January 21, 2014

EASY LIFE CHANGING STEPS FOR DETOXING IN 2014

DETOX

You’ve eaten a gazillion holiday cookies and snacks, bloated yourself on fancy holiday drinks, and happily feasted on your favorite traditional holiday meals. January, 2014 is more than half over and you are wondering what it is going to take to begin the health regimen that you promised yourself when you made that New Year’s resolution….. “This is the year I’m going to get healthy and meet my weight loss goal.”

The word “DETOX” has been thrown around lately and has come to mean many different things. There are so many products on the market and a lot of (mis)information about detoxing. No wonder people are confused and not sure what (or if any) detoxing methods are good for them. Today, I would like to talk about the short term detox and the long term detox.

WE  LIVE  IN  A  TOXIC  WORLD

Our air is polluted, the quality of our drinking water is questionable, and in some places, undrinkable. The American diet is low in fiber, loaded with processed foods, and the animals we eat are fed a diet of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides. It’s impossible to scrub off pesticides from a strawberry and vacuum packed meats such as cold cuts, bacon and hot dogs are filled with nitrates and MSG. Many of our processed foods contain bleached (with chlorine) flour, trans fats, preservatives and excess metals, which the body cannot process naturally, causing inflammation and more health issues.

DID  YOU  KNOW?

In a January, 1999 issue of USA Today, according to the autopsy, John Wayne had 40 pounds of impacted fecal matter in his body at death. John Wayne died of colon cancer. Sadly, most people have less than a healthy colon. The average American can be carrying around anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds of dried fecal matter in his/her colon. According to the Colon Cancer Alliance, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the US. The most common (and obvious) sign of a toxic colon is chronic constipation. People should be eliminating waste on a daily basis and it should not be difficult to do. Constipation leads to an increase of built up fecal matter in the colon causing toxicity to grow and parasites to fester….NOT a pretty sight!

COLONOSCOPY – By age 50, all males and females should get their first colonoscopy. If there is a history of colon cancer in your family, start at age 40. At any adult age, if you have chronic digestion issues, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and/or chronic constipation consult your medical practitioner to discuss your symptoms.

BODY  DETOXIFICATION

A good detoxification program will target all organs of elimination, not just the colon (large intestine). The organs involved are primarily the liver, kidneys and lymphatic and blood systems. These organs can be targeted individually or simultaneously.

NOTE: People with weak immune systems need to be very cautious when using any kind of detox program. A fragile immune system can find eliminating toxic substances overbearing. These people should first work on strengthening their immune systems before embarking on a detox cleansing program.

IMPORTANT – The information given here is not intended to replace any medical care. Please consult your medical practitioner for medical advice pertaining to detoxing and any conflict it might have with your medication.

THE  QUICK  FIX – Is quick but it is no fix! There are several promo ads depicting celebrities and their “quick fix” detox programs to lose weight in a hurry. Don’t fall for it. There are 3 day/one week fasting programs used by people who have major experience with detoxing. This type of detox is used in a short amount of time and most often is limited to a liquid (juicing) diet. Extreme detox programs like this should be monitored very carefully and many times should be under a doctor’s care.

WHOLE  FOOD – BASED  DETOX  PROGRAMS – I’m a big fan of this type of detox program since it can be used most of the time and is safer. Supported by nutritious whole foods, carefully selected supplements, and a good exercise program, this perpetual detox program can be a life changer. Your immune system will be stronger to fight off more toxins in the environment.

THE  LIVER  NATURALLY  DETOXIFIES – a good 80% of potentially harmful substances. The liver acts like a clearinghouse recognizing millions of toxic chemicals and is able to transform them into something harmless to prepare them for elimination. External toxins, called exotoxins, are taken in from the environment. Every breath you take can generate toxins. Internally created toxins, called endotoxins, are toxins made within the body from otherwise harmless molecules. Both need to be eliminated by the liver in the same fashion. Maintaining optimal liver function is key to successfully detoxing in a natural way and on a regular basis.

TIP  THE  SCALES  IN  YOUR  FAVOR  WITH  ANTIOXIDANTS – By balancing between your intake of antioxidants and exposure to oxidants. Although oxygen is the basis for all plant life and is our most important nutrient used by every cell in our bodies, it is also chemically reactive and highly dangerous. In the normal world of biochemical reactions, oxygen can become unstable. Capable of oxidizing neighboring molecules, this process can lead to cellular damage that triggers cancer, inflammation, arterial damage, and aging. Like nuclear waste, oxidized molecules, known as oxidants, must be disarmed and eliminated. How do we do that? By protecting our bodies with antioxidants! Chemicals capable of disarming free radicals that cause chronic illness and aging, are called antioxidants. Some known antioxidant nutrients are Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and Vitamins C & E. The balance between the intake of antioxidants and exposure to oxidants may be the difference between life and death; or a quality life vs. a sickly and painful life. A supplement program using specific vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids are designed to decrease the toxic load on the body and restore the detox potential making it easier on the liver and less aging on the body in general. It is vital to the body that these nutrients are synergistic: working in conjunction together for the good of the body. For example: Vitamin C, which is water soluble, and Vitamin E, which is fat soluble, together protect the tissues and fluids in the body. When Vitamin E has “disarmed” an oxidant, the Vitamin E can be “reloaded” by Vitamin C which is then recycled. The synergy cycle continues realizing these nutrients do not work in isolation in the body. This is the reason why people who are in generally good health bounce back quickly from an illness or even just a bad cold, the flu, or a virus. Their immune systems are in better condition and can fight off these illnesses while their organs are eliminating these toxins and at a faster rate.

DETOX  STEP  # 1 – SHORT  TERM  7  DAY PROGRAM

Choose organic over conventionally grown produce, grains, nuts and seeds. Since detoxing is helping to rid your body of toxins, the last thing you want to do is sabotage your body by adding more toxins and chemicals in the process. Also…..don’t be surprised if you feel worse for a couple of days before you feel better. This is likely to happen if you are eliminating foods to which you are either allergic or dependent on.

  • Begin your detox program on the weekend or during a time when not much is going on in your life.
  • Minimum – Brisk walk for at least 15 minutes a day.
  • Drink at least 2 quarts of water a day – purified, distilled, filtered or bottled. You can also drink dandelion coffee or herbal teas.
  • Drink a half pint of fruit or vegetable juice daily – If you have a juicer, great! You can juice carrot and apple together or buy it and combine. Add grated ginger – which is great for digestion. Watermelon juice is very effective. The watermelon flesh is high in beta-carotene and Vitamin C. The seeds are high in Vitamin E and the antioxidant minerals zinc and selenium. You can make a great antioxidant cocktail by blending flesh and seeds together. See my blog on JUICING for a more detailed juicing regimen.
  • NOTE: Aloe Vera juice is known to be a helpful tonic for boosting the cleansing process in the digestive tract. Aloe Vera juice can be blended with a range of herbs. Drink a shot glass a day in addition to other juices.
  • Eat in abundance – FRUIT – the most beneficial fruits with the highest detox potential include cantaloupe (make sure to scrub skin with a wash before juicing), citrus fruits, apricots, all types of berries, kiwi, papaya, mango, melons and red grapes.
  • Eat in abundance – VEGETABLES – Very good for detoxification are artichokes, peppers, beets, brussel sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato, tomato, watercress, wheatgrass, and bean and seed sprouts; Broccoli sprouts are very flavorful.
  • Eat in moderation – GRAINS: Brown rice, corn, millet, quinoa: not more than 2X a day. FISH: Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna: not more than once a day. OILS: Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking and to replace butter, and cold-pressed seed oils for dressing. Grape seed oil, hemp seed oil, and flax seed oil are examples. NUTS & SEEDS: A handful a day of raw, unsalted nuts and seeds should be included. Choose from almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts. Seeds should include pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and flaxseeds.
  • LIMIT – Potatoes to one portion every other day and bananas to one every other day.
  • Supplement – With  quality multivitamins/minerals, 2 grams (2,000 milligrams) of Vitamin C,  2 antioxidant complexes, 2 grams of MSM every day (Methyl sulfonyl methane) a form of sulfur that is helpful in supporting the sulfation process in the liver.
  • AVOID – Sugar and chocolate, salt,  alcohol, all wheat products, all meat and dairy products, eggs and foods containing them, hydrogenated fats (trans fats), artificial sweeteners, food additives, preservatives, fried foods, spices and dried fruit.

DETOX  STEP # 2 – A  LONG  TERM  AND  LIFETIME  PROGRAM 

BEST ADVICE IS: Stick to recommendations in the 7 day detox above with some modifications.

  • Eat 5 times a day: Eat three healthy meals daily and have 2 separate snack times. Avoid fried foods and foods high in sugar and white refined flour.
  • Organic fruit or a small handful of nuts/seeds works well as a snack. Nuts and seeds provide healthy Omega 6 fatty acids and some, like walnuts, contain plant based Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Organic oats, dark dense multi-grain or sprouted grain (flourless) breads/crackers digest more slowly with no sugar spikes to the bloodstream and taste delicious! This is an excellent fiber source.
  • Continue to drink at least 2 quarts of quality water daily. During and after exercising, drink more water.
  • Juice organic vegetables and fruit that will act as a daily mini detox to keep organs clean and flushed.
  • Take recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals for optimum health.
  • Be very mindful of your protein/fat/carbohydrate intake. If you eat fish, eat sustainable fish – add WILD CAUGHT salmon to your diet to obtain those very important Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Make one meal a day raw and organic. A salad with healthy fixings like bell peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, radishes, celery and onions works nicely for lunch or dinner. The active enzymes in raw food will better aid in digestion and also help detox the body on a regular basis. There are many raw foodists who eat only raw food and swear by its health claims.
  • Do not use store bought salad dressing. Make your own with good, quality extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil for example. Make your own creamy salad dressings with live culture yogurt or kefir replenishing the “good” bacteria back to your intestines.

It is possible to improve the natural detox process your body goes through on a daily basis. A few key changes and/or additions to an already healthy diet will keep your body detoxing naturally. Your organs will love you for it!

When considering a long term detox as a regular diet, you can build upon the 7 day detox by adding small to moderate amounts of the following or take this chance to substitute with healthier choices.

PROTEIN – You don’t have to go completely vegetarian to have your organs work properly to eliminate waste. However, if you are used to eating meat such as pork, beef, and even chicken and turkey 4 to 7 times a week, it would be wise to cut down dramatically AND CHOOSE organic or meat from animals humanely raised without extra hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. Eating protein daily is vital for good health and can be obtained from other sources. The World Health Organization recommends about 10% of total calories from protein  -ranging from 35 grams (for women) to 44 grams (for men) daily. The U.S. RDA requirements give guidelines for higher amounts of protein and can give you an idea of comparing to find the best diet plan for yourself. REMEMBER TO KEEP IN MIND  – Gender, age, weight/height, activity level, general health condition.

My research brought me to the conclusion that the best diet plan contains only moderate amounts of protein. Protein is more difficult for the body to digest, adding more burden on the organs. Eating too much protein can negatively affect the kidneys and bones. Protein is acidic and very high protein diets can lead to kidney stones and some studies show bone loss can occur. Very active people, such as athletes and body builders, do not require as much protein as they think they do. Also….the best protein foods to eat are not necessarily those that are the highest in protein. For example: A lamb chop provides 25% of total calories as protein and 75% as fat, much of which is saturated fat (the bad fat). Half the calories in soybeans come from protein, therefore, making soybeans a better source of protein than lamb. And…..BONUS – the remainder of the soybean calories come from desirable complex carbohydrates. This is an excellent source for vegetarians. Today, soy products are sold everywhere and come in many different forms and textures.

Here is a list of various vegetarian food choices with ample amount of protein to maintain a healthy vegetarian diet. Most people do not need more than 35 grams of protein daily, so 2 of these servings should suffice. Pregnant women, athletes, people recovering from surgery and anyone involved in heavy manual labor may need 3 servings a day.

IMPORTANT ADVICE: Shop for non GMO grown produce to avoid added pesticides.

