Starting Sunday, April 7th, Yoga Loft and I will be launching our Day-to-Day Detox program, a month-long detoxification program that meets every Sunday in April for 2 hours. I will spend part of the time lecturing on such things as the 5 roots of elimination, foods and recipes that support detoxification, and how to identify and eliminate environmental toxins in your life, and the rest of the time will be devoted to a sweaty, toxin-rinsing yoga flow with Nikki Rogers. Whether you do cleanses several times a year or have never done a cleanse in your life, this program offers something for everyone and provides the added benefit of access to my expertise and guidance throughout the entire month.
Check out Boulder Daily Camera’s article Spring Cleanup, which features the upcoming program and offers further insight into what detoxification truly means.
Interested in signing up? You can click HERE and still save 20%!
Lifestyle choices are widely known to play a role in the onset of many cancers. By making some key changes in how you live your life and the food you eat, you can dramatically reduce your risk. Smoking contributes to over 30 percent of cancer cases, and it has been suggested that another 30 percent of cases can be prevented by eating a healthy diet. Research from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society suggests that over half of all cancers could be prevented by simple lifestyle changes.
While the link between diet and cancer is not yet definitive, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that diet can indeed play a role in cancer prevention.
Research has shown that a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods is linked to a lower incidence of cancer. Those following a vegetarian diet, for example, are less likely to experience conditions such as breast or ovarian cancer, and the risk of other types of cancer is also reduced. Antioxidants are found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, and prevent damage being done to the DNA by chemicals known as free radicals. These are mostly located in and just underneath the skin, so peeling the fruit before eating means that you will derive fewer benefits from it. Foods such as garlic, berries, and green tea contain high levels of antioxidants.
Increased intake of carotenoid chemicals have also been linked to a reduced rate of cancers, and these can be found in foods such as carrots, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Isolating the specific compounds in fruits and vegetables that help prevent cancer is difficult and has, thus far, been somewhat unsuccessful. Regardless, we do know that ensuring antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are present in your diet can only be done by eating whole foods, where they are found naturally.
Cancer is a complex disease that is caused by the interplay of many different factors, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle. However, it is safe to say that eating a balanced diet, consisting mostly of whole foods, some lean protein, and good fats, can go a long way toward preventing the onset and progression of the disease.
Vitamin D is a chemical that our bodies are able to synthesize from direct exposure sunlight, which is our best source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is a common worldwide problem, but we can overcome or avoid it by a balanced diet, supplements, and sensible sun exposure. Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D., is a Vitamin D researcher and author of a book called The Vitamin D Solution (Hudson Street Press, 2010; Dr. Andrew Weil wrote the foreword to the book), and he developed a formula that helps you determine the amount of exposure you need year round. Dr. Holick advises estimating the time it would take your skin to turn pink in the sun and dividing that time by 25-50%, depending on your skin type and where you live. This is the total number of minutes of sun exposure you should have. So, if you are fair skin and live on the east coast, you would probably want to spend 20-30 minutes in the sun with arms and legs exposed (not your face) between the hours of 11a.m. to 3p.m. two to three times a week from March through May and September through October (Dr. Andrew Weil, 2010). In July and August, it is best to decrease this time to 15-20 minutes because the sun is more intense. After you reach your daily dose of exposure time, then you should apply sunscreen.
However, if you tend to avoid the sun as much as possible, you can still meet your vitamin D requirements through your diet. Oily fish (such as salmon), eggs, fortified cereal, and fortified dairy products (such as milk) are all excellent sources of vitamin D.
This vitamin is necessary to keep the teeth and bones strong. It helps to ensure that sufficient levels of calcium are absorbed, which is also essential for bone health. A lack of this vitamin leads to the condition known as rickets, if it occurs in children, and osteomalacia in adults. This will lead to pain, tenderness, and deformities of the bones.
Vitamin D can also provide long-term protection against osteoporosis, especially when combined with calcium. These two nutrients combine to strengthen the bones, delaying both the onset and progression of the condition, which is frequently seen in women after the menopause. Before menopause, the presence of estrogen helps to prevent the thinning of the bones.
