Did you know that our day-to-day lifestyle choices often expose us to chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and lead to a buildup of toxins in our bodies? Toxin buildup can come from air pollutants, smoking, pesticides in the foods we eat, and daily stressors we all have in our lives. Our bodies are very good at filtering these compounds out of our bodies, however, over time our liver is not always able to keep up with the toxin load to which we expose our bodies. The result is a buildup of toxins in our body - particularly in our body fat stores. Cleasing your systems - either through diet and/or specific supplementation - helps to support normal liver health and reduces the buildup of toxins in our bodies.Cleanse Your Body Through Your Dietary Intake
We all know that detox and cleansing diets have become extremely popular as a means to kick start a "diet" plan. I'm not going to say this is always a good thing - particulary because many detox diets are not the healthiest to follow and I hate to see people overuse cleases or detoxification diets in an effort to lose weight. Cleanses are healthy and a great thing to follow on occasion, but overuse can be unhealthy and just another way for people to fall into a "dieting" trap.
To clease your system properly I recommend cleansing your body seasonally. What exactly is a cleanse or a detox diet? It's following a dietary intake for a short period of time, which promotes consuming specific foods, while at the same time eliminating foods that typcially cause digestive upset or are hard for the human body to break down.
The goal of following a cleanse or detox diet is not necessarily weight loss. Many individuals, such as myself, cleanse throughout the year for health reasons. Other people use a cleanse or detox diet as a way to mobilize fat stores at the beginning of their weight loss endeavor. Regardless of the cleanse you follow, the purpose is to eliminate unhealthy foods, beverages and toxins from the environment. They tend to be rich in fruits, vegetables and water, and eliminate processed foods, added sugars and salt, dairy, wheat, alcohol and artificial sweeteners.
What can fruits and vegetables do for us? Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, which makes them an essential part of any cleanse. They are also rich in fiber, a nutrient that supports regular digestive tract function and as a result, helps to eliminate the buildup of toxins in the body. Fruits and vegetables also contain numerous polyphenols, natural plant chemicals that have a variety of functions, including supporting normal liver detoxification enzymes. It is also imperative to drink plenty of water, as doing so enables our kidneys to function properly and also contributes to flushing toxins out of the system.Supplementation Supports Cleansing & Detoxification
Another important part of detox diets is the inclusion of dietary supplements. Dietary supplementation allows us to meet our daily nutritional needs as well as support healthy liver function. Choosing the proper supplements during your cleanse, however, is essential. Some of the best dietary supplements include:Multivitamin/Multimineral
. I recommend that everyone take a multi-vitamin on a daily basis in order to cover any gaps in our dietary intake. Even those of us who intend to eat the healthiest of foods each day may not be getting the nutrients our bodies need. This is due to the depletion of nutrients in our foods supply, schedules, eating on the run, etc. When following a restrictive diet where we limit the amounts and types of foods we eat, such as a cleanse, the importance of a multi-vitamin is even more critical. This is because we are at risk of not obtaining all the vitamins and minerals our body needs. Taking a high quality and well-absorbed multi-vitamin
can help us avoid a nutrient deficiency while following a cleanse and on a daily basis. Broccoli Extract
. Broccoli and broccoli extracts are sources of the natural plant chemicals indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane. These compounds have been shown to support the normal production of phase II liver detoxification enzymes and promote our body’s natural antioxidant system. These benefits help protect our bodies from oxidative stressors and help promote the natural clearance of toxins from our body. Other cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, and kale, also contain these beneficial plant compounds. Milk Thistle
. Milk thistle contains a group of active chemical compounds called flavonolignans that are commonly referred to as silymarin. Silymarin has antioxidant properties that fight free radical-generated oxidative damage. When our liver detoxifies environmental contaminants, free radicals are generated that can cause damage; silymarin has been shown to protect our bodies from this oxidative damage
. One of the main components of silymarin is silybin. Research studies have reported that silybin can support normal liver health
and liver enzymes and thus help support the liver’s ability to clear toxins.Curcumin
. Curcumin is the most well-known compound derived from the spice turmeric. In addition to its potent antioxidant properties, curcumin has been reported to have several different activities
that support normal human health. For example, it has been suggested that curcumin promotes normal cellular antioxidant enzymes
, and supports production of the phase II detoxification enzyme glutathione S-transferase
. These activities help our body’s clear environmental toxins to which we have been exposed and fight oxidative stress.N-Acetyl Cysteine
. N-acetyl cysteine is derived from the amino acid cysteine, which is an important component of the cellular antioxidant glutathione. N-acetyl cysteine has been shown to have numerous health benefits
including protection from acetaminophen poisoning. Additionally, some studies have suggested that N-acetyl cysteine protects liver health from exposure to heavy metals
and other environmental contaminants.Green Tea
. Green tea is rich in antioxidant compounds called catechins, particularly epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). In addition to the ability of green tea polyphenols to support cellular antioxidant compounds
, it has been demonstrated that green tea compounds can support detoxification enzymes
, helping to protect our bodies from oxidative stress and environmental toxins.
