Tag Archives: detox

Why I EAT Collagen

collagen

I’d like to introduce one of my favorite beauty products- collagen!

Let start with the basics. Did you know that the collagen molecule is too big to soak into your skin? All those creams and serums that claim to help with wrinkles because they contain collagen are completely worthless. Seriously- completely a waste of your money.

Collagen hydrolysate, on the other hand, is for ingesting. It’s far superior to eat your collagen, because your body uses it to fight against wrinkles, and a ton of other building and repairing functions, too.

Collagen hydrolysate is made from gelatin. The only difference between the two is that the collagen hydrolysate has been broken down into individual amino acids, so it’s more bio-available (your body absorbs it more easily).

Collagen hydrolysate contains 20 amino acids that are essential for building and doing just about everything in your body including (but not limited to) strong hair & nails, better muscle tone, and supple skin that can rebuild its own elasticity. To me, that sounds like the perfect beauty product!

I like using this because it dissolves easily into my coffee and is virtually tasteless. It’s not all just for superficial reasons, either. Our ancestors’ diets contained far more gelatin (and therefore collagen) than ours do today- creating a huge deficit in our diet. To me, this simple addition to my daily routine is essential!

I buy Great Lakes grass-fed, kosher beef collagen.

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DIY version of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Breakfast Smoothie

GPs-Morning-Smoothie

photo from GOOP.com

Have you all seen or heard of the controversy over Gwyneth Paltrow’s $200 breakfast smoothie?

Being the smoothie and veggie-juice drinking health nut I am, I had to check it out. Here’s how her site has it listed:

GP’s Morning “Smoothie”

GOOP

Gwyneth drinks one of these every morning, whether or not she’s detoxing. Choose your Moon Juice moon dust depending on what the day ahead holds!

SERVES 1

1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons vanilla mushroom protein powder
1 teaspoon maca
1 teaspoon ashwagandha
1 teaspoon ho shou wu
1 teaspoon cordyceps
1 teaspoon moon dust of choice
pinch Himalayan sea salt
pinch vanilla powder (optional)

A lot of these ingredients may seem foreign to most people! They include a few mushrooms and Ayurvedic herbs which are super-healthy and balancing. Not to mention, it’s low carb, low sugar, and high in fat. This looked perfect for the ketogenic diet I’m doing! I am not going to dish out a lot of money for the “moon dust,” though I want to try it sometime in the future.

My dupe of Gwyneth’s smoothie was a lot cheaper, and surprisingly tasty.

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Nutty and delicious! This is a perfect breakfast drink because it’s very filling from the healthy fats and nut protein. The coconut oil and maca are very energizing, and the mushroom complex is great for nourishment.

Sarah’s Morning “Smoothie”

SERVES 1

1 cup unsweetened, organic almond milk (low sugar and low carb)
2 tablespoons almond butter (more of this for flavor, since I didn’t have anything vanilla)
1 teaspoon organic virgin coconut oil
2 droppers full of Stamets 7, an immune-boosting mushroom complex which includes cordyceps, reishi, and chaga
1 teaspoon organic maca
pinch Himalayan sea salt

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(I forgot to include these ones in the original photo)—>
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What do you think– would you try it?

I Went Gluten-Free For One Whole Year, And This Is What Happened

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Like many people, I am interested in my health. This is particularly true when it comes to my nutrition, because that is a special interest of mine. So naturally, with the trending topic of gluten and its affects on our bodies, I was on board. I read Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis and The Beauty Detox by Kimberly Snyder (of whom I’d already been a long-time fan, and whose beliefs about gluten reinforced this decision for me).

A few facts about this. Gluten is a protein that is incredibly difficult for your body to digest. This is true whether you’re celiac, intolerant, or if you eat pasta twice a day. Doesn’t matter- the fact is, it’s harder on your system than some other food elements are. This part of the argument, no one denies. That’s actually what makes it inflammatory for your digestive system. To what degree it is inflammatory, and when that becomes a concern, is up for debate. Wheat is also one of the most pesticide-heavy crops that are out there. See “The Real Reason For Toxic Wheat (It’s Not Gluten).” (Some people believe this to be the real reason why people are so sensitive to it.)

It was difficult to go from my normal meals to gluten-free at first. There’s actually a LOT of gluten in the foods that we eat on a day-to-day basis. So the first step was to stock up on a lot of gluten-free alternatives in the form of chips, crackers, pizzas, and the like.

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The first thing I noticed was a lack of bloating. I was so impressed by my flat stomach in the first three days that I was really convinced I’d found the miracle cure. Alas, like all miracles, after the first few days the normal flux of food-babies returned. I’m still curious whether this was related to cutting out gluten or not, as I had not been doing anything else differently at the time, nor was I eating any less than usual (or so I felt).

During these first few days I was also accompanied with a headache. It wasn’t massive and it wasn’t anything an aspirin or two couldn’t take care of, but it was constant and lasted a few solid days. According to Wheat Belly, this is a bit of a hangover, because gluten has an opium-like effect on your brain. I won’t disagree with this fact, because it sure felt like it.

The months went by and it became second nature for me to know which food choices were permissible, and it wasn’t at all hard for me to stick to. I noticed, however, that I felt ravenously hungry quite often, and I was gaining weight. I have always stayed around the same size, so this was unusual, but for a person who has now recovered from an eating disorder, I decided not to let myself worry much about this part. Around the same time I went gluten-free I had started a new job that requires 8 hours of desk-sitting, and I felt it was entirely possible this was the main culprit anyway.

doughnuts

via @ chelseapearl / chelseapearl.com

Soon it became so easy for me to pick up a pack of these quick, gluten-free snacks that I wasn’t eating my salads or drinking my green smoothies nearly as much. This isn’t a rut that everyone falls into, of course, but for me, I felt no guilt doing so since I was sticking to the plan.

I was around 6-8 months in when I started looking into the importance of blood-sugar on your food cravings and food choices. It was then that I realized, my gluten-free crackers were less friend and more foe. I thought I was doing myself a great service in munching on rice crackers all day (not that I imagined they were “healthy” by any means), when in actuality, they were not as satiating and they just made me hungrier later. This would be 100% true of glutenous snacks as well- it is just important for me to point out that when going gluten-free, the processed junk is still processed junk, and you’re still not doing your body any good with this.

