Category Archives: detoxification

10 Quick and Simple Ways to Rid Your Body of Toxins

I am honored to share this guest post by Katie Wells, CNC, who is currently serving as my assistant and intern. You can learn more about Katie on her website:  http://www.asimplenaturallife.com; or on her Facebook page:  A Simple Natural Life. Her bio follows this article.

Please note this article contains affiliate links for which Good Works Wellness Research, LLC earns a tiny amount when readers purchase an item. Dr. Pamela is firmly committed to only providing links to products she has personally used. The small amount raised from these links is used to fund the administrative expenses of this website.


Are you tired all the time? Bloated or have digestive issues? Do you have acne or skin irritation? Can’t seem to lose any weight? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you are probably in need of a body cleanse or detox. For more information Detoxification Graphicon how to tell you need to detoxify your body, please read How to Tell You Need to Detoxify.

What is Detoxification?

Detoxification is the process of removing impurities and toxins in the bloodstream and filtering them out through the liver. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, skin, lungs, intestines, and the lymphatic system. Your body is constantly detoxing while maintaining all of the other functions in your body. What we need to do is eliminate the toxins we are ingesting or absorbing through the skin or lungs so we don’t overwhelm the body’s cleansing function. When this function is overwhelmed, it becomes “tired” and slows down. This is most likely the cause of the above symptoms I mentioned. For more information about how the body detoxifies itself, please read How Does the Body Detoxify Itself?

Eliminating Toxins

Let’s start with eliminating toxins from your daily lifestyle. You will first want to remove chemical laden foods, cleaning products and body care products from your home. Replace these with organic or all-natural alternatives. Eliminate alcohol, cigarettes, non-organic coffee and tea, refined sugar and processed foods. All of these act as toxins that inhibit your body’s ability to naturally cleanse itself.

10 Ways to Rid Your Body of Toxins

Here is a list of health tips, recipes, and lifestyle practices to help you detoxify your body:

  1. Eat foods with a good source of fiber, magnesium, folate, potassium, and iron. This includes organic proteins, organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables, and brown rice or quinoa. Avocados, asparagus, beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, kale, grapefruit, lemons, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods. Also, adding turmeric, garlic and coconut or olive oil to your foods while cooking will make them taste even better and they are great ways to help detox.
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  2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as chicory and dandelion root, burdock, peppermint, and milk thistle.
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  3. Eliminate toxins through perspiration. Try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. For more information about the benefits of exercise, please read Ten Surprising Benefits of Exercise.
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  4. Detox the mind by trying low intensity and stress relieving activities. Walking, yoga, stretching, meditation, or prayer are great examples. Taking time to LAUGH every day is also very beneficial! (Laughter has many health benefits. You can learn more about them here.)
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  5. Help eliminate bloating and digestive issues by taking a probiotic every night before you go to bed. This will help clear toxins out while you are sleeping and then you are ready to expel them in the morning after you wake.
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  6. Juicing or making smoothies is also known to help cleanse your kidneys and liver when the right ingredients are used. Here’s an easy formula you can use to make perfect smoothies every time:  Perfect Smoothie Formula.
  1. Drink LOTS of water! It is recommended that you drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. This will help flush the toxins out of your body. If you don’t like the taste of water or want to give detoxification an extra boost, try adding fresh fruit and vegetables to your water. 
  1. Organic green tea is an excellent way to cleanse. Traditional Medicinals also makes great blends specifically for detoxifying the body. Check out these two options:
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    Traditional Medicinal Organic Everyday Detox (af)
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    Traditional Medicinal Organic Roasted Dandelion Root (af)
  1. Infrared saunas and ionic footbaths are an excellent alternative and a relaxing way to detox. You can learn more about them here:
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    Ultra-Ionic Foot Baths
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    Far Infra-Red Sessions
  1. Taking baths with extra ingredients can help balance pH levels and detoxify the body. You can learn to make effective detoxification baths using common ingredients at:  How to Create a Detoxification Bath Using Common Ingredients.

Here is a quick recipe for an easy detoxification bath. Add the following ingredients while running a bath that is warm but not overly hot:

Word to the Wise

Some people may feel minor symptoms as their body begins eliminating toxins. This is perfectly normal. Symptoms may include fatigue, mild headache, a few pimples, etc. These symptoms should last no more than a few days. These symptoms indicate your body is eliminating toxins. If the symptoms become too severe, eat a banana (the natural sugar will slow down the detox) or back off the changes you are making for one to two days. To minimize any symptoms, drink plenty of water, take detox baths, allow yourself to rest, and celebrate the fact your life changes are having positive effects!

For more information about ways you can detoxify on a daily basis, please read:  How to Cleanse and Detoxify on a Daily Basis.


Guest Author:  Katie Wells, CNC

Katie Wells, CNCKatie Wells, CNC is the owner of A Simple Natural Life. After dramatically improving her own health by making changes to her lifestyle and eating habits, she received formal training a Certified Nutrition Counselor so she could help others improve their own wellness. After receiving her training, she launched her website and continued her training by working as an intern and continually reading and researching. Her dream is to help families obtain a healthier lifestyle by creating meal plans and transforming medicine cabinets with all-natural supplements and remedies. Since entering the holistic wellness field, she continues gaining knowledge to help others. You can follow Katie and learn more about her on:  

Her Website:  A Simple Natural Life
Facebook:  A Simple Natural Life
Twitter:  @asimplenatlife

How to Prepare to Make Positive Health Changes

It’s never too early or too late to begin planning ways you can implement simple changes to improve your health and wellness in Planning for Success graphicthe new year. I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, but I am a believer in careful planning. (For more information on making successful resolutions, see Ten Reasons Resolutions Fail and Ways to Succeed.) The following tips can be applied any time of year, but seem particularly appropriate right now. I also want to thank multiple members of one of my networking groups who suggested and requested this post. 

Following are my tips for creating a plan for positive change: 

  1. Figure out your priorities: What do you want to accomplish by making positive changes? I often hear people say they want to “eat healthier.” If I ask them WHY they want to create healthier eating habits, they can’t come up with an answer. Attaching a specific outcome to a change we wish to create will greatly increase the likelihood of success.
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    Take time to sit down and make a list of specific health improvements you wish to create. Don’t think about what you’re writing down, just brainstorm. Your list may have a few items or may cover several pages. After you create the list, look at it very carefully and ask yourself why you wish to accomplish these changes. Dig down deep and make sure the changes you wish to see are your personal desires and are not intended to impress other people or cater to someone else’s wishes. Eliminate any items you wrote down that are more for others than for you. After that, prioritize your list. Write each item down on another piece of paper (or move the items around if you made your list electronically) in order of most important to least important. 
    When creating goals, focus on your top three priorities. If your top three priorities are huge, you may want to focus on one at a time.

