How Does Exercise Affect Our Microbiome?

Tree PosePhoto by Jacob Postuma on Unsplash

So, exercise has the ability to strengthen your gut and enhance SCFA release, which is great news. But does it work both ways? Do microbes play any role in exercise performance?

A recent study would suggest that, yes, indeed they do.

Nature Medicine published the study, noting that researchers identified a specific bacterial strain called Veillonella atypica that was dramatically increased in marathon runners post-marathon. What’s cool is that this particular bacteria has the ability to break down lactic acid, which is the acid that builds up in muscles during endurance exercise. Makes sense, right?

When the scientists transferred this particular bacteria into mice, they found that the recipients had improved treadmill run time performance. Yes, they performed better athletically based purely on the presence of this microbe.

Sure, it’s an exciting finding in the world of marathon running, but what I’m most excited about is to see what we find when we study different sports. Is there a special microbe that enhances the start/stop movements in basketball or that promotes muscle recovery after a vigorous workout? My guess is the answer will be yes—but only time will tell.

Now, here’s the truth: Exercise is a good idea, regardless of whether it alters your microbiome. But that said, it’s nice to know that physical fitness also promotes gut fitness because strong guts translate into better health.

Why Dark Chocolate is Good for Your Health

Raw Love

By Jesus Diaz at


Confirmed: Dark chocolate is good for your heart. Really good. What’s better, scientists have discovered that people who eat 70 grams of chocolate every day increase their vascular health dramatically by “restoring flexibility to arteries and preventing white cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels.”

The research published in the March 2014 issue of The FASEB Journalone of the most respected publications in experimental biology—was conducted on 44 middle-aged overweight men over two periods of four weeks.

Previous investigations said that regular dark chocolate may not be that good for you because manufacturers remove flanavol from it, which is too bitter for most people. But according to Doctor Diederik Esser—one of the paper’s authors—”increasing flavanol content has no added beneficial effect on vascular health.” Adding chemical shit, however, will have an effect on your health, so please don’t stuff your faces with industrial crap chocolate sold by the likes of Hershey’s and Cadbury.

There are a lot of raw chocolate bars available, my favorite is LuLu’s

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The Secret to Better Baked Potatoes? Cook Them Like the British Do

Baked Potatoes

Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

By Sheela Prakash

If you jump across the pond to England, you’ll find baked potatoes just about everywhere, but you might not recognize them at first. That’s because they’re called jacket potatoes (which, TBH, is just about the cutest name there could be).

The difference isn’t just the name, however. The Brits take great care when it comes to their potatoes — and the results really are much crispier on the outside and fluffier on the inside than the typical American variety. A few years back, Joanna Goddard, of Cup of Jo, called out just how gloriously perfect English baked potatoes are and shared some tricks, straight from her aunt in Cornwall. Ever since trying them, my baked potato game has gotten a lot better.

Read the post: How to Make English Jacket Potatoes from Cup of Jo

Making baked potatoes isn’t difficult, but here are the tips that made the most difference.

  1. Slice them first. Like most Americans, I typically poke holes all over the potatoes before baking them to ensure they don’t explode in the oven. But Jo suggests slicing a cross shape about 1/4-inch thick into each potato. This helps them release some steam, makes the interior more fluffy, and also makes them easier to slice into when they’re piping hot.
  2. Bake them for longer than you think. Many recipes (ours included) recommend baking potatoes for an hour at 425°F. Instead, Jo suggests baking potatoes at 400°F for closer to two hours. The potatoes won’t burn at this temperature and the long bake means the skin will be so crisp that it’s practically cracker-like.
  3. Return them to the oven. After the two hours are up, remove the potatoes and carefully cut deeper into the slices you made initially. Then put the potatoes back in the oven for 10 more minutes. This helps to dry out the flesh further and makes it extra fluffy.

When you take those piping hot spuds out of the oven, push open that crispy, crackly, perfectly-salted skin, and drop a little butter into the lightest, fluffiest baked potato you’ve ever made, you’ll silently thank Jo and her Cornwall aunt. And you’ll know — as I now do — there’s really no other way to bake them.

