Monday, July 29, 2019

Women Beware: Feminine Products Contain Toxins

Are you surprised tampons and pads can contain hazardous chemicals? Due to the vaginal tissue being much more absorptive than other skin, these toxic chemicals in feminine care products are especially concerning. Unregulated toxic chemicals in feminine care products may result in serious health problems, like increased risk of breast cancer, reproductive problems, asthma, and allergic reactions.  I think all women should not use toxic feminine products but especially don't use them if you have a sensitive bladder, a history of urinary tract infections, vaginal pain with sex or a history of yeast infections.

Unfortunately, because of the lack of government oversight, toxic chemicals can legally be used in all kinds of personal care products without pre-market safety testing. In addition, it’s difficult for women to avoid some of these potentially harmful chemicals in feminine care products because companies are not legally required to disclose ingredients in tampons and pads and other products.

The big problem with tampons and pads is that companies use cotton full of pesticides.  They also use Dioxins and Furans which are heavy chemicals used to bleach the pads and tampons white.  An alternative is to use organic cotton tampons made from pure natural cotton that hasn't been grown in a soup of pesticides. They don't contain rayon or synthetic additives, and most have been manufactured using a chlorine-free process that doesn't create chlorinated toxins. Seventh Generation is such a company and their tampons can be found at Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, etc. 

Toxic Chemicals in Feminine Care Products & Women’s Health

  • Feminine care products, in one form or another, are used by the majority of women in the United States.
  • Up to 86 percent of women use tampons in the U.S.
  • Other feminine care products—douches, sprays, washes, and wipes—are used by up to 10-40 percent of women.
  • Black and Latina women are disproportionately impacted by toxic chemicals in feminine care products, as they’re much more frequent users of feminine cleansing products like douche, wipes, and sprays.
  • Anti-itch creams commonly contain chemical allergens or irritants and can actually exacerbate the very symptoms that women are attempting to treat.
  • Lots of feminine care products contain formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, and formaldehyde is a carcinogen and a potent allergen.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Exposure
  • Eliminate use of products that may be unnecessary to a healthy vagina.
  • Choose unscented products where available (particularly tampons and pads).
  • Choose chlorine-free bleached or unbleached cotton tampons and pads.
  • If you are having allergic symptoms, switch brands! When you do switch – call the company’s 1-800 customer service to tell them why!
  • Tell the FDA if you’ve had symptoms that may be from a feminine care product. Call 1-800-332-1088.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Purify Your Blood Naturally

Natural Blood Cleansers

Blood does more than just carry oxygen to our organs and muscles.  It also carries hormones and sugar, helps regulate our immune system and cleanses the body.  It can be simply said that our blood needs to remain clean and free of toxins for the body. When toxins find their way into the body, the blood carries it to the liver, where the liver detoxes it, dumps it into the intestines and we excrete it out.  If our blood is too toxic we can start feeling sick in many ways.  Headaches, stomach pain, constipation/diarrhea, acne etc. can ensue.  But if we take our health seriously and keep our blood free of toxins we can have health benefits like glowing and acne-free skin, reduced cholesterol level, easier digestion and transport of nutrients etc. The liver being the main detox organ and kidneys being the second detox organ, if we take care of these organs then we can have cleaner blood which makes everything else in our body work better.  

Water is the natural detoxifying agent which is also one of the most common and simplest blood purifiers. It flushes out toxins from our body and helps our organs to function properly. A person should drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water each day. Water aids the flow of minerals and vitamins and also helps in purification of blood by flushing toxins out through urination.

 is a golden spice which has numerous benefits. It promotes liver function and is one of the best natural healers. A compound found in turmeric named curcumin can fight inflammation.  Beside this, turmeric generates red blood cells.  

Blueberries are one of the best natural blood purifiers. It inhibits the growth of liver cancer cells and also keeps the liver healthy. Not only this, blueberries are high in antioxidants which directly prevent any damage to the liver. It removes heavy metals and harmful chemicals from the body efficiently.

Various fishes like salmon, sardines, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids which decrease the triglyceride levels in the blood and also lowers the blood pressure which ultimately helps the liver and kidneys to purify the blood effectively.

Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C, omega – 3 fatty acids, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese etc. which help in removing toxins from our blood. On regular consumption, broccoli ensures detoxification and also provides a boost to the immunity system.

Beets can detoxify the blood naturally because of the presence of antioxidant named betalains and nitrates. It is also able to reduce oxidative damage in the liver. As per studies, if 
beetroot is consumed regularly it is capable of detoxifying the body by increasing the production of helpful enzymes. But because of nitrates be careful when giving it to infants.