Low levels of vitamin D can play a role in a number of other conditions, namely asthma, heart disease, and some cancers. Vitamin D is thought to provide some form of protection against these diseases and reduce the risk of them developing. However, as this has not been shown in clinical studies, the importance of vitamin D in preventing these conditions is not yet known.
Vitamin D deficiency is rare, but can occur in certain conditions. It is more likely to be seen in patients who are obese or have digestive tract disorders such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. A deficiency may also develop during pregnancy, due to its use in the development of the child.
The body uses vitamin E for a wide variety of different functions. It is a powerful antioxidant, which means that it can reduce damage that naturally occurs to your cells as a result of exposure to free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals found in the atmosphere that damage the DNA in your cells. This contributes to the aging process and can also lead to the onset of cancer. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, can help to prevent this damage from occurring, reducing the visible signs of aging and your risk of cancer.
It should be easy to obtain enough vitamin E from your diet, as it is found in a wide variety of foods. If you are concerned that your vitamin E intake is too low, then think about cooking with plant oils rather than butter, as these contain high levels of the chemical. Nuts, seeds, and cereals are also good sources. It is recommended that women have 3mg/day and men have 4mg/day, on average. However, as excess vitamin E will be stored in your body (it is fat-soluble), you don’t need to worry about meeting the requirements every day.
Vitamin E deficiency is extremely rare, and will normally only be seen in those with genetic disorders that lead to low levels of the substance. It may also occur in premature babies if they have a very low birth weight, but the vast majority of children and adults are highly unlikely to experience a deficiency of this vitamin.
It is thought that vitamin E may play a role in delaying the onset of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Patients taking a regular dose of vitamin e seem to experience less memory loss than those not taking it. However, it does not appear to prevent the onset of the disease. Conditions of the eyes can also be improved by taking a regular dose of vitamin E, including macular degeneration and an increased rate of healing after surgery has been performed.
Vitamin E is found in a wide variety of foods, so the requirements can easily be met in the diet. Foods that you may want to consider eating include:
• Nuts and seeds
• Wholegrain cereals
It is recommended that you obtain vitamin E from foods, rather than by taking a regular supplement.
The consequence to us is that disease rates are on the rise, and we are seeing more chronic illness and co-morbidities in our population. And evidence seems to be placing the blame on our exposure to so many environmental toxins that we know little to nothing about. This film tries to find some of those answers.
I’ll keep you posted on when this film comes to Colorado, but in the meantime watch this short clip and take some time to explore their website. It’s pretty informative…
Modern day diseases such as cancer, fibromyalgia, diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and fatigue are prevalent and becoming more so in part because of the changes in our environment, exposure to toxicity, and a weakened immune system from chronic toxic insults. Detoxification is vital for addressing the underlying weaknesses associated with these diseases, and one modality for detoxification is sweating. Sauna therapy helps to liberate the toxins stored in one’s tissues, strengthen the immune system, and facilitate circulation of lymph and blood.
Heated saunas have been used by many cultures and for thousands of years: Mayans used the
The inside of an infrared sauna
sweat lodge, Mexicans used the temescal, Islamists used the hammam, Russians used the bania, Japanese used the mushi-buro, Native Americans used the sweat lodge, and Ancient Egyptian literature mentions the use of heat therapy for tumors. The Finnish are the current day most frequent users of sauna therapy– they sweat weekly and in the early 1900‘s the sauna was a multi-purpose building used as a community gathering place. While the Finns brought the sauna with them to the U.S., John Harvey Kellogg, MD, was the best known sauna proponent in the U.S. during the early 1900‘s, since he recognized the penetrating power of the radiant heat given off by electric lamps. Sauna use waned in the early 1900’s, as technologic advances pushed aside more traditional forms of healing.
With major technologic advances in modern medicine, we have forgotten how to stimulate one’s vital force through circulation of lymph and blood to support healing. Heating the body’s core temperature by just a few degrees for at least 15 minutes can destroy or disable weak, heat sensitive cells, such as cells infected with viruses, fungi, parasites as well as cells containing damaged DNA, chemical toxins, heavy metals, and other cellular defects. It ideal is to sweat for up to 3 hours per day when pursuing rigorous detoxification; however, this amount of sweating should be monitored by a medical professional trained in sauna detoxification.
