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Archive for the ‘Detoxification’ Category

lemon detoxEast Asian medicine says one should eat according to their constitution and nature of foods. Our top 10 foods for detoxification are balanced between those that warm and cool. When eaten together they will benefit most body types. I love adding these to a cleansing diet simply based on their wonderful flavors. Not surprisingly, scientific evidence is mounting to support their benefit as well.

In East Asian medicine there is a strong tradition of eating a wide variety of colorful foods that are right for one’s own constitution. Everyone’s body is different and this should be taken into account when choosing the types of foods that are right for you. For instance if you are a cool type  you might prefer warm drinks, need lots of sleep, and put on weight easily. Your body will respond well to warming and damp transforming foods to stimulate your body to function better. Note- In the winter season foods are best taken lightly cooked to avoid injury to the digestion for all constitutions.  Confused about which foods are right for your constitution? Ask your acupuncturist!

Foods for detox-What’s cool

1.) Beets Long known to support the liver in purifying blood, beets are a powerhouse for detoxification. A great source of folate and betaine, beets lower overall inflammation in the body. They are also great for regulating menstruation and menopause. Beets are cool and sweet in nature and nourish the blood.

2.) Artichokes These yummy guys are high in fiber and contain cynarin and silymarin which promote liver and gall bladder function. They are also high in the antioxidant vitamin c and folic acid. Folic acid is especially important in women who are trying to conceive as it reduces neural tube defects in babies. They nourish the yin and cool to offset warming herbs and hot constitutions.

3.) Carrots A simple shredded carrot salad with olive oil and a touch of salt is a mini liver detox when eaten daily. Carrots are high in fiber which binds toxins to help them be eliminated. Their nature is cooling. They clear heat, detoxify, strengthen all

organs, nourish the eyes, and moisten the intestines.

4.) Blueberries  A power packed fruit with a low glycemic index that won’t spike your blood sugar. These little guys give you a dose of anthocyanins which are antioxidants to help your body eliminate toxins. They are a great source of vitamins C and E as well as manganese and fiber.  Blueberries are cool in nature and nourish the yin energy. As always be careful in eating too many raw fruits and veggies as they can be damaging to the digestion.

5.) Broccoli Cools and clears heat, aids resolving water retention. From a Western perspective it is high in Calcium and also vitamin C which aids in Calcium absorption. It is high in vitamins A, K, E and folate. It is a good source of trace minerals like manganese, phosphorus, B 6. Broccolli can aid the liver in Phase I and II liver detoxification. It is high in di-indolylmethane (DIM) which stimulates your body to metabolize estradiol more efficiently.

6.) Seaweed This cold in nature sea vegetable is a powerhouse. Seaweed is useful in promoting thyroid function and is loaded with nutrients. It’s high mineral content and plenty of chlorophyll make it a super detoxifier which supports the liver. Because of its cold nature it is great paired with something warming like ginger or garlic. This will balance its effects.

7.)Lemon Cooling and nourishing to the digestion. Adding lemon juice with a little salt and olive oil can brighten up many simple dished like cooked greens or steamed beets. Beneficial bioflavonoids, citric acid and a bright delicious flavor explain why lemons top our list. Lemon has also antibacterial effects and aids in production of bile for fat digestion. High in antioxidants like vitamin C, it is effective in treating inflammatory conditions.

The hot list-warm and hot foods for detox

You’ll notice this list is a little shorter. In our Western culture most of us have an excess of heat. Most cleaning diets aid in clearing heat. These warming foods are used as a balance to the cooling foods. These foods will heat up any cleansing diet!

7.)Garlic (hot) and Onion (Warm) Garlic and onions have similar health and anti-inflammatory properties. They act on the heart and liver assisting phase two liver detoxification. Their active ingredients are gluthathione, quercetin and allicin. They are also high in vitamin C. They are anti-viral and anti-fungal. The heating nature of garlic and can offset some of the cooling properties of other foods used in detoxification like dark greens and seaweed. Don’t overdo it especially is you are a person with a hot constitution (red face, likes cold weather and cold drinks, possible night sweats.)

9.) Fresh Ginger Fresh ginger is hot in nature.  In Chinese medicine it is thought to aid the immune system, warm and regulate the digestion and reduce the toxicity of other herbs. Fresh ginger aids in your detox by stimulating digestion, circulation and sweating. A natural anti-inflammatory, studies have shown ginger to be more effective than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

10.) Parsley This bright herb is slightly warming. It promotes digestion, regulates and moves the body’s Qi or vital energy. It’s high in vitamin C, vitamin K, beta-carotene and folate.  It balances blood sugar and boosts glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant. a great addition to salads and soups.

