Category Archives: Detox

Benefits of a Plant Based Diet





Watch Rip Esselstyn’s (author of Engine 2 Diet) TEDTalk on how the Plant Strong Diet improved the health of his fire house.

By the way, Rip Esselstyn is the son of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. Dr. Esselstyn has been associated with the Cleveland Clinic since 1968. He was studying about how a plant-based diet can reverse chronic diseases, such as heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc.

No kidding…we have cures for these common killers already?! Pharmaceutical companies are not advertising it. Doctors are not believing it, because they’re trained to prescribe medications.

Anyway, watch “Forks Over Knives” documentary in Netflix, and you’ll know who Dr. Esselstyn is and what the China Study discover.

BENEFITS OF A PLANT BASED DIET”

Lower Oxidative Stress & Inflammation

Studies show that high intake of whole plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, tea, coffee, red wine and olive oil, decreases levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, which are associated with the development of chronic disease. (Nutrition, 2004 and JACC, 2006)

In the Adventist Health Study II, a vegetarian diet was linked to lower CRP levels, a marker of inflammation. (Ethn Dis, 2011)

Healthy Gut/Immune System

Increasing evidence fiber-rich, plant-based diet promotes healthy gut microbiota, linked to immune support and digestive health.
EPIC study found lower rate of hospital admissions and risk of death from diverticular disease among vegetarians. (BMJ, 2011)

Brain Protection

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress lead to development of Alzheimer’s. Adherence to Mediterranean, plant-based diet linked with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (Archives Neurology, 2009)

Environmental Working Group

All meat is not created equal. Lamb, beef, pork and cheese generate the most greenhouse gases. They also tend to be high in fat and have the worst environmental impacts. Meat and dairy products requires large amount of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water and generates greenhouse gases, toxic manure and other pollutants that contaminate our air and water.

Challenges of a Plant based Diet

Misperceptions, such as getting adequate protein and calcium intake.
More food preparation required.
Lack of cooking skills regarding beans, whole grains, tofu.
Unfamiliarity with new foods, such as tofu, tempeh (Indonesian fermented soy), seitan.
Meeting nutritional needs.

Developing and Planning a Plant based Eating Style

Include more whole plant foods, such as plant proteins:
Legumes (beans, lentils, and peas)
Whole Soy Foods (tofu, tempeh, soy milk)
Nuts and Nut Butters (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, Brazil nuts, peanuts)
Seeds and Seed Butters (sunflower, sesame, hemp, chia, pumpkin seeds) walnut, hemp and chia good source omega-3 FA.
Whole grains (quinoa, wheat berries, oats, brown rice) can be good protein source (up to 11 g protein per cup, i.e. Kamut)
Vegetables, such as peas, spinach, and broccoli (can contain up to 6 g protein per cup)

Plant proteins, such as legumes, nuts and seeds, are excellent “protein packages”—packed with fiber, micronutrients, phytochemicals.

Calcium

If no dairy, choose total of two servings per day of calcium-fortified foods, such as plant-based milk alternatives, tofu, or orange juice.
Choose more dark green leafy vegetables.
Calcium supplement to meet daily calcium needs.

Related article: 15 Non-Dairy Plant based Sources of Calcium that Will Surprise You

Vitamin D

Ten minutes of sunlight exposure a day.

Consume vitamin-D-fortified foods, such as soy milk and orange juice, and consider a vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin B12

Available only in animal foods: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.

Also available in nutritional yeasts and fortified products, such as cereal and soy milk.

Vegans should take a vitamin B12 supplement daily.

How to Start Plant Based Eating Style

Start the day right. Go veggie at breakfast or fruits and veggie smoothie.

Join the Meatless Monday bandwagon.

Shop for plants first. Instead of planning your menu around meat, plan it around plants.

If you eat meat, use it as a seasoning. Cut down on animal food intake while pushing plants by using meat as a flavoring in dishes instead of main event. Idea from indigenous diet. Great ways to reduce meat intake, but not completely giving up.

Create a plant-based pantry list. Many plant based foods like beans and whole grains are shelf-stable, convenient, and economical.