Once I came to this revelation, I cut out the gluten-free alternatives completely. My healthy choices and weight started to return to normal, and I felt pretty great. I could have carried on my entire life this way, were it not for the weekend I spent at my boyfriend’s father’s house. Understanding the importance of eating while drinking alcohol and not having any other options available, (poor planning on my part) I half-heartedly ate my fill of baguettes and artisan bread-sandwiches, already fearing what my body would do to me next.

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Not being one for placebo effect, I like to be surprised by my body when I take supplements or try a new diet, so I brushed off the dilemma and carried on with my life that Monday, eating gluten-free as normal. To my surprise, the days went on and I started to think, “Wasn’t something supposed to have happened by now?” The fact was, nothing unusual happened at all.

From that point on, I trifled with gluten when I went out, or on dates with my boyfriend (a decision he was very happy about). Since then it has become apparent that there really is no difference; a fact that I am both pleased by, and also admittedly, slightly disappointed with.

In conclusion I do believe that gluten, in addition to ALL grains are somewhat irritating to the digestive system, so I think it would do a person good to do away with them altogether, rather than just going gluten-free. I would go so far as to say that people probably experience good results with a gluten-free diet simply because they are eating less grains in general. As you saw for me, it didn’t matter which grains I was eating- they were causing all sorts of cravings and weight gain. More on grain-free next time!

Detox Series: Liver Flush

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Of all the detoxes and cleanses I’ve ever done, this one is by far my favorite. It has produced the best physical and emotional results, and really made a huge difference in my health.

Liver flushes have given me brighter eyes, clearer skin, better sleep, a positive (“euphoric”) mood, smaller waist, improved digestion, and a top-notch immune system, to name a few.

(If you find yourself skeptical about our bodies’ need to “detox” in the first place, check out my explanation here in my part one of the detox series.)

Why Cleanse My Liver?

A clean and well-functioning liver cannot be underrated. The liver is responsible for-

  • blood detoxification and purification
  • digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
  • enzyme activation
  • glutathione production (check the link for more info)
  • building proteins
  • processing nutrients from food

One of the most vital things that the liver does is produce bile. Bile is a very bitter, very alkaline fluid that helps break down foods in your small intestine. It also helps to restore the pH of your body. When your body is the proper pH of 7.35, it functions at its best. Research shows that you are unlikely to get ill as often, and some even suggest that this optimal pH naturally fights cancer. For most of human history, it was not as difficult as it is now to keep the body’s pH within a healthy range.

Aciditiy is a common by-product of most foods in the American diet (all processed food, even “light” and “natural” versions; fried food; meat; dairy; coffee; sodas; sugary juices, desserts and candy; cigarettes; medications). This acidity completely throws off the pH of the human body, which makes your body age much faster and prone to all kinds of diseases.

Let’s break that down into a tidbit that might interest you: proper bile flow helps slow down the aging process. That’s right.

A healthy liver is supposed to be producing 1 1/2 quarts of bile a day- and by adulthood most people’s livers are making as little as 1/2 cup. That might surprise you, and the reason why is even more surprising. Your liver is clogged with gallstones.

No, this is not a natural part of aging, and no, this is not something your body can fix on its own. The good news is, you don’t need surgery or extensive procedures to get them out. You just need a free weekend.

A little known fact is that gallstones actually originate in the liver. I’ll spare you the lengthy explanation about how this happens, but if you are interested, Andreas Moritz can explain it to you here. Cholesterol and bile make the stones lighter and flesh-colored or green, respectively, though stones can also be black (very toxic) or greyish-white (calcified).

Stones that came out from a liver flush... better out than in!

Stones that came out from a liver flush… better out than in!

The reason that you don’t know you have stones clogging up you liver and gallbladder is because it’s only the calcified ones that show up in ultrasounds. By the time gallstones calcify and show up in an ultrasound, you’ve been suffering with a congested liver for years too long.

Many people go their entire lives with a congested liver and gallbladder, not realizing that many of their health complaints are related to this. These complaints include disorders of the digestive system (mouth, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, intestines), disorders of the circulatory system (heart, spleen, cholesterol, lymph, veins, hormones), disorders of respiratory system, disorders of the urinary system, disorders of the nervous systems, joint problems, skin problems, reproductive problems, and many more. Congestion of this vital organ affects your whole body, and the longer it goes on, the worse things get. Liver flushes are a wonderful way to start healing these ailments in your body.

A New Age Perspective

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In Eastern medicines it is believed that the liver is the seat of anger, frustration, and repressed emotions. A Greek medicine site had this to say:

Liver, Gall Bladder:  Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder, which makes these two organs vulnerable to negative Choleric emotions like anger, irritability, frustration, resentment, jealousy and envy.  These negative Choleric emotions are stored in these organs, and can slowly eat away at them if allowed to fester.  Anger and rage can explode upwards from the liver into the head, causing a lot of havoc in their wake: headaches, migraines; red, sore, bloodshot eyes; and muscular tension in the neck and shoulders.  Nervous and emotional tension and stress, as well as Melancholic emotions like pensiveness and worry, will stagnate the flow of the Natural Force in the liver, which in turn causes nervous, colicky, Melancholic disturbances of the digestive functions.  This excess melancholy often accumulates under the lower ribs, giving a stuffy, distended, congested feeling in the whole chest and diaphragm area.  This is the origin of the term hypochondriac.

It is not uncommon for those cleansing the liver to feel an incredible release of these emotions. This is especially true when one experiences a flush of deeper set-in stones which have been stuck in the liver for many years.

Emotional situations or feelings that are brought back up are your opportunity to work through them and move past them, once and for all. This is a time of very powerful emotional cleansing and healing, too.

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Feelings of bliss and euphoria are favorite side-effects from stone release of flushers everywhere. This effect becomes more pronounced with every flush, because the first flush releases newer, smaller stones, and with each consecutive flush, the older (which are often also larger and more stuck) ones are rooted out. These correspond to more “stuck” feelings, older issues, and deeper-rooted problems. It feels wonderful to get them out of you!

