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Archive for the ‘Detoxification’ Category

What Should I Eat?

health appleBeing a health care practitioner, I have come to believe that most of the health issues my patients are experiencing are to some degree related to their diet.  I’m defining the word diet very broadly to mean “what you eat.”  The health issues I started to experience while in my 20s were absolutely related to the way I ate.  My health journey has evolved from being a junk-food vegetarian to eating the nutrient-dense whole foods diet I currently enjoy.  Since it’s hard to know where to start when making dietary changes, here are some resources.  This post will the first in a series addressing the question, “What should I eat?”

I’ve always liked Michael Pollan’s quote, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”  My goal is to help people achieve that.

Fundamentally (and ideally), one’s diet should be nutrient dense, free of refined foods and sustain life rather than contributing to chronic/degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, auto-immunity, Alzheimer’s, to name a few.  The Paleo “diet” which is really a lifestyle, is a good place to start.

The Paleo/Primal lifestyle is for those seeking general health & wellness, weight loss, greater hormone balance, and longevity etc…  Although the definition of “Paleo” is evolving (read a good article here), it is generally defined as gluten-free, dairy-free (controversial), healthy fats (including saturated fats), and plenty of vegetables with some fruit.

I like Diane Sanfilippo’s definition of Paleo in her book  Practical Paleo.   She writes, “the lifestyle is simply about (1) practical paleoeating whole foods that provide better fuel for your body and (2) avoiding processed, refined, nutrient-poor factory foods.  This means avoiding grains, legumes (beans), refined sugar, and pasteurized dairy products. ”

Practical Paleo is a comprehensive, colorful, engaging resource outlining the Paleo lifestyle but also has great recipes.  I recommend the book highly.  Diane’s website is also a great resource with recipes, links to her podcasts, and general motivational help.  She provides guides on her website detailing what to eat – very helpful.

The following website links are a good introduction into some of the more well-known Paleo authors.  Once you peruse their sites, you can determine if you’d like to learn more in of the their books.  This is not a comprehensive list but merely an introduction.

Loren Cordain aka the Founder of the Paleo Movement

Robb Wolf 

Mark’s Daily Apple

Chris Kresser

PaleOMG

Deliciously Organic

Paleo Slow Cooking

meal planningPaleo Meal Plans:   The links listed below vary widely in what they offer for menus but are useful for those needing a bit more guidance on what to eat for each meal within the Paleo lifestyle.

PaleoPlan

Caveman Strong

Elana’s Pantry

Paleo Table

 Multiply Delicious

Next in the series, I’ll explore another nutrient-dense, whole-food diet/lifestyle based on the principles of Weston A Price.  If you’re eager to learn more, you can visit the Weston A Price Foundation website.

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Fermented Veggies – Yum!

Fermented foods, also known as cultured foods have been part of the human diet for millennia.  However, due to modern food production as well as convenience foods, fermented foods are no longer dietary staples.  Consequently, the human digestive tract and immune suffers.  Whether somebody is suffering from frequent colds, Candida, auto-immune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s, Lupus or digestive distress including constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or stomach bloating, fermented foods can be an integral part of the healing process with these disorders.

In this blog post, I’ll be focusing on fermented vegetables but the world of fermented foods includes chutneys, salsas, relishes, condiments like mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise, kefir, kombucha, yogurt, cheese, and sourdough grains.  The world of fermented foods is abundant and alive (pun intended!)

Originally people fermented foods as a way to preserve the harvest.  However, the process of lacto-fermentation results in foods that not only are preserved long-term but also have increased digestibility and vitamin levels.

During the process of fermentation, lactobacilli (bacteria) convert the sugars and starches in vegetables into lactic acid.  Then the lactic acid preserves the food by inhibiting any putrefying bacteria.

In The Body Ecology Diet, author Donna Gates outlines several benefits of fermented veggies.

  • They are a less expensive alternative to probiotics
  • They improve digestion as the vegetables are pre-digested
  • They contain enzymes to facilitate digestion, eliminate toxins, and boost the immune system
  • Are great for controlling food cravings and assisting in weight control

Fermented vegetables are surprisingly easy to make and are much less expensive than buying them at a health food store.  And you can make them according to your own tastes.  It’s common to start making fermented veggies by using cabbage alone or combining cabbage with other vegetables such as kale, carrots, radishes, ginger, turnips, beets, etc.  The combinations are really endless.