“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” –Hippocrates

2eli3.13.15Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist and Seattle Pediatric Acupuncture. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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Smoothies for healthy living and detoxingSo here’s the thing. Protein shakes are not traditionally a part of Chinese Medicine. It is a concept borrowed from Western culture to help Western patients make changes in their health. Protein shakes are cold in nature. They overstimulate Vata in Ayurveda. Fruit sugars can aggravate Candida conditions. I don’t recommend them always or feel that they are the end all be all of perfect health choices. Is having a cold smoothie, packed with freeze dried supergreens, powered protein and frozen berries a perfect breakfast? No. Is it better than skipping breakfast or heaven forbid, a fast food breakfast. Hell yes. I’m not talking about the kind you get at Smoothie Land that’s packed with sugar and artificial everything either. I’m talking about the kind made at home with physician grade supplements and organic ingredients. The kind that might be a part of a detox diet.

The issue that Chinese Medicine has with smoothies is that foods which are cold in nature can damage the digestion. The digestion is thought of as a fire cooking food in a pot. If you dump cold food directly into the pot, the fire has to burn hotter to get its job done. This is why water should be taken at room temperature and ice cream should be kept to a minimum and ideally only in the warmer months. Smoothies also contain a fair amount of sugar, albeit in the form of whole fruits. Too much sugar can damage the digestion and particularly the Chinese Spleen. Protein powders themselves can be hard on the digestion. It is important to find one that contains a kind of protein that is easy for your body to handle. I like Rice Protein or Pea Protein.

What a girl to do? Would I like it if everyone sautéed some dark organic greens and ate them with a nice piece of organic beef fillet every morning? Yes. Or better yet, congee cooked with Chinese herbs or egg and rice for breakfast? Yes. Hopefully you have tried some of these yummy non-Western breakfasts because they set you up for an awesome day.

For short periods of time, when protein and other foods might be limited in your daily diet, I think smoothies are great. Take a food and supplement based cleanse for instance. Plunk in 20g pf protein and vitamins in a blender, add greens, probiotics, and detoxifiers and make it tastes like a treat? Great idea. Would I prefer to recommend stews and soups? Yes, and I do. Whoever wants to have those for breakfast with some supplements added let me know and invite me.

So let’s talk about ways to minimize the impact of the cold nature of smoothies. First, don’t add ice. ½ a frozen banana is cold enough and it’ll taste yummy. Second and the easiest thing to do, is to leave your smoothie out for 20 min. or so and let it warm up a bit. This isn’t a gourmet experience people it’s a vehicle for all those delicious, nutritious powders you’re eating.

An important point to consider is the fact that the vast majority of Western patients I see clinically have pathogenic heat and dampness as part of their constitution. Here’s an example. A person has trouble digesting certain foods and a weaker constitution. At the same time they have another pattern of bacterial overgrowth/imbalance or inflammation. In Chinese Medicine we would treat the heat/ damp excess condition first, or at least concurrently, with the weaker digestion root cause. This individual will benefit from a cleanse, complete with cold smoothies in the short term (3 weeks or less). Once a few layers of excess are cleared off it is much easier to strengthen the underlying pattern.

Chinese Medicine has a long herbal tradition of using heat and damp clearing formulas first, to pave the way for tonics later. So see? There is a historical basis for smoothie use after all 😉

Ways to offset the cooling nature of smoothies and add more life

Add warming herbs and good fats: Chia seeds, flax seeds or oil, hemp seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger (fresh or dried) add tons of flavor, add nutrients, warm things up and balance the cooling smoothie.

Warm up your digestion first: Have a cup of hot tea. I like to let the tea brew while I make the smoothie then drink the tea while I let the smoothie warm up a bit.

Lindsey Lawson Acupuncture in Seattle WALindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, exercise and food- both functional and delicious. She is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

 

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Kale Salad Seattle WAI stole this from a recent party. It was such a fan favorite I had to pass it on. Great for Springtime or a cleanse but also good enough for a party.
Dressing
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 T. dijon
2 T. minced shallots
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 t. salt; pepper
 
Mix above and emulsify with 1 c. virgin olive oil.
 
 
Salad
3 1/2 cups shredded brussel sprouts (food processor or cut finely into shreds)
2 pounds fresh kale; remove core and chop well (green, red — any kind of kale)
 
Pour desired quantity of dressing over kale and let sit a couple of hours before serving.
 
 
 
Additions
Shredded carrot; chopped apple; pecans, walnuts, or almonds; chopped avodaco; craisins or tart cherries; chopped bacon; red, yellow or orange pepper; quinoa; shredded pecorino cheese.
 
