Monday, February 28, 2011


As we prepare for spring and think about giving our homes a good spring cleaning we should also consider the benefits starting an internal cleanse or detoxification program.  There are many variations of a detox diet some of which take extreme measures and can in some cases leave the body feeling weakened.  The purpose of a cleansing diet or detoxification program is to allow the digestive system to rest and help eliminate toxins from the body and bring about a feeling of revitalization and well being.

Before beginning a detoxification program it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider and develop a clear assessment of your needs and goals.  Making gradual changes in your dietary habits is advisable.  Sometimes changing your diet quickly and dramatically can make you feel worse before feeling better.  Eliminating too much too soon can have adverse effects by overloading the liver and other channels of detoxification.

The first step in beginning a detox program would be to eliminate all processed foods, sugar, alcohol and caffeine.  Next, start eliminating, cow’s milk, dairy products and gluten grains (wheat, rye, barley and oats) as well as cutting back or eliminating animal protein.  Eliminate the foods that are disturbing or irritating to you.  Sometimes food sensitivities or intolerances can develop from over consumption or repetitive eating patterns.  Eliminating suspect foods and then reintroducing them is a good way to identify foods that may be creating digestive problems.  Quite often, after avoiding a food for a period of time, sometimes as much as six to nine months, you may increase your ability to tolerate that particular food again and can begin reintroducing it back into the diet.  This is known as the elimination diet and it is frequently used to detect foods that are causing allergic or inflammatory responses.

A gentle detoxification program can be practiced for a few days or a few weeks depending on your particular needs.  Sometimes digestive enzymes, fiber, herbal laxatives and vitamin supplementation and rice protein shakes are recommended to assist with cleansing and regenerative healing.  Drink plenty of water with lemon, sip nourishing herbal teas, consume lots of vegetable broth, and get plenty of fresh air, sunshine and exercise. In addition, dry skins brushing as well as massage, steams and saunas are recommended to assist with cleansing the body of toxins.

Going at your own pace with elimination and adding an abundance of fresh vegetables and moderate amount of fruit can assist in providing a great start to a healthier lifestyle.  Avoiding foods for a period of time often helps eliminate the craving for them. Taking the leap to go on a detoxification program is a great way to start the spring season providing revitalized energy and a sense of renewal.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Acid Alkaline Balance

Having a balanced pH or acid alkaline balance is a good way to create and maintain vibrant health.  Through our diet we can improve our health by restoring our acid alkaline balance.  By eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables we can alkalize the body.  The over consumption of proteins and other acid forming foods creates a burden to process and remove the acid residue from the body. The process of eliminating the by-products of the metabolism of acid forming foods can deplete the body of mineral reserves and excess acid can be stored and begin to accumulate in the tissues.  This condition is known as latent acidosis.  There is a wide range of functional disturbances that can occur from this condition that can include headache, depressed immune function, nervousness, abdominal discomfort and aches and pains that can eventually lead to chronic conditions. 
Changing the diet to include a greater amount of alkaline forming foods will help reverse the condition.  It’s recommended that approximately 80% of the foods we eat should be alkaline- forming foods and 20% acid-forming while restoring health.  When maintaining health it’s recommended that a 60/40 ratio is used to maintain a healthy pH balance.
A very useful chart of Acid and Alkaline Forming Foods can be located through the link below:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Candida Albicans

Once deemed an insignificant component to the state of our health, Candida Albicans has developed more and more recognition over the past twenty years by the medical community for the debilitating consequences this condition can have on our health.  Candida Albicans, commonly referred to as Candida, is a form of yeast that is a normal part of the hundreds of different types of microorganisms that reside in our digestive tract.  Candidiasis is a fungal infection that develops as a result of yeast overgrowth.  Candida infections are commonly caused by use of antibiotics, birth control pills, use of steroid medications and the overconsumption of sugar.  Candida can be seen in the form of a vaginal yeast infection, thrush or fungus in the nail beds but Candida can also over-colonize in the digestive tract causing havoc throughout the body.  Symptoms can range from fatigue, headache, stomach and intestinal disturbances as well as disorders of the immune, endocrine and nervous systems.   Candida produces toxins in the intestinal tract which can irritate the intestinal lining and can create permeability or leaky gut syndrome.  Leaky gut syndrome allows macromolecules of undigested food to leak into the bloodstream which can lead to food sensitivities and allergic responses.