Other Benefits

If all that mumbo jumbo is not for you, you can still focus on the cold, hard facts of the matter. Getting these blockages out of your liver improves the detoxification and functioning of your entire body. The older, larger stones clog up more of the bile ducts than any of the smaller, newer ones. Getting these out makes you feel better because of the surge of energy from better functioning of all your organs overall. It’s a great feeling!

Liver flushes give you great skin!

Liver flushes give you great skin!

It is important to note that sometimes you will feel initially drained after the flush, with the energy and positivity coming afterwards (it always does come, though!). Your body has really done quite a bit of work through this process, and sometimes it takes a little bit to recover.

Another positive side-effect which cannot be understated is the lessening of pressure from your liver. All these stones really bulk up your liver, making it larger and harder. This can lead to a lack of flexibility in your midsection, pain in your shoulders, back, and spine, and a thicker waist. You will notice all of these problems seem to dissolve away a little more after each flush.

What would you do for a naturally smaller waistline?

What would you do for a naturally smaller waistline?

Prepping For The Flush

While I don’t fast prior to the liver flush (you’ll get better results if you do), it is recommended that for the five days prior to the actual flush, you take something to help soften the stones. Andreas (who prefers whole foods) recommends fresh apple juice, which has malic acid, to soften the stones. You will need to have 1 liter (32 oz.) of apple juice per day (space it out throughout the day, don’t just chug it). It is fine to drink packaged apple juice (although for your body’s sake, I would recommend getting a higher quality organic one!) as this will still work. Freshly pressed radish juice and carrot juices are also good.

Other things you can take to soften the stones- powdered malic acid, Gold Coin Grass supplement (you should take this for 2-3 weeks prior, as 5 days will not do as much), daily coffee enemas, and also asorbic acid (vitamin C) capsules (which you should also take for 2-3 weeks prior). If you are really intense, you can take any combination of these methods.

Another important thing to do is COLON CLEANSE both before and after the flush, so that no stones get stuck on their way out of your body, leaving you ill with headaches, bloating, infections, etc. from the toxins in any stones. See how to do this in my first post of the detox series here.

How To Liver Flush

The ingredients you’ll need for the liver flush are-olive oil

  • Epsom salts
  • 1 large grapefruit or 2 small grapefruits (can be substituted with a few lemons or limes)
  • Extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil (preferably organic)

DAY ONE

AM- Do not eat any fat or protein, if you can help it. It is a good idea to skip caffeine as well, but if you will get a headache without it, it’s okay to have a little. The idea today is to store up the bile in your liver so it will all “flush” out later tonight.

2 PM- Stop eating for the day. Do not eat after 2 PM. If you think of it, mix up your 6 PM drink now.

6 PM- Drink 1 T of Epsom salts dissolved into 1 C water. It’s a good idea to mix this up ahead of time, to make sure it gets dissolved. Having to swallow granules at the bottom is really yucky otherwise! Some people like to put this drink in the fridge because it tastes a little better when it is cold. I always drink it with a straw, I find this easiest.

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(The Epsom salts will do two things. First, they will completely flush out the colon, which is good because this will ensure the stones don’t get stuck on their way out. These stones are very toxic and you don’t want them staying inside the colon to re-infect your body at all. Secondly and most importantly, they will dilate the bile ducts, which open them up so that the stones can pop out.)

8 PM- Drink a second dose of  the Epsom salt mixture. (1 T ES and 1 C water). If you haven’t already, be prepared to be running to the toilet as the salts begin to flush out your colon!

9:40 PM- Prepare the 10 PM flush concoction. You want 3/4 C of citrus juice (whichever type you ended up choosing) and 3/4 C olive oil. You can squeeze the juice of the fruits by hand into a bowl or measuring cup if you don’t have a juicer. You’ll probably want to mix the ingredients until they are blended together. You can do this by blending them, shaking them in a jar with a lid, or by hand. You CAN keep them separated (oil on top, juice on the bottom) but this will be MUCH less pleasant to drink (I don’t recommend it).

Try to empty your bowel as much as possible before 10, when you will go to bed (so you don’t have to get up again and interfere with the flush).

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10 PM (Bedtime)- You should be hungry or thirsty (or both) by now. That is a good sign! I recommend a straw for this concoction especially. Drink the oil/juice concoction standing up, and lie down immediately afterwards. For best results, lie on your right side. Do not move for the first 20 minutes if you can help it. You can read or watch tv or surf the internet for a while, but I recommend going to sleep early.  If you MUST get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, you may. Some people get sick from poor quality oil- if that happens to you, don’t worry, the flush will likely still work for you, depending on how long you were able to keep the concoction down!

DAY TWO

8 AM- Have your third Epsom salt drink (1 T ES and 1 C water). You’ll soon start to see stones showing up in your toilet!

10 AM- Have your fourth and final Epsom salt drink (1 T ES and 1 C water). This will flush out the last of the stones!

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11 AM- you can start eating again. I recommend light foods and things that won’t be too heavy or hard on your liver today, and for the next couple days. You flushed a lot of bile and bile salts out of the liver, and that takes about 3-4 weeks to fully build up again (although your digestion should feel normal within a day).

A Few Extra Things

Andreas Moritz and other liver flush experts say that it takes around 20 flushes (for some it’s less, and others more) to get out all of the stones completely. The standard test is three consecutive flushes without any stones. Flushers and experts alike say that by this point people experience a cure from allergies and countless other ailments (even ones you didn’t know were related to the liver!). After this point, a maintenance flush once or twice a year is recommended.

Because it takes 3-4 weeks for your body to replenish the bile salts lost in a flush, it is not recommended that you do the flush more often than this. I, myself, flush once every 4-5 weeks.

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Some people claim that what you are releasing is not actually liver stones but rather a formation of the oil and citrus juice inside your digestive system, and that the green-ish yellow-ish olive oil is what turns the stones these colors. This claim is false because people have gotten stones out with many other types of oils (although olive oil is recommended because it is high in mono-unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat- this ensures a high emulsification of the oil/acid potion, minimum time in the stomach, and easy absorption in the body) and also from coffee enemas and other types of liver detoxes.

