Hormone Balance

Hormones are the body’s way of signaling changes in puberty and maintaining bodily processes for balance and health throughout life. The endocrine system controls the production and use of hormones across the body. The endocrine system includes the pineal gland, pituitary gland, hypothalamus, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, thymus, pancreas, and adrenal glands. It also includes sexual and reproductive organs. Both males and females need to maintain hormone balance in their bodies which are slightly different, but yet similar in many ways. Hormone balance can be supported by various foods and herbs and disrupted by certain products and foods. These increase the risk of various diseases. 

Male hormonal balance is detrimental in many ways and provoked by many factors. It manifests in various symptoms that indicate that there is a lack of homeostasis of hormones in the body. Symptoms include fatigue, mood fluctuations, weight gain or loss, low sperm count, hair loss, loss of muscle mass, memory loss, inconsistent erections, reduced sex drive, enlarged breast tissue, infertility, depression, anxiety, insomnia, appetite changes, digestive issues, irritability, and lack of concentration (1), (2). Thus, there is a wide range of symptoms that indicate imbalance and perhaps an excess (or sometimes a lack of hormones in the body). Low testosterone or excess estrogen can damage reproductive health, happiness, energy levels, brain function, and general bodily health, as well as increasing disease risk. 

There are various ways to sustain hormone balance with high enough levels of testosterone in the body including various herbs, foods, and lifestyle habits. There are basic habits to maintain homeostasis in the body. These include getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, exercising, time outdoors for fresh air and vitamin D, reducing stress, and addressing nutritional deficiencies (3). This will ensure that the thyroid glands will function well for hormone balance. There are also various foods that ensure that testosterone levels and production are relatively high. This includes pumpkin seeds, coconut, maca, avocado, chia seeds, spinach, ginger, garlic, and cruciferous vegetables (4). The body will synthesize these foods for the benefit of testosterone production which will help those suffering from low testosterone. There are also various herbs that help to naturally increase testosterone levels. These include horny goat weed, bulbine natalensis, tribulus terrestris, ashwaghanda, kapikachuu, and shilajit (5), (6). These will help the endocrine system produce more testosterone and regulate it in the blood.

In terms of nutrition, foods from animals like meat and dairy are likely to increase the risk of hormone imbalance (and all of the accompanied side effects). There are numerous facts about the hormones that are consumed in animal products including: 

  • Synthetic hormonal implants in cows increase disease risk (USDA, 1999) (7)
  • Naturally occurring and added hormones in meat and milk increase the risk of gynecomastia in males. (7)
  • Food with labels like ‘organic’ and ‘hormone-free’ are often still high in naturally occurring and added hormones. (7)
  • Dioxins are chemicals that accumulate in animal-based products and can contribute to a wide range of illnesses (including cancer, weakened immune system, nervous system disorders, miscarriages, and birth deformities). (7)
  • Synthetic hormones increase the chances of early puberty in girls. (1980s, CDC) (8)
  • Synthetic hormones in these foods increase the chances of weight gain due to toxin storage. (8)
  • Hormones in beef may contribute to a low sperm count in males. (9)
  • Dairy products account for about 60-80% of estrogen consumed daily. (Davaasambuu, 2006) (10)
  • IGF-1 and other hormones in cows milk are linked with colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer. (11)

In perfumes, body products, cleaning products, and various other products, there are often various chemicals that occur called endocrine disruptors. Here are various facts about them: 

  • Parabens are found in shampoo, conditioners, lotions, and face cleaners. They cause endocrine issues and affect the reproductive system. 
  • Phthalates occur in cosmetics, processed foods, and plastics. They have an impact on the reproductive system. 
  • Synthetic colours occur in many beauty products and are linked to cancer risk. 
  • Synthetic fragrances are found in cosmetics and bodily fragrances. This contributes to struggles with hormone balance and weight issues. 
  • SLS is found in shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and cleaning products. It increases the risk of endocrine problems, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation, and cancer. 

(12)

In conclusion, the male and female endocrine systems can both become imbalanced leading to various ailments. Many products and animal-based foods worsen the imbalance by contributing synthetic and excess hormones to your body, whilst many plant-based foods and herbs help to restore balance.

Sources

(1) Axe, J., 2021. 6 Steps to Balance Hormones Naturally. [online] Dr. Axe. Available at: <https://draxe.com/health/10-ways-balance-hormones-naturally/&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(2) Axe, J., 2021. 6 Steps to Balance Hormones Naturally. [online] Dr. Axe. Available at: <https://draxe.com/health/10-ways-balance-hormones-naturally/&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(3) FountainTRT Blog. 2021. 7 Tips To Boost Testosterone Naturally. [online] Available at: <https://blog.fountaintrt.com/boost-testosterone-naturally/&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(4) Jenkins, J., 2021. 9 Testosterone Boosting Vegan Foods – Boost T-Levels on a Vegan Diet. [online] Skinny2Fit. Available at: <https://www.skinny2fit.com/testosterone-boosting-vegan-foods/#:~:text=What%20Vegan%20Foods%20Boost%20Testosterone%3F%201%20Pumpkin%20Seeds.,an%20increase%20in%20testosterone%20production.%20More%20items…%20> [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(5) Planet Ayurveda. 2021. Herbs & Herbal Remedies for Low Testosterone Levels in Males. [online] Available at: <https://www.planetayurveda.com/herbs-herbal-remedies-for-low-testosterone-levels-in-males/&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(6)  Jenkins, J., 2021. 9 Testosterone Boosting Vegan Foods – Boost T-Levels on a Vegan Diet. [online] Skinny2Fit. Available at: <https://www.skinny2fit.com/testosterone-boosting-vegan-foods/#:~:text=What%20Vegan%20Foods%20Boost%20Testosterone%3F%201%20Pumpkin%20Seeds.,an%20increase%20in%20testosterone%20production.%20More%20items…%20> [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(7) PETA. 2021. Contamination Facts: Food Poisoning and Meat. [online] Available at: <https://www.peta.org/living/food/meat-contamination/&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(8)  Eblogfa.com. 2021. 3 Health Effects of Hormones in Meat on Humans. [online] Available at: <http://eblogfa.com/747/3-health-effects-of-hormones-in-meat-on-humans&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(9) Hitti, M., 2007. Study Links Beef to Lower Sperm Count. [online] WebMD. Available at: <https://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20070327/study-links-beef-to-lower-sperm-count#1&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(10) Davaasambuu, G., 2006. Hormones in milk can be dangerous. [online] Harvard Gazette. Available at: <https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2006/12/hormones-in-milk-can-be-dangerous/&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(11) Carter, B., 2021. Hormones in Milk – How Worried Should We Be?. [online] Eco & Beyond. Available at: <https://www.ecoandbeyond.co/articles/hormones-milk/&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

(12) Dr Becky Campbell: Reset your body. 2020. The Hidden Endocrine Disruptors in Everyday Cosmetics. [online] Available at: <https://drbeckycampbell.com/hidden-endocrine-disruptors-everyday-cosmetics/&gt; [Accessed 23 October 2021].

Yoghurt: a wise food choice?

Yogurt in its vegan and non-vegan forms is a questionable food choice for many different reasons.


Yogurt in its non-vegan form contains many non-ethical ingredients and has non-ethical farming methods. Cows used in the production of yogurt are often farmed using methods and practices that are detrimental to their freedom and health. This includes being fed GMO grains in indoor enclosures rather than eating grass in outdoor pastures (1). As well as harmful conditions for the cows that produce the main ingredients (milk), ingredients commonly added to yogurt are often also produced from animal remains. This includes gelatin (a thickener from animal bones), calcium supplementation additives like tricalcium phosphate from bone ash, and food dyes like carmine from ground beetles (2). This means that most mainstream yogurt brands contain more than just one non-vegan ingredient!


However, even vegan yogurts or similar products (many vegan processed sweet treats) may contain other harmful ingredients. These include sugar, aspartame, high-fructose corn syrup, and modified corn starch (2). These are toxic and are linked to increased risk of obesity, disease, and disbalance in the body. Furthermore, the processing of yogurt often involves the use of a chemical defoamer. This is dimethylpolysilxane which is very toxic especially when preserved with formaldehyde (1). For this reason, most yogurt products should not be marketed as health foods, although they are!


I find it debatable and questionable whether probiotics in yogurt in the form of ‘added bacteria’ or ‘live cultures’ are beneficial for the body, as the body has its own natural biochemical balance that can be easily disturbed. It has been shown that frequent yogurt consumption may impact gut balance and the nervous system. The former has been shown to increase bloating and gas, whilst the latter has been shown to increase the risk of headaches (3). Probiotics may do this by increasing the toxicity in the body. Probiotics may produce harmful substances and increase the risk of infections (4). This means that they lower the immune system. In opposition to this, it has been found that “higher fiber intake was correlated with more lush microbiomes — and stronger responses to immunotherapy” (5). Thus, high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables may be much better for the immune system than yogurt.


There is other evidence that synthetic probiotics may be detrimental to the immune system. “Previous studies have found a link between disruption to gut microbes and obesity, allergies and inflammation” (6). This suggests that any gut imbalance increases the risk of weight gain, metabolic imbalance, a lowered immune system, and increases inflammation. Certain added bacteria in specific can increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.


The negative impact on A. muciniphila was associated with the expression of lipid metabolism, inflammatory markers in adipose tissue, and different parameters like increased blood glucose, insulin resistance, and plasma triglycerides (7, 8)
This common probiotic could have particularly detrimental effects, but further evidence could suggest that the other ones do also!

Bibliography

(1) Organicconsumers.org. 2014. You Won’t Believe What’s in Your Yogurt – and It’s Not on the Label!. [online] Available at: <https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/you-wont-believe-whats-your-yogurt-and-its-not-label&gt; [Accessed 27 September 2021].

(2) Fitness Together. 2011. The Hidden Dangers of Yogurt. [online] Available at: <https://fitnesstogether.com/eastbay/blog/the-hidden-dangers-of-yogurt&gt; [Accessed 27 September 2021].

(3) Honeycutt, L., 2019. The Negative Side Effects of Probiotic Yogurt. [online] LIVESTRONG.COM. Available at: <https://www.livestrong.com/article/412779-the-negative-side-effects-of-probiotic-yogurt/&gt; [Accessed 27 September 2021].

(4)  NIH. 2021. Probiotics: What You Need To Know. [online] Available at: <https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know&gt; [Accessed 27 September 2021].

(5) Keshavan, M., 2019. Probiotics, touted as good for the gut, may be trouble for immune system. [online] STAT. Available at: <https://www.statnews.com/2019/04/02/probiotics-are-touted-as-good-for-the-gut-they-may-be-trouble-for-the-immune-system/&gt; [Accessed 27 September 2021].

(6) George, A., 2018. Probiotics are mostly useless and can actually hurt you. [online] New Scientist. Available at: <https://www.newscientist.com/article/2178860-probiotics-are-mostly-useless-and-can-actually-hurt-you/&gt; [Accessed 27 September 2021].

(7) El Hage, R., Hernandez-Sanabria, E. and Van de Wiele, T., 2017. Emerging Trends in “Smart Probiotics”: Functional Consideration for the Development of Novel Health and Industrial Applications. Front. Microbiol., [online] Available at: <https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2017.01889/full&gt; [Accessed 27 September 2021].