Chlorophyll supplements work during digestion to both detoxify the body of toxins ingested through foods as well as to detoxify the body of existing stored toxins. Some chlorophyll is absorbed into the bloodstream during digestion. As the blood passes through the liver, chlorophyll promotes the liver’s cleansing and detoxification process by its action on the Phase II detoxification enzymes produced by the liver. Phase II is a process in which the liver uses enzymes to convert a toxic substance into a less toxic substance that is easily eliminated by the body. Additionally, chlorophyll appears to stimulate the regeneration of damaged liver cells. 

Chlorophyll also appears to increase circulation to all the organs of our body by dilating blood vessels. Specifically for the heart, chlorophyll helps in the transmission of nerve impulses that control contraction. The heart rate is slowed but the contraction strength is increased, improving the efficiency of the heart.

Garlic in raw form is loaded with sulphur, an element which is beneficial in getting rid of toxins. It filters out the toxins from our blood by producing detoxification enzymes. Garlic is also helpful in cleaning and clearing the whole body. It boosts the immune system and possesses anti-inflammatory properties which can help in reducing the cholesterol level in the body and also blood pressure.

Lemon helps in detoxifying the blood by releasing the toxins of our digestive tract and cleansing the system. Consuming warm lemon water on an empty stomach can do wonders. It can aid the breakdown of fat and also ease the load on the kidneys. The minerals and vitamins present in lemon help in detoxification of the body.
 Lemon juice can activate the liver to release toxins which help in cleaning intestines.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Eat to Live a Long and Healthy Life

Blue Zones are regions of the world where Dan Buettner claims people live much longer than average. The term first appeared in his November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story, "The Secrets of a Long Life".  Buettner identified five regions as "Blue Zones" (Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia(Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece); and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. He offers an explanation, based on data and first hand observations, for why these populations live healthier and longer lives than other people in his book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest. 

The people who live in the Blue Zones eat a healthy and move their bodies a lot. They have social circles that reinforce healthy behaviors. They take time to de-stress. They're part of communities, often religious ones. And they're committed to their families.

Below are details of how Blue Zone people eat.  I love to muscle test to be specific to each of my patients but I think it is a good reminder to eat well by learning from these healthy cultures.  It is made easy to eat like the healthiest people in the world with the Blue Zones Meal Planner, where you’ll find thousands of recipes that follow these guidelines while making plant-slant food delicious and accessible. 


People in the blue zones eat an impressive variety of garden vegetables when they are in season, and then they pickle or dry the surplus to enjoy during the off-season. Eating local and in season is so important and this data proves it.  The best-of-the-best longevity foods are leafy greens such as spinach, kale, beet and turnip tops, chard, and collards.  Combined with seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans dominate blue zones meals all year long.
Many oils derive from plants, and they are all preferable to animal-based fats. The diet cannot say that olive oil is the only healthy plant-based oil, but it is the one most often used in the blue zones. Evidence shows that olive oil consumption increases good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol. In Ikaria, they found that for middle-aged people, about six tablespoons of olive oil daily seemed to cut the risk of dying in half.
People in four of the five blue zones consume meat, but they do so sparingly, using it as a  small side, or a way to flavor dishes. Research suggests that 30-year-old vegetarian Adventists will likely outlive their meat-eating counterparts by as many as eight years. At the same time, increasing the amount of plant-based foods in your meals has many salutary effects. Beans, greens, yams and sweet potatoes, fruits, nuts, and seeds should all be favored. Variety of fruits and vegetables makes a difference; don't eat the same thing over and over again. Know which ones you like, and keep your kitchen stocked with them.


Averaging out consumption in blue zones, we found that people ate about two ounces or less about five times per month. And we don’t know if they lived longer despite eating meat. If you are thinking eating less meat may be in your healthiest interest let me know and we can muscle test to see if eating less really will help you. 
The Adventist Health Study 2, which has been following 96,000 Americans since 2002, has found that the people who lived the longest were vegans or pesco-vegetarians, who ate a plant-based diet that included a small amount of fish. So, while you may want to celebrate from time to time with chicken, pork or beef, we don’t recommend it as part of a Blue Zones Diet. Okinawans probably offer the best meat substitute: extra firm tofu, high in protein and cancer-fighting phyto-estrogens but soy is very much in their culture and what their ancestors ate and is not the GMO American soy so I would be nervous suggesting a lot of it to my patients.  


If you must eat fish, fewer than three ounces, up to three times weekly. In most blue zones, people ate some fish but less than you might think—up to three small servings a week. There are other ethical and health considerations involved in including fish in your diet. It makes sense, for example, to select fish that are common and abundant, not threatened by overfishing. In the world’s blue zones, in most cases, the fish being eaten are small, relatively inexpensive fish such as sardines, anchovies, and cod—middle-of-the-food- chain species that are not exposed to the high levels of mercury or other chemicals like PCBs that pollute our gourmet fish supply today.
People in the blue zones don’t overfish the waters like corporate fisheries that threaten to deplete entire species. Blue zones fishermen cannot afford to wreak havoc on the ecosystems they depend on. Again, fish is not a necessary part of a longevity diet but if you must eat seafood elect fish that are common and not threatened by overfishing.


