and Cancer went from almost unheard of in 1900,  to being the top two causes of death by 1950.  In 2013 we have a better chance of SURVIVING heart disease and cancer, but a GREATER than ever chance of developing it; despite Modern Medicine and all it’s advice.

What’s the link between our exploding weight and our horrible health?  Food.  By 1950 hydrogenated oils like Crisco and Margarine were household staples; in the 70s/80s, high fructose corn syrup became the predominant sweetener used in packaged/processed foods, in the 80s and 90s, chemically enhanced, fake foods and diet foods became a new norm.  Sugar went from 18 pounds per person in 1800, to 90 pounds per person in 1900, to almost 200 pounds per person in 2010.  Americans have drastically decreased their consumption of fatty meats and saturated fats, and vegetables and fruits.

The Results?  70% overweight, more than 30% obese.  Heart Disease, continually increasing, Diabetes – EXPLODING, Cancer – continually increasing, Depression/Anxiety/Migraines/Alzheimer’s – EXPLODING…. I could go on and on.

The take-away:  Dieting hasn’t worked; it’s actually had the opposite effect! Statistically, almost 100% of EVERYONE who loses weight on a “diet” gains it back. Most people gain MORE than they lost.  Reducing calories lowers Thyroid hormone, and increases Cortisol.  Eat a Low Fat/No Fat Diet, which means carby diet foods, and your Insulin increases. Losing weight becomes more and more difficult with each consecutive diet.  The hormonal effect of dieting is disastrous.  

What’s the latest in this line of research?  The effect dieting has on our Neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin.  It completely depletes them or whacks out their levels.  If our Neurotransmitters aren’t level or normal, we can’t be normal.  This is where food addiction comes into play, along with depression and anxiety.  Want to learn more?  Read the Diet Cure by Julia Ross, it’s fantastic.  Want to work on this?  Get in touch with me.

Think you can’t lose weight by eating meals of Real Whole Foods that contain lots of fat and actually leave you feeling full?  You’re wrong.  The real fact is you can’t lose weight PERMANENTLY on a diet.  Just TRY a Real Whole Foods approach, try and see what happens for a month.  Really, what do you have to lose?

I’m going to close with some No Recipe Paleo Meals that I’ve cooked in the past few days.  (Power Cooking to a Walking Dead Binge!!)

This is Roasted Potatoes:  Put about 1/3 cup of butter (I used KerryGold) in a large baking dish (with sides) and let it totally melt in your oven (450) for a few minutes.  Scrub and chop a 5 pound bag of Russet potatoes.  Put the potatoes in your baking dish and mix/stir around so all the potatoes are covered in butter.  Sprinkle a LOT of salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning on top.  Bake for about 45-55 minutes, stirring/flipping at least twice.  Let these cool and then freeze flat in big ziplocs; you can just “break off pieces” and reheat in the oven or a pan with more butter.

roasted potatoes


Here’s Roasted Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Sausage:  I made a huge pot of broth (24 hour simmer of chicken bones in water and 1tbsp white vinegar) earlier this week.   I used 10 cups here, some Malt Vinegar, cabbage, cauliflower, onion, garlic, leeks, sausage, italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  This also freezes well.


And last, Mark and I went away this weekend;  here’s what I cooked in our cabin:  brussels and onions in butter, water, salt and pepper,  mixed with ground lamb, and a side of fried plantains.  The next picture is the leftovers mixed with a few eggs for breakfast.

dinner at high view

breakfast leftovers