How Healthy Nutrition Supports Our Belly Bugs and Our Life.

Good health is the foundation of everything you do in life and especially for making positive changes.

Think of it. When already dealing with physical, mental and emotional challenges, it will be very difficult to take on another challenge such as changing an aspect of life we don’t feel happy with.

To improve and maintain good health, we have three tools to our disposal; healthy nutrition, safe and effective exercising and keeping a state of relaxed awareness to notice, welcome and accommodate all the events that come on our path every day.

This Blog is the first in a series of four in which I will talk about the role each of the three tools plays in our overall health and how they relate to each other.

This first blog is about healthy nutrition. The next blog will be about safe and effective exercising, the third about brain health and in the fourth blog, I will bring it all together.

For this first blog about healthy nutrition, I would like to look at the area of our body where what we eat and drink ends up in the first place which is our gut.

Our gut is a very special and delicate area of our body for two main reasons.

The first reason is that it harbors our Enteric Nervous System or second brain. It is formed from the same tissue as our Central Nervous System during fetal development. Both are connected through a nerve that serves as the primary channel of information between the hundreds of millions of nerve cells in the Enteric Nervous System and the Central Nervous System.

The second reason is that our gut and intestinal walls are colonized by trillions of bacteria and other microbes, collectively called our microbiome or gut flora. Each microbe contains its own DNA, and we interact with these organisms and their genetic material. Because the state of the microbiome is so key to human health, it can be considered as an organ of itself, as vital to health as our heart, lungs, liver and brain.

We have a very close relationship with these microbial inhabitants. They have participated in shaping our evolution and have lived on the planet for billions of years before our emergence.

Here are eight points that explain the important role our microbiome in our gut and on the intestinal walls;

  1. They help in the digestion and absorption of what we eat and drink
  2. They form barriers against potential invaders such as bad bacteria, harmful viruses and parasites
  3. They work as a detoxification machine; a second liver.
  4. Influence the immune system response; the gut is the biggest immune system organ.
  5. Produce and release important enzymes, chemicals for the brain, including vitamins and about 90% of the happiness neurotransmitter serotonin.
  6. Help handle stress through its effects on your hormonal system
  7. Assist in getting a good night’s sleep
  8. Help control the body’s inflammatory pathways, which in turn affect risk for virtually all manner of chronic disease.

Think a moment about what can happen if our microbiome can’t do its work properly.

With all the research that has been done, it is clear that our belly bugs play an important role in whether we are fat or thin, experience allergies, asthma, ADHD, cancer, diabetes or dementia. Our gut flora impacts our mood, libido, metabolism, immunity, whether we feel energetic or lethargic and even how we perceive the world and the clarity of our thoughts.

Hippocrates knew what he was talking about when he said: “all disease begins in the gut”.

The Russian biologist and Nobel Prize winner Elie Mechnikov was pretty clear too when she stated: “death begins in the colon”.

If you want to improve and maintain health, you need to take care of your microbiome in the first place, meaning that you need to eat food that is biologically correct, ready for your gut bacteria to work with and thrive on.

What our belly bugs or microbiome don’t like:

  • Chemicals present in processed food such as preservatives, emulsifiers, taste enhancers and colorings
  • Sugar because it turns good belly bugs into bad belly bugs
  • Gluten, present in grains because it damages your microbiome
  • Chlorinated tap water
  • Antibiotics either from the meat or medication
  • GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms. GMOs have been developed to produce pesticide within their own tissues or become herbicide- and/or pesticide-resistant to withstand direct application of pesticides. These chemicals leave traces of its residue on the food we eat which in turn harms our microbiome.

The best advice I can give to support your health is to eat organically produced whole food; food that is produced without the use of GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and with respect for the environment.

If you have a hard time finding organically produced fruits and veggies, then at least stay away from the most harmful ones as listed on the “dirty dozen”. You can read more information when you follow this link (opens in a new window)

And if you want to eat meat; no compromises here. Find a local farm that can provide you with meat free of antibiotics and hormones. Period.