Other Ways I Like To Cleanse The Liver

Castor oil packs- On the nightly regimen of Viva Mayr, the top detox clinic in the world, this deep healing oil, with the addition of heat, penetrates into congested tissue, detoxifying your digestive system, liver, lymph nodes, and pretty much whatever organs you place it over. More info from The Tao of Dana,  The Beauty Gypsy, and celeb nutritionist/detox specialist Kimberly Snyder.

Coffee enemas- I wish I could devote an entire post to the coffee enema. As bizarre as it may sound to some of you, it has been one of my favorite and most enjoyable (seriously) forms of detox. In fact, most who try it are hooked like I am. The incredible benefits on the inside and outside are enough to speak for themselves. Read what Dr. Wilson has to say about it.

Try it and let me know how a happy liver works out for you! 🙂

Detox Series: Colon Cleansing

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I do dozens of cleanses. Some I’m obsessed with, some I haven’t been too impressed by. I think I’ve driven my boyfriend crazy by this point, with my herbs and supplements and intermittent fasting. “Date night tonight, babe?” “Nope, sorry, I’m doing a liver flush tonight, which means I can’t eat anything and need to be in bed by 10pm.” Poor guy.

Nonetheless, I felt that it was about time to start spreading the knowledge and sharing my (amazing!) experiences to help you on your path to a happier and healthier life. Today I’m going to talk about colon cleansing (which we all need!).

If we lived in a perfect world, with clean environments, healthy products, and pure food, we wouldn’t have to worry about proper elimination. Our bodies would take care of that themselves. Since this is definitely not the case, however, we do have to worry about it!

Why We Need To Worry About “Toxicity”

A lot of people say that our bodies’ natural detoxifying organs (liver, kidneys, lymphatic system) do a fine job of dealing with toxicity, and that the idea of “cleanses” or “detoxes” are over-hyped. While it’s true that our bodies naturally detoxify themselves on a daily basis, from an evolutionary standpoint, our bodies are not prepared to deal with the toxic load they are dealing with today. For most of history, the toxins that your body is trying to fight off every day did not even exist

To be fair, the idea that “chemicals are bad” is a very misleading concept. A chemical substance, from a chemistry standpoint, is just a form of matter. You have chemical processes within yourself that are working all the time. Even mother nature is comprised of chemicals. So a lot of people hear that and dismiss chemical “toxins” as a bunch of bologna. This, though, is over-simplifying the issue.

Just because chemicals exist does not mean that they have always existed in the same forms or quantities that they do today. It does not mean that our repeated exposure to them isn’t harmful. On the contrary, we know that it is.

A perfect example of this is geochemist Clair Patterson, who first exposed the dangers of lead toxicity resulting from lead-additives in gasoline, paint, and other household products during the first half of the 20th century. The big companies behind this problem refused to acknowledge his findings, and denied the evidence of lead toxicity, claiming that lead has always existed in the environment and hasn’t proven to be harmful.

Lead propaganda from 1923

It took Patterson a very long time to prove that the levels of lead in our environment due to man’s tampering was, in fact, unnatural, and dangerous for us. This was all in spite of their attempts to make sure that he didn’t show up to trials and couldn’t get his evidence. These companies played dirty.

Sound familiar? This same fight continues today, with other harmful substances. You can’t expect every business to prioritize ethics over profits… human nature would imply otherwise.

All this is to say that your body needs your help. It is being bombarded with things it cannot possibly handle, and your first step in counter-acting that problem starts here: with colon cleansing.

Why Colon Cleansing?

It is said that you are supposed to have a bowel movement after every meal, because there is always something from your food that your body cannot completely assimilate and utilize. Even babies, who drink pure mother’s milk, poop frequently. To think that we, as Americans, can often go DAYS without pooping is horrifying. This is a result of our modern diet and our industrialized world.

Food and waste products that are no longer needed (and toxins that the body needs to eliminate) go through your colon, and are supposed to leave fairly quickly. The longer they sit in there, the more they rot and ferment, creating more toxicity that your body re-uptakes. The longer it stays in there, the worse it gets.

Some effects of a toxic body include skin issues like eczema and acne, hormonal imbalances, irritability and mood swings, irregular sleeping patterns, low energy, concentration issues, depression, poor immune system, and weight problems, to name a few.

The reason colon cleansing is the first step in any detox regimen is because without a clean colon, all your other organs get re-toxified (so to speak) fairly quickly. Conversely, if you have a clean colon, this induces a cleansing affect on the rest of your body. This is a very important step!

The other thing you need to realize is that a clean colon isn’t as simple as pooping regularly. You could have a bowel movement once per day, or more, and still have a very toxic colon. Most sources guess that we have anywhere from 5-15 pounds of waste matter along our colon walls, that, without cleansing, would otherwise accumulate and block up our digestive system for our whole lives.

This waste accumulation happens a number of ways. Medical Insider explains it like this:

Modern diets are often low in natural fiber and also high in mucus producing foods, such as dairy products, white flour, meat (especially processed meats), eggs, potatoes, beans, rice, grains, fish, peanuts and fats (and low in fresh vegetables and fruit), and food, drink and drugs high in toxins, for instance coffee, alcohol, recreational drugs and pharmaceuticals. When we talk about mucus producing foods, we mean that they tend to stimulate the digestive tract to produce more mucus, rather than mucus in the nasal passages.

However, a large number of people have a very mild immune system reaction to certain food proteins that resemble viruses to the immune system, mainly dairy and wheat, which may well cause nasal congestion as well as adverse immune system activity in the digestive tract. This is a separate topic and is discussed on the Food Allergy and Intolerance page.

