Articles by Stacey Wirtjes

  \  Tru Mindset, Wellness  March 11, 2024

9 tips for better digestion

For many people, digestion is a mystery – even though it is an essential part of maintaining good health. It doesn’t have to be complicated; there are some easy tips that you can incorporate into your daily routine to ensure better digestion. From understanding the importance of hydration and meal portion size to what foods help improve gut health, we will cover nine simple ways you can support your body’s natural digestive processes and achieve optimal digestion. Keep reading to learn how you can make significant improvements in your digestive system today!

Tip # 1: Eat slowly, and chew well.

While choking is something we would like to avoid while eating, there’s another reason to eat slowly and chew your food, and it’s related to digestion. The smaller the food particles, the faster your stomach and gut can digest it.

Scientists say your stomach is only one part of the digestive equation. As our stomach fills with food or water, it activates stretch receptors, nerves that monitor the state of your muscle. Your brain is then signaled through the vagus nerve, which controls your digestion and immune system functions, letting your body know nourishment is on its way13. Hormones are then released once partially digested food enters the small intestine.

Eating too fast or not chewing well? Then the food you eat won’t break down into chyme, a liquid mix of partially digested food, hydrochloric acid, and enzymes needed to avoid uncomfortable digestive situations such as indigestion and other gut-related issues15.

Tip #2: Small meals make a big impact.

We’re bringing up stress again. Especially since stress seems to magnify almost everything that could go wrong with our bodies, we think it deserves mention, but this time we’re talking about stress’ effects on our brain and gut. Here’s a related fact. Did you know that you have a second brain? Well, not literally, but figuratively. According to scientists, inside the walls of your gut lie an enteric nervous system (ENS) that acts much like a “little brain” with a not-so-little impact2. More than 100 million nerve cells inside your intestinal lining from your esophagus and beyond send signals to your gut on how it should function2. While your ENS has nothing to do with cognitive abilities, scientists and doctors have found that it does communicate directly with your nervous system, can instigate shifts in your mood and overall well-being2. Your gastrointestinal system communicates with the central nervous system, which in turn can affect our dispositions. Because of this connection to our mood, it is important to maintain a healthy balance within your gastrointestinal system.

Here’s another gut check: Your immune system and gut bacteria are besties. 70% of your immune system is found in the gut3. When your immune cells communicate with the microbiome, the bacteria and fungi respond accordingly, and our diets can heavily impact this response. If your dietary journey primarily consists of processed foods, fat, and sugar, your gut might not convey the best message to your immune system3. However, if your diet is high in fiber, prebiotic, and probiotic-rich foods, your intestinal tract will relay a healthier tale.

For a healthy gut, start here.

There’s a great debate about how many small meals you should eat daily. Some nutritionists may say six, while others say three. It’s not that your body can’t handle larger meals. Small meals help to manage your body’s yearning for cravings when a lack of glucose exists. Your gut plays a huge part in the release of glucose. This simple sugar is released throughout your body after digestion. If your glucose levels are always appropriate, your body recognizes that it’s fine, reducing your chances of being tempted by processed or sugary foods (junk food). Junk food in the gut translates to an increase in bad bacteria and can have lasting effects on your immune system and your body as a whole.

Tip # 3: Hydrate.

Water makes up 50 to 70 percent of your body. It’s no wonder you need it daily9. Dehydration occurs when your body puts out more fluid than it takes in, and your body doesn’t have the water needed to help it function.10 Here are a few signs that you may need more water10:

• Extreme thirst
• Fatigue
• Confusion
• Less than frequent urination

Almost every part of your body requires water. Water helps break down the food you eat so that it’s ready for digestion, giving your gut a chance to get the maximum nutrition it needs9. Scientists suggest that in a typical environment, the daily fluid intake should be 15.5 cups per day for men and 11.5 cups per day for women11.

How much water should you drink per day? Well, it depends. You’ve probably heard the recommendation that eight cups daily are all you need to hydrate your body properly. 8 cups are a good place to start, but it all depends on a few factors10:

• Exercise – Working up a sweat can deplete the water necessary to refresh your body. You should drink water before, during, and after a workout.