If you choose to follow a cleanse or a detox diet, be sure it is only for a short-term and that you are taking a high quality mutli-vitamin/multi-mineral to ensure you are meeting your daily needs. Please feel free to contact me with aditional questions about what type of cleanse or detox diet you should follow to ensure your health and safetyl.
In addition to following a cleanse or detox diet, you may want to consider supporting your system with the addition of supplements like the ones above. As mentioned, these supplements are meant to provide antioxidant support and promote normal detoxification systems. There are four supplements I recomend that will enable you to get all of the above mentioned nutrients. Feel free to click on the provided links for more information or contact me with any questions:- nutraMetrix Isotonix Multivitamin/Multimineral- nutraMetrix Curcumin Extreme™ - contains broccoli seed extract and curcumin- nutraMetrix Timeless Prescription® Oxygen Extreme™ - contains milk thistle and green tea extract- nutraMetrix NutriClean HepatoCleanse -
contains milk thistle seed, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine and green tea leaf extract
The last three supplements are available in the nutraMetrix Complete Detoxification Kit - you save 26%! Feel free to contact me with any questions...
With the Holiday season approaching, you may be questioning whether or not you'll be able to maintain your healthy habits or be able to avoid gaining the dreaded 5-10 lbs that the average American puts on this time of year. Have no fear. With a little bit of focus and the following helpful tips, you'll breeze through the Holidays without putting an ounce of weight on and perhaps even lose a few lbs in the meantime!
Here's a great article from Explore Supplements
, written by Dr. Robert Blair, that outlines what you can do to stay on track and feel great come January 2013!Surviving the Holiday Feasts
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. In addition to the wonderful visits with friends and family that often occur during the holidays, many of us spend a lot of time eating lots of food. Not only do we have our traditional holiday feasts with friends and family, but we also find ourselves taking part in holiday office parties and other events where food is present in abundance. Surviving these holiday feasts can be a challenge for many of us. However, there are things we can do to survive the holidays without feeling like we ate a bowling ball:
- Don’t go to a party hungry. Going to a holiday party hungry will almost always lead to leaving you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. According to WebMD, this can further lead to a slower digestion process, upset stomach, and heartburn. Instead of going to a holiday party hungry, try eating a healthy snack shortly before leaving home. This will help regulate your hunger and help you avoid over-eating.
- Watch your portion sizes. At holiday parties, people often want to try all the foods offered. While there is nothing wrong with this, many tend to forget that true portion sizes are much smaller than they think. By eating smaller portions of each food item, it’s easy to sample each type of food with less chance of over-eating and causing digestive discomfort.
- Limit high fat foods. Many holiday foods are high in dietary fat. Not only is fat high in calories, but it can slow down digestion and possibly trigger heartburn. If you choose to consume high fat foods, make sure to consume small portions.
- Get some exercise. Rather than sitting down on that comfortable recliner after a large holiday meal, get some exercise. Taking even a leisurely walk around the neighborhood can help ward off that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Pick up the pace to a brisk walk if you want to burn off some of those extra calories.
- Eat slowly. Eating slowly gives the brain time to send “I’m full” messages to your stomach. Waiting for this cue helps to prevent the consequences of over-eating.
