Archive for the ‘Nutrition and Diet’ Category

Spring Cleaning – Benefits of Doing a Cleanse

May 5th, 2017 No comments

It’s that time of year. The trees begin to bud, flowers begin to bloom, and birds begin to chirp, and it’s a perfect time for that annual spring cleaning. Throughout the home you organize and declutter closets and cabinets and sweep, dust, and wash all floors, walls, and windows. Putting it simply, you’re clearing out all the debris that has accumulated during the winter months. Much like our home our bodies also need a good cleaning or cleansing and springtime is the perfect time to shed those winter blahs.

Typically during the winter months, we naturally move less and eat more, especially in colder climates. We eat comfort foods, foods higher in fat, or foods that “stick to our ribs” and help us keep on weight, all of which seems to help us better manage the colder temperatures. We are also less active and tend to sleep more just by naturally following the circadian cycle of the day, shorter days or less daylight and more darkness. The body and all the cells throughout the body are in a state of hibernation and participating in a cleanse will reset the internal clock, shifting your body into a more optimal state of cellular turn over.

Participating in an annual detoxification program is a time to rejuvenate, renew, and recharge your life. By participating in a cleanse you can give your organs of elimination, like the liver, kidneys, and GI tract the rest they need to work more optimally. I typically recommend to my patients that doing a cleanse at least two times a year (New Year, Spring and Fall) is best. Benefits of doing a cleanse include improve skin conditions, and digestion, increase in energy and improvement in sleep, enhance immune, neurological, and endocrine system function, reduce inflammation, weight loss, and much more.

What is detoxification?

And not all toxins are safely removed and not all things that we become exposed to our toxic until we break them down, and the by-products of those substances are more toxic than what we started with. This occurs when we have low anti-oxidant status or nutrient deficiencies and a high body burden or chronic exposure.

Why should we detox?

  • Lower your body burden
  • Optimize detoxification and elimination systems by retraining our internal organs and give them a chance to rest and repair
  • Enhance cellular function, which will allow you to mobilize and better remove internal waste (toxins) and improve energy production
  • Enhance body tissue to better able to get rid of toxins that have built up
  • Reduce internal inflammation and improve external skin quality
  • Improve circulation and enhance movement of lymph system
  • Improve immune response
  • Minimize symptoms and feel better

The importance of safely detoxifying your body comes with working with a practitioner trained in nutrition and detoxification, ensuring you are a good candidate to undergo such a program. Too many times I hear about individuals who undergo a detox/cleanse program, like “Detox in a Box” with no medical guidance, but did one because they heard about it on a talk show or read about it on line or had a sister or good friend just complete one. The importance of getting proper guidance and working with a practitioner (at least the first time) will make sure that you qualify to participate. Typically that entails completing a Health Assessment, undergoing any relevant physical exams, and running any necessary blood work (eg. CBC, CMP). It is not always mandatory to run blood work, but certain diseases like Type 1 Diabetes needs to be thoroughly understood before participating in certain cleansing/detox programs, as well as those who suffer from GERD or have certain food allergies. A well-trained clinician will be able to guide anyone through a detox/cleanse program and that you are safely being monitored.

If completing a 21-Day Cleanse sounds like something that you or someone you know would benefit from, feel free to contact the office to learn more. Group cleanses and discounted package prices are available in the spring and fall.

The Ultimate Reset – A 21-day Cleanse Can Be The Answer

January 5th, 2016 No comments

It’s that time of year when we millions of people commit to making those ever so important New Year’s resolution. For many Americans losing weight or getting fit repeatedly cracks the top 10 New Year’s resolution. I agree that improving health by staying fit or losing unnecessary weight is essential, but I also think another goal should be to make a cleanse (or detox) to the top of the new year’s resolution list.

In my medical practice, I recommend that my patients participate in a cleanse at least twice a year, making the beginning of the year an ideal time for implementing a detox protocol and a great new year’s resolution. Much like staying off a sprained ankle or nursing a sore throat, it makes sense to rest the main detoxification organ in the body — the liver.

The liver acts like a filter or a sieve for our blood. It works around the clock to ensure that everything that goes into your body especially harmful substances such as medications, alcohol, chemicals, and pollutants are safely and properly eliminated. On the other hand it also provides storage and conversion of vital nutrients (minerals, vitamins, sugars) delivering them as needed to cells through out the body. A highly functioning liver will also produce the necessary levels of bile that is needed for optimal digestion.

The benefits of a cleanse can be vary from individual to individual, but some of the common improvements include: improved energy, clearer skin, regular bowel movements, improved digestion, increased concentration and clarity and may even decrease the appearance of cellulite.