(8) Schneeberger, M., Everard, A., Gómez-Valadés, A. G., Matamoros, S., Ramírez, S., Delzenne, N. M., et al. (2015). Akkermansia muciniphila inversely correlates with the onset of inflammation, altered adipose tissue metabolism and metabolic disorders during obesity in mice. Sci. Rep. 5:16643. doi: 10.1038/srep16643

Other Detox Organs: The Magic of Detox

There are numerous other detox organs that prevent our bodies from becoming toxic, inflamed and overwhelmed by chemicals and pollutants to the point where our bodies are the ideal environment for disease to manifest. These include the brain, the lungs, the skin, the lymphatic system, the colon, the gallbladder, and the appendix. 

The Brain

The brain is the control centre for bodily processes including detoxification and it has its own mechanisms for cleaning itself. The lymphatic system does not extend into the brain, so the brain has its own purifying system called the glymphatic system.

 “This waste removal system is called the glymphatic system, and it works by pumping cerebral spinal fluid through the brain to flush out toxins and potentially harmful protein waste”  

(1)

This not only clears the brain for many benefits like reducing brain fog, tiredness, and cognitive processing but also reduces the risk of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. This process may also reduce the risk of other diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and ALS (2). The glymphatic system plays a very specific role in reducing the underlying causative factors of these diseases. It reduces the formation of beta-amyloid plaque which is associated with the disease (3). The clearing of this plaque that links to the disease that impacts memory and cognitive processing is an energy taxing process. Hence, this may be the reason that the glymphatic system cleansing happens during sleep. 

The more the accumulation of toxic substances, heavy metals, medications, alcohol, and inflammatory foods in the body, the more mitochondrial dysfunction. So, there is less energy for the metabolic activity of the brain. If energy is diverted from this metabolically active organ for detoxification needs, then slower processing, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties could result (4). In order to regain energy for the glymphatic system and for the rest of the body’s detoxification to both occur, sleeping and bodily exercise may both increase glymphatic activity. It was found by the research team led by Nedergaard that during sleep the brain shrinks helping the glymphatic fluid to flow through and remove toxins from the brain better (3). Sleep, then, not only provides more energy for whole body detoxing but, also, adjusts the brain for this process to occur more readily. Moreso, exercise is known to improve brain function. Additionally, it has been shown to increase glymphatic activity in mice after five weeks of voluntary running (5). This is similar to the lymphatic system in which a lack of physical activity is also more likely to lead to blockages and toxicity.      

There are numerous ways to help this process of brain detoxification. One of the main ways is linked to the fact that the glymphatic system uses cerebral spinal fluid (rather than lymphatic fluid) and it is connected to the spinal cord. As well as general physical exercise, chiropractic adjustments, and having a good posture, may improve brain detoxification by improving cerebral spinal fluid flow (6). Chiropractic adjustment releases toxins, improves posture, and relieves tension, as well as improving cognition and brain detoxification. There are also a few other ways to increase cerebral spinal flow. These include intermittent fasting, yoga, standing at work, whole-body vibration therapy, pranayama and breathing exercises, massage, and hydration (6). All of these involve increasing energy flow in the body which will promote lymphatic and glymphatic movement. There are also numerous foods and herbs which help brain detoxification. These include cocoa, turmeric, spinach, avocado, celery, rosemary, bacopa, and sage (7). These foods protect the brain and improve brain function, as well as improving glymphatic detoxification by providing energy and protection against free radical build-up leading to damage with antioxidants.

The Lungs 

  

Another detox organ is the lungs which are vital for breathing, circulation, and stress release. Toxins from air pollution, smoke, and other sources can collect in the lungs, as well as other organs, leading to inflammation and various lung conditions (asthma/cystic fibrosis/lung cancer). The lungs function better in a healthy body and basic health choices can improve the lung’s self-healing ability. These include not smoking, eating anti-inflammatory foods (leafy greens and berries), staying hydrated, exercising, avoiding artificial scents, and breathing exercises (8). This helps with healing after toxin exposure, as well as the process of growing strong lungs from childhood to withstand exposure to sources of air pollution or smoke that are toxic to the lungs. There are a few other practices to directly release toxins and excess mucus from the lungs. These include steam therapy, controlled coughing, postural drainage techniques (breathing in various positions with the chest lower than the hips), and chest percussion (9). Heat, movement, and breathwork help the airways to clear and to stir up the free release of toxins, mucus, and carbon dioxide. 

Smoking, air pollution, and vaping cause much more damage than most expect to lung function. “Toxins can damage airways and lung tissue and make it harder to breathe” (10). Thus, inciting self-healing processes with lifestyle factors is a must for easy pain-free breathing. There is a substantial contrast between breathing in nature and breathing in artificial scents like air fresheners and candles made from inorganic materials. This is that artificial scents contain chemicals that damage the lungs and halt detox, whilst fresh air from nature expands and heals the body tissues (11). Fresh air can be brought into the home by opening windows and having a home layout that is open and spacious. Meanwhile, artificial scents can be replaced by smudging with herbs to cleanse the air and diffusing essential oils. There are various herbal drinks to cleanse the lungs which contain antioxidants and reduce inflammation. These include green tea, cinnamon water, ginger and turmeric drink, and smoothies with high vitamin ingredients like apples, beetroots, and carrots (12). These will help to reduce inflammation and mucus build-up, whilst promoting the detoxification and healing process.  

The Skin

In contrast to the lungs which have more of a role in breathing than detox, the skin is the largest detoxification organ of the body and could be considered the most supreme. In opposition to mainstream advice and advertising, I think that many and most skincare products add toxic chemicals to the skin which block the pores and detoxification pathways. I have always found it doubtful whether most products cleanse, protect, smoothe, provide antioxidants, moisturise, tone, exfoliate, or hydrate the skin, as they claim to. A more realistic way to cleanse the skin is through hydration, exercise, steamy saunas, juicing, and getting enough sleep which will promote skin health. Meanwhile, a badass way to remove dead skin cells is scrubbing and brushing the skin with skin brushes or exfoliating skin stones. Hydrating foods will also boost skin detoxification, so the skin will be smoother and more clear. These include all fruit, avocadoes, seeds, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, chocolate, green tea, coconut, oatmeal, carrots, leafy greens, and sea buckthorn (13). These protect the skin from sun damage, free radicals, dryness, wrinkles, and cell damage, whilst boosting collagen production.  

  

The Lymphatic System


 Underneath the skin, along with the vascular system, there is the complex network of the lymphatic system. This is essential for the removal of toxins, chemicals, bad cells, viruses, bacteria, and waste that are absorbed through the skin or orally, breathed in, or stored not released from bodily processes. Accumulation in the lymphatic system is known to be a leading cause of all illnesses, especially cancer. Swelling is common with diseases like cancer because the lymphatic system has been compromised (14). Swelling is most commonly due to infection or removal of a lymph node, but could also just be lymphatic stagnation. There are various signs and symptoms of congested lymph. These include fatigue, swollen glands, puffiness, bloating, headaches, sinus infections, skin issues, stiffness, constipation, weight gain, breast tenderness, fogginess, allergies, and colds or flu (14). These are more minor issues, but more serious stagnation increases the risk of diseases like cancer.  

There are also various organs of the lymphatic system. These include the adenoid, the tonsils, the thymus, the lymph nodes and vessels, the spleen, and the bone marrow (14). These organs are responsible for the formation of lymph fluid with white blood cells and other immune cells that circulate around the body. The most effective way to move the lymphatic system is by far a decent amount of exercise. This works because the lymphatic system functions against gravity through the musculoskeletal system for circulation (14). The lymphatic system relies on physical movement unlike other systems in the body which may rely more on energy from breathing, food, and hydration. As well as skin brushing which is an obvious way to move the higher surface lymph system, there are a few effective types of physical movement which are constructive at moving the lymphatic system. These include deep breathing, rebounding on a mini trampoline, and massage (14), as well as all forms of exercise. 

Three other factors that improve the lymphatic system include diet, clothing, and stress levels. Lymphatic congestion is eased by lower levels of stress. The lymphatic system is linked closely with the nervous system and stress causes inflammation that contributes to stasis in the lymph system (15). This may be another reason that breathing exercises and massage are effective for lymph detox, as they are relaxation techniques. In terms of diet, all raw vegan foods especially fruit is august for lymphatic movement, as well as drinking water as this is hydrating and astringent. In particular, Ayurvedic medicine claims that red foods (pomegranates, cherries, cranberries) move the lymph most efficiently due to high levels of enzymes and antioxidants that banish toxins and free radicals from the villi, especially beetroot that also thins bile for fat digestion (15). In this way, the lymphatic system is closest linked with the digestive system, as absorption of nutrients through the villi also collects toxins and free radicals into the lymphatic wastage system. Another contributory factor to blockages and congestion in the lymphatic system is tight-fitting clothing, particularly bras. Tight clothing can “restrict the drainage of lymph fluids from surrounding tissues” (15). Free movement of lymph fluid depends on loose clothing for easier flow of lymph, then, and finding comfortable clothing will also lower stress levels, increase self-esteem, and help with self-confidence due to lower amounts of overall discomfort.      

In terms of diet, the consumption of healthy fats (e.g. nuts, seeds, and avocados) are absorbed and transported by the lymphatic system for the absorption of fat-soluble minerals, but fruits are the most ideal food for detoxing and moving the lymphatic system. 

“When the lymphatics are not flowing, we may feel our energy levels drop and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K are poorly transported from the digestive tract around our body” (16). 

These vitamins are essential for bodily systems and a healthy metabolism. The functioning of the immune system also links closely to weight gain. Lymphatic dysfunction can increase the risk of various factors associated with obesity including the production of leptin, the satiety hormone, high blood pressure, growth of fat cells, genes associated with obesity, and accumulation of belly fat (16). Therefore, detoxing and stimulating your lymphatic system is without a doubt a step towards weight loss! 

The Colon        

If the colon is unclean due to consumption of processed junk food and predominantly starchy foods, like bread and pasta, then toxins, chemicals, and residue will collect on the walls of the colon feeding disease and dysfunction in the body. Colon detoxification can include enemas and fruit/juice/water fasting which orally or anally cleanse the colon of food residue by washing through. Benefits include excreting more toxins and heavy metals with excrement, removing bad bacteria, removing food waste from the folds, stimulating and strengthening muscles with more bowel movements, and helping the lymphatic system cleanse also (17). Hydrating the colon will also move the lymphatic system whilst preventing and reducing stagnation across all areas of the body. This will also lessen the load of the main detox organs like the liver and the kidneys due to fewer toxins in the body.

 

There are numerous conditions and symptoms of gut issues. These include leaky gut, IBS, chronic fatigue, obesity, acne, and fibromyalgia for more serious conditions, whilst bad breath, headaches, cravings, nausea, itching, chest pain, and fatigue are symptoms of gut issues (18). Therefore, there are many conditions that can result from gut issues. Furthermore, colonic irrigation may be better for detoxing whilst protecting the colon than prolonged fasting. 

Initial research suggests that the current trend for fasting—at least for longer periods—might deplete intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) levels (Source: HINDAWI). IAP is a gut defence protein found in our gut epithelium (gut lining). It detoxifies some substances that bacteria produce and prevents intestinal inflammation. Recent research shows that IAP can also prevent a pathogenic type of E. coli bacteria from adhering to our gut walls (Source: NCBI). (18)

That being so, an alkaline gut is really essential to prevent bacteria breeding, toxicity, acidity, and inflammation that will increase the risk of gut issues. Colonics may be a better option for colonic detox or fasting could be accompanied by highly alkaline foods like most fruits, lime water, or certain herbs (wheatgrass/burdock root/sarsaparilla/nettle).    

The Gall Bladder

Next, the gallbladder stores the bile produced in the liver to help with digestion and absorption of mostly fat. In the meantime, the detox function of the gallbladder is also to remove waste away from the liver in the bile. Gallbladders need healthy fats and a chemical-free environment to function well.