You can add anything to the basic salad to enrich it.  I added carrot, avocado, pecorino, apple, walnuts.
Like this recipe? Find others you enjoy and reset your health with our Elemental Detox.
Lindsey Lawson Acupuncture in Seattle WALindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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MTHFR testing at Glow Seattle WAIt’s hard to find a clear explanation of methylation defects out there. This is because they are only just being recognized (though NDs have been trained about this for years) and it’s also quite complicated. Methylation can be thought of as activation. So, while vitamins are cofactors for numerous actions in the body, many of them need to be methylated (activated) in order to work. We all have gene mutations that we don’t know about and one of those is a possible defect in activation of folic acid, or MTHFR defect. About 50% of people seem to have this (think about the common knowledge of folic acid deficiency and neural tube defects in babies).

• When we don’t activate folic acid well, this leads to a buildup of homocysteine, which is associated with heart disease.

• Research has shown that treating  those who have genetic defects in methylation can help with depression.

• Defects in methylation have also been associated with pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Methylation helps to make the myelin sheath on nerves, the equivalent of wire coating. Defects in methylation can lead to increased pain sensitivity.

• Methylation is one way that the body detoxifies (gets rid of toxins). When we give the activated forms of the vitamins, we can start detoxification pathways that have been sluggish for a long time and therefore experience side effects.

• Another place that methylation works is in DNA repair. Our DNA breaks and is repaired all the time. Cancer happens when DNA breaks and isn’t repaired properly. So, proper methylation can help to prevent cancer.

It’s important to remember that this is not the answer for everything. Just because you have the genetic defect doesn’t mean that you will actually have the problem. In addition, we need to factor in things like other genetic defects, hormone imbalance, thyroid and adrenal function, toxicity, gut health, blood sugar balance, nutrient deficiencies, and mental health needs. Side effects of methyl folate without necessary cofactors can include aches, headaches, insomnia, irritability, acne, skin rash, anxiety, and nausea. It is important to take dosing slowly; the proper schedule can take months. Side effects can be due to improperly pushing detoxification or to other genetic defects not being accounted for.

Other possible genetic defects include trouble breaking down homocysteine, trouble breaking down the brain’s adrenaline, trouble processing serotonin (involved with mood), trouble processing B12, trouble with other liver detox pathways, trouble making the calming brain chemical GABA, and trouble breaking down histamine (involved in allergies and brain stimulation).

Because of the complicated nature of these issues, it is best to approach them with a provider who is trained in this area. I do genetic and/or blood testing and interpret the results in the context of your whole health picture as we take a comprehensive approach to your treatment plan.

Candace McNaughton, ND  Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues.  She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner, helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals.  She graduated from Bastyr University in 2003.

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By Nicole Perriella, Ayurvedic Health Coach

Skin Brushing Glow Natural Health Seattle WADry body brushing is a cleansing practice that allows us to sluff off what we no longer need. This physical and symbolic daily cleansing can help you process and release experiences that feel “stuck” in your body.

The skin is the largest organ in the body and is responsible for one-fourth of the body’s detoxification each day, making it one of the most important elimination organs. Toxins can gather beneath the skin’s surface from such common influences as soaps, skin creams, deodorants and our environment.

When you dry skin brush, you stimulate the lymphatic system to cleanse itself of the toxins that collect in the lymph glands. You can use this ancient yet simple technique to improve the surface circulation of the skin, keeping the pores of the skin open, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, and resulting in an improved ability to combat bacteria.

Benefits

  1. Stimulates circulation
  1. Increases cell renewal
  1. Cleanses the lymphatic system
  1. Removes dead skin layers
  1. Stimulates the glands, thus helping all of the body systems to perform at peak efficiency.
  1. Reduces cellulite

How to Dry Skin Brush

Use a long handled, natural bristle brush so as not to irritate the surface of your skin. Brush before showering. Start at your ankles and use long sweeping, circular strokes and guide the brush up towards your liver (lower right side of your abdomen). Next, brush across your stomach, chest, back and buttocks. Lastly, brush your arms, always bringing the brush to “dump” toxins at the liver. Use circular strokes around the joints.

Consider this technique part of your gentle, self-care routine. Breathe deeply to make it a moving meditation. Any physical practice becomes more effective by intentionally using your mind to enhance the positive benefits. Think about any thought patterns, habits or experiences that you would like to let go. Allow them to clear out as you body brush. It’s an invigorating and gentle way to start the day. Enjoy!

Nicole Perriella is an Ayurvedic Health Coach and Hatha Yoga Teacher at the Glow Natural Health Center in Seattle, WA.  Through diet, lifestyle, herbs, yoga, meditation and pranayama, Nicole guides clients to correct imbalances to look and feel their best. Her writing has been featured on Seattle Seedling, Ayurveda Apothecary and Everyday Ayurveda.  Find her at www.nicoleperriella.com.