• Environment – Warmer weather can also cause you to sweat. Sweat reduces your body’s fluid levels.

• Overall health – Hydration is necessary when you have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. Don’t hesitate to see your doctor if you feel ill or before taking other hydration alternatives.

• Pregnancy and breastfeeding – Staying hydrated helps to keep your breast milk flowing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor or
lactation consultant.

Want to spice up your fluid intake? You don’t have to rely on water to hydrate. Fruits and vegetables also contain water that goes toward your hydration tally. Carbonated drinks, teas, juices, and milk are included too. Drinking water is excellent, but drinking too much can cause health problems. Too much water can cause your kidneys to remove the excess fluid that it needs, diluting your blood content10.

Tip #4: Processed foods and your gut aren’t on speaking terms.

Processed foods are today’s culture. They’re classified as any food changed from its natural state by adding ingredients intended to fortify or preserve. Consuming processed food every so often (for most individuals) won’t send your gut spiraling. But as a rule of thumb, less is best, and that is because of processed food’s role in harmful bacteria growth within the gut. Researchers investigated the effect of ultra-processed food (food additives, artificial sweeteners, and more) on animals. They found that the higher the levels of processed food, the greater the mutation of the microbiota6. Here’s the surprising part. Scientists also discovered that these changes could transfer to later generations, keeping the DNA intact but altering how the body reads it6.

Tip # 5: Singing the junk food blues?

This news will make you smile. For every processed food is a tasty, nutritious option waiting to satisfy your palate. Looking for ideas? Try these unprocessed snack options and recipe suggestions instead:


• Raw vegetables with hummus
• Fresh fruit with almond butter
• Tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole
• Hummus mixed with avocado
• Homemade fruit popsicles


Celery with zesty red pepper dip recipe
Pickled Vegetable Salad with Sesame Seeds recipe
Oven-roasted asparagus with orange-tarragon aioli recipe
Roasted brussels sprouts with apple and cranberries recipe

Tip # 6: Fruits, veggies, and whole grains, oh my!

We hear so much talk about the importance of fiber these days, and rightfully so. It’s the catalyst for optimal gut health. Fiber is a carbohydrate that gives good bacteria the fuel it needs to thrive. When good bacteria thrive, it can improve factors in your health, including lowering blood sugar levels and weight loss4. Here’s a not-so-obvious fact, we can’t digest fiber. It passes through the stomach and small intestine and is fermented in the colon before leaving the body8.

But this doesn’t mean you should write fiber off. There are two types of fibers that you should include in your everyday diet: Prebiotic and probiotic fibers. Eating prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods or supplements is terrific for your gut. Their names sound almost identical, but they have two very different jobs.

Prebiotics are food for the good bacteria in your gut4. Probiotics are living microorganisms (live bacteria) that help good bacteria multiply, balancing your gut’s microbe levels and digestion4. Fruits and vegetables are a great way to work fiber into your everyday dietary routine, but unfortunately, all produce is not equal regarding gut health.

Tip # 7: High fructose fruit can fly under the sugar radar.

Fruit may be better for you than a double-scoop ice cream sundae, but that doesn’t mean it’s void of high amounts of sugar. What’s the big deal? Certain fruits have higher fructose than others. If you suffer from bloating or are gassy, avoiding high levels of fructose can help you avoid further intestinal irritation.

When it comes to fruits, your best bet is to add more color. Yellow bananas, citrus fruits, and red grapes are examples of this. Each color you consume increases your chance of absorbing different nutrients, which does wonders for the good bacteria in your gut. Stone fruits or “drupes” are the best example of fiber-rich fruit. Its thin, rough covering surrounds a seed. Think cherries and peaches. They’re winners in terms of gut health12. But fruit isn’t the only type of fiber-rich food that exists. If you’re looking for more fiber options, check these out:

Whole grains
Whole grains contain tons of fiber, making this ingredient a “go-to” for intestines. Fatty amino acids, produced from the fermentation of food in the gut, encourage healthy cells; as we now know, these cells are directly associated with your immune health12.