Organic food may be more expensive, but you can work around that by looking for promotions. And by the way, did you price cancer lately?

The big take away; if you take care of your belly bugs with healthy nutrition, your belly bugs will take care of you.

Paying for eating low-quality food with suffering health and low energy and then trying to repair that with painkillers and other forms of medication looks like grabbing a hammer, hitting your thumb and then managing the consequences with bandages, painkillers and avoiding the use that part of your body for a while.

We can do better than that. Here’s to making wise choices that improve our health, that improve our lives, that help to improve the life of others, and eventually contribute to making the world a better place for everybody.

If you want to hear me talk more about this and find out how you and your audience can benefit? Follow this link, scroll down on the page, send me a message and let’s start a conversation.

I look forward to talking to you soon.


Technical Skills and Adaptive Skills

Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and a renowned psychiatrist once said:

“If we are unable to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Some situations are fairly simple to change with some basic skills, especially where they are tangible and specific. If you don’t like your house to be dirty, you clean it. If you feel hungry, you eat. When something is broken, you repair it or ask someone to do it for you.

Changing those situations is even easier when you have good physical strength, authority, status or money, and the more, the better.

Strength allows you to create or maintain things in and around your house, authority makes people listen and obey, status changes situations like a magic wand and money can do wonders too.

Attributes like these can do almost anything. The tricky word is, of course, almost.

There are moments in life when you find yourself in situations where money, authority, status or money can’t help you much.

What do you do with them when you see your body change and don’t like the effects; see your relationships change and not for the better; see yourself confronted with new situations at work you don’t know how to handle, or when you realize that negative habits or addictions are getting in your way?

Whether we like it or not, physical strength, authority, status and money can’t do it all.

Because we can’t slow down or stop the changes in and around us, we have only one option left to deal with changing situations, and that is to change ourselves.

This means that we have to attain new skills.

Companies and individuals annually spend billions of dollars on training for this purpose.

Not much of a problem as long as the training is meant for acquiring technical skills; knowing how to operate new machinery, learning a new (computer) language or updating one’s knowledge about legal matters.

We are willing to dedicate our time, commitment and money because there is a higher purpose; the companies’ continuity or our job and income.

But similar to the attributes mentioned before; physical strength, authority, status and money, technical skills also have their limits.

What can you do with technical skills alone when it comes to sales training, handling emotions, delegating, and stepping back to allow a younger generation to take up more responsibilities?

Technical skills can still be helpful, think of phone scripts for sales training, but are often not sufficient to improve one’s social skills to optimize client experience without harming the companies’ interest.

This is where adaptive skills enter the picture, which translates to improving one’s mental and social skills.

Whether in our personal or professional life, it is the most difficult area to make changes.

Learning a new technical skill is fairly easy. Concentration and repetition are in most cases enough to ingrain new brain patterns and establish a desired way of thinking and behaving.

Improving one’s mental and social skills leading to adaptive changes is far more difficult.

We find out about this when we recently decided to control our emotions better, delegate more or give a younger generation the possibility to express and implement their ideas…

…but realize that our behavior is causing the opposite results of what we rationally considered as wise.

Apparently, more than that we want the change to happen, we want something else even more. Clearly, a bigger commitment interfered and dictated our behavior.

If we want to implement the change we decided to make, we first have to bring that bigger commitment to the surface because you can’t create a solution if you don’t have a clear picture of what is causing the problem.

The reason bigger commitments dictate our behavior, wanted or unwanted, is that they invariably linked to built-in survival instincts that serve to preserve the status quo, in other words, to hold on to what is familiar and known and therefore safe.

You can tell someone or yourself to eat less and move more, to act less emotional, to delegate more, to be nice, to allow younger employees to fail and learn, to be more patient with the kids, be a better listener, think more from your partner’s or someone else’s standpoint…

…but for that to happen, you need to grab your searchlight first and identify your higher commitment that frustrates the positive change you want to make.

Unfortunately, this is not something you can do overnight or realize with training sessions that last a few days or weeks and predominantly focus on improving one’s technical skills.