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  2. Ease Your Way Into Each Change:  If your goal is to run 25 miles a week but you rarely leave the couch right now, it is very unlikely you will accomplish that goal without causing yourself serious harm. Whether the goal you’re focusing on involves changing your eating style, changing your thought patterns, or moving more, start very gradually. Set a specific goal each week and then increase the goal for the following week. Break large goals into ‘stages.” For example:  If your goal is to lose 100 pounds, set a goal of losing five pounds each month. That is a very “do-able” goal that is not overwhelming. Breaking your goals into bite-size chunks help prevent becoming overwhelmed and also helps you regularly celebrate successes. (Celebrating success and rewarding yourself with non-food rewards is important. Don’t skip that part!)
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    Depending on the magnitude of the changes you make, easing into things also helps your body gradually adjust to the changes. The changes we make affect our body chemistry. Making drastic changes too rapidly can overwhelm our body’s ability to adapt and may cause negative health results. Slow and steady wins the race. Remember that every change you make counts. Changes you consider “tiny” eventually add up to large rewards.
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  3. Be Specific:  It’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to create a list of healthy changes. Many of the lists i see include items such as “eat healthier, lose 100 pounds, run 50 miles a week, drink more water, stop smoking, and only think positive thoughts.”  Although those may be valid goals, each of them is far too large and very non-specific. After identifying your priorities in Step 1, create very specific, measurable changes (goals) to associate with them. For example, instead of making your goal to “workout,” create a goal that says you will “walk ten minutes two days a week and do a light hand-weight routine for ten minutes two days each week.” That goal is very specific, eases you into things, and is very measurable.
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    Instead of listing a goal of “eating healthier,” consider making it your goal to “eat one serving of vegetables with every meal and two daily servings of fruit as snacks or dessert.” Again, this goal is very specific, very measurable, and relatively easy. If eating five servings of fruits and veggies each day is overwhelming, start with something as simple as, “eat one salad everyday.” You know yourself and know what’s realistic for you. Create goals that are realistic and achievable, not ones that will require superhuman effort.
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  4. Jump start your success with a detoxification program:  A great way of preparing your body for positive change is by doing a 3-10 day detoxification program. A gentle detox program serves to rejuvenate the body and helps eliminate toxins which may impede  your success in reaching goals. Most people who do a detoxification program lose 10 pounds during the following year even if they don’t change their eating and exercise habits. Detoxification program typically require a bit of added discipline, which is a great way to start the process of creating positive change.
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    Your detox program could be as simply as giving up coffee and alcohol for ten days, or could be much broader. Click here for more information about my upcoming Detoxification and Cleansing Program, or here to purchase Detoxification and Cleansing Kits.
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  5. Find an accountability partner:  Making changes by yourself can be tough. Making them with a friend is easier. You can encourage each other and hold each other accountable along the way. Find someone you like and by whom you’re comfortable being held accountable. Share your goals with each other, work together to set goals and create plans to meet them, and then meet weekly or chat on the phone frequently to share your successes and discuss your challenges. Before you begin, pick specific non-food ways to celebrate your successes and attach dates to those celebrations. Rewarding success is an important part of accountability that is overlooked far too often.
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  6. Track your progress:  As you begin making changes, it’s important to track the changes you make, your successes and challenges, and the results you see from the changes. I recommend starting a journal. On the first page, list your goals and any measurements associated with those goals. Potential measurements to list include weight, cholesterol, blood sugar or A1C, measurements of specific body parts, blood pressure, muscle mass, etc. Pick measurements that make sense to you and which you hope your changes will positively impact.
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    On a daily basis, log information pertinent to your goal. You may wish to log what you eat, how long you work out, the positive affirmation you chose for the day, etc. In the midst of tracking specifics related to the day’s activities, also list items such as how you felt that day, what your emotional status was, any challenges you faced, etc. Make a point of sharing your journal entries with your accountability partner and reading his or hers.
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  7. Stay positive:  You’re human. Accept it. One of the fun things about making changes is that you get to learn a lot about yourself and about successful ways to achieve success in spite of challenges. If you have a day (or ten) when you completely blow it and don’t follow your plan, that’s ok. Learn from it and move on. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but don’t give yourself permission to continue. Record your challenge in your journal, noting what you learned about yourself and how you deal with challenges of that type. Use that knowledge and experience to achieve success next time. 
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  8. Use meal planning, but keep it real:  Most health changes involve changing our eating style. Planning menus and meals can be a huge help in sticking to a new eating style. Basic meal planning includes selecting meals for the week, creating a shopping list based on those meals, and then sticking to it. Some people view meal planning as pure drudgery, so I recommend using the following guidelines:
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    • Stay flexible:  If you planned to make lamb chops but the store is out of them, be flexible. This also applies if you notice something not on your meal plan for the week is on sale at a deep discount. Stay flexible and be willing to use other meals based on what the store has on sale and in stock. Keep a list of ten “go to” meals you can easily substitute if you’re unable to make something you planned for the week.
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    • Don’t be rigid about scheduling:  Some people schedule specific meals for specific days, while others pick 5-7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the week and fit them in as their schedule allows. Do what works best for you, but be flexible and be willing to change your plan if your schedule changes.
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    • Make enough to create leftovers:  Cooking more than can be eaten at one meal is fine. Leftovers can be used for lunches, frozen in individual servings for nights when things are crazy, or even eaten as breakfast.
    • Stick to real food:  Meal plans should include whole, real foods, not processed food that comes in a box. It doesn’t take significantly more time to cook simple meals from scratch – I promise – and the health benefits are huge.

Being flexible and not overly rigid in scheduling can also easily be applied to exercise planning.

What changes are you planning ot make in 2015? 

Super Simple Super Tonic Recipe

One of my favorite aids to use during cold and flu season is my formula for “Super Tonic.” Super Tonic is a combination of herbs Super Tonic Ingredients and vegetables known to have properties that include being antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, cleansing, immune-boosting and more. The beauty of Super Tonic is that it can easily be made at home by anyone. You can make a batch in the fall and it will keep well until spring. If you need more, you can whip up a new batch in no time at all, or simply add a bit of each ingredient to the existing jar and top with more organic apple cider vinegar. This formula is gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free, and is free of the top eight allergens.

There are a wide variety of ways to use Super Tonic. Some people take between a teaspoon and a tablespoon daily, while others only use it while fighting a cold or flu. People who take it while battling a virus take anywhere from one teaspoon every four hours to one tablespoon every two hours. Some people make the mixture and then use the liquid as a spiced vinegar in salads, salad dressings and more. Others use it as a meat marinade. There are obviously a wide variety of ways Super Tonic can be used, many of which fall far outside the realm of using it to boost immunity and increase wellness.

My formula for Super Tonic follows. The beauty of this formula is that it’s very forgiving. You can use more or less of every ingredient and still have great results. The only requirement is that the organic apple cider vinegar completely cover all the veggies. 

Good Works Super Tonic Ingredients (All ingredients are organic)

3 inches of ginger root

3 inches of horseradish (Look for at farmer’s markets if you cannot find it in your local grocery)

1 full head of garlic, all cloves peeled

1 small red onion

2-4 cayenne peppers (other hot peppers may be substituted if needed; vary quantity to adjust taste)

1 quart of organic, apple cider vinegar with the mother

Optional:  

3 inches of turmeric root

3 tablespoons whole cloves

3 tablespoons Manuka honey

Instructions

  1. Chop all ingredients into small pieces
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  2. Place in a food processor and cover at least half way with organic apple cider vinegar
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  3. Pulse until ingredients are uniform in size, then process for at least 60 seconds. Transfer to a quart Mason jar.
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  4. Completely cover ingredients with organic apple cider vinegar.
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  5. Can be used immediately, but will have stronger effects if mixture is allowed to meld 2-3 weeks.

That’s it! If the flavor of the straight Super Tonic is too strong, feel free to make a tea out of it by adding 1-2 tablespoons to a cup of hot water. People rave about its ability to slow coughing and clear stuffy heads.

Do you make your own Super Tonic? What’s your favorite way to use it?

How to Cleanse and Detoxify on a Daily Basis

There are currently a glut of programs and online courses devoted to cleansing and detoxing the body. Although we each Sudsy spongeneed to set aside time to cleanse and detoxify on a regular basis, I wanted to share some simple things we can do every day to help our body naturally eliminate toxins. The truth is that our bodies put a very high priority on detoxification. Our bodies are constantly working to break down and neutralize toxins by turning them into simple water-soluble chemicals that can be easily eliminated. Before reading this article, please read How to Tell You Need to Detox and How Does the Body Detoxify Itself.