 

“The problem is, many gallbladders have become lazy, congested, and even blocked with sludge and bile stones. When bile stagnates in an underworked gallbladder, it thickens and begins to stick to itself and form gallstones. Decades of processed foods and nutritionally bankrupt low-fat and non-fat diets, compounded by increased toxic exposures, have created a gallstone epidemic.”  (19)

If working, the bile will more easily filter chemicals, drugs, heavy metals, and toxins in the bile, but the build-up of these can lead to health issues and gallbladder dysfunction. Symptoms of congested bile include hormone dysfunction, hypothyroidism, hot flashes, constipation, depression, migraines, insomnia, dry skin, chronic fatigue, yeast overgrowth, and parasites, whilst poor fat digestion signs include nausea, bloating, constipation, or pale stools (19). These conditions and symptoms suggest that you need to improve your diet and do a gallbladder detox. 

In terms of diet, there are various foods that are known to prevent gallbladder issues. These include beetroot, artichokes, bitter herbs (argula/endive/dandelion/radichio/horseradish/gentian root/angelica root/rhubarb/senna), spices with capsaicin like cayenne, and cumin (19). These could be incorporated into the diet or the herbs could be taken during fasting. There are various other specifically recommended herbs that can support the gallbladder in different ways. These include milk thistle which regenerates, cleans, defends, and reverses damage, dandelion root which prevents and dissolves gallstones, and turmeric which has powerful antioxidants to fight toxins and free radicals (20). Thus, this combination of herbs is a mighty way to detox the gallbladder extensively.  

The Appendix


Lastly, the appendix is the most abstruse organ in the body due to its lack of obvious function. Yet, conditions and illnesses relating to the appendix are known, namely, appendicitis. This is a condition of inflammation that can result if not cured in the bursting of the appendix that can be fatal. In terms of the appendix’s function, there are numerous ideas and theories about its function. One of these includes replacing immune defences after an illness. 

“Smith and her team discovered that species with an appendix have “higher average concentrations of lymphoid (immune) tissue” in the section of the large intestine that is attached to the organ” (21) 

This immune function means that an unhealthy appendix may impact recovery from illness. There are other less modern theories of its function. This includes that “scientists, including Charles Darwin, believed this small pouch protruding from the large intestine was a vestigial organ that once helped humans digest tree bark” (22). This may benefit digestion nowadays in terms of the digestion of tougher foods like nuts and wheat. 

In terms of detoxing the appendix, there are various methods and consumables for this purpose. Healing the appendix involves promoting the body to naturally heal through various detox methods. Some of these could include juicing (apples/grapes/carrots/prunes/lemons), eating light and healthy (soup/fruit/steamed vegetables), and hydration (23). These foods promote healing, provide antioxidants, and help with cleansing and clearing the body of debris and toxins. Cleaning out the bowels and not having constipation are essential for healing. Two foods that soften stools to prevent constipation are flax seeds and psyllium husks (23). In addition to these foods that clean out toxins, various herbs reduce swelling and inflammation. These include fenugreek, tulsi, and ginger (24). If inflammation worsens then appendicitis can develop into a serious condition, so these herbs could definitely save the day! 

References 

  1. McLintock, K., 2020. FYI: Your Brain Needs to Detox Too, and This Is the Best Way to Do It. [online] Byrdie. Available at: <https://www.byrdie.com/how-to-detox-your-brain&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  2. Levy, J., 2020. Brain Detox: Is It Time for a Cleanse? (Plus How to Do It). [online] Dr. Axe. Available at: <https://draxe.com/health/brain-detox/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  3. Hamilton, J., 2013. Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep. [online] npr. Available at: <https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/10/18/236211811/brains-sweep-themselves-clean-of-toxins-during-sleep?t=1628870640835&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  4. Center for Healing Neurology. 2018. Detox Your Brain | Center for Healing Neurology. [online] Available at: <https://www.centerforhealingneurology.com/2018/12/26/detox-your-brain/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  5. von Holstein-Rathlou, S., C. Petersen, N. and Nedergaard, M., 2018. Voluntary running enhances glymphatic influx in awake behaving, young mice. Neurosci Lett., [online] 662, pp.253-258. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5696653/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  6. Gonzalez, D., 2021. How To Clean & Detox Your Brain: The Amazing Glymphatic System | Family Health Chiropractic. [online] Family Health Chiropractic. Available at: <https://www.familyhealthchiropractic.com/how-to-clean-detox-brain-glymphatic-system/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  7. Turner, L., 2017. 15 Foods to Help Beat Brain Fog. [online] Clean Eating. Available at: <https://www.cleaneatingmag.com/clean-diet/eat-for-energy/15-brain-foods-to-boost-memory-focus/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  8. Hyfe Blog – Cough Health Research, Data and News. 2021. How Can I Clean My Lungs? | Lung Detox | Hypeapp. [online] Available at: <https://blog.hyfeapp.com/clean-lungs/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  9. Eske, J., 2019. 7 natural ways to cleanse your lungs. [online] Medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324483#ways-to-clear-the-lungs&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  10. Lung Health Instititute. 2020. Can You Really Detox Your Lungs?. [online] Available at: <https://lunginstitute.com/blog/can-you-really-detox-your-lungs/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  11. Regency Medical Centre. 2021. Lung Detox: 7 Effective Ways to Cleanse Your Lungs – Regency Medical Centre. [online] Available at: <https://www.regencymedicalcentre.com/blog/lung-detox-7-effective-ways-to-cleanse-your-lungs/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  12. Phelamei, S., 2019. 6 detox drinks you must take this winter to cleanse your lungs naturally. [online] Timesnownews.com. Available at: <https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/6-detox-drinks-you-must-take-this-winter-to-cleanse-your-lungs-naturally/528448&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  13. Jones, T., 2020. The 12 Best Foods for Healthy Skin. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-foods-for-healthy-skin#The-bottom-linehttps://www.eatthis.com/foods-to-combat-winter-skin/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  14. Lemons, A., 2018. The Lymphatic System: Your Immune System and Detox Hero — Anne Lemons Wellness. [online] Anne Lemons Wellness. Available at: <https://www.annelemonswellness.com/blog-1/2018/2/9/2lv2hwnt0gs2im2204xc784edhvhqj&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  15. Weinberg, J., 2019. Decongest Your Lymphatic System for Vibrant Health. [online] Chopra. Available at: <https://chopra.com/articles/decongest-your-lymphatic-system-for-vibrant-health&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  16. Wallace, H., 2019. Love your lymph! | The Food Medic. [online] Thefoodmedic.co.uk. Available at: <https://thefoodmedic.co.uk/2019/09/love-your-lymph/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  17. Absolute-health.org. 2013. Colon Detoxification: Colon cleansing for optimal health. [online] Available at: <https://absolute-health.org/en/blog/post/service-regenerative-detox-colon-detox.html&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  18. Falconer, A., 2020. Gut Health Cleanse: Should You Detox Your Gut? – Healthpath. [online] Healthpath. Available at: <https://healthpath.com/gut-health/gut-health-cleanse-detox-your-gut/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  19. Hamel, R., 2014. The importance of detoxing, and “The Throw Away Organ” | Dr. Rachel Hamel – Wholistic Cranial Chiropractor. [online] Drrachelhamel.com. Available at: <https://www.drrachelhamel.com/blog-post/1297/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  20. Living Alchemy. 2021. The Healthy Detox | Living Alchemy. [online] Available at: <https://livingalchemy.com/blog/the-healthy-detox-cleansing-the-liver-gallbladder/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  21. Robertson, M., 2017. Appendix may serve important function, new study finds. [online] SFGATE. Available at: <https://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Appendix-may-serve-important-function-new-study-10900942.php&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  22. Group, E., 2015. What Does the Appendix Do?. [online] Dr. Group’s Healthy Living Articles. Available at: <https://explore.globalhealing.com/what-does-the-appendix-do/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  23. Herbs Hands Healing. 2021. Common Ailments – Appendicitis. [online] Available at: <https://www.herbs-hands-healing.co.uk/ailments/appendicitis&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].
  24.  Chauhan, M., 2019. Home Remedies for Appendicitis – Natural Treatment. [online] Planet Ayurveda. Available at: <https://www.planetayurveda.com/library/home-remedies-for-appendicitis/&gt; [Accessed 16 August 2021].

Menstrual cycle: high fruit low fat plant-based vegan diet

It is necessary, as a vegan, to eat enough with sufficient quantities of macronutrients and micronutrients for healthy and regular menstruation. This, especially, includes iron for blood loss, replacement of hemoglobin, and magnesium to combat PMS and the luteal phase. There is a link that has been made between amenorrhea and being underweight due to insufficient calorie intake (10). It is necessary to consume enough calories, nutrients, some fat, and some higher protein foods for regular periods and sufficient energy. Excess estrogen is also an issue for cancer risk, PMS symptom severity, weight management, and bodily balance. Detoxifying foods like greens and cruciferous vegetables help metabolism and aid the liver’s job of the removal of excess estrogen. Meanwhile, meat, dairy, beauty products, cleaning products, plastic packaging, alcohol, synthetic drugs (not plants like cannabis), and medicine promote excess estrogen in the body due to the xenoestrogens in them (as well as other toxic chemicals) (8). Xenoestrogens can impact liver function, gut health, cancer risk (particularly estrogenic cancers like breast and ovarian cancer), metabolism, the immune system, the neurological system, biochemical balance, and the endocrine glands.  

Key foods

Wholegrains

Millet, quinoa, oats and spelt are all nutrient-dense wholegrains for essential nutrients. These include B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, calcium, sodium, and copper. 

Peanut butter

As a healthy source of fat and key nutrients, peanut butter is ideal for menstruation. It is an essential source of protein to prevent energy lows and fatigue, whilst containing omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the inflammation of PMS. It is also high in magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, and zinc.  

Raw Cocoa 

As another healthy source of fat, antioxidants, and key nutrients, the most advantageous of these for menstruation is magnesium. It reduces PMS symptoms of the luteal phase including stress, anxiety, tension, low mood, blood sugar regulation, water retention, and hormone imbalance. It boosts happy hormones to reduce mood swings, whilst opening and simulating the pineal gland which balances hormones and controls periods and fertility. It is also high in iron, zinc, selenium, antioxidants, flavonoid and polyphenols. These reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and prevent menstrual fatigue. Sufficient doses of cocoa should without a doubt prevent irregularity! 

Pomegranate 

Pomegranates help with hormonal balance (particularly the excess estrogen of the ovulation phase), regularity, and nutrient intake. It is also high in vitamin C which is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, as well as iron, potassium, folate, vitamin E, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. 

Other foods for regularity, hormone balance and nutrients: papaya, ginger, cumin, pineapple (6)

Phases 

The Follicular phase

This stage occurs with more energy and a positive feeling, as the previous menstrual blood has been released and the follicles begin to grow. Fresh green vegetables are healthy to help maintain energy and detox like broccoli, asparagus, and zucchini. Meanwhile, peanut butter and cocoa provide healthy fats for the brain to spark creativity, as this is a great time for new ideas.

The Ovulation Phase

This stage involves the ovary releasing an egg leading to the fertile time of the month. Foods at this stage could be fibrous for detoxification of excess estrogen and energy, including greens and fruit like kale, broccoli, radish, berries, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, guava, fennel, eggplant, okra, and papaya. Foods with vitamin B6 help to balance the hormones including cocoa, peanut butter, oats, and potatoes. Fruit is anti-inflammatory and helps with fertility, especially berries and citrus fruits.    

