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If you haven’t heard about David “Avocado” Wolfe, then you may be new to considering your food in a different light. David has been a pioneer in the vegan, superfood and herb movement and is considered to be guy that “knows” what is at the forefront of the next greatest and latest. I went to see him talk on the weekend and it was a great way to get a download from his amazing experience. There were quite a few things that I wanted to share with you, and I thought I would spread it out over a few posts. This week, I thought I would cover the shrooms. In particular, medicinal mushrooms which are found on trees, Reishi Mushrooms.
Reishi mushrooms are known as the immortality mushroom. It has some pretty crazy benefits and is definitely something I am going to add to my daily routine. For the last 8 years I have struggled with hyperpigmentation, otherwise, known as melasma, and have been constantly searching for topical treatments. With no success, I have thought to start addressing the internal cause (I stopped taking the pill along time ago). Reishi mushrooms got me excited for a few reasons. They have some pretty legendary rejuvenating qualities, and the list of benefits include:
These benefits are only just the beginning, but what really piqued my interest was the benefits for skin healing. There have been various studies that have looked at reishi mushrooms ability to cure various external skin issues. There is a harmony of anti-histaminic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-allergenic properties that provide some juju magic to improve immunity, circulation and the healing begins. Not only this, but it apparently works its magic on hormonal imbalance. Melasma is a result of sunlight exposure combining with hormones (perhaps an imbalance in progesterone), so a natural food based product that not only helps heal the skin and balance hormones, I thought I am determined to give it a go. I look forward to posting my feedback over the coming weeks, I can’t wait to share if it really does help!
Everybody does it, but no-one wants to have a chat about it…. We all think that what we do is normal, but unless something is very wrong, we would never ask anyone to check. So lets talk about Number 2s. And the unfortunate reality is, most people are constipated….
Did you know that even if you have one bowel movement every day you are probably still constipated? The majority of people can go for days. A healthier number is 2-3 times per day. And it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. It should be as easy as number 1’s.
There is another way to gauge if you are constipated. It is called the Bristol Stool Chart. As unpleasant as it is to look at, it is a very important gauge of your health as well as the health of your diet.
As unpleasant as it is to look at, it is a very important guage of your health as well as the health of your diet.
How to read the chart:
• Types 1-3: You are constipated.
• Types 4-5: Depending on who you talk to these are ideal.
• Types 6-7: Too "urgent" to be normal.
The form your stool takes depends on how long it has been in the colon, with 72 hours being ideal. As you move down the chart you go from way too long in the colon (1-3), the normal ~72 hour time period (4-5) and finally under 72 hours (6-7). You can find much more detail about each stool type and what it means here (http://www.fibermenace.com/gutsense/transition.html)
In order to be healthy, inside and outside, your bowel must be working and for every meal that we eat, every day. If you are eating three meals per day, then you must have three bowel movements per day. You won’t remember it, but those with children will know the regularity of an infants bowel, food in, poop out. If you are having less than two bowels movements per day, food residues accumulate for more than twelve hours, purification and fermentation begins and the insides begin rotting, aging and becoming ill. Often when I talk to people about doing a detox, they will ask me “But won’t I go to the toilet a lot?” Well, yes, and you need to! You will need to go to the toilet to move those nasty things you have eaten through you body.
Any nutritional elements present in the fecal matter passes into the bloodstream as polluted products, thus toxemia commences. Pimples and other skin blemishes are generally the first sign of toxemia. Not only does it create a toxic environment, but increasing your chances of bowel cancer.
So, how do you become more regular? The are fibre supplements out there, but really a diet rich in fibre is what you need. I speak from experience, when I know I have eaten a day full of just fresh fruits, vegetable legumes and nuts, I am as regular as clockwork, BUT give me a day of naughty food, coffee, bread, dairy and I am lucky if I go once! My belly feels bloated, and I would like to get it out, but cannot! A cleanse also really helps to reset your bowel and move the old matter through your body. Then you can restart your new diet rich in high fibre foods.
This is part 2 in Karen's in depth discussion on detox. A DETOX doesn't have to be an off the shelf product, or juice cleanse, or water fast, it can be as simple as cutting down your caffiene and booze, or walking a different way to work. Karen breaks down who needs a detox and how you can DIY at home! You can visit Karen's site at www.foodbodymind.com.au
I guess you could say that my relationship with detox programs has been a little strained.