 Candida Albicans can develop into a chronic condition that can easily go undiagnosed while causing a wide range of symptoms as a result  of dysbiosis or an imbalance of intestinal flora. Candida can be difficult to overcome.  Many people struggle with poor results as they attempt to conquer Candida.  There are prescription medications that are available but it is widely recognized that making appropriate dietary changes will assist in reversing the condition.  

Candida thrives on sugar and an acidic environment.  By minimizing sugar and focusing on an alkalinizing diet will help to create a less than optimum environment for the yeast to thrive.  Including probiotics in the diet is also a very important part to restoring the correct balance of intestinal flora.  Probiotics are live microorganisms that are found in yogurt, fermented foods and supplements. Probiotics are safe and will help to repair and maintain normal gut mucosa and stimulate enzyme production as well as protect against bacteria and bacterial toxins.  Fresh garlic also a good addition to the diet as it has antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Eating a diet with plenty of vegetables and lean proteins while minimizing sugar intake should help to eliminate the yeast overgrowth.  Exercise is also very important for oxygenation and to flush out toxins from the system.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Not So Sweet Side of Sugar

 Statistics show that Americans consume approximately 2-3 pounds of sugar a week or 160 pounds in a year.  The rate in which we consume sugar has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. This statistic has undoubtedly contributed to having such a high incidence of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in our country today. The health effects that bring about these consequences takes place overtime.  Continually having elevated insulin levels can lead to the development of insulin resistance.  With insulin resistance the cells of the body no longer respond normally to insulin . The risk for diabetes, heart attack and stroke and a variety of other diseases becomes increased.

 Consuming too much sugar affects our health on many levels.  Every time we eat sugar our body produces insulin.  Insulin helps push the sugar to the muscles, tissue and liver and then it is converted to glycogen for energy reserves.  The capacity to store glycogen is limited therefore the excess sugar is converted into fat storage. 
The glycemic index of foods is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream rate high on the gylcemic index. Carbohydrates that break down slower, releasing glucose more gradually into the bloodstream, have a lower glycemic index rating.  The following is a link to the Revised International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values.
 A Slower rate of digestion usually requires less insulin demand which in turn helps maintain and improve stable glucose levels.  Maintaining a stable blood sugar level will contribute to a healthy energy level and help reduce the risk of numerous health conditions that are associated with insulin resistance.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Going Organic

Eliminating additives, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides from your diet is a great way to start making positive changes to your lifestyle.  Understanding the impact that food choices have on our bodies can be a motivating factor in taking action on eating a cleaner, healthier diet.  We’re exposed to chemicals through our environment and through the foods we eat. The average person is said to have more than 700 chemical contaminants in their bloodstream.  Scientists are beginning to make the connection of the health risks from long term chemical exposure not only from the environment but from the foods we eat.  The list of changes we can make collectively and as individuals seems endless.  Making small steps toward change and buying fresh organic fruits and vegetables is a great place to start.  Harmful contamination from pesticide residue can become a hidden menace in the quality of food we choose.  The Environmental Working Group has created a shoppers guide that is helpful in determining which produce has the highest and lowest levels of pesticide residue.  Generally, fruits and vegetables with thicker skin have lower pesticide residue. 

High in Pesticide Residue
High in Pesticide Residue
Sweet Corn
Sweet Peas
Bell Peppers
Kale/Collard Greens
Grapes (imported)

Sweet Potato

Honeydew Melon

The Environmental Working Group is a non profit organization that specializes in providing useful resources to consumers while simultaneously pushing for national policy change.  By using the above list as a guide you can make educated decisions about when to buy organic as you turn the corner toward a cleaner, healthier diet.