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Rocky Gorge WellNews March 2024 NEWSLETTER

Rocky Gorge WellNews March 2024

March is National Nutrition Month

Welcome back from Winter! Now that we’ve sprung forward, let’s look at ways to boost our overall vitality by peering into the astonishing hidden world inside our bodies.

Nutritional Nuggets: Our Microbiome

Do you have a gut feeling that, despite your good intentions, you’re not getting the most out of the nutrients you consume? Consider some of our ideas to nourish your microbiome and learn about the important benefits of probiotics and prebiotics. No matter how much healthy food and supplements you consume, optimum absorption is key.

What is the microbiome?

Our bodies coexist with 100+ trillions of mostly beneficial or benign bacteria – microbiota – (as well as viruses and fungi) which colonize us beginning at birth. Each of our microbiomes is unique.

Our microbiota inhabits our skin, our mucous membranes, our intestines and other internal organs, and even our belly buttons. Simply put, it consists of all organisms in our bodies that are not us – at least 40% of our body weight. That’s right: a substantial number of the cells we haul around every day do not even share our DNA!

Our beneficial gut flora is called that for good reason. They play significant roles in our biological functions. Byproducts of their biochemical actions supply nutrients, essential for digestion and absorption of food nutrients. Gut floras secrete chemical signals in what’s known as the gut-brain axis. Science journalist Michael Pollan suggests that the “increase in autoimmune diseases in the West may owe to a disruption in the ancient relationship between our bodies and their ‘old friends’” — the microbes we coevolved with.

Gut microbes influence metabolism. A less diverse microbiome can predispose some people to obesity and related underlying diseases. Just this month, the FDA allowed yogurt producers to claim that their products may help prevent Type 2 diabetes. Sometimes referred to as “the second brain,” the gut’s connection to mental and cognitive health has received much scientific attention. Elizabeth Pennisi notes that “people with autism and mood disorders, for example, have deficits of certain key bacteria in their guts.”

Pollan points out that “our resident microbes also appear to play a critical role in…modulating our immune system.” Harvard School of Public Health notes that “Microbiota stimulate the immune system, break down potentially toxic food compounds, and synthesize certain vitamins and amino acids…key enzymes needed to form vitamin B12 are only found in bacteria, not in plants and animals.”

The decline in humans’ gut microbe diversity and resulting health issues may be the result of the substantial the increase, over the last century, in consumption of low-fiber processed diets and the overuse of antibiotics.

So how do we boost our gut health? By paying attention to the dietary support of probiotics and prebiotics.

What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?

  • Probiotics are foods that naturally contain the beneficial microbiota – our good guys – that inhabit our bodies. There of dozens of types of microbiota, many of which belong to the lactobacillus family.
  • Prebiotics are essential in feeding our gut flora. They are found in plant-based foods high in oligosaccharides, soluble, and insoluble fiber. While not directly nutritional to our needs, we need them to feed our good guys.

Probiotic Food Sources

Fermented products that are abundant in live cultures are:

  • Apple cider vinegar – raw, unpasteurized only, with “the mother”
  • Buttermilk
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Pickled vegetables, kimchi, and sauerkraut (unpasteurized)
  • Tempeh
  • Yogurt

Supplements: Choose products that contain live cultures, found in the refrigerated section of natural foods stores.

Prebiotic Food Sources

Plant-based foods that contain resistant starches, inulin, and pectin, including:

  • Cocoa powder
  • Fruits, especially apples, blueberries, nectarines
  • Herbs (raw, fresh), such as mint, nettles, chives
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seaweed
  • Vegetables, especially asparagus, mushrooms, boiled potatoes, yams, onions, leeks, garlic, chives
  • Whole grains
  • Raw honey

Tasty, Easy Probiotic and Pre-biotic Treats

On the Sweet Side: Yogurt Salad Bowl

To 2 cups of plain yogurt or vegan cultured product of any preferred fat content (full, low, or nonfat) add any or all of the following:

Fresh fruit: berries, chopped cantaloupe, apples, stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines), or other fresh fruits.

¼ cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans – crushed or whole)

1 tablespoon seeds (sunflower, pumpkin)

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

2 tablespoons raw honey (optional)

Fresh mint (optional)

On the Savory Side

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki is a creamy yogurt-based condiment from the Mediterranean region. A tangy complement for lamb and salmon dishes, falafel, and veggie patties, it’s also a great dip for pita chips and veggies or used as a salad dressing.