The Luteal Phase

This stage involves many more symptoms like bloating, water retention, mood swings, cravings, and stress, as the lining thickens in preparation for the period. This results in the need to consume slightly more food, relax, rest, ground and consume warming foods that help with satiety, including oats, tubers, and hot chocolate. Chocolate is essential at this time as it is high in magnesium which helps with mood, water retention, and blood sugar regulation.   

The Menstruation Phase

The final phase of menstruation is a release and cleansing time for the body. This occurs with lower energy and, perhaps, mood swings with further cravings. Hydration with fruit and water, nutrient-rich filling foods, healthy fats, and iron-rich foods are needed to combat and replace the blood loss. Iron-rich foods could include sea vegetables, spinach, sweet potato, millet, and wheatgerm.    

Sources

  1. Brothers, L., 2020. Connecting your Yoga Practice to the Four Phases of the Menstrual Cycle – Yogamatters Blog. [online] Yogamatters Blog. Available at: <https://blog.yogamatters.com/yoga-practice-phases-of-menstrual-cycle/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlYCHBhAQEiwA4K21mz4VfwRSa_jGPEgZc2xBdrt4WILqflUxL3h2itJ5yN3p5UU-qZcO6xoC9WcQAvD_BwE&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].
  2. G Vitality, A., 2021. Pin on Menstrual Phase Recipes. [online] Pinterest. Available at: <https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/449163762841378451/&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].
  3. Simms, J., 2019. The 4 phases of the menstrual cycle. [online] BeYou. Available at: <https://beyouonline.co.uk/blogs/news/the-4-phases-of-the-menstrual-cycle&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].
  4. Leparski, S., 2019. Food Chart For Each Phase of Your Menstrual Cycle » The Glowing Fridge. [online] Theglowingfridge.com. Available at: <https://www.theglowingfridge.com/happyhormonefoods/&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].
  5. Moody Month. 2021. What foods to eat during your cycle. [online] Available at: <https://moodymonth.com/articles/what-foods-to-eat-during-your-cycle&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].
  6. Sushanth Admin, 2021. Simple and easy way of getting regular periods naturally | Home Remedies – Sushaanth. [online] Homeopathyclinic-sushaanth.com. Available at: <https://homeopathyclinic-sushaanth.com/simple-easy-way-of-getting-regular-periods-naturally-home-remedies/&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].
  7. Talida, 2021. 5 Common Root Causes of Hormonal Imbalance. [online] Hazelandcacao.com. Available at: <https://hazelandcacao.com/5-common-root-causes-of-hormonal-imbalance/&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].
  8. Talida, 2020. How to Eat Plant-Based for your Cycle: Follicular Phase. [online] Hazelandcacao.com. Available at: <https://hazelandcacao.com/how-to-eat-plant-based-for-your-cycle-follicular-phase/&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021]
  9. Talida, 2020. How to Eat Plant-based for the Menstrual Cycle: Luteal Phase. [online] Hazelandcacao.com. Available at: <https://hazelandcacao.com/how-to-eat-plant-based-for-the-menstrual-cycle-luteal-phase/&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].
  10. Yoppie, 2020. How Does Vegetarian Life Affect Your Periods? | Yoppie. [online] Yoppie. Available at: <https://yoppie.com/blog/how-does-vegetarian-life-affect-your-periods&gt; [Accessed 5 July 2021].

The Process of Detoxification: The Kidneys

The kidneys, like the liver, is required for the removal of toxins from the body before cellular processes become out of sync. Whereas the liver can transform toxins to become less harmful, the kidneys can only extract them for elimination, but it is still a vital organ that directs toxins directly down the elimination pathways.

The main parts of the kidney that filter the blood are the tons of nephrons that filter the wastes from the blood that will pass out into the urine after going through the papillary ducts and kidney reservoirs. Urine typically includes “many by-products of metabolism, like ureas, ammonia, hydrogen ions, creatinine, chemical toxins, medications, synthetic vitamins, and minerals, etc.” (1), but there are many other toxic substances that the kidneys filter from the body.

Some of these toxic substances can, in themselves, damage the kidneys, as they enter the filtering process. Another function of the kidneys is maintaining acid-base balance and preventing ph abnormalities which can lead to many further health issues. Maintaining a predominantly alkaline balance in the body (around 7), is requisite to prevent potential damage to the kidneys. “Acid-inducing diets are believed to impact the kidney through ‘tubular toxicity,’ damage to the tiny, delicate, urine-making tubes in the kidneys” (2). Homeostasis is central to a healthy body!

There are many different ways to ascertain the level of alkalinity or acidity in your body, including assessing your health (many minor to major conditions are linked to acidity in the body) and eating purple cabbage. Urine will be more pink if your body is acidic and greener if your body is more alkaline after consuming purple cabbage!

There are many indicators of an over-acidic body and kidney issues. Some symptoms include pain, urinating often, urine discoloration, swollen body parts, and, even, cardiovascular problems. Heart function is also closely linked to kidney function in that toxin accumulation impacts this organ’s processes, as toxin-filled blood is continually pumped back to the heart.

“If your kidneys do not function properly, metabolic waste products can accumulate in the blood and eventually lead to such symptoms as weakness, shortness of breath, confusion, and abnormal heart rhythms.” (3)

This waste accumulation can be fueled by an acidic diet and toxic chemical consumption!

There are various amounts of evidence that a plant-based high fibre diet with lots of fruits and vegetables sustains kidney health much better than a diet incorporating animal meat. There could be numerous reasons for adopting a plant-based unprocessed diet including the lower amounts of acidic protein, high alkalinity, high amounts of antioxidants, and a lower prevalence of inflammation. Dozens of studies have shown that plant protein is preferable to prevent kidney decline (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Meat is highly acidic containing sulfuric acid and uric acid, carcinogenic nitrites, cholesterol, and saturated fat that all alter kidney health. A high-fat diet, in particular, can harm kidney health.

“This concept of lipid nephrotoxicity, or the idea that fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream could be toxic to the kidneys, has since been formalized, based in part on studies that found plugs of fat clogging up the works in autopsied kidneys” (12)

Another form of fat that is inevitably damaging to the kidneys is trans fats found in processed foods like donuts, pastries, ice cream, pizza, fried chicken, and margarine.

Moreover, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup may cause kidney damage also. They can directly damage filtration systems (13), as well as weakening the immune system and increasing inflammation.

“The endogenous production of fructose from glucose (fructogenesis), and the subsequent reduction in ATP and increase in uric acid, contributes to high glucose-induced inflammation (inflammatory cytokine and chemokine expression) and increased macrophage infiltration in the kidney.” (14, 15)

The additional acidity strains the kidneys which struggle to maintain acid-base balance and causes unnatural immune processes.

Kidney damage from extracted chemical and toxin consumption can also be ample in terms of the effect on multiple kidney factions. These include an impact on blood flow, cellular function, and tissue integrity leading to tissue damage (16). These are commonly consumed in processed foods or from other toxic products.

A list of these includes:

  • heavy metals: cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, platinum, and uranium
  • fluorinated hydrocarbons (e.g. non-stick teflon pans)
  • glyphosate
  • smoking (cadmium and nicotine)
  • salt consumption
  • hidden phosphates in additives (e.g. acid balancing, anti-caking, and flavourings)
  • medication
  • harmful minerals
  • excess vitamins from supplements
  • EDTA (body care products)

(17) (16)

Two more habits for kidney health include drinking lots of water and consuming abundant amounts of fruit. Water and fresh fruit assist to cleanse and detox the kidneys by helping with toxin elimination.

“When there isn’t enough water in the body, waste flowing through the kidneys is concentrated. The concentrated waste damages the kidneys and reduces their ability to properly filter waste.” (18)

Fruit has a high percentage of water, so all fruit will wash through the kidneys with additional antioxidants and phytochemicals that heal, improve, and strengthen them, such as anthocyanins, lycopene, beta-carotene, and flavonoids!

As well as this, a range of herbs are helpful to detox the kidneys including:

  • rhubarb root
  • sapo
  • bearberry
  • saw palmetto
  • poke root
  • horsetail/shavegrass

References

(1) Morse, R., 2004. The Detox Miracle Sourcebook. 1st ed. Chino Valley, AZ: Kalindi Press.

(2)  Greger, M., 2018. How not to die. 3rd ed. London: Pan Books: 193

(3)  Greger, M., 2018. How not to die. 3rd ed. London: Pan Books: 190

(4) Moore, J., 2021. Whole-Food Low-Protein Plant-Based Nutrition to Prevent or Slow Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease. Patient Education, [online] 31(2). Available at: <https://www.jrnjournal.org/article/S1051-2276(20)30082-0/fulltext&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(5) Azadbakht L, Shakerhosseini R, Atabak S, Jamshidian M, Mehrabi Y, Esmaill-Zadeh A. Beneficiary effect of dietary soy protein on lowering plasma levels of lipid and improving kidney function in type II diabetes with nephropathy. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003; 57 (10): 1292-4

(6) Kontessis PA, Bossinakou I, Sarika L, et al. Renal, metabolic, and hormonal responses to proteins of different origin in normotensive, nonprotienuric type I diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1995; 18 (9): 1233-40.

(7) Teixera SR, Tappenden KA, Carson L, et al. Isolated soy protein consumption reduces urinary albumin excretion and improves the serum lipid profile in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus and nephropathy. J Nutr. 2004; 134 (8): 1874-80.

(8) Stephenson TJ, Setchell KD, Kendall CW, Jenkins DJ, Anderson JW, Fanti P. Effect of soy protein-rich diet on renal function in young adults with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Clin Nephrol. 2005; 64 (1): 1-11.

(9) Jibani MM, Bloodworth LL, Foden E, Griffiths KD, Galpin OP. Predominantly vegetarian diet in patients with incipient and early clinical diabetic nephropathy affects on albumin excretion rate and nutritional status. Diabet Med. 1991; 8 (10): 949-53

(10) Bosch JP, Saccaggi A, Lauer A, Ronco C, Belledonne M, Glabman S. Renal functional reserve in humans. Effect of protein intake on glomerular filtration rate. Am J Med. 1983; 75 (6): 943-50.

(11) Liu ZM, Ho SC, Chen YM, Tang N, Woo J. Effect of whole soy and purified isoflavone daidzein on renal function – a 6-month randomized controlled trial in equol-producing postmenopausal women with prehypertension. Clin Biochem. 2014; 47 (13-14): 1250-6.

(12) Greger, M., 2018. How not to die. 3rd ed. London: Pan Books: 191

(13) Diabetes UK. 2021. Diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease). [online] Available at: <https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications/kidneys_nephropathy#:~:text=High%20blood%20glucose%20(sugar)%20levels,your%20body%20in%20your%20urine.&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(14) DiNicolantonio, J., Bhutani, J. and O’Keefe, J., 2016. Added sugars drive chronic kidney disease and its consequences: A comprehensive review. [online] Insulinresistance.org. Available at: <https://insulinresistance.org/index.php/jir/article/view/3/4#CIT0021_3&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(15) Lanaspa MA, Ishimoto T, Cicerchi C, et al. Endogenous fructose production and fructokinase activation mediate renal injury in diabetic nephropathy. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014;25:2526–2538. http://dx.doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2013080901

(16) Pizzorno, J., 2015. The Kidney Dysfunction Epidemic, Part 1: Causes. Integr Med (Encinitas)., [online] 14(6), pp.8-13. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718206/#:~:text=The%20kidney%20excretes%20toxins%20through,well%20as%20into%20the%20urine&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(17) Crystalrunhealthcare.com. 2021. Kidneys & The Bladder Work Together To Remove Toxins. [online] Available at: <https://www.crystalrunhealthcare.com/articles/how-kidneys-and-the-bladder-work-together-to-remove-toxins&gt; [Accessed 21 May 2021].

