Health Tonics: Our Top 5 for Fall
As we move into fall, it’s time to whip out the health tonics to fortify our bodies for the coming winter. Cold & flu season has already begun and it’s best to be proactive. Stock up on these favorites to warm the body, give it an immune boost, enhance digestion, maintain flexibility, improve skin quality, and more! Each is a whole food option to add to your daily routine. Read on to see which best fits your needs:
One of the traditional Ayurvedic health tonics made easy for you. It is a blend of turmeric, black pepper, ashwaganda, vanilla and dates. Turmeric is a known anti-inflammatory herb that is well-absorbed when combined with black pepper. It is also supportive to the liver and has been studied for its positive effects on Alzheimer’s, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, pain, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. Ashwaganda is an adaptogen that helps the body react better to stress, improves thyroid health, and is a component in many sleep formulas. Vanilla boosts mood and dates are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Just add to your favorite milk—coconut, almond, hemp, rice, or cow’s milk. Add a teaspoon of ghee to promote colonic health, a pinch of saffron for a bigger mood boost, and 1-2 teaspoons of honey to desired sweetness and enjoy!
If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own broth, this is a great substitute. With 20 grams of well-digested protein, it is excellent for those who workout, are recovering from injury, illness or surgery, or just need to build their health. It boosts muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, and gut health. It is naturally high in glycine, chondroitin, glucosamine, collagen, and hyaluronic acid. Glycine is used to make creatine, which supports healthy muscles. It is also important to detoxification. Chondroitin, glucosamine, and hyaluronic provide the building blocks for the joints. Collagen is in literally every connective tissue in the body—bones, ligaments, tendons, the gut lining, the skin, hair and nails, and the extracellular matrix. One of the latest and greatest health tonics taken by health nuts everywhere. Get strong with bone broth!
Herbal Aloe Force
There are so many reasons to take aloe—to quell inflammation, boost the immune system, attack gut pathogens, and quench free radicals. Aloe is soothing to the gut lining, and is anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant. This aloe not only has the aloin removed to prevent undesirable laxative effects, but is fortified with multiple herbs that promote the immune system and its regulation. You’ll get the benefits of cat’s claw, astragalus, pau d’arco, chamomile, hawthorne berry and the “Essiac” herbs. Cat’s claw is an immune system modulator, astragalus builds the immune system from the bottom up, and pau d’arco fights pathogenic yeast. Chamomile soothes the stomach and is anti-bacterial, hawthorn improves circulation, and the Essiac herbs are potent detoxifiers and blood cleansers. Use it to improve digestive health, deal with pain and inflammation throughout the body, bolster the immune response, and oxygenate the body.
Our customers couldn’t love this more! Raw apple cider vinegar and a great combination of herbs make for a great tonic. It stimulates digestion, keeps colds and flus away, delivers an energy pick-me-up, is great in dressings, and will nip a hangover. You’ll find ginger, garlic, onion, horseradish, turmeric, habanero pepper, orange and lemon in this Certified Organic mix. Add to juice or tea, cook with it, or just throw a shot back!
Stamets 7 Mushroom Blend
Mushrooms are excellent health tonics. Pack a punch for daily immune health with this blend of 7 certified organic mushrooms. Mushrooms build the immune system due to their high polysaccharide content. They also have a full spectrum of beneficial compounds including antioxidants, minerals, fatty acids, and enzymes. The blend supports the body’s adaptation to physical, mental, and environmental stress. It includes reishi, lion’s mane, chaga, maitake, royal sun blazei, cordyceps, and messima. Take 2 capsules and be well!
Ideally we want to keep our bodies strong and resilient rather than waiting until we become ill. Pick the health tonic that best suits your needs and add it to your daily regimen. If you need help, ask any of our staff to assist you. Each of these health tonics is a great way to use whole food nutrition to strengthen your body. We’ll be sampling the fire cider and the golden milk throughout the month so stop by and try them!
Is Your Detox Program Really Working?
Doing a detox is all the rage right now, but how do you know if your detox is truly effective? You may feel cleaner and lighter, but is your liver really functioning better? That is the real goal of a detox program. The liver is the body’s main detoxifying organ. While toxins exit the body through the bowel and the kidneys, the liver is actually performing the work of detoxification. Toxins enter the liver through the bloodstream, are broken down in two phases, and are then released in bile into the digestive system or are filtered from the blood through the kidneys. Autoimmune disease, cancers, allergies, heart disease, and many other diseases are now being linked to toxic load. Periodic detoxing is a great way to stay ahead of the toxic burden we face every day.