Milk from cows doesn’t figure significantly in any blue zones diet except that of some
Adventists. Arguments against milk often focus on its high fat and sugar content. The number of people who (often unknowingly) have some difficulty digesting lactose according to this research may be as high as 60 percent. Goat’s and sheep’s milk products figure into the Ikarian and Sardinian blue zones.

I do think it makes a difference that the goat’s milk that they consume is not as liquid but fermented as yogurt, sour milk, or cheese. Although goat’s milk contains lactose, it also contains lactase, an enzyme that helps the body digest lactose.


People in all of the blue zones eat eggs about two to four times per week. Usually they eat just one as a side dish with a whole-grain or plant-based dish. Nicoyans fry an egg to fold into a corn tortilla with a side of beans. Okinawans boil an egg in their soup. People in the Mediterranean blue zones fry an egg as a side dish with bread, almonds, and olives for breakfast. Blue zones eggs come from chickens that range freely, eat a wide variety of natural foods, and don’t receive hormones or antibiotics. Slowly matured eggs are naturally higher in omega-3 fatty acids.


According to the research, eat at least a half cup of cooked beans daily. Beans reign supreme in blue zones. They’re the cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world: black beans in Nicoya; lentils, garbanzo, and white beans in the Mediterranean; and soybeans in Okinawa. People in the blue zones eat at least four times as many beans as Americans do on average. I was surprised by this information because I feel like a lot of my patients don't digest beans well but I realize that the quality of the bean and how it is prepared makes a huge difference.  The majority of Americans are reaching for canned beans.  Definitely don't eat any canned beans.  Instead buy them dry and pressure cook them to remove any lectins.  

The fact is, beans are the consummate superfood. On average, they are made up of 21 percent protein, 77 percent complex carbohydrates (the kind that deliver a slow and steady energy rather than the spike you get from refined carbohydrates like white flour), and only a few percent fat. They are also an excellent source of fiber. They’re cheap and versatile, come in a variety of textures, and are packed with more nutrients per gram than any other food on Earth. Beans are a meal staple in all five of the blue zones—with a dietary average of at least a half-cup per day, which provides most of the vitamins and minerals you need. And because beans are so hearty and satisfying, they’ll likely push less healthy foods out of your diet.


According to the research consume only 28 grams (7 teaspoons) of added sugar daily whereas I tell my patients if their body tests to avoid sugar then they really are to avoid it all together.  People in the blue zones eat sugar intentionally, not by habit or accident. They consume about the same amount of naturally occurring sugars as North Americans do, but only about a fifth as much added sugar—no more than seven teaspoons of sugar a day. It’s hard to avoid sugar. It occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, and even milk. But that’s not the problem.
Between 1970 and 2000, the amount of added sugar in the American food supply rose by 25 percent. This adds up to about 22 teaspoons of added sugar each of us consumes daily—insidious, hidden sugars mixed into soda, yogurt, and sauces. Too much sugar in our diet has been shown to suppress the immune system. It also spikes insulin levels, which can lead to diabetes and lower fertility, make you fat, and even shorten your life.

People in the Blue Zones eat more intentional sugar than I thought but the good news is when your body tests that it can handle it I would stick to a limited amount of added sugar a day as well.  


Eat two handfuls of nuts per day. A handful of nuts weighs about two ounces, the average amount that blue zones centenarians consume—almonds in Ikaria and Sardinia, pistachios in Nicoya, and all nuts with the Adventists. The Adventist Health Study 2 found that nut eaters outlive non–nut eaters by an average of two to three years.

They found the optimal mix of nuts: almonds (high in vitamin E and magnesium), peanuts (high in protein and folate, a B vitamin), Brazil nuts (high in selenium, a mineral found effective in protecting against prostate cancer), cashews (high in magnesium), and walnuts (high in alpha-linoleic acid, the only omega-3 fat found in a plant-based food). Walnuts, peanuts, and almonds are the nuts most likely to lower your cholesterol. I found this data interesting because I would personally stay away from peanuts.  


Eat only sourdough or 100 percent whole wheat. Blue zones bread is unlike the bread most Americans buy. Most commercially available breads start with bleached white flour, which metabolizes quickly into sugar and spikes insulin levels. But “Blue Zones” bread is either whole grain or sourdough, each with its own healthful characteristics. In Ikaria and Sardinia, breads are made from a variety of whole grains such as wheat, rye, or barley.

