An Intelligence Gene? High IQ May Be in Our DNA


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Always been the smarty pants in your group?  Awww, SNAP!  Chances are, it’s in your DNA.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

A study of Dutch families (Gosso MF et al., 2006) found that Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) rs363050, located on the SNAP-25 gene is associated with “performance IQ” (i.e. non-verbal IQ).

Each copy of “A” at rs363050 in a person’s genotype increased the subjects’ performance IQ by an average of three points compared to those with no copies of “A”.The authors estimated that rs363050 accounts for 3.4% of the variation in performance IQ between people.

I learned this little tidbit while exploring my Health Traits on the 23andMe website.  A single user-posted question, “Is There Anyone Else with 2 Copies of the Gene for Intelligence?” sparked over 260 replies from users sharing their genotypes, those of their family members, as well as IQ scores, SAT/GRE scores, levels of degrees obtained, and much more to both support AND oppose the findings of this research.

When you get down to brass tacks, no one who fancies him/herself as intelligent wants to look at their own genotype & have it read otherwise … anymore than someone wants their Kindness Gene genotype to tell them they can’t be empathetic.

Of course for this and other similar discussions, there is the nature vs. nurture debate … it can be challenging to study heritability or genetic differences in intelligence due to the fact that it is difficult to rule out other factors such as environment and opportunities (Rowe et al., 1999; Turkheimer et al., 2003).

What are your thoughts re: intelligence and heritability vs. outside influences such as environment?

Have you been tested on 23andMe?  If yes, was your genotype what you expected?





Meatless Monday Recipe: Tomato Basil Pizza with Gluten-Free Crust

Someone on Instagram posted a picture of a gluten-free pizza crust yesterday, and it looked so good I couldn’t stop thinking about it!  So, I was off to collect ingredients to make it for dinner last night and so I could share this recipe with you for this week’s Meatless Monday Recipe Idea!

You won’t believe what’s in this pizza crust — it’s cauliflower!  The recipe for the crust comes from SparkPeople.  The prep time on the original crust recipe states 15 minutes.  I can assure you that it takes much longer than that!  I think it took me about an hour to get everything prepped before I baked the crust.  Not a deal-breaker but wanted to give you fair warning! 🙂

Gluten-Free Tomato Basil Pizza

If you make this yourself, can you leave a Comment below & let me know how it turned out for you?  I’d like the crust just a little crispier if possible.  If you found something that worked, please share below!


For crust:

  • 1 cup raw, chopped cauliflower* (chop in a food processor for quickest & best result)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme

For pizza toppings

  • 2 sliced roma tomatoes
  • 6 fresh chopped basil leaves
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pizza sauce (optional)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

*1 cup chopped cauliflower is about 2 1/4 cups florets


Makes 4, 1-slice servings. Can be doubled for a larger pizza

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine chopped cauliflower, egg, mozzarella and all desired spices. Press evenly on baking pan.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes (up to 20 minutes if you double the recipe).

Remove the pan from the oven. To the crust, pour olive oil and use a pastry or baking brush to spread the oil over the crust evenly.  Add sauce (if using) then toppings and cheese.

Place under broiler, on high heat, until cheese is melted.  Keep a close eye on it so the crust doesn’t burn!  Enjoy!

Did you make this?  Did you change it up at all by adding different toppings or other ingredients to the dough?  Don’t forget to tell us how it turned out in the Comments below!


5 Superfoods for Weight Loss

Eat More to Lose More!

Dieters will like the sound of that! Instead of starving yourself to lose weight, science shows you need to EAT MORE … of the right foods.

5 Superfoods For Weight Loss |

These 5 superfoods will up your calorie-burn and help you lose weight!


Instead of rice, try quinoa!


Quinoa has 8g of protein and 5g of fiber per serving, which will keep you feeling fuller longer.Check out my blog post, Quinoa Two Ways for both a dinner & a breakfast idea (hint: quinoa is a great substitute for your morning oatmeal, too!)


Somewhere along the way, we were convinced that a low-fat or NO fat diet was the only way to lose weight.

Boy, was that wrong! The secret is choosing right kinds of fats, like nutrient-rich avocado. Avocados are rich in oleic acid, which may trigger your body to keep hunger pangs at bay. Stick to half of an avocado per serving.

Try this amazing Easy Guacamole Recipe

Photo courtesy of Real Simple

Photo courtesy of Real Simple

Avocados are creamy enough on their own, so no sour cream required!


Kale has two of the most powerful antioxidants: carotenoinds and flavonoids. These help expel free radicals and protect against cancer. One raw cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3g of fiber. Not a huge fan? Try throwing raw kale into soups like this Creamy Mushroom Soup with Greens and Ginger

Goji berries

Goji berries are becoming more well-known here in the US, but this popular Asian superfood has been around for much longer.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


These tart berries are a protein source, with 18 amino acids. How many fruits can say that?

Chili peppers

Spicy foods crank up your metabolism, so it’s no surprise that chili peppers can help you lose weight. In a study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that consuming a combination of capsaicin and green tea led subjects to feel less hungry and eat fewer calories. Throw a little diced chili pepper into homemade marinara sauce for an extra kick!