If the liver becomes compromised from constant exposure to these harmful substances then the filtering mechanism begins to get “clogged” and the by-products of these harmful substances can begin to accumulate in our system. This of course creates negative effect throughout the body such as headaches, fatigue, skin reactions, and digestive issues to name a few. This also compromises the livers ability to properly release important nutrients to their delivery sites where they play role in preventing disease or chronic illness.

So what is a detox? Quite simply a practice of supporting the liver’s ability to reduce unwanted metabolites (or toxins) from the body and properly eliminating them to be excreted by the intestines, colon and kidneys. My naturopathic approach to a post-holiday cleanse entails looking at many aspects of health. Usually I recommend patients eliminate ALL reactive foods (dairy, sugar, wheat, gluten, eggs) from the diet. Over the course of a cleanse I want ensure they get gentle yet effective support to their over-burdened liver and kidneys by introducing a medical grade protein drink. It is also vital to clean up the environment by removing or reducing exposure to common toxins. Switching over from harsh chemical-based products to natural based cleaning and hygiene products can easily help you to accomplish this.

Maintaining some level of physical activity (never increasing or starting up to a strenuous level), usually 30-minutes a day, practice meditative rituals using breathing techniques either to start the day or at the conclusion. Sleep is not only essential but next to water it is very important. The body does need rest and the sleep hours are when the body on so many levels can re-charge itself — so shoot to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night during the cleanse period.

“Water is the essence of life”. Not only should one be drinking plenty of purified water on a daily basis, but during a cleanse it is essential. Keeping hydrated will aid in proper elimination and excretion from all the organs. On a cleanse it is important to increase your intake of water by an additional 2-3 liters depending on your size. Typically one should drink enough water to produce colorless or slightly straw-yellow urine and to prevent becoming thirsty, as thirst is typically a sign that your are not adequately hydrated.

A typical cleanse can last anywhere from 7 to 21 days. If you decide to maintain a longer time frame or any type of fast, it is always best to work with a qualified health care practitioner. Pregnant and lactating women, children, extremely weakened individuals, anyone with an eating disorder or anyone with a chronic illness cannot participate in a detox.

So if you recently gave up chocolate or you goal is to lose those 10-15 extra pounds this year, consider starting off those New Year’s resolution with a cleanse, it may give you the extra bit of motivation and be the exact catalyst for the ultimate health reset.

The Importance of Conscious Eating — You Are What You Eat

February 1st, 2015 No comments

I remember tuning into an episode of Oprah, as I was curious to find out what she was going to teach the world about eating. The name of the episode was called “Food 101”. She got the inspiration for producing the show after watching the documentary “Food Inc” with Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma). In my opinion, this documentary shows an amazingly enlightening perspective on where our food is coming from in the United States. As a naturopathic doctor my job constantly entails teaching my patients how to eat and after the new year, I made it my goal to get as many patients as possible to watch the documentary.

I started by getting as many patients as possible to do my cleanse|detoxification protocol. This would allow me to give a talk on the benefits of doing a cleanse while reminding my patients the importance of food and the kinds of food that they should be eating every day.

Oprah mentioned several times the importance of eating consciously. Essentially being aware of what we are putting into our body and more importantly knowing what is in the foods and the source of the ingredients/food  we consume from the super market and the restaurants we frequent. This is key. Understanding the food available on super market shelves, meat/produce/dairy departments, and fast food restaurants, sadly is void of essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins, but rather latent with chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones. Once an individual fully grasps the concept to eat by being fully aware of what they consume has an origin, the sooner maintaining healthy habits and good health can be attained.

The beauty of doing a cleanse is that not only will it benefit the detoxification pathways in the body, and as a result you’ll feel better, but you’ll also find that eating whole food, organic food during the cleanse will soon become (and desired) a lifetime commitment.

I encourage my patients to eat as much whole food, organic fruits, vegetables grains, and food in it’s most natural state. Consuming less packaged foods or preservative-filled foods, and eliminating anything with high fructose corn syrup. And to be sure to use these guidelines when purchasing produce, it is called “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean Fifteen”:

Dirty Dozen — Foods You Should Consume Organic

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Celery
  7. Grapes
  8. Pears
  9. Cherries
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

Clean Fifteen — Food Lowest in Pesticides

  1. Sweet corn
  2. Avocados
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew
  12. Kiwifruit
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

Once you become connected with the concept that “what you are is what you eat” the sooner you will find yourself on the path to better health and wellness. It is not just a mantra I use in my practice, but I also believe simply enough, a system of living that will greatly improve your quality of life.