Why Laxatives Give False Relief

Did you know that each year, Americans spend more than $700 million on laxatives? The United States supposedly has the highest rate of laxative use compared to several other countries.

Yet, statistics show that as many as 40% of people use laxatives incorrectly. At least 15% of diarrhea cases are due to incorrect laxative use. (1) Furthermore, laxatives are often abused by people who seek to lose weight. The individual mistakenly believes that the laxatives can work to rush food and calories through the gut and bowels before they can be absorbed.  But that doesn’t really happen. Let’s explore this question: Why do laxatives give a false sense of elimination? What are healthier alternatives to laxatives?

What are laxatives?

laxativesLaxatives are substances that can help an individual have a bowel movement, an indication that the body is cleansing. They are used to relieve and prevent constipation. Because different types of laxatives work in different ways, their effectiveness can vary from person to person. In general, bulk-forming laxatives (also referred to as fiber supplements) are the gentlest on the body and safest to use long term. Stimulant laxatives are the harshest and should be used sparingly.

When a bowel movement is forced, it can disrupt the body’s natural mechanisms. Laxatives should only be taken to relieve or prevent constipation, because they can produce adverse reactions that can physically impair the digestive system. Constant intestinal movements as a result of  using laxatives tend to give individuals a false sense of waste elimination. While it is true that some of the individual’s bodyweight does shed during the process, it is important to keep in mind that ultimately it’s really just water weight.

A common misconception of laxatives is that they can help with weight loss. What you really need to know is that overusing laxatives can be dangerous. Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting are potential side effects. Diarrhea causes too much water loss. This could lower the blood pressure, increase the heart rate, cause dizziness and fainting. Laxatives can also change levels of important minerals in your body. This can lead to kidney stones, heart and muscle problems.


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Easy Ways to Improve Digestion and Speed Up Metabolism Naturally

DigestionIt’s 1 pm and you just finished your lunch not too long ago. Now it is time to get back to work, but all you want to do is take a nice, long nap. Your body feels heavy and your mind is starting to fog. Sorry to break it to you – but you may be in a food coma.

Food comas are no joke! They can be especially dangerous in the workplace. Known as post-prandial somnolence  (Fancy huh?) to the medical world, a food coma is defined as a normal state of drowsiness following a meal.

To break this concept down even more, think of it as a series of chain reactions. When you consume food, your body goes into a general state of low energy due to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system in response to the increase of mass in your gastrointestinal tract. This then leads to a specific state of sleepiness caused by hormonal and neurochemical changes related to the rate at which glucose enters your bloodstream and the downstream effects it has on the transport of amino acid in the central nervous system. In other words, your energy is being diverted to aid in digestion, so “non-essential” functions such as, exercise and muscle exertion are placed on the back-burners.

As a general rule of thumb –  the bigger the meal, the harder it will be for you to stay awake! When you eat a lot at once, your parasympathetic nervous system ends up shifting more of its energy to help with digestion. What you eat also matters. When you consume foods loaded with fat and sugar, they are quickly broken down into glucose (the simplest form of sugar). Your body uses glucose for fuel and this increase of it will cause a spike in your bloodstream. To counteract this surge in blood sugar, your body then releases more insulin to clean up the excess glucose. However, the increase in insulin causes your brain to produce more serotonin and melatonin, which are neurochemicals that make you feel sleepy.

If you’re concerned about feeling sleepy after eating, we have some tips that can help you improve your digestion and overall gut health…
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Embracing Healthy Family Practice with The Wellness Mama


Katie, the Wellness Mama, joins Sara Gottfried and Pedram Shojai on The Health Bridge. As you may already know, Katie is the mother of five children and it’s tough being a mom. In this episode, these three health and wellness gurus share parenting tips and strategies to teach our children healthy habits.



How do we make sure our kids (and perhaps even us) are eating healthily despite the fact that most kids’ menus are filled with unhealthy options? Is it possible to encourage children who hate vegetables to give them a go? And how do we make sure our kids are getting enough activity if all they want to do is play video games?

You’re really going to have to watch or listen this episode to get the full picture. However, we want to provide you with a great resource for healthy recipes for kids’ meals. Super Healthy Kids has an index of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snack ideas. If you’re looking to spice things up for your family, give this resource a try. Sometimes we have to be creative when it comes to encouraging our children to eat more fruits and veggies. It’s not an easy feat, but nothing is impossible. Good luck!


Don’t forget to subscribe to The Health Bridge! 

Foods that Lead to Weight Gain with Guest JJ Virgin

As we near summer, we’re all thinking about getting that perfect beach body. Some of us are probably starting an exercise routine and trying to get our diets in order.


This week on The Health Bridge, Sara Gottfried and Pedram Shojai welcome nutrition expert JJ Virgin to go through a list of the foods that we often consume, but will make us gain weight. Why do these foods lead to weight gain? What happens inside of our bodies when we eat these foods? What can we do to help our bodies burn fat?