Two cups of plain full fat yogurt, reduced fat Greek yogurt, or vegan cultured product

1 finely chopped or grated unpeeled English seedless cucumber. Drain out the moisture for 30 minutes, squeezing the cucumbers.

1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

1-3 cloves of minced garlic

Minced fresh mint or dill to taste (optional)

Salt and black pepper to taste. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

We hope that this information helps open your mind to the remarkable benefits of pre- and probiotics for overall health.

Please reach out to Abby with any questions regarding this subject or to learn about our services. See our 2024 Calendar of Classes to find the perfect fit for your Spring regimen! These sessions are offered in-studio or virtually. Think Spring!

These sessions are offered both in-studio and virtually via Zoom. Please contact Abby to register for classes.


5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Gentle Pilates Stretch and Tone


9:30-11 a.m. Body & Soul® Fitness Cardio Strength


6:30-7:30 p.m. AbbyStrong Fusion Strength and Conditioning


10:30-11:30 a.m. Golden Girls Senior Fitness (chair/strength/conditioning) 5:30-6:30 p.m. Gentle Pilates Stretch and Tone
Dear Resilient Clients,
This has certainly been a long and challenging season for all of us…and I do hope you are all doing well.
Currently, Howard County is in Phase Three, which allows gyms and private studios to open—under CDC guidelines.
I want to assure you, again, that I am being extremely cautious in how I schedule clients/classes and am taking all necessary precautions to ensure a safe and healthy exercise environment.
I will continue to do virtual trainings/classes and am also doing sessions on my large outdoor patio!
I totally respect and understand each individuals’ personal concerns and restrictions, but I want to let you know that I am here and am ready to support you with your health and fitness goals.
I would love to hear from you and hear how each of you are doing; I do hope all is well with you and your family.
Please take time to get outside and enjoy this wonderful sunshine, wear your masks, and stay away from crowds!
Let’s continue to do our due diligence to safeguard the welfare of all of those around us.
Also, please remember that I plan to do a “reset,” with each of you as you return: a fresh fitness assessment, updating all intake forms—including any current medications/injuries—as well as addressing any newly occurring issues since the March 2020 shutdown.
To your robust health,
Be sure to read our latest Rocky Gorge Wellnews newsletter here.
Abby Dixson, MES ACE Gold Certified Health and Fitness Coach Rocky Gorge Wellness/MediFit, Inc. Body and Soul Fitness Instructor MES, Post Rehab Conditioning Specialist/AAHFP Member of ACSM, IDEA, Wellcoaches “Movement is Medicine”

Dear Resilient Clients,

I hope all of you continue to do well, during this challenging time!

Although I have been in touch with many of you, I wanted to reach out with an update, regarding opening Rocky Gorge Wellness Studio in the weeks ahead.

For those who have been doing zoom sessions, I am happy to continue virtual training/small group classes for as long as each deems necessary, for their own individual health restrictions.

As we look towards the State of Maryland (Howard County) opening up in its various phases, I want to assure you that we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure a safe exercise environment!

As in-person appointments are scheduled, I will be spacing clients so there is no overlap, to limit individuals’ contact with each other and to make sure all equipment and surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

I plan to do a “reset,” with each of you as you return: a fresh fitness assessment, updating all intake forms—including any current medications/injuries—as well as addressing any newly occurring issues since the March 2020 shutdown. Remember, we also have warm weather coming and outdoor sessions are also an option!

I will have a full supply of disposable masks and gloves, but will ask for you to be prepared to have + bring your own initially. Gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer will be available in the Studio.

As all of you know, my passion is to help each individual achieve optimal health through safe and effective exercise and balanced nutrition! I am proceeding cautiously and will comply with the State of Maryland and CDC guidelines for all operations.

FYI: We have a monthly wellness support group focused on nutrition, diet challenges, and overall support. Please let me know if you would like to join us this Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 11:00am via zoom.

Please let me know any thoughts or concerns you may have, as I would love to hear from each of you!
Let’s stay Safe! Let’s stay Strong! 😁💪🏻🏻🌡

Remember: “Movement is Medicine,”
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