There are currently 85,000 chemicals in use worldwide and less than half of these have been tested for human safety. One study showed that newborn minority babies have more than 200 chemicals in their umbilical cords at birth. (1) Exposure of infants and young children is of great concern as their young systems often cannot keep up with the toxic burden presented by the environment. I would conjecture that the huge rise in autism, ADD, ADHD, and other childhood diseases is directly related to environmental exposures. Pesticide use has risen substantially over the last 10 years despite claims that genetically modified foods would reduce the need for them. One billion pounds of pesticides are used in the U.S. each year and 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide. It is estimated that 25 million agricultural workers experience pesticide poisoning each year. The USDA estimates that 50 million Americans get drinking water from groundwater contaminated with pesticides. Chemicals are a real and growing threat to our health.(2)
One way to reduce the threat of toxic burden is to periodically detox. But a real detox isn’t just your average juice cleanse. While cleaning up your diet is great for the digestive system and ultimately overall health, neither of these really does the full job of cleaning out the body. Here is what is needed for a complete detox and what forms of detox programs will “get you there”:
1) Phase I detoxification is performed by 100 enzymes known as cytochrome P450. In this stage, toxins are converted by the liver into intermediate forms. Free radicals are naturally produced in this phase, so antioxidants are very important to neutralize them. Vitamins B2 & B3, magnesium, iron, and indoles from cruciferous vegetables are also crucial to this phase. Some of the intermediate forms of the toxins produced are more dangerous than the original toxin, so it is crucial that Phase II is carried out and the job is finished.
2) In Phase II, the intermediate forms are converted to water soluble forms by a number of methods. The water-soluble form is then excreted either in bile through the digestive system, or through the kidneys. Glutathione or NAC and the amino acids glycine, cysteine, glutamine, methionine, and taurine are necessary for Phase II. Fiber binds toxins carried in the bile, so is CRUCIAL to making sure that toxins leave the system. Lots of water will also assist the release of water-soluble forms through the kidneys.
3) Heavy metals must be chelated to be removed from the system. Contamination by mercury, cadmium, and lead is now commonplace. Some detox products have nutrients that remove heavy metals and others do not.
Below is a review of the types of detoxification programs out there and the potential pitfalls of each:
- Following a specific diet plan—Healthy diet plans that eliminate “heavy” foods and those that are typical allergens can go a long way toward reducing inflammation in the body and getting the digestive system working properly. These diets generally eliminate red meats, dairy, nuts, soy, wheat and gluten, and focus on whole foods and lots of fruits and vegetables. These programs are usually great for the body overall and can provide the antioxidants and nutrients needed for Phase I detoxification. They often are short on the protein needed for Phase II detoxification and do not provide extra nutrients to get the liver functioning better. They may or may not have nutrients to accomplish heavy metal detox.
- Juice cleanses– Cleansing with juice is very popular right now. Fresh-pressed juices provide excellent nutrition and antioxidants for Phase I detoxification. Because juices are low in protein you will not likely get the amino acids necessary to adequately perform Phase II. As mentioned above this can be dangerous since the intermediate forms of toxins produced by Phase I are more harmful than the original toxins. They also fall short in providing the fiber necessary to make sure toxins exit the digestive system. Those with weight or blood sugar issues should avoid cleansing in this way since the sugars are concentrated in juices, and the fibers are lessened. If you are a healthy person and have a healthy weight, a 2-3 day juice cleanse may be a good rest for the digestive system and will provide good nutrition, but is not a true detox.
- Herbal detox programs– These combine a variety of herbs targeted at the many channels of elimination, the liver, the kidneys, the bowel, the lungs, the blood, the skin and the lymph. Most have milk thistle and dandelion, two premier herbs for the liver. If done with a healthy diet and adequate fiber and water, these programs can do a very good job of detoxing the body. If you are on prescription drugs, you need to be aware of any interactions with herbs. For this reason, we don’t recommend herbal cleanses for those on more than one prescription drug. The chance for negative interactions is too great.
- Clinically studied detox programs—Several professional lines offer detox programs that consist of a medical food (shake) that contains specific nutrients for Phase I & II detoxification, a quality source of protein, and nutrients for metal detox. They are partnered with diets that eliminate potential allergens and heavy foods, contain significant fiber, and focus on fruits and vegetables that contain specific nutrients that assist the detoxification process in the liver. These are the most complete programs, as well as the safest. They ensure that inflammation is lessened in the body, that the functioning of the digestive system is improved, and that heavy metals are removed from the body. You will feel cleaner, lighter, have more energy, improve your mood, and notice a better quality to your skin. In addition and more importantly, you will have reduced your toxic load and enhanced your liver’s ability to process toxins.
In summary, detoxification is not the same thing as “eating clean”. Specific nutrients are needed for Phase I and II detoxification. Antioxidants are very important to neutralizing the free radicals produced by Phase I. Phase II is driven by adequate protein & other nutrients, and fiber is crucial to the elimination of processed toxins that go through the digestive system. While a one or two day cleanse that doesn’t take these factors into account isn’t likely to harm you, it also will not likely get the liver functioning better. Since better liver function is the key to the body’s proper detoxification, improving it should be the main goal of any detox program. If you are interested in learning more and doing a detox in the New Year, please sign up for our program on Thursday, January 21st, see link below:
Detoxification: What it Is and Why You Should Do It
Do you feel sluggish? Or maybe you have a bunch of “little” things wrong with you: allergies, itchy skin or eyes, constipation, stomach upset, joint pain, low energy. You probably need to detox! There are 85,000 chemicals in use worldwide that end up in our water, our air, consumer products, personal care products, and food. Less than half of these chemicals have been tested for human safety. The National Cancer Institute has said that 70% of all cancers are due to environment! Not from your genes, but from the daily stress of pollutants on our bodies. Depending on what organization you follow, there are estimates that 40-80% of cancers can be prevented. This is a great incentive to take care of yourself and a really great reason to detox 2-3 times per year.