(18) Aniys, A., 2017. Alkaline Plant Based Diet. 1st ed. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform: 81.

The Process of Detoxification: The Liver

Toxins are inevitable in the environment, but the consumption and usage of toxic products and processed food can increase the toxicity in our body even more over time. Toxins can impact the body, mind, and inner happiness which can lead to pain, disease, and health disorders. Toxins affect cellular respiration and cause acidity in the blood.

“Toxins also deplete your energy and cause your body and breath to stink, not to mention their role in causing toxemia, or the ‘dirtying’ of your blood.” (1)

This can be resolved by detoxing with fresh fruit which oxygenates the cells and helps to alkalinize the blood.

The vital organ of detoxification is the liver which busts the toxins out of the system before they can do further cellular damage. The two stages of liver detoxification involve, firstly, synthesizing the toxin into a water-soluble form. Toxins have a devious habit of absorbing and integrating with fat stores causing cellular damage. This form is easier to eliminate, and, then, further enzymes and conjuncts are added in a second phase to aid the elimination process. This second phase is especially important to prevent cellular damage which can still occur in a water-soluble form.

Both of these phases are supported by the intake of various nutrients which support the processes of liver detoxification.

“A variety of macronutrients and micronutrients
are required on a continuous basis to construct the multitude
of enzymes for the various oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis,
and conjugation pathways, as well as the provision of
enzymatic cofactors, phytochemical antioxidants, and fiber.” (2)

The foods that help with detoxification are mostly in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables. As well as antioxidants to prevent cellular damage, the fibre helps with more rapid elimination of these toxins from your system.

Some pathways of detoxification in the liver include glucuronidation, sulfation, and methylation which occur in the conjugation phase. Below is a list of some fresh foods that help these processes:

Glucuronidation: beta-carotene rich foods (carrots, squash, sweet potato, pumpkin, collards, red potatoes, red peppers, spinach, mustard greens, chard, dandelion greens, canteloupe, romaine lettuce), quercetin-rich foods (onion, kale, apple, cherry, brocoli), chrysin and luteolin-rich foods (broccoli, celery, rosemary), glucaric-acid rich foods (grapefruit, cherries, tomatoes, apple, alfalfa sprouts, cauliflower, cherries, apricot, spinach, oranges), citrus foods, curcumin, watercress

Sulfation: spinach, onions, cabbage, sprouts, leeks

Methylation: folic acid (potato, sweet potato, spinach, beetroot, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, bok choy, asparagus, banana, orange, peach)

(2)

Additionally, as well as these conjugation processes, there are various other foods which act as chelators that help elimination and limit absorption. These include sulphur-rich foods like allium and brocoli, cilantro, cholerella, and fibre from grains and fruit.

Further herbs for an exceptional liver detox: burdock root, cascara sagrada, prodigiosa, tiya, dandelion root, yellow dock, sarsaparilla, garlic, gentian, marshmallow, milk thistle, turmeric, bearberry, yellow dock, blue vervain

In conclusion, the liver performs an immense role in the detoxification of toxins and heavy metals from the body, but there are many other organs that aid detoxification including the brain, lungs, kidneys, skin, lymph, and colon of which I will explore in further posts.

References

(1) Bollinger, T., 2016. The Truth about Cancer. 1st ed. London: Hay House.

(2) Cline, J., 2015. Nutritional Aspects of Detoxification in Clinical Practice. Alternative Therapies, 21(3), pp.54-62.

Toxicity: A Reason To Detox

“I had also found it the ‘Master Key’ to mental and spiritual unfoldment and evolution…My experience, tests, and experiments as well as cures, all showed that grape sugar of fruits was the essential material of human food, giving the highest efficiency and endurance, and at the same time was the best eliminator of debris and the most efficient healing agent known for the human body.”

(Prof Arnold Ehret 1922)

The body has a delicate chemical balance that involves trace minerals and vitamins sourced from natural food. When we eat processed food, use toxic products on our skin, and get vaccines, then the heavy metals and other toxic chemicals disrupt the body’s natural balance. Heavy metal toxicity leads to deterioration of biochemical cellular function and has a detrimental effect on the immune system (2). The natural chemical balance of the body is deeply entwined with cellular processes and immune function. Additionally, 

“…heavy metals (can) act as molecular “mimics” of nutritionally essential trace elements; depleting the body from cofactors essential to cellular regeneration.” (2)

Cofactors for cellular regeneration are found in natural foods from mother earth (fruits and vegetables) along with antioxidants that protect cells rather than toxic products that disrupt the balance.

1shortdesign from Pixabay

Two examples of toxic heavy metals are aluminum and lead which can have detrimental long and short-term effects. These metals can be found in processed food, cosmetics, vaccines, containers, and pharmaceuticals. Both have been linked with disorders that affect the brain including Autism and Alzheimer’s. The evidence is convincing that lead is causally linked to Autism disorder, as it has been found that Autism sufferers have significantly more lead in their body (75%) and lead lowers IQ according to lead researcher Professor James Adams (4). Lead evidently has detrimental effects on brain functions that can have long-lasting detrimental effects. Lead is also linked to Alzheimer’s. “Researchers believe that people who have worked in jobs with high levels of lead exposure are up to 3.4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease” (9). This is another detrimental effect on the brain. Similar results have been found linking aluminum and Autism.

 “the fact that we found aluminium in every sample of brain tissue, frozen or fixed, does suggest very strongly that individuals with a diagnosis of ASD have extraordinarily high levels of aluminium in their brain tissue” 

(8)

This suggests that aluminum has a high correlation with Autism. Aluminum negatively affects the immune system and nervous system. 

  “As a nerve poison and excitotoxin, aluminium damages nerves and causes inflammation. Aluminium adjuvants in vaccines have been shown to persist in the body, be transported in lymph and accumulate in immune cells.”

(10)

So, aluminum has many detrimental effects on bodily processes which can accumulate into brain disease in old age. 

“in 1973, brain tissue collected from deceased persons known to have AD were found to have high aluminum levels.”

(5)

Therefore, aluminum and lead are both likely correlated with Autism and Alzheimer’s. 

Vaccines also house incredibly toxic ingredients that have many detrimental effects on health and wellbeing. The toxic ingredients may include thimerosal which affects coordination, cognition, and mood, aluminium which affects the brain long-term, antibiotics which affect gut bacteria, carcinogenic formaldehyde, MSG affects the heart and neuron receptors, squalene which is linked to arthritis, gelatin and egg which are non-vegan, polysorbate 80 linked to many types of cancer, and aborted human fetal tissue which may be linked to Autism and I believe may lead to an auto-immune response (6). Thus, there are many awful ingredients in vaccines that have many very detrimental health effects. 

Toxic chemicals in processed food:

  • Polysorbate 60 (found in cream, desserts, pickles, twinkies) – carcinogenic 
  • Palm oil – raises bad cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Shortening/hydrogenated oil – clogged arteries and metabolic issues 
  • Artificial colours – many cancers 
  • Sodium nitrates and nitrites (processed meat) – colon cancer and metabolic syndrome
  • Sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate (soda) – carcinogen and thyroid damage
  • Artificial Sweeteners – aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose – affect metabolic systems 
  • High fructose corn syrup – (refined grains) – triglycerides, fat-boosting hormones

Toxic chemicals in cosmetics: 

  • Parabens – disrupt hormones and carcinogenic 
  • BHA – cancer-causing and endocrine disruptor 
  • Mineral oil (gasoline from crude oil) – carcinogen/cancer
  • Talc – carcinogenic 
  • Alcohol 
  • Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide – propylene glycol, mineral oil, harmful chemicals 
  •  Sunscreen – harmful chemicals 
  • Parabens – linked to cancer
  • Polyethylene glycols – nervous system 
  • Quaternium-15 – carcinogen 
  • Butylated Compounds (butter, cereal, meat, beer) – carcinogenic 
  • Lead – affects IQ, attention span, reduced fertility, kidney damage, high blood pressure
  • Phthalates – cancer and endocrine-disrupting hormones 

(7) (3)

In conclusion, there are many toxic ingredients in food and products of which consumers are unaware. With more knowledge, there would be more power to prevent poisoning, detox our bodies, and protect ourselves. Following this, I will post more about the wonders of detoxification.

Bibliography

(1) Alliance for Natural Health International. 2017. Autism and the aluminum link. [online] Available at: <https://www.anhinternational.org/2017/12/06/autism-aluminum-link/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(2) Be, M., 2021. A Guide to Heavy Metals and Their Health Effects. [online] Wake Up World. Available at: <https://wakeup-world.com/2015/02/07/a-guide-to-heavy-metals-and-their-health-effects/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(3) Bell, M., 2018. 5 Toxic Chemicals Found in Our Processed Foods – The Health Science Journal. [online] The Health Science Journal. Available at: <https://www.thehealthsciencejournal.com/5-toxic-chemicals-found-processed-foods/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(4) Commons, W., 2021. Study: Lead exposure can cause autism – Metro US. [online] Metro US. Available at: <https://www.metro.us/study-lead-exposure-can-cause-autism/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

 (5) Ellison, J., 2020. Aluminum and Alzheimer’s: Is There a Connection?. [online] BrightFocus Foundation. Available at: <https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers-disease/article/aluminum-and-alzheimers-there-connection&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

 (6) Imus, D., 2018. Toxic Vaccine Ingredients: The Devil’s in the Details. [online] Children’s Health Defense. Available at: <https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/toxic-vaccine-ingredients-the-devils-in-the-details/&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(7) Michaels, J., 2021. Top Ten Toxic Food Ingredients in Processed Food. [online] Thebetterhealthstore.com. Available at: <https://www.thebetterhealthstore.com/043011_top-ten-toxic-ingredients-in-processed-food_01.html&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(8) Mold, M., Umar, D., King, A. and Exley, C., 2018. Aluminium in brain tissue in autism. Elsevier, [online] 46, pp.76-82. Available at: <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X17308763&gt; [Accessed 7 March 2021].

(9) Hegazi, I., 2021. Lead Exposure & Alzheimer�s Disease: Is There A Link?. [online] Lead.org.au. Available at: <https://lead.org.au/fs/fst48.html&gt; [Accessed 18 April 2021].

(10) Alliance for Natural Health International. 2017. Autism and the aluminum link. [online] Available at: <https://www.anhinternational.org/2017/12/06/autism-aluminum-link/&gt; [Accessed 18 April 2021].

Mindful Shopping

Robbert Noordzij (4)

“For more than 100 years, the world’s most powerful food and beverage companies have relied on cheap land and labor to produce inexpensive products and huge profits. But these profits have often come at the cost of the environment and local communities around the world, and have contributed to a food system in crisis” (2).

It may or may not be a surprise to you but most mainstream brands, that are easy to recall due to a substantial amount of advertising about them, are owned by about 10 companies.

Oxfam is a beneficent company that is dedicated to protecting the rights of workers of these brands who created the infographic below.

Oxfam graphic 2
Image via businessinsider.com by Oxfam International (1)

I will provide a brief overview of each company. Following this, I will suggest some smaller ethical businesses that seem to be mindful choices.

