It's that time.
Outside, it's becoming lovely and fresh. On nice days, we open the windows and air out the house. We clean all of the nooks and crannies. We follow nature's lead and freshen up our homes.
Some of us take that a step further and freshen up our lives. Spring is a great time to refocus our intentions, make new plans for the rest of the year, to rejuvenate our bodies and minds.
Like planting seeds in freshly turned soil, Spring rejuvenation is most effective when it comes with a physical cleanse. Turning the inner soil? Ok, maybe that's not a perfect analogy, but I suspect you see where I'm going here.
After months of being indoors, most likely getting less physical activity and eating heavier holiday and cold-weather foods, our body needs a cleanse of its own.
A physical cleanse is greatly enhanced by setting intentions and making goals, by re-prioritizing what matters in your life, or by deepening any spiritual practice you may have. This is also a good time to begin a new fitness routine, begin a creative project, or join in a new club or social gathering. These many addenda to a Spring Cleaning can be a fun way to put yourself back on track to a productive and happy year.
But, the physical Spring Cleaning is the essential, albeit more difficult, part of this rejuvenation.
Jason and I are about to undertake our yearly five day juice fast. I find this to be the most effective way to do a detoxifying cleanse.
Without getting too deep into the science, I will briefly explain how fasting and juicing are a powerful combination.
Fasting, or limiting caloric intake for over 24 hours, has a unique effect on a cellular level. When we eat, our body produces a very important protein called insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1. IGF-1 is responsible for the body's ability to make new cells. Important, right? Yes, very. But....
When we stop eating, the body stops making IGF-1. And when IGF-1 is not present, instead of making new cells, the body heals the DNA of our existing cells.
Health science nerds can understand my enthusiasm. DNA damage is responsible for almost all age-related disease, for cancer, and for aging itself.
So by merely abstaining from food for a period of time (greater than 24 hours), we engage this DNA-healing ability in our own bodies. We are essentially giving our bodies the ability to prevent cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, Type 2 Diabetes and much much more.
For more information on the science behind this type of "intermittent fasting", view this article on BBC News about the documentary that began intermittent fasting's growing popularity among the public.
So, fasting is great. But why go through all of the effort to juice produce? You have to buy, it clean it, clean the juicer... well, it's not really all that hard, and it's an essential part of cleansing.
While fasting (consuming only freshly made juices) allows the body to heal cellular DNA, juicing gives the body the tools it needs to cleanse. Produce is loaded with antioxidants. These nutrients are usually hard for us to get out of the plants' cell walls via digestion, but juicing allows us access to much greater amounts of these nutrients by breaking the fibrous plant cells apart for us.
Antioxidants are NEEDED by the liver in order for it to detox. Without antioxidants, no luck. Liver detoxification is how the liver breaks down chemicals we have circulating through our body (in the blood, stored in fat tissue, in lymph, etc) so those chemicals can leave our body. Otherwise, they are trapped inside of us.
That's a long-time accumulation of chemicals: car exhaust, cleaning products, plastic from your water bottle, sulfates in your toothpaste, herbicides on your produce, hormones in your milk, GMO chemicals in your bread, and so on.
An over-burdened liver can be responsible for, or associated with, a wide array of physical problems like being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, immune and autoimmune problems, digestive diseases, fertility and hormonal issues, neurological problems and more.
Giving our bodies a short break, like a five day fast, and including large doses of antioxidants through juicing is a powerful way to allow our livers to "clean house."
Jason and I do five days of fasting only because that is what works best for us. Many people choose to do 3, 7, or even 9 days. We drink lots of well or spring water between our juices, and try and watch inspiring documentaries during times of day when we may normally be entertaining ourselves through cooking and eating.
I highly recommend the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, which you can watch online for free. If you've never wanted to do a juice fast before, you certainly will after watching this inspiring film.
Below, I am attaching a downloadable guide to juice fasting that I shared at our recent Wellness Workshop on detox. Detoxification can be hampered by using the wrong combination of vegetable and fruit juices, so refer to the image for guidelines.
Juice fasting may not be for everyone, especially children, diabetics, and anyone with very serious medical conditions. Otherwise, juice fasting is an incredibly powerful, affordable, and simple way to prevent disease and rejuvenate the body.
If you are interested in learning more about juice fasting and detox in general, give us a call at Radiant Family for a consultation.We're happy to share our knowledge; the more happy and healthy we all are, the better our world will be!