The following daily habits are known to help your body eliminate toxins:

  • Start the day with warm lemon water. Blend 1-2 cups of purified, gently heated water with the juice of one organic lemon. Drink the blend first thing in the morning every day. The combination is known to assist the liver in cleansing itself, helps get the colon moving, and is known to alkalize the body’s pH.
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  • Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day. Staying hydrated is one way to help your body eliminate toxins via the kidneys and colon. If your cells look like raisins instead of grapes, they cannot expel toxins efficiently. Drink up!
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  • Eat a healthy diet high in fiber and free of pesticides, processed foods, fast food, soy, tap water, GMO produce, etc. The fewer toxins you ingest, the fewer your body will have to eliminate. Eating a rainbow of colors from fruits and veggies on a daily basis will provide a wide variety of nutrients that will strengthen your body’s cleansing efforts.
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  • Eat foods that support the body’s detoxification efforts. A few of my favorites include turmeric, garlic, onions, beets, avocados, broccoli, cabbage, dandelion greens and flowers, blueberries, cloves, ginger, dark leafy greens, green tea, etc. These foods provide nutrients that either specifically boost the liver’s ability to cleanse itself or provide antioxidants known to neutralize free radicals. They are healthy and tasty, so it’s a win-win!
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  • Skip your buzz of choice one day a week. Whether your preferred buzz comes from alcohol, sugar, caffeine, cigarettes, time spent online or something less legal, designate one day a week to avoid that item. If you have a strong addiction, start by avoiding the item for one waking hour a week and gradually work up.
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  • Have at least three bowel movements per day. Yes, three. A healthy digestive system expels toxins a minimum of twice daily. Drinking enough water and eating sufficient fiber are good ways to start helping the digestive tract heal itself. Damaged digestive systems will require additional assistance. For more details on how to improve digestion, read Top Six Ways to Maximize Digestion or What Your Poop Should Look Like.
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  • Exercise enough to sweat every day. Sweat is one of the body’s best detoxifiers. Even ten minutes of exercise is sufficient to create chemical changes that benefit your body’s ability to detoxify. If you do not have a habit of exercising, start slowly and work up very gradually. Do activities that are fun. Exercise should not be synonymous with “torture.” On days you’re unable to exercise, sweat by using a sauna or extremely warm bath.
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  • Switch to all-natural body products and cleaning products. Women are said to absorb over five POUNDS of toxins on a yearly basis from their bath and body products. Switching to all-natural products will take a load off your liver and kidneys and will help improve the appearance of your skin. Switching to all-natural household cleaners is another effective way of reducing your toxic load. For more information on eliminating toxins from skin care products, read Top Five Ingredients to Avoid in Skin Care Products.
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  • Breath deeply, from the diaphragm. Take a deep breath. Did your shoulders rise? If so, your breath was actually fairly shallow. Deep breathing gets the diaphragm moving and causes the abdomen to expand and contract. Your lungs are organs of elimination the body uses to expel toxins. Help your lungs do their job by pausing once an hour (or several times a day) to breathe deeply. Take a deep breath in, counting to four as you slowly inhale, and then exhale for a count of four. Repeat ten times. You’ll be glad you did.
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  • Get enough sleep. Your body’s heaviest time of detoxification occurs while you sleep. Most people need a minimum of seven hours of sleep for adequate rejuvenation. If you’re getting less than that, start making changes to increase the amount of sleep you get.
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  • Dry skin brushing. Dry skin brushing involves using a natural-bristle brush to gently brush the body from head to toe. Doing so clears the skin of dead cells, stimulates blood flow and stimulates the lymphatic glands, allowing them to move toxins out of the body more easily. Start at the feet and brush toward the heart, using gentle strokes. (It should not hurt.) Move upward, always brushing toward the heart. I recommend doing dry skin brushing before showering. It should always be done on dry skin, never wet.) The dry skin bush I use is: Natural Dry Skin Brush.
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  • Take a bath. Taking a detoxification bath 2-3 times per week is a simple way of helping your body eliminate toxins. You can either use a very warm bath with no additives, or can add a wide variety of common household ingredients known to help the body detoxify. For more info, read Create a Detoxification Bath Using Common Ingredients.
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  • Laugh every day! Detoxification is not a purely physical activity. We each need time to decompress mentally and emotionally. Laughter is a wonderful way of releasing tension and lifting spirits. Make a goal of having a good belly laugh several times a day. If your coworkers and family aren’t particularly funny, find online resources that make you laugh. Make a point of finding things that are funny in a positive way. Avoid humor that focuses on making people laugh by belittling others.
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  • Spend time in prayer, meditation, or relaxing mind work on a daily basis. As stated above, your mind needs detoxification as much as your body. Take time every day to focus on the positive and release the negative. 

Which of these methods do you use? Please take time to share your thoughts below and to let us know which methods you’re considering adding to your daily habits.

Photo provided courtesy of Bored Now Photography but does not necessarily indicate their endorsement of this site or its content.

How Does the Body Detoxify Itself?

Detoxification and cleansing have become “fads” that are being used to sell products, programs, books and seminars all over the world. Although we each need to set aside time to detoxify on a regular basis, the fact is that our bodies never stop working to neutralize and eliminate toxins. Our body puts a very high priority on detoxification and Interior of body and detoxification organscleansing. This is why many signs of illness are actually signs of detoxification and show the body is working overtime to eliminate the toxins associated with the illness. For information on how to tell if your body needs detoxification, please read How to Tell You Need to Detox.

Our body’s detoxification process is far more complex than most people realize. The body uses five basic “organs of elimination” to neutralize and eliminate toxins. The organs of elimination all contain high levels of a chemical called Cytochrome P-450 which is directly responsible for neutralizing toxins. There are over 100 Cytochrome P-450 enzymes. Their job is to convert fat-soluble, non-polar toxins into polar, water-soluble chemicals that can be more easily broken down and eliminated from cells.

The organs of elimination include:

  • Skin (Integumentary System):  Our skin is an amazing two-way sponge that excretes toxins and absorbs toxins or beneficial nutrients applied to it. Sweat is one of the best detoxification systems our body has. Daily exercise, sweat-inducing activity or baths and saunas are good ways to help our body eliminate toxins. Signs of toxicity that appear in the skin include acne, boils, rashes, inflammation, etc.
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  • Lungs (Respiratory System):  The lungs are constantly filtering the air we breathe. The lungs also ecrete certain toxins via exhalation. This is one of many potential causes of bad breath. You may notice that people who are sick or who have been exposed to excessive toxins (such as alcohol) may have exhalations that smell particularly offensive. The body may also use mucus as a method of trapping and expelling toxins from the lungs.
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  • Digestive Tract (Digestive System, including the stomach, large and small intestine):  The digestive tract is miraculous in that its job is not only to absorb nutrients but is also to filter and eliminate toxins from food and drink. In cases where an extreme toxin is consumed (such as botulism), the body will quickly eliminate the toxin via vomit and diarrhea. Many people have the impression the digestive tract is a big, simple tube food follows as it is digested. In the simplest sense, that is true, but the digestive tract actually contains multiple structures and performs a wide variety of duties. Digestion starts in the mouth, where enzymes in saliva begin breaking down carbohydrates. In the stomach, enzymes continue the digestive process.
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    The small intestine has three sections: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. As food passes from the stomach into the small intestine, hormones in the small intestine stimulate the liver, gallbladder and pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes and bile to help digest the food so that cells in the small intestine can absorb the food’s nutrients. The small intestine’s main job is to absorb the nutrients from food and drink and to separate the nutrients from the toxins. The large intestine contains six sections and is primarily responsible for absorbing water from food and drink. After the water is absorbed, the remaining waste (feces) is then excreted.
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  • Kidneys (Excretory/Urinary System):  The kidneys are responsible for multiple transactions related to detoxification and cleansing. In addition to serving as a filter to remove toxins from the blood stream, the kidneys are also responsible for maintaining a healthy balance between sodium, potassium and water. After the kidneys filter the blood, they return the essential minerals to the blood stream while sending the removed toxins to the bladder for elimination via urine.
  • Liver (Digestive System):  The liver is the body’s master organ of detoxification, responsible for an amazing number of highly complex chemical reactions that neutralize toxins and prepare them for elimination. In the simplest terms, two phases of detoxification occur in the liver. Phase 1 detoxification involves the Cytochrome P-450 enzymes and is the phase that sets the stage for toxins to be broken down into water-soluble chemicals the body can more easily eliminate. Some toxins are able to be turned into water-soluble chemicals during Phase 1, whereas others wind up having a reactive site created that enables them to bond with other chemicals during Phase 2 detoxification. Unfortunately, some toxins actually become more toxic after Phase 1 detoxification, which makes it important for Phase 2 detoxification to occur efficiently and to not be hampered. .
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    Phase 2 detoxification finalizes the process of breaking toxins into water-soluble, polar molecules that are easily expelled from cells. Phase 2 detoxification relies heavily on a process called Methylation. Methylation is responsible for activating genes and enzymes essential for cellular detoxification, repair of DNA, and creation of new cells. Obviously, Methylation is necessary for good health. Methylation can often be impaired by a lack of methyl groups, by various nutritional deficiencies, and/or by genetic anomalies.

