Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Dos & Don’ts of Detox

Well, I have one day left of my 10 day detox and I must say that I've learned some important things about being successful at detox this time through! I'm feeling pretty good—my energy is up and I've lost a little weight. My headaches resolved after the first 2 days. I really didn't miss alcohol or wheat or cheese as much as I thought I would. Even the MediClear shakes were better this time around thanks to a reformulation! So, I thought I'd share a few tips with you.

DO drink lots of water throughout the whole day! I think part of my headaches the first 2 days was dehydration. Also, drink water all through the day so you aren't too thirsty at the end of the day. I had a few evenings where I was playing catch up and then I had to get up a lot during the night!

DO sauna if you get the chance! I only got to go once mid-cleanse but it felt amazing and I did some great sweating to help clear out even more toxins (your skin is your largest organ of detox you know!).

DO plan ahead for meals and snacks! With the restrictions of a cleansing diet, you need to make sure you have plenty of food on hand for when hunger strikes. I realized that most of my snacks, with the exception of fruit, are foods I was avoiding. The first day, I made up a big batch of quinoa which I ate for the first 5 days (with black beans, as a side with olive oil and lime juice with fish, added to salads). Then I cooked a bunch of brown rice with homemade chicken stock. I bought frozen fish that I could thaw on the days I wanted fish. I bought a huge bin of organic baby spinach and 10 pounds of organic apples at Costco and raw walnuts, sunflower seeds, and cashews. I also ate dried fruit that I had dehydrated over Christmas. Just be prepared so you don't slip because you are hungry!

DON'T go to Costco when you are detoxing! I went on the first day of my detox and you are surrounded by free samples of all kinds of things you can't have! I did sample a marinated artichoke heart but had to resist everything else!

DON'T lose your dog! On day one, my husband took our hunting dog out and lost her in the woods. I was heartbroken and all I wanted to do was eat comfort foods like mac and cheese and drink wine. He searched for her over the next 4 days and thankfully found her. The lesson here is to try to avoid stressful situations that lead to emotional food cravings.

DON'T host a BBQ for people who aren't detoxing! To celebrate finding our dog, we invited our cousin and a friend who came out to help search for a BBQ. The two of them and my husband drank beer, ate chips, French bread, and steak for dinner—all of which I wanted to eat! I had cranberry raspberry juice mixed with mineral water, grilled Mahi Mahi, quinoa, and steamed Brussels sprouts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (all of which was really amazingly good). But I'd advise saving the get togethers until after your detox is over.

I'm very glad that I did this detox—but I must admit that I'm more glad that it's over tomorrow!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The End – Chef Brett

Well I intended to update everyday throughout my cleanse but as usual life happened. On day three I got a cold. My husband asked if I was going to stop doing the cleanse, but since sugar, coffee, dairy, and alcohol are not good for colds either I decided to push through. My doctor, Dr. Crystal, recommended I add a little more protein to my regimen but otherwise lots of fruits, vegetables, and water. So here I am 11:30pm on day five and I feel pretty good.

I didn't lose any weight (I don't think, since we don't own a scale) but I do feel more energized, even though I have had a cold. When I weighed myself today at Dr. Crystal's office I did feel pretty bummed, I have only lost 13 pounds since my son was born almost two years ago, but Dr. Crystal pointed out that I have only been eating this way for 5 days and since I was sick I didn't really get any exercise. So my intention is to continue to restrict my alcohol, sugar, and dairy consumption and limit my carbs to good, whole carbs like oatmeal and Ezekiel bread. If I need a chocolate fix I will indulge, in moderation, and, when offered, I will try to only have one slice of my neighbor's homemade bread that they make multiple times a week. I will be drinking coffee again. I didn't have too hard a time with the no caffeine but I ENJOY having a cup of coffee in the morning with half and half and a drop of orange oil, and I don't see any reason to not have it right now.

