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If you’ve opened this letter hoping to discover the latest organic cleaning solutions for that dusty attic, then you may want to take a pause. While I’m all for the emotional and physical benefits of a spacial cleanse, that’s not what I’m here to teach you.
This month, I want to give your system a spring cleaning if you will. An easily digestible blueprint that identifies the foods and bacteria that are having an effect on your overall being – including weight fluctuations, bloating and stomach complications, anxiety, and fatigue conditions – and how to navigate the signs that your gut is due for a sweeping.
As we’re about to learn, just like your body, the gut requires the right balance to stay healthy and optimized. In fact, leading researchers and practitioners consider the gut as our second brain. That’s why when it’s out of whack, the symptoms are too.
So let’s start cleaning. My gut tells me we all could use it.
This month, we’re breaking down the latest in innovative discoveries in gut health. As nutritionists and scientists collide in their research – we foresee the digestive system will become as large of a topic as heart health and cancer study. Hippocrates — the ancient Greek father of medicine — once said that “all diseases begin in the gut.” In many ways, he was right. Your gut is your first line of defense, and if it isn’t working optimally, you’re more prone to disease. To get us started, here is what you should know right now.
If you have ever wondered, “what are we?” you may be surprised to learn that the human body is composed of trillions of cells, only of which 10% are human.
Outnumbering cells by 10 to 1, the human body hosts trillions of microorganisms (very tiny living things) which make up what is called our microbiome. Some of these microbes provide functions that are extremely important for our survival — and because of this dependence, experts are beginning to consider we are more a ‘super-organism’ than simply human.
What if we could live a germ-free life outside the bubble? You may be thinking these microbes (which include bacteria), are bad for us. But they are essential, and some even hypothesize that it is impossible to live without them. If so, we’d only survive a couple of days.
The biggest groups of bacteria reside in our gut – and the health of your gut microbiota and the nutrition you feed it directly effects your immunity, brain structure, and mood/ behavior. In one study, depleting the gut microbiome changed the expression of 90 genes in the brain.
The digestive tract is technically outside of your body.
Yes — from your mouth to your anus, the tract is technically considered outside of your body because it is open to the external environment at each end. You could imagine that It acts like a very advanced filter, breaking down all the specific nutrients to easily absorbable forms all while eliminating any pathogens and toxins in the process.
70% of your immune system is in your gut.
The digestive system is the seat of our immune system. When studying disease, scientists have discovered that there is a shift in the ecology of your gut bacteria — and a change in the balance and diversity of specific microbial species. It is important to note that there isn’t one specific species of bacteria to push blame on. The health and diversity of the community is affected in its entirety – and only then do things go awry.
Digestive issues and insufficiencies contribute to a wide range of health issues, some chronic and life-changing, including migraine headaches, depression, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune illness, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, and more.
There is much we still don’t know, but the study continues: the Human Microbiome Project catalogs the microbiome communities in people with different diseases, but the heavy lifting is in deciphering the data, which scientists predict may take some time.There is much we still don’t know, but the study continues: the Human Microbiome Project catalogs the microbiome communities in people with different diseases, but the heavy lifting is in deciphering the data, which scientists predict may take some time.
Meet your second brain: your gut.
A fascinating fact: the gut is the only organ system that can perform its functions without the oversight of the brain. It doesn’t wait for your brain’s influence or instruction to do its job; it acts in solitary. No other part of your body – not even your mighty heart – can pull that off.
If the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the digestive system was cut, digestion would still function normally — a system called the enteric nervous system (ENS).
Our second brains in our gut may not be able to think or have reason, but a ton of evidence suggests that the health of your digestive system can influence your mood.
80-90% of seratonin, the “happiness hormone”, is made in the gut.
The enteric nervous system – which is comprised of a network of millions of neurons in the lining of our gut – goes far beyond just processing the food we eat.
The bulk of the neurotransmitter serotonin is created in the digestive system. We need it to stabilize our mood and regulate social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. But too much of if may not be good.
Sometimes regarded as a “mental illness” of the second brain, irritable bowel syndrome arises from too much serotonin production in the gut. For decades, researchers thought that anxiety and depression caused gut issues and disorders like IBS, but it is most likely the other way around.
Food can make you depressed.
Nutrition can play an extremely important role in the seriousness and length of time of depression. Researchers are finding that certain foods could be connected to depression, and that some types of diets can lower your risk of becoming depressed. For years, those with ‘chemical imbalances’ were prescribed chemicals as treatment – which overlooked the possibility that the brain may have needed proper nutrients instead.
Poor diet is dangerous not just for your physical health, but your mental health too. It is common knowledge that the food we eat should contain nutrients the body uses to perform its everyday duties. But processed foods today changed things, as they are often altered with additives and stripped of essential vitamins and minerals.