In my next post, I will finally start sharing ways you can help your body detoxify and help each of the elimination organs function more efficiently.

How to Tell You Need to Detoxify

It cannot be denied we are surrounded by toxins. They are in the air we breathe, our tap water, our food supply, our clothing, and even our thoughts. Our body constantly works to remove these toxins and cleanse itself, but it sometimes needs help. This series of articles focuses on detoxification and cleansing of body, mind and spirit. This post shares a few signs your body uses to get our attention and convince us it’s time to detoxify. Full Trash CanFuture posts will focus on a variety of ways to detoxify your organs and body systems.

The following 20 signs are indicators you may benefit from a detoxification program. Keep track of how many of these statements you agree with:

  1. You have chronic skin challenges such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, etc.
  2. You have areas of skin that have darkened
  3. You have pain in the upper-right section of your abdomen, under your bottom rib
  4. Your tongue has a thick white, yellow or green coating
  5. You have frequent headaches
  6. You have frequent sinus congestion
  7. You get sick frequently
  8. You suffer from depression or anxiety
  9. You exercise and eat well but can’t lose weight
  10. You have “brain fog” and often find it difficult to concentrate
  11. You are irritable or have frequent mood swings
  12. You have body odor, stinky feet, bad breath, foul smelling urine and bowel movements, etc.
  13. You get frequent canker sores
  14. You feel tired all the time
  15. You do not have at least one bowel movement daily
  16. You have more than four bowel movements daily
  17. You have frequent gas, bloating, belching, etc.
  18. You have food cravings and/or food allergies
  19. Your joints ache frequently
  20. You experience frequent edema (water retention) in your face, hands, legs, feet, etc.
  21. You have back pain unrelated to activity

How did you score? If you agreed with five or more of the statements shared above, a detoxification program may be wise.

Let me also say that excess toxicity is not the only thing that can cause the symptoms shared above. If you are experiencing multiple health challenges, it is an indicator you need to find a health practitioner who will work with you to identify and address the causes of your symptoms. Helping your body heal itself is a task that should be your top priority.

Graphic shared courtesy of Andreas Solberg but is not an indicator of his endorsement of this site or its content.

Common Uses for Colloidal Silver

Colloidal Silver has been used for centuries in a wide variety of ways. If you are unfamiliar with Colloidal Silver, please read Colloidal Silver: Valuable Tool or Snake Oil for more information about the myths surrounding Colloidal Silver. This article shares the most common uses for Colloidal Silver. There are many other uses, but the most common ones are described here with information on the safest way to use colloidal silver for each application.

Please note all information shared in this article is shared for educational purposes only. No information in this article is intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Please discuss any changes in your lifestyle or health regimen with your physician. Never take any supplement without discussing it with your physician first.

The most common uses for colloidal silver include:

Water Purification

if you have any doubts about the purity of water, colloidal silver can be used to purify it and remove bacteria. Use at a ration of one tablespoon colloidal silver to one gallon of water. If you are trying to purify water from an outdoor source, filter the water first. Proof of its effectiveness is that NASA used a silver purification system on the space shuttles and many airlines use silver filtration combined with hydrogen peroxide to purify the water on their planes.

Oral Care

Soak your tooth brushes between uses to ensure they are free from bacteria, viruses and fungus. I have a dental partial which I also soak in colloidal silver a few times a week. As an added benefit, add a bit of colloidal silver to your oral irrigator to help control oral bacterial. I make my own toothpaste and mouthwash and always add colloidal silver.

Nasal Irrigation and Sprays

Colloidal silver can be used in a neti pot as a nasal wash. Many people have reported success in reversing colds and sinus infections using colloidal silver, but please do not substitute colloidal silver for an antibiotic if your doctor has identified a severe sinus infection. Colloidal silver can also be used as a nasal spray to help diminish symptoms of allergies.

Household Cleaning

Colloidal silver is known to be antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral. For that reason, it makes an effective household cleaner. Keep a spray bottle filled with it and use as a topical disinfectant on counter tops, as an anti-fungal spray in the bathroom, or as a means of preventing bacterial growth on kitchen sponges and dishrags. It is also a very effective cleaner for trash cans and diaper pails. If you make your own household cleaners, adding a few ounces of colloidal silver can boost their effectiveness.

Conjunctivitis

In my household, we have always used colloidal silver at the first sign of an eye infection or conjunctivitis. I place 3-5 drops of 10 ppm colloidal silver in the affected eye every two hours until the issue clears. However, I watch the condition of the eye closely and immediately seek medical attention if the condition does not improve within two to three hours. Please do not substitute colloidal silver for a physician’s care. Any issue affecting the eyes should be immediately addressed by a medical professional.

Skin Care

Colloidal silver is popularly used for mild abrasions, burns, fungal infections and even acne and eczema. One advantage of colloidal silver is that it does not harm skin cells as many topical antiseptics do. (Please never use hydrogen peroxide on a wound or sore. It kills new cell growth and may slow healing.) Many people find that spraying colloidal silver onto minor burns and abrasions speeds healing and helps prevent infection. (The key word there is “minor.” Serious wounds and burns require medical attention.) 

Internally

I purposely left this topic for last. Most of the controversy surrounding colloidal silver revolves around its use internally. Every person has his or her own opinion about whether or not colloidal silver is “safe” to use internally. The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people use it internally on a daily basis. These people experience health benefits with no negative consequences from the colloidal silver. If you’re comfortable using colloidal silver internally, then do so in a controlled manner and do plenty of research. If you are not comfortable using it, never let anyone talk you into doing something that isn’t right for you. Each person must decide what is right for him or her. I believe colloidal silver can be very effective and used without danger if:

  • A true colloidal silver is used. Be sure your colloidal silver is a colloid and not a protein synthesis. Most of the products sold over the counter are ionic, not colloidal. Ionic silver solutions are clear; colloidal silver solutions are brown or rust colored, not clear. Ionic solutions are safe to use, but are not as strong as a true colloid.  Beware of any product that foams when shaken and has bubbles that remain for several minutes, as that product is most likely a protein synthesis which may be dangerous.
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  • A realistic, safe dosage is used. Dr. Mercola recommends the following formula to determine the appropriate amount of colloidal silver to take on a daily basis:
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    12 times body weight divided by the colloidal silver strength (ppm) = drops that can be safely ingested on a daily basis
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    If someone weighs 150 pounds and is using a colloidal silver at a strength of 10 ppm, the equation becomes:
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    150 lbs x 12 = 1800 / 10 ppm = 180 drops per day. (One tablespoon is approximately 180 drops.)Having shared that,
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    I can also share that many people take much higher doses during an illness. Please contact a trained professional for guidance on what dosage is correct for your personal needs.
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  • Colloidal silver should never be used by anyone who has an allergy to silver jewelry.
  • Use caution when reading about people who claim colloidal silver miraculously cured them of incurable diseases. I’m not saying their claims are not true, but each person’s situation is very different. Use caution and do extensive research.

I use colloidal silver on a daily basis. Since starting to use it daily, I have experienced fewer bladder infections, lower yeast levels, improved digestion and slightly lower blood glucose levels. My experience was very positive, but each person must monitor his or her health and make changes as needed.

We make our own colloidal silver using this generator: LifeForce Compact X-2 Colloidal Silver Generator. Please note it is imperative to use distilled water and extremely pure silver if making your own colloidal silver. We also use a TDS Meter to measure the potency of our colloidal silver so we know exactly what we’re using.

If you don’t want to make your own colloidal silver, I highly recommend Sovereign Silver colloidal silver. It is sold in most health food stores and is highly reliable.

What do you think? Do you use colloidal silver? If so, what do you use it for and how do you use it?