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Eat your greensGlow Newyears Seattle

When in doubt eat a plateful of lightly cooked greens. This is of my basic tenants in life. It really fixes everything. Packed with vitamins and fiber they nourish your body and aid in liver detoxification. Try to make this a daily goal. I like to see half my dinner plate covered in cooked greens. I eat them first to make sure I get them all in. Use a salad plate and pile it high so it looks abundant. On a smaller plate portion size is much easier to control without leaving you feeling deprived.

Drink your water and herbal tea

Drinking plenty of water is especially important while cleansing. Once you mobilize all the crud that’s built up, it needs to be flushed out. Make sure you are drinking your water is filtered and take it without ice. In Chinese medicine cold water is thought to be damaging to the Spleen and Stomach, the main digestive organs. This time of year your food should also be lightly cooked to make it easier to digest. Adding in a detox tea will really ramp up your cleansing. I like dandelion leaf, nettles and mint in equal parts of a delicious and detoxifying drink. Remember most herbs have diuretic properties and you will need to drink a cup of plain water for every cup of tea.New years cleanse seattle

Don’t push yourself

If at all possible take this time to get plenty of rest. This isn’t the time to burn the midnight oil because you are asking your body to do extra work eliminating toxins. This is a great time to become more introspective and tune in to what is nourishing you in life, what is stuck and what needs to be let go.

Move your body

Aim for some light to moderate exercise every day. This is not the time to train for a marathon. Some cardio is fine but if you start to feel depleted back it off. Yoga, Pilates, Bar method and swimming are all great choices. Aim to sweat but not go anaerobic, or breathless for too long.

Plan Ahead

There’s nothing worse than coming home from work while cleaning to realize you’re starving and there’s nothing to eat. Plan your menu and make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks around for emergencies. I love cooked beets lightly pickled in ( unseasoned) rice vinegar and olive oil. Easy, filling and detoxifying for your liver. I keep a protein supplement on hand for high protein breakfasts and snacks. This will keep you blood sugar even through the day and your energy high.

Want more information on how to do a food and supplement based cleanse? Try our Elemental Detox.

Lindsey Lawson MS L.Ac Seattle ChristmasLindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy, happy living, food and is a regular blogger.  For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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I thought I’d share my own introduction to the benefits of a simple, food based detox diet. Growing up, my mother was always very health conscious. I was raised vegetarian and we ate organic, farm raised food before it was the thing to do. I remember driving back from the dairy farm down the road very slowly to keep from disturbing the milk. It was unpasteurized with a thick, fatty top.

First experience: Fasting I did my first broth and juice fast in high school. I wanted to go a week but I stopped after 5 days. I was amazed at how good I felt but thought but was ready to eat again. The most miraculous thing that happened involved a small cyst in my arm pit (gross right?) I had had it as long as I could remember. Not a pimple just a small lump that didn’t hurt. During my fast it turned into a pimple and then went away, forever. I asked my doctor about it later that year and he thought it might have been an encased lymph node. Basically, my body thought that this area would never heal and just shut it off. Clearly the diet did something.

Enter food based cleansing I was introduced to the kind of cleansing I do now when I was 19. It took me awhile to be brave enough to do a 3 week cleanse. I followed it with another month of adding in foods I suspected I was sensitive to. This is called “challenging.” First eat the food several times in 1 day and then go back to the anti-inflammatory diet. If you have any reactions like gas, bloating, skin, irritation, headache etc. this food is red flagged as one you are sensitive to.

This cleanse was different than the fast. Number one it was food based (!). I added supplements to increase liver function, sooth irritation in the intestines and promote elimination. Similar to the effects of my earlier fast, I felt great but I had even more energy. My digestion was regulated. I wasn’t bloated and I felt clear headed.  My skin glowed.

Change your habits and change health. I learned so much about my body starting with that experience.  Now in addition to my regular healthy diet I cleanse at least once a year. It’s easy to let a few treats become regular habits. Too much dark chocolate, too much caffeine, a good IPA, and eating out are my usual vices. I’ll never forget being up until 3 AM wired on the caffeine in a chunk of dark chocolate I ate at 3 PM just a day after I stopped cleansing! Beyond that I also use it as a time to detox from other things like TV, phones or the addiction of rushing.  If that isn’t possible, then I add in more of the things that feed my soul like exercise, nature, mediation, and reading.

Make your plan and follow it  So now you’ve heard my story but don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. All you need it three weeks and a plan. If you have a plan for what you CAN eat you won’t notice the things you’ll be avoiding.

Lindsey Lawson MS EAMP is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and Clinic Director at Glow Natural Health and Seattle Fertility Acupuncturist. She is passionate about healthy , happy living and a regular blogger. For an appointment call Glow at 206 568 7545.

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