Get cooking! Plan at least one night a week to try a new vegetarian recipe. Do it with Meatless Monday night.

Keep it simple. Not every meal has to involve cookbooks and cutting boards; it can be as easy as black bean burritos, vegetarian chili, or hummus pita sandwich.

Try ethnic flair. Some cultures know how to do vegetarian meals right!

Convert your favorite dishes. Turn your favorite meat-based recipes veggie for an easy dinner solution. New family favorite.

Dust off your slow-cooker. Just throw in veggies, herbs, vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, whole grains, and dried beans; then turn the dial on.

Try plant-based dairy products. Try more plant-based alternatives for milk, yogurt, and cheese. Popular as there are many alternative choices available.

Think “yes”. Don’t dwell on what you can’t have, think about what you can have! There are thousands of choices.

Helpful tips

1. Puree, chop, or dice vegetables into smaller pieces to hide them in dishes and stuffed foods to increase taste and nutrition without the family noticing.

2. I introduce people to green smoothies… If possible, we make a smoothie together so they can see how simple it is. Hands-on or demo gives them more confidence than just getting a recipe.

3. Warn clients that not all meat free foods (especially the packaged products) are healthy just because they are meat free. Encourage them to read food labels and try to follow the 5 ingredient rule (try to stick to foods that only include 5 ingredients).

4. I recommend to my clients to eat a fruit or vegetable (or both!) at each meal and snack. That way they’ll get 5 or more servings in each day. Repeat this day after day and you have a positive healthy habit.

5. Add veggies to your traditional recipes. Try adding a can of pumpkin puree to your favorite chili recipe. You can’t taste the pumpkin at all, but it boosts the nutrient profile and gives it a fabulous texture!

6. Buy in bulk. Purchase more when there is a good deal or when something is especially delicious. Most fruits and vegetables keep well in the freezer and then you will always have them on hand.

7. Be open to adding different spices and herbs, it can really tantalize the taste buds! Every day you can have a mini food adventure trying new foods and flavors while becoming healthier.

8. On Sunday afternoons, turn on some good music and invest an hour to chop up veggies and prepare “food for the week”…This way you have “ready to go” options to get you through the week for lunches, meals and side dishes!

9. No time to slice fresh veggies for a salad? Add frozen peas or frozen mixed veggies instead. They will be defrosted by lunch and ready to top with your favorite dressing.

10. Start your grocery store trip in the produce isle. Only shop on the outside of the store. This helps eliminate most processed foods and helps your cart contain fresh foods. Fruits and vegetables should fill up the bottom of your cart.

Essential amino acids in plant-based diet:
Complement plant food. Plant protein always missing a few amino acid (x soy, spinach and quinoa). New idea is the amino acid intake throughout the day, not focus in a meal. Plant protein with lower digestibility, thus recommend increasing intake about.

Allergy to soy, nut, legumes, peanut:
Consider if true food intolerances. May introduce dairy product to meet protein needs.

Additional resources:

• China Study by Collin Campbell
• Beautiful Truth documentary video
• Forks Over Knives documentary video
• Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
• In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan





Heal Your Leaky Gut

Journey to a Happy Healthy Gut

Now that we have more understanding of what leaky gut is and what the causes are, let’s explore the journey to healing.

Notice that I use the word “journey”…meaning healing is a process and will take time.

Remember the vicious cycle of leaky gut did not happen overnight and so is the healing process.

Are you ready for a change for the better?

Here are the critical steps toward a healthy and happy gut.

We know the gut is very delicate and sensitive, and so the first order of business is to stop putting toxin in your body.

Translation: Change your diet.

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As Michael Pollan eloquently states “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants” in his book “Omnivore Dilemma”.

Researches, studies, multiple counts of experiences point toward the beneficial effects of an anti-inflammatory plant-based diet.

I recommend eating an plant-based diet that is rich in essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids and gamma linolenic acid GLA, and insoluble fiber.

Many naturally occurring substances from plant-based foods help repair the intestinal mucosal surface or support the liver when stressed by enteric toxins.