Unilever

Revenue example: 59.1 billion (1)

– Brands –

Ben and Jerrys . Pukka Herbs . Hellmans . PG tips . Dove Soaps . Knorr . Maille. Becel . Imperial . Skippy . Bertolli . Slim-fast . Pot noodle . Colman’s . Bovril . Good Humor . Breyers . Popsicle . Klondike . Cornetto . Magnum . Salada . Red Rose . Lipton . St Ives . Axe . Lever . Noxzema . Suave . Sunsilk . Alberto . Thermasilk . Vo5 . TRESemme . Vaseline . Degree . Ponds . Breeze . Vim . Sunlight

There have been various concerns with Unilever. According to ethicalconsumer.org (3), including violent force against innocent striking workers, substantial use of palm oil across products which affects deforestation and biodiversity, and the company still uses animal testing on many products.

Kellog’s

Revenue example: 13.5 billion (1)

– Brands –

Froot loops . Frosted Flakes . Eggo . Pringles . Cheez-it . Pop Tarts . Nutri-Grain . Crispix . Raisin Bran . Vector . Krave . Corn flakes . Apple Jacks . Bran Flakes . Mini Wheats . All-Bran . Just Rights . Corn Pops . Rice Crispies

In terms of Kellog’s, their trustworthiness has to be questioned based on claims that they have made. Kellog’s has claimed that their cereals lead to immunity which was not based on scientific evidence (5). In fact, many Kellog’s cereals contain ingredients that are detrimental to health like sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Kellog’s products are also GMO and contain pesticides like Glyphosate which are likely to be carcinogenic (6, 7). This is not all either, as there are other additives in Kellog’s which are linked to cancer. These include butylated hydroxytoluene and sucralose (8). Thus, anyone who claims Kellog’s cereals are healthy would be making a dubious claim at best.

Associated British Foods

Revenue example: 16.6 billion (1)

– Brands –

Dorset Cereals . Twinings Tea . Burgen . Kingsmill . Birdseye . Pataks . Karo . Jordans . Ryvita . Westmill Foods, The Silver Spoon Company . George Weston foods . Speedibake . Ovaltine . Allinson . Sunblest . Jackson’s of Piccadilly . Meena

Associated British Foods have been criticized for a lack of policy on environmental issues, equality, and exploitation of entire countries.

“ABF, which raked in £12.3bn last year in global sales, could muster just 13 out of 70 points across seven categories, with its lowest ratings coming from an apparent lack of policies on issues such as land management, climate change and women… This public admonition capped off an ugly fortnight for ABF, following hot on the heels of an Action Aid report accusing it of exploiting elaborate accounting loopholes to deprive Zambia, a base for its sugar business and one of the world’s poorest countries, of much needed public revenues.” (9)

This means that, from an ethical and eco-conscious standpoint, there is much to be reproved.

General Mills

Revenue example: 17.6 billion (1)

– Brands –

Cheerios . Chex . Yoplait . Hamburger Helper . Betty Crocker . Haagen-Dazs . Green Giant . Old El Passo . Jus-Rol . Pillsbury . Yoplait . Small Planet Foods . Nature Valley . Liberte . Wanchai . Pillsbury . Lucky Charms .Chex . Golden Grahams . Fibre1. Cinnamon toast crunch

The trustworthiness of this company has been questionable. In terms of the brands ‘Nature Valley’ and ‘Cheerios,’ the first often contains high fructose corn syrup and a significant amount of sugar whilst the second is also high in sugar content. There have been lawsuits against General Mills due to their labeling of these refined ingredients. Nature Valley Granola Thins were labeled as ‘natural’ despite the ingredients which resulted in a lawsuit (10). Refined additives are not naturally occurring. There has been a similar case for ‘Cheerios’. This lawsuit was based on the fact that the positive health claims on the packaging also seem nonsensical due to the high levels of sugar in the product (11). Both high fructose corn syrup and sugar contain empty calories which increase the risk of weight gain and sugar cycling that is linked to diabetes.

Danone

Revenue example: 24.9 billion

– Brands –

Activa . Yocrunch . Oikos . Evian . Actimel . Activia . Aqua . Volvic . Badoit . Font Vella . Bon Vioni . Villa Del Sar . Salus . Fortisip . Fortimel . Cow and Gate . SGM . Bebeloc . Dumex . Gallia . Bledina . Silk . Aptimil . Oikos . Danette . Stonyfield . Alpro . Harrogate Spa . Thirsty Planet

Similarly to General Mills and Kellog’s, Danone has been questioned and taken to court based on its lack of trustworthiness.

“The problem for Dannon is that there’s no clinical proof that the probiotic Bifidus Regularis in Activia yogurt is better at preventing disease or regulating digestion compared to the friendly bacteria in any other yogurt products…Because consumers have been duped into believing Dannon’s false advertising claims, Activia is now the best-selling yogurt in 25 countries, accounting for over 40% of Dannon’s total sales worldwide.” (12)

So, the illusory claims of Danone have boosted profit for the company, but they have also placed the reliability of the company’s provision of information about the products into question.

Ethical issues with the company have also been found around animal testing with often inhumane methods, it does not use free-range or organic farms, and it sponsors horse racing which is often considered a cruel sport (13).

Many other brands would be a more ethical and sound choice!

Nestle

Revenue example: 87 billion

– Brands –

Gerber Baby Food . Perrier . DiGiorno . Hot Pockets . Butterfinger . KitKat . Delissio . Stouffers . Nescafe . Coffee-mate . Nespresso . Taster’s choice . Aero . OhHenry . Rolo . Coffee Crisp . Crunch . Smarties . Goobers . After Eight . Mirage . Cailler . Turtles . Black Magic . Mack . Perrier . Nestea . Pure Life . Vittel . Poland Spring . S Pellegrino . Mont Clair . Drumstick . Movenpick . Dreyers . Parlour . Powerbar . Carnation . Gerber . Chef-mate . Nesquik . Purina . Beneful . Cat Chow . Dog Chow . Friskies . Fancy Feast . Felix . Alpo . Wonka Sweets . Loreal . Ralph Lauren . Giorgio Armani . Yves Saint Laurent . Stella McCartney . Diesel . Garnier . Vichy . Biotherm . The Body Shop . Ombrelle . Maybelline . Kiehl’s

There have been many ethical issues with Nestle. They test many products on animals with cruel experiments, they use factory farming which may involve zero-grazing (the animals stay indoors), and the amount of dairy in the products is more than any other ingredient (14).

If this doesn’t seem bad enough, they may also be responsible for harm to children.

“There is a long standing boycott of Nestlé over its irresponsible marketing of breast milk substitutes. Boycotters have long accused Nestlé of harming children through the unethical promotion of infant formula…Baby Milk Action quotes UNICEF “Marketing practices that undermine breastfeeding are potentially hazardous wherever they are pursued: in the developing world, WHO estimates that some 1.5 million children die each year because they are not adequately breastfed. These facts are not in dispute.” (15)

It is certainly not advisable to trust Nestle with advice about caring for your children! There are many alternative infant formulas on the market and a more dependable source should definitely be obtained for advice about breastfeeding!

PepsiCo

Revenue example: 63 Billion

– Brand –

Pepsi . Quaker Oatmeal . Cheetos . Tropicana . KFC . Taco Bell . Pizza Hut . Looza . Mirinda . Mug Root Beer . Aquafina . Mountain Dew . Lipton . Dole . AMP . 7UP . Brisk . Ocean Spray . SoBe . Life . Crispy Minis . Aunt Jemima . Harvest Crunch . Chewy . Ruffles . Miss Vickie’s . Cracker Jack . Fritos . Sun Chips . Tostitos . Rold Gold . Spitz . Lays . Doritos . Walkers Crisps . Copella . Nobby’s . Snack a Jacks . Red Sky

There is a substantial amount of salt and sugar in many of PepsiCo’s products which contributes to many long-term health conditions including hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and strokes for salt whilst increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes for sugar. Nevertheless, the company continues to market unhealthy foods against the factual consensus of that which is healthy.

“PepsiCo continues to market its unhealthy products to children – at times even running foul of the law, despite numerous promises to the contrary…In addition, last year PepsiCo joined a powerful group of food lobbyists calling themselves the “Sensible Food Policy Coalition,” whose sole purpose was to derail an effort by the U.S. government to improve the food industry’s voluntary guidelines for marketing to children.” (16)

PepsiCo evidently does not have the health of individuals at the forefront of their concerns!

Coca-Cola

Revenue example: 44.3 billion

– Brands –

Dasani . Fuze . Honest Tea . Vitaminwater . Smartwater . Sprite . Mezzo Mix . Minute Maid . Fruitopia . Five Alive . Bangs . Fanta . Nestea . Dasani . Powerade . Mello Yello . Full Throttle . Nos Energy Drink

Ethical issues with Coca-Cola have also been found. These include obstructing worker’s rights, the use of fish gelatin in its products, and supporting rodeos which involve animal abuse. (17) Their treatment of workers and general conduct has also been poor over the years. This includes “item security, hostile to aggressiveness, racial segregation, channel stuffing, wholesaler clashes, terrorizing of union laborers, contamination, and exhaustion of common assets.” (18)

Coca-Cola would not be marked up for a high standard of ethical practice in business!

Mars

Revenue example: 33 billion

– Brands –

M&M’s . Uncle Ben’s Rice . Starburst . Orbit Gum . Bounty . Twix . Maltesers . Dove . Milky Way . Snickers . Mars . Wrigley . Altoids . Skittles . Life Savers . Whiskas . Pedigree . James Wellbeloved . Royal Canin . Hubba Bubba . Orbit . Extra . Big Red . Juicy Fruit . Doublemint . Excel . 5 Gum . Freedent . Dolmio . Cesar . Sheba . Galaxy . Chappie . Nutro . Seeds of Change . Celebrations

Both Mars and Nestle have unethical concerns that have been raised about them of the same type. Their cat and dog food are advised against, by ethicalconsumer.org, based on factors including unsustainable fish, animal testing, palm oil, and factory farming (19, 20). Organic and free-range pet food would always be a much more ethical choice!

Moreover, both Mars and Nestle have been involved in ethical issues concerning their workers. They have used child labor, trafficking, and slavery in the past years (21). This corruption cannot be overlooked.

Mondelez

Revenue example: 29.6 billion

– Brands –

Oreo . Trident Gum . Sour Patch Kids . Maxwell House . Nabob . Velveeta . Cracker Barret . Philadelphia . Polly-O . Singles . P’tit Quebec . Cheez Whiz . Claussen . David . Magic Baking Powder . Baker’s . Kraft Dinner . Mr Christie’s . Knox . Certo . Oscar Meyer . Shake N Bake . Stove Top . Crystal Light . Del Monte . Kool-Aid . Capri-Sun . A1 Steak Sauce . Cool Whip . Handi-Snacks . Jell-O . Planters . Bulls-Eye . Jetpuffed . Mayo . Miracle Whip . Cadbury . Halls . Chiclets . Certs . Bubblicious . Stride . Dentyne . Trident . Clorets . Terry’s Chocolate Orange . Milka . Carte Noir . Toblerone . Green and Blacks . Cote D’or . Premium . Snackwells . Ritz . Cheese Nips . Triscuit . Belvita . Wheat Thins . Trebor . Maynards . Cherry Ripe . Crispy Crunch . Twirl . Caramilk . Nutter Butter . Honey Maid . Teddy Grahams . Lu . Fudgee-O . Fig Newtons . Nilla . Chips Ahoy . Tang . Tassimo

The integrity of Mondelez has been dubious due to its inaccurate labeling of products. This includes the labeling of belVita biscuits as having “NUTRITIOUS SUSTAINED ENERGY” (22). This suggests they are healthy despite the fact that they contain a large amount of sugar which does provide energy, but also may contribute to many health conditions like diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. Another misleading labeling case involves the use of ‘real cocoa’ on the label of Oreos when it had been refined and processed (23). This is yet another example of twisting the facts for financial gain.

