Monthly Archives: January 2014

Detox Drinks – Can They Deliver the Detox You Want?

cup of herbal teaDetox drinks are one of the important tools that you can use to detox your body. Whether you want to lose weight or to remove heavy metal toxins or just to do a normal natural health detoxification detox drinks can be used although there is no guarantee they will work by themselves.

Detox is a process and is very individual. The natural ability of the body and in particular the liver and the kidneys to process and remove toxins from the body depends on individual genetic traits and your lifestyle. For each person there may be some detox drinks that work well and others that are simply not needed or just don’t work.

Detox drinks come in many different ways so we're going to cover fruit juices first…

One of the first detox remedies people turn to is a blend of freshly juiced fruit. The most common is lemon juice but many berries and luscious fruits are used. Sometimes this is done purely by taste and enjoyment and that’s fine. It may not help to explicitly to detox though – although fresh juices especially if they are organic, that is, unsprayed will be nutritious and may contain a good mix of bioflavonoids, special types of fibre and vitamin C.

The next type of Detox drink is Green juices and Fruit Juices

Beetroot and Ginger juiceNow we’re talking! It’s hard to get kids or even many adults to “Eat their greens” but it’s pretty easy to drink your greens. The strong characteristic taste of greens can be disguised by putting some sweet fruit into the blender along with the greens. This can be as simple as using apples or berries or simple blends like carrots and greens.

Common sense has to be used with sweet juice drinks and if you are diabetic or hypoglycaemic proceed with caution and preferably with professional guidance from a Naturopath or Nutritionist.

Detox drinks: Detox teas

Detox teas are made from herbs that support the liver or the kidneys in their daily work of detoxing the body. The herbs used will reflect the views of the herbalist who produced the blend. Some can be bought at local health stores and are fine for a short program lasting a few days.

For a longer or more thorough detox a Naturopath or herbalist should be consulted because your overall state of health is what is driving the detox and your particular detox programme must always fit your state of health.

If you are very weak or stressed you may need a period of nourishing and a regeneration programme BEFORE you start detoxing.

Why is that?

Because detox needs energy and it always needs extra nutrients.

Many herbs can be used – either the leaf or the root depending on the herb..Typical detox teas can be made from dandelion, milk thistle, artichoke or licorice.

Detox with herbal tinctures

Some people find the smell of simmering roots really unpleasant and in that case the herb can be bought in tincture form. A tincture is easy to take and has little odour. The herb is steeped in alcohol and some of it dissolves. Typically tinctures are used is small doses and require no preparation at all– unlike a tea. They are very convenient because they are sold in small bottles which can easily fit into a pocket or small bag. The tincture can be given straight from the bottle or mixed into a glass of water or juice.

Before we close we have to mention water.

Detox With Water?

Many books and “experts” recommend drinking large quantities of water during detox. There seems to be some viewpoint or belief that cleansing the body can be done by flushing impurities away as it you were hosing down your car!

It is not so easy to detox the body– sadly. It takes the correct use of detox supplements, proper supervision from a health professional and quite a bit of time too.

Drink a few glasses a day of good clean water by all means but there is no agreed dose you take – not 8 glasses or any other quantity and any claims to the contrary are moonshine!

Moderation is the key in all things and that includes detox drinks too, including water!

So do Detox drinks give you any special detoxification?

Like all other parts of detox they have their part to play. For someone who is poorly the emphasis on detox drinks may help them recover better and faster. Most detox drinks apart from tinctures of liver detox herbs have a gentle or perhaps one should say, weak ability to detox. That is fine if you are in a busy situation and cannot take the time to do a full scale detox with a totally clean detox diet and use of detox techniques. Using some gentle detox drinks can make it easier to detox thoroughly when you are ready to do so.

Photo credit

cup of herbal tea photo

glass beetroot and ginger juice photo

How Protein Controls Cancer

There's a lot of background to this video.

 

Take 2 groups of laboratory rats exposed to a cancer causing agent. Then feed one group a low casein protein diet and the other a high casein protein diet. Casein is one of the main proteins in milk so it was an important protein to use. The results of this gruesome experiment? The low protein group was fine and the high protein group got cancer!