Such diets lead to more mucin being produced in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. The mucus can indeed be cleared away by pancreatic juices (from the pancreas) but mucus-forming foods form such a large proportion of modern, western diets that the pancreatic juices are not effective in clearing it away. As the mucus and food particle solution passes through the intestines, moisture is removed and absorbed back into the blood stream. As more moisture is removed and reabsorbed, the mucus becomes sticky and gluey. In passing, it leaves a coating on the intestinal wall. Layer tends to dry out over time, compacting and hardening. Over the years, layer after layer of gluey faeces builds on the intestinal lining. It gradually forms into a tough, rubbery, black substance (hardened faeces mixture) found in lumps in the corners of the intestinal tract and covering the walls and villi themselves. This is known as ‘mucoid plaque’, and causes constipation, a reduction in the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal wall, and is a breeding ground for candida, harmful bacteria and parasites.

Toxins are absorbed into the mucoid plaque over time, including biotoxins and heavy metals. The liver relies on the colon being clear in order to effectively eliminate toxins from the body through the digestive tract. The build up of mucoid plaque and congestion in the colon (affecting the normal passage of stool) results in the build up of large amounts of toxins in the digestive tract. Harmful micro-organism activity also produces additional toxins. The body tends to produce more mucin to try to wash away the mucoid plaque, which mixes with the mucoid plaque to exacerbate the problem. Low fiber diets slow down the movement of food in the GI tract and do not act to remove mucoid plaque and prevent mucoid plaque formation.

So if you consume any dairy, meat, eggs, GMO corn or grains, caffeine, alcohol, or medications, for example, chances are you have a lot of waste build up, whether you have regular bowel movements or not.

Because all these mucous-y, sticky substances “bake” in your very hot 98.6-degrees body, they harden and get stuck along the walls of your intestines (both large and small). This makes it extremely difficult to remove with regular diet modifications (like just consuming more fiber). It also makes it very difficult for your body to absorb nutrients effectively- if at all.

This requires extra effort to remove, if you want things to start functioning properly again.

How Can I Cleanse My Colon?

There are so many ways you can get cleansing, depending on your budget and what you’re hoping to accomplish. Most commercial laxatives are harsh and toxic, and can not only damage your colon and damage the villi in your small intestine, but create a dependency on them, robbing your body of its natural ability to excrete waste. They dehydrate the body and have no health benefits whatsoever. There are many healthy ways to cleanse and detox the colon, however, and here I have listed many methods, all of which I have personally tried and had positive results from.

  • Colonics and enemas-   Both of these methods involve using warm water to gently flush away waste inside the colon, as well as to soften and wash away the gunk that is caked up along the colon walls. Colonics are superior to enemas, because they are able to clean the entire colon, whereas enemas use a much smaller volume of water, and therefore clean only the sigmoid colon and not into the transverse or descending colon (see image below). One benefit to enemas is that they can be used anytime at home, whereas colonics have to be administered by a professional, which can get pretty pricey. For colonic-like enemas that reach farther into the colon, you could look into “high enemas” which involve holding onto larger and larger quantities of water. This can be time consuming and uncomfortable, but the results don’t lie.                                                                                                                                                                              You should only be using filtered water in enemas, boiled first, and cooled to body temperature. This ensures that you are not adding more toxicity to your body with bacteria or amoebas, heavy metals, chlorine, and other gross things found in unfiltered tap water. (Well water is not free of these things either.) I like to add bentonite clay or activated charcoal to the water when I boil it, to further purify it. I am also a huge fan of coffee enemas, which I will discuss later in this series.                                                                         What to expect: after a colonic you will experience a very flat stomach. Some people have some bloating or fatigue for a couples hours afterwards (it takes a lot out of you- no pun intended.) Days afterwards you should have high energy and a positive outlook and your skin might clear up. After an enema you will experience the same results (minus the bloating) on a lesser scale. 
  • Salt Water Flushes- This is an old Ayurvedic method of cleansing the colon. It involves taking 2 tsp of pink rock salt (Himalayan salt, Celtic sea salt, or Real Salt) in one quart (4 C) of warm-to-room-temperature water on an empty stomach in the morning. This creates a flushing action, as the salt water has the same gravity as the blood, so the kidneys do not pick up the water and the blood does not pick up the salt. It runs straight through your small and large intestines, cleaning both, making this an extremely effective cleanser. It also replenishes electrolytes to your cells, and helps restore the pH of your body (it is very alkaline). For more really detailed information and instructions, check out this post from Health Beyond Hype. This is an especially cheap and healthy method, which only requires about an hour or two in the morning. (Note: it is extremely important that you do not use regular salt or commercial sea salt for the flush, as these are very toxic and harmful for your body in large quantities.)                                                                                                                  What to expect: your stools will be watery, but it shouldn’t be very unpleasant. A large portion of the gunk and muck in your bowels will be emptied. I usually experience a burst of energy afterwards, and a much flatter stomach.
  • P & B Shakes- This might sound exciting, like a peanut butter milkshake, or at least something delicious.  Unfortunately, this stands for psyllium husks and bentonite clay (which is a little bit like flavorless Malt-o-Meal). You use 1-2 tsp of psyllium husk powder and 2 T of colloidal (liquid) bentonite clay into 1-2 C of water.  You can also add a couple capsules of activated charcoal in place of the bentonite clay, for the same effects. The psyllium husk bulks up in the water fairly quickly, so it needs to be stirred or shaken vigorously to ensure that it doesn’t get lumpy (this is where the name comes from). P & b shakes are the best known way to clear out mucoid plaque (the hardened, rubbery gunk on the colon walls) from your body. Often water-flushing methods like enemas, colonics, and salt water are rendered ineffective at getting some of the older, tougher stuff unstuck- especially in the small intestine (enemas and colonics never reach the small intestine). Psyllium works by bulking up in your intestines, both loosening the plaque and also attaching it to itself, and bentonite clay works by soaking up all the toxins and muck that comes along with it. It is recommended that you drink a lot of water with p & b shakes, so that they don’t constipate you and further the problem. Once your body gets used to one p & b shake a day, you can slowly add another and work your way up to three or four a day for maximum effects. Don’t take them within two hours of any medication or nutritional supplement, as both the “p” and the “b” can absorb them, rendering them ineffective. For more information, see p & b shakes at curezone.com                                                What to expect: there will be more fluffy bulk to your bowel movements, making them much more comfortable to pass than some of these liquidy-options. You will soon start to see black, rubbery ropes attached to these bm’s. This is mucoid plaque. It’s always extremely gratifying to see them come out of your body! It’s amazing how much can be up there. This method also helps your body regulate its own bowel movements, as you are giving it quite a bit of fiber every day. Expect to become very regular! 
  • Epsom salts- This action works the same as the salt water flush, for similar reasons. To flush with Epsom salts, you would add 2 tsp to 1 C of water and take it in the morning on an empty stomach. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, and so will replenish your body of magnesium- something most of us are deficient in without regular supplementation. This is another cheap option and readily available, as you can find Epsom salts just about anywhere. The Viva Mayr detox clinic (a celebrity and royalty favorite) is known to use these as a daily requirement, first thing in the morning.                                                                      What to expect: this will be exactly like the salt water flush- your stools will be watery. The cleaner your system is, the faster it will get through. I had a friend come to me recently saying “You should have warned me!” So for some cleansing newbies, recognize that it will keep you near the toilet for a while. After the first few times, though, it will go quicker and not take as long to clean yourself out, so stick with it! Your stomach will always be nice and flat afterwards. 
  • Magnesium citrate- This is a much gentler version of the Epsom salt flush, and tastes a whole lot better, too. I like to use Natural Calm in the raspberry-lemonade flavor. While I like to also use this drink to de-stress during the day or to wind down for bedtime, it does have a mild laxative effect, which can be maximized on an empty stomach in the morning.       What to expect: like I said, it’s a much gentler version of the Epsom salts in every way. It will be slightly less watery, slightly less flushing action, still the same gunk cleared out (although a little less might be cleared out). 
  • Mag07- This supplement works by oxidizing the colon both in the small and large intestines (while also not harming any of the beneficial bacteria), restoring the pH of your body and liquifying the contents of the colon. Mag07 claims to be able to liquify mucoid plaque as well, although no one is able to confirm this, as the contents are broken down and we can’t tell the difference, although many experts swear by it. Many people use Mag07 supplementation as an alternative to colonics for entire-colon cleansing. I would recommend Aerobic Life or Detoxy. It is recommended that you take Mag07 on an empty stomach before bed. For an ultra-cleansing effect, I use it at night and in the morning for a week at a time.                                                                                                                                             What to expect: this does liquify the contents of your bowels, so your bm’s won’t be completely formed. Everyone’s body is different, so the dosage will affect this as well. To have a more comfortable bm if 2-3 pills aren’t working, up your water intake instead of your dosage. I haven’t noticed a flat stomach the way I have with some of these other methods, although that is secondary to the detoxification it gives you, and a lot of others do claim to have these benefits as well.