Scientists are now discovering that people whose diets are high in processed foods and low in whole and natural foods are missing out on these vital nutrients. This begs the question: are some forms of depression caused by simple nutritional deficiencies?
The hidden link: processed foods and disease.
Processed foods not only lack vital nutrients our bodies need, but can be treated like foreign contaminants by our digestive system, causing inflammation in the lining of our GI tract, the exact place where food is absorbed. Your gut may not recognize what you’ve eaten as food, which instead interprets the presence of foods like high-fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients as “intruders” or “attackers”.
This sets off an unnecessary inflammatory response in which our bodies fight these foods as if they were an infection. If you consume processed foods regularly, it can create a lot of stress on your body over time.
Refined sugar, which is processed from sugar cane or sugar beets, is added to many of the packaged foods in our grocery stores today. It comes in many forms — which it can be tough to distinguish on food labels. Surprisingly, sugar can go by at least 61 different names, including sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, among others.
Refined sugar is implicated in many diseases, including obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease. cognitive decline and some cancers.
It’s not just what we eat.
Stress may be just as harmful to our bodies as an unhealthy diet. Stress shows up as physical evidence by causing changes to the gut microbiome, specifically in female mice, according to a recent study. Although this study was limited to mice, there may be serious implications with humans.
A healthy gut can be anti-aging.
Scientists were shocked to find that a healthy 90 year old’s gut was almost indistinguishable from a 30 year olds. A recent study showed parallels were drawn between overall health and the microbes in the intestine of extremely healthy older adults and those over 50 years younger. Even though they are unaware of the cause or affect, researchers observed and concluded that diversity is key in your gut: and if maintained, it can be a biomarker of healthy aging.
Bone broth a healing food, and the benefits are numerous and extensive. There is a reason why chicken soup is prescribed by doctors and mothers around the world when you’re feeling sick.
It’s high in collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine, amongst other healing compounds, which boosts your immune system, reducing inflammation and joint pain, and is necessary for maintaining and repairing the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Research is proving it has the potential to heal disorders like allergies, asthma and arthritis.
In NYC: Trade in your coffee for a cup of the famous Brodo’s bone broth — a kiosk that serves 11 varieties of this super nutritious ‘hot beverage’ (owner Marco Canora, stresses it’s not soup!) at shops in the West and East Villages. Or,find the recipe online.
Apple cider vinegar is derived from fermented apple juice. It’s another ‘old world’ remedy for digestive problems.
It aids digestion by increasing stomach acid; helping you to better break down food and absorb more nutrients in the foods you eat. Apple cider vinegar is packed with raw enzymes and beneficial bacteria that help to stimulate the digestive juices, assist the absorption of nutrients, and control the growth of harmful yeast and bacteria in the stomach and throughout the body. It is a useful remedy for indigestion, bloating, gas and even heartburn.
Opt for organic, raw, and unpasteurized – it contains the mother load of enzymes, proteins, and probiotics.
Mix with water, don’t drink it straight – and have it in moderation. Some nutritionists suggest having no more than 2 tablespoons a day, as vinegar is an acid and can wear away your tooth enamel and affect your esophagus. Eating it may be better: consider drizzling over a salad in place of your dressing.
These include cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts and similar green leaf vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables work to deduce inflammation and helps remove harmful pathogens from the gastrointestinal tract.
Raw vs. cooked: if you have a thyroid issue such as hypothyroidism, some vegetables may be better digested when cooked, specifically kale and broccoli: they contain a high amount of goitrogens, which can decrease the uptake of iodine by the thyroid.
Sulforaphane, an incredible compound that can help with almost any chronic disease, can be found in cruciferous veggies. More nutritious that the mature broccoli — broccoli sprouts
Sulforaphane can only be produced when the sprouts are ‘damaged’ (so chew them!).
Whole Foods in NYC started selling packaged broccoli sprouts from East Hampton, NY.
Or grow your own with this kit on Amazon!
Among the more notable probiotic-rich foods, however buyers beware: many go-to grocery store brands load their products with added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and artificial flavors. Read your labels! If you have to Google an ingredient, then it’s likely not good for you.
Pasteurization kills bacteria, so most dairy add the bacteria strains after. Pickles and other fermented foods can be pasteurized, too. Look for labels that read “raw”. Brands aren’t required to tell you the specific bacteria strains or amounts in their products.
Chicory root contains a prebiotic that is high in inulin. Inulin is a soluble plant fiber that is great for the gut. You can use chicory root fiber in place of sugar and flour in recipes. It can also serve as a caffeine-free replacement for coffee.