Fly forward into a healthy spring with some educational, empowering and inspiring health workshops from Radiant Family this March. Our workshops will be given at the Merging Rivers Zen Center on three Saturdays. See the flier below for more information.
We have tried to keep our workshops low cost in order to share this information with as much of the community as possible, so please share this flier with anyone you think would benefit! We hope to see you there.
Hey all, just a quick note about gift-giving ideas from here at Radiant Family.
Jason is about to send out word of a very generous massage gift certificate offer he's sharing. In addition to the gift of massage, know that our various products also make great gifts!
Aside from our product line (shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, toothpaste, body lotion, face cream, deodorant and medicated ointments), we have finally given in and are selling our teas.
Radiant Family's herbal teas are a popular item in the clinic. I try my best to convince people to make their own at home and freely share the recipes. Some people have put the effort in and make the teas at home, but many more continue to ask if we will sell them in the office. So now we have four of our teas for sale, both in bulk as well as in unbleached hemp fiber teabags.
We are also offering a sale on our products, for anyone inclined to build a gift basket. (Or maybe you want to just selfishly stock up for yourself!)
Buy any 3 Radiant Family products, get 10% off, buy 4 and get 15% off, and 20% off if you buy 5 products or more.
We hope you consider shopping locally for the holiday season and thank you so much for supporting small businesses like our own!
Bacon is pretty fashionable these days. I see it on t-shirts and bumper stickers. This bacon-in-your-face is a rather hip rebellion in recent years that I see as part of a greater movement to refurbish hearty eating to be something more conscious and even healthy.
But sometimes the best intentions can end up producing something very harmful.
I like bacon. I don't eat much of it (and reading further will explain why), but I am a conscious omnivore trying to eat a balanced, healthy diet. Like many who have become more conscious of their eating habits and food choices, I pay more money, buying higher quality foods, and just eat less of them than I did in the past in order to make it work for my budget. Meat is only present in two or three of our meals per week, but it's good organic, pasture-raised meat.
When it comes to sausages and bacon, everywhere you look in the "natural" section of your market you will see NO NITRATES and NITRATE FREE. They cost more than the conventionally-produced sausages and bacon, but it's worth it to get a higher quality product. And to avoid high doses of nitrates. Or so I thought...for years.
What is the deal with nitrates?
Nitrates are naturally-occurring and are found in water, plants and animals. Approximately 80 percent of dietary nitrates actually come from eating vegetables, and nitrites are naturally present in our saliva, in the gut and throughout our whole body. (1)
The concern with nitrates is that they convert into nitrites during the curing process. Nitrites have been demonized due to research indicating their correlation with cancer. Just to confuse matters, there has also been more recent research debunking the correlation between nitrites and cancer.
The cancer connection is related not to nitrites, but to nitrosamine, which is produced when the nitrite in your bacon or sausage is cooked, although the measured amounts are inconsistent and the research is murky. But there is enough research to support the connection that nitrosamine levels are frequently monitored in processed meat products for the protection of the public.
So, to summarize: adding nitrates to processed meat products for preservation leads to the formation of nitrites, which leads to nitrosamine and nitrosamine is quite bad and is likely to cause cancer. The US Environmental Protection Agency classifies nitrosamines as possible human carcinogens and the National Toxicology Program of the Department of Health and Human Services classifies them as "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens".
Knowing how strongly the food industry would resist having useful additives demonized as cancer-causing, I'd say national agencies considering a chemical "reasonably anticipated" to be cancer-causing as good as cancer-causing.
So, if we want to avoid nitrosamines by avoiding nitrates in processed meats, then nitrate-free meats would be the way to go. Right?
"Nitrate-free" cured meats (bacon and sausages) are not nitrate-free. Instead of using sodium nitrite to cure the meat, these companies use celery salt or celery powder, which is about 50% nitrate. Then they add a bacteria which naturally changes the nitrate into nitrite. (2)
The unfortunate outcome of this "natural nitrate-free" curing process is that it ends up creating more nitrite than the conventional method of adding sodium nitrite! (2)
So if you have been buying nitrate/nitrite free
bacon and sausages, thinking you were
doing your body a favor, think again.
So what's the conclusion then? Is anything safe?
As with many things we've corrupted for the sake of convenience and profit, we need to look back to the old-fashioned ways.