Whole grains also have higher levels of fiber than most commonly used wheat flours. Some traditional blue zones breads are made with naturally occurring bacteria called lactobacilli, which “digest” the starches and glutens while making the bread rise. The process also creates an acid—the “sour” in sourdough. Traditional sourdough breads actually lower the glycemic load of meals, making your entire meal healthier, slower burning, easier on your pancreas, and more likely to make calories available as energy than stored as fat. I have seen in my office that patients who can't eat wheat can eat sourdough so if you want to see if you can have sourdough bring in a piece for us to test.  


Choose foods that are recognizable. People in blue zones traditionally eat the whole food. They don’t throw the yolk away to make an egg-white omelet, or spin the fat out of their yogurt, or juice the fiber-rich pulp out of their fruits. They also don’t enrich or add extra ingredients to change the nutritional profile of their foods. Almost all of the foods consumed by centenarians in the blue zones grow within a 10- mile radius of their homes. They eat raw fruits and vegetables; they grind whole grains themselves and then cook them slowly. They use fermentation—an ancient way to make nutrients bio-available—in the tofu, sourdough bread, wine, and pickled vegetables they eat. And they rarely ingest artificial preservatives.


They never drink soft drinks (including diet soda). With very few exceptions, people in blue zones drink coffee, tea, water, and wine (soft drinks, which account for about half of Americans’ sugar intake, were unknown to most blue zones centenarians.) 
WATER Adventists recommend seven glasses of water daily. They point to studies that show that being hydrated facilitates blood flow and lessens the chance of a blood clot.
COFFEE Sardinians, Ikarians, and Nicoyans all drink copious amounts of coffee.Research associates coffee drinking with lower rates of dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
TEA People in all the blue zones drink tea. Okinawans nurse green tea all day. Green tea has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and several cancers. Ikarians drink brews of rosemary, wild sage, and dandelion—all herbs known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
RED WINE People who drink—in moderation—tend to outlive those who don’t. (This doesn’t mean you should start drinking if you don’t drink now.) We always test to see if alcohol is okay for your body.  

Monday, July 1, 2019

Lectin-Free Diet

To Reduce Inflammation, Try This!

Lectins are microscopic proteins that plants evolved to defend themselves from predators, including insects and animals (that includes humans!). They are essentially indigestible and have the unique ability to increase the permeability of your intestines which eventually can cause a leaky gut or more intense situations.

That means that lectins and other small particles of food can pass through the wall of your gut, and will be treated as foreign invaders by your immune system. This causes an inflammatory response, which can set the stage for a host of diseases, as well as weight gain. 

Dr. Steven Gundry popularized the lectin-free diet. He is a former heart surgeon who switched his focus to food and supplement-based medicine. Dr. Gundry describes lectins as the main danger found in the American diet. In response, he has written a book that provides information on how to avoid lectins, alternative food choices, and recipes, The Plant Paradox

According to the book when lectins are harmful, leaking through the gut and causing inflammation, the auto- immune diseases that can be created are celiac disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and depression.
Following a lectin-free diet could be a way to lower inflammation in the body. The best way to know if avoiding lectins would make a difference in your health is to get muscle tested to see how your body responds to lectins.  

According to Dr. Gundry, people should limit the following foods when trying to avoid lectins:
    •    legumes, such as beans, peas, soy, lentils, and peanuts
    •    squash
    •    nightshade vegetables, such as eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes
    •    fruit, although in-season fruit is allowed in moderation
    •    all grains
    •    corn
    •    meat from corn-fed animals
    •    A1 milk

Soaking beans overnight in water and some baking soda, then draining them and thoroughly boiling or pressure cooking them, can eradicate nearly all lectins. In fact, pressure cooking vegetables and legumes is also an excellent way to decrease lectin content in those plant foods.  But, using a pressure cooker doesn’t get rid of all lectins – it won’t even touch the lectins in wheat, oats, rye, barley, or spelt.
Likewise, sprouting grains, seeds, and beans releases enzymes that reduce lectins, and the process of fermentation can cut the lectins in dairy and vegetables.
Peel and Deseed your fruits and veggies – If you’re going to use lectin-rich plant foods, make sure to peel and deseed them. Often, the most harmful part of a plant is it’s lectin-filled hull, peel, or rind. To reiterate, the peels and the seeds are often where lectins are hiding, so you can significantly cut down on your intake by eliminating that part of the plant.
Finally, if in fact you must eat grains, opt for white over brown. So, instead of brown rice, eat white rice. Instead of whole wheat bread, find a healthier version of white bread.
Turns out, though many believe brown rice is healthier than it’s white counterpart, those who eat rice as their staple grain have always stripped the hull off of brown rice before they eat it. That’s because the hull contains all the dangerous lectins.

A lectin-free diet is not easy to follow but the science is there to back up why lectins would cause inflammation in the body and lead to certain diseases.  If you think it may help you and you can’t get muscle tested then try not eating lectins for 2 weeks and then add them back in and if you notice a difference then maybe avoiding lectins is the best thing you can do for your body.