Despite Growing Burden of Diet-related Disease, Medical Education Does Not Equip Students to Provide High Quality Nutritional Care to Patients

Note from Millie-  Three years ago a nutrition coaching client of mine went through nursing school. During her first semester she took a class on nutrition. The proffessor was giving a talk to the many benefits of saturated fats; how crucial they are to all of the bodies processes. Read more about that- The Importance of Saturated Fats for Biological Functions. In her next semester the same professor was teaching Applied Nutrition and was teaching how bad saturated fats were for humans!  So she challenged him, tried to explain what he was teaching was contradictory to what he had taught about these crucial fats being needed in the body. He became angry and pushed back. That was when she realized that she just needed to keep her mouth shut and pass the class. The medical profession is being taught very outdated nutrition information, all due to the fact that the main source of info given out to the American public by our government is derived from food lobbying, false information! 

NutritionPhoto by Dan Gold on Unsplash

The Lancet  


Worldwide, nutrition is insufficiently incorporated into medical education, meaning that medical students lack the confidence, skills and knowledge to provide nutritional care to patients, according to a systematic review.

Worldwide, nutrition is insufficiently incorporated into medical education, meaning that medical students lack the confidence, skills and knowledge to provide nutritional care to patients, according to a systematic review of 24 studies published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal.

The authors recommend that nutrition education be made compulsory for all medical students, a global benchmark on the required level of nutrition knowledge for future doctors be established, and more funding be put towards developing new ways to teach nutrition in medical school.

Globally, 11 million deaths annually are attributable to poor diet, making it the leading risk factor for death across the world. Accordingly, many countries recommend that doctors apply nutrition knowledge in practice to support patients to manage lifestyle-related chronic disease and other diet-related conditions. However, these findings suggest that nutrition in medical education is lacking in all countries studied.

Author of the study, Dr Lauren Ball from Griffith University, Australia, said: “It is clear that despite the importance of nutrition for healthy lifestyles, graduating medical students are not supported with the required nutrition knowledge to be able to provide effective nutrition care to patients — a situation that has gone on for too long. Nutritional education for medical students must be improved and made a compulsory and meaningful part of the curriculum to support future doctors for the 21st century.”

To give a broad overview of nutrition education provided to medical students, the review looked at studies assessing recently graduated (ie, ?4 years) or current medical students’ nutrition knowledge, attitudes, skills, or confidence (or all three) in nutrition or nutrition counselling; the quality of nutrition curriculum initiatives for medical students; or recently graduated or current medical students’ perceptions of nutrition education.

The review included 24 studies conducted between 2012-18, including 16 quantitative, three qualitative and five studies on curriculum initiatives. The studies came from USA (11), Europe (four), the Middle East (one), Africa (one), and Australasia (seven), and the methodological quality of the studies ranged from very low to high. No published articles from Asia met the criteria for inclusion in the review.

The reviewed studies consistently found that medical students wanted to receive nutrition education to develop their skills in nutrition care but perceived that their education did not equip them to do so. Students cited both quantity and quality of their education as reasons for this — poor quality and under prioritization of nutrition in the curriculum, lack of interest and expertise in nutrition among faculty members, and few examples of nutritional counseling during clinical years to serve as models for emerging doctors.

Furthermore, students uniformly reported having a lack of required nutrition knowledge, which was also found through testing. For instance, one study found that when nutrition knowledge was assessed in a test, half of medical students scored below the pass rate.

Five studies assessing curriculum initiatives found that they had a modest positive effect. However, most nutrition initiatives were employed opportunistically as a once-off activity, rather than being integrated in a sustained way into the medical curricula. Innovative initiatives — such as online curriculum, hands on cooking experiences, and learning from other health professionals such as dietitians — showed short-term and long-term benefits for patients and health systems. Therefore, the authors call for more funding for innovative curriculum initiatives to be developed and implemented.

The authors underline that ongoing inadequate nutrition education identified in their study is likely to affect the standard of care doctors are providing to patients, not least in preventative care. Therefore, they stress the importance of institutional commitments to making nutrition education compulsory in medical training through accreditation standards and establishing benchmarks of nutritional knowledge needed by doctors before graduation.