The old method of curing meats was to use a small amount of sodium nitrite and meticulously rub it into the meat. Then the meat is left to cure for a long time.
By this method of not over-using nitrite and patiently waiting for the meat to cure over time, the process actually allows the nitrite to turn not into nitrosamine, but into nitric oxide!
Nitric oxide is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. It dilates blood vessels, increases blood flow, and prevents clot formation. Most adults are deficient in nitric oxide, and assumed nitric oxide levels (which aren't measure directly but are determined by the elasticity of your blood vessels) are considered the primary risk factor in coronary heart disease.
So the right kind of bacon and other cured meats
actually contain the very best medicine for your heart!
Bacon-as-a-vitamin only comes from the old-fashioned and time-consuming method of curing. Conventional supermarket bacon and other cured meats do not contain nitric oxide. And although they may have less nitrites than the "nitrite-free" versions, there is still plenty of concern with these meats.
Conventional bacon, sausages, hot dogs, etc:
Nitrate- and nitrite-free cured meats:
Old-fashioned, hand-cured meats:
I still eat bacon and sausage that says "nitrate-free" on the label. I just don't eat it very often. And I choose this over conventional meat because what I purchase is pasture-raised and/or organically-fed. But it is still a compromise.
Ideally, bacon and sausage are a health food. They once were. But the better way of doing things has lost out to cheaper prices, convenience and greed.
If you want your cured meats to be a source of health, look to your local butchers. Ask around and see if you can find small farms or butcher shops doing things the old-fashioned way. They are out there. Look for meats that have been described as "hand-rubbed", "hand-cured", or cured meats that have been aged for long periods of time.
I will admit that they will cost much more than what you can find in a grocery store. But they can't be though of as the same thing. Something tasty that you must limit your consumption of because it is bad for you is no comparison to something delicious that is exactly the best medicine for your heart and cardiovascular system!
Food is meant to be our medicine, not the burden it is to our bodies today. By realizing our folly in turning from the old, time-consuming ways of farming and producing food, we can now begin to repair the damage. First, be aware. Second, make better choices for your health and employ your loudest vote with your dollars!
1. Hord NG Tang Y, Bryan NS. Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits. Am J Clin Nutr, 2009. 90 (1): 1-10.
2. Dr. Mercola. "Is it safe to eat bacon?" Mercola.com Natural Health Blog. Janurary 3, 2013. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/03/eating-bacon.aspx
Staying healthy has been a challenge over recent months. Starting a business is a full-time affair. Like some kind of inanimate baby, it demands all of our time, our finances, and our loving care.
Jason and I are constantly evolving our commitment to health, each day coming closer to practicing everything we preach. We're still human and slip backward from time to time, but being fully immersed in our passion for health and happy living has led us to learning what habits have made the greatest overall impact on our health.
On to the 8 habits (in no particular order):
You know you want your kids to be healthy.
You know that a major part of that is getting them to eat right.
But what do you do if they don't like what you want to feed them?
How can you get your kids to eat healthy foods without a fight?
I am halfway through teaching a two-week course on facilitating physiological detoxification. I am humbly teaching a small group of incredible health professionals who will be acting in the future as Health and Wellness Consultants, who may then instruct many people in the benefits of assisting our body's ability to detoxify.
Detoxification is not something I have a history of caring much about. In the past, I've seen it mainly as a gimmick to sell outrageously harsh "alternative treatments," herbal products, and supplements of questionable quality.
But over time, I have had a chance to see the physiology I have spent endless classroom hours studying as it functions in the real world. And now I understand the impacts of a toxic burden.
As promised - a quick nutrition tip!
Below is an updated version of my Living Raw chocolate recipe and a short list of supplements. I have found these supplements, through extensive research, to be some of the most critical to the human body and brain. I suggest them to you as we are only as happy as we are healthy.
Nutrition and Creation!
Why are so many receiving the opposite of what they've been wanting in life? Why do so many feel overwhelmed and sick all the time?
In my last issue, we covered much of the technical info on how and why the body and brain become inflamed, so now let's have some fun by delving into the solution and finding our long lost POWER and JOY!
First, we must take a deep look at our lives and find out how the link between systemic inflammation, malnutrition and the toxic compounds found in many foods literally rob us of our dreams. This link is so powerful that, when corrected, you may see a whole new outcome in your life in as little as several months!