In addition to these tips, a number of dietary supplements can help support a healthy digestive system during the holidays, specifically fiber, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and aloe.
- Dietary Fiber. Most people do not consume the amount of fiber needed each day (20 – 35 grams per day for most adults). Dietary fiber has numerous benefits including helping to maintain normal digestive tract health and movement. Dietary fiber also helps maintain the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tracts. Try nutraMetrix Advanced Fiber Powder to help maintain a healthy digestive track and ensure you're getting enough dietary fiber each day.
- Probiotics. Speaking of beneficial bacteria, probiotic supplements are a great way to support a healthy digestive system. Maintaining optimal bacterial balance is important to maintaining optimal digestive health; therefore, choosing a probiotic supplement that contains a variety of bacterial strains, such as NutriClean Probiotics, makes it easier to obtain the most comprehensive benefit. Some of the most beneficial strains include Lactobacillus acidophilus,Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium breve.
- Digestive Enzymes. Digestive enzymes are an essential element of healthy and complete digestion, beginning with enzymes released by our salivary glands as we chew. Eating too rapidly can lead to inefficient digestion, as some of our digestive enzymes are not given time to complete their job properly. Additionally, the body’s ability to make certain enzymes declines as we age. Supplementing with digestive enzymes can promote healthy digestion and break down foods that are typically hard to digest. A good digestive enzyme supplement will contain at least three types of enzymes: proteases to digest proteins, amylases to digest carbohydrates, and lipases to digest fats. Other beneficial digestive enzymes to consider include lactase (digests lactose) and cellulase (breaks down cellulose, normally indigestible to people). Isotonix Digestive Enzymes with Probiotics contains a blend of the enzymes listed above to provide maximum digestive support.
- Aloe vera. Aloe vera promotes healthy digestion by providing natural plant enzymes that break down food. These enzymes include amylase (starch), cellulase (cellulose), lipase (lipids), and alkaline phosphatase (proteins). Aloe supplementation also helps to support a healthy gastrointestinal pH, normal composition of intestinal flora, and helps to promote an overall healthy digestive process. Consumption of aloe vera can promote bowel regularity and intestinal comfort after eating. Try Ultimate Aloe Juice, which contains all of these important enzymes and comes in four flavors: Kiwi-Strawberry, Pomegranate, Cranberry-Apple, and Natural Flavor.
Combining these dietary supplements with healthy eating habits will definitely help you—and your stomach—ease through the holiday feasts.
Did you know that there is a powerful connection between your gut health and brain? Well, research shows that your gut literally
acts as your second brain. In addition to digesting the food you eat, your gut actually has the ability to significantly influence your mind, mood, and behavior.
Although it is not widely understood, studies have repeatedly shown that a healthy gut reinforces a positive outlook and behavior, while depression and a variety of behavioral problems have been linked to an imbalance or lack of gut bacteria.
A recent animal study, for example, published in the journal Neurogastroenterology & Motility
, found that mice who were lacking gut bacteria actually behaved differently from mice with healthy gut bacteria by engaging in what was referred to as "high-risk behavior." This altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in the mouse brain. According to the researchers, microbiota (gut flora) plays a role in the communication
between your gut and your brain, and:"Acquisition of intestinal microbiota in the immediate postnatal period has a defining impact on the development and function of the gastrointestinal, immune, neuroendocrine and metabolic systems. For example, the presence of gut microbiotaregulates the set point for hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity."
Therefore, this finding coincides with the theory that your gut flora may be a factor which contributes to the specific foods you should eat to stay healthy, but it also helps explain how your diet and gut flora can impact your mental health - for better or worse.
Remember, your diet is largely responsible for your gut health, and when you feed your body the fuel it's designed for, your gut flora will be able to maintain optimal balance, which then supports optimal physical and
mental health.Did you know that your brain and gut are actually created out of the same type of tissue?
During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve; the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. This is what connects your two brains together.
This is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. For an interesting and well-written layman's explanation of the gut/brain connection, read through Sandra Blakeslee's 1996 New York Times article Complex and Hidden Brain in Gut Makes Stomachaches and Butterflies
A fact that I found most interesting is that certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, can also be found in your gut. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines -
not your brain! Your bowels also contain some 100 million neurons—more than in either your spinal cord or your peripheral nervous system.