Specific recipes and instructions can be found in the books and websites listed below.  The recipes can be made using only salt but you can use a starter culture such as those available from Body Ecology or by using whey.  If you’re in the Triangle area of North Carolina, I always have extra whey (left over from cheese making).  Leave a comment on the blog and I’ll contact you.

I really encourage you to explore the world of fermented foods.  I find that the more I eat, the more I crave them (believe it or not).  I try to consume fermented foods at every meal whether that be kefir in my mornings smoothie, kombucha, sauerkraut, fermented carrots, sourdough bread, fermented salsa or chili sauce.  Donna Gates recommends a ½ cup serving of fermented veggies with any meal that contains a protein or starch.  I love the variety of foods and their life-sustaining benefits.

Resources

Books:

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride M.D.

Online resources:

Nourished Kitchen Get Cultured e-Course

GNOWFGLINS Lacto-Fermentation e-Course

Nourishing Days Fermented Food for Beginners

Cultured Food Life

Nourished Kitchen Fermented Foods

Dry Skin Brushing

Dry Skin Brushing

There are many ways to detoxify the body.  But, why does the body need to detoxify?  We are exposed to hundreds of chemicals on a daily basis.  The chemical company DuPont coined the slogan “Better Things for Better Living…Through Chemistry” in 1935 as it was introducing chemicals and plastics to the world.  DuPont was part of the emerging chemicalization of America. In her book, Hormone Deception, Lindsey Berkson, writes, “Since World War II approximately 87,000 new chemicals have been synthesized in the U.S. alone.  New ones are being invented at the rate of 2,000 per year.”  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that hundreds of these chemicals are present in our bodies and can interfere with the body’s immune, endocrine, nervous, and reproductive systems.  These chemicals include air/water pollutants/caffeine, cigarette smoke, cosmetics, body care products, heavy metals, household cleaning products, pesticides/herbicides, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and preservatives.  Wayne Ott, a long-term employee at the Environmental Protection Agency has said, “What the public doesn’t understand is that your house is the hazardous waste site.  All of the things in your house are made from the same chemicals that are on the hazardous lists.”

While it is best to minimize or eliminate your exposure to chemicals, detoxifying your body can help minimize the damaging effects of chemicals.  In my opinion, the best way to detoxify the body is through the Standard Process Purification Program.  However, there are daily activities you can do at home to strengthen your body.  Castor Oil is very helpful as well as dry skin brushing.

Dry skin brushing is a simple and easy way to help detoxify the body.  The skin is the largest organ in the body and plays a major role in body detoxification – as much as one-fourth of the body’s daily detoxification.  Many refer to the skin as the “3rd Kidney” because of the skin’s powerful detoxification ability.  However, body care products such as body soap/lotion, deodorant, sunscreen, and synthetic fabric like polyester can not only prevent the skin from breathing appropriately but also block the ability of the skin to release toxins.  When this happens, the toxic burden on the liver and kidney increase as well.

The best type of brush for dry skin brushing is one with a long handle and natural bristles.  The brush should always remain dry for the best effect.  Natural food stores usually sell this type of brush. I recommend dry skin brushing in the morning before bathing.  Start by brushing the feet, then up the legs, the back, the belly and into the chest.  It is most beneficial to brush toward the heart as this facilitates proper lymph flow.  The body’s lymphatic system is an important toxin removal system.  As you reach the mid-chest, then brush up the arms, down the neck and into the mid-chest.  Avoid any area in which the skin is broken or irritated.  Do not brush your face. Brush gently but firmly.  It may take a few treatments to get used to the natural bristles.  The process takes less than 5 minutes.  After completing the brushing, shower off the dead skin cells. Generally one will feel more alert

Detoxification is not the only reason to dry skin brush.  Many report that dry skin brushing softens the skin and can help with in-grown hairs.  However, one of my favorite reasons for dry skin brushing is that it feels good!