Wednesday, October 28, 2015

We are 90% microbe and 10% human: Can we lose weight by boosting good bacteria with probiotics and prebiotics?

Guest post By Eirik Garnas 
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“The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self”
– Albert Einstein
For years, the view of self has been restricted to our own human, eukaryotic cells, but recent research into the microbes that live in and on our bodies is dramatically changing this perspective. Findings from The Human Microbiome Project (2008-2013) have made it clear that 90% of the cells in the human body are microbial and that the genetic repertoire of these microbes is at least 150 times greater than that of our human cells (1,2,3).
The fact that we are more microbe than man naturally has a significant impact on how we view human health, and research shows that the human microbiome – the aggregate of microorganisms living in and on the human body – could play a role in all sorts of different diseases and health ailments. Humans are very similar in terms of our human genome, but the microbial genome can be very different from one person to another. We also know that the microbiome can be altered fairly rapidly and that we therefore have the ability to manipulate our genome to an extent never previously thought possible.
The fact that the microbiome is fairly sensitive to external input is also the reason why it has such an important role in health and disease. In a perfectly healthy individual, there’s a symbiotic relationship between the human host and the microbiome. We provide the bacterial communities with shelter and food, the microbiome provides us with metabolic functions that stretch far beyond the physiological capabilities of the human host, and everyone’s healthy and happy.
However, antibiotics, western diets, and other factors associated with life in the modern world can perturb the microbiome and promote a state of dysbiosis. The balance between “good” and “bad” microbes in our body is now altered, and since we know that around 70% of our immune system is located in and around the gastrointestinal tract and that the bacteria in our gut profoundly shape our immunity, this dysbiotic state has a significant impact on our overall health (4,5). While researchers are still discovering new secrets of the microbiome, it’s already clear that dysbiosis plays a role in a lot of the chronic diseases and health disorders we see in the industrialized world, such as acne, colorectal cancer, diabetes, and irritable bowel syndrome (6,7,8,9).
One topic that is often of special interest to those in the health and fitness community is weight loss. People try different “scientifically proven” diets and exercise regimes in the quest for a lean and healthy physique, but we’re now learning that a huge blind spot in the health and fitness community is the trillions of bugs that inhabit the human body and how they play an essential role in regulating host energy homeostasis.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

'10% Human' Book Review

I recently came across this book at the library and I am very 'into' probiotics and gut health lately so I picked this up. I couldn't believe the title, how is it possible that we are only 10% human?

It is written by Alanna Collen who is a biologist. She looks at recent scientific research to determine microbes influence on weight, immune system, mental health and even choice of partner. Intriguing no? A little sensationalist with the title though.

Collen suggests that use of antibiotics kills the beneficial flora in our gut and promotes disfunction in our bodies.

Later she goes in to fecal transplants as a possible cure, which is a little gross and still not yet proven. And despite the danger with unknown treatments, a lot of people continue to try them and risk the consequences.

According to Amazon:You are just 10% human. For every one of the cells that make up the vessel that you call your body, there are nine impostor cells hitching a ride. You are not just flesh and blood, muscle and bone, brain and skin, but also bacteria and fungi. Over your lifetime, you will carry the equivalent weight of five African elephants in microbes. You are not an individual but a colony.
Until recently, we had thought our microbes hardly mattered, but science is revealing a different story, one in which microbes run our bodies and becoming a healthy human is impossible without them.
In this riveting, shocking, and beautifully written book, biologist Alanna Collen draws on the latest scientific research to show how our personal colony of microbes influences our weight, our immune system, our mental health, and even our choice of partner. She argues that so many of our modern diseases—obesity, autism, mental illness, digestive disorders, allergies, autoimmunity afflictions, and even cancer—have their root in our failure to cherish our most fundamental and enduring relationship: that with our personal colony of microbes.
Many of the questions about modern diseases left unanswered by the Human Genome Project are illuminated by this new science. And the good news is that unlike our human cells, we can change our microbes for the better. Collen's book is a revelatory and indispensable guide. It is science writing at its most relevant: life—and your body—will never seem the same again.

From google books: In this groundbreaking book Allana Collen explores the extraordinary world of the powerful microbes that make up 90% of the human body. You are just 10% human. For every one of the cells that make your body, there are nine impostor cells. You are not just flesh and blood, muscle and bone, brain and skin, but bacteria and fungi. You are not an individual, but a colony. Far from being passive, the trillions of microbes that live on and in you are intimately involved in running your body. As Alanna Collen explores, the modern epidemics of 'Western' diseases - obesity, mental health problems, gut disorders, allergies, autoimmunity, and even cancer - have their root in our failure to cherish our most fundamental and enduring relationship: that with our personal colony of microbes. Antibiotics, antibacterial cleaners, rapidly changing diets and our obsession with hygiene vastly reduced the microbe community we carry. Unlike our human cells, though, we can change our microbes for the better. '10% Human' provides a revelatory guide to the role of your body's microbes in health and happiness. This is popular science at its most relevant: life will never seem the same again.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

More packed lunch ideas.

Here are some more clippings from magazines on healthy/packed lunch ideas. Hope they help.



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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Back to routine, packed lunches, kids lunches

Yes, I've been a little slow with the posts lately as we've been trying to get in to a routine. Back to school and back to my todo's. One thing I don't miss it packed lunches, one child won't eat sandwiches. What do I do? I've got some notes and images below that I've collected over time. This post is just as much a reminder for me. I hope it helps you out too.



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