If you'd like to check out the DVD offer and then click here to go to the full description at Vegsource.com

What You Can Do To Have Healthy Joints

X ray of shoulder joints and  ribcageWe worry about our health, about our heart health, about the chances of getting cancer and increasingly nowadays about getting dementia since we may have seen a relative sliding into Alzheimer's Disease as they aged. Seldom do we worry or do anything about the health of our joints and yet arthritis and other joint disease is at epidemic proportions.

Joints just don't get the attention they deserve even though we use them for every movement of the body. Even sitting still reading this article numerous joints in your rib cage are working as you breath and others in your ribs and arms as you scroll down the screen to read this article.

Joints are places where things happen; they are where 2 bones come together to allow and facilitate movement. When working well they are like well oiled hinges and they bring no attention to them selves. And when afflicted with a disease like arthritis we struggle to move, we push against stiffness and suffer pain as a consequence.

We all have good incentives to do what we can to keep our joints healthy and the good news is that all we do to boost our general health is going to help our joints too

So lets look at some lifestyle choices we can make and then see what part professional treatment can play in the health of our joints

Movement:“use it or lose it”

Never was that saying more truly used than about our joints. When we walk or exercise or do some gardening or housework we not only stretch our muscles we use our joints too and this helps lubricate them, and boost the health of the joints used.

We may need to push hard to strengthen a muscle but gentle movement is all we need to exercise a joint.

When treating patients in my Osteopathy clinic I used to teach a simple routine where we go through all the major joints of the body and perform slow circular movements. Starting with the head and then moving to the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles it takes just 2 or 3 minutes and feels good as you both gently stretch the muscles around the joint and feed “exercise information” to your body and brain.

The movement may be dance, skipping, yoga – whatever pleases you – it does not have to be”exercise” – anything that gets us in motion will do the job.

Joints and muscles are feeding position and speed data to the brain like a satellite or rocket sends back telemetry data to ground control. This is vital to our well being and interrupting this flow of data from our joints deprives the brain of what it needs to function properly just like eating a junk diet deprives the body of minerals and vitamins that it needs to do all its work of healing and detoxing properly.

Diet: “We are what we eat”

The phrase “We are what we eat”, seems to be as old as the hills and is often taken to be a folksy way to nudge us into following advice like “Eat your greens!”. Well the phrase is not just a metaphor it is a literal hard scientific truth. We are made of what we have for breakfast, and lunch and dinner…and whenever else we eat too! And what we drink as well!

When it comes to our health we really do have the power to choose and to make our bones and joints strong and healthy. So what choices are best? The science for the last several decades whether in the shape of The China Study or in any of dozens of other major studies comes back with the advice to eat what the researchers call,”a plant based diet”.

This is not the same as a Vegetarian diet or a Vegan diet though. A diet of so called “Breakfast” Cereals, toast, coffee, Bagels and microwaved ready meals might well be vegan but would be a junk food diet none the less.

I know plenty of Vegetarians whose diet is similar to the above and whose dinner plates are rarely graced with the sight of Broccoli or Kale or other healthy greens. This is their choice of course and in our culture the food we eat is not culturally determined as it is in many countries but is there from individual decisions.

A Plant Based Diet means a wholefood diet, preferably organic, and examples may be found in the Mediterranean Diet and the Diet in rural Japan. In both there is a variety of vegetables, fruit (more so in the Mediterranean diet, which is part of why I think it is better) and small amounts of bread, fish and meat.

From detailed research I've seen I'd advise a vegetarian or vegan version of the Mediterranean diet as the healthiest diet for our joints and for general health too. It has a wide range of plant nutrients including mineral and vitamins; there is plenty of protein and Olives and nuts and seeds provide all the healthy oils we need.

Joint Supplements: “Every little helps”

But what do we do when we get joint disease? The time to change the diet was 5 years ago before we got soreness and pain in and around the joints and your diet will affect your health going into the future but right now what food supplements can we take as extra healthy plant medicines for your joint issues?

Pain usually comes from inflammation in the body so we need to give the body as much anti-inflammatory support from diet and supplements as we can. So after getting meat out of the diet we can add omega 3 oils to it. These are plant oils – the only reason fish oil has omega 3 oils in it is that fish either eat plants with omega 3 oils or eat smaller fish that eat plants! There's no point eating fish and exposing yourself to hazards from mercury pollution and much else besides if all you want is to get a good supply of omega 3 oil.