Modern Epidemic: Metabolic Syndrome

“Metabolic Syndrome” refers to a group of symptoms that are increasing at an alarming rate in the U.S. and other developed countries. Metabolic Syndrome is often referred to as an “epidemic” because the number of people affected by it is increasing so rapidly. Why does this matter? Because Metabolic Syndrome is a set of conditions created by lifestyle and dietary habits. Metabolic Syndrome is Metabolic Syndrome: Apple with Stethoscope and Measuring Tapeknown to increase the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hormonal imbalances, depression, stroke and more.

Although experts disagree on the specific causes of Metabolic Syndrome, they all agree that obesity, a high carbohydrate diet, and a diet low in fruits and vegetables are contributing factors. Other factors which may increase your risk include heredity, hormonal imbalances, lack of exercise, smoking and possibly toxic exposure from food, air and water.

The problem with Metabolic Syndrome is that no single definition of what it is and no specified set of diagnostic criteria have been defined. Many practitioners in the mainstream medical community do not believe Metabolic Syndrome exists and do not believe early identification can help improve health outcomes. There is also controversy about whether the symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome truly represent a “syndrome” or are merely a group of related symptoms which each has its own risk factors. The concern is that we have created a “disease” which truly doesn’t exist.

The bottom line is that whether you group the symptoms together and label them or not, they each represent a very real risk to health and longevity. In my practice, I work with many people who have multiple symptoms associated with Metabolic Syndrome. Addressing the issues quickly restores health. It also often results in improved self esteem and a restored positive outlook. I find that people who address Metabolic Syndrome typically experience better overall health on a long term basis.

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome

The most common symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome include:

  • Weight gain in the stomach and abdomen, often in spite of exercise and decreased food intake
  • Fatigue
  • Increased triglycerides and cholesterol
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Fasting blood glucose levels greater than 100 mg/dL
  • Acne
  • Higher than normal blood levels of insulin (Please see The Top 3 Blood Tests Everyone Should Request for more info)
  • Mild to moderate kidney damage resulting in excess protein in the urine
  • Increased systemic inflammation which may cause joint pain, water retention and other symptoms
  • Increased liver enzymes due to insufficient detoxification and/or a condition called “fatty liver”
  • Excess growth of Candida (yeast) in the body
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in women
  • Low Testosterone in men
  • Abnormal development in children
  • Mental and psychological issues, ranging from mild to extreme

If you have three or more of those symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your practitioner. Ask him or her to order blood work including a complete metabolic panel, complete blood count, insulin level, A1C and complete thyroid panel. (If your doctor is unsure how to interpret these tests related to Metabolic Syndrome risk factors, please feel free to contact me to schedule a half-hour blood work interpretation consultation.)

Reversing Metabolic Syndrome

The good news is that Metabolic Syndrome can often be reversed using simple lifestyle changes. Supplements may also be used in some cases. The purpose of the recommended changes is to improve insulin sensitivity and restore balance to the endocrine system. Potential changes may include:

  • Improving an exercise regimen and combining it with weight training
  • Decreasing the type and quantity of carbohydrates eaten on a daily basis
  • Increasing the amount of healthy fat consumed on a daily basis
  • Identifying and addressing mineral deficiencies
  • Improving digestion to ensure foods are adequately digested and absorbed
  • Other recommendations based on the person’s specific health needs

Reversing Metabolic Syndrome is very possible, but requires the direction of a qualified practitioner. If you suspect you have Metabolic Syndrome and would like to start the process of reversing it, please contact me to schedule a consultation. 

Photo courtesy of Keith Ramsey

Ten Tips for Avoiding Hangovers

I want to take this opportunity to wish you a joyous night of celebration and a very Happy New Year. Please celebrate with caution and be careful! This post is dedicated to ways to avoid hangovers.

I don’t condone excess drinking, but we all know that New Year’s Eve is typically a night filled with alcohol.Beer Bottles Why does excess alcohol cause a hangover? For the following reasons:

  • Alcohol causes dehydration, which leads to inflammation and feeling generally horrible.
  • Alcohol contains two highly toxic compounds: acetaldehyde and malondialdehyde. These two chemicals create massive cell damage throughout the body. The damage caused by these chemicals is so severe it resembles the damage caused by radiation. There’s a good reason you feel so bad! 
  • Alcohol lowers blood sugar and can cause hypoglycemia. Typical symptoms of hypoglycemia include weakness, dizziness, nausea, and more. Sound familiar? If you ever notice someone acting far drunker than their consumption warrants, chances are they have a low blood sugar. Get them something to eat! 

If needed, use the following ten tips for avoiding hangovers:

1) Don’t drink. (This is the only certain way to avoid hangovers. You know it.) Please don’t waste your money on products claiming to be a hangover “cure.” There is no such thing. The only way to avoid hangovers is to not drink, or to drink very small amounts of alcohol.

2) Alternate every alcoholic drink with a big glass of water or other beverage. Dehydration is one cause of hangovers, so drinking a non-alcoholic beverage between each alcoholic beverage will help limit your intake and will help keep you hydrated. Staying hydrated is key to avoiding hangovers.

3) Add trace minerals to every drink. In addition to replacing essential electrolytes, trace minerals help counteract alcohol’s acidic effects. My favorite trace mineral is I like this one: Premier Polar Mins, but drinking coconut water is also an excellent way to replace trace minerals. It makes a good mixer, so it’s a win-win.

4) Don’t mix different types of alcohol. Stick to one type. Mixing beer and wine and distilled liquors puts a heavy load on your body’s ability to metabolize both the alcohol and the other ingredients in the drinks. There’s no guarantee that only drinking one kind of alcohol will avoid a hangover, but it may diminish the symptoms.

5) Drink lighter colored forms of alcohol. Darker alcohols (bourbon, dark rum, etc.) contain higher amounts of congeners, the toxins in alcohol which cause hangovers. Cheap booze also has higher amounts of congeners, so splurging on name brands which are more expensive may reduce hangover symptoms.

6) Avoid bubbly mixers. The gases in bubbly mixers can cause alcohol to enter the bloodstream more rapidly and may make it more difficult for the body to eliminate the toxins in the alcohol. Instead of carbonated mixers, use coconut water (loaded with electrolytes), fruit juice, water, etc.

7) Eat before you start drinking. Eating slows the absorption of alcohol and helps your body eliminate alcohol’s toxins. Eating a meal high in healthy fats is known to reduce hangover symptoms.

8) Order drinks on the rocks. The ice will melt and dilute the alcohol and will help keep you hydrated.

9) Ask for a larger glass. Ask your server to put your drink in a 16-ounce glass and fill the empty space with water.

10) Use supplements. Yes, supplements can reduce the effects of a hangover. Many hard core alcoholics know that taking Lecithin and Milk Thistle before, during and after drinking can help reduce hangover symptoms. The added bonus is that these also help repair the liver, so there is some value in using them.

Alcohol depletes the body of B Vitamins, Magnesium, Potassium and other essential nutrients, so taking a multi-vitamin before you drink and a B Complex vitamin can help. Taking potent antioxidants can also help prevent the damage done by alcohol’s damaging chemicals. Taking all of the previously mentioned supplements as soon as you wake up may also help.

Related Articles:

Surprising Facts About Vitamin B12

Why You Need More Magnesium

Unusual Ways to Keep the Holidays Healthy

My Holiday Prayer for You

Top 10 Ways to Shorten the Duration of a Cold

This post is a follow-up to Surprising Facts About the Common Cold. You may want to read that post before you read this. 

