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Heal yourself by restoring your liver
  • The first and best recommendation to heal the liver is to eat less.
  • The second recommendations includes the absence of alcohol.
  • One should also reduce certain foods that have the most impact on the liver. These include foods high in saturated fat (cream, cheese, dairy, eggs, meat), oils (refined, rancid oil, shortening and margarines) except fresh, cold pressed olive oil, excess of nuts and seeds, chemicals in foods and water, all intoxicants and highly processed and refined foods.
  • Consume small amount of turmeric, basil, cardamom, onions, cumin, fennel, horseradish and mint
  • Increase the intake of raw foods such as sprouted grains, beans and seeds, fresh vegetables and fruits as they stimulate the liver.
  • Indulge in foods that harmonize the liver. These are foods that are sweet in nature, including whole grains, vegetables and legumes.
  • Bitter and sour foods reduce the excess of the liver (e.g. apple cider, brown rice vinegar, asparagus, amaranth, quinoa, alfalfa, dandelion, milk thistle.
  • Foods that detoxify and cool the liver include mug beans and their sprouts, seaweeds, kelp in particular, lettuce, cucumber, watercress, millet, plum, mushrooms, radish, spirulina, grapes, blackberries, balckstrap molasses.
  • Foods which accelerate liver rejuvenation include cereal grasses such as barley grass or wheat grass. They can be purchased in powder form in health foods stores. Combine 1 tsp with water and drink daily.

Besides diet, it is important to identify the underlying root cause of all diseases.Regardless of diet, emotions themselves when driven by the desire of greed, anger or resentment greatly damage the liver function. Unresolved emotional issues are also stored physically as residues of excess in the liver. It is therefore essential to improve the diet alongside emotional patterns.

Reference:

Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition (3rd ed). Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

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Spring Foods

The spring is the season which focuses on the rejuvenation of liver and gallbladder. We naturally eat less in spring or fast for a certain period of time to cleanse the body of the heavy foods that have been consumed over winter. The spring diet should be the lightest of the year. Fresh vegetables and fruits as well as sprouts and cereal grasses should be consumed. This can be accompanied by whole grains, legumes and fresh herbs. Salty foods such as soy sauce, tamari, miso and sodium rich meats should be reduced or eliminated during this season. Also, too many heavy foods should be avoided as they clog the liver and may contribute to spring fevers. Click here for more information on the root cause of liver stagnation and its myriad of symptoms and here for dietary protocols for a healthy liver and liver /gallbladder cleanse.

Enjoy sweet and pungent foods in particular. Honey mint tea is a classes example. The pungent cooking herbs such a fresh basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf can be well combined with whole grains, legumes and seeds. Young beets, carrots and other sweet starchy vegetables provide a refreshing sweet flavor. In spring we can also increase the amount of raw foods. When cooking the food, we should reduce the cooking time but use higher temperature. This enables the foods not be cooked as thoroughly.

Enjoy the fresh produce of spring!

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A Congested Liver: The Root Cause of Many Symptoms & Disease

More and more people suffer from fatigue, vascular disease, allergies, chronic indigestion, neck and back tension, menstrual problems, muscular pain, spasms, cramps, dizziness, pulsating headaches, nervous system disorders, insomnia and emotional problems such as anger, frustration, depression, moodiness, to mention a few. A stagnant liver is a major contributing factor to those symptoms and disease. Additionally, a weak liver may weaken the kidneys and contribute to digestive problems (spleen/pancreas and stomach). It also influences iron and vitamin B12 absorption adversely. The liver is perhaps the most congested organ in the modern person. Too much stress, rich and greasy foods, late heavy heals, alcohol, fat, oils, meat, dairy, eggs, chemicals, intoxicants, and denatured food all interfere with the numerous biomedical processes of the liver. They lead to the liver becoming stagnant and overheated which effects the energy flow, leading to a myriad of physical and emotional problems.

The liver also purifies the blood. If the liver is stagnant the blood purification may be inadequate, leading to the release of toxins through the skin. Impure blood is a cause of acne, eczema, acidosis and allergies. In addition, toxic blood feeds all degenerative conditions such as cancer and arthritis. Also, the menstruation of the women is affected if the storage of blood malfunctions which can lead to an overabundant, irregular, scat or lacking menses. Another sign of such a liver blood deficiency can be anemia, general bodily dryness.

When the liver is consistently stagnant, sediment often settles out of the bile and forms accumulations that resemble stones or sand in the gallbladder. The gallbladder, a reservoir of bile, becomes less efficient when clogged with sediment and acute problems results when stones become lodges in the bile duct leading from the gallbladder to the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine).

