Optimal digestion depends on adequate enzyme production in the stomach and small intestines, a healthy mucosal cell lining in the gastrointestinal tract, proper assimilation, and successful elimination. When digestion is inadequate, it robs the body of vital nutrient processes. We miss out on the protein and fats which build and maintain everything from our body tissues to our nervous system, on down to the protective coating of every cell.
What is not broken down and absorbed must be eliminated from the G.I. tract, and what is not eliminated or efficiently absorbed becomes a source of toxic waste for the body to deal with. Food may sit in the digestive tract too long when enzyme production is inadequate, absorption is inadequate, and transit time is too slow. As a result, the rotting food gradually becomes a source of irritation to the cells lining the digestive system.
A weak intestinal lining due to inflammation has a much harder time keeping large molecules from entering the blood stream; this is known as “leaky gut syndrome.” As large food molecules gradually make their way into the blood stream, the immune system becomes stressed by trying to clean up and break down the “foreign” molecules, thus stimulating the production of antibodies. An overproduction of antibodies is hypothesized to be linked to food allergies, intolerances, and autoimmune diseases, which may also lead to autoimmune reactions.
These abnormally large molecules also induce stress to the liver which detoxifies your blood, breaking down and eliminating anything that is not supposed to be there. As the liver already has a big job protecting us from toxic exposure in the air, water, and foods we eat, undigested food proteins become a burden that often over-saturates its capacity. Toxins that cannot be eliminated end up stored in fat cells. Weight gain is not always the result of eating the wrong food or even too much food, but often of an ineffective digestive system.
Poor digestive function and overwhelmed liver function can cause a cascade of problems to other systems in the body, such as stress to your adrenal and thyroid glands, hormones, and blood sugar levels. An overactive immune system and excess proteins in the bloodstream can create acidity which contributes to inflammation everywhere, ultimately contributing to problems like arthritis and heart disease. Foods that frequently begin this cascade of maldigestion, organ stress and inflammation are: wheat, cow dairy, sugar, soy, eggs; and in that order of most frequent and most stressful.
Conditions that indicate the digestive system is impaired include: heartburn or reflux, ulcers, irritable bowel, constipation, and diarrhea, but also can be associated with other problems like inflammatory joint disease and allergies. Working on improving digestion, healing and strengthening the mucosal cells lining the digestive tract, and eating a diet that promotes good digestion and metabolism are some of the treatment goals for almost any digestive complaint or condition. Optimizing digestive function and health will also prevent the chronic progression of many other disease processes. Digestive enzymes are a good place to begin when looking to improve digestive function and health!
Dr. Mikel’s experience and education help her formulate individualized treatment approaches, including diet assessment and education for your specific symptoms and underlying cause. For more information, visit drlynnmikel.com.
The U.S. is one of the most obese nations on the planet. As of 2014, a staggering 71% of adults are either obese or overweight.1 The rate of childhood obesity is skyrocketing, as well, with one in five kids being overweight or obese. This is a tragic situation as obesity is the one medical condition that increases our risk of virtually every other known disease including diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease and dementia.
How did we get this way? Our current busy, high-stress American lifestyle has a lot to do with it. The availability of convenience foods, fast food and the lack of widespread availability of what I call “Real Food” is not helping the situation, to say the least. These days I hear from parents on a daily basis about how busy and overwhelmed they are and how they just don’t have energy to cook when they get home from a long day of work and tending to their kids.
Unfortunately, the world of conventional medicine has little to offer. A prescription for a stimulant, which decreases feelings of hunger, or bariatric surgery is often all that is offered to patients who seek their physician’s help in losing weight.
So, what to do? The good news is that there is a lot we can do to lose weight and keep it off. A key to this is in understanding what the underlying causes of this modern day scourge are. Working with a holistic physician who can diagnose and treat the root causes can be very helpful.
Based on my clinical experience, the top five causes of unwanted weight gain are:
1. A diet high in refined and processed foods. Eating convenience foods rather than whole foods will greatly lead to increased fat stores.
2. Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise. When we sit around too much and not use our bodies the way they were designed to, we add to our fat stores.
3. Chronic unmanaged stress and not enough sleep. Perpetually elevated cortisol, in some people, will make gaining fat easy and losing weight challenging.
4. Low or suboptimal thyroid function. If thyroid hormones are not in optimal ranges, losing weight will be a virtual impossibility. When we hear someone say, “I eat an orange and gain a pound,” you can bet that’s someone who has low or suboptimal thyroid function.
5. Environmental toxicity. We are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis that predispose us to gaining unwanted fat. This is why detoxification is a necessary component to any comprehensive weight loss plan.