I’m often amazed at how many people are affected each year by colds and flu’s that attack their depression immune system. So what can you do to protect yourself? Here are the steps I recommend to shorten a cold. Using these techniques have very successfully helped many people shorten the duration of illness and reduce the severity of their symptoms. Doing the following may help shorten the duration of a cold:

  1. The Obvious: Drink plenty of water, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods (lots of fruits and veggies), and avoid sugar at all costs. A single teaspoon of sugar suppresses the immune system from two to six hours, so a single can of soda could potentially make you more susceptible to colds for up to 24 hours. It’s not worth it. Another tip that should be obvious is to please blow your nose, constantly if necessary, so that you don’t swallow infected mucous. Do I really need to say anything more? Another tip is to take at least 2000-5000 IU of Vitamin D daily to boost immunity and help prevent colds before they start. You can take higher doses while fighting a cold.
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  2. Use a Neti Pot with Additives: I recommend using a Neti Pot twice daily to help clear congestion, reduce inflammation and eliminate virus-infected mucous from the sinus passages. You can increase the effects of a Neti Pot by adding two to three tablespoons of Colloidal Silver or 30-60 drops of Goldenseal Extract. Both of these additives can also be taken internally. (Read The Wonders of Goldenseal for more info on this great herb.) If you’ve never used a Neti Pot, please rest assured that it is not an unpleasant experience. When done correctly, you should feel next to nothing while using it. The trick is to keep your mouth open and make sure your head is pointed slightly forward. If you find yourself gagging, change your head tilt to correct this. Please ONLY use distilled water in your Neti Pot.
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  3. Make Clove Tea to Soothe a Sore Throat: Cloves not only have an anesthetizing effect but are also one of the highest sources of antioxidants on the planet. (Antioxidants are known to lower infection rates from viruses and bacteria.) Make clove tea by putting one to two tablespoons of whole cloves in a tea strainer and allowing to seep in hot water for five minutes. (You can also put the cloves directly in the water and then scoop them out. They float, so scooping them out is relatively easy.) Add stevia to sweeten it if needed. This tea is a true blessing for a sore throat. The warmth is very soothing, the steam will help clear the sinuses, and the cloves work as an anesthetic to kill the sore throat pain. This tea is a perfect remedy for children, as they generally like the taste and will enjoy not having a sore throat. The fact the tea also makes the mouth numb is a minor inconvenience.
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  4. Take Extra Vitamin C: The body uses Vitamin C to produce the white blood cells which are responsible for fighting viral infections. The recommended dosage of Vitamin C is typically 1000-5000 mg/day. Taking excess Vitamin C produces an “ascorbic acid” flush and causes diarrhea, but during a cold your body can absorb far more. Since getting sick, I’ve been taking an average of 25,000-65,000 mg in divided doses throughout the day and have not experienced the flush effect. This means my body is craving the Vitamin C and is using every single bit of it to fight this cold. During a cold, I recommend starting with 4000 mg/day and very gradually working up to 10,000 mg/day. (Note: I can tolerate higher amounts of Vitamin C because I receive intravenous Vitamin C in huge doses to combat autoimmune issues. Please don’t take the same dosage I take.) You can also use other immunity boosters, such as ZincAstragalusOlive LeafGarlic, etc. Please follow the dosage recommended on the bottle.
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  5. Use Elderberry Extract: Elderberry Extract is one of the strongest anti-viral ingredients known, yet it is 100% natural and will not react with any prescription medications. It is known to very effectively and very quickly kill viral cells. Some expert estimate that 1000s of deaths could have been prevented if Elderberry Extract were distributed during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. It is a powerful antiviral that works very quickly. It is very easy to take, tastes good, and is safe for children.
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  6. Use an Immunity-Boosting Combination Supplement: Instead of taking 40 different pills every day, take a combination supplement designed to boost immunity. A few of my favorites that can be easily found in health food stores include: 1) SystemWell by Nature’s Way: SystemWell helps protect and improve cellular health, digestive immunity, respiratory immunity, systemic, lymphatic and circulatory immunity. It’s a great product and works well. 2) Full Spectrum Immunity Defense: This is a heavy-hitter containing 18 of the top immunity-boosters known. It is a powerful combination of vitamins, minerals and herbs. I highly recommend it! The dosage can be increased based on need, which is nice.
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  7. Use Monolaurin: Monolaurin is potent antibiotic and antiviral. It is a simple fatty-acid that is present in breast milk and is considered to be one of the components responsible for boosting immunity in breast-fed babies. It is also present in extra virgin coconut oil and a few other vegetable oils. Monolaurin is one of my “can’t live without” supplements, mainly because it’s so darn effective! It is also perfectly safe, having no known interactions with other supplements or prescription medications. The bottle recommends taking three to six 600mg capsules daily, but many MDs who prescribe Monolaurin recommend using higher doses at the beginning of a cold.
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  8. Use Proteolytic Enzymes: Proteolytic enzymes help by reducing the inflammation that contributes to congestion and irritated nasal passages. They also help kill viruses. Most viruses have cell walls that are made of proteins. Using a proteolytic enzyme containing high amounts of Protease (which digests protein) on an empty stomach will work to destroy the cell wall of virus cells, thereby killing them. The most important part of proteolytic enzymes is to always take them on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before eating or two hours after eating. If you take them with food in the stomach, the enzymes will help digest the food and will not get into the blood stream to work their magic. The company Enzymedica makes what I consider the best product in the business for combating viruses: ViruStop 2x. I highly recommend it! The best of the best in terms of a mainstream proteolytic enzyme that functions as an anti-inflammatory is WobenzymWobenzym is also useful for inflammatory arthritis, bursitis, and other joint issues, and is used in Germany as part of a cancer treatment.
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  9. Cook Up a Healing Soup: I don’t want you slaving all day in the kitchen, but tossing handfuls of anti-oxidant rich veggies into the crockpot/slow cooker with lots of mineral-rich veggie broth, meat of choice (or not), and immune-boosting spices can do wonders for a cold. It’s also easy to digest, allowing your body to dedicate more energy to healing than to digestion. As you sit and sip, the vapors from the soup will help clear out your nasal passages and the warmth will soothe your throat. Herbs and spices that are known to boost immunity include: garlic, oregano, turmeric, sage, basil, ginger, cayenne, rosemary, and many others. Ginger is especially nice because it opens blood vessels, allowing the body’s own defenses to circulate more easily. See my next hint for another potential use.
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  10. Take an Anti-Virus Bath: Taking a bath is a simple way to help your body eliminate toxins and viruses. It is also wonderfully soothing, so why not take advantage of it? Here’s my favorite blend for baths: 1-inch (grated) of ginger root to increase circulation, warm you up and help you sweat out the virus; 10 drops of tea tree oil to boost immunity and help pull toxins out of your system; 2 cups of Epsom salts to increase your magnesium and to soothe aches and pains (See Why You Need More Magnesium for more info); 3-4 drops Eucalyptus oil as a decongestant; 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar to help your body expel mucous. Add everything to the tub while the water is running, and then sink into the warmth and think positive, healing thoughts for 20 minutes. You’ll feel better immediately and will sleep like a baby! You can repeat part of this process in the morning by putting 30-40 drops of Eucalyptus oil on a washcloth and placing it on the shower floor to inhale while you take a hot shower, or by using Aura Cacia’s Eucalyptus Shower Tablets. Eucalyptus is a wonderful decongestant that is also known to be antiviral and to boost the body’s immunity. For more bath info, read: Create a Detoxification Bath Using Common Ingredients.

Ok … you obviously can’t do every single one of those. Since several of you have already asked, following is a list of what I’m doing on a daily basis to combat this cold. Please note that what’s right for me may not be right for you. Please consult a trained professional before taking any of the supplements mentioned, and please note that I have extremely high tolerance to some of these supplements and therefore take higher doses than what is typically recommended. The fact my cold is moving through incredibly rapidly and is diminishing quickly is testimony to the fact that these things truly work:

  • Nightly detox bath
  • Drinking high amounts of water, green tea and an immunity-boosting tea
  • Eating lots of soup loaded with a rainbow of veggies and lots of dark, leafy greens; completely avoiding grains, dairy and all sugars. (Eating 100% organic, non-processed foods will also reduce your body’s toxicity and boost immunity.)
  • Taking high doses of Vitamin C, Goldenseal (60 drops four times daily for five days; then 30 drops three times daily until symptoms subside), Monolaurin (900-1200 mg four times daily). During the first few days, I used Agricept (10 drops in one ounce of water) every two hours.
  • Drinking lots of probiotic-rich coconut water kefir every day
  • Using a neti pot with goldenseal tincture and colloidal silver twice daily
  • Light yoga daily
  • I broke down and got an antiviral IV from a functional medicine MD. If you have access to a doctor who offers IV therapies, I highly recommend these when you come down with a cold or flu. The IV contains vitamins, minerals, glutathione (a natural amino acid that is an antioxidant, immunity booster and detoxifier). The antiviral IVs are a great way to get rid of a viral infection quickly. I felt better within an hour and will get another one tomorrow to help protect me when I fly to LA on Friday. 

