Our bodies respond to toxicity in foods by creating visceral belly fat. The good news is that this toxicity can be neutralized with proper food preparation.
Common knowledge is that food contains a variety of nutrients. A lesser-known fact is that many foods perceived as being healthy have low-level toxicity.
Irritating substances found within foods are known as anti-nutrients.
In some cases, grains contain anti-nutrients to assure the continued life cycle of the plant.
Grains must be able to sprout in an appropriate environment to continue the grain’s life cycle. Some grains protect themselves from predators by being armed with toxic proteins in the form of enzyme-blockers and lectins.
These enzyme-blockers disrupt a would-be predator’s digestive enzymes, discouraging the bird or animal from eating further grain meals.
(written by Jim Harris and Dane Findley)
Prevent Low-Level Toxicity by Eating Better-Prepared Grains
When we humans eat poorly prepared grains, our bodies often create extra belly fat in order to pad and protect our vital organs from toxicity!
You can reduce irritation within your own body by being more careful of what grains you eat.
The enzyme blockers also act as preservatives for the grain until the grain sprouts at which time most of the enzyme blockers disappear.
We know that lectins are toxic proteins which also act as natural pesticides for the grains, protecting them from bacteria, fungi, insects, worms and rodents. However, most people are not aware of the irritating effects from the longterm consumption of unprepared grains. Over time, it can impact a person’s health.
Increase Nutritional Benefits by Preparing Your Foods
Grains, beans and legumes including soy are full of enzyme blockers and lectins. Potatoes contain not only enzyme blockers and lectins but also a group of toxins known as glycoalkaloids. This group of toxins are collectively known as anti-nutrients.
Lectins and enzyme blockers are mostly neutralized by sprouting or fermentation and sometimes the cooking process (cooking however does nothing to alter the toxic effects of the glycoalkaloids in potatoes).
The glycoalkaloids are particularly concentrated in green and injured potatoes which should be avoided and eating raw potatoes is something that is strongly discouraged.
Some enzyme blockers disrupt the body’s natural protein digestive enzymes including the enzyme pepsin in our stomachs, and trypsin and chymotrepsin in our small intestines. Others block the effects of the enzyme amylase for the digestion of starch.
With the blocking of these enzyme functions, the digestive process is altered and the absorption and uptake of essential nutrients from our food is disrupted; thus the name anti-nutrients.
Toxicity in foods can create digestive duress.
Additionally, lectins can have devastating effects on our cells by tricking them into doing things they normally would not do.
Lectins can be responsible for removing protective mucous from tissue, damaging the cell lining of our intestines, stimulating cells to secrete hormones, causing pancreatic enlargement and much more.
Lectins may even be responsible for tricking our immune systems into attacking ourselves as seen in the autoimmune diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, for example).
My message for today is to either avoid the foods containing enzyme blockers, lectins and glycoalkaloids or learn how to properly prepare foods to neutralize the negative effects of anti-nutrients.
Soak Your Grains
As I mentioned above, sprouting and fermentation helps to reduce the negative effects of enzyme blockers and lectins.
Additionally, you can soak your grains to:
- deactivate the enzyme inhibitors
- deactivate phytic acid which blocks the absorption of minerals including copper, magnesium and zinc
- neutralize tannins and lectins which are gut irritants
- begin the breakdown of gluten which is a non-digestible protein and toxin
- initiate the breakdown of cellulose which otherwise is non-digestible
Proper preparation makes seeds, grains and nuts more readily digestible, making their nutrients more readily available for assimilation.
As a general rule, I rarely eat grains these days (I eat more vegetables instead). However, on those rare occasions when I do have grains, it’s better if I prepare them myself. Fortunately, the health food stores are now carrying more food products – such as granola – that are sprouted grains, nuts and seeds. In the video below I am sharing my recipe for a delicious once-in-a-while treat, “Bionic Oatmeal.”
My grandmother always told me “you are what you eat” and for me those words from her wisdom never get old as I am constantly reminded of the benefits of eating the correct foods with proper preparation.
Toxins are a burden to the body when they build up inside. A detox cleanse can help us feel great again.”
