The human-nature relationship

Aetherial energy flows from nature into the etheric body allowing energy to flow through the physical body. The energy that has always existed in nature supports human’s in all of their endeavors and heals their energy continuously. 

“The God of Nature did his soul inspire,

Or Earth, but new divided from the sky,

And, pliant, still retain’d th’ aetherial energy:

Which wise Prometheus temper’d into paste,

And, mixt with living streams, the godlike image cast”

(1)

The aetherial energy is yielding to the human hands enabling humans to perform energy healing on each other like Reiki. Humans can yield this ability for the power of good to heal each other and remain connected with nature. 

The saddest element of a monetary world is hunger and lack. Many are starving around the world all the time, whilst ultimately human beings inherited nature and all of its products through divine creation.  

“Thus, while the mute creation downward bend

Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,

Man looks aloft; and with erected eyes

Beholds his own hereditary skies.”

(1)

The earthly mother cared for all beings and provided delicious sustenance for human’s fruitarian nature. The fruit was not supposed to be sprayed with preservatives and left in stock houses for months on end until half of it is thrown away due to passing its shelf life. 

The four elements are inherently the components of nature and these elements link to emotional, mental, and physical health. On the physical plane, earth represents instincts, grounding, and foundation, water represents emotion, intuition, and going with the flow, air represents intellect, mental intention, and connection to the life force, and fire represents willpower, inner strength, and transformation (2). Healing these spiritual and mental abilities can improve an individual’s physical life experience. Human emotions can combine with the elements to have a butterfly effect across the universe. Empedocles, the Greek philosopher, felt that the four elements were unified by loving emotions and divided by hateful emotions (3). The power of human emotion can have a great impact, as hate leads to war and love leads to happy and connected families and communities.  

Pluralism is a component of natural philosophy that links to religion and the elements of the physical world. In terms of historical religion, the scientific school differed from the natural philosophers in the belief that heaven and earth are separate rather than pluralistic (3). The question of whether heaven can be viewed as manifesting in the earth plane or not has remained debatable. The natural philosophy view makes more sense, as the universe is pluralistic. Association (philia) and separation (neikos) of the elements is at the root of the physical universe (4), as the wind moves water, water particles separate and combine with air into clouds, and trees grow in a relationship with the carbon dioxide in the air. 

Further evidence of humanity’s inherent connection with nature includes the benefits of earthing, diurnal body rhythms, and biophilia (the natural esthetic preference for nature). Earthing simply means walking barefoot on the earth and feeling the electrical currents that are very healing. Benefits include reducing inflammation, reducing stress hormones, sleeping better, increased energy, and lower the pain (5). Better physical and mental health results from a better connection with nature. Earthing and sunlight may improve numerous bodily energies including circadian, diurnal, and neurological body rhythms (6, 7, 8, 9). Through this, earthing can help sleep and mental health. Biophilia may be another mental and emotional connection that makes nature so healing. Biophilia is an esthetic preference for the natural. The esthetic preference for nature and natural forms is present from childhood (6, 10, 11). Children often prefer fruit over breadsticks, grass over concrete, and pebbles and shells over lego.   

In conclusion, aetherial energy, the four elements, and electrical currents beneath the ground are all healing energies of the universe. Natural philosophy and the belief in the importance of nature to spirituality may be doctrines that should be valued much for their truth and reality. 

References

  1.  Restout, J., 2021. Metamorphoses. 1st ed. Global Grey, pp.4-5.
  2. Oldale, R., 2020. What Do The Four Elements Represent In People?. [online] Master Mind Content. Available at: <https://www.mastermindcontent.co.uk/what-do-the-four-elements-represent-in-people/#:~:text=Characteristics%20of%20the%20Four%20Elements%20%20%20Element,%20%20Superficial%2C%20restrictive%2C%20stubborn%2C%20hesi%20…%20&gt; [Accessed 14 April 2022].
  3. Zhenfeng, B., 2019. The Basis of Human Rights in Early Ancient Greek Philosophy. [online] Chinahumanrights.org. Available at: <http://www.chinahumanrights.org/html/2019/MAGAZINES_0712/13477.html&gt; [Accessed 14 April 2022].
  4. The Spiritual Life. 2022. Pluralism in Philosophy. [online] Available at: <https://slife.org/pluralism-in-philosophy/&gt; [Accessed 14 April 2022].
  5.  Levy, J., 2019. Earthing: 5 Ways It Can Help You Fight Disease. [online] Dr. Axe. Available at: <https://draxe.com/health/earthing/&gt; [Accessed 14 April 2022].
  6. Seymour, V., 2016. The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review. Front Public Health, [online] 4, p.260. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5114301/&gt; [Accessed 14 April 2022].
  7. Figueiro MG, Rea MS, Stevens RG, Rea AC. Daylight and productivity – a possible link to circadian regulation. Proceedings of Light and Human Health: EPRI/LRO 5th International Lighting Research Symposium, 2002 Nov 3-5; Palo Alto, CA. and Ostram Sylvania, Danvers, MA California: EPRI (2004). 
  8.  Boyce PR. The impact of light in buildings on human health. Indoor Built Environ (2010) 19(1):8–20.10.1177/1420326X09358028 
  9. Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P. Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the earth’s surface electrons. J Environ Public Health (2012) 2012:291541.10.1155/2012/291541
  10. Kaplan R, Kaplan S. The Experience of Nature. Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press; (1989).  
  11. Depledge MH, Stone RJ, Bird WJ. Can natural and virtual environments be used to promote improved human health and wellbeing? Environ Sci Technol (2011) 45:4660–5.10.1021/es103907m