Sunchokes may as well be renamed as the superstars of intestinal health. They boast some of the highest amounts of inulin, which is shown to increase the friendly bacteria in the gut, maybe even more than chicory root. Unlike regular artichokes, you can eat them raw or cooked.
Add these to your salad or fresh juice. They serve as another great source of inulin, a prebiotic fiber, and are a great liver detoxifier too.
Including kimchi and sauerkraut, which are fermented and made from types of cabbage. And the American staple: the pickle, and other pickled vegetables.
If vinegar is involved – in the case with sauerkraut, it likely doesn’t include live bacteria as vinegar can prohibit bacteria growth.
Heating Probiotic-rich foods can easily destroy the live beneficial bacteria in a product. So don’t toast that sourdough bread!
Garlic is nature’s antibiotic. This tasty antimicrobial herb is linked to various health benefits. Garlic can act as a prebiotic, or a food source for our healthy gut bacteria. However, those with IBS might want to avoid too much garlic, as it is also high in fructans, a type of carbohydrate that some have difficulty digesting.
Onions are a versatile vegetable and also a great prebiotic, with antioxidant and anticancer properties.
Natto (fermented soybeans, popular in Japan), kvass (opt for the beet), soft aged raw cheese including cheddar, gouda, parmesan, and swiss and cottage cheese, tempeh, salt water brine-cured green olives, miso, dark chocolate (has both probiotic and prebiotics), green peas, beer and wine, and sourdough bread.
And thanks to modern science, many food manufacturers add probiotics to foods. Look out for those in honey, dark chocolate, almonds and whey protein.
Acacia gum, leeks, asparagus, barley, konjac root (elephant root), cocoa, burdock root (popular in Japan), flaxseeds, yacon root, jicama root, wheat bran, seaweed. Apples are shown to decrease the bad bacteria in the gut. Whole oats increase healthy bacteria while improving blood sugar.
Resistant starch functions like soluble, fermentable fiber and helps nourish the friendly bacteria in your gut. Some foods that are high in resistant starch are: steel-cut oats (which are also high in protein and fiber), wild rice (which is more nutrient-dense than white rice), navy beans, potatoes and unripe, green bananas. FUN FACT: Cooling oats or potatoes before you consume them significantly increases their resistant starch content.
OPT FOR ORGANIC: In Canada and the U.S., food labeled organic means the animals were given organic feed and didn’t receive any type of antibiotic, vaccine, or GMOs.
WILD-CAUGHT FATTY FISH: Fatty fishes are super nutritious, containing a lot of beneficial omega-3s that are key to maintaining optimal health, supporting brain and neural development. Some fish to put on your shopping list: wild caught Alaskan salmon, Atlantic or Pacific Albacore tuna, and sardines.
Larger fish have tendency to have higher levels of mercury, since more time has allowed for the chemical to accumulate in their bodies. Be careful with grouper, chilean sea bass and swordfish.
GRASS-FED MEAT: is rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids and minerals, including iron. It is important that the meat is pasture-raised. Factory farmed animals are often fed corn and grains, which are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6s. Imbalance of the omega-3 and omega-6 ratios is a major contributor to system wide inflammation, which can damage the gut lining and lower immunity.
PASTURE-RAISED POULTRY: Has less iron than beef or pork, but is leaner and contains high amounts of protein: turkey is in the lead, followed by duck, and lastly, chicken. With conventional poultry, you run the risk of consuming hormones, antibiotics, ammonia and bad bacteria. Opt for pasture-raised organic poultry and eggs and be aware that the term “free-range” simply means the animals have access to outdoors, but weren’t raised there (its anyones guess how often they are let out).
GLUTEN & GRAINS
Gluten intolerance has risen over the years, but why? The protein gluten has been a part of our diets ever since we first started cultivating grains, starting as early as 8800 BCE. The truth lies in the fact that modern wheat is very different than what we consumed thousands of years ago. It is different in many ways – the way we grow it, the way we process it and the way we eat it. And gluten could be only a portion of the issue.
White flour was one of the first ever processed foods, paving a way to tons of other shelf-stable, affordable, grocery store packaged goods that are produced far away from where they are consumed. It is the base of the American diet and in many of staple foods we consume today. Industrial milling strips the grains of its vital nutrients, removing parts of the wheat kernel (bran, germ, shorts, and red dog mill streams) that are most nutrient-dense in proteins, vitamins, lipids and minerals. Aside from not being as nutritious as it once was, the structure of the gluten protein in wheat has changed in modern times due to cross-breeding grains.
Researchers have found that eating gluten is directly related to diseases of the gut like leaky gut, which can cause inflammation and intestinal permeability. Other grains, even gluten-free ones, contain phytic acid, which can also cause inflammation as it is difficult for the gut to breakdown and digest. If you want to clean out your gut – give it a break by avoiding gluten, and only eat other gluten-free grains in moderation.