Reference:

Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition (3rd ed). Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

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Dietary Principles to Heal the Gallbladder
Gradual Gallbladder Cleanse:
  1. Avoid alcohol and foods richest in saturated fats and cholesterol such as heavy meat, dairy and eggs.
  2. Also, avoid peanuts and eat other nuts sparingly, if at all
  3. Eat primarily a myriad of fresh vegetables, sprouts, unrefined grains, legumes and fruits
  4. Pear, radish, parsnip, seaweeds, lemons, limes and turmeric assist the gallstone removal. These foods can be emphasized during the cleanse. Add 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder to every meal or use the fresh turmeric root.
  5. Cleaver or chamomile tea (3-5 cups a day)
  6. Fresh, cold-pressed flax oil

Your physician can confirm the presence of gallstones for you. The gradual cleansing method described above may assist in the gradual removal of small and large gallstones.

When smaller stones are present the gallbladder can also be purged by a ‘one day’ ritual called the ‘Gallbladder Flush’ or ‘Liver Cleanse Program’. There are many variations of this cleanse but I recommend the one by Hulda Regehr Clark as I conduct this myself with great success. I love it when I use this method to cleanse my liver bile duct. It improves digestion, which is the basis of your whole health.

ATTENTION: I highly recommend that you do not perform this ‘Gallbladder Flush before a parasite cleanse and any dental work you may need. There are various products that assist with cleansing parasites. A very good one is the PAREX from Metagenics. Please contact me if you need more information on the parasite cleanse or this product.

Reference:

Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition (3rd ed). Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

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Obtain a Healthy Bone Mass: The Magnesium Connection

Calcitonin is a hormone which increases calcium in the bones and keeps it from being absorbed into the soft tissues. Magnesium increases calcitonin production and therefore increases calcium in the bones while drawing it out from the soft tissues. A magnesium-rich diet of whole foods is generally the cure for most forms of calcium deficiencies.

The food groups in order of their magnesium content are:

  1. Dried seaweed (dulse, arame, wakame, kombu, kelp, hijiki and most others)
  2. Beans including mung, aduki, black and lima beans and lentils
  3. Whole grains, particularly buckwheat, millet, wheat berries, barley, rye and rice (brown and wild)*
  4. Nuts and seeds, especially almonds, cashews, filberts and sesame seeds
  5. High chlorophyll foods such as wheat and barley grass products
  6. Micro-algae including spirulina and chlorella (beneficial for calcium utilization)

Note: Beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds should be soaked overnight to eliminate phytates and increase magnesium and calcium absorption.

References

Regtop, H. Is magnesium the grossly neglected mineral? International Nutrition Review? International Clinical Nutrition Review 3: pp 18-19, July 1983

Levine, B. and Coburn, J. Magnesium: the mimic/antagonist of calcium. New England Journal of Medicine 310: pp 1253-1255, May 10, 1984

Pitchford, P. Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition (ed 3). Berkley: North Atlantic Books, 2002

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Tomatoes: Our Friends & Enemies

Tomatoes are one of the most consumed fruits. Tomatoes have a sweet and sour flavor, are cooling and act on the stomach and liver. They clear heat in the body and detoxify the blood. Even though tomatoes are acidic, after digestion they alkalize the blood. However, because they can upset the calcium balance due to their solanine content, they are best avoided by people with osteoporosis and arthritis and children.

According to ‘macrobiotics’ tomatoes should never be used as they are acidic and with long term use are weakening to the gastrointestinal tract. According to Dr. Bernard Jensen, author of the ‘Foods That Heal’ book, the acids of green tomatoes are especially detrimental to the kidneys. Therefore, it is recommended to cut and discard the green parts of tomatoes before their consumption.

In Ayurvedic tradition, are problematic because they have a postdigestive effect, meaning that they stay sour after being metabolized. This means that the extended or excessive use of tomatoes irritates the gut, to which any person with an ulcer or an already sensitive stomach will attest. The peel and seeds are also aggravating for the nervous-system. Tomatoes can also acerbate skin conditions and allergies. Tomatoes are a more balanced food when cooked with warming spices such as cumin and turmeric (see the recipe ‘ Dr Verena’s Home Made Tomato Sauce” below).

When eaten in moderation and in season, vine-ripe tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and B complex, as well as potassium and phosphorus. Tomatoes are rich in sugar (fructose, glucose and sucrose) and contain lycopene, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals with anticancer properties.