“How Much Toxicity Does My Body Already Have?”
Have you ever done a detox?
Many believe that the human body benefits from a detox regimen periodically, especially today when we find ourselves surrounded often by the temptations of unhealthy foods.
A detox cleanse can help us feel great again, ridding our bodies of the bad stuff that can accumulate inside over time. Changing our daily dietary habits can also go a long way toward detoxifying the body.
Each new client arrives at the naturopath or nutritionist’s office with a different list of health symptoms or health issues. One may be complaining about daily headaches, while the other has elevated blood pressure.
Autoimmune = 1 out of 5 people in US
These symptoms may not appear to have a common connection on the surface; however, many symptoms and client-complaints disappear when toxicity is addressed.
The big concept here is that when daily irritants are removed, the body at last has a chance to heal itself in a fuller capacity.
What if Your Body Was Toxic and You Didn’t Know It?
Toxic Syndrome is an end-result of general toxic overload. Toxicity can begin to burden the body to the point that a person begins to experience one or more health issues.
Case Study: Jack Has Overly Sweet Blood
Jack came to see me (co-author Jim Harris) with elevated blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Using my standard evaluation methods, Jack fell into my category of general toxic overload.
One week into his program, Jack’s M.D. reduced his blood pressure medication by 50%.
After two weeks Jack was completely off his high blood pressure medication.
When I saw Jack four weeks into his program, his blood pressure was remaining normal and his blood sugar had dropped to near normal levels. Additionally we were working with Jack’s diet and his digestion.
Detox Case Study: Peter’s Head Hurts
Peter presented himself with a number of symptoms including daily intractable headaches. Similar to Jack, Peter’s evaluation indicated a general toxic overload and he started a program to assist him in clearing his toxic burden.
Peter was amazed with the reduction of his symptoms which included weight loss, a degree of emotional stability he had not experienced in years and no more daily headaches. His Toxic Syndrome symptoms had disappeared.
Co-author Jim Harris is a Nutritional Consultant and graduate from the American Naturopathic Medical Institute who recognizes that our bodies have the innate capability for self-healing — especially when the correct information and energy is supplied in combination with the correct food, supplements and herbs.
Synthetic Chemical Exposure (in an Unnatural World)
Jack and Peter’s stories are not unique but are more the norm with my new clients.
the majority of us are not born with a toxic overload but slowly build up a level of toxicity over decades through environmental exposures to substances toxic to our systems”
The toxic burden continues to add up slowly over time until a tipping point is reached when symptoms begin to arise like Jack’s elevated blood pressure and blood sugar and Peter’s mood swings and daily headaches.
As toxic burden increases, a steady downward decline in health status is set in motion.
Toxins are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the lotions and soaps we use to groom ourselves with. It is difficult to avoid toxin exposure on a daily basis but we can take steps< to reduce our exposure.
Toxin exposure falls into 4 primary categories:
- environmental toxins
- household toxins
- food toxins
- lifestyle toxins
1. Environmental Toxins
Pollution from trucks, cars and trains, wastes from factories as combustion pollutants go into the air that we breathe. There are the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the air from compounds like Agent Orange and DDT which will be floating in the air we breathe for a hundred years or more.
The majority of the 20 million people suffering from asthma in this country live in areas with poor air quality.
2. Household Toxins
New furniture, carpets, rugs and freshly painted walls give off gases to the air we breathe in our home.
Chemicals used as flame-retardants on our clothes and furniture fabrics persist for an extended period of time in the home environment, eventually accumulating in our bodies further adding to the toxic burden.
3. Food Toxins
Chemical pesticides and insecticides are used on the fruit and vegetables we consume on a daily basis.
Data shows that over 90% of fresh salmon, more than a third of fruit and vegetables, and 40% of cereal products, contain pesticide residues which enters our body when we consume the food.
4. Lifestyle Toxins
We know the dangers of both first and second hand cigarette smoke. Drugs, both over the counter and prescription, are synthetic chemicals which can end up as toxic deposits in the body. Very likely your deodorant, perfume, hair shampoo and conditioner, body wash and makeup are further adding to your toxic load.