Alternatives

Booja-Booja

This vegan ice cream company is multi award-winning. They use only organic ingredients and endeavor to be honest in their provision of information. Their products contain very simple ingredients and no harmful additives.

Ethical Tea

This is a very ethical company with values “Planet, People, Passion, Precision.” (24) Their ingredients are sourced from small, organic, Fairtrade farmers.

Organic Life Teas

This company sells tea, coconut products, superfoods, and spices. The products are organic without harmful chemicals and are ethically farmed. The farming is sustainable with biodiversity in consideration and the products are high quality.

Etsy

This is an ideal place to purchase many different high quality products. It is also a perfect site to acquire non-toxic, ethical, organic, eco-friendly soap bars and cleaning products from small businesses. Examples include:

Rugged Nature

The products are eco-friendly with no plastic involved in the production, they are not tested on animals, and they contain natural, non-toxic ingredients.

The Good Lovin Bar

These bars are organic, plant-based, and contain simple ingredients with no noxious additives.

Get in Shape

These bars are also raw, vegan, and organic. Additionally, they are non-GMO, and there is no sugar or artificial additives added.

kAAKAO

This chocolate is plant-based, organic, sugar-free, and additive free! The four ingredients are simple and pure!

Raw Spirit Chocolate Company

This chocolate is organic and Fairtrade with high quality ingredients and a range of flavors.

Coco Caravan

This chocolate is organic, Fairtrade, free from harmful additives, and sweetened with unrefined coconut blossom nectar. The products are also environmentally friendly and the company supports the indigenous cultures that work with them.

Mary’s Gone Crackers

These crackers are vegan, organic, and non-GMO. There is no toxic ingredients and all ingredients are sourced with careful consideration of biodiversity and the environment.

Organic Juice Box

A juice box is a fabulous way to start drinking pure juice without detrimental additives in order to consume a multitude of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!

Suja Organic Juice

These drinks are organic, non-GMO, and free of additives due to clever preservation processes. There is also eco-friendly packaging.

Purely

These plantain chips are plant-based, and non-GMO with no additives or preservatives. The products are sourced with consideration of the environment and the workers.

Kallo

These products are organic, non-GMO, and contain no additives or preservatives.

Niva Foods Organic

These Kamut Puffs are alkaline, organic, sugar-free, salt-free, and additive-free.

Harvest Moon

These yoghurts include a range of flavors which are all plant-based. There is no harmful additives, simple ingredients, and the ingredients are ethically sourced.

Yarrah

Yarrah is an organic pet food that is ethically produced with no animal testing. There is no unfriendly additives or GMO ingredients.

References

  1. Taylor, K., 2016. These 10 Companies Control Everything You Buy. [online] Business Insider. Available at: <https://www.businessinsider.com/10-companies-control-the-food-industry-2016-9?r=US&IR=T&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  2. Johnson, D., 2017. Oxfam: Ten Multinational Corporations Control Most Food Brands | Ourfuture.Org By People’s Action. [online] Available at: <https://ourfuture.org/20170105/oxfam-ten-multinational-corporations-control-most-food-brands&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  3. Ethical Consumer. 2020. How Ethical Is Unilever?. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/unilever&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  4. Flickr. 2015. Online Shopping. [online] Available at: <https://www.flickr.com/photos/robbertjnoordzij/22257890101/&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  5. Starling, S., 2011. Kellogg’S To Pay $5M For False Rice Krispies Immunity Claims. [online] nutraingredients-usa.com. Available at: <https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2011/01/13/Kellogg-s-to-pay-5m-for-false-Rice-Krispies-immunity-claims&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  6. WorldHealthChoice 2017. Avoid Kellogg’S Products! They Are Full Of Gmos And Toxic Ingredients. [online] World Health Choice ®. Available at: <http://worldhealthchoice.com/kelloggs-products-toxic-ingredients/&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  7. Ellen, M., 2020. GMO Weed Killer’S Cancer Risk | Just Label It. [online] Justlabelit.org. Available at: <http://www.justlabelit.org/gmo-weed-killers-cancer-risk/#:~:text=GMO%20Weed%20Killer%E2%80%99s%20Cancer%20Risk.%20Glyphosate%20%E2%80%93%20the,scientists%20at%20the%20World%20Health%20Organization%20announced%20today&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  8. Cardoza, R., 2017. Why You Should Be Worried About The Chemicals In Your Cereal | Eat This Not That. [online] Eat This Not That. Available at: <https://www.eatthis.com/chemicals-in-cereal/&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  9. Henley, W., 2013. Is Associated British Foods Less Transparent Than Nestlé And Coca Cola?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/associated-british-foods-transparent-nestle-coca-cola&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  10. Strom, S., 2012. Lawsuit Forces General Mills To Defend The Accuracy Of Its ‘Natural’ Labeling. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: <https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/27/business/general-mills-sued-over-natural-labeling.html&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  11. Watson, E., 2019. General Mills Prevails In False Ad Lawsuit Over Sugar Content In Cereals… After Three-Year Battle. [online] foodnavigator-usa.com. Available at: <https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2019/08/14/General-Mills-prevails-in-false-ad-lawsuit-over-sugar-content-in-cereals-after-three-year-battle&gt; [Accessed 18 August 2020].
  12. Thomas, C., 2009. Dannon Slammed With $35 Million False Advertising Settlement Over Activia Probiotic Yogurt. [online] The Ethical Nag. Available at: <https://ethicalnag.org/2009/10/06/yogurt/&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  13. Ethical Consumer. 2020. Stories | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/stories/1372104%201357844%201448618%201448618%201393017%201448619#:~:text=According%20to%20a%20press%20release%20by%20Cruelty%20Free,stated%20were%20carried%20out%20to%20prove%20%E2%80%98health%20benefits.%E2%80%99&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  14. Ethical Consumer. 2020. Stories | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/stories/1450036%201357846%201416481%201431895%201364035%201364040%201431895%201364035%201364040&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  15. Ethical Consumer. 2020. How Ethical Is Nestlé SA? | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/nestle-sa&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  16. Simon, M., 2012. A Leopard Like Pepsico Cannot Change Its Spots. [online] the Guardian. Available at: <https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/pepsico-corporate-social-responsibility-public-health&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  17. Ethical Consumer. 2020. How Ethical Is Coca-Cola Company, The? | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/coca-cola-company&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  18. Coursebb.com. 2020. Case Study: The Coca-Cola Company Struggles With Ethical Crises – Coursebb. [online] Available at: <https://www.coursebb.com/2017/01/03/case-study-coca-cola-company-struggles-ethical-crises/&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  19. Ethical Consumer. 2020. Cat Food | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/food-drink/shopping-guide/cat-food/&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  20.  Ethical Consumer. 2020. Dog Food | Ethical Consumer. [online] Available at: <https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/food-drink/shopping-guide/dog-food&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  21. Nieburg, O., 2015. Mars, Nestlé And Hershey Face Fresh Cocoa Child Labor Class Action Lawsuits. [online] confectionerynews.com. Available at: <https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2015/09/30/Mars-Nestle-and-Hershey-face-fresh-cocoa-child-labor-lawsuits&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  22. Shaak, E., 2017. Lawsuit Claims Belvita Breakfast Products Deceptively Labeled. [online] Classaction.org. Available at: <https://www.classaction.org/news/lawsuit-claims-belvita-breakfast-products-deceptively-labeled&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  23. The Daily Intake. 2020. Judge Dismisses Class Action Lawsuit For Oreo “Made With Real Cocoa” Claims (Subscription To Law360 Required) | The Daily Intake. [online] Available at: <https://www.dailyintakeblog.com/2020/07/judge-dismisses-class-action-lawsuit-for-oreo-made-with-real-cocoa-claims-subscription-to-law360-required/&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].
  24.  Ethicteas.com. 2020. Ethical Tea | Manufacture Of High Quality Ceylon Organic Tea. [online] Available at: <https://ethicteas.com/about-us.php&gt; [Accessed 19 August 2020].

Should oil be avoided for optimal health?

Oil, Olive Oil, Cooking, Virgin, Healthy, Food, Gold

Oil has been encouraged as a healthy part of the diet by mainstream nutritional advice and guidance. However, there is an unavoidable, undeniable inkling that oil is not the ‘health food’ that it is often made out to be. The highly processed, refined, manufactured, unnatural oil consumed nowadays is mostly devoid of nutritional value and any kind of ‘health benefits.’ It is, in fact, hard for the body to process due to the unnatural extraction of the oil from the whole foods found in nature.

 “All oils and pure-fat products are entirely unnatural…Pure bottled oils and packaged solid fats are man-made, chemically or mechanically refined components of whole foods that do not naturally exist in nature in this refined state.” (1)

The fact that our body requires these synthetic, processed fatty acids for brain and heart function seems debatable at least.

These synthetic, processed oils are the only foods that are 100% fat. Most oils have at least 100 calories per tablespoon which is likely to be a quarter or more of the meal it is added to if only one tablespoon of oil is added. Oils are the “most energy dense foods known” (1). Oils are highly likely to be a high-ranking cause of weight gain. Most oil, particularly saturated oil, is either stored as fat or in the arteries because unsaturated oil can be partially converted to saturated oil in the body (2). So, it cannot be considered an aid to weight loss, but only a hindrance to avoiding weight gain and losing weight.

Saturated fat is without a doubt less healthy than unsaturated fat. Animal fats and highly processed trans-fat are high in cholesterol and clog arteries which leads to heart disease. This has been proven by an enormous multitude of studies with evidence. Some examples of such studies include (3), (4), (5), and (6). The fact that animal fats cause weight gain and increase the likelihood of disease should not be debatable.

However, polyunsaturated oils (grapeseed oil, soybean oil) and monounsaturated oil (olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil) are often revered as the ‘healthy’ alternative and the ‘only’ alternative to saturated fat. Is it just me or does this not seem accurate? There has been a definitive link found between high-fat diets and cancer. Does this not mean all sources of fat, particularly refined fat? A few examples of studies that display this link include (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), and (12). Multiple studies suggest that, for many types of cancer, total fat intake (although mostly saturated fat) increases the risk and progression of the disease.

Further evidence that ‘healthy’ oils may be a myth can be found. There is evidence that total fat intake of polyunsaturated fat (13) and even specifically omega 3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil may increase the risk of heart disease (14). Perhaps it can be concluded that there is not enough evidence to prove that any oils are healthy, although there have been attempts to prove unsaturated oils are an essential health food due to their content of essential fatty acids. It seems that there is less disease if you consume unsaturated fat rather than saturated fat, but this has not been compared with consuming zero unnatural fats in any well-known studies. So, it is not known whether unsaturated oils improve or worsen disease in comparison to an oil-free diet.

An oil-free diet could be the ideal solution to prevent the risk of disease, avoid weight gain, and ensure that the authentic, bona fide fats are consumed in their natural form. Healthy sources of fat in whole and natural foods include avocadoes, all nuts, all seeds, durian, and cocoa. An oil-free diet is particularly important for preserving vitality, as “unsaturated fats become unstable at high temperatures, oils exposed to heat could have more free radicals and, thus, cause greater cellular damage when ingested” (15). It is very possible to avoid oil in cooking by sautéing or steaming vegetables on the stove and baking vegetables in the oven, rather than frying or roasting them in oil. Herbs, spices, lime juice, garlic, and nuts or seeds are all great additions for flavour and texture. After a while, you will be able to observe that there can be enjoyment in tasting the simple foods without an oily flavour and texture!

Also, next time you think that vegan margarine is healthier than butter, it is packed with trans-fat and barren of healthy nutrients so think again!