So for my first cleanse I feel that it was a good experience and next year I will do it again (if I'm not pregnant – before anyone jumps to any conclusions there is no plan it is just a possibility).

If any of you out there plan to do a cleanse good luck to you, the results are worth it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day One – Chef Brett

So the original plan was that my husband was going to do the cleanse with me. After a tough day of being at work and not getting enough calories then breaking down and having a Pepsi he has decided this isn't the right time for him to do a cleanse. He has a problem with textures so eating oatmeal or avocados is not something that he can do without wanting to vomit. So for his first cleanse we will pick a weekend and do a two day cleanse that is more tailored to his palate. He will be eating the same food I am eating while at home, just in more quantity.

Today went fairly well. There were a few times I felt I needed to eat or drink water but I couldn't quite get to it because of changing a diaper or rocking the little one back to sleep when he woke up unexpectedly. But I felt surprisingly satisfied.

The smoothie was very gritty from the supplement I added to it so tomorrow I will probably just put it in a minimal amount of juice then throw it back so it is over faster. The salad with the olive oil and lemon juice was delicious! I was lucky to have a bottle of olive oil I brought back from a trip to Spain last October so it gave the salad a wonderful flavor, this might be a keeper for my future salads.

Everything else went pretty well, I didn't eat any of my son's Pepperidge Farms Gold Fish or any of his buttered and jammed toast. I did get a blinding headache after dinner and had to lay down in a dim room for about an hour. After drinking tons of water I was refreshed enough to read Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel for the 100th time today to my son then he helped me put some laundry away.

All in all a good start to my first cleanse.

The Game Plan

This is my first time doing a detox. I have wanted to do one for a long time but have always worked physical jobs on my feet, then I was pregnant, then nursing, and now I feel I will be able to take the appropriate time and relax, while I'm running after my 21 month old son. So I am not doing a super restrictive diet. I will be cutting out all the stuff Dr. Crystal recommended and I will be using a nutritional supplement to add to my smoothies called ClearDetox by Pure Encapsulations. Since I am a beginner I will only be doing a five day detox. The one thing I will have a hard time living without, and will probably still use on occasion is salt. Salt makes everything better and when you can't have coffee, wine, or cheese you want your sweet potatoes and salad with olive oil and lemon juice to be as satisfying as possible. So Dr. Crystal has recommended I get Unrefined Sea Salt from Trader Joe's so that I can use it freely.

Here is the plan for the next five days:

½ a cup of cooked oats with honey and ¼ frozen blueberries. Oats are a good source of fiber, which is beneficial to the digestive system.


A slice of 100% rye bread with avocado or tomatoes on it.


A fruit smoothie. Possible combinations include:

Cranberry juice (no sugar added), strawberries (good source of vitamin C) and almonds (good source of poli-unsaturated fat)

Lemon Ginger Echinacea Juice (from Trader Joe's) and walnuts (good source of essential fatty acids)

Apple juice and kiwi (good source of vitamin C)

Light lunch

A low GI, wheat-free carbohydrate, like one small sweet potato, ½ a cup of cooked brown rice, ½ cup of cooked wild rice or one slice of rye bread

A combination of fresh fruit, vegetables or a salad, which may include lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red, green and yellow peppers, bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, baby marrows, celery, apple, roasted sunflower seeds and avocado. Sprinkle on some olive oil and lemon juice to dress it up.

100% juice, diluted with water / Rooibos tea with honey and a lemon slice / mineral water / fresh fruit or vegetables

The main meal

Approximately 4oz of low-fat protein, like a chicken fillet (without skin) or fish, which can be baked, stir-fried or steamed, but not fried.