When I first started working as a nutritionist I would often find myself apologising to clients as I examined their urine, tongue, skin, and nails – observing the years of abuse often kept hidden from the casual observer with the aid of makeup, expensive cremes, botox and the like -
“I’m sorry but I really think that we need to clean things up. I could give you something to clear up your symptoms (insert issue – allergies, psoriasis, eczema, migraines, weight gain, acne) but until we address what is happening inside, it will only be a temporary solution – a bandaid if you like”.
Client, quiet for a moment then looks at me puzzled: “so…clean things up? you mean, like, a detox?”
“Um…yes”. That is precisely what I meant and found difficult to articulate.
It was awkward especially when, despite my best efforts to call them back I would find those words rising up at the back of my throat ready to make their stunningly stupid appearance: “I don’t really like putting people on detox programs”.
I cannot give you a single intelligent reason why I said it. Perhaps I said it as a way to appeal to those people not yet ‘sold’ on the concept of ’detox’ – I don’t know (bear in mind this makes no sense as such people are not generally knocking down my door).
In any event, let me state very clearly for the record that I believe in detox programs the way your grandmother believed in three square meals a day. I believe in them because they work. Yes, that’s right - even without credible scientific evidence to support them – they work.
By ‘they’ I mean of course my version of ‘detox’ because (and this of course is part of the problem) the word ‘detox’ means different things to different people.
So lets clarify what we are discussing here.
The concept of ‘detox’ (at least in the way I intend for it to be carried out) has been around for thousands of years and is practiced amongst many cultures around the world. In fact, it is believed that one of the reasons why some the longest living people in the world are able to maintain their longevity, is by eating to the point of being 80% satiated as well as consuming a diet high in vegetables and fruits, whole grains and good fats. In my opinion, incorporating these dietary factors while at the same time eliminating particular foods and drinks that overly stress the liver’s ability to function effectively (as well as trigger inflammation and increase acidity) for a specific period of time is what a ‘detox’ program is all about. By undertaking such a detox, the function of the liver and digestive system resolve to operating at an optimal level eliminating toxins more efficiently and improving our overall health and wellbeing. I think intuitively we all know that this makes sense. When you remove processed foods, alcohol and drugs from your daily life and replace them with fruits and vegetables, low allergenic grains, organic and pasture fed meat, nuts and seeds, how could you not feel better? How could these things not improve your health? When you combine this with herbs and vitamins to assist clearance of toxins through the system and to support the detoxification pathways that are no longer dealing with the daily barrage and can now focus on the years of sludge that has built up how can you not sleep better, digest your food better, have improved mood?
Those who argue that we have a built in detox unit (the liver) are obviously not aware of the fact that the leading cause of fatty liver today is no longer alcohol but processed foods and sugar. In any event, even if it wasn’t possible to overburden the liver why are so many people giving it a good old Aussie try? (and incidentally, let me tell you this, by the time your liver enzymes become raised on a blood test your liver is already in serious trouble). (Clearly) I would like to argue the point of why I think it is necessary to ‘detox’ occasionally a little further, I have already canvassed this in my last article on Juices Only (feel free to skip back and read that one first). In any event, I think it is suffice to say that if you suffer from any of the following you need to consider undertaking a detox:
I wonder if that actually ruled anyone out…now onto the crux of the article:
How to Complete a DIY Detox
Before we get started on the intricacies of undertaking a detox program, it is important to note to check with your doctor before attempting any form of detoxification as pregnancy, history of eating disorder and other chronic conditions are contraindications for a restrictive diet.
Start with a Warm Up
It is important to spend a couple of weeks reducing the current burden on your detoxification systems (as a ‘warm up’ so to speak). For some people who are not necessarily interested in completing or undergoing a detoxification program per se, the following principles could serve as the event itself.
Stick to the Detox Diet
What we eat can make and keep us healthy, but it can also help us detoxify. The body cannot detoxify xenobiotics (foreign chemicals) if we are constantly adding to our toxic burden with the foods we consume. The body also cannot detoxify if it does not have the proper ‘fuel’ and energy. The detoxification processes in the body require large amounts of energy, and this energy comes from the nutrients in the food we eat. If we eliminate foods that contribute to our toxicity and eat those that help cleanse the body, our health will improve.
It is important to note the following dietary principles when setting up a detoxification diet.