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the substrates for prostaglandin synthesis. Fish oil has been shown to resolve intestinal mucosal injury and stops the systemic response to endotoxin. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) promotes the synthesis of E-series prostaglandins, which decrease permeability.

Our body can make GLA from linoleic acid via an enzymatic reaction catalyzed by deta-desaturase (D6D). However, this reaction is limiting and consumption of excessive vegetable oils may increase the free radical content of bile and exacerbates the effects of endotoxin.

EFAs should be consumed in the most concentrated and physiologically active form to avoid exposure to large quantities of polyunsaturated fatty acids from dietary oils.

Good dietary sources of GLA are evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, hemp seed oil and borage oil.

Insoluble fiber has been shown to decrease permeability. So eat a diet rich in insoluble fiber or supplement with pure cellulose or rice bran. An added benefit of rice bran is gamma oryzanol. It is an antioxidant in rice bran that has healing effects in gastric and duodenal ulceration.

Soluble fiber, on the other hand, increases permeability, and should be consumed in limited amount.

Avoid any foods that you’re allergic and/or sensitive to as allergic reactions increase gut permeability. When taken before eating, Quercetin may help to stop the release of histamine and inflammatory mediators in an allergic reaction.

Chewing your food well may actually help to nourish your gut with salivary Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF). It is a polypeptide that stimulates growth and repair of epithelial tissue. It is found throughout your body, with high concentrations in salivary glands, prostate glands and in the duodenum.

Take a probiotics supplement containing Lactobacillus GG may help repopulate the good bacteria population that is the result of the leaky gut, and reverse bacterial dysbiosis.

In addition, supplementing your diet with glutamine can be beneficial. Glutamine is an important substrate for the maintenance of intestinal metabolism and integrity. Glutamine supplementation has been shown to reverse intestinal mucosal injury, resulting in less villous atrophy, increased mucosal healing and decreased passage of endotoxin through the gut wall.

Support your liver with glutathione (GSH), which is an important component of the anti-oxidant defense against free radical-induced tissue damage. Hepatic GSH is a key ingredient for reducing toxic oxygen metabolites and oxidized xenobiotics in the liver. When the liver is working overtime trying the get rid of the toxic waste in the leaky, the demand for glutathione is high because the liver is using it up very quickly.

The most effective way to increase glutathione level in liver is to supplement with its dietary precursors, cysteine or methionine, such as N-acetylcysteine. Flavonoids in milk thistle (silymarin) and in dandelion root (taraxacum) also help to support the liver by protecting against reactive oxygen species.

An additional step to support and nurture your liver is to let it rest, as in stop ingesting more toxins from processed foods, fast foods, food colorings, food additives, pesticides, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, medications, legal drugs, etc.

And of course avoid alcohol even if it’s red wine.

Sorry…I know it’s confusing. One says red wine is good for you and another says alcohol is bad for you. If you have a leaky gut, alcohol is definitely bad for you. So sober up, at least until your leaky gut is under control.

And did you know…you can get the same resveratrol from a supplement and minus the alcohol and save your liver.

NSAIDS are all your pain-killers. They are known to cause GI bleed. I know you need them to control your pain. Did you know most of your aches and pains are the result of systemic inflammation caused by all the toxins you put in your body?

That’s why I put this step last. Because when you start doing all the things listed above, your body is slowly healing itself and recovering, and the inflammation eventually stops and so will your aches and pain. And when that they comes, you’ll not need your pain killer anymore.

Bone broth is supposed to be good for leaky gut. A colleague buys “chicken feet” from Whole Foods and boils them with some vegetables for 24 hours in a slow cooker to get all the gelatin out of the bone. Just flavor with a little salt and you have a yummy broth for your tummy.

Relaxation helps lower stress hormone. Activities like yoga, meditation, walk in the nature, hiking, exercise, etc. These activities not only reduce your stress hormones, but they can also increase your feel good hormone – endorphins.

When you follow these steps, your gut will start feeling better, aches and pain will disappear, brain fog will clear up, and ADHD symptoms will improve.