REFINED SUGARS/ARTIFICIAL SWEETNERS
Sugar feeds yeast, and yeast can overpower the bad bacteria in the gut. Just as the good bacteria prefer prebiotics as their food, the bad bacteria prefer sugar. If you have a sweet tooth and have trouble avoiding sugar completely opt for natural sweeteners like honey, dates, coconut sugar, or stevia.
REFINED VEGETABLE OILS
(Sunflower, Safflower, Canola, Soybean)
Fairly new to the food world, these highly processed oils were introduced in the early 1900s. Vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola (rapeseed), corn oil and soybean oils are high sources of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, which are harmful in excess. As mentioned earlier in this newsletter, it is very important to keep a higher ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s in your diet. In addition to causing inflammation, many industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents are used in the production process. Trace levels of trans fats have been found in processed oils too.
In short, vegetable oils should be avoided to reduce systemic inflammation and damage to the intestinal lining. Trade them in for coconut oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
Quality of food matters: when possible, buy organic, local, pasture-raised, grass-fed, non-gmo whole foods.
You are what you eat. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars and oils. Check food labels for hidden harmful ingredients and added sugars.
Variety is key – eat a well-balanced diet from each food group daily. By eating a variety you are getting a range of different types of key nutrients from different foods in each group.
Control what is on your plate by cooking it yourself (versus eating out).
Join Tracy Anderson’s Online Studio Premium membership and gain access to new workouts, recipes and tips. Here’s one of our favorite recipes this month from Chef Elaina Love. Looking for more? Sign up!
ABOUT CHEF ELAINA LOVE
Elaina Love is a leading nutritionist and author of 3 raw vegan recipe books, speaker, and internationally renowned chef with over 20 years of experience. Elaina is the founder and director of Pure Joy Culinary Academy, a cut- ting-edge plant-based culinary arts, and nutrition school.
Elaina’s low glycemic, grain-free, full-flavored holistic recipes, and gourmet dishes have shaped the vegan food industry. She has coached and inspired hundreds of aspiring chefs and individuals who want to change their life, both in person and through her online programs.
“You’ve never felt heat like a @tracyandersonmethod VW. Dripping. Amazing.” @natalia_tam
“Dreams come true! though I had never done one of her workouts she has always been an inspiration. Today I finally experienced @tracyandersonmethod first hand! #insane #intense #amazing #tamily #imhooked #shesthebest #tavitalitymia” @jessbehealthy
“I been streaming with Tracy for two and half years and let me tell you this beauty has not only changed my body, she has also changed my life. She helped me fine balance where there was imbalance in my body. I was so happy I got to move with her in Aspen. Love you!!!!” @d_page03
“Just wrapped up an amazing ‘vitality week’ with Tracy Anderson as the pinnacle boondoggle to my precious three weeks off between jobs. This little lady blew my mind…..She’s such an inspirational, kickass dynamo. Highly recommend her workouts!! @msginaraf and I sweat like nobody’s business. And the other ladies here were such a grounded, cool group of women from around the world. Wow. SO FUN!!!” @mrsdonahue
Watch the recap: Aspen Vitality Week
PHOTOS BY: SETH BECKTON PHOTO
We’re so excited for San Diego in April. Stay tuned as new tour dates will be announced soon!
This is a journey as Tracy designs your body week after week with content that fits perfectly together to create balance where there is imbalance in your body.
As a subscriber, users receive a weekly, one-hour muscular structure workout video with Tracy filmed in real-time during class alongside participating Tracy Anderson studio clients along with a beginner series, a breakdown session of the class with a Tracy Anderson senior trainer, and access to a library of dance cardio sessions. The video will live online for the user to follow throughout a seven-day period until the next series of real time workout moves is uploaded the following week. Learn More >
Get more time with Tracy! Upgrade to TA Real Time Premium and receive bonus features to enhance your streaming experience with exclusive content produced and presented by Tracy. Premium subscribers will unlock new monthly dance cardio routines led by Tracy, a bonus breakdown of moves by Tracy, first pass access to filmed fireside chats with Tracy and leaders in health ( like Dr. Oz!), exclusive stay fit recipes and tips, plus bonus workoutsfor faster results released monthly that will target specific areas of the body. Learn More >
Working out in the heat and humidity provides a number of benefits: sweat encourages the body to release toxins and improves the skin elasticity and tone. The heat also keeps the muscles warm, ready to move, and malleable. Tracy heats her classrooms to 96 degrees with 75 percent humidity — you can mimic that temperature at home with a space heater and humidifier.