An excellent article by Adam Hadhazy, published in Scientific American
, explains the intrinsic connection between your gut and your psychological well-being.
Hadhazy wrote:"The system is way too complicated to have evolved only to make sure things move out of your colon," says Emeran Mayer, professor of physiology, psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.). For example, scientists were shocked to learn that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around…
Doesn't it make perfect sense to nourish your gut flora in order to achieve optimal serotonin function? Doing so will clearly have a profound impact on your mood, psychological health, and behavior!How to Optimize the Bacteria in Your Gut
Fortunately, optimizing your gut flora (the balance between "good" and "bad" bacteria in your gut) is relatively easy.
First, the MOST important step is to avoid consuming sugar and processed foods.
The sugars actually serve as fuel for the growth of pathogenic anaerobic bacteria, fungi and yeast, and competitively inhibit your good bacteria, tending to crowd them out of their appropriate niche. These pathogenic bacteria, fungi and yeast then produce metabolic waste products that will cause your health to deteriorate.
When you eat a healthy diet that is low in sugars and processed foods, it automatically causes the beneficial bacteria in your gut to flourish. This is one of the many reasons why I highly recommend beginning to reduce sugars and most grains from your diet, with the intention and plan of eventually eleminating them completely.
Even with a low-sugar diet, there are other factors that influence your microflora. Therefore, you should also strive to avoid some of the factors that destroy healthy bacteria, such as:
- Chlorinated water
- Antibacterial soap
- Agricultural chemicals
Considering the many toxins that surround most of us on a daily basis, I recommend giving your immune system a boost with good bacteria from time to time by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement
or eating traditionally fermented foods. Healthy choices include:
- Lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner)
- Fermented milk, such as water or milk kefir
- Various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash and carrots
- Natto (fermented soy)
If you were to eat a diet rich in fermented foods that have NOT been pasteurized (as pasteurization kills the naturally occurring probiotics), then you would likely enjoy great digestive health without any additional supplementation.
However, if you simply do not like any of these types of fermented foods, your next best option is to use a high quality probiotic supplement
I've used many different brands over the past 10 years or so and there are many good ones out there. I also spent a long time researching all of them and have found one that is science and evidence-based and is effective called NutraMetrix NutriClean Probiotics
. If digestion after eating a meal is a problem, I would suggest NutraMetrix Digestive Enzymes with Probiotics
. This product is helpful because it provides the essential enzymes to facilitate healthy breakdown and absorption of the foods you eat leading. The enzymes prevent symptoms such as stomach upset, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, and heart burn. Click on the links to learn more about these beneficial supplements for your health.
Questions? Contact me anytime - I'm more than happy to help!
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD
Avoiding sugar is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle, but, instead of consuming a naturally low-sugar diet based on whole foods, some people are still trying to have their cake and eat it too.
Unfortunately, the belief that artificial sweeteners can allow you to have the best of both worlds is simply not based on reality. So if you're still consuming artificially sweetened foods, snacks and beverages because you think it'll help you manage your weight, please understand that you've been sorely misled.
In reality, "diet" foods and drinks disrupt your body’s ability to recognize calories, thus boosting your inclination to overindulge. This effect appears to be true for all artificial sweeteners.
Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as acceptable and even preferred alternatives to sugar, which is at best confusing and at worst seriously damaging the health of those who listen to this well-intentioned but foolish advice. Artificial Sweeteners INCREASE Your Risk of Obesity
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas may actually DOUBLE your risk of obesity! How's that for being misled?
Studies have repeatedly
shown that consuming artificial sweeteners may be ruining your ability to control your food intake and body weight.
It's thought that consuming artificial sweeteners breaks the inherent connection between a sweet taste and a high-calorie food, thereby changing your body's ability to regulate your intake of calories. The end result is that by consuming artificially sweetened foods and beverages, you end up gaining more body fat than if you were to eat the same foods sweetened with regular sugar!
But weight gain isn't the only health-harming side effect of these man-made chemical sweeteners. Splenda Destroys Your Gut Flora
Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreak havoc in a number of different ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful effect, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery.