Leafy greens have become the mascot for fiber, and they should be. They’re fantastic! But just like fruit, you should consume veggies of all shades. Spinach, green, red peppers, and other leafy greens can also help the good bacteria in your gut bloom12. They feature high levels of fiber and vitamins. Your microbiome will love them, and so will your body.

Tip # 8: Caffeine and alcohol: A digestion no-no.

Every taste of your favorite caffeinated drink or alcoholic beverage can feel like nirvana. It may even put you in a better mood. There’s one thing for sure. It may not be a mutual feeling for your gut. Caffeine encourages muscles to contract along your digestive tract to send food to your intestines, which can cause diarrhea or trigger dehydration3. This movement is called gut motility3.

Alcohol, on the other hand, aggravates your gastrointestinal tract. This aggregation causes a disruption of the good bacteria within your gut, called Dysbiosis4. Drinking alcoholic beverages can also promote bacterial overgrowth, making it a prime environment for the bad guys, called endotoxins, to be released4. Why are they bad guys? They encourage the growth of proteins and immune cells that irritate the gut4. A second theory is digestive and intestinal functions are to blame4.

Tip # 9: Get your body and gut moving.

Our gastrointestinal systems are home to tons of gut microbiota (bacteria and fungi) that are great for our intestines, helping us absorb every bit of nutrients from our food. Microbiota may sound very scientific and boring, but the things that it does are pretty cool. It operates much like an organ inside of another. When your body goes through changes, so does your microbiota. Researchers think that the activity from microbiota itself can affect the metabolic action of the gut and your overall body, enhancing the number of different bacteria when exercising more1. A six-week exercise program resulted in lean and obese individuals experiencing an alteration of the gut microbiota2. However, when the exercise stopped, so did the “exercise-induced” microbiota. Exercise doesn’t have to be super complex. You can walk, jog a local trail, go cycling, or take a Pilates class. It doesn’t take much. Moving your body can help you stimulate the bacteria in your gut, keeping your overall health in top shape.

With these nine tips for better digestion, you’ll be on your way to fostering a healthier relationship with your gut. While it’s easy to slip out of routines or forget about some of the more general tips for a healthy gut, it’s worth remembering that the road to better digestion starts with understanding your own body and following through on lifestyle choices. So don’t wait – get started on achieving optimal digestion today!

1 Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive health effects – National Library of Medicine
2 Exercise Alters Gut Microbiota Composition and function in lean and obese humans – National Library of Medicine
3 Energy drinks, caffeine, and your digestion – Michigan Medicine (University of Michigan)
4 Alcohol and gut-derived inflammation – National Library of Medicine
5 Dietary Fiber: Essential for a healthy diet – Mayo Clinic
6 Gut microbiota: An important link between western diet and chronic diseases – National Library of Medicine
7 Sugar Shutdown: Healthy Unprocessed Snacks – Novant Health
8 Snacks and side – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
9 Does drinking water during or after a meal affect or disturb digestion – Mayo Clinic
10 Water: How much should you drink every day? – Mayo Clinic
11 Dehydration – Mayo Clinic
12 Stone Fruits: Growth and Nitrogen and Organic Acid Metabolism in the Fruits and Seeds—A Review – National Library of Medicine
13 Vagus Nerve – Cleveland Clinic
14 Slow down – and try mindful eating – Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School)
15 Slide show: See how your digestive system works – Mayo Clinic

  \  Motivational, Nutrition, Tru Mindset  February 12, 2024

The Secret to a Morning Routine that Sets You Up for Success

We’ve all heard the saying, “The way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it.” And it’s true. A successful day starts with a successful morning routine. Developing a morning routine that sets you up for success may seem overwhelming, but it’s easier than you think. In this blog, we’ll explore the secret to a morning routine that sets you up for success and how to implement it into your daily life.