Return to What You Need to Know About Leaky Gut





Juicing for Detox




Yummy Green Juice for Detox

I was introduced to the idea of juicing as a nutrition therapy after watching Beautiful Truth and was fascinated with the idea that cancer cure exists.

After I saw the movie “Beautiful Truth”, I decide to investigate more into juicing. I realize that the juicing here is very different from the regular juice we drink daily. You know the ones that we told our children not to drink.

I chose to write an article about juicing because I found this therapy very fascinating.

I’ve been asked gazillion times about juicing in my career: “What do you think about juicing?” I have repeatedly told everyone the same thing: “It’s better to eat the whole fruit then to drink the juice, which is just sugar and water from the fruit. You’re missing all the good nutrients and fiber from the whole fruits or vegetables.” That was my typical response then.

Today, many people juice for health reason. There are many alternative therapies and detox programs that advocate juice fast. Interest in juicing has exploded in the last decade due to a number of books, videos that claims the extraordinary healing power of juicing or juice fast.

Documentary such as Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Beautiful Truth have increased the awareness that many diseases can be cured by simply changing one’s dietary habits. In these cases, it is juicing.

Beautiful Truth introduced the Gerson Therapy which involves daily juicing to cure many currently considered “uncurable” diseases and illnesses, such as cancer (including end stage), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue symptoms, etc.

The idea of juicing sound really simply for most, because many Americans consume significant amount of juice or soda daily. They’re already large volume of liquids a day, might as well be something good fo the body. So the idea of “drinking juice” to promote health sounds really realistic and easy, right?

Not so soon to judge. There’s no such easy deal in life.

We’re not talking about drinking couple glass of Tropicana orange juice or Naked Green Machine juice here. The juicing we are talking about is juice freshly made from wholesome organic fruits or vegetables, which you will be making the juice daily yourself, not from a carton you pick up from the store.

If you want to see result faster, you may try a juice fast challenge. A juice fast as its name implies is a fast, which means no food. The idea is going on a diet that consists of nothing else but juice. However, these therapies only works IF the person is discipline enough to follow the fast for a whole two weeks, AND does the juice correctly.

Gerson Therapy: Green Juice FOR BEGINNERS + Gerson Basics

Juicing is a nice supplement to add to anyone’s diet. It adds nutrients from the fruits or vegetables that you or your child normally wouldn’t eat and, at the same time, introduce valuable nutrients that are only found in fruits and vegetables. It can also add some variety to your child’s diet, especially if you have a very picky eater.

I’m not too comfortable at this point advising people to stop eating completely and go on a juice fast. I’m not going to talk about fasting here. That’s another topic of itself. There’s not much research out there to show that juicing is healthier or better for the body than eating the whole fruits and vegetables.

Here, the keyword is “research”. Who’s going to benefit from the result of showing that juicing helps. No one, maybe the farmers who grow all these delicious nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. But, bottom line is no one can patent that information and turn it into a 10-year monopoly, like all these pharmaceutical companies has been doing for years with new drugs.

I still believe in the benefit of eating whole fruits and vegetables to get all the benefits. And juicing is a great way to help picky eater ease into new vegetables or fruits.

Cook books, such as Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious have recipes for basic juices, such as green juice, white juice, etc. They use the fruits and vegetables juices as ingredient in cooking some common kid’s friendly foods, such as brownie, mac n cheese, smoothie, muffins, etc.

Doesn’t it make you feel good that when your child is eating mac n cheese, they’re also eating cauliflower? Or black beans in their brownies?

Fresh fruit and vegetable juices retain most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that would be found in the whole versions of those foods. These nutrients can help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and various inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis. Valuable compounds called flavonoids and anthocyanins are abundant in a variety of fruits and vegetables and guard against oxidative cellular damage, which comes from everyday cellular maintenance and is exacerbated by exposure to chemicals and pollution.

Some advocates for juicing may claim that your body absorbs more nutrients from juices than the whole fruit because the fruit’s fiber gets in the way. However, there isn’t much research out there that supports that claim. Your digestive system is designed to handle fiber and extract nutrients from a variety of foods. Plus, fiber is important for digestive function and has a multitude of health benefits.