We do have options and we can lose the weight we want! Whether you commit to losing weight at the New Year or in the middle of the summer, it’s important to remember that there is no single magic bullet that will make us shed 20 pounds overnight. However, with a few tools under your belt, some inspiration and determination you can take actions that will lead to a new and slimmer you.
Roman Krupa, ND, has a passion for empowering his patients to lose weight and achieve optimal health. He is a graduate of the National College of Natural Medicine and holds a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine. He has helped over a thousand people lose weight and keep it off. Dr. Krupa has served as Medical Director of Puyallup Wellness Center for the past seven years. For more information, visit PuyallupWellnessCenter.com.
Just as you prepare yourselves for the New Year, you can rest assured that our employees are all working hard to get you off to a proper start. We have so many wonderful products and foods to help you follow those resolutions. Well, let’s all try anyway!
This month is all about cleaning up and hitting the restart button. All those little holiday indulgences sure add up, don’t they? But you are in luck—we have some really informative articles and classes to support your journey. There’s information about foods and recipes to detoxify and boost immunity, an article and class about ketosis for weight loss, and even a class about using flower remedies to help with balancing the emotions that can pull us off track from our health goals.
So buckle down and start taking the steps to reach that next level of vitality in 2018. We’ll be here and cheering you on!
Wishing a peaceful and healthy year to all…
Makes 6-8 servings
2 (16 oz) boxes Kettle & Fire bone broth (I use mushroom chicken)
1 ½ cups thinly-sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 ½ cups sweet potato, diced
1 oz astragalus, dried
2 cups water
½ inch ginger, sliced
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 kale leaf, stem removed, sliced into thin strips
½ tsp chili paste (or 1 diced hot chili)
Himalayan salt, to taste
In a medium sauce pan, add water, astragalus, garlic, ginger and chili paste. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Immediately reduce to low and cover, simmering about 15 minutes. Be careful to watch the temperature as the astragalus has a tendency to foam and boil over. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large sauce pan, add bone broth, sweet potato and shiitakes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to low and simmer about 15 minutes—until sweet potato pieces are fork-tender. Add astragalus mixture to bone broth by pouring through strainer.
Combine, mix and simmer a few more minutes before salting to taste and serving. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Toxins are everywhere and, unfortunately, there’s no avoiding them. Xenobiotics are compounds that are “foreign” to our bodies (or at least they used to be), including heavy metals, advanced glycation end-products (foods exposed to dry and high temperatures), and persistent organic pollutants (POPs). While the FDA has deemed most of these compounds “safe,” recent research is showing they have toxic effects after both short and long-term exposure. The amount of these substances in our body builds up over time, leading to inflammation, free radicals, and damage to our cells and DNA. This toxic build-up has been linked to high blood pressure, glucose intolerance, cancer, and changes in liver, thyroid, and immune function. While it’s impossible to completely avoid these toxic compounds, we can harness the power of food to counter their effects.
Phytonutrients are the chemicals and ingredients naturally found in plants that play a key role in detoxification. These chemical compounds are a means of protection against insects, germs, fungi and other threats. The plant’s ability to protect itself and assist us with detoxification is not just related to one nutrient, but to the harmonious effects of multiple phytonutrients within. More than 25,000 phytonutrients are present in plant foods, and consuming a variety of plants helps us remove xenobiotics from our bodies.
Here are some examples:
Red : Adrenal glands, immune system, DNA, bones, and skin
Red is the color of the ROOT. Red foods, such as red bell peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes, are rich in the vitamin C our bodies need to manufacture stress hormones. Red blood cells feed on ROOT foods’ iron, copper, and calcium. Proteins of all types, including animal and vegetable, assist in stabilizing our bodies’ energy by balancing blood sugar and supplying the necessary iron for the red blood cells to carry oxygen.
Orange : Ovaries/testes, reproduction, fertility, urinary system, and colon
Orange is the color of the FLOW. Orange foods, like carrots and sweet potatoes, get their color from carotenoids, such as betacarotene, which are associated with hormone levels and ovulation. I’ve noticed that a lack of orange-colored, carotenoid-rich foods seems to be linked to infertility. Citrus fruits contain bioflavonoids that keep our blood vessels open, preventing stagnation and allowing our blood to flow. Both carotenoids and bioflavonoids help to prevent unhealthy types of cell growth and reproduction.
Yellow : Digestive system, blood sugar, and energy production
Yellow is the color for FIRE, and it’s also the color of quick-burning refined carbohydrates. A balanced FIRE is fueled by slow-burning, low-glycemic, high-fiber carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains and legumes. The FIRE also requires a whole team of B vitamins, such as thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12), all of which are crucial for generating a healthy metabolism and extracting energy from our foods.