  1. Wake Up Early – The key to a successful morning routine is waking up early. Early wake-up time provides extra time to focus on your personal development and goals. It’s easier to start the day when you’re not rushing to get things done. Aim to wake up 30 minutes to an hour earlier to give yourself enough time to focus on yourself before starting your day.
  2. Exercise – Exercise is a great way to start your day. It not only boosts your energy and mood, but it also sets the tone for a healthy day. You don’t have to go to the gym to get a good workout in. Simple body-weight exercises like pushups, squats, and lunges can be done at home and provide great results.
  3. Plan Your Day – Planning your day is an important step in setting yourself up for success. Take a moment to review your daily goals, tasks, and priorities to ensure you’re staying on track and making progress toward your larger objectives. This simple act helps you focus on what needs to be done and prepares you for a productive day.
  4. Practice Mindfulness – Practicing mindfulness is a great way to start your day. Mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and stress, increase focus, and improve overall well-being. Take time each morning to practice mindfulness techniques like meditation or deep breathing. These techniques create a sense of calm and prepare you to tackle your day with a clear mind.
  5. Eat a Nutritious Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s essential to eat a nutritious breakfast. A balanced breakfast provides energy and nutrients essential for a productive day. Start your day with foods high in protein and fiber like eggs, oatmeal, or yogurt.
  6. Stay Hydrated – One of the simplest things you can do for your health is to drink plenty of water. Start your day by drinking a large glass of water, preferably before your morning coffee. This helps rehydrate your body after a night’s sleep and can boost your metabolism.
  7. Limit Screen Time – Starting your day by checking your phone or other electronic devices can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Limiting screen time in the morning can have significant benefits for your mental and emotional well-being. By starting your day without the distractions of technology, you can cultivate a more focused, peaceful, and productive mindset to carry throughout the rest of your day.
  8. Create a Positive Environment – Surround yourself with things that inspire and motivate you, like motivational quotes, uplifting music, or pleasant scents. A positive environment can contribute to a productive and happy day.
  9. Personal Hygiene – Maintaining good personal hygiene in the morning plays a crucial role in starting your day feeling refreshed, confident, and ready to tackle whatever challenges come your way. A consistent hygiene routine can also contribute to your overall health and well-being.
  10. Take Time for Personal Growth – Set aside at least 15-30 minutes each morning to focus on activities that contribute to your personal development. This could include reading, journaling, learning a new skill, or working on a passion project.

In conclusion, a successful morning routine is essential for setting yourself up for a productive day. Incorporating these steps into your daily routine may take time, but the results are worth it. Start small and gradually incorporate these steps into your daily routine, and watch as your morning routine sets you up for success. Remember, the way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of it.

  \  Tru Mindset  January 22, 2024

Reset & Restart: Jump Start Your Health Journey at Any Age

Living a healthy lifestyle is essential for overall well-being, regardless of age. It’s never too late to make positive changes that can have a significant impact on your health and quality of life. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle at any age and provide practical tips on how to reset and restart your health journey. Whether you’re in your 20s or your 60s, it’s never too late to prioritize your health and well-being.

Understand the importance of having a healthy lifestyle, regardless of your age

Regardless of age, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for various reasons. The most important, maintaining optimal health. Furthermore, a healthy lifestyle promotes emotional well-being, helps reduce stress levels, and improves overall quality of life.

Set achievable goals for yourself – take each step slowly and steadily

When embarking on a health journey, it’s important to set realistic and achievable goals. Start by identifying areas where you want to make improvements, whether it’s nutrition, exercise, stress management, or sleep. Break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps that you can work towards over time. Remember, progress is a journey, and taking small steps consistently is more sustainable than attempting drastic changes all at once.

Incorporate healthier habits into your daily routines

One key aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is incorporating healthier habits into your daily routines. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Nutrition: Focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Minimize processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive salt intake. Portion control is also important to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Physical activity: Engage in regular exercise that suits your age and fitness level. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week. Incorporate strength training exercises to improve muscle tone and flexibility.
  • Stress management: Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy and relaxation.
  • Sleep hygiene: Prioritize getting enough sleep each night. Create a bedtime routine that promotes relaxation and avoid electronic devices before bed. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep to support optimal health.

Try low-impact exercises for strengthening & flexibility

As we age, it’s important to focus on exercises that promote strength and flexibility while minimizing the risk of injury. Low-impact exercises are excellent options for people of all ages.