A combination of veggies, which may include carrots, squash, fresh asparagus, mushrooms, leaks, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. Bake or steam the veggies with olive oil then add lemon juice, garlic and black pepper for flavor.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Improve Your Health with Detox

So, Chef Brett and I (along with our hubbies and the wonderful ladies I work with) have decided to do a detox and we invite you to join us! Detox is a great way to jump start any resolutions you might have made to lose weight or to be healthier this year. Detoxing can help you boost energy, improve digestion, improve the condition of your skin, get your body ready for a healthy pregnancy, jump start weight loss, help identify food allergies, boost immunity, and generally improve your health. Detoxification involves mobilizing stored toxins into the blood where they can be removed—mostly via the liver but also the intestines, kidneys, skin, lungs, and lymph. A detox program helps the body’s natural cleansing process by fasting to allow your organs to rest, stimulating the liver to improve toxin elimination, promoting elimination via the intestines, skin, kidneys, and lungs, improving lymph and blood circulation, and replenishing the body with healthy nutrients.

There are many different options when it comes to detox, you can choose to fast with juices, broths, or smoothies, eat an anti-inflammatory diet, or use supplements to help you. You may also support your detox with gentle exercise, saunas, castor oil packs, dry skin brushing, colonic hydrotherapy, and stress reduction. Most people benefit from detoxing at least once a year. Pregnant and nursing women, children, and those with degenerative diseases shouldn’t detox and I recommend consulting with your physician before starting a detox program.
So, there are many options for detoxing and I’ll include some links at the end of this post that you might want to try. A helpful reference is Clean Up Your Diet by Max Tomlinson. Below is a list of guidelines that can help you get started:

1) Avoid exposure to toxins: eliminate your intake of toxins such as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, refined sugars, trans fats, processed foods, and food additives. You also want to avoid environmental toxin exposure: chemical cleaners, second hand smoke, and personal care products that contain chemicals.
2) You need to drink lots of water to help flush out the toxins you will be releasing. You should plan on drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces.
3) Give your digestion a break: eat easily digested foods, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, drink fresh juices, smoothies, and broths; avoid high fat and protein-dense foods which are more difficult for your body to digest. Avoid any food allergies and sensitivities.
4) Love your liver: consider castor oil packs, herbs such as dandelion, milk thistle, and green tea, and adding foods that help support liver function.
5) Make sure you move your bowels: regular bowel movements ensure that toxins aren’t being reabsorbed from the colon. Consume plenty of high fiber foods and consider a fiber supplement. You may need to use herbal laxatives and may even consider scheduling colon hydrotherapy.
6) Focus on stress reduction, gentle exercise, and meditation to allow your body to rest and rebuild.
7) Breathe deeply: this helps you eliminate toxins through the lungs and reduce stress.
8) Sweat: do yoga or gentle exercise and consider saunas and hot baths with Epsom salts to help draw toxins out through the skin.
9) Brush your skin: do dry skin brushing to move lymph under the skin.
10) Move your blood: in the shower, spray your back with hot water for 3 minutes then cold water for 30 seconds then repeat 3 times, making sure you end with cold. This flushes blood through your organs and skin.

For my cleanse, my plan is to eliminate alcohol, caffeine, red meat, eggs, dairy, all processed and refined foods and all sugars. I’ll be doing smoothies, eating lots of salads and steamed veggies with whole grains. I will probably still eat a little fish and chicken. I will also be supplementing my detox with a shake mix called Mediclear (by Thorne Research). This product has rice protein, a complete array of vitamins and minerals, and nutrients that support the liver in its detoxification process. I’ll be drinking lots of filtered water and green and herbal teas and doing dry skin brushing, castor oil packs, and yoga. I plan to detox for 10 days and I’ll keep you updated on my progress!

So, pick a plan that you can work with. If it’s your first time detoxing, you probably don’t want to do anything too extreme—try a 3 day cleanse. Be prepared to feel kinda lousy at first: it’s not uncommon to feel like you have the flu and you may have headaches or night sweats. Usually these symptoms, if present, will only be during the first few days and dry skin brushing, baths, saunas, and hydrotherapy can help them resolve faster. If any other symptoms arise, discuss them with your doctor. I look forward to hearing how it goes for you!