Rousseau, human nature, and veganism

Rousseau was a writer and theorist of the Romantic type. Some of his key works include ‘A Discourse on the Sciences and Arts’ (1750) and ‘Discourse on the Origin of Inequality’ (1755). The focus is on the positive nature of humans in comparison to the impure and fake nature of the modern industrialised world. 

 In ‘Discourse on the Arts and Science,’ Rousseau expressed that art and science can be detrimental to human nature and society. It may be that art can portray underlying meaning to control the masses like propaganda, advertising, or enforcing social norms. Science can lead to destructive and unnatural creations like nuclear bombs, GMO foods, and genetic engineering. Rousseau was against modernity with the presence of social honour, prestige, dependence, servitude, selfishness, vanity, and atheism (1). Rousseau considered these vices that affect the goodness of human nature leading to evil. 

In ‘Discourse on Inequality,’ Rousseau emphasised that inequality in society is unnatural.  Class inequality may be unnatural. In nature, there is not a monetary system or a state that imposes authority and rules. Humans have characteristics that differentiate them, but there are also universals like empathy to others and self-care. These are natural universal aspects of human nature that are truly beautiful and important. The domination of certain social groups can be maintained through comparison, vanity, and monetary gain. 

Rousseau had a romantic view of nature and human nature. Theories about humans of romantic nature are concrete, varied, infinite, natural, organic, free, creative, emotional, imaginative, and intuitive (2). An open approach to analysing human nature involves not limiting the human capabilities and the possibilities of our good nature to strictly defined conventions, stereotypes, or expectations. 

Humans are naturally emotional beings who feel an array of feelings and a desire for a higher connection. Rousseau believed that religious piety is based on emotions and not intellect (3). Devotion to God and respect for each other requires a combination of emotional regulation and the ability to feel a range of deep emotions. Rousseau felt opposing feelings about human nature and the state of civilization. He had pessimistic emotions about the journey of civilization and much optimism about human nature (4). Society can change an individual much and draw them to depart greatly from their inner goodness.  

As well as being a wise philosopher on the value of human nature, Rousseau was a vegetarian advocate. Rousseau noted in his written work ‘Emile’ that children are naturally more satisfied by plant food and that cultures that are more vegan are more friendly (5). Cruelty to one species may influence one’s behaviour to another, including eating animals, whilst there is much evidence that humans are vegan in nature. 

Rousseau quoted Plutarch’s ‘Essay,’

“The further we remove from a natural mode of living the more we lose our natural tastes; or rather habit makes a second nature, which we substitute to such a degree for the first that none among us any longer knows what the latter is. It follows from this that the most simple tastes must also be the most natural, for they are those which are most easily changed, while being sharpened and by being irritated by our whims they assume a form which never changes. The man who is yet of no country will conform himself without trouble to the customs of any country whatever, but the man of one country never becomes that of another. This appears to me true in every sense, and still more so applied to taste properly so-called”

(Plutarch’s Essay) (6)

References

(1) Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 2022. An Introduction to the Work of Rousseau. [online] Available at: <https://thegreatthinkers.org/rousseau/introduction/&gt; [Accessed 1 March 2022].

(2) Infed.org. 2022. Jean-Jacques Rousseau on nature, wholeness and education. [online] Available at: <https://infed.org/mobi/jean-jacques-rousseau-on-nature-wholeness-and-education/&gt; [Accessed 1 March 2022].

(3) Imagining-other.net. 2022. Rousseau’s views on human nature. [online] Available at: <http://www.imagining-other.net/enl4humannaturerousseau.htm&gt; [Accessed 1 March 2022].