3LB HAND WEIGHTS
Tracy recommends 3 pound hand weights for her muscular structure work—they have a HUGE impact on your form if you hit the correct angles (one of the reasons they should not be heavier than 3 pounds). View in SHOP >
These non-slip, latex-free, cushioning Method Mat from Tracy offers ultimate support when you’re doing muscular structure work.
1.5LB AND 3LB ANKLE WEIGHTS
These ankle weights intensify muscular structure workouts and build extra strength, all while maintaining long, lean lines. Comes with iron seed fill, coated nylon casing and adjustable velcro strap. Comes with iron seed fill-weight, coated nylon outside, and an adjustable velcro strap.
If you’re familiar with Tracy and her methodology, then you know her mission of creating balance where there is imbalance in the body. But what happens when cupid comes along, and our emotions start to go haywire? How can we navigate these feelings – or lack thereof – while standing on this balance beam of life without taking the fall? This Valentine’s Day we are taking a deep dive into the biology of love and it’s chemical effects on the body. Because as you’ll discover today, it’s the chemistry that we have within ourselves that lays the groundwork for the chemistry that we have with others.
Whether you’re already committed, or hopeful for love this year, we’re breaking it all down – and exposing the inner workings of your personal, loving biology.
According to the leading expert on the biology of love and attraction, anthropology professor, and human behavior researcher, Helen Fisher, there are three stages of falling in love. In each stage, a different set of brain chemicals run the show. These stages are lust, attraction, and love.
Interested in the more scientific theories on love? Check out:
Love and the Brain // Love, Decoded // Love, Actually: The science behind lust, attraction, and companionship
Self-love starts with first taking care of yourself.
Manage these three humanistic necessities – sleep, diet and exercise, and you are on your way to becoming your optimal self, one that you’ll be sure to love.
1. A strong connection: chronic lack of sleep can affect your weight.
A recent study indicates sleep restriction results in “metabolic and endocrine alterations, including decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased evening concentrations of cortisol, increased levels of ghrelin, decreased levels of leptin and increased hunger and appetite.” In short, if you sleep little, you’re more susceptible to weight gain.
2. What about sleeping too much?
Interestingly, people who sleep for 9 or more hours also have higher rates of diabetes, so perhaps both insufficient sleep and too much sleep are both unhealthy. Study found the longer you are awake during a biological night, the worse your insulin sensitivity is, which can be a precursor to the development of prediabetes and diabetes.
3. Only need 4 hours?
There are outliers who genetically need much less sleep – but they are very few with this gene mutation – only about 1% of the entire population.
4. Regulating your clock: The ‘happiness hormone’ – serotonin – plays an important role in mood and happiness, but also a major role in regulating your body clock and sleep cycles. High levels of serotonin are associated with wakefulness, and lower levels are shown with sleep.
5. All light, including artificial light, will disturb your sleep. The average American spends as little as 7% of their life outside which affects our natural light rhythm, a big component of sleep regulation. Artificial light, and light from tv, computer and phone screens signal the brain, affecting our natural clock, often long into the night. This forces our natural sleep clock out of whack, also affecting serotonin production.
6. Eat your way to better sleep. Diets high in the amino acid tryptophan can maintain healthy serotonin levels, but lifestyle choices like constant travel and an erratic sleep schedule can disrupt serotonin production. When serotonin levels are not normal, sleep disturbances and other issues can result, including depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.
7. Genetics play a role. Research has also shown that genetic regulation of circadian rhythms is off-kilter in people with major depression.
8. Sleep deprivation as a quick anti-depressant? It has been known for 200 years that sleep deprivation can treat depression rapidly. Although an impractical treatment, scientists were fascinated on why it proved so effective. The results confirm that a buildup of adenosine (a chemical that is present in all human cells) is responsible for the antidepressant effects of a lack of sleep.
9. Beware – it’s all about balance. Interestingly enough. excess serotonin levels are toxic to the brain, and can lead to a condition known as “serotonin syndrome.”
In short: healthy sleep habits can have a profound effect on your current and future well-being. You spend approximately 1/3 of your life sleeping, make it count.
Learn how to sleep better:
Get tips from the National Sleep Foundation.
1. Being overweight increases your risk for every chronic disease, lowering your lifespan 7-14 years.
2. Up to 90% of serotonin – an important neurotransmitter for cognitive function – is produced in your gut.
3. Your brain requires a constant supply of fuel. That “fuel” comes from the foods you eat — and what’s in that fuel makes all the difference. Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood.
4. Diets high in refined sugars, are harmful to the brain. Because sugar is addictive, we’re genetically programmed to want high calorie foods. Almost everything has sugar in it; if you go into a grocery store and pick up a random item, more likely than not there will be sugar in it. Sugar has been shown to increase inflammatory biomarkers and increases the small dense LDL particle number – which is bad.
