The Health Bridge Show: Sofa Series Episode 1

Sofa Series
Last fall, Pedram Shojai, Ken Cook, and Abel James all visited Sara Gottfried at her home and we recorded a long conversation that lasted nearly two hours. Here is the first two parts of that conversation. They discuss how Ken started the Environmental Working Group and what EWG aims to do. How can we live sustainably? Are we aware of all of the various toxin and chemical exposure events that take place through everyday life? Can technology help control certain issues?

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Show me the SKIN Facts!


Now that we know what’s in them, do they actually work? Don’t leave that makeup counter without asking for the ‘SKIN Facts”! No really, we tried this and unfortunately didn’t get the response we were hoping for.

Dr. Vesna Petronic-Rosic, dermatologist of the University of Chicago Medical Center, shares that most companies rarely publish studies that display the effectiveness of their product. They tend to focus more on potential side effects, such as skin irritation and allergic reactions.

So why is our knowledge of the ingredients in skincare and cosmetic products so sparse? To what extent do these products deliver their desired effects? If data from research and tests were more readily available, we’d all be more educated consumers. Unfortunately, companies tend to cite scientific evidence to help prove that specific ingredients in anti-aging products actually work, but they keep these studies private and decline to present them to the general public.

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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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What’s all the hullabaloo? Is that a Wrinkle?!


Everywhere you look there always seems to be a new anti-aging cream containing the most advanced technologies on the market- but how do we know these creams actually work? Do we even know what’s in them?

To answer these questions, we did a bit of research. Our team has delved into the facts to unearth more information on anti-aging creams.

First off, what’s in them?

To truly understand what works, we have to take a look at what these serums are made of! In doing so, we identified some of the main components that give anti-aging creams their umph. These include pentapeptides, collegan, sirtuins, and resveratol.

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The Hungry Man: Beating the Freshmen 15

It’s nearly time for my ten-year reunion, but there’s a small part of me that’s the same person I was in high school.

No matter how far I’ve moved away or how many new friends I’ve made, there’s a part of me that’s still the loud, musical-loving, inappropriate-joke-making kid I was so long ago. What has changed, however, is that I no longer weigh over 200 pounds. At 5 feet 6 inches tall, that was quite an amount of weight to carry. I was born and raised in the midwest, Grand Rapids, MI to be precise, and was hardly the fattest person in my class. That said, I was definitely far from being fit.

My weight was never a prevalent health issue; my yearly check-ups never resulted in any alarms. My doctor once even mentioned I was healthy and it was just how I was built. I could actually run a decent mile for being as fat as I was. I was that person who was first to make fun of my weight. Others could try to put me down, but they couldn’t say anything I already hadn’t covered. I wasn’t that depressive fat kid in high school. My weight and image was just who I was. Sure I could have done more to maybe get in better shape. The amount of pop I would drink while playing video games for hours straight would have killed an elephant. The food I ate wasn’t healthy and I ate a lot of it.

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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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Skin Care Without Toxic Chemicals

Many of us use lotions, sunscreens, and deodorants on our skin, perhaps even every day. Do we know what really goes in our beloved skin care products? Let’s investigate!

When we put chemicals on our skin, it is actually way worse than if we were to ingest them. Why? Because when we eat something, the enzymes in our saliva and stomach help break down the “something” and flush out any toxins from the body. Unfortunately, personal care products and cosmetics absorb directly through the pores. That’s why people who use makeup on a daily basis can absorb almost 5 pounds of toxic chemicals into their bodies each year. Wow!

Here is a quick list of common toxic chemicals to avoid in your personal care products:

1) Phthalates and Parabens

Phthalates and parabens belong to a group of chemicals commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They keep our hairsprays sticky and our nail polishes bacteria and fungus-free. Unfortunately, both of these chemicals have shown to be carcinogenic and linked to breast cancer. The Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre at the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust discovered that paraben residues are found at concentrations up to 1 million times higher than the estrogen levels naturally found in human breast tissue. Furthermore, Propylparaben was found at its highest concentration in the underarm area – think about the deodorants we so often use!

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The Health Bridge – Anxiety and Five Natural Hacks


We have all experienced some level of anxiety. For some of us, it’s a bigger problem than for others.

We know that a busy workplace or a hectic home life can cause stress, but do we know how the food we eat and the coffee we drink affect anxiety levels? In this episode of The Health Bridge, Sara and Pedram discuss the five things we can do to help relieve anxiety.

Here’s a quick summary of the five natural hacks that they will talk about:

Number 1 - Blood Sugar

Stabilize your blood sugar. If you don’t get sugar to your brain, you’re going to get anxious. Start with protein and slow carbs.

Number 2 – Get Off Drinking Coffee

Your body has this energy economy and we want to keep charging. However we don’t want to borrow energy from artificial sources, such as coffee, especially if you have anxiety.

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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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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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