“Oils…Empty calories at best, carcinogenic junk foods at worst. Across the board, refined oil (including coconut, flax, olive, hemp, almond, borange, and the like, which are touted as ‘pure’ or ‘special’ because of their source or careful processing methods) are essentially empty calories, not fit for consumption. They are stripped of the fiber, protein, and carbohydrates that accompanied the whole foods from which they derived, leaving an unbalanced fractional product.” (16)

Sources

  1. Campbell, T., 2015. The Campbell Plan. 1st ed. New York: Rodale, pp.60-61.
  2. Graham, D., 2010. The 80/10/10 Diet. 3rd ed. Key Largo, FL: FoodnSport Press, pp.125-126.
  3. Willett, W., 2012. Dietary fats and coronary heart disease. Journal of Internal Medicine, [online] 272(1), pp.13-24. Available at: <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2012.02553.x&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  4. Seven Countries Study. 2020. Saturated Fat, Serum Cholesterol And Coronary Heart Disease. [online] Available at: <https://www.sevencountriesstudy.com/saturated-fat-and-coronary-heart-disease/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  5. Heileson, J., 2019. Dietary saturated fat and heart disease: a narrative review. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 78(6), pp.474-485. Available at: <https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/78/6/474/5678770&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  6. Katan, M., Brouwer, I., Clarke, R., Geleijnse, J. and Mensink, R., 2010. Saturated fat and heart disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 92(2), pp.459-460. Available at: <https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/92/2/459/4597396&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  7. Sieri, S., Chiodini, P., Agnol, C. and Pala, V. et al., 2014. Dietary Fat Intake and Development of Specific Breast Cancer Subtypes. Journal of the national cancer institute, [online] 106(5). Available at: <https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/106/5/dju068/2607154&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  8. Shetty, P. and Sreedharan, J., 2019. Breast Cancer and Dietary Fat Intake: A correlational study. Nepal Journal of Epidemiology, [online] 9 (4), pp.812-816. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6964800/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  9. Carroll, K.K., Gammal, E.B., and Plunkett, E.R. Dietary fat and mammary cancer. Canadian Medical Association Journal 1968; 98: 590-594.
  10. Han, J., Jiang, Y., Liu, X. and Meng, Q. et al., 2015. Dietary Fat Intake and Risk of Gastric Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. PLoS One, [online] 10(9), p.e0138580. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4581710/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  11. Qiu, W., Lu, H., Qi, Y. and Wang, X., 2016. Dietary fat intake and ovarian cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Oncotarget, [online] 7(24), pp.37390-37406. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5095084/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  12. Food Consumer. 2017. Dietary Fat May Raise Risk Of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. [online] Available at: <https://foodconsumer.org/16/safety/chemical/dietary-fat-may-raise-risk-non-hodgkin-lymphoma/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  13. Blankenhorn, D.H., Johnson R.L., Mack W.J., El Zein, H.A., and Vailas, L.I. The influence of diet on the appearance of new lesions in human coronary arteries. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1990; 263: 1646-1652.
  14. Burr M. L. Secondary Prevention of CHD in UK men: The Diet and Reinfarction Trial and its sequel. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2007; 66: 9-15.
  15. Houghton, T., 2020. New To An Oil-Free Diet? Here’s What You Need To Know. [online] Center for Nutrition Studies. Available at: <https://nutritionstudies.org/new-to-an-oil-free-diet-heres-what-you-need-to-know/&gt; [Accessed 9 July 2020].
  16. Graham, D., 2010. The 80/10/10 Diet. 3rd ed. Key Largo, FL: FoodnSport Press, p.130.

Potatoes: an ideal staple?

Potatoes are a wholesome, nutritious food choice that gradually seems to be becoming less popular and more stigmatised due to assumptions that potatoes cause weight gain. However, if you have assumed that potatoes cause weight gain, it is probably due to two types of foods that derive from potatoes, namely chips and crisps.

“According to a July 2016 report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating potatoes as french fries has a stronger link to weight gain and increased BMI than preparing them boiled, mashed or baked.” (1, 2)

Potatoes, in themselves, have a relatively low-fat content until cooking oil, trans-fat, and processed sauces are added in the process of preparing and processing them. Due to this, chips and crisps do contribute to weight gain using the standard preparation methods.

As well as being low in fat and high in fibre, the starch in potatoes helps with satiety and creates a full feeling to prevent further cravings after a meal. Potatoes are also full of crucial and beneficial micronutrients! Potatoes are an ideal source of iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin C, and protein.

The three healthiest potatoes are most likely red potatoes, sweet potatoes, and purple potatoes. It would be hard to list all the benefits and reasons for this! Here are some of them:

Why red potatoes are so healthy?

●  They have the ‘highest levels of vitamins, minerals, and healthy phytochemicals’ out of all the potatoes.

●  They contain the flavonoid quercetin which is anti-inflammatory.

●  They contain lutein and choline which helps the eyes and brain respectively

●  They contain B6 which needed for metabolism, forming red blood cells, energy levels, and brain functions.

●  They contain high levels of potassium which balances sodium and helps bodily functions.

(3, 4)

Why sweet potatoes are so healthy?

●  They contain beta-carotene which helps the skin, immune system, and eyes.

●  They contain manganese which helps the metabolism, nervous system, blood functions, and bones.

(3, 4)

Why purple potatoes are so healthy?

● They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins which are responsible for the purple colour.

●  They may help detox your body from heavy metals.

(3, 4)

●  They contain phytochemicals that lower your blood pressure.

Additionally, red potatoes are higher in antioxidants, so they will provide the most protective benefits against disease. Red potatoes contain twice the vitamin C content to ordinary white potatoes (1). Meanwhile, sweet potatoes are also high in antioxidants and likely to prevent disease. Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids that have “antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and may play a role in preventing heart disease and type 2 diabetes” (5). Thus, these are by far the healthiest types of potatoes, as they are full of essential nutrients and disease-destroying phytochemicals!

History

The history of potatoes is believed to stem back to the Native Americans who cultivated and perhaps domesticated them. Potatoes are indigenous plants of South America that begun being domesticated and grown for food many thousands of years ago (6). Red potatoes are likely to be less modified and closer to the origins than white potatoes.

Similarly, sweet potatoes were cultivated by the Native Americans and originate from a different plant family to potatoes. Also, there are distinct types of sweet potatoes found throughout Asia (7), so different types of sweet potatoes may have distinct origins.

When potatoes were brought to Europe a few hundred years ago, the popularity of potatoes was large in Ireland. They considered potatoes an ideal staple food that “provided protein, vitamins and complex carbohydrates.” (3) Potatoes are a supreme source of food for preventing deficiency, hunger, meeting your calorie intake, and feeling satisfied.

Long-lived and thriving cultures

Some of the healthiest, happiest, and thriving cultures have potatoes as a staple food. This surely provides evidence that potatoes should be considered a health food and included in a balanced diet. Blue Zone diets consist of a mostly whole-foods plant-based diet with complex carbohydrates like starchy vegetables (as well as whole grains and legumes) as staple foods (8). Thus, a vegan diet with a nutritious staple like potatoes seems to be the ultimate diet.

Both Okinawa in Japan and Ikaria in Greece have diets that involve the complex carbohydrate of potatoes as a central element of their diet. In Okinawa, the sweet potato is central to their diet (5). This is likely a major factor in their quality of health due to the antioxidant content and essential micronutrients found in sweet potatoes. Furthermore, in Ikaria, potatoes are also very popular and widely consumed often. “Ikaria is a Greek island so the diet is arguably ‘Mediterranean’ but with a larger intake of potatoes” (9). Thus, the high consumption of potatoes, along with many other factors, may be the reason that they are some of the longest-lived people.

So, I think that everyone who enjoys potatoes, whether they are mashed, roasted, baked, boiled, or steamed, should extend their gratefulness to the Native Americans and other cultures for beginning the cultivation of these tubulars that are so packed full of goodness! Wild potatoes in the native region are in fact tiny tubers.

“Starch granules from Solanum jamesii have been found preserved on a 10,900-year-old stone metate at Escalante, Utah, making it the earliest known evidence of wild potato use in North America. Ancient peoples transported, grew and possibly domesticated this tiny tuber.” (10)

This indicates a lengthy history of potato domestication that has brought these tubulars to those found in the present day. Potatoes are a very grounding vegetable and echo the Native American spiritual relationship with the earth.

“We are the land … that is the fundamental idea embedded in Native American life the Earth is the mind of the people as we are the mind of the earth. The land is not really the place (separate from ourselves) where we act out the drama of our isolate destinies. It is not a means of survival, a setting for our affairs … It is rather a part of our being, dynamic, significant, real. It is our self …

It is not a matter of being ‘close to nature’ … The Earth is, in a very real sense, the same as our self (or selves) … That knowledge, though perfect, does not have associated with it the exalted romance of the sentimental ‘nature lovers’, nor does it have, at base, any self-conscious ‘appreciation’ of the land … It is a matter of fact, one known equably from infancy, remembered and honoured at levels of awareness that go beyond consciousness, and that extend long roots into primary levels of mind, language, perception and all the basic aspects of being …”

Paula Gunn Allen, Laguna Pueblo (1979: 191–192) –  (11)

References

(1) Boyers, L., 2020. Are Red Potatoes Healthier Than White Potatoes?. [online] LIVESTRONG.COM. Available at: <https://www.livestrong.com/article/460129-are-red-potatoes-healthier-than-white-potatoes/> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(2) Borch, D., Juul-Hindsgaul, N., Veller, M., Astrup, A., Jaskolowski, J. and Raben, A., 2016. Potatoes and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review of clinical intervention and observational studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 104(2), pp.489-498. Available at: <https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/2/489/4564613> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(3) Lecklitner, I., 2020. Healthiest Potatoes: Ranking Every Potato By How Healthy They Are. [online] MEL Magazine. Available at: <https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/ranking-types-of-potatoes-by-how-healthy-they-are> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(4) Friedman, D., n.d. Food Sanity: How To Eat In A World Of Fads And Fiction. 1st ed. New York: Basic Health Publications.

(5) Hill, A., 2019. What Is The Okinawa Diet? Foods, Longevity, And More. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/okinawa-diet#recommendation> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(6) Vegetablefacts.net. 2020. Potato History – Origin And History Of Potatoes. [online] Available at: <http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-history/history-of-potatoes/> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(7) All-about-sweet-potatoes.com. 2020. History And Origin Of Sweet Potatoes. [online] Available at: <http://www.all-about-sweet-potatoes.com/history-origin-sweet-potato.html> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(8) Mackey, J., Pulde, A. and Lederman, M., 2017. The Whole Foods Diet. 1st ed. Boston: Grand Central Life & Style.

(9) Ware, V., 2015. Which Is The World’s Healthiest Diet?. [online] Lucy Bee. Available at: <https://shop.lucybee.com/blogs/all-blogs/which-is-the-worlds-healthiest-diet> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(10) Gulliford, A., 2020. On The Trail Of Tiny Tubers: Four Corners Potato A Staple Of Native American Diets. [online] Durango Herald. Available at: <https://durangoherald.com/articles/309899-on-the-trail-of-tiny-tubers-four-corners-potato-a-staple-of-native-american-diets> [Accessed 21 June 2020].

(11) Booth, A., 2003. We are the Land: Native American Views of Nature. In: H. Selin, ed., Nature Across Cultures: Views of Nature and the Environment in Non-western Cultures. [online] Dordrecht, Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp.329-349. Available at: <https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-94-017-0149-5_17> [Accessed 21 June 2020].