High sugar diets increase inflammation and lead to the release of endotoxin, which is used in studies to mimic high inflammation. Inflammation symptoms lessened when treated with Omega Fatty Acids/EPA.
5. Power of probiotics: Studies have shown that when people take probiotics (supplements containing the good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve, compared with people who did not take probiotics.
6. Understanding the epidemic: 40% of Americans are obese, 100 million Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes. By 2040, 100% of the federal budget will go towards health care spending.Wellness centers that focus on functional medicine (treating the source and not the symptom of a disease or disorder) are becoming more popular in the U.S., and often take preventative measures that involve nutrition and exercise in a patients health plan.
7. Chronic issues? 1 in 2 Americans have chronic disease; and bad food, sedentary lifestyles are to blame.
8. Inflammation: the silent killer. CDC estimates that 11% of Americans are on an anti-depressant. Chronic inflammation can be one cause of this, reducing serotonin in the brain and creating neurotoxins that cause depression.
Inflammation triggers your body to divert Tryptophan away from the brain (where it would usually become serotonin) to help create immune cells to “defend the body” and in the process of making these immune cells, quinalidic acid is created, the neurotoxin closely tied to depression.
9. New superfood?
Sulforaphane is a key nutrient from veggies. Highest form is found in broccoli sprouts, specifically. Broccoli sprouts have 100 times more sulforaphane than other cruciferous veggies, including: Kale, Broccoli, Bok Choy, etc. This nutrient has been used in tons of recent studies and has been shown to have anti-aging and anti-neurodegeneration effects, improving autistic scores drastically, anti-cancer effects seen in studies with men with prostate cancer, protecting you from air pollution, reducing swelling in traumatic brain injury up to 50%, and more.
10. Are there benefits of time-restricted eating, a type of intermittent fasting?Like many other body processes, metabolism works best if in rhythm with your internal clock. That clock starts everyday the moment you ingest something other than water. Even that first coffee or tea signals to start metabolism in your body. Studies show that if you eat within a 9 or 10 hour timeframe everyday, there are a host of benefits from naturally eating less reducing the number of calories you eat (up to about 20%), and even lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol — One study found that four weeks of time-restricted eating during an 8-hour window lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol by over 10% in both men and women. The Salk Institute in California has been at the forefront of time restricted eating phenomenon, read more here.
Let’s imagine your body as a luxury car, wouldn’t you fill it with premium gas?
1. Exercise, the most expensive form of medicine. From a recent Time magazine article: “…scientists are learning that exercise is, actually, medicine. “There is no pill that comes close to what exercise can do,” says Claude Bouchard, director of the human genomics laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. “And if there was one, it would be extremely expensive.”
2. Sweat your way to happy. Serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, so any serotonin that is used inside the brain must be produced inside the brain. Several lines of research suggest that exercise increases brain serotonin function in the human brain.
3. Miracle-Gro for your brain? Aerobic exercise specifically can increase serum BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which grows new brain cells and heals others. According to Harvard Neuropsychiatrist, John J. Ratey, MD, author of Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. BDNF is “a crucial biological link between thought, emotions, and movement.” And that “Physical exercise is really for our brains. It turns our brains on.”
4. Exercise is anti-aging? Exercise appears to slow aging at the cellular level. Once you hit 25 years old, your aerobic capacity decreases 10% per decade (or 1% per year). But a study shows you can reserve this natural aging with high intensity interval training regularly. On the opposite end of this, a study showed sugary soda adds years to aging – the “daily consumption of a 20-ounce soda was equivalent to an average of 4.6 years of telomere shortening.” Telomeres are the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells.
5. What do cold showers and high intensity workouts have in common?
Both increase the norepinephrine in your brain, which helps fuel the brains stress buffers, leading to lower rates of anxiety and depression. This strengthens connections between neurons in the brain to help you learn and remember better, which is an effect that happens immediately.
6. Take preventative measures. Studies also suggest that exercise is, as of now, the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, thanks to BDNF, as mentioned above.
7. Mental and physical benefits: Exercise triggers the release of chemicals in the brain—serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins, dopamine—that dull pain, lighten mood and relieve stress. “For years we focused almost exclusively on the physical benefits of exercise and really have ignored the psychological and emotional benefits of being regularly active,” says Cedric Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.
8. Effective rehabilitation.Can you believe that for decades, people with certain diseases were advised not to exercise? There is a new way of thinking now — it is advisable for those who suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes. And a recent analysis of more than 300 clinical trials discovered that for people recovering from a stroke, exercise was even more effective at helping them rehabilitate.