Natural Cures for Exhaustion

It’s Friday again. Chances are, you feel drained. Maybe even stressed, tired, or burned out? It’s inevitable given the way we multitask to balance work, family, friends, and other commitments. By taking stock in what you are asking yourself to do in a day, you are taking the first step towards saying goodbye to exhaustion and start feeling better. Here are a few common causes and cures of exhaustion that could change your life.

1) Your breath. Most of us are shallow, rapid breathers. This type of breathing can be caused by poor posture or stiff muscles and can lead to poor oxygen supply making us feel slow, fatigued, and exhausted! To practice deep breathing, start by lying on your back in a comfortable position. Put your hands on your belly underneath your rib cage. The tips of your two middle fingers should be barely touching. Breathe in fully through the nose & feel your chest expand — you will notice that your fingertips move apart slightly as your chest expands with air. For best results, practice deep breathing every day for a couple of minutes. Over time, you will notice a rise in energy levels.

2) Lack of connection. Do you remember your last beach vacation? How did you feel as you sat back in your chair looking out at the ocean? Relaxed, huh? There is something about a connection with nature that makes us feel less drained and less anxious. In our day-to-day lives, especially now that winter is lurking, we may go for days without seeing the light of day. We spend our entire day inside buildings with artificial light. As often as you can, talk an early morning walk. If that is impossible, get yourself outdoors for a fifteen to twenty minute walk at lunch time. Pay attention to the scenery or to your breathing — whatever works. Do not read your email on your smartphone; that’s defeating your purpose of connecting to nature!

3) No motivation. We all need a sense of meaning and a sense of joy to ground us. Getting caught up in the grind can be really depleting if you don’t have something that brings you happiness to balance it out. If you identify with this, I want to encourage you to write a few things down. Start off by listing the things that cause you to feel stressed and disconnected from the world. It could be a strained relationship with a family member, a recent break-up or job loss. Whatever it is, write it down & also write down your reaction to the stressful situation. Next, write down the things in your life that give you happiness and satisfaction. This will likely be a much shorter list, but your job is to start doing more of the things that make you feel connected and happy and less of the things that make you feel stressed and miserable. You might find that waking up early for that yoga class is worth it even if you are tired because you leave feeling energized and accomplished. Whatever it is, follow the positives and you are guaranteed that little spark you are seeking.

Controlling Stress May Be the Key to Fewer Age-Related Diseases

I’ve written about stress before, but I was compelled to write on this topic again after some of the interactions I’ve had this week.

Psychological stress and anxiety can’t be completely avoided, they are a part of life. Did you know that there is a 50% increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) for people who deal with chronic work stress? That’s a 50 percent greater chance than the average person has of developing CVD if you are stressed at work and don’t change your environment.

Stress can further increase the diseases associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Before running to the doctor for a prescription to make the symptoms disappear, it is important to identify your stressors. It may be work-related, family-related, or a combination of things. Stress is a reaction. The brain is involved in a person’s stress response (e.g., interprets what is threatening) and then regulates both how your body responds both physiologically and behaviorally.

Studies have found that the following can help decrease your body’s response to stress:

1) Exercise. Exercise increases the level of telomerase produced. Telomerase is an enzyme that protects loss of DNA from important end region of our chromosomes called telomeres. Think of a telomere like the protective piece at the end of a shoestring. Studies have found that elite athletes have very long telomeres.

2) Your Social Network. I’m not just taking about how many Facebook or Twitter followers you have! People with a strong partner relationship and close friendships have been found to be at lower risk for diseases associated with aging and to have less of a stress response to situations such as public speaking (which can evoke fear in many).

3) Better quality of sleep. The average person needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. People who got a better quality of sleep and woke up feeling rested have, on average, longer telomeres than those who suffered from poor quality sleep.

4) Nutrition. Individuals diagnosed with obesity and insulin resistance had shorter telomeres than others, whereas those who consumed a diet containing antioxidants and added supplements such as omega 3s had longer telomeres.

The lesson to take from this is that if we can embrace these preventive measures, we can increase our body’s resilience. As resilience increases, so does our ability to age well.

Comfort Food: Why Are You Seeking Comfort?

Millions of people use food as a way of seeking comfort from pain or hurt in their lives. Most are doing it without even realizing it.

Do you find yourself sitting at home, alone & bored watching TV and eating when you aren’t hungry? Do you suffer from insomnia and find yourself getting up during the night & cleaning out the pantry? They don’t call it comfort food for nothing!

In order to break through this unhealthy behavior, you have to dig deep and figure out what is really eating at you! It may be worry about something going on in your life or someone close to you. It may be an issue stemming from childhood that you never worked through and hoped to bury. You have to work your way through the pain in order to come out on the other side. This hurt and discomfort you are experiencing is good — it is showing you that you are due for a change.

You may have tried dieting in the past many times with no success. Don’t beat yourself up about past failures. You weren’t ready to make a change or you needed help! Sometimes the true difference between failure and success is getting the help you need and deserve!

I want to help you by giving you a FREE resource that you can use to finally make the change you’ve been longing for and end your feelings of hopelessness once and for all.

Visit my website and click to download our FREE Wellness Workbook here: