January 24, 2017

Pollutant-Free Eating for MCS

Environmental pollution… Oil spills…Climate change…Ozone depletion… we live in a world that is slowly dying by the hands of man. Industrialization, poor waste management, and greed have left our earth more contaminated than ever before in the history of this planet.

But, I’m not here to speak on behalf of environmentalist and scientists. I am here to point out a reality that is overlooked amidst the mass concern of our carbon footprint. Yes, nature has responded to this age of industrialization, which leaves scientists and environmentalists concerned about the future of our planet. They cry out on behalf of the trees and the animals that walk the earth. But millions of people are left saying, “What about me?”

Today, chemicals, pollutants, and manufacturing wastes have left millions of people with illnesses that never existed before this modern age. We humans are made of the same basic elements as the plants and animals, so what pollutes them, pollutes us. Tragically, when a person is affected by pollution or chemicals, they are often written off as having some sort of psychological issue. Even the American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs believes that Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) should not be considered a recognized clinical syndrome.

Can you imagine being chronically sick and knowing that it is caused by chemical substances that you’re exposed to, only to be called a quack? Maybe you can imagine that because you’ve experienced this yourself. If so, I’m so sorry that in the pursuit of all things modernized and efficient, industries have failed to recognize the damage they are doing to the human body.

Ironically, in a time where technology and medicine are saving more lives than ever before in human history, millions are simultaneously being poisoned. Chemical exposure is leaving millions ill and pushed aside with no answers. It is a tragedy that no one wants to hear about.

What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

Most people who become chemically sensitive were once healthy individuals who tolerated chemical exposures with no noticeable side effects, just like everyone else. At some time in their lives, they were exposed to chemicals at a level from which they did not recover.

Some developed MCS after a renovation or newly built home, having carpets installed in their office, or exposure to pesticides. Other people became ill over a period of years, from cumulative exposures of everyday life that built up in their body’s tissues.

On-the-job hazards are a common cause of these life-altering exposures. Some of the most common MCS inducing jobs include:

  • Construction
  • Metalworking
  • Woodworking
  • Automotive
  • Textile
  • Agriculture
  • Information technology
  • Waste management
  • Cleaning

MCS chemical exposure sicknessLiving with multiple chemical sensitivity can be devastating. Those suffering with this life-altering illness often live isolated from society. Many are forced to wear gloves or respirator masks when they venture into public. People with MCS become sick by low level exposures to many common chemicals that typically don’t bother the average person. Some of the most offending chemicals include:

  • Perfume
  • Pesticides
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Fresh paint
  • New carpets
  • Air freshener
  • Vehicle exhaust
  • Cleaning products

People with MCS can become extremely ill after exposures of only a few seconds to tiny amounts of these substances. Chemically sensitive people also frequently react to foods, drugs, molds, and electromagnetic fields.

Treating MCS

Treating multiple chemical sensitivity requires something more than just a medicine or pill. The two, most efficient ways to treat MCS are:

  • Avoidance
  • Nutrition

The most effective way to avoid offending chemicals is to adopt a natural lifestyle. This includes using natural alternatives for:

  • Skin and body care
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Water (filtered is best)
  • Yard and pest products
  • Home construction (using tile or wood floors instead of carpet, etc.)

With the growing popularity of natural and “green” products, it is now easier than ever to replace your regular household items with safer alternatives. Even those who do not suffer with MCS can prevent future harm to themselves and their family by switching to all-natural alternatives. The internet is brimming with blogs and websites devoted to this way of life. Even this magazine, Home Cures That Work, is devoted to the lifestyle of maintaining health and wellness by adopting a chemical free, natural lifestyle!

However, nutrition is often overlooked in treating multiple chemical sensitivity. Many people who are chemically sensitive have numerous nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies lead to a detoxification system that does not function properly. Our enzymatic, metabolic, and detoxification pathways are dependent on adequate vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This makes nutrition of obvious importance and concern for those with MCS.

Studies have shown that those with chemical sensitivities tend to have deficiencies in magnesium, B6, and vitamin C. They also have lowered levels of antioxidants throughout the body, which in turn impairs neutralization of free radicals and toxins. In one study, patients with chemical sensitivities were treated with antioxidants like vitamin C, selenium, and zinc.[1]

With these antioxidants, they exhibited both improvement and relief of symptoms!

What separates a typical person from someone with MCS is the ability to safely detoxify chemicals out of the body. This is why improved nutrition is key to the resolution of symptoms in those with chemical sensitivities! When someone with MCS is given the proper nutrients, they can detoxify, neutralize, and metabolize chemicals. This allows them to resume a normal life!

Chemical sensitivities can be caused by several factors, one of which could be fungal infections.  The body will sometimes allow Candida in to use as a storage unit for chemicals or heavy metals or any number of harmful synthetics that could harm the body if not contained. Candida releases these toxins, which are not easily metabolized in those with MCS due to a lack of detoxification ability. This results in an overall feeling of fatigue and general state of feeling unwell. The good news is once the fungal infection is gone and the immune system is boosted; the body no longer over-reacts to the chemicals to which we are constantly exposed.

If a person has a high body burden of heavy metals, those heavy metals are thought to contribute to the development or aggravation of MCS. Heavy metals are part of the “total load” of toxins in the body, and may reduce the ability of the multiple chemical sensitivity patient to cope with other low dose toxins. These metals can accumulate in the tissues and cause neurological issues and severe mineral imbalances.

Here again, diet can help correct the inadequacies in those with chemical sensitivities. Proper nutrition can switch on the body’s ability to detoxify, allowing those with MCS to rid their body of chemicals and therefore avoid adverse reactions. It can also help them overcome candida and cleanse excess metals out of the body.

When given the rights foods, the body can restore normality and truly give someone with MCS and new lease on life!

Clean Eating for MCS

Clean eating is a new term in the natural health world used for a diet that is free of chemicals and artificial ingredients. Just as we want a clean environment that is free from pollutants, we should aim for a body that is free from pollution as well!

What you eat determines the cleanliness of your body. For example, eating processed foods with chemical additives and pesticide residues is going to pollute the environment inside your body. However, eating whole foods packed with nutrients gives each bodily system what it needs to metabolize, detoxify, and function at its highest capacity! This can reduce symptoms of MCS and help bring back normality into your life!

Eating for MCS is centered around two main principles:

  1. Consume foods free of pesticides, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients.
  2. Focus on foods high in antioxidants, magnesium, B6 and vitamin C.

Avoiding pesticide residues in foods is no easy task. Today’s produce is heavily sprayed and mass produced in order to keep up with demand. Pesticides keep the pests away, therefore increasing yield. However, spraying the food we consume comes with consequences. Pesticides are designed to kill and their effects on the human body should not be ignored.[2]

Side effects from pesticide exposure can not only induce or aggravate MCS, but can also cause:

  • Pesticide exposure leads toSkin irritations
  • Respiratory problems
  • Organ failure
  • Damage to nervous and immune systems
  • Birth defects
  • DNA damage
  • Disruption of the hormonal system
  • Cancer

Unfortunately, scrubbing, soaking, and peeling the skin off of produce does not eliminate pesticide residue. Using these techniques may reduce pesticides, but sensitive individuals, such as those with MCS, shouldn’t rely solely on these methods. This is because pesticides are sprayed throughout the growing process and absorbed throughout the entire plant, not just the outer surface.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are highest in most of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed by those with MCS. But, avoiding them altogether would be counterproductive. Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tests fruits and vegetables each year and rates them from the highest in pesticides to the lowest. For example, in 2014 the average grape they tested contained 15 different pesticides! On the other hand, only 1% of the avocados tested contained any detectable pesticides.

Each year, after testing the foods, the EWG puts together the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. The Dirty Dozen ranks the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residues. The Clean Fifteen however contains the 15 lowest levels of pesticides residues.


DirtyDozen-CleanFifteen-2015Shopping from the Clean Fifteen list and avoiding the Dirty Dozen is one of the best ways to reduce pesticide residues in your diet. However, buying organic is truly the only way to bypass pesticides. The organic seal assures you that the farmer did not use chemical pesticides when raising his crops. Personally, I use my Dirty Dozen list as my “buy organic” list.

Avoiding artificial ingredients is also extremely crucial for MCS. These chemical additives are known for causing serious allergic reactions. Lab-created, chemical-based preservatives and artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners can not only cause allergic reactions, but trigger disease!

Always read labels before consuming anything you eat and if you spot a name that doesn’t sound like food, it likely isn’t.

Some common artificial ingredients and their side-effects[3] include:

  • Sodium benzoate: ADHD, DNA damage, cancer
  • Monosodium glutamate: heart palpitations, migraines, chest pain
  • Sodium nitrite: Irritability, headaches, cancer[4]
  • Sulfites: fever, rashes, asthma attacks
  • Potassium sorbate: migraines, swollen eyes, mouth, and throat
  • Aspartame: altered serotonin levels, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, cancer

Lastly, it is important to incorporate foods that contain the micronutrients that are often lacking in those with MCS: magnesium, B6, and vitamin C. These nutrients are important in metabolism and detoxification processes throughout the body.

Foods rich in magnesium include:

  • Raw organic spinach
  • Brown rice
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Avocado

Foods rich in B6 include:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chicken (organic)
  • Pistachio’s
  • Banana’s

Food’s rich in vitamin C include:

  • Organic kale
  • Organic strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges

I also want to note that eliminating gluten, sugar, and dairy can also benefit those who suffer with MCS. These foods tend to aggravate the digestive tract and lower immunity, exacerbating allergenic reactions. Taking a probiotic supplement and drinking probiotic rich drinks like kombucha and kefir water may also help. They will strengthen the digestive system and build the immune system, which can ease allergenic symptoms in those with MCS.

It is important to remember throughout your journey of clean eating, to keep a food diary. Even foods that are free of chemical additives can sometimes cause reactions in those who are chemically sensitive. Note any sort of reaction whether it is gas, headache, or heartburn. Try eliminating the offending food and note any improvement in your symptoms. This may take a bit of trial and error, but every individual is different and unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” diet for MCS.

Below are two recipes that will help in your quest towards pollutant-free eating. The first is a clean crockpot chicken recipe. I love crockpot recipes because they are not only easy to prepare, but always produce such a tender and delicious chicken! So many crockpot recipes contain powder mixes or canned soups, which contain chemical additives. This recipe contains all-natural ingredients and is absolutely delicious served over brown rice for a warm, comforting dinner.

Crock Pot Curry Chicken

Ingredients:

  • all natural crock pot chicken curry recipe3 pounds of organic or free-range chicken (breasts, thighs, chicken on the bone, etc.)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped small
  • 2 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp organic mustard (condiment, not the spice)
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (liquid) or milk
  • 1/2 cup organic chicken stock or water
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the carrots, onion and garlic at the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Next place the raw chicken pieces on top of the vegetables, layering the chicken.
  3. Add the spices over the chicken.
  4. In a small pot melt the coconut oil and mix in the chicken stock or water and coconut cream until combined. Pour this over the chicken.
  5. Cook on low for 6 hours (it can go longer if you are not home yet).
  6. When done, remove the pieces of chicken and puree the liquid for gravy with an immersion blender. Serve over rice or quinoa. Enjoy![5]

Everyone needs a little sweet in their life! This all-natural healthy peanut butter fudge contains no added sugar and is packed full of protein, making it not only a healthy dessert, but a great snack as well! Peanut butter is high in both magnesium and B6 and bananas also contain magnesium and other important nutrients like potassium and manganese!

Healthy Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

  • Healthy-Peanut-Butter-Fudge1/2 cup organic peanut butter (use almond butter if peanut sensitive)
  • 1 large banana (can sub with 2/3 cup coconut butter)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/16 tsp salt (
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter OR melted extra virgin coconut oil
  • One packet or 15 drops of stevia

Directions:

  1. Stir peanut butter until there is no longer oil on the top.
  2. You can either combine all ingredients in a small blender until completely smooth, OR mash the banana and stir together ingredients very patiently by hand until completely smooth.
  3. Scoop into a small plastic container, parchment-lined glass container, candy molds, mini cupcake liners.
  4. Freeze until firm. Due to the melting nature of coconut, this fudge is best stored in the freezer.[6]

MCS symptoms can be drastically reduced and eliminated with a diet that is full of nutrient-dense and chemical-free foods! Don’t let the environment inside your body become polluted any longer! Clean up the environment inside your body by revolutionizing the way you eat. Your body is an ecosystem of it’s own. When you eliminate the toxic pollution, you will see your life flourish once again!

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.
Sources:
[1]http://www.aehf.com/articles/treatment_options_mcs.html
[2] http://www.nursingdegree.net/blog/926/8-possible-side-effects-of-pesticides/
[3] http://www.wakingtimes.com/2013/10/14/5-food-additives-avoid/
[4] http://www.wholevegan.com/junk_food.html#Sodium%20Nitrite
[5] Adapted from realfoodforager.com
[6] Adapted from: chocolatecoveredkatie.com

 

 

God’s Clean Eating Tips

by Amanda Box, N.D.

Perhaps you’ve never thought about it before, but its true. God cares about you. He cares if you are sick and He wants us to take care of our bodies. Yet what you eat is your choice. You have free will over what you put in your mouth. God cares what you eat, but He is not going dictate your every bite.

In the Old Testament, God gave the Israelites specific dietary guidelines. Those principles do not apply to us today.

So why was God so specific about what the Israelites ate? I believe He cared about them and wanted them to be healthy! Think about it. There were millions of people living in the desert, wandering around with no running water or bathrooms. The conditions weren’t exactly sanitary. What if sickness broke out? It would have spread like wildfire! So God set up guidelines to help the Israelites avoid unwanted bacteria and keep their immune systems strong.

Most people have never taken the time to study and understand why God forbade specific foods and practices during that time. They are just happy to know they are no longer bound to these customs! They are free to eat their Cheetos and bacon without consequence.

Biblical Guidelines for Eating

America is definitely not the Garden of Eden. Much of what we eat in the West is a far cry from “farm to table” food. This is a far cry from what God designed for us to eat. Instead, we favor of genetically altered, enhanced, preserved, and processed foods.

There are several verses in the Bible that provide guidelines for eating. The most popular seems to be Deuteronomy 14.  God never forbid any plants for consumption. However, it is this chapter that considers which specific animals are clean to eat or not. The Israelites were forbidden to consume the following animals:f

  • Animals that “chew the cud,” but don’t have a divided hoof. This meant avoiding eating pigs, camels, and rabbits.
  • Creatures in the water that do not have both scales and fins. This eliminated eating fish without scales, such as catfish. It also excluded eating sea creatures without fins, such shrimp, crab, mussels and lobster.
  • Most birds were considered clean except the raven, vulture, eagle, falcon, owl, stork, heron, or bat.
  • Flying insects were considered unclean.

There is a lot of debate today around whether or not we should avoid these animals. Many animals are now “farmed” and are not caught in the wild anymore. Though some farming practices have improved our food, some have made things far worse. A lot has changed in 4000 years!

Many claim that God forbade eating these particular animals because they were scavengers. Scavengers eat garbage, which lends them to higher toxicity levels and overgrowths of bacteria. Shrimp, lobster, and crab are often called the insects of the sea. They feed on the bottom of the ocean and eat the flesh of dead fish and whatever else hits the ocean floor. Catfish and other fish without scales bottom feed, as well. They eat almost anything including other fish’s excrement.

The birds to avoid feed on dead animals, as well. So, of course, these birds are more likely to carry disease and parasites.

But, why avoid pork? Why should we give up our delicious bacon? Many argue it is because pigs can pass trichinosis to us through their meat. This parasitic infection can become a serious, and even life threatening problem for humans. It is also difficult to eliminate trichinosis from our bodies.

But, what if we raise pigs in a clean environment, virtually eliminating the chance of trichinosis? What if we fed them organic grains and other natural foods, instead of letting them feed on waste? Were pigs forbidden just because they are pigs, or because of the potential harm from contamination.

This is where I have to separate my opinion from those who strictly adhere to diets such as The Makers Diet, What Would Jesus Eat, and The Biblical Diet. I don’t agree that avoiding all the foods in Deuteronomy 14 is still necessary. This is because I believe it is “WHY” God forbade something that is important, not solely the WHAT.

Did God forbid high fructose corn syrup?  What about genetically modified organisms? Or better yet, cloned animals? Of course not. These things were not around thousands of years ago! But does that mean they are acceptable and considered healthy for us to eat? One could argue that because they are not mentioned, they are acceptable. But honestly, this is really missing the point.

The big picture here is that God set up guidelines for health. Although we are now not bound to those Old Testament principles anymore, we should take to heart why God was so specific. Under all those rules written in black and white, I believe lies a principle that rings true, even today: Eat clean foods.

Modern Day Clean Eating

Clean can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Telling your children to clean their room has an entirely different meaning than cleaning a surgical room in a hospital. Eating clean foods meant something entirely different to the ancient Israelites than what clean food means to us today.

In the Old Testament, God gave specific rules for cleanliness, both for the sake of ritual and health. Now, thanks to Jesus, we are no longer bound to these rituals. Eating God’s list of approved foods is now optional. Just read Acts 10:9-15:

It was about noon the next day. The men were on their journey and were approaching the city. Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry. He wanted something to eat. While the meal was being prepared, Peter had a vision. 11 He saw heaven open up. There he saw something that looked like a large sheet. It was being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It had all kinds of four-footed animals in it. It also had reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “No, Lord! I will not!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything that is not pure and ‘clean.’”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time. “Do not say anything is not pure that God has made ‘clean,’” it said.

Let me be clear in stating that I don’t believe adhering to Deuteronomy 14 diets are wrong. I believe they are very healthy and have brought many people both wellness and healing. However, I believe that God has made the “unclean” foods acceptable, as it states above.

modern day clean eating principlesSome may take advantage of this verse and say that all things are now considered clean. I have to disagree. This is where common sense and practical wisdom come into play. Personally, I understand the “why” behind the “what” in the list God gave the Israelites.

If the “why” is that those foods contained something that could make them sick, then we should take this principle and apply it to ALL foods. Even foods not listed and foods that have recently joined us in the last 50 years need to be measured against that guideline.

I avoid genetically modified foods, preservatives and artificial ingredients. I don’t consider them clean. They may not be tainted with bacteria, but I know they can make me very sick.

I believe a modern day Clean Diet adheres to these principles:

1. Eat foods in the form God designed them.

This means foods free of pesticides and genetic modifications. This also eliminates artificial ingredients and processed foods. Instead, shop at your local farmers market and health food stores. Or better yet, grow your own in a garden!

2. Eat only animals that are raised humanely in clean environments, free of chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics.

This not only applies to meat, but to eggs and dairy, as well! Look for words like free-range, pastured, grass fed, rBgh free, and organic on labels. These are always much healthier choices.

3. Avoid any food that incites an unnatural response in your body.

Sugar spikes your blood sugar, artificial ingredients can modify cell responses, and excess salt can raise your blood pressure. Even certain “healthyfoods can initiate a response based on your body’s allergies or intolerances. The right foods will make you feel great. They will never make you feel tired, bloated, or sick in any way.

4. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!

I can confidently say that nearly everything that God designed for you to eat, you also know how to pronounce. Those big words that sound like chemicals are usually just that! Read labels on everything from your bread to salad dressings. Chemical ingredients hide out everywhere!

5. Don’t overindulge. Moderation is always best!

Even clean and healthy foods can be overdone. For example, eating too much fruit can contribute to insulin resistance. Also, overindulging even with healthy foods can cause weight gain.

Adhering to these principles will not only keep your body clean and free from toxins, but also enhance your ability to fight off disease.

Clean Food Recipes

I don’t know about you, but my garden is currently overflowing with zucchini! This put me on the hunt for clean and healthy recipes to use up this versatile vegetable. I stumbled across this zucchini fritter recipe, and I’m happy I did. These fritters taste delicious and are packed full of healthy ingredients. This recipe is not set in stone. Feel free to experiment by adding other vegetables like shredded carrot, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes. I enjoy topping my fritters with a dollop of sour cream and a touch of hot sauce.

grain free zucchini frittersGrain Free Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium zucchini grated
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup almond flour or coconut flour
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying (I used 2 tablespoons coconut oil)

Instructions:

  1. Grate zucchini with a medium sized grater.
  2. Add salt and place shredded zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze to get as much liquid out of it as possible.
  3. Once squeezed place back in bowl and add beaten eggs, thinly sliced green onions, almond flour, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat.
  5. Once oil is shimmering, add spoonfuls of mixture in hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Place on platter lined with paper towels to soak up any grease that sticks to the fritter and serve with sour cream or other condiment.

If you have ever eaten heirloom tomatoes, then you’ve noticed not only their beautiful array shapes and colors, but also their amazing flavor!  God sure got creative when he designed tomatoes! Heirloom tomatoes differ in that they come from seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some seeds have a history of 100-300 years! You can find heirloom tomatoes at your local farmers market.

This recipe utilizes these beautiful and tasty tomatoes in a delicious salad. If you can’t find heirlooms, any fresh tomatoes will do.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Lay sliced tomatoes onto a large, serving platter.
  2. Remove kernels from ear of corn, and spread evenly over tomatoes.
  3. Now sprinkle the plate of tomatoes evenly with the red onion, bacon, basil and blue cheese.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad, and top with a bit more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Though God has given us free will to eat as we please, we won’t be exempt from the consequences of bad food choices. God designed our bodies and he also designed natural foods specifically for those bodies. When we eat what God designed, foods that are natural and free from chemicals and toxins, we reap the benefit of health. When we eat what scientists and chemists designed as food, we reap weight gain and disease.  The choice is yours. Personally, I trust God’s food and I hope you will as well.

 

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.
Grain Free Zucchini Fritters Recipe Adapted from slimpalate.com
Heirloom Tomato Salad Adapted from: laaloosh.com

Liver Cleansing for Optimal Health

by Amanda Box, N.D.

“I can’t eat that! I’m on a detox.” You’ve probably heard this phrase by now. Detoxing and cleansing have become quite the trends lately. As natural health methods and healing become more mainstream, I partly find this exciting, but, I also want to roll my eyes.

I have found, for the most part, that people who are detoxing don’t fully understand why they are doing what they are doing. They blindly jump on the detox bandwagon because they hear it can help them lose weight.

Although detoxing can help you lose weight, there are so many more benefits to a good clean out. But, it is a process that should be carefully considered and taken seriously. Detoxification is far more than an attempt at weight loss. It is a process that can change your life.

Most detoxes and cleanses today focus on: eliminating something (e.g., sugar, gluten, etc.); weight loss (via fasting or juice cleanses); or colon cleansing. Although these are fantastic cleanses, they only scratch the surface of detoxification.

In the deluge of detoxes, one of the most important organs goes unnoticed: the liver. This large and overloaded organ truly deserves its turn at detoxifying.

The word “liver” is derived from the word “life”, and rightly so! Your liver literally gives your body life every single day by performing over 300 functions! Some of the liver’s functions include:

  • Storing iron for hemoglobin production
  • Filtering out bacteria and resisting infections by producing immune factors
  • Helping to regulate blood sugar levels
  • Contributing to digestion
  • Regulating amino acids (building blocks of protein) in the blood
  • Removing toxic compounds from the blood
  • Removing and inactivating excess hormones

Signs of a Stressed Liver

signs of a stressed liverLiver detoxification is essential for keeping your liver at optimal functioning capacity. Because the liver filters so many toxins day in and day out, it can become sluggish and struggle to work efficiently. You may begin to show signs of liver impairment like:

  • Hormonal imbalance (PMS, Menstrual cramping, PCOS)
  • Acne, rosacea or psoriasis
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Joint Pain
  • Allergies
  • Digestion problems (diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating)

Chinese medicine recognizes some interesting signs when your liver is under stress.

The first symptom is waking up between the hours of 1 and 3 am every night. According to the Chinese medicine’s meridian clock, each organ has a 2-hour time segment in which it is most active. The liver belongs to the 1-3 am time frame.

Secondly, your face can also tell you if you have some liver impairment. Vertical lines between your eyebrows are often referred to as the “liver lines.” I personally saw my liver line fade dramatically after completing a liver cleanse.

Wrinkles aren’t just a part of aging. In Chinese medicine, the lines in our face tell a story of what is happening in our body! Broken capillaries and redness of your left cheek towards the bridge of your nose can be a sign of inflammation or congestion in the liver.

Lastly, your eyes can manifest symptoms of liver dysfunction. Many of you know that if the whites of your eyes change yellow, it is a sign of jaundice. The liver’s inability to properly break down bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice.

A white ring around your iris can be a sign of fatty buildup in the blood. Since the liver breaks down fat and cholesterol, this can also be an indicator that the liver isn’t working as it should.

Cyour liver is stressed ifhinese medicine also assigns different emotions to different organ systems. Anger, frustration and resentment are emotions associated with the liver. If you often find yourself dealing with these emotions, your liver may need some attention. Beyond the relational, psychological, and spiritual reasons for not holding onto anger and resentment, there are real physical reasons as well. Carrying around these emotions can cause liver problems. Forgiving and letting go of these toxic emotions can keep you healthy physically and in every other respect!

Clean Eating for Liver Health

I believe that every adult could benefit from liver detoxification. We live in a toxic world and no matter how hard we try, we are exposed daily to chemicals and harmful substances. Our liver is the organ responsible for filtering these destructive components out of our body. It bears the brunt of these toxins to save us from being poisoned on a regular basis.

But the liver, being self-sacrificing, can become damaged from toxic exposure. It can also become congested from the massive amount of fat and cholesterol it has to process. Thankfully, the liver is an organ designed to regenerate.

The liver can reconstruct and restore healthy liver cells to optimal function if given the proper attention. This amazing process is the reason why liver detoxification can change your life!

Not every organ in your body can return to normal after being damaged or impaired. Giving the liver a healthy reboot can move you from a diseased state to one of good health.

Liver detoxification starts with what you eat. You cannot expect your liver to repair itself if it continues to be bombarded with toxic substances from the food you eat. Perhaps you have heard of Clean Eating. Clean Eating is a style of eating that truly encompasses its name. “Clean” means free from contaminates or unwanted matter. Eating a clean diet is one of the best ways to repair and rejuvenate the liver. To engage in a clean diet:[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

  • Eliminate processed foods: This includes packaged, canned, and frozen meals. Also, avoid white flour, white sugar, and artificial ingredients of any kind.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake: Adding two to three servings of veggies to each meal can boost your intake and fill you up. For a healthy snack between meals, choose fruit.
  • Cut out unhealthy fats: This includes hydrogenated oils, most vegetable oils, and fried foods. You can, however, use olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil in moderation.
  • Eliminate Alcohol Consumption: A glass a day of red wine is typically okay. However, alcohol puts stress on the liver and should be completely eliminated while detoxing.
  • Exclude sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use other sweeteners like honey and stevia sparingly.
  • Reduce your grain intake by at least half and cut out gluten completely. Instead of wheat, incorporate a little quinoa, rice, or oatmeal into your daily diet. Grains should be a small part of your daily food intake.
  • Limit your dairy intake and only use organic or rBgh-free dairy products. Raw dairy from a local farmer is best. Using grass-fed butter is also fine. But while liver detoxing, lowering your intake of healthy fat can be helpful in giving the liver a rest.
  • Consume only healthy sourced meats: Feedlot meats contain antibiotics and growth hormones. Not to mention, the conditions are dreadful and unsanitary. Find a local farmer, or quality meat at a local health food market. Farmer’s markets often have locally raised beef and chicken. Also, be wary of high mercury fish like salmon and tuna.

Herbs for Liver Detoxification

Eating a clean diet can dramatically benefit your liver by decreasing its toxic load. But, detoxifying herbs and supplements can take your liver from being exhausted, to rejuvenated! There are specific herbs that stimulate liver cells to regenerate, neutralize toxins, cleanse and unclog the liver.

I must note that you should never begin a liver detox before first cleansing the colon. If your colon is not cleansed, toxins on their way out of the body from your liver get stuck in your waste. When this happens, your system reabsorbs these toxins and you lose the progress you’ve made. Having a clean, functioning colon helps facilitate these toxins out of the body where they belong!

I recommend beginning your clean diet a week before starting a liver cleansing supplement regime. During this week, you can take supplements, which stimulate bowel movements and help clear the colon, readying it for the liver cleanse. One great supplement is Renew Life’s Cleansemore or Bowel Cleanse. You can continue colon-cleansing supplements after you begin to add the liver cleansing herbs. This will keep toxins moving efficiently out of the body.

There are 5 specific herbs that I recommend for liver detoxification.

5 herbs for liver detoxDandelion

This pesky weed is a very effective herb for your liver! It not only helps cleanse the liver, but also contributes to regenerating liver cells! Dandelion removes excess water from the body and increases bile production. Increasing bile boosts detoxification of toxic substances out of the body.

Milk Thistle

This herb is by far the #1 used natural remedy for the liver. In Europe, doctors prescribe milk thistle to treat hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and alcohol-induced liver damage. It has the remarkable ability to both protect the liver, as well as stimulate regeneration of damaged liver tissue. Milk thistle is also an antioxidant and protects the body’s cells from free radical damage. Silymarin is the active component in milk thistle. For optimum results, look for milk thistle containing at least 80% silymarin.

Burdock root

Primarily known as a blood purifier; burdock is also a fantastic liver cleanser. It stimulates bile flow and protects liver cells with its many natural antioxidant compounds.

Artichoke

Artichoke contains compounds called caffeoylquinic acids, which have liver restorative properties. They both protect liver cells and prevent further damage. Artichoke also stimulates the flow of bile, thereby helping the liver and gallbladder break down fats.

Turmeric

This bright orange spice is one of the most potent antioxidants available. It not only protects the liver, but also stimulates the restoration of healthy liver cells. Turmeric aids in liver detoxification and reduces inflammation. The active component in turmeric is called curcumin. Turmeric that contains at least 90% curcuminoids produces the greatest results.

Most quality liver cleansing supplements will contain at least three of these five powerful herbs. My personal favorite is by Enzymatic Therapy. I have used it several times and often recommend it to others. It contains all five herbs and is a two-week regimen that can be repeated, as necessary. Taking the time to cleanse and detoxify your liver can bring new life to your whole body!

Give your liver the restoration it needs by eating a clean diet and using liver cleansing supplements. Your skin will clear, your energy levels increase, and your digestion will be strengthened. Many also see their cholesterol and blood pressure drop to healthy levels after a liver cleanse. Don’t ignore your liver any longer! Begin your journey today towards a cleaner, happier, and healthier life!

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

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7 Daily Self-Dentistry Steps

Many of us have been faithful to visit the dentist and brush our teeth after meals, or even 2 to 3 times a day.  Yet, tooth decay and gum disease is very prevalent among the disciplined “flossers.”  But, if you feel discouraged about your oral health or without options for good dental care, let self-dentistry allow you to enjoy life and oral health – which reflects the overall health of our bodies. Our teeth and gums will be much healthier by practicing self-dentistry.

No more toxic toothpaste, just natural elements to regenerate gums, saliva and teeth.

7 Daily Self-Dentistry Steps

  1. Salt Water Rinse
    Pour a generous amount of pure salt (Himalyan or Celtic) into a container and fill with water. Shake before use. Rinse your mouth using this strong saline solution at the beginning and end of your self-dentistry regimen.
  2. Clean Tongue
    Tongue has a lot of bacteria, so scrap tongue with tongue scraper and rinse apparatus.
  3. Brush
    • Use an ionic toothbrush, which is activated by light. The saliva receives a negative ionic charge from the toothbrush, which then alkalizes the saliva. By alkalizing the saliva, you remove 40% of plaque often found inside your mouth.
    • Add a few drops of Neem Enamelizer, an oil with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
    • To increase potency, add Healthy Gum Drops, a combination of antiseptic, astringent, circulatory, and analgesic botanicals for healthy gums.
    • Brush slowly following the gum to teeth principle: gum down for upper teeth and gum up for lower teeth. No need to worry about chemical foam or spitting anything out. It is all safe for mouth and body!
  4. Clean gums
    Apply Yogi Tooth Serum, or similar product, to a sulca brush to clean the area where the teeth and gums join. The health of your gums determine the health of your mouth and teeth, so they stay in place, stay strong. Gums cover up thousands of tiny filaments called “sulca” that attach the tooth to the jaw. By taking care of the gum line and teeth, you prevent debris from building up and pushng the gums away from the teeth. Follow along the gum lines on the outside of your teeth, as well as along the inside of your teeth gum line.
  5. Floss
    Use one drop of a Tooth Serum to coat your floss and floss up and around each tooth. Floss twice.
  6. Polish to Whiten
    Consider using an electric toothbrush to polish the teeth. Do not brush your gums, just the teeth! Start with a dry brush, add 1 drop of tooth serum and a little tooth whitening powder polish, but do not brush your gums – just polish the teeth! Polish the whole mouth and your teeth will gradually get whiter and whiter.
  7. Salt Water Rinse
    Repeat as in Step 1. Follow these 7 steps daily, once in the morning and once at night for excellent oral health! You do not need to brush your teeth after every meal, but alkalize your mouth with the salt water rinse.

Commercial hygiene products are ineffective and expensive. The proper way to care for our teeth is NOT with expensive, highly flavored toothpastes that come in non-biodegradable, throwaway, zinc-and-lead tubes! You and your family can save a significant amount of money — and at the same time keep your teeth and gums in good shape — by kicking the Madison Avenue habit and choosing to follow the 7 simple steps of self-dentistry to keep your pearly whites clean and your whole body healthy .

 

 

Provided by Nadine Artemis of LivingLibations.com

 

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