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Weight gain during the coronavirus pandemic has become a thing and is jokingly referred to as “the Covid 19” – a play on “the freshman 15”; the 15 pounds many college freshmen gain when left to their own devices for the first time. If you find yourself turning to food to de-stress and can’t seem to break the cycle of overeating, oversnacking, or eating unhealthy foods that are easy on the palate but hard on the gut and waistline, the answer may not lie in the food itself, but instead, in the lifestyle practices surrounding the food. Here are our top 5 tips to adhering to a healthy diet during quarantine, and while some of them may not seem food-related, if you follow these tips, you’ll find yourself making better choices in the kitchen that may even lead to a few pounds lost. Tip 1: Sleep – Sleep is strongly…

A January 2020 study, published in Nature, found that stress does actually cause hair to gray. While scientists have known this for hundreds of years, the physiological mechanisms weren’t discovered until now. When experiencing stress, the nervous system switches on its fight-or-flight response – a “hyperactivation of the sympathetic nerves” – which depletes the cells responsible for pigmentation (melanocyte stem cells) in hair follicles. To induce a stress response, scientists injected capsaicin (an active ingredient in chili peppers) into mice and found that in 5 days their hair turned white. After digging deep into what caused the change, scientists discovered that the nervous system was responsible. The fight-or-flight response triggers the release of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine, which jump starts the process of melanocyte stem cell depletion. Takeaway: The COVID-19 pandemic is a stressful time for us all, from the challenges that come with social distancing to the fears associated with…

You work out daily at your local gym, get plenty of sleep, and eat mostly plant-based. You’re doing everything right. But could there be one area we could all improve on that will help us live happier, healthier, and longer lives? In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that spending time in green spaces can prevent premature death. While many of us live in urban environments and go days without spending an extended amount of time outside, much less in “green spaces”, this is something we should all put on our bucket list for 2020 – spend time outdoors, surrounded by greenery… every single day. The November 2019 study looked at 9 longitudinal studies (studies that follow large groups of people over a period of time) across 7 countries (Australia, Canada, China, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States) and included 8 million people. Researchers analyzed access to…

At Gutbliss we consider the gut to be the innermost lining of your skin. Research supports the strong association between gut health and skin health, so it’s only natural that something we know to be unhealthy for the gut, most likely also negatively impacts the skin. Sugar, one of the most beloved food groups of the Western diet, is no exception. Many of us struggle with excessive sugar consumption, or even sugar addiction. When trying to give up a vice, it can be helpful to know exactly why it’s so bad for us. With that in mind, let’s dive into sugar’s impact on the gut and other biological functions in the body… and in turn, the skin. (The USDA recommends that no more than 10% of your daily calories should come from added sugar. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, this would be anything over 200 calories, or about 50 grams…

Bloating is generally caused by gas (and sometimes fluid), and it usually ebbs and flows—you may have a flat abdomen in the morning but by evening, you look and feel 6 months pregnant. Bloating has become a rapidly increasing epidemic. For many, the symptoms are daily and relentless, but even when symptoms aren’t severe, they can still be extremely bothersome. There are lots of different causes of bloating, and one of the commonest is excessive sodium intake, which causes you to retain water not just in your abdomen but throughout your body. A study published last month in the American Journal of Gastroenterology looked at data from the DASH-Sodium trial. 412 participants consumed three levels of sodium intake – 50, 100, and 150 mmol/day. Each intake was consumed over a 30-day period with 5 days of rest between each period. Presence of bloating was recorded at baseline and after each…

Summer is almost over and we’d like to offer you a simple, microbe-boosting plan to rejuvenate your inner (think gut!) and outer beauty. Below you’ll find our simple, Gutbliss 3-Day Beauty Boost, which includes: A 3-day meal planRecipesLive Dirty lifestyle tips This plan will give you a glow and a feeling of lightness to carry you through the rest of summer.  For even more details on how to cultivate a flourishing gut garden, read Dr. Chutkan’s book, The Microbiome Solution, and you’ll be well on your way to microbial balance and a happier, healthier you. Let’s get started! Lifestyle Tips As you embark on this journey, it’s paramount that you focus on incorporating the following lifestyle recommendations (along with the meal plan) for all three days: Drink eleven 8-ounce cups of water per day for women, and sixteen cups for menReset your circadian rhythm; get in bed when the sun…

Dr. Chutkan’s homemade facial scrubs for oily and dry skin, which can be found in her bestselling book, Gutbliss (Penguin 2013), are a great, all natural and microbe-friendly face wash. Enjoy these microbe-friendly scrubs once a week and make a larger batch for the entire body! Oily Skin Facial Scrub Ingredients 2 tablespoons raw honey 1 teaspoon oatmeal ½ teaspoon cornmeal ½ teaspoon lemon juice Method Moisten your face and hands with water and mix all the ingredients in the palms of your hands. Gently rub the paste all over your face in a circular motion for 1 minute. The cornmeal and lemon juice are great natural exfoliants, but if you apply too much pressure or scrub too hard, you can irritate your skin. Wash off with lukewarm water and a clean wet washcloth. This facial scrub can be used once a week. Make a larger batch to use on the…

Some of the most common questions I get from my patients are: “Should I do a cleanse or detox?” “Will it help improve my symptoms?” “What about my gut heath or my appearance?” Some people rave about the cleansed, glowing feeling they have after a colonic, while others feel dried out and dizzy. Colonic irrigation, hydrotherapy, or colonics all refer to the practice of placing a tube up the rectum that’s attached to special equipment through which large amounts of water – sometimes mixed with herbs or other substances – are pumped into the colon to remove waste matter. Minor complications like dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and cramps and discomfort during the procedure can occur, but fortunately, more serious complications like infection from improperly cleaned equipment, and perforation of the colon are extremely rare. There are a couple potential drawbacks to colonics: The first is the potential disruption of the colon’s unique and delicate bacterial…

If you think your face cleanser should cost big bucks and wear a long list of unidentifiable ingredients to really work, think again! The best cleanser is one that will help balance your skin microbiome – which means one that addsbeneficial bacteria, not one that scrubs away all your microbes (including the good guys). Too-harsh cleansers will leave you with a depleted skin terrain that’s more likely to pick up and harbor pathogenic and acne-causing bacteria – just what you want to avoid! At Gutbliss, we’ve found that one of the best facial cleansers actually has just one ingredient and can be found in your kitchen: Manuka honey, that comes from bees that eat nectar from New Zealand’s Manuka tree. What makes Manuka honey so much better for the skin? Here’s what: It’s anti-inflammatory,anti-agingmoisturizing,and promotes a balanced skin microbiome. Here’s how to get started… Moisten your face and hands with water. Gently…

When a patient walks into my office, I can see what’s going on with their outer appearance – from skin conditions to hair loss – way more quickly than what’s going on in their digestive tract. But make no mistake – there’s an intimate connection between the two: Studies have found that more than half of all acne sufferers have alterations in gut floraSocieties that eat a more indigenous diet with little or no processed or sugary foods have very few digestive problems and virtually no acneRosacea has been linked to inflammation and bacterial imbalance in the gut, and it’s one of the most common skin conditions I see in my patients with digestive disordersGastrointestinal conditions like celiac disease and Crohn’s can significantly alter absorption, and there’s no question that in addition to bloating, they can also be accompanied by skin problems and hair loss. Almost 25% of people with celiac disease…