It’s important that you understand that there is hope and there are solutions. You can feel better than you ever have before in your life.
How to Do a Whole Body Detox Cleanse
There is much we can do on a daily basis to reduce our exposure to the harmful chemicals that add to our toxic load and to the development of “Toxic Syndrome”.
When Toxic Syndrome is present due to an overwhelming toxic burden then a detoxification program must be instituted in order to reverse the ensuing downward decline in health status.
A detoxifying regimen designed and supervised by a health professional could be helpful to you.
“What About that Lemon Juice Cleanse I Hear About? Is that Good or Bad?”
The Master Cleanse is a 10-day detox regimen developed by Stanley Burroughs that became popular after Burroughs published The Master Cleanser in 1979.
“Master Cleanse” has an intimidating sound to it, reminiscent of a Harry Potter villain (Harry Potter And The Master Cleanser?) but, in fact, the Master Cleanse is a fairly straight-forward juice fast that requires you to eat no food for at least 10 days, and to instead drink a special, homemade lemonade.
A-list celebrity Beyonce made the cleanse famous in recent years when she dropped weight for a film role using the cleanse.
Unfortunately this made it a popular fad diet seen as a way to lose weight quickly, with many people forgetting the original intention of the cleanse: to detoxify.
the Master Cleanse is not a weight loss diet. It’s a 10-day regimen designed to detoxify the vital organs and tissues of the human body”
On the cleanse you drink 6 to 12 lemonade drinks a day, one herbal laxative tea in the evening and a salt water flush in the morning.
You’ll be squeezing lots of lemons while on the Master Cleanse.
The lemonade cleans out your body while the laxative tea and salt water help pass the toxins (which is the most delicate way I can put it). Some people also make bentonite clay a part of the regimen.
It seems important to mention that – rather than drinking beer and eating pizza all year, and then cleansing for 10 days – it would probably be much better for your body to simply eat healthy as a part of your daily lifestyle habits (then there isn’t as much need for a detox to begin with).
Main Recipe from the Master Cleanse
The lemonade recipe is as follows:
- 8oz of water
- 2 Tablespoons of organic Grade-B maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- dash of cayenne pepper
The lemon and cayenne help to dislodge and expel toxins, while the Grade-B maple syrup contains nutrients (including minerals) and energy that help to sustain you throughout the process.
Stanley Burroughs believed that by not fasting your body then didn’t have to spend energy on digesting food, which therefore allows your body to instead focus energies on cleaning-out (instead of processing the toxins that are already in your standard daily diet). By going without food the theory is that the body will start to eat itself and pick out the weaker diseased parts of your body first which ultimately will make you stronger and healthier.
This is alternative medicine and isn’t backed by medical institutions. Perhaps the only way to really judge if this works is to try it and see if you notice any differences in your body. I can only tell you about my experience.
Days 1 to 3 of the Detox
The lemonade will make you feel full but eating is habitual so it felt weird to not eat. Most people will tell you this about the Master Cleanse: the first 3 days are the hardest!
I struggled with this and avoided watching or seeing others eat. Of particular importance for me was to not watch television during the cleanse. The Taco Bell commercials are torture, and I don’t even eat from Taco Bell, ever! Apparently, this is common. I have vegan friends who (although Burroughs writes you should follow up the cleanse with a healthy plant based diet) found themselves on wikipedia reading everything there is to know about In-n-Out Burger and dreaming of day 11!
Days 4 to 7 of the Detox
By this time I started to feel good. I needed a bit less sleep and woke up very easily in the mornings. Some people can get to work and not experience any groggy or fogginess – in my case, I was a bit “spacey” during the entire 10-days.
Days 8 to 9 of the Detox
Some people at this point report feeling mild cold and flu symptoms. This was not the case with me.
The End of the Detox
Coming off of the Master Cleanse includes eating lots of raw vegetables.
By day 11, I was actually looking forward to a salad, but I came off the lemonade and eased into normal food with soup broth and freshly squeezed juice.
The day after that, I ate lots of raw vegetables and salad and started easing into normal.
Some people will do this cleanse for much longer than 10 days, which I can’t imagine.