The richest source of omega 3 oil is flax and the best way to get it is to mix powdered flax seeds into your meals or smoothies. Eating flax seeds is fine but your body cannot get at the oil inside the seeds.

Budgies and other birds can, we can't!

And pouring flax oil on salads is OK if you can be certain that it is fresh and safe but after using flax oil for some years I doubted that it was as fresh as I wanted, so I shifted to using flax seed powder. This is safe and stable for months and has been tested in medical trials and proved effective.

Other anti-inflammatory supplements include vitamin D to boost bone strength and taking enough vitamin C. The latter not only strengthens collagen that gives our bone its strength but also strengthens the tendons and ligaments around the joints. Bones, tendons and ligaments are all made of collagen and all are “powered” by vitamin C. The mineral Silica helps too but vitamin C is primary.

You'll hear a lot about other supplements like glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin but they have a mixed record when put to the test. What is probably happening is that we need sulphur and if we are deficient they can fill that gap. A better way to get sulphur may be to either include onions and garlic in your diet or to use a garlic pill or else supplement with MSM, full name – Methyl Sulphonyl Methane which seems to work rather better.

Treatment: “If it ain't broke don't fix it”

This phrase is used a lot by engineers but it fits in with the Hippocratic rule of “First do no harm”. That implies that treatment by an Osteopath or Chiropractor should be minimal and gentle and treatment from Surgeons avoided if at all possible.

The first line of treatment is to gently move the joint and find out where there is pain or limitation. As much as is reasonable the joint needs to be moved around its normal arc and doing so will help drain the area of any inflammatory build up and bring fresh blood to the area to help heal the pain and or damage.

A massage around the joint is extremely helpful because it relaxes the muscles around the joint and reduces pressure and again helps circulation. Using a good oil will relax the muscles and I routinely use Olive oil – slightly warmed up but any oil will help relax muscles and take pressure off the joint.

The best oil by far is Castor Oil. It should only be used on the skin and for Castor Oil Packs and never taken by mouth. But massaging the oil on is easy and can be and should be done for as long as needed. Using a Castor Oil pack is good advice but does involve quite a time and much good can be had just by directly rubbing the oil on the skin above and below the joint.

Other ways to encourage relaxation is to use the minerals Magnesium and Potassium. Any good supplement will do but the absolute best is to use the Celloids range of minerals by Blackmores called PPMP.

By all logic PPMP should not be anything like as effective as it is but it is the nearest to a “Cure all” that I have ever found and is superb to help pain, muscular spasm and anxiety amongst many other issues.

Some healing technologies can be used as well. Cold laser can be very useful in dealing with hard to get at lesions. Ultrasound may play a role as well. Used as part of a holistic approach any non-invasive therapy can be helpful. Overall the strategy to work on Joints is to restore normal function and movement with anti-inflammatory diet, supplements and gentle hands on treatments.

Used appropriately these tactics can heal just about any joint problem whether the cause is arthritis, gout or accidents. And if a particular joint is stubbornly refusing to heal then some extra diagnosis is needed to find out if a nutritional or other factor is involved.

Trace mineral analysis may provide the needed info or “Muscle Testing” by a Qualified Kinesiologist may be needed to hunt down the confounding issue.

The body does heal itself but needs us to do some extra detective work sometimes. To get some details on the kind of diet recommended in the research on plant based diets the The China Study CookBook may be helpful.

Feel free to share your experience of joint problems below or on my Facebook page.

Photo credit

 

Wheat Nutrition

field of wheat in Southern SwedenWheat has been grown and used since at least 9,000 BC and use of the wild grain has been dated as far back as 23,000 BC. And although we mostly think of wheat as a Western grain and staple – the Western version of Rice basically, Wheat is also an oriental grain coming from the arc of countries known to scholars as the Fertile crescent. Looking a a map you can see these countries arc from Egypt through Palestine and Israel to Syria, Turkey and Iraq.

Genetically wheat is a complex grain with some types having 2 sets of chromosomes like Einkorn Wheat and others having 4 sets – like Durum and Emmer while others have even 6 sets of chromosomes like Common Wheat and Spelt Wheat.