Foods to Avoid
Foods to Include
The first day or two of the detox you may feel a bit sluggish (this is mainly due to the caffeine withdrawal) so if you are a coffee ‘addict’ I recommend starting it on a day that you can stay home and rest.
Take Quality Supplements
You can experiment with various supplements to help the liver remove toxins. For example, N-acetyl-cysteine is great for those trying to remove residual phlegm from a lingering upper respiratory infection (the typical recommendation is a 500mg capsule taken once or twice daily). A few other detoxifying herbs include dandelion root, milk thistle, and turmeric. However, I recommend you discuss any supplements with a qualified practitioner first as although it is easy to be persuaded into buying ‘off the shelf’ generic ‘detox’ supplements, they really should be individually prescribed based on your own health and medical background. If nothing else, be sure to buy your supplements from a ‘practitioner only’ company for quality assurance and to avoid the added excipients (which often cause their own issues and thereby defeat the purpose of undertaking a detox) that are all too often added to most retail brand supplements for cost based reasons.
Support the Detox Process
You can also support the process of detoxification through other routines such as yoga, colonics, using saunas, and massage. A colonic will move toxins out of the system via the large intestine and this is particularly important for anyone who has had any issues with constipation or has had less than regular bowel movements. Yoga, using saunas (particularly infra-red saunas) and massage all help to move toxins out through the lymphatic system by sweating, or specific movements that twist and “ring out” internal organs.
Not too bad right? Were you expecting something a little more drastic? The truth of it is that it shouldn’t feel awful. A little uncomfortable (as your daily routine is altered) but definitely not awful.
A well designed detox program goes a long way to improving health and wellbeing. There is no doubt in my mind that after undertaking such a program you will feel better, feel lighter, have more energy and less fatigue, have better sleep, have improved immunity and suffer less allergies and less hormonal problems. In all honesty, I have no doubt that a detox program will make you feel amazing.
I state this with the full knowledge that a peer reviewed study has yet to support it.
I guess you could say I’ve come a long way.
I am big one for beauty products! I seem to have an endless supply of creams, oils, hair products.... But I hardly ever use them. I get caught up in the moment and the magic of the marketing! Anyways, there are three things that I couldn't do without in the my beauty routine and they seemed worthy of a blog post. Maybe they aren't, but oh well, you can always click away :)
I am a surfer and have been for a while now, growing up in Byron Bay, I was in the water from an early age, and still love it to death! But it mean that there are three major considerations I need to take into account, and I am not just talking about sunscreen (because they should be everyones main consideration, not just surfers). Mine are skin dryness, skin pigmentation and cellulite!
There are loads of products, chemicals, solutions, surgery, etc, that are available to treat these "issues" but I have developed my own "natural" ways, so here they are:
Skin dryness: It will seem very against conventional wisdom, but I use an oil instead of "moisturising cream" it is a natural hemp seed oil. It is alot cheaper than a $100/tub moisturiser, has no preservatives, no additives, not tested on animals and completely organic. Hemp seed oil is very close in pH to our skin, so it doesn't clog pore (I have cloggable skin, so I would know). For a weekly mask, mix it up with avocado and leave it on for about 30mins. All of the lovely natural oils will leave your skin hydrated and silky!
Skin pigmentation: I have been to a few doctors and dermatologists about this one, and it is such a curse! Each time I have been prescribed a very strong cream that basically bleaches your skin (hydroquinone), but also leaves your skin super sensitive to the skin, makes you look like a wax work piece. And it turns out, has carcinogenic aspects... Anyways, researched natural ways to treat it and stumbled across using an unpasteurised Apple Cidar Vinegar. So each night straight after cleansing and before my oil (yes, I am a veritable salad dressing!!) I use cotton pad to apply vinegar straight to my face. In 3 months straight, it has faded my pigmentation significantly, and I still look normal (relatively). I imagine it would be very good for freckles and other spots too.
Cellulite: Ok, this one you may read over and ignore, and it won't happen overnight.... But it will happen. Cellulite is fat storage underneath the skin, and what is the best way to move fat off, you move right? So when it is under the skin, the best way to manage it is through movement, specifically massage. So go to the shops, get yourself two loofah mits, and every day in the shower, twice a day, lather yourself up and start scrubbing your dimply bits. It won't happen immediately, but after at least a month, you should notice the skin looking less dimply. It really does work, but takes a commitment!