The goal of using a sauna is to increase sweating, and with an increase in sweat comes an increase in mobilization of chemicals, toxins, and metals that have been stored in our tissues. By eliminating through the skin, the liver and kidneys are spared the job of elimination temporarily. Some experts claim that the skin can eliminate 10%-30% of toxins that would otherwise be excreted through the kidney and liver. Read More
Did you know that in North America, fish is one of the top sources of PCBs, and farmed salmon is the single greatest source? In fact, farmed salmon has four times more PCBs, dioxins, and other chlorinated contaminants than wild Alaskan salmon. A big reason for these high levels of toxicity is that farmed salmon are fed fish pellets that contain other fish. The pellets are made from small fish that are also contaminated with PCBs, causing a build-up in the salmon to levels that are twenty to thirty times higher than what is found in their natural food sources in the wild (Crinnion, 2010).
Not only do you have to worry about the toxic chemicals in salmon, but you also, have to watch out for the mercury levels in the big fish, like tuna and swordfish. Crazy fact: “it takes up to 70 days for the dose of mercury from a tuna sandwich to drop by 50% in an adult’s bloodstream” (Crinnion, 2010). If you do the math from there, it takes a whole year for the mercury level in the blood to get back down to zero. Oh, and by the way, mercury is in all tuna – canned, fresh, etc. Once mercury is consumed, it is very slow to leave the body. So, regular consumption of high-mercury fish means long-term exposure to a very powerful neurotoxin and immunotoxin, and removing it from your system becomes more difficult as the levels build.
Are you wondering how the fish get so much exposure to all these toxins? Industrial waste and disposal of products containing mercury, like auto parts, fluorescent light bulbs, and medical products trickle into and contaminate the waters that fish swim in. This contaminated water passes over the fish gills and gets absorbed into their bodies. They don’t have an efficient way of clearing the mercury from their bodies so it builds up to dangerously high levels, not unlike in our bodies. Bigger fish have the highest levels of mercury because they eat all the small fish that contain mercury, and collectively that adds up to even higher levels.
So bottom line: choose your fish wisely. It is still an excellent source of lean protein and omegas-3 and -6 fatty acids and should absolutely be included in your diet. However, just like buying certain fruits and veggies organic because they contain less pesticides than the non-organic varieties, you also should carefully select fish that contains the least chemicals and mercury possible.
The most commonly available low-mercury fish is:
Wild Alaskan Salmon
Flounder or sole
The Sustainable Seafood Guide by the Natural Resources Defense Council is useful in equipping you with the knowledge you need to make good choices the next time you go to the grocery store. And be on the lookout for upcoming blogs that will talk more about detoxification, and how you can remove pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals (like mercury) from your body.
Crinnion, W. (2010). Clean, green, and lean: Get rid of toxins that make you fat. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
If you read my last blog, Is Buying Organic Food Worth the Investment?, then you know more about pesticides on foods and how harmful they can be to our bodies. However, I understand how expensive groceries can get, especially if you’re trying to feed a family. My recommendation is to buy organic as much as possible, but if your grocery budget is limited, then follow these simple rules from the Environmental Working Group‘s two lists called the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen:
THE DIRTY DOZEN (highest in pesticides) – ALWAYS buy organic varieties
Plus, kale and green beans have recently been added to the list, since they may have pesticide residue of concern.
THE CLEAN DOZEN (lowest in pesticides) – Can buy non-organic varieties
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables – and LOTS of them – is one of the best things you can do for your body. So don’t let this information stop you from consuming a nutrient-rich diet. However, due to toxic agricultural chemicals being sprayed over many of our favorite produce, we have to be careful about which non-organic fruits and veggies we choose to eat, as they may be doing more harm than good. The lists above give you a basic guideline to follow. Thanks to the world of phone apps, you can download the Dirty Dozen app on your phone so you always have the list handy.
Next Blog: Something’s Fishy: Which Fish is Safe to Eat?