What this means is that farmers and plant breeders have a rich resource to use to select breeds that for example have a higher yield or a shorter stalk

Wheat Nutrition

Like any whole food wheat has a range of proteins, fats and starches along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Much of that is lost when the grain is ground and “refined” into a processed and somewhat depleted food – so much so that Governments mandate the partial replacement of some of the nutrients lost in the milling.

That being the case the use of whole grains is advisable on a routine basis with the “white” flours being used only occasionally for particular recipes.

As a protein wheat has around 12 grams per 100 grams and beats other staple foods such as maize/corn, rice and potatoes and comes second only to Soy beans 13 grams per 100 gms.

The precise amount of protein will vary by variety of wheat with Khorasan Wheat coming in at 12 to 18 grams of protein per 100 gm.

Speaking of which…

Khorasan Wheat is also called Oriental Wheat although really all wheat is oriental since it originated in the Near East probably in Turkey.

Kamut is a particular variety of Khorasan wheat and is actually trademarked to protect its integrity and use. It is grown organically and is known as a high energy wheat from its high content of both protein and of valuable fatty acids. It is also rich in the anti-cancer mineral selenium and in manganese and magnesium.

These health properties have not gone unnoticed. One study looked the effects of switching people between using Kamut or standard wheat in pasta, bread etc. Two groups of people were used and they were then switched after 8 weeks. The results were remarkable in the Kamut group – Cholesterol went down for total cholesterol and LDL, blood glucose levels was reduced by 7%. Their anti-oxidant levels improved as did blood markers of inflammation. Added to that, the researchers found increased levels in the blood of magnesium and potassium for the Kamut group. http://is.gd/3BUKVg

 

Einkorn Wheat is an ancient variety of wheat that originated in Turkey and although spread through much of Europe is now a speciality crop mostly used by health conscious folks whi find it easier to digest than standard wheat. Like all wheat it has gluten but the form of the gluten seems less problematic and it may be possible for those with wheat allergies to tolerate Einkorn. And while it may be possible for thise with heat allergies to tolerate Einkorn and other ancient strains of wheat research eveidence so far warns those with Celiac disease to regard them all as hazardous. So Einkron may be the ancient wheat of the Pharaohs but if you are following a Gluten free diet then the best advice is to avoid it!

Emmer Wheat To be continued…(soon)!

Spelt Wheat

Teff – a Nutritous Grain Alternative to Wheat

farmer holding a stalk of TeffSome people write Tef and others write Teff but let's not get into a tiff about Teff let's just spread the good news about this very nutritious grain that is an alternative to wheat.

The good news is that it does have all 8 essential amino acids making it a good source of protein and that it does NOT have gluten so that those looking for extra foods to include on their gluten free diet should give Teff a try.

And if that does not convince you to try it then how about the fact that it is high in both vitamin C and in Calcium?

Teff is a traditional food in Ethiopia and Eritrea and has been cultivated and eaten for thousands of years.

In 1996, the US National Research Council characterized Teff as having the "potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land care  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eragrostis_tef

With a cooking time of 15 to 20 minutes and a mild taste Teff has found its way into many types of recipes. Although as a staple food comparable to Quinoa, cous cous or rice it can be used in curries, stews, casseroles and spicy Mexican foods it is used in porridge, cereals, breads, pancakes – when you use Teff flour then the sky is the limit.

Recipes

Traditional Ethiopian Teff Injera (Gluten-Free) at Celiac.com

Chocolate Bread by Gluten Free Girl

Teff Crepes with Sautéed Spinach and Mushrooms at the Whole Grains Council

Want even more recipes?

Teff recipesYou could try this recipe book Teff: The Ultimate Recipe Guide – Over 30 Gluten Free Recipes

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Alex

 

Teff photo International Potash Institute

 

Is WiFi The Biggest Toxic Hazard in Your Home?

sign showing free use of wifiCountries across the world are legislating to protect children in school against the dangers of Radio frequency radiation from routers and WiFi .

And that's fine at school but how about at home?

If, like most people, you connect wirelessly to the internet do you sit or allow children to sit near the router? Is there really a health hazard here or is this just another worry buzzing around in your head?

Hopefully the short video here will help to clarify things…

If you have any particular experience or questions on Electro – Smog as I call it please do use the Comment section below…or join in at my Facebook page right here.

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