Results of the 10-Day Master Cleanse:
I felt clean, clear and energized at the end of the cleanse. I believe it had a positive impact on my overall physical health. But would I recommend the Master Cleanse for others? See my answer below:
Yes! What I Liked Best about the Master Cleanse
For me personally, the best part of the cleanse is what it did for my self-confidence. Frankly, before starting the cleanse – I didn’t know if I had what-it-takes to complete it. I thought my blood sugar would drop too low and I’d become too weak to continue. After I completed the cleanse, I felt a true sense of accomplishment and felt like I could do almost anything life requires of me.
No! What I Liked Least about the Master Cleanse
- My concern about the cleanse is that it somehow (though this isn’t its intention, surely) encourages people to eat badly, then do the Cleanse in an attempt to try to make up for it. Pizza and booze for six months, and then 10 days of cleanse? Hmmmmm. That doesn’t seem smart. That sounds like a diet to me. How about just making lifestyle changes that don’t create toxins in the first place?
- that maple syrup that’s in the lemonade: it seems like a lot of sugar
- another thing I don’t like about the Cleanse is that, having seen many people go through it, I recognize that many people come off the Cleanse and then eat junk food ravenously as a “reward” for having survived the Cleanse (they also often gain back all the weight they may have lost on the Cleanse, and then some).
- finally, there is the issue of addiction. If we are addicted to things like flour, wine, dairy, sugar (by “addicted” in this case, I mean “can’t imagine my life without it”) then I think any sort of detoxifying cleanse should be done under the supervision of a medical doctor (or perhaps your chosen, holistically minded health professional, such as a nutritionist and/or a naturopath). Also, please understand the there are other cleanses besides the most-popular Master Cleanse. And it’s possible that one of these other cleanse regimens might be a better fit for your body.
Other Tips to Remember if You Decide to Do the Master Cleanse
Again, having done the Cleanse myself and witnessed many others go through it, too, I cannot officially recommend that you do the Master Cleanse. However, if you decide that the Cleanse is right for you, here are some tips:
- it’s recommended that you don’t repeat this cleanse for at lease 3 months
- keep a diary to maintain focus and to notice how different you feel each day
- although you will lose weight on the Cleanse, you might need to stick to a mostly plant-based diet to maintain that loss (which may or may not be right for you)
- read Stanley Burroughs’s book (either buy it online or at Whole Foods) before attempting this. Don’t just read about it online; you need to know the full ins-and-outs before attempting.
The Detox Smoothie Diet
Many experts believe that freshly made green smoothies can be detoxifying for the human body.
The types of smoothies that are potentially the most detoxifying are those made with lots of dark, leafy greens, a small amount of fruit, some raw, sprouted seeds, and ice.
Detoxification diets, or cleanses, are designed to help the body flush built-up toxins from the organs, tissues and bloodstream.
The infographic near the end of this article outlines some of the more popular cleanses, and reveals where they fall on the “BS-ometer!”
The Detox Smoothie Diet
Detox Smoothie Recipe to Improve Metabolism
Shedding body fat permanently is not just about counting calories!
From decades of experimenting with health regimens, here are three things I have absolutely learned:
- to lose fat, improve your metabolism
- to improve your metabolism, improve your overall health
- to improve your overall health, keep your inner-body clean
You’ll note in the infographic below that cleansing with a green smoothie diet is among the most highly rated of cleanses. Green smoothies improve digestion with the increase in fiber and nutrients, and other reported results include increased energy, a reduction in craving for sugar and salt, as well as some loss in body fat.
Some of my favorite organic ingredients to include in my green smoothies include cilantro (to remove help remove mercury from the tissues; I try not to have cilantro more than three days in a row – I find it’s pretty potent stuff), broccoli (or better yet, freshly cut broccoli sprouts; I’m lucky to be able to buy trays of live-growing sprouts at my local farmers’ market), freshly squeezed limes and lemons (to help the liver), cucumber (for the skin) and a variety of kales and chards (loaded with antioxidants).
I also like to add a small amount of green tea (tumor-shrinking properties) to the blender, as well as raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds and pre-soaked chia seeds (for the quality protein and omegas).