  • Unsweetened Soy Milk
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas
  • Wheat germ
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cashews

Protein Recommended Dietary/Daily Allowance (RDA)

Infants Up to 12 months 13-14 grams
Children 1-3 yrs old 16 grams
  4-6 yrs old 24 grams
  9-10 yrs old 28 grams
Males 11-14 yrs old 45 grams
  15-18 yrs old 59 grams
  19-24 yrs old 58 grams
  25 and older 63 grams
Females 11-14 yrs old 46 grams
  15-18 yrs old 44 grams
  19-24 yrs old 46 grams
  25 and older 50 grams

Note: Values based on average weights

WHICH FATS  AND  OILS  ASSIST  A  PERPETUAL  DETOX  PROGRAM

The best diet provides no more than 20% of its calories from fat. However, the trick is to eat the healthier fats. There are 2 basic kinds of fat: saturated (hard fat) and unsaturated fat. The main source in meat and dairy products, saturated fat is not ideal and should be eaten sparingly, if at all.  Unsaturated includes monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are the fats in oils, seeds and nuts. Containing Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9 fatty acids, essential fats are important for the health of the brain, nervous system, immune system, cardiovascular system and skin. When a healthy body is naturally detoxing and cleansing, nutrients from these healthy fats are absorbed better strengthening the immune system.

CARBOHYDRATES – THE  MAIN  FUEL  FOR  THE  BODY

Foods with healthy carbohydrates to include daily: Choose organic when available.

  • Healthy carbohydrates contain more fiber and, therefore,  aids in digestion and regular, daily bowel movements. The National Cancer Institute recommends consuming 20-30 grams of fiber a day.
  • 3 or more servings of dark green, leafy, and root vegetables such as: watercress, carrots, dandelion greens, sweet potatoes, broccolini, broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, green beans, bell peppers, beets, cabbage, parsley, artichokes. Prefer eating raw or gently, slightly cooked.
  • NOTE: Garlic and cilantro (green herb) are good for removing harmful metals, like mercury, from the body. Raw is better.
  • 3 or more servings of fresh fruit: apples, pears, bananas, berries, melon and citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, limes)
  • Eat 3 to 4 servings of legumes, sprouted grains, whole grains that include rice, millet, rye, oats, whole wheat, and quinoa. Experiment with whole grain pasta. Try brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta and artichoke pasta.

SUPPORT  SYSTEM  TO  YOUR  DETOX  PROGRAM

  • Exercise program to include cardio and weight lifting: Strengthening muscles, along with regular aerobic exercise, helps build a strong immune system. Breaking a sweat helps you eliminate excess body salts that may carry some toxins.
  • Herbs and supplements: Helping in the detoxification of the liver and kidneys, many herbal companies offer the following combinations of milk thistle, burdock root, kelp, dandelion root, turmeric, parsley and lecithin.
  • Internal Cleansing kits – Colon cleanses and detox body cleanses can also be used to jump start a detox program. I use an internal body cleanse right after the New Year. If you want to try it, I recommend a gentle one to start with and it should be a 2 week program. It’s important to purchase a kit that includes organic herbs.
  • Strong natural laxatives – 1.) SENNA LEAVES: removes toxins, intestinal plaque build-up and parasites. Do not use longer than 3 months-by which time normal bowel function should be restored. 2.) CASCARA SAGRADA BARK: One of the world’s most popular medicinal herbs, it is found in several over-the-counter laxatives. Cascara helps stimulate bowel elimination.
  • Chemical free products: Use chemical free products for the following: cleaning products, detergents, natural insect killers, natural weed killers, toxic-free paints and varnishes
  • Deep breathing:  When we breathe deep the nervous system calms down, reducing the buildup of adrenal stress hormones releasing toxins through exhalation. When we are stressed out, we breathe in a shallow fashion preventing toxins from leaving our bodies. Try this breathing exercise: Sit in a quiet place. Opt to listen to mood music. Breathe in deep on the count of 4 and slowly exhale on the count of 8. Form your lips in a small circle as if preparing to whistle before exhaling. Make sure to exhale very slowly. Repeat this process 10 times. BTW – this can be done anywhere. I’ve done deep breathing exercises in the car while driving.

The average American’s diet consists of low-fiber, high-fat, refined junk foods loaded with refined sugar and flour. This unhealthy diet makes it impossible to eliminate toxins from the body to maintain a healthy colon. If 2014 is your year to get healthier, start here and please go for that overdue colonoscopy; you owe it to yourself.

References for this article:

Nutritional Consultant Program Studies  – Global College of Natural Medicine

Optimum Nutrition Bible – Patrick Holford