Anyway, the juicing that’s been popularized recently as alternative therapy is not the same as buying a carton of juice from the store. The juices discussed here are freshly made raw, unpasteurized juices that retains majority of its nutrients and live enzymes. Yes, fruits and vegetables are living things with live enzymes. That’s the difference. Commercially processed fruits or vegetables are processed in factory probably about a week ago before you get it in the store. They’re pasteurized, just like milk, to kill bacteria, which also inactivates all the vital nutrients and enzymes. Not to mention the fruits and vegetables used for making processed juice are not your fancy choices. These are usually bruises and blemish produce that orchid cannot sell to stores.

So you decide where you want your juice to come from.

That’s right. The best place to get your juice from is your own home. Use organic produce as much as possible. Local farmers’ markets are great place to shop for local produce in season. You can talk to the farmers to find out about their farming practice, whether any pesticides or GMO seeds are used. And you’ll be able to buy produce in season from local market, skipping the long distance transportation. All this mean cheaper cost for you as a consumer.

Related article: Plant-based Diet




Detox with Glutathione




Glutathione (GSH) is an antioxidant made up of three amino acids – cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid. It is naturally produced in our body. It plays an important role in supporting the immune system by boosting levels of white blood cells production to fight off infection and foreign substances. It is a cofactor of the glutathione s-transferase enzyme, which function to detoxify chemical toxins.

High levels of glutathione maybe found in the liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas and stomach lining, organs that are frequently exposed to toxins. Our body’s level decreases with age. Diseases, such as cancers, liver diseases, heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and HIV/AIDS have been linked to low levels. Stress, excessive exercises, poor diets and toxic overload increase its demand.

Glutathione

How does it work?
Hepatic GSH is a key substrate for reducing toxic oxygen metabolites and oxidized xenobiotics in the liver. Depletion of hepatic glutathione is a common occurrence in Leaky Gut Syndromes contributing to liver dysfunction and liver necrosis among alcoholics and immune impairment in patients with AIDS.

Toxic chemicals, such as those from our environment – pesticides, heavy metals (lead, mercury, and cadmium), preservatives, PCBs, and medications are first neutralized by the liver. Then glutathione in the liver binds to these toxic chemicals and eliminates them from the body safely. This is what happens when the body’s detox system is functioning well and all nutrients needed for detox are adequate.

It has been suggested that toxic metals, such as mercury, inhibit the production of glutathione in the body, sabotaging the body’s detoxification system. As a result, toxic chemicals accumulate, affecting brain functions, resulting in behaviors frequently seen in children with ADHD.

This maybe reversed by limiting your child’s exposure to toxic substances and heavy metals through diets and supplementing your child’s diet with detox supplements, such as alpha lipoic acid, carnosine, n-acetylcysteine (NAC), trimethylglycine (TMG) or dimethylglycine (DMG).

Where to find GSH?

Glutathione is found in both plant and animal sources. Fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked meat and fish contain about 25 – 750 mg per pound. Processed foods, dairy products, most nuts, grains and legumes are not good sources.

Glutathione Food Sources

Glutathione supplement itself is poorly absorbed since the stomach acid would have digested most of it. The most effective way to raise hepatic glutathione is to administer its dietary precursors, cysteine or methionine.

Its precursors, N-acetylcysteine, glycine, L-cysteine and methionine supplements are more effective in increasing glutathione levels in the blood.

L-Cysteine supplement should not be used in children. However, NAC is a safer alternative. High doses of NAC may cause headaches and dizziness.

Silymarin, the active substance in milk thistle, may increase glutathione levels in the liver up to 50%.

There are also transdermal and intravenous glutathione available. However, these options will require special prescription through physicians who are familiar with their use.

As always consult a registered dietitian and/or physician who are familiar with dietary or nutritional supplements and working with children with developmental disorders. Avoid implementing trials of these supplements on your own. Some of these supplements may interact with your medication and some require closing monitoring of a pair of experienced eyes.