Reference:

Wood, R. (1999). The new whole food encyclopedia. United States: Penguin Group

Dr Verena’s Home Made Tomato Sauce

(serves 2 people)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 6 chopped tomatoes (green parts removed)
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
  • Celtic sea salt, pepper to taste

Method:

  • Heat olive oil or butter on low/medium heat
  • Add chopped onions, roast for 2 minutes, add salt and bay leave and roast until translucent (approx. 5 minutes)
  • Add chili flakes, stir and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes, stir and put lid on pot
  • Cook for 10 minutes on medium heat
  • Add 1 cup of water and continue to cook for 20 minutes
  • Add cumin and turmeric powder, stir and cook for another 10 minutes
  • Add salt and pepper, stir, switch of heat and let it stand for 10 more minutes.
  • Note: You can add more water of necessary


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Ten Essentials about Nuts & Seeds
  1. When purchasing nuts make sure they do not taste bitter which indicates that they are old and rancid
  2. The best way to eat seeds and nuts is to soak or dry roast them in a pan
  3. Soaking them overnight (e.g. almonds) to initiate the sprouting process, which makes fats and proteins more digestible
  4. Roasting reduces the effect of rancidity and cuts down the oiliness, making nuts and seeds easier to digest
  5. Lightly dry roast the nuts and seeds, as overheating makes the oils harmful
  6. Store them in a sealed container in the fridge
  7. Roasting increases their warming qualities for the fall and winter, sprouting improves their cooling and fresh qualities for the spring and summer
  8. People with sensitive digestion should follow simple food-combining principles (i.e. eat nuts and seeds alone or with or green and non-starchy vegetable)
  9. The medicinal value is greatly increased when chewed well
  10. Eaten in large amounts they can cause problems in digestion, with blemishes and pimples, and are notorious for producing foul-smelling flatulence

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Foods that Promote Lactation

My friend Jennifer asked me about foods that promote lactation.  She absolutely loves breast-feeding and when I read her feedback on it I thought that I need to share her experiences with you. Thank you Jen!

“I absolutely love breastfeeding. It’s the most beautifully bonding thing a woman can experience with her baby. Plus it’s absolutely amazing how I’ve gotten my figure back with not much exercise in the past six months. It burns 500calories a day! My husband is blown away at how amazing nature has a way of such things! It has helped me fall asleep quickly when doing late feedings and has promoted so many happy feel good hormones. No post partum depression that’s for sure!” (Jen T.)

Jennifer and James April 2010

Breast-feeding has tremendous nutritional, immunological, emotional and psychological benefits for the new born and I can just encourage all new mothers to breastfeed as long as possible. You lay the foundation for your child and provide him/her with the most amazing gift.

There are certain foods that promote lactation which include:

  • Asparagus
  • Borage (European herb)
  • Dill (use fresh to garnish foods)
  • Fennel (enjoy a cup of fennel tea in between meals)
  • Nigella (Indian spice)
  • Black sesame seeds (dry roasted),
  • Juice from cooked aduki beans
  • Carrot
  • Sweet potato
  • Fermented soy beans in miso, tempeh and tamari (consumed in moderation)

To promote lactation it is also essential to nourish and strengthen the kidney through adequate rest and relaxation after the delivery (6 weeks minimum) and via the intake of the following foods:

  • Mussels
  • Fish (particularly broths)
  • Millet
  • Legumes (e.g. Aduki beans, mung beans, black beans)
  • Kelp (garnish your foods with it)
  • Kombu (add when cooking soups or stews)
  • Parsley
  • Spirulina
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Almonds (soaked and peeled)
  • Bee pollen (1/4 tsp in your breakfast every 2-3 days)

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13 Foods that You Should Eat Organic

Do your vegetables and fruits contain the nutrients you need?

Purchasing and eating vegetables and fruits does not guarantee you that you will provide your body with all the essential nutrients it needs on a daily basis.  This is due to the majority of our soils being depleted in nutrients (selenium, zinc, etc.) and most of the fresh produce containing high levels of pesticides.

By choosing organic and biodynamic foods you can obtain the essential nutrients you need from your fruits and vegetables without exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. You can truly nurture your body and enjoy the health benefits when choosing organic.

Below is a list of vegetables and fruits which are most likely to contain high levels of pesticide residues:

  1. Carrots
  2. Garlic
  3. Celery
  4. Bell Peppers (Capsicum)
  5. Leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach, silverbeet and bock choy)
  6. Lettuce
  7. Peaches
  8. Apples
  9. Nectarines
  10. Grapes
  11. Cherries
  12. Pears
  13. Strawberries

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Eleven Reasons to Eat Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

  1. Are an endurance foods
  2. Are the highest source of omega-3 fatty acids
  3. Lubricate dryness
  4. Relieve constipation
  5. Reduce nervousness
  6. Treat insomnia
  7. Improve mental focus
  8. Act as an anti-inflammatory
  9. Contribute to stable blood sugar levels
  10. Are beneficial for weight loss
  11. Are a superior source of dietary fibre, iron and calcium

Note: Add 1-2 tsp in your 1 liter water bottle and drink in between meals. You can also use chia seeds for your breakfast, smoothies, juices and in salads or garnish your foods with them.

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