Consider incorporating activities such as:

  • Walking: A simple yet effective form of exercise that promotes cardiovascular health and can be done at any age.
  • Swimming: A low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout, improves cardiovascular fitness, and is gentle on the joints.
  • Yoga or Pilates: These practices help improve flexibility, balance, and strength, while also promoting relaxation and stress reduction.
  • Tai Chi: A gentle form of exercise that combines slow, flowing movements with deep breathing and meditation. Tai Chi helps improve balance, coordination, and overall well-being.

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regimen, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or concerns.

Utilizing Support & Community – Building Networks for Accountability & Progress

Embarking on a health journey can be challenging, but having a support system can make a significant difference. Consider the following ways to utilize support and build a network for accountability and progress:

  • Find a workout buddy: Exercising with a partner or joining a group fitness class can provide motivation, accountability, and make workouts more enjoyable.
  • Join online communities: Engage in online health and wellness communities where you can connect with like-minded individuals who share similar goals and experiences. These communities can provide valuable support, advice, and inspiration.
  • Seek professional guidance: Consult with healthcare professionals, such as nutritionists, personal trainers, or therapists, who can provide personalized guidance and support on your health journey.
  • Track and celebrate your progress: Keep track of your achievements and milestones along the way. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, as they signify your commitment and dedication to your health.

Regardless of your age, embracing a healthy lifestyle is essential for overall well-being. By understanding the importance of a healthy lifestyle, setting achievable goals, incorporating healthier habits into your daily routines, trying low-impact exercises, and utilizing support and community, you can reset and restart your health journey.

  \  Tru Mindset  January 22, 2024

Over 50? Try These 5 Healthy Habits to Help You Feel Your Best

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to prioritize our health and well-being. Taking care of ourselves becomes vital for maintaining a high quality of life in our later years. With that in mind, here are five healthy habits that individuals over 50 can adopt to feel their best and live a fulfilling life:

Prioritize Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is crucial for individuals of all ages, but particularly for those over 50. Engaging in physical activity helps maintain muscle strength, flexibility, and overall mobility. It also supports cardiovascular health.

Incorporating exercise into your daily routine doesn’t have to be daunting. Start with activities you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, or cycling. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

Follow a Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet is essential for maintaining optimal health as we age. As our bodies undergo changes, it’s important to provide them with the necessary nutrients they need. Focus on consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Include foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D to support bone health, which active adults can benefit from. Reduce processed foods, sugary snacks, and excessive salt intake. Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day.

If you’re unsure about your dietary needs or have specific dietary restrictions, consult with a registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance and meal planning.

Prioritize Sleep

Quality sleep becomes even more crucial as we age. Adequate sleep can help improve cognitive function, memory retention, immune function and supports overall emotional well-being.

Set a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Create a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable, quiet, and dark.

Engage in Mental Stimulation

Keeping your mind active and engaged is essential for cognitive health. Engaging in mentally stimulating activities can improve memory, attention span, and overall brain function. This becomes especially important as we age.

Challenge your brain by learning something new, such as playing a musical instrument, solving puzzles, or engaging in strategic games like chess. Reading, writing, or taking up a new hobby can also provide mental stimulation. Socializing and maintaining strong social connections have been shown to promote brain health as well.

Attend Regular Health Check-ups

Regular health check-ups are crucial for identifying and addressing potential health issues before they become serious. As we age, our bodies undergo changes, and certain health conditions become more common. Regular screenings and check-ups can help detect these issues early on.

Visit your healthcare provider for routine check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings recommended for your age group. This may include blood pressure checks, cholesterol screenings, bone density tests, and cancer screenings. Stay proactive in managing your health and discuss any concerns or symptoms with your healthcare provider.

In conclusion, adopting these healthy habits can significantly improve your overall well-being and quality of life as you navigate the journey of aging. Prioritizing exercise, following a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, engaging in mental stimulation, and attending regular health check-ups are key pillars of a healthy lifestyle for individuals over 50. Remember, it’s never too late to start implementing these habits and making positive changes for your well-being.