Many people claim it is harmful to cleanse the colon because you can become dependent on it (which generally isn’t true if you use these methods, but you should always give your body a break from cleansing to let it re-set) and because you can wipe out beneficial bacteria- a problem easily solved with probiotic supplementation. Certain types of minerals can be depleted depending on the type and frequency of the cleansing method you are using  (especially the colonics and enemas), so if you are doing this a couple times a week, try to supplement those.

*(Enemas and magnesium citrate are generally safe for pregnancy. Mag07 is said to be as well, but I’d consult your doctor for that or anything else on the list.)

Benefits I’ve noticed- Clearer, brighter skin would be a major, major difference here. Less dark circles under my eyes, less bloating, an increase in positive thinking and elevated moods, more energy, and a great immune system. Oh, and when I am not cleansing, I have normal bm’s, at least once a day!

Have you personally tried out any of these methods? Do you plan on trying it after reading this post? Comment below and tell me all about it!

Beautiful Skin, The Natural Way

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(Clear, healthy skin without any chemicals! I do still get a few “time of the month” breakouts, like you see here, but usually my skin is pretty flawless!)

Yesterday I talked about the process I’ve gone through to rid my life of unnecessary toxic chemicals as it pertained to haircare. Due to the response it received, I wanted to follow up with the changes I’ve made for skincare as well.

The most important part about natural skincare is that they don’t need any toxic chemicals or synthetic fragrances or fancy packages to get the job done. And I’m not talking about mushing up an avocado or banana to wear as a face mask- that’s probably good for you, but I never noticed a difference in my skin doing something like that. I like skincare that DOES something. Isn’t that the point?

So I wrote up a list for you consisting of my natural skincare products that actually work, what they’re supposed to do, and why. If that’s not enough to convince you, it’ll be easy to try it out yourself, as most of these products are in your kitchen or bathroom already. Anything that’s not in there won’t cost more than $10 to go out and get. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the cost benefits of natural skincare!

Without further ado, “the list”:

FACE

Exfoliate:

-Baking soda scrub

Clarisonic (okay, so this isn’t a product AND it’s spendy, but it supplements any skincare regimen nicely- including my own)

-Organic coffee grounds

It’s important to scrub away the dead skin to improve cell turnover for collogen production, as well as keeping them from building up and mixing with the sticky sebum from your pores, clogging them and causing white heads, black heads, and pimples.

Baking soda is a cheap, quick, and gentle way to exfoliate. All you need is a tablespoon on a wet face. Be careful not too mix too much water, because it can dissolve fairly quickly. Simple, and effective!

Organic coffee grounds don’t dissolve, but are a little coarser. I make sure to use organic coffee for this and for consuming, because there are loads of toxic chemicals in normal coffee. Especially the flavored kind!

The cool part about coffee grounds on your face is that caffeine can work as a vasoconstrictor, which makes it really good for de-puffing your eyes (it’s included in a lot of expensive department store eye gels!), temporarily tighten skin, reduce dark circles, as well as stimulate the circulation under the skin, helping produce a nice, rosy glow. The best part about this is, it doesn’t have to be un-used coffee grounds (although it can’t be decaf, or you don’t get the benefits!). You can recycle your grounds from your morning brew, or use fresh unused grounds if you’re not a coffee drinker. If I’m not using my grounds after I make some coffee, I put them in a jar that I keep in the fridge. For a quick-morning de-puff, I press the cold coffee grounds under my eyes for 10 minutes or so. You can also take it into the shower for an all-over body scrub with the same circulation benefits, as well as de-puffing benefits that have been known to temporarily improve cellulite.