Check out this episode of The Health Bridge for JJ’s blacklist! You may be surprised by some of the foods on this list… because you might be eating them.

Weight Gain

Simple Tempeh Reuben Salad Recipe

Summer Bock and Robyn Youkilis come together to create a salad version for a favorite, yet not so healthy, sandwich… the classic reuben. They have created a salad that has all the great flavors of the reuben, but without the guilt. This simple recipe is easy to make and sure to satisfy your cravings!

In Summer and Robyn’s recipe, they use tempeh as a substitute for meat. If you’re a vegetarian, you may already know about this soy-based superfood. If you’ve never heard of tempeh before stumbling onto this delicious recipe, then let us explore what this food has to offer.


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Foods That Fill You With Vitality with Steven Masley

You are what you eat. We hear it all the time. And often we’re told what we’re not supposed to eat. But what about things we should eat? What are the foods that will fill us with vitality?

There are so many labels at the grocery store that tell us foods are “heart healthy” or “high in protein”, but what does that all actually mean? Can the sugary bowl of cereal really be heart healthy? Sara Gottfried and Pedram Shojai welcome guest Steven Masley to The Health Bridge to discuss what foods we can and should add that could help improve our daily lives.

Here’s a quick recap of the 5 foods that fill you with vitality and amplify your sex life.

#1 – Fiber: fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts, beans and nuts.
#2 – Lean and clean protein. Get off the chemically enhanced meat.
#3 – Healthy fat, especially more MUFA’s: avocado, olives, olive oil.
#4 – Beneficial beverages which includes clean water, tea, and red wine.
#5 – Fabulous flavors, including the extra-dark chocolate, spices, herbs and chili.


Healing the Gut with Sauerkraut (Easy-To-Follow Recipe)

Many cultures around the world incorporate different fermented foods into their everyday diets. Here in the United States, we tend to forget about fermented foods and their many health benefits.

In this webisode, we shine our spotlight onto the sauerkraut, cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. The bacteria that forms in the sauerkraut can help with the biology of the gut by soothing the digestive tract. When we think of “sauerkraut”, we might think, “Oh another hot dog topping”. It’s time to reinvent how this unlikely superfood fits into our diets and we have Summer Bock, Expert Fermentationist, here to show us the way. Summer joins us in Pedram’s kitchen to teach us her secrets to making deliciously mouth-watering sauerkraut.

Remember to make or buy sauerkraut that is raw and lacto-fermented instead of the ones that are typically made with vinegar. That way you get the most benefits. Speaking of health benefits, let’s run through them now.

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Wake Up And Bulletproof Your Coffee

Dave Asprey drops by Pedram’s kitchen to show him how to brew Bulletproof Coffee the right way. Who better to show than the Bulletproof Executive himself?

Dave shares the story of how he came across the idea of combining butter with coffee as well as the benefits of doing so. If you are wondering why Bulletproof Coffee reigns supreme, he goes into that part as well. Dave explains why his coffee beans make you feel noticeably better than anything else you’ll find at your average grocery stores. You’ll never go back to your corner coffeehouse chain again!

You really need to watch the webisode to learn the ins and outs of Bulletproof Coffee. However, we want to share this recipe (courtesy of The Bulletproof Executive), so you guys have it written out in text.

  • Brew 1 cup (8 oz.) of coffee using filtered water, just off the boil, with 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons freshly ground Bulletproof® Upgraded™ Coffee Beans. (French Press is easiest.)
  • Add in 1-2 tablespoons Bulletproof® Upgraded™ Brain Octane™ to the hot coffee (It’s STRONG – start with 1 tsp. and work up over several days).
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee
  • Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it is frothy like a foamy latte

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Super Powered Tea For A Natural Energy Boost

Robyn Youkilis of Your Healthiest You recently joined Pedram in his kitchen for some super powered tea time.

By adding a few easy-to-get ingredients, this tea can help give a natural boost of energy without fogging up our brains or leading to an energy crash in the afternoon. Most importantly, it tastes delicious! Bring your cups and saucers and let the tea concoction begin.

Before you hit play to learn the recipe to this energizing tea, let’s look at some of the health benefits provided by the key ingredients.

Yerba MateSuper Powered Tea

  • High antioxidant capacity; reduce oxidative stress
  • Promote healthy Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Improve digestion
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Increase cognition and mental clarity
  • Help regulate glucose levels for Type 2 Diabetes
  • Enhances fat metabolism
  • High amounts of minerals and vitamins (potassium, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, nitrogen, etc. Vitamins A, C, E etc.)
  • Good source of natural energy (with the aid of caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline)

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Jeffrey Smith on How to Avoid GMO Foods


Jeffrey Smith is THE world expert on GMOs and GMO awareness. He takes us on a tour of the food served at a buffet in a restaurant to teach us what to avoid when we eat out. Many of us often wonder about the quality of the ingredients used in our favorite restaurants. Are things really 100% organic? How can we tell what is what? Please stay tuned if you want to learn how to distinguish between organic or GMO foods.

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