You can find some helpful resources on my website. The following patient handouts are useful for detoxing: http://www.inhealthclinic.com/ and click on the “Patient Handouts” link in the upper right corner:

Cleansing & Maintenance Diet
Elimination Challenge Diet
10-Day Cleanse
Foods that Love the Liver
Aiding the Organs of Elimination
Castor Oil Pack Instructions

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sweet 'N' Lowdown

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had fun welcoming in the New Year and I imagine you have made some resolutions—possibly to eat more healthily and cut back on your sugar intake? Chef Brett posted a yummy sounding sugar cookie recipe which I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to make—I made lemon thumbprint cookies with raspberry filling and chocolate cinnamon sugar cookies this year.

I definitely consumed more than my fair share of sugar over the past few weeks! For several days in a row after Christmas I had apple cranberry pie for breakfast! Getting ready to do my post this week, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about; there are so many things to know about how sugar affects your health. I decided for this post to talk about various kinds of sweetners and sugars and basically create a list of sweet stuff from worst to best! I found a great reference online where I got a lot of this information and am including the link here: http://naturalmedicine.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_who_s_who_of_sugars

The worst offenders are definitely artificial sweeteners including: Splenda (sucralose), Sweet ‘N’ Low (saccharin), NutraSweet (aspartame), and Equal (aspartame, dextrose, maltodextrin). Sucralose is made by chlorinating sugar—so yes, it’s made from sugar but it definitely isn’t better for you! Saccharin is found in nature only as a component of coal tar and is carcinogenic. Aspartame converts into formaldehyde (a preservative) and methanol (which can cause blindness) when exposed to heat inside or outside of the body. These substances are all considered no calorie because our bodies don’t know how to use them because they are unnatural.

Glucose syrup, refined white sugar (sucrose), brown sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup are next. These sugars have a glycemic index (GI) of 96, 64, 64, and 62 respectively which means the rapidly enter the bloodstream and cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin. Refined white sugar and brown sugar are basically the same as far as the GI is concerned—brown sugar is made by adding back a little molasses to refined white sugar. The refining process to create table sugar creates harmful chemical byproducts. Refined sugar greatly suppresses our immune system, wreaks havoc on our pancreas and blood sugar/insulin balance, destroys digestive enzymes, and is highly addictive. The effects on behavior and mood are wide spread (perhaps we’ll do another post about Sugar & Mood in the future). High-frucose corn syrup is made by converting some of the glucose in corn syrup into fructose, which extends shelf life and is cheaper than sugar.

Next on the list is fructose (refined), evaporated cane juice/sucanat, black strap molasses, and maple syrup. Although fructose has a low GI (22), it is highly refined which strips it of trace minerals and contaminates it with chemicals. The other three sweeteners have a GI of about 54 and are less refined so they have some nutritional value.

Lactose, barley malt syrup, and sugar cane juice have a GI of 46, 42, and 43, respectively.

Coconut sugar, honey, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar are in the next group, having GI’s of 35, 30, 22, and 15, respectively. We will be doing a blog post on honey sometime in the spring. Agave nectar is a personal favorite of mine—it is my go-to sweeter. (Baking tip: substitute ¾ c. or less of Agave nectar for each cup of sugar, reduce other liquids by 1/3, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees F, and increase bake time by 10 minutes.)

And the healthiest sweetener is… stevia! It has a GI of less than 1 and has no calories. Stevia is an herb and is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia sweeteners, such as PureVia and Truvia, are isolates of the herb made through a refining process--I'll have to do a bit more research on these... Now, I’m the first to admit that stevia hasn’t been my favorite—I think it has kind of a funky aftertaste and I’ll also admit that I haven’t tried baking with it—but I’m making it a goal to try to use it more and experiment in the kitchen. I’ll let you know how that turns out!

I hope you find this helpful—I’d love to hear some comments about baking with some of these other sweeteners so you bakers out there please share your recipes!
Happy healthy New Year everyone!