(4) Philosophy & Philosophers. 2012. Rousseau and Human Nature. [online] Available at: <https://www.the-philosophy.com/rousseau-human-nature&gt; [Accessed 1 March 2022].

(5) Ivu.org. 2022. History of Vegetarianism – Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 1778). [online] Available at: <https://ivu.org/history/renaissance/rousseau.html&gt; [Accessed 1 March 2022].

(6) Williams, H. 1883. History of Vegetarianism – The Ethics of Diet – Jean Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778. [online] Available at: <https://ivu.org/history/williams/rousseau.html&gt; [Accessed 1 March 2022].

The Gnostic Vegan Jesus

Gnosticism is centered around gaining intellectual spiritual knowledge rather than remaining ignorant. It is a monotheistic religion that emphasises that the human goal is to cleanse themselves of sin, find their inner inherent light of goodness, and achieve enlightenment. It explores reality, the nature of being, and our origin concerning God and creation.  

Pentecost (an event on the Gnostic Calender) – Italian Engraving by Gian Jacopo Caraglio

The Gnostic texts (The Nag Hammadi Scriptures) refer to Jesus many times with messages and references beyond the mainstream biblical depiction. Gnosticism’s view of Jesus advances the well-known narrative in that 

  • Jesus’s teachings incorporate the importance of Gnosis
  • Jesus was sent to remedy the catastrophe of creation caused by the demiurge
  • Jesus did not suffer through crucifixion due to his divine spiritual nature 

(1)

 In Gnosticism, Jesus spreads messages that link to other religions. Some of his teachings may have been close to Sankhya Yoga from Hinduism and Buddhism (2). Meditation, yogic practices, and peaceful behaviour to all beings are evermore displayed of Jesus in the Gnostic teachings than other texts. 

Jesus Christ statue, Havana, Cuba

He is also shown to have healing abilities. Christ was initially known as ‘soter’ being a healer who helped people with their health and early mystery schools included breathwork (pneumatics) for channeling spiritual energy for healing (3). This was already evident in the bible, as he helped many who were sick, crippled, had cancer or were blind. The connection between Jesus, healing practices, and Buddhism could imply that he must have had Gnosis about leading a healthy and mindful lifestyle. This would surely be a vegan lifestyle with only plant-based food and the avoidance of harm to others!     

The Gnostics themselves were all at least vegetarian. The prayer of thanksgiving in the hermetic scriptures says “when they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it” (4, 5). The plant-based diet has been practiced by many spiritual groups throughout history due to the purifying and cleansing effect it has on the body and spirit. Gnosticism predates Christianity being closer to Jesus’s time, as Christianity originated in small mystery schools before becoming a state-controlled religion. Constantine at the First Council of Nicea in 325 AD shortened and changed the bible which became the religion of the empire and Gnosticism became heretical. 

Various historical figures have referred to Jesus’s vegetarian principles. A text with vegetarian views, ‘Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy,’ written between 1637-1682 noted that “Jesus… was a member of the Essenes, the ascetic Jewish sect who ‘would rather suffer Martyrdom, than be prevail’d on to taste any Thing that had Life in it’ ” (6, 7). The Essenes had a simple plant-based whole foods vegetarian diet. 

The Essenes recommended eating a simple diet of fresh fruit, vegetables, barley, wheat, almonds, milk and honey – which they claimed would keep you healthy and lengthen your life” (8)

There are also non-vegetarian historical figures like St. Augustine, a catholic of the orthodox church, who noted Jesus’s vegan principles. He stated that Jesus “allowed no animal food to his own disciples” (9, 10). Jesus and his disciples were always against harm to other beings. 

There is also evidence in a very early biblical text (a Syriac-Aramaic manuscript) of Jesus specifically associating health and diet with behaviour and goodness of character in his words spoken to others. 

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Gospel of Matthew, a saying attributed to Jesus from a Syriac-Aramaic manuscript) (11)

The lack of cleanliness of the internal body from unhealthy food (like foods from dead animals) certainly affects mental health and anger often results from pain and physical unease. Anger more often not leads to the kind of unrighteous behaviour that a peaceful and mindful individual does not do. The hypocrisy lies in these meat-eaters that he is talking to dressing in beautiful garments in aesthetically designed architecture and surroundings full of vanity about their perfect appearance with all the riches of the world, but never looking within to examine their inner beauty and question whether their behaviour to all other beings is graceful and dignified. To ascend past the material pleasures and the enjoyment that non-vegans find in using animal products is a spiritual ascension that genuinely and authentically denounces all evil against other beings!