The Clarisonic is fairly expensive, but is extremely effective at exfoliating thoroughly. After using the sensitive brush for only a couple days in a row, it feels just like my skin did after a microdermabrasion! It’s the smoothest my skin has ever felt.

 
Cleansing:
 
-Natural, organic bar soap like this one
 
I like using soap because it still gives me a nice lather, which breaks the surface tension of water and washes away dirt, oil and makeup. I use this method when I want an effective makeup removal or cleanse without having to rub very much on my skin or eyelashes, the way I would with oil. I really like using this with the Clarisonic brush. This is the only cleansing method I use that strips away a lot of the oils on my face, so I make sure to moisturize afterwards- because I don’t want my face feeling too dry and feeling like it needs to produce extra oil (like I explained in my I’ll Never Shampoo My Hair Again post.)
 
Makeup remover:
 
-Unrefined/raw coconut oil
 
Like dissolves like, so oil cleansing actually dissolves the surface sebum on your skin. Some people have really finicky skin, so this doesn’t necessarily work for them. I’ve never met anyone who this doesn’t work for, personally, but I’m not going to recommend it as a one-size-fits-all if I’m not positive that’s true! Test it out and see if it works for you. Chances are, it will. It removes all mascaras and face makeup as well as any remover I’ve tried, sans nasty chemicals. You can just rub a couple teaspoons worth over your face and eyes, and wipe with a dry or wet washcloth.
 
Moisturizer:
 
-Unrefined/raw coconut oil
-Cold-pressed caster oil
 
Some people don’t like the “greasy” feel of oil on their face. They liken it to the feeling of really oily skin (the bad kind) and to acne, but it’s nothing like that. I actually think it feels rather luxurious! I’ve been using oil on my face for 6 or 7 years without any adverse reactions or breakouts. I even use it to clear my skin up after a breakout! I used to have really sensitive skin and eczema (which have cleared up since clean-eating), and it helped them both significantly as well. I slather it on before bedtime, since it isn’t really practical to be shiny and oily during the day, or putting under makeup, since the makeup will just slide right off. While coconut oil is my go-to, I like to use castor for its other benefits on top of hydrating my skin as well. 
 
Anti-aging, skin tone corrector:
 
-Cold-pressed caster oil
 
Caster oil has been known to reduce wrinkles and age spots/sun spots. I use it in place of my old Clinique “Even better” Dark Spot Corrector Serum and it works just the same!
 
Eyelash moisturizer and growth serum: 
 
-Cold-pressed caster oil
 
It’s not Latisse, but caster oil has been known even to grow hair back on bald spots on people’s heads after long periods of continued use. My results haven’t been crazy, but they’ve been good. I’ve been using this on and off for 8-10 months now, and while it took quite a while to notice any difference (probably in part because I don’t use it super consistently), I have noticed this summer that when I apply mascara, my lashes are definitely longer and thicker than they were before using caster oil. So I do use a bit more mascara these days, but I won’t complain!
 
Sun protection:
 
-Unrefined/raw coconut oil
 
The trouble with most sunscreens is that they rub in or go on clear, because people don’t like those white-zinc streaks from old sunscreen. Unfortunately, this means that the molecules are small enough to penetrate the first layer or two of skin, and thus has actually has been known to cause cancer. Being wrinkle-free is not worth getting cancer for, especially when you’re trying to protect yourself from it in the first place. The white-streaks are actually the only safe kind of sunscreen, because it’s not getting into your bloodstream and filling your body with toxins. Plus, all that means is you have to rub in it a little more. Is that really so bad? For full coverage I use Banana Boat Natural Reflect Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 for myself and my two year old.
 
Unlike man-made sunscreens, coconut oil has a natural SPF 10. For a nice golden-brown tan I just grab a jar from the kitchen cupboard!
 
Toner:
 
-Raw apple cider vinegar
 
ACV wipes away extra oil and dirt that cleansing may have missed, just like a regular toner, with the added benefit of restoring your skin’s natural pH. This helps to reduce the oil production and balance the skin’s natural hydration levels, as well as fight acne with its anti-bacterial properties. The measurements for this method are 1:1 apple cider vinegar to water.
 
Acne spot treatment:
 
-Raw apple cider vinegar
 
Dab a q-tip’s worth of undiluted apple cider vinegar right onto a pimple to help dry it up and the kill bacteria, all while healing the skin.
 
NAILS 
 
Nail conditioner + strengthener:
 
-Raw apple cider vinegar
 
Just like it says in my no-more-shampoo post, ACV is an excellent skin, hair, and nails conditioner, as it helps to restore their natural pH for strength, health, and beauty. I am pretty hard on my nails, and this really helps! You can also use it to condition your nails before adding polish to wipe away extra oil and balance the pH for extra long-wear nail polish. I know they always brush something on to balance the nail’s pH before I get my gel manicures for this very reason, and that stuff is much more expensive! This formula is 1:2 apple cider vinegar to water (1 part apple cider vinegar, 2 parts water)
 
Teeth, Mouth & Gums
 
Toothpaste: 
 
-Baking soda
 
 
Baking soda has long been known to be an effective breath-freshener, tooth polisher, and teeth whitener. Mixing it into a paste with water works as well as toothpaste, without unnecessary chemicals. While it does not contain fluoride, your teeth might never miss it anyway. Studies are increasingly showing that fluoride is incredibly toxic to ingest, and while it can be beneficial for your teeth topically, is not inherently necessary for the health of your teeth. Not to get all political on you, but the only studies that show fluoride IS beneficial for your teeth are funded by American Dental Association-approved programs. (In fact, this organization works really hard to run all holistic-dentistry out of business. Look into it!)
 
To improve the strength and health of your teeth fluoride-free, Dr. Collin’s Restore is an excellent choice. It re-mineralizes your teeth to protect against enamel breakdown, sensitivity, and cavities. Plus you still get that minty-fresh taste. My daughter’s paternal grandfather is an oral surgeon who has confirmed that the ingredients of this toothpaste suggest the efficacy in all its claims! 
 