Splenda (sucralose) has been found to be particularly damaging to your intestines.
A study published in 2008
found that Splenda:
- Reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent
- Increases the pH level in your intestines, and
- Affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you're on certain medications like chemotherapy, or treatments for AIDS and certain heart conditions
They also found unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to previous claims.
In response to this study, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health issued the following statement
: "The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."
It's truly alarming that Splenda can destroy up to 50 percent of your healthy intestinal bacteria. These bacteria are absolutely vital for supporting your general health! Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to consuming too many highly processed foods. This is why a high quality probiotic
is one of the supplements I highly recommend for most, if not all, people.
Believe me, if you continually destroy up to half of your gut flora by regularly consuming Splenda, then poor health is virtually guaranteed! Common Side Effects of Splenda
The web site www.truthaboutsplenda.com
lists a variety of consumer complaints from Splenda consumption, such as:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Blurred vision
- Allergic reactions
- Blood sugar increases
- Weight gain
Just as with aspartame, many Splenda users complain of general malaise or "feeling under the weather," along with a variety of neurological changes, such as foggy-headedness, lack of concentration, and "bad mood."
If you have ever suffered any side effects from taking Splenda or any artificially sweetened product, I strongly recommend reporting it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator
in your area. Splenda - "Made from Sugar" But More Similar to DDT...
The catchy slogan "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar" has fooled many, but chemically, Splenda is actually more similar to DDT than sugar.
Sucralose starts off with a sugar molecule, yes, but that's where the similarity ends. (A sucrose molecule is a disaccharide that contains two single sugars bound together, i.e. glucose and fructose.) Then, in a five-step patented process, three chlorine molecules are added to that sucrose (sugar) molecule.
This process converts the sugar molecule to a fructo-galactose molecule.
This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this "unique" biochemical make-up, McNeil Nutritionals makes its claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, hence it has zero calories.
But, if you look at the research, you will find that an average of 15 percent of sucralose IS in fact absorbed into your digestive system, and ultimately is stored in your body. To reach the average number of 15 percent means that some people absorb more and some people absorb less, depending on your biochemical makeup.
If you are healthy and your digestive system works well, you may be at HIGHER risk for breaking down this product in your stomach and intestines, so for you the adverse reactions may be more acutely felt. How to Kick the Artificial Sweetener Habit
Sweet cravings are very common for the simple reason that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Unfortunately, switching to artificial sweeteners will neither reduce these cravings nor increase your satiety. On the contrary, as discussed above, you're likely making matters worse.
Your body also craves sweets when you're denying it the fuel it needs. Sugar (and grain carbs) is very quick fuel and can give your body a boost when it's running low. Again, using artificial sweeteners does not trick your body into thinking it has had its fill; rather it wants more sweets because it didn't get the energy boost with that sweet taste!
A powerful solution to help curb your cravings is to make a conscious effort to change your eating habits. Eating small frequent meals during the day helps to control your blood sugar levels and helps to avoid sugar cravings. Learning to eat the type of food you need to eat to stay full and satisfied is also the key to controling sugar cravings.
It may sound hard to believe right now, but once you start eating right for your body, your sweet cravings will disappear. Contact me today to get the help you need to turn your health around.
In addition to eating the right for foods for your body, I highly recommend addressing the emotional componenet of your food cravings. Understanding why we eat what we eat - especially when it goes beyond the fact that the food tastes good - is a step in the right direction when it comes to conquering your battle with sweets and sugar cravings.
Feel free to contact me:
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD
Researchers have found that those with Crohn’s disease have a distinct difficulty absorbing fat soluble vitamins, including vitamin D. These individuals have therefore tend to be very prone to vitamin D deficiency - especially those individuals living in the Northeast or who
Taking a Vitamin D supplement like NutraMeterix Isotonix Vitamin D
, which contains vitamin D3 and the fat soluble vitamin K2, may prove to be beneficial in individuals with Crohn's disease and many other gastrointestinally challenged patients.
Source: Use of a novel vitamin d bioavailability test demonstrates that vitamin D absorption is decreased in patients with quiescent crohn's disease