There are two types of toxins: endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous toxins are produced by normal metabolic functions and can generally be handled by the body’s detoxification system. Exogenous toxins include those that are ingested, inhaled, or taken in through the skin. They include prescription drugs, pesticides, household cleaners, personal care products, paints, building materials, chemicals in food, and more. Exogenous toxins are omnipresent in today’s world and the main reason we need detoxification.
The main benefit of detoxification is to clean out the liver and get it functioning better. It improves the overall body function and hence is a great way to jump start a weight loss program. Each time I do a detox it is accompanied by weight loss. Other noticeable benefits are improved skin appearance and tone, more energy, reduced hot flashes and perspiration, better elimination and a feeling of being “cleaner, lighter”.
The liver is the body’s main detoxifying organ. Toxins are transferred to the liver by the blood and digestive tract. Detoxification happens in two phases:
- In Phase I detoxification 100 enzymes known as cytochrome P450 convert toxins to an intermediate form. Free radicals are produced by this process, so antioxidants are very important to neutralize toxins in this Phase. Adequate B2, B3, magnesium, iron, and indoles from cruciferous vegetables are also crucial to this phase.
- In Phase II the intermediate forms of the toxins are converted to water soluble forms by a number of methods. The new form is then excreted in either the bile and through the digestive system, or through the kidneys. Since the intermediate form is sometimes more dangerous than the original toxin, you must make sure that Phase II is successfully completed. Glutathione or NAC and the amino acids glycine, cysteine, glutamine, methionine, and taurine are necessary for Phase II. Fiber binds toxins carried in the bile, so is CRUCIAL to making sure that toxins leave the system. Lots of water will also assist the release of converted forms through the kidneys.
Worried about how you will feel while on a detox? A detox is not for everyone. If you have recently had surgery or are in poor health, you may want to consult with your doctor before beginning a detox program. Most people, however, can successfully do a detox program without any disruption to their normal schedule. Symptoms that you may experience are headache, mild nausea, fatigue, or slightly loose stool. Symptoms occur in proportion to how toxic you are, but usually go away after a couple of days. It is possible to be sensitive to something in the detox formula and you should always discontinue it if your symptoms are severe and call the company that makes it. You may notice that old emotional issues, things you thought you were “done with” start to come out while you are on the detox. We literally hold these things in our body, so a detox can result in a purging of these emotions.
Many people assume they are healthy until they are not, i.e., until they actually have a disease. A proactive approach is best. Performing periodic detoxification can prevent illness of all types by maintaining the body’s functioning. Most cleanses last from 2 days to 1 month, depending on the product. Here are the four types of detox programs you may hear about:
- Fasting-The benefit of fasting is to rest the digestive system. We don’t really recommend this method, but if you must, do it only very short term, 1-2 days. You will not have the nutrients necessary to properly perform detoxification and toxins in the digestive tract will not be carried out if you are not eating any fiber.
- Juice-Cleansing with juice is very popular right now. Fresh-pressed juices provide excellent nutrition. What they do not provide is the fiber necessary to make sure toxins exit the digestive system. Because they are low in protein you may not get the amino acids necessary to adequately perform Phase II. Also, those with weight or blood sugar issues should avoid cleansing in this way since the sugars are concentrated in juices, and the fibers are lessened. If you are a healthy person and have a healthy weight, a 2-3 day juice cleanse may be appropriate.
- Herbal-These combine a variety herbs, but all have milk thistle and dandelion, two premier herbs for the liver. They can work on the many channels of elimination including the kidneys, the bowel, the lungs, the blood, the skin and the lymph. If you are on prescription drugs, you need to be aware of any interactions with herbs. For this reason, we don’t recommend herbal cleanses for those on more than one prescription drug. The chance for negative interactions is too great.
- Homeopathic-These combine a variety of homeopathic remedies and are available in formulas that target specific toxins like yeast, heavy metals, or radiation. Homeopathic remedies do not interact with prescription drugs due to the way they are prepared, so are an option for those who take prescription medication.
- Vitamin/amino acid-These cleanses are specifically designed to provide all of the nutrients needed for Phase I & II detoxification, as well as metal detox. They are partnered with a very particular diet that eliminates likely food triggers to inflammation. This is the most comprehensive way to detox and what we normally recommend if your schedule allows.
While it may seem daunting, detoxifying has so many benefits that it should really be done by everyone on a regular basis! Once you get in the habit, you’ll be glad you started. There are ways to promote detoxification in the body that don’t require a whole program if your schedule doesn’t allow for that right now. You can add an herbal liver formula, take NAC or reduced glutathione, use a detox tea, and improve your diet. Talk to our staff about the right way for you to add detoxing to your health regimen and check our website for upcoming detox programs!