Many people are surprised to hear I am available to assist with temporary ailments and do not limit my practice to chronic conditions. If you are struggling with a cold, flu or other short-term challenge, please consider scheduling a 15-minute phone consultation. Feel free to email me or call 317.489.0909 to schedule.

Please consult a medical professional if your cold persists, if you have an extremely high fever, or if you develop a severe cough. As always, none of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition. Please check with your personal health practitioner before making any changes to your health regimen. I hope you feel better soon!

How to Create a Detoxification Bath Using Common Ingredients

This post is about pampering yourself and improving your health at the same time using a detoxification bath. One of my favorite Woman taking a relaxing detoxification bath ... Image by © Angelo Cavalli/SuperStock/Corbisways to detoxify is by taking a long, very warm detoxification bath two to three times per week. Why is it important to detoxify? Because toxins are “pollution” in your body and polluted cells don’t work well. As the cells become more and more toxic, the toxicity leads to illness and disease. It’s that simple. I can’t count how many times I’ve helped people dramatically improve their health and eliminate disease simply by eliminating toxic lifestyle habits and doing a systemic detox. This post covers a very simple way to detox several times a week. You’ll not only eliminate harmful toxins but will also feel wonderfully pampered and will probably sleep better! It’s a win-win!

Using baths to detoxify the body is a practice that has been used since ancient times. Hippocrates often used “bath therapy,” also called “balneotherapy,” for healing because he believed detoxification was a primary means of healing the body. The technique involves immersing the body in a detoxification bath containing ingredients that pull toxins out through the skin. The skin is the body’s largest elimination organ. It is a huge bi-directional “sponge” that can be used to absorb nutrients and to expel toxins. (Acne is typically an indicator of toxicity. Read my post The Smart way to Deal with Zits for more info on that topic.)

Note: Detoxification baths are typically not recommended for anyone with circulatory issues, heart problems or high blood pressure. Mainstream medicine says they are also not advised for anyone with diabetes, but this is mainly due to the circulatory problems some people with diabetes have. I strongly disagree that everyone with diabetes should avoid detoxification baths. I’ve had diabetes for almost 50 years and highly value detoxification baths as part of my weekly health regimen. I have never experienced negative effects from them, but I do not have circulatory problems.

The doses in this post are recommended for adults. Although these ingredients are generally safe to add to baths for children in smaller amounts, please consult a trained professional before using detoxification ingredients with children.

Please check with your practitioner if you have any concerns about whether or not detox baths are a good option for you. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD NOT USE DETOX BATHS UNLESS DIRECTED BY A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL AND SHOULD NEVER BATHE IN EXTREMELY HOT WATER.

As always, this information is shared for educational purposes only, has not been evaluated by the FDA, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health condition.

The act of bathing in warm water is a simple detox even if no additional ingredients are added to the bath water. The process typically induces the body to sweat, and sweat is one of the body’s best forms of detoxification. The simple act of rubbing the body with a wash cloth helps eliminate dead skin cells and open the elimination pathways in the skin. Please be very careful with temperature. Bathing in warm but not overly hot water is recommended. If you notice an increase in heart rate or begin to feel dizzy or light headed while bathing, exit the tub immediately. I recommend drinking purified water before, during and after a bath, as the body can become dehydrated due to the amount of sweat lost during a detoxification bath. Drinking water also helps the body eliminate toxins.

Most ingredients blend better if they are added to the tub while the water is running and the tub contains one to three inches of water. Adding ingredients to a bath can sometimes make the tub very slippery. Please use extreme caution when entering and exiting the tub during a detoxification bath. Please also note that I recommended soaking in a detox bath for no more than 20 minutes.

Here are my favorite detoxifying agents to add to a bath:

Epsom Salts: Epsom salts are a combination of minerals, primary of which is magnesium sulfate. Magnesium is essential for multiple body functions (see Why You Need More Magnesium), yet 80% of people in the US are deficient. Bathing in a solution of Epsom salt allows the body to absorb magnesium through the skin. Magnesium sulfate aids detoxification by strengthening the body’s own detoxification methods and opening up primary detoxification pathways. It also helps eliminate heavy metals from the body, increases the body’s ability to eliminate toxins through the digestive tract, and increases the production of digestive enzymes produced in the pancreas. Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is wonderfully relaxing, as it helps relax muscles. The nice thing about Epsom salts is that they are very inexpensive and can be found in any drugstore. If you want to try something more exotic, Masada makes a very nice detox blend called Mineral Herb Bath Detox. Dose: I recommend adding one to two cups of Epsom salt per bath. Some people recommend using much higher amounts, but 1-2 cups is a good starting dose. Epsom salts can be blended with any of the detoxification ingredients listed in this post.

Baking Soda (aluminum free): Baking soda is a powerful detoxifier for radiation poisoning. It is occasionally used intravenously during chemotherapy and radiation treatments for that reason. The US Army recommends its use internally to help remove radioactive ions from the kidneys following exposure to radioactive materials. Baking soda is a very alkalizing product, so soaking in a bath containing it can help alkalize an overly acidic body system. It is also helpful for reversing the toxicity of radiation absorbed from cell phones, pad devices, computers, microwaves, televisions, x-rays and other medical scans, etc. On a very timely note, adding aluminum-free baking soda to a detox bath at least once a week may be helpful for protecting against potential damage from any radioactive exposure we’ve had from Fukoshima. (Opinions vary widely about the true amount of exposure we’ve received, but the fact remains we have been exposed. This is a simple addition to a bath with no negative side effects, so why not?) Baking soda also softens the skin. Using it with 1/2 cup of Jojoba oil makes a wonderfully moisturizing bath. 

PLEASE make sure the baking soda you are using is aluminum-free. Many people do not realize the flow agents added to Baking Soda often contain high amounts of heavy metals. Soaking in a bath containing high amounts of a heavy metal could be damaging to your auto-immune and neurological systems. You can purchase four pounds of aluminum-free baking soda very reasonably on Amazon: Aluminum-Free Baking Soda. Dose: Start with 2 cups per bath, gradually working up to 1 pound per bath if you fear your exposure to radiation has been high. Bathing in higher doses of baking soda is especially helpful for anyone working in a medical setting who is exposed even indirectly to high amounts of radiation. Baking soda can be mixed with any of the other detoxification ingredients listed in this post, but be aware it will bubble furiously if combined with organic Apple Cider Vinegar. I recommend adding the baking soda at the beginning of running the bath, and adding the Apple Cider Vinegar once the tub is almost filled.

Ascorbic Acid Powder:  Ascorbic acid powder is known to neutralize chlorine, so it is a simple solution to use if you do not have a whole-house filtration system installed. One teaspoon is typically enough to neutralize the chlorine in the water. Amazon carries a wide variety of ascorbic acid powders. You can view their selection here.

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is high in vitamins and minerals which are absorbed through the skin while bathing. Apple Cider Vinegar baths are known to be highly anti-inflammatory and are known to help the body eliminate excess uric acid. For this reason, baths containing Apple Cider Vinegar are especially nice for anyone dealing with arthritic conditions or gout. Apple Cider Vinegar is also known to help the body eliminate excess mucous. My brother-in-law’s father swears that taking an Apple Cider Vinegar bath will help stop a cold dead in its tracks. The aroma will not linger on your skin, but some people rinse off in the shower after taking a bath containing it. I purchase it by the gallon and try to always have a gallon sitting on the edge of the tub. I actually have a large decorative basket sitting on the edge of my tub that I keep filled with detoxification ingredients, essential oils, moisturizing oils, etc. I use Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. (Click the link to view it and purchase.) Dose: Add one to two cups per bath. Apple Cider Vinegar can be mixed with any of the detoxification ingredients mentioned in this post, but be aware it will bubble vigorously if combined with baking soda.