Green : Thymus, heart, blood vessels, and lungs
Green is the color of the LOVE. The color green represents healing and nourishment, so it’s no wonder that green foods are “heart-healthy.” All green foods contain chlorophyll, which acts as an antioxidant and blood purifier, promoting robust circulation. Green detox foods include spirulina, chlorella, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Aquamarine : Thyroid gland, throat, mouth, ears, and nose
Aquamarine is the color of the TRUTH, and we nourish our mouth, throat, and thyroid with sea vegetables that come out of shining blue-green oceans. The iodine on which our thyroid depends comes from such sea plants as nori, dulse, arame, and kelp. These foods are also rich in selenium and zinc, deficiencies of which are a common cause of thyroid problems.
Indigo : Pituitary gland, brain, neurons/neurotransmitters, sleep
Indigo is the color of the INSIGHT, so we support this system of health with blue and purple foods: blueberries, blackberries, purple kale, purple asparagus, purple cauliflower, purple grapes. Berries and grapes in particular are good sources of resveratrol, the powerhouse antioxidant that
helps protect your brain and nerves. Blue and purple foods improve your brain’s ability to create new pathways, improving your cognition, learning, and memory.
White : Pineal gland, electromagnetic fields, and circadian rhythms
White foods help cleanse and clarify. When it comes to the SPIRIT, it refers to foods that embody the ultimate healing properties for multiple organs: cauliflower for the liver; coconut products offer an accessible energy source for the intestines; onions and garlic purify the blood and liver; cabbage supports the liver and, when fermented, is excellent for the gut; and white beans provide fiber.
Deanna Minich, PhD, FACN, CNS, IFMCP, is a health educator, researcher, and author with more than twenty years of experience in nutrition, mindbody health, and functional medicine. Her passion is bringing forth a colorful whole-self approach to nourishment and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine. For more information, visit her website, www.deannaminich.com or her Facebook page.
The deficient nutritional intake from fast food and the Standard American Diet have become the biggest detriments to our health. If high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health conditions are caused by poor eating habits, then the treatment should focus on using foods to reverse those conditions.
Consuming the proper foods and supplements can put your body in a detox state which can have profound effects, even reversing the effects of hypertension and diabetes. In my clinical practice it is very common to see blood pressures drop 20-30 systolic points following a detox and dietary regime.
These values will remain at healthy levels as long as healthy lifestyles are practiced. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well, can drop considerably. Lowering blood pressure and blood lipids through cleansing takes the two most common risk factors for heart disease out of the equation and promotes drug-free wellness. Non-insulin dependent diabetics also see significant changes because the detox makes insulin more sensitive to the tissues. This means blood sugars normalize and the deadly long term effects of high blood sugar are avoided.
Patients that are diagnosed as hypertensive, hyperlipidemic, and insulin resistant (diabetic) before a detox commonly find that afterwards, with dietary modifications, their lab values are within normal range. They are no longer classified by the medical society with the previously diagnosed condition. Miracle? Not really, just the body’s response to the Laws of Nature.
Some simple ways to put your body in a detox state properly are with intermittent fasting, water fasting, and high amounts of vegetable intake while eliminating all other foods. There of course, a right and wrong way to cleanse the body, especially for people who have hypertension and diabetes. Always consult a health professional before beginning a detox program.
Join me on Thursday, January 4 for an in depth discussion about the importance of regular detox, what is going on in the body when you detox, how to properly detox the body, how to know if you need to detox, and the benefits of detoxifying the body, such as lowering blood pressure and reversing diabetes.
Dr. Dallin LeGrand Peterson received his medical degree from Bastyr University where he focused on effective treatments for ADHD and Autism. Today, he practices medicine at Tacoma Health. There he specializes in using fasting protocols to heal as well as treating athletes with chronic and acute muscle and skeletal issues. Learn more and contact him through tacomahealth.net.
In the daytime mix, green tea is a fantastic addition for those who are fasting or attempting to utilize fat for energy. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, there is holy basil, also known as Tulsi tea. Tulsi has stress relieving and immune supporting properties that complement the detox blend brilliantly.
The bedtime mix cools and soothes the digestive system and encourages the release of heat from inflamed areas of the body. This blend allows for the process of detoxification to gently continue while the body renews and restores overnight.
Ayurvedic Detox Tea for Daytime
Makes one day of tea, about 5 cups
1 Tbsp whole coriander seed
1 Tbsp whole cumin seed
1 Tbsp whole fennel seed
1 Tbsp cinnamon chips
¼ C loose leaf green tea or Tulsi tea
Place in a jar and shake to mix. To prepare, place 1 level Tbsp of mix and 5 cups of water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 more minutes. Strain tea into thermos (or refrigerate) and sip throughout the day.