The authors note some limitations of their study. The most frequent limitations of the studies included in the review were the absence of control groups (for the curriculum initiatives), absence of validated survey instruments to test nutritional knowledge, poor response rates, small study samples, and insufficient representativeness of the study population.

Writing in a linked commentary, Dr Stephen Devries from the Gaples Institute for Integrative Cardiology, Deerfield, Illinois, USA, notes that the beyond improving patient health, increased nutrition education could also help doctors advise on healthy diets from sustainable food systems, such as that advised by the EAT-Lancet Commission. He says: “There is much to learn about the most effective strategies to incorporate nutrition curriculum into medical training. Promising approaches to enhance nutrition education in medical education include integration of nutrition-related topics in lectures on disease pathogenesis and treatment, self-paced online curriculum, teaching kitchens, and greater utilization of interprofessional education. Identification and training of clinical mentors in nutrition is a key challenge. But what is already crystal clear, is that the worldwide state of nutrition education in medicine is inadequate. Our patients deserve much better. And so does our planet.”

Eating Garlic and Onions Daily May Drastically Cut Breast Cancer Risk

Note from Millie- Please remember that there are no foods that by themselves help us avoid cancer. It takes a daily intake that truly meets ALL of our nutrient needs to build or repair our immune system. Very few Americans come anywhere near meeting all of their needs for vitamins and minerals.

Brittany A. Roston – Sep 23, 2019, 6:18 pm CDT

Garlic and OnionPhoto by Elli O. on Unsplash

Eating garlic and onions every day may drastically reduce one’s risk of developing breast cancer, according to a new study out of the University of Buffalo and the University of Puerto Rico. The researchers focused on women in Puerto Rico, where a condiment called sofrito made primarily of the two aromatics is frequently consumed.

Existing research has indicated that garlic and onions may have anti-cancer effects when consumed. The latest study looked at the potential effect of eating both of these foods instead of only one or the other. Women in Puerto Rico presented a unique opportunity for this study due to the frequent consumption of sofrito, a base sauce made with garlic and onions.

According to the researchers, the frequent consumption of this sauce means that women in Puerto Rico usually consume greater quantities of garlic and onions than women located in the US and Europe. Of note, Puerto Rico is also known for its lower rates of breast cancer compared to the rates found in the mainland states.

The study involved 314 women who had breast cancer and another 346 control subjects. After crunching the numbers, the study found that women who consumed sofrito more than one time daily had a huge 67-percent decrease in their odds of developing breast cancer compared to women who didn’t consume it as often.

The researchers found that the total amount of garlic and onions consumed daily was associated with the decreased risk, including these aromatics used in other dishes. The study points to a number of beneficial compounds found in garlic and onions that may drive the benefit, including organosulfur and flavonols.

5 Fruits and Veggies That Are More Hydrating Than Water

Note from Millie-  about 15 years ago I started working with athletes who were racing in long distance races. I was also living at the beach and doing a lot of bike riding. What I finally realized was that we were all trying to hydrate, beginning 24 hours before a race or long ride and that all that was happening was that we were having to make a lot of pit stops. When we began hydrating with fruits and smoothies, performance improved drastically, we had to stop less, and didn’t get dehydrated. The body uses fruits and vegetables more effectively at hydration than it does when we drink water. We are not natural water- lappers and are meant to get most of our moisture from t he foods we eat. Now, that being said, on a Standard American Diet (SAD), that includes grains, too much protein and processed foods…you need more water to flush out the body because those foods dehydrate you.

Not a big water drinker?

You’re in luck—studies show that eating some fruits and vegetables can hydrate the body twice as well compared to drinking a glass of water. Turns out that the electrolytes, nutrients, and minerals in produce help the body retain and utilize water—kind of like drinking a sports drink or coconut water.

Keep on scrolling to learn about the most hydrating fruits and veggies you should be keep in your fridge this summer.