References

  1. McCoy, D., 2021. Jesus Christ in Gnosticism. [online] Gnosticism Explained. Available at: <https://gnosticismexplained.org/jesus-christ-in-gnosticism/&gt; [Accessed 5 January 2022].
  2. Johnsen, L., 2022. Gnostic Texts Reveal Jesus in a New Light. [online] Yoga International. Available at: <https://yogainternational.com/article/view/gnostic-texts-reveal-jesus-in-a-new-light&gt; [Accessed 5 January 2022].
  3. Phillips, J., 2011. The Electric Jesus. Berkeley, Calif.: Evolver Editions: p.78.
  4. Bean, J., 2017. Oldest Veg and Vegan Quotes on Earth. [online] Medium. Available at: <https://sant-mat.medium.com/oldest-veg-and-vegan-quotes-on-earth-79ad2c514c8c&gt; [Accessed 6 January 2022].
  5. Brashler, J., Dirkse, P. and Parrott, D., 2022. The Prayer of Thanksgiving — The Nag Hammadi Library. [online] Gnosis.org. Available at: <http://gnosis.org/naghamm/prat.html&gt; [Accessed 6 January 2022].
  6. Stuart, T., 2006. The Bloodless Revolution. London: Harper Press: p.120.
  7. Spy, IV. 300-1; cf. Israel (2001), p.651. On the vegetarian Essenes, cf. Josephus (1755), ‘Antiquities of the Jews’, Bk XV, ch. 10. 4; Josephus (1755), ‘The Wars of the Jews’, Bk II, ch. 8; Lord (1630), pp.74-6; Evelyn (1850), II. 48-9; Grotius (1901), BK II, ch 2. & 2. 
  8. Feder, S., 2018. Was Jesus A Vegetarian — Along With An Ancient Jewish Sect?. [online] The Forward. Available at: <https://forward.com/food/400058/jewish-vegetarianism-goes-back-to-ancient-times-jesus-may-have-been-part/&gt; [Accessed 6 January 2022].
  9. Stuart, T., 2006. The Bloodless Revolution. London: Harper Press: p.151
  10.  St John Augustine (2005), Bk XVI. 6, XXII. 3; cf. e.g. Pseudo-Clement (2005b), Homily XII, ch.6; Pseudo-Clement (2005a), Bk VII. ch.6; Eusebius (1903), II. 2-3; Berkman (2004).
  11. Medium. 2013. Evidence That Jesus and The Original Aramaic Christians Were Vegetarians. [online] Available at: <https://medium.com/sant-mat-meditation-and-spirituality/evidence-that-jesus-and-the-original-aramaic-christians-were-vegetarians-b8784ac42506&gt; [Accessed 6 January 2022].

Human origin: an Edenic vegan paradise?

“Thus says the Lord God,

You had the seal of perfection,

Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

You were in Eden, the garden of God”

(Ezekiel 28:12-13) (1)

jenny w. @ 2021 free images

It may be that the main food consumed in the garden of Eden given by God was fruit, as every bible places emphasis on the abundance of fruit trees that grow there. 

“And GOD made spring up also out of the earth every tree beautiful in appearance and good for food…” (Gen 2:9, 2:16, 17) (2, 3)

The phrase ‘every tree’ has a knowing quality that could convey that the fruit that grows on trees has been specifically designed and placed there for Adam and Eve, so that they know that all of the trees that grow fruit carry their sustenance. Following this, the phrase ‘good for food’ brings this point to the foreground. Also in the garden of Eden,   

15 …Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’ ” (Genesis 2:4-3:24) (4)

The phrase ‘tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ may simply refer to the discovery of evil-doing, as it is made evident throughout Genesis that everything in the garden is good. As the bible seems to make clear that all fruit is sustenance that heals and restores, this specific tree referenced here and its fruit is probably a metaphor. As all fruit is healthy and good, one interpretation of this metaphor could be that the ‘evil’ is a non-vegan diet. Once an individual is killing animals for meat, then harm and cruelty begins along with an increased risk of illness and disease. 

All of the food in Eden would also be organic, so they would have been very thriving.  Research has found that a diet without pesticides and herbicides on food due to eating only organic reduces cancer risk (5). There is a question over whether the original humans had such health and immortality that they were immortal. In relation to commentaries on Genesis, “some argue that God desired humans to stay in a child-like state free from care and pain” (6, 7, 8). It is sad that in modern society only childhood is associated with a free and easy bodily experience, as a healthy diet can help to ease the pain at any age. Mortality being unnatural to man in terms of being a newer feature of mankind and the vital role of fruit to health is indicated by the Greek poet Hesiod around 700 BC. 