On days when I workout hard, I might also add some raw hemp protein powder.
If you’re feeling really enthusiastic you can also add a few raw dandelion leaves (great for the digestive track; but, frankly, they make you want to pee).
I almost always add a dash of ginger, tumeric, and cayenne to my smoothies, and sometimes half a small, washed, organic apple (including the skin).
I love the flavor combination of fresh spinach with a few cubes of frozen mango.
And I usually add a bit of blue green algae (chlorophyll is generally helpful at removing heavy metals from the body).
Generally, I try to keep the amount of fruit I add very low, to reduce fructose intake. Add lots of vegetables to your smoothies, but only add as much fruit as you need to help suit your taste.
Probably the most detoxifying thing I’ve ever added to a green smoothie are the green stems from fresh beets. The stems of the beet plant are cleansing – so cleansing that you’d better only use a small amount and prepare to have access to a nearby bathroom for the rest of the day!
Here’s a basic recipe to start out with. How easily you can obtain these ingredients depends in what region you live (I’m fortunate to live in Southern California where I can find these items fresh year-round; but if you have to modify the recipe or make substitutions, that’s fine). Only use as much fruit as you need to make the smoothie palatable, and – by the way – it really does help if you use a quality blender with a very high-powered motor:
- enough green tea to cover the blades at the bottom of the blender
- juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
- couple of small florets of organic broccoli
- any live sprouts or well-rinsed microgreens (sunflower, broccoli, arugula)
- bit of fresh kale, chard, spinach or parsley
- small wedge of cucumber
- small wedge of red bell pepper (optional)
- chunk of organic apple, including skin (for beginners, to add sweetness)
- few cubes of frozen mango (use more, if you’re new to green smoothies)
- dash of ginger, cayenne, and tumeric (not too much!)
- teaspoon of pre-soaked chia seeds
- teaspoon of raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds
- teaspoon of raw hemp protein powder
- some ice
Part way through blending, you may have to pause to shake the blender to get out the air bubble and add a tablespoon of spring water (it depends on how many frozen ingredients you had to use).
Later on, as you become accustomed to green smoothies – and if you’re feeling brave – you can experiment with including small amounts of the advanced ingredients such as cilantro, dandelion greens, and beet stems. But I suggest never having the advanced ingredients more than 3 days in a row. Please be careful and reverent in your approach, and I invite you to ask your doctor his or her opinion first.
Sometimes I’m lucky enough to find live broccoli sprouts and other microgreens at my local farmers market.
Another advanced strategy is to remove all fruit (except a bit of lime juice) from your smoothie. This lowers the fructose content and makes your shake even healthier (if you’re new to green smoothies, though, you will probably want the fruit, and then you can taper-down gradually over time).
This is also optional – I like to take a high quality, food-based calcium/magnesium supplement along with my green smoothie, as the calcium can bond to the less-advantageous oxalates (my understanding is that oxalic acid serves as a sort of natural self-defense mechanism found in plants to discourage insects from eating them as they are growing in the soil) that are in many raw vegetables and help it to decrease absorption of it by your body.
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Infographic Guide to Cleansing
My own detox smoothie regimen – a lifestyle diet for healthy changes – is fairly simple to follow.
A freshly made green smoothie for breakfast, sometimes another for lunch (though the lunchtime smoothie has entirely different ingredients than the morning smoothie – I almost never repeat ingredients twice in one day) and for dinner: a “super salad.”
On days when I workout hard – at the pumping iron at the gym or going for an outdoor run – I drink more tea throughout the day, plus have a raw foods frozen dessert in the evening.
Above is a simple guide (from MedicalAssistantCertification.com) that outlines some of the nutritional cleansing and detox regimens that are currently popular.
My favorite among these, is, of course, is the green smoothie.
I believe freshly made green smoothies are effective (I’m 51 years old and have a leaner waistline now than I did 7 years ago when I didn’t yet understand how to leverage green smoothies toward improved health), mild to the system, tasty, healthy and safe. However, I strongly encourage you to consult your medical doctor (and also your nutritionist or naturopath if you have such have such a person on your Wellness Team) before undertaking any significant change to your diet.