Teeth whitener & oral health:
 
-Cold-pressed untoasted sesame oil or unrefined coconut oil
 
Oil pulling, the act of swishing oil around in your mouth for a period of time, has been used for hundreds of years in Eastern Medicine to detox the entire body for a wide array of health benefits. While the scientific evidence has yet to show whether these claims are true or not, it has already confirmed one thing: your entire mouth will be cleaner and healthier. Oil pulling has been shown to stop the growth of Streptoccus bacteria- the main cause of tooth decay, protect against plaque/gingivitus, and significantly whiten teeth in just a couple uses. 
 
I brush my teeth with baking soda and floss beforehand, so the oil doesn’t work on cleaning what it doesn’t need to, and swish 1 tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil around in my mouth for 15-20 minutes. Sometimes it mixes with my spit a lot and my mouth gets really full, so I spit it out and grab some new coconut oil to keep going if my 20 minutes aren’t up yet. Make sure you spit the oil out in the garbage, not the sink! Coconut oil solidifies at certain temperatures, and you don’t want it doing that in your pipes and clogging them up! I rinse my mouth out thoroughly when I’m through (it’s thought to contain a lot of the toxins from your mouth after oil pulling) and that’s it!
 
Extra, extra white teeth:
 
-Hydrogen peroxide
 
Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in all tooth-whitening products. The reason there are so many strips, trays, and gels on the market is because they supply a concentrated dose, as well as being sticky enough to stay on your teeth for a while so it can actually get to work in a short period of time. The additional chemicals and gunk that they add are not good for your teeth, and even worse for you body- which is not good news because you end up ingesting them in small amounts every time you put them on your teeth. A hydrogen peroxide rinse works as well as any high-end whitener if you use it consistently, and sometimes better. A Crest White Strip can’t get in between all the cracks and crevices of your teeth- those stay stained. Not so with the hydrogen peroxide rinse! Add one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts water and swish for a couple minutes every day for professional-like results.
 
What about acne?
 
Although I’ve had my fair share of breakouts, I’m blessed enough to not struggle with them very frequently or significantly. Even so, thanks to the above natural skincare methods and a clean diet, my skin is the best it’s ever been. I used to be crazy about my skincare- spending most of my money on expensive and trendy products, washing once or twice a day, a new mask or skin cream at night, eye creams, anti-acne spot treatments, you name it. I had drawers full of department store and drug store products that worked half as well as an organic, vegan diet does for me now. Cutting out dairy and having a green smoothie every morning does more for me than that entire chest of drawers ever did! 
 
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(My morning “Glowing Green Smoothie“!)
 
I read a story recently in a magazine about women who eat Ramen noodles to afford pricey skin creams, and I was horrified. If these women only knew that they need to do the opposite for good skin! Fruits and vegetables, more than any other foods, contain a wide array of vitamins, nutrients, and anti-oxidants that are necessary for proper functioning and beauty alike. The more real nutrition that you get from your food, the more your body can use it for beauty and wellness. Your body needs nutrition first for normal, every day processes (because these are necessary for life). If there’s anything left over, your body can devote that to beauty, detoxification and wellness (because these are secondary). And that’s only if there’s any LEFT OVER. Most of us only get a serving or two of raw fruits and vegetables a day- if any- and it ALL goes to the basic processes! No wonder we see signs of gray hair and crow’s feet at age 28. 
 
I could talk about nutrition all day, as it’s a huge passion of mine, but I’ll move on. Another way to combat acne healthfully is to detoxify your body from fluoride. I just got on a little rant about fluoride in the toothpaste section, but let me tell you how it relates to your skin. Fluoride, as I said, is incredibly toxic for the human body when ingested. There are zero proven benefits, and only shown detriments. It likes to accumulate it in your body- like your brain, disrupting mental processes, and your bones, significantly weakening them. Did you know countries with fluorinated drinking water all have significantly higher osteoporosis rates? It’s uncanny.
 
Aside from many other hazards, it has an effect on a small portion of the population that is lesser-known in the dermatological community called “fluoroderma“, which is a condition caused by fluoride sensitivity that produces extreme acne that does not clear up very well even with the help of prescriptions or topical treatments. 
 
A cheap and easy way to protect your brain, bones, and skin from fluoride in your drinking water is to detox it out. This can be done by supplementing either boron or melatonin, both of which are very good for you outside of the detoxing purposes, too. I take melatonin supplements when I go to bed, and they improve my sleep. They’re cheap and safe, as melatonin naturally occurs in your body. Fluoride disrupts the production of melatonin in your brain, however, so putting it back in your body through a supplement helps replace it again. 
 
Boron is very effective for getting fluoride out from all areas of your body, and one easy way to take it is in simple old Borax. Yeah, Borax, the stuff in the laundry isle. Borax is not regulated by the FDA, so they don’t recommend it for human ingestion, although it is perfectly safe. Borax is just sodium tetraborate- a type of salt. It’s not a very tastey type of salt, which is why we don’t usually eat it, but we certainly could, if we wanted to. 1/8 of a teaspoon is all you need a day to continually detox the fluoride from your body and protect against buildup. Because it doesn’t taste very good, I add it to citrus drinks like orange juice to mask the flavor. Similar to adding a pinch of table salt to orange juice, a pinch of borax just cuts down on the acidity of the orange juice and makes it taste a little sweeter. I also add it to my morning cup of coffee, and it cuts down on the acidity level of that too, making it less bitter. A pinch here and there quickly adds up to 1/8 tsp, and that’s all it takes. A box of the stuff costs under $10, and you can imagine how long it takes to get through one when you use 1/8 tsp at a time. That’s a small price to pay for your well being!
 
If you have well water, don’t think you don’t need to detox fluoride too! Juices, sodas, soups, and all sorts of other processed and pre-packaged foods or restaurant foods and drinks contain fluorinated water. Even some bottled-waters, and the frappe you got at Starbucks last week. It’s all over the place, and your body has a hard time getting rid of it. If you haven’t detoxed it, chances are almost certain that you need to.
 
So there you have it! A little lesson on good skin and health, the natural way. Don’t take my word for it- try it out for yourself! 🙂