Fact is, this is what most companies and people worldwide do with the result that billions are wasted that could and should have been spent elsewhere.

If we want to keep up with a society that becomes more complex every year, we have to be willing and ready to improve our mental and social skills with tools and techniques that are specially created to do so.

Guess what, it can be a very rewarding and even a pleasurable journey, especially when you and the people around you begin to notice positive changes such as becoming more creative and productive and more enjoyable to have around.

An extra benefit for you is that it can save you from physical, mental and emotional pains that frequently lead to the common life-threatening diseases we are all so familiar with.

As a motivational speaker, coach and change expert, I help men and women, especially those on the threshold or in the midst of the second phase of their lives, with tools and techniques that reduce stress and allow the flow of relaxed focus to create the life they want for themselves and those they care for.

If this is something you want for yourself, for someone else or for people you represent, then your first action is to go to scroll down on this page and send me a message. The next step is that I’ll contact you to explore how we can work together.

Talk to you soon.



Change is inevitable, growth is optional…

These wise words come from Bob Proctor, one of the greatest speakers in the world. His words make total sense when you realize that we are living and therefore ever-changing organisms in an ever-changing environment.

In other words, change is never the question; it is everywhere and happening all the time.

The real question is: are we willing to grow to be able to keep up with the changes that occur inside and outside of us?

That’s the option or choice we have and often the source of a lot of discomforts because it is human nature to stay with what is familiar, known and therefore safe.

Referring to my last week’s blog; it is a strategy that worked perfectly for our far ancestors who lived in a harsh and simple environment and died around the age of forty.

Mother Nature dictated life’s cycle those days; people grew up, got strong, passed on their DNA, raised their off-spring and then…die;  time to say goodbye.

From Mother Nature’s perspective, things haven’t changed much since then. The moment we have fulfilled our biological role, she loses her interest in us.

And frankly, seeing how fast our bodies begin to decay, it even looks that she has begun working against us.

Thank you so much.

Luckily, because we have been able to build upon the knowledge from previous generations, we now have to ability to live into our eighties, nineties and beyond.

But as if it were a trick from the Gods, this privilege comes at a price.

What this means is that to live happily after the years after forty, we have to take over the steering wheel from Mother Nature to keep our body and mind in good condition.

In other words, we have to take care of our fundamentals; effective exercising, healthy nutrition and sufficient rest and sleep.

If we do, we can give direction and structure to our lives and enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling second phase of life for ourselves and our loved ones.

If we don’t, we give away our power and have to accept life the way it rolls out to us with all ensuing consequences that begin with a quickly deteriorating health.

Think of this; according to a report in Archives of Internal Medicine, four healthy lifestyle factors — never smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet — together appear to be associated with as much as an 80 percent reduction in the risk of developing the most common and deadly chronic diseases.

Considering the consequences for ourselves and our loved ones, do we actually have the option to learn about the changes like, for instance, those that occur in our body, and to grow, meaning develop new personal skills to accommodate those changes?

“No, but how do you do that when you already have to work so hard to handle all the daily obligations and responsibilities?”

I hear you, and that is where I would like to help.

After having to go through a lot of changes and challenges in my personal and professional life, it is my mission to share my knowledge and experience with everybody who is ready and open to change, with the aim to make their life easier.

This goes further than physical health because even though this is an important aspect of our overall health, other aspects play a role too. Think of mental and emotional health, professional health and social health.

Everything is connected, and when one underperforms, the others will also suffer.

My presentations and workshops are built around giving people all the information they need to get on track toward a healthier and more creative and productive lifestyle.

Straightforward tools and techniques they can apply immediately and that cover what to do and how to do it, including how to overcome roadblocks that will certainly appear on the way toward achieving goals.

Let’s connect today and begin a conversation how I can add value to your life and the lives of the people you represent.

Just follow this link to send me a message, and I’ll contact you at a day and time that suits you best.

Talk to you soon.

Patrick Streppel.