9. Shrink more than just fat. This seems like common knowledge – but your fat cells shrink and so does inflammation. After consistent aerobic exercise training, the body gets better at burning fat, which requires a lot of oxygen to convert it into energy. “One of the benefits of exercise training is that our cardiovascular system gets stronger and better at delivering oxygen, so we are able to metabolize more fat as an energy source,” says Anthony Hackney, an exercise physiologist at the University of North Carolina. As a result, your fat cells—which produce the substances responsible for chronic low-grade inflammation—shrink, and so does inflammation.
10. Detoxifying? Exercise has been shown to soak up neurotoxins in the brain which can be created by inflammation — all while guiding tryptophan into your brain, which is a precursor to serotonin production.
They say that time flies when you’re having fun, but I like to say that time flies when you’re doing good. I cannot believe that it’s already been 3 years since many of us started on our TA Real Time journey together. Through more than 100,000 tagged Instagram posts, stories shared during Vitality Weeks, and from reading your messages and comments (yes, I personally read as many as I can!), our streaming community has created something truly special in this world. I feel so proud of what we have accomplished together, and the best part is that we are just getting started.
Over the years our community has proven it’s ability to show up in so many incredible ways that I wanted to open my studio doors even more to everyone who doesn’t live close by. Today, we are beginning our next chapter together with the launch of TA Real Time Premium. I generally feel very excited and anxious to release new content that I decided to launch February in a rehearsal style format. You won’t see a “construction” style learning zone come March, but I really wanted you to have these important tools in time to make a difference before swimsuit season. And if you haven’t started streaming yet – don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to get moving with us.
As I always say, if I could visit each of your living rooms (or kitchens, garages, tam-caves- my favorite!, etc.), I would. Until then, TA Real Time will continue to connect us. And now with the launch of TA Real Time Premium, we’ll be spending even more time together.
Throughout this newsletter, you’ll be able to preview some of the exciting programs that I have in store for you with the Premium upgrade. From new dances (hello, calorie burn) to breakdowns with me, healthy recipes and exclusive interviews, you’re about to get a whole lot more of Tracy!
I cannot wait to begin this upgraded journey together. And for those of you already on TA Real Time, that platform is getting an upgrade, too. This way when I finally do show up in your living room one day, you’re ready for me.
Get more time with Tracy! Upgrade to TA Real Time Premium and receive bonus features to enhance your streaming experience with exclusive content produced and presented by Tracy. Premium subscribers will unlock monthly dance cardio routines, muscular structure breakdown tutorials to complement the month’s TA Real Time sequences, video recordings of Tracy’s in-studio Fireside Talks with her roster of leading doctors and experts, as well as exclusive recipes and seasonal additions such as the perfect way to get body confident and calm your swim suit season nerves.
When you visit the Premium streaming platform today please keep in mind that this is the first month on a journey that is meant to be deconstructed and real. Tracy is not performing for you – she’s building a deeper relationship with you.
MUSCULAR STRUCTURE INTRODUCTION
In this safe and physically scholastic place we will start at the very beginning of mapping your movements from an inner, driven instinct that we are going to build for you month by month. As you can imagine, Tracy has a lot to teach and we will go one lesson at a time. You will learn how to approach the movements rather than simply hitting play to produce a sweat each day.
In launching our first monthly muscular structure workout, Tracy has chosen to walk through the first week of February with you. This will be the only time we approach the month in this way as Tracy feels it is important to introduce this dialogue from a place of familiarity first. By showing up here with Tracy, you are already interested in transforming your existing movement into a deeper, more connected response. Growing that spark will light your ability to ignite incredible changes in the way your body performs. Together we will breakdown the elements of the movements, understand why and how they serve healing your past, bond you to be strong in your present and preserve your future. Here you will also learn how to diagnose where you can improve to ensure you are receiving the results you deserve from all that you are putting in. It is important to note that even though Tracy breaks down this month’s first master class with you, the knowledge you will gain from the breakdown will serve you improving on every level of her classes. It may even help you take your first master class!
Tracy has been so focused on a new body of research for your muscular structure work the last 6 years that she hasn’t been choreographing “new” dance aerobics dances. Well, that time is up and Tracy is excited to be back in full swing, dance aerobics mode. Many of you have a really clear schedule that includes your regular master class. Tracy applauds you as we know that carving out at least an hour a day to dedicate to your physical performance is incredibly challenging and an actual luxury to many that have to be so selfless – working countless hours to make ends meet. Many of you also feel the pull of Mommy that we love to feel, or the opposite, a demanding boss that makes you feel imprisoned with your time. Tracy is here to tell you that to process stress and to be your best with a clear mind, uncrowded spirit, and healthy functioning body you must advocate for your focused time to develop your physical self. It will help you support yourself, and others to the best of your ability.