Bentonite Clay: Bentonite Clay baths are a messy, although very effective, method of detoxification. Bentonite clay is a mineral-rich clay that is white in color and which is very effective at pulling a wide variety of toxins out of the body. It is known to be especially helpful for removing heavy metals and environmental toxins. It is also known to be very helpful for alleviating a wide variety of skin conditions. I use and recommend clays both internally and externally and am a huge believer in their effectiveness. I have seen and heard multiple “miracle stories” of clays being used to eliminate heavy metals and other toxins from the body. The downside of clay baths is that they are very, very messy. The clay left behind in the tub is sometimes very sticky due to having absorbed so many toxins, so cleaning it from the tub can take time. However, a clay bath once a month is a very luxurious way of detoxifying and pampering yourself. I highly recommend it! You can purchase pure Bentonite Clay at a relatively low cost. NOW has a very nice product packaged in one-pound packages: NOW Bentonite Clay. I also like Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.

Amount to add to bath: Anywhere from one cup to one pound may be used. Obviously, using less will create less of a mess to clean up. There is some concern that using excessive amounts of clay may clog pipes, so I don’t recommend using extremely high amounts. Clay can be mixed with any of the products listed in this post.

These ingredients are the tip of the iceberg in terms of ingredients that can be added to baths to aid healing and help the body detoxify. I did not include herbs, essential oils and other detoxifying ingredients because there are too many to list in a single post. If you are interested in learning more about using baths for healing, I highly recommend the book Water Magic: Healing Bath Recipes. It has a multitude of recipes for healing a wide range of physical and emotional issues.

If you have health concerns and would like to address them using natural methods, please contact me. I will work with you to identify the causes of your health challenges, and will then work with you to create a plan to reverse them.

The Smart Way to Deal with Zits

Zits and acne used to be a malady of the teenage years. Unfortunately, more and more adults — male and female — now find themselves dealing with pimples on a daily basis. The truth is that the average age of patients who see dermatologists for acne ranges from 20-26 years, and the anti-zit business brings in over one billion dollars per year. Acne rates are much higher now than they were 20 years ago. There are specific reasons for the increase and there are very simple solutions. 

The first step in addressing zits is to figure out the cause. Zits don’t “just happen.” There is always a reason. The most common causes of acne include:

  • Hormonal imbalances: Most zits in the teenage years are caused by an excess of either testosterone or estrogen. The belief used to be that acne was only caused by excess testosterone, but more recent studies proved an excess of either hormone can cause acne. The fact our food system is now overloaded with foods containing growth hormones and other synthetic hormones has a lot to do with this, as does the excessive use of highly-estrogenic soy that is included in almost all processed foods. I’m often amazed that people who eliminate soy from their diet often report that their skin becomes clear as a result.
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    Women often get zits on their chin as a normal part of PMS. These zits are definitely caused by hormonal changes. Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome often frequently experience acne as a result of the hormone imbalances it creates. If you have consistent acne, it is wise to get a saliva hormone test to check the levels of your reproductive hormones and identify any imbalances. Frequent zits often disappear once hormonal imbalances are corrected.
  • Food allergies and sensitivities: I know personally that eating a food that I’m allergic to will cause a fairly large zit (or zits) to form within three days. The skin is a huge detoxification organ, so when we expose ourselves to foods our body considers toxic, the body may use the skin to eliminate some of those toxins. I know many people with food allergies who report their only symptom is that they get zits. They have little or no digestive disturbance, but know they’ve been exposed to an allergen when they develop a zit. Even a mild sensitivity to a food will increase inflammation in the body and decrease immunity, making it more difficult for the body to naturally resist the factors that cause a pimple to form.On a related side note, there is a lot of conflicting evidence both pro and con about dairy products causing acne. The American Academy of Dermatology has now done three studies that conclusively proved there IS a link between acne and dairy. My clinical experience is that 9 out of 10 people’s acne greatly diminishes or disappears when they eliminate dairy. My own daughter had horrible acne and refused to believe this point for years. When she finally tried eliminating dairy, her skin completely, totally cleared within a week and a half. She doesn’t have a dairy allergy that we’re aware of, but her skin made it very clear that dairy is not a good option for her. Why does dairy contribute to acne? Mainly because it is so hard to digest. Let’s face it, we’re not cows, so our bodies have a very difficult time digesting and absorbing milk intended to be drunk by baby cows. The result is that the body tries to eliminate the toxins in the milk through the skin. Unfortunately, mainstream milk and dairy products are loaded with growth hormones that negatively impact our own hormone balance, causing a the skin to produce excess acne-causing sebum. Dairy is also known to be one of the most inflammatory foods in our diet. Any food that increases inflammation will only worsen acne symptoms.
  • Comedogenic facial products (even some used to combat acne): Comedogenic is used to refer to products that are irritating and which block the skin’s pores, thereby causing acne. Mineral oil is one of the worst oils possible for the skin, yet it is used frequently because it’s cheap. (Mineral oil is a petroleum byproduct that is discarded during the production of fuel oils. Not a good choice to put on your skin, anyway.) Many of the most commonly used skincare ingredients are comedogenic, and many anti-acne products contain quite a few of these ingredients. Your best option is to use products from companies such as Aubrey Organics, Pangea Organics, Burt’s Bees and other chemical-free companies.
  • Prescription medications: A well-known side effect of steroids (both prescription and black market) is acne. Other prescription medications that may cause acne include anti-convulsant medications (such as Lithium), prescription iodides and bromides. (Supplemental iodine is not related to prescription iodides and is not known to cause acne.)
  • Reduced liver function: It is a well known fact that many skin problems originate in the liver. The primary function of the liver is to eliminate toxins. If its function is reduced, the body resorts to eliminating toxins through the skin. My favorite herb for improving liver function and reducing skin issues is Burdock Root. Burdock Root is known to cleanse the liver and to target the skin to assist with healing. Although Burdock Root works well, other supplements known to improve liver function often result in clearer skin. Milk Thistle is another one of my favorites.
  • Over-washing of the skin: Excess use of soaps and drying anti-acne cleansers can actually make acne worse by overdrying the skin and causing it to produce more and more sebum. (Most pimples are caused when the skin produces excess sebum. Sebum is intended to protect the skin, but it can harbor bacteria and can cause pimples when the skin produces more than is needed.)

In addition to the tips shared above, here are my top ways to eliminate and prevent zits:

  • Eat a healthy diet: (You knew that was coming.) Good skin happens from the inside out. Clear, healthy skin requires a healthy diet. Period. Eating a healthy diet loaded with vegetables and fruits, whole foods, and void of excess sugars, processed foods and refined grains boosts the immunity and has a very anti-inflammatory effect on tissues. If your immune system is working at 100%, your body will often be able to very naturally eliminate the bacteria that cause pimples and acne. Obviously, a healthy diet does not include hydrogenated oils, processed foods, or excessive carbohydrates and fats. As I stated above, many people find their acne disappears once they eliminate dairy from their diet. One of my favorite books on naturally eliminating acne is: The Acne Cure. It is worth reading if you suffer from acne!
  • Don’t squeeze: We’ve all done it … squeezed a zit because we believe it will go away faster if we do. That is, sadly, a myth. The problem with squeezing a zit is that it has the potential to push the bacteria deeper into the skin. The other problem squeezing creates is that it creates an open sore that is wide open to bacteria in the air and environment. Squeezing may also cause scarring, and nobody wants that. Your best bet is to use the topical remedies I mention below and to be very, very patient.
  • Use topical antibacterials: One of my favorite remedies to speed the healing of a pimple is Tea Tree Essential Oil. Tea Tree oil is one of the most antibacterial chemicals known, but it has the added benefit of being known to stimulate the skin to heal itself. It works well. I also find that a drop of CellFood morning and evening has an amazing effect. CellFood is a powerful oxygenator that can be used internally and externally. I use it straight when I have a zit, but I recommend blending one drop of CellFood with one drop of purified water. It is a powerful antibacterial that also stimulates the skin to heal itself.
  • Use Goldenseal and probiotics internally: Goldenseal is a natural herb with powerful antibacterial properties. I use it to help pimples go away faster. (Do not use more than 10 days in a row.) For more information on how amazing Goldenseal is, please read my blog post, The Wonders of Goldenseal. Using oral probiotics will also boost the body’s own immunity and help the body heal pimples faster.

How do you deal with zits? Please share your favorite remedies!