CauliflowerPhoto by Irene Kredenets on Unsplash

Cauliflower used to broccoli’s weird, pale cousin. Now, the low-carb veggie has become the  healthy foodie’s favorite ingredient—add it in frozen to a smoothie to add density, or dice it and blend with an egg to make gluten-free “pizza dough.” It has such a mild taste, so it’s easily camouflaged by stronger flavors. But cauliflower is a nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetable that contains a surprising amount of H2O. Try adding 1 cup a day into your diet to pump up the hydration.


Watermelon 2Photo by Floh Maier on Unsplash

I mean, c’mon, it’s in the name! Watermelon is nearly 92 percent water, and contains electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Juicy, sweet, and oh-so-hydrating, watermelon is loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene.


Pink GrapefruitPhoto by Israel Egío on Unsplash

Bitter, slightly sweet grapefruit is a perfect choice for a summer bite if you’re following an Ayurvedic dosha diet. (Cool that internal fire, Pitta people!) Because it contains so much water and fiber, nourishing grapefruit makes for a great low-calorie snack in between meals.


CucumbersPhoto by Ananth Pai on Unsplash

Chilled cucumber water is the ultimate thirst-quencher—the fresh, green taste combined with the anti-inflammatory compound caffeic acid that’s found in cukes help sooth and hydrate from the inside out.


Strawberries 4Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

Juicy red strawberries are emblematic of the height of summer—they’re everywhere! Baked into pies, muddled into lemonade, or fresh off the vine, they’re always a welcome sight at the dinner table. At nearly 92 percent water, they’re also incredibly hydrating and contain a plethora of antioxidants that are excellent for your skin! No guilt about going overboard on the ruby berries here.


Scientists FINALLY Issue Warning Against Canola Oil: it Damages Your Brain, Can CAUSE Dementia, and Weight Gain

Note From Millie– I have been teaching my clients for 20 years to NOT cook with oils, any oils. Oils cannot withstand heat, it renders them highly toxic, they become rancid when separated from the foods they came from, quickly oxidizing and making them carcinogenic. They become sticky when heated, then in turn causes clogged arteries. Cook with ghee primarily because of it’s depth of nutrients, use grass fed because that cow has been in the sun long enough to store Vitamin D!  Oils are good for flavoring, salad dressing, pesto, dishes that will not be exposed to heat. Buy organic, buy from oil manufactured in the US and keep it refrigerated.

Image result for rapeseedRapeseed Plant

Have you ever heard of a Canola seed? You’ve probably heard of Olive and coconut trees, but not Canola right? That’s because it doesn’t exist. Canola oil is not natural oil but the commercial name of a genetically modified version of Rapeseed (which is toxic). So, it is really curious why so many “natural” food stores, even famous ones such as Whole Food’s, consistently use Canola oil in their prepared meals and Food bars (such as in their baked goods, salads, dressings, etc.)?

Canola oil was created in a Canadian university lab by Dr. Baldur Steffanson. Dr. Steffanson, after getting his newly created version of Rapeseed to meet FDA guidelines (with less toxic eurcic acid) he went on to work for Calgene (which later was acquired by Monsanto). For this reason, there is no such thing as “organic” Canola oil as the raw ingredient itself is genetically modified rapeseed.


  • Canola depletes vitamin E.
  • Canola increases the rigidity of membranes, which can trigger degenerative diseases.
  • Because of canola’s high sulfur content, it goes rancid easily, which can exacerbate allergies and compound problems for people with bronchial or asthmatic issues.
  • Human studies reveal canola causes an increase in lung cancers.
  • Canola can shorten lifespan of animals and lower platelet count.
  • Daily canola consumption can raise your triglycerides over 40 percent.
  • Canola oil molds quickly and also inhibits enzyme function.
  • It opens the door for free radicals, undermining natural antioxidants, and can be linked to increased incidence of many diseases.
  • Canola leaves no foul taste when it’s spoiled, so it’s hard to tell if you’re eating rancid erucic acid.

The next time you visit the Whole Foods, or other grocers, Food court, be careful of being fooled into thinking they are the healthiest option in town. Look for all natural deli’s and food providers that use natural oils (you know the type that come from an actual plant). Most importantly remember, there is no such thing as GMO-free Canola oil.