To start, Tracy would like for you to look at “finding your formula” from a new perspective. We have found each other for a reason and your formula may shift and change within the Tracy Anderson Method. It’s meant to work that way. Sometimes a formula can work for years, and then need a tweak.
For instance, Tracy’s formula the last several years removed dance aerobics completely from her workout time. She solely lead her muscular structure master class each day. While that is still technically working for her by way of appearance, she knows that as she moves further into her 40’s she will need dance aerobics to keep her skin tone, healthy bones, and have the best chance at hormonal stability. For those of you that appreciate a perfect 60-minute master class, you are in luck as Tracy will personally be adjusting her own formula to 60-minutes of master class and 30-minutes of dance aerobics with the new dances.
We suggest learning them in an afternoon when you have extra time and not learning the dances as your actual workout time.
Enjoy 25-minutes of dance cardio with Tracy. (It is so fun that Courtney even follows along in the back!). As we mentioned, this month’s content has been released in rehearsal style format to give you a preview of what’s to come. But don’t let the construction fool you, this will still give you a serious calorie burn!This session can be added into your beginner, intermediate or advanced program.
TRACY’S FIRESIDE TALK WITH DR. ERIN MCGINTEE
This month Tracy talks with Dr. Erin McGintee about food allergies, sensitivities, and the immune system.
I decided to take off my personal belief hat and bring forward different specialists for all of you – all while asking questions I wanted to ask, as well as some that I felt you would want to ask.When you feel uncomfortable in your own skin or don’t see results as fast as you would hope to it’s understandable to want to blame something. With the wave of food sensitivities, elimination diets and allergies in full fad swing, it’s my obligation to explore and vet through the research for you. Dr. Erin McGintee is a remarkable woman, mother, physician and change leader. Here, I would like for you to understand your system better and stress a little less over food. Dr. Erin McGintee has the kind of knowledge you need to hear and I am excited to share her with you this month!
Recipe(s) © 2010 by Mayumi Nishimura. Photograph(s) © 2010 by Akira Saito. From Mayumi’s Kitchen, published by Kodansha USA.
About 9 years ago I was a raw foodist, completely. I believed it was the way for optimized health and disease prevention, and I still subscribe to a vegan diet although I add fish, eggs, and a very small amount of carefully sourced chicken.
While I felt great as a strict raw foodist, my body encountered a serious roadblock with it; I lost my menstrual cycle. I may not have had my beautiful daughter Penny if I would have stayed “fixed” in my mindset.
The brilliant chef I am featuring this month, Mayumi helped me get my period back in an order that I felt comfortable with. She didn’t try and manipulate or scare me into eating meat again. She started by creating mushroom teas and really whole grains for me to eat. Then, she and a doctor I met in France agreed I needed to introduce some meat back into my diet. Sure enough, I got my period back. I haven’t consumed any red meat in many years, but I do eat carefully sourced animal proteins. This story is one of the many reasons why I respect and follow Mayumi’s food expertise – and it’s an honor to be introducing you all to her delicious talent.
I hope you enjoy her recipes this month as much as I am!
2 stamp-size pieces kombu
3 cups (720ml) spring water
2 tsp safflower oil
1 cup (160g) diced onion
2 cups (200g) cauliflower florets
½ vegetable bouillon cube
½ tsp sea salt
2 bread slices, panfried in 1 Tbsp olive oil, for garnish
2 sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish
3. Add the kombu and cauliflower to the onion, stir, then add the soaking water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add the bouillon and salt and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft.
4. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool a little. Remove the kombu for a nice white soup, or leave in if desired. Blend with a hand blender until creamy. Transfer to bowls and serve garnished with bread slices and thyme sprigs.
Mayumi Nishimura was born in Japan, and moved to the U.S. in 1982 to study macrobiotics under renowned expert Michio Kushi at the Kushi Institute in Beckett, Massachusetts. Adapting her experience with Japanese cuisine to macrobiotics, she soon became head chef and cooking instructor at the Institute, a position which she held for over fifteen years. In 2001, Mayumi became Madonna’s private macrobiotic chef, living and traveling with her for ten years. Seeking to promote macrobiotic ideas to a broader audience, Mayumi introduced “petit macro,” a gentler approach to macrobiotics. In 2009 and 2010, Mayumi visited The Finley Institute, a center for vaccines research in Cuba, where she taught and demonstrated macrobiotic principles. Her first cookbook in English, Mayumi’s Kitchen, was published in 2010; and she has recently published a book in Japan featuring tasty and healthy smoothie recipes. Mayumi currently works as a life and health coach and private chef, and continues to actively promote the macrobiotic lifestyle around the world.