“First of all the deathless gods who dwell on Olympus made a

golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Cronos when

he was reigning in heaven. And they lived like gods with

out sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil and grief: miserable

age rested not on them; but with legs and arms never failing

they made merry with feasting beyond the reach of all evils.

When they died, it was as though they were overcome with

sleep, and they had all good things; for the fruitful earth

unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They

dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good

things, rich in flocks and loved by the blessed gods.” (9, 10)

Hesiod sketched an idyllic vision of a heavenly life without evil, as basically fruitarian and peaceful. The use of ‘fruit’ and ‘fruitful’ accentuates this. There is blessed connotations being associated with this paradise (‘free’/ ‘merry’/ ‘ease’/ ‘peace’/ ‘rich’/ ‘good’/ ‘loved’), as opposed to the opposite (‘sorrow of heart’/ ‘toil and grief’/ ‘miserable’/ ‘evils’/ ‘stint’). In a comparable way, in the Epic of Gilgamesh about the search for eternal life, Enkidu reminisces on a more natural, pure, wild past, as he curses modernity of civilisation. 

“As he is dying, Enkidu curses the hunter and the harlot who made him civilized, wishing for his former life among the beasts: ‘Because you made me weak, me who was pure! And me who was pure, you made me weak when I was in the wild.’” (11, 12)

The association here may be between weakness and civilization, as in the wild, human beings are still following a natural and pure diet, so they may have been stronger.  

Fruit, nuts, and some vegetables would be the basis of the Edenic diet, as it includes ‘every herb bearing seed.’ This is described in the bible:

“Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat [i.e. food].” (Genesis 1:29) (13)

The predominant food was fruit! There is an emphasis made on the fact that fruit trees reproduce and reseed again and again with the phrase ‘every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed.’ This symbolises the circular path of nature in its cycles. It is also thought-provoking that the derivation of ‘meat’ was all food, but expanded to only include dead animals over time, as meat-eating gained popularity. After the flood, meat (i.e. food) was expanded to include all living things which had not before been food. 

“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” (Genesis 9:3) (13)

This may be documented evidence of the shift of humanity in ancient times from their fruitarian roots to meat-eating. The fall of man could represent that humans had fallen in terms of less intelligence, less connection with nature, less purity, and less ‘good’-ness in their ways due to the beginning of non-veganism and hurting other beings. 

In Genesis (1:26 – 28), “God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’” (14). This could connect to our fruitarian origins in relation to the link between fruit, health, and fertility. It may have also suggested that fruit was still abundant in the diet due to etymology of the word ‘fruitful’ also. The etymology of the word could have been being ‘full’ of fruit after eating significant amounts of it, as was common habit. Fruit remained central in the bible, as later there is depicted a kingdom with a fruit tree at its centre. 

‘2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.’ (15)

Fruit must have been central to life, as the phrase that describes it is ‘the tree of life.’ Meanwhile, the herbal leaves were known to have healing properties being ‘healing of the nations.’ This could indicate early herbalism. 

Although there was meat-eating in the bible, the context of the time was no longer based on vegan individuals and communities only, unlike the beginning of Genesis. Nevertheless, there are various quotes, anecdotes, and depictions throughout the bible that may be aligned with veganism or fruitarianism. Biblical hermeneutics looks for eternal truth beyond the historical time and culture (16). Biblical hermeneutics is an ideal way for vegans and fruitarians to interpret and gain insight from the bible. 

This quote in the bible pictures an idyllic world of peace, togetherness, and friendship between all beings:

6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (17)

In the last sentence a definitive link is made between the avoidance of harm and destruction in relation to respecting the higher one. I, myself, feel that I have an inner knowing from the Lord that tells me that veganism is a worthy cause and respecting other beings is always a valued endeavour. 

“Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’” (Jesus, Gospel of Matthew 9:13, Good News translation)

Animal sacrifices could include killing animals for meat or not, so the message here could be that all harming of other beings is not kind and we should only aim to be kind. 

In Genesis, the focus seems to be on fruit and plant-eating in contrast with evil-doing. This diet helps with health and immune strength. And to the degree that they may have been immortal!? The fall of man seems to have a deep metaphorical meaning that does not link to actual fruit. Fruit is always referenced and envisioned with warmth throughout the bible. Biblical hermeneutics is a way for vegans to interpret the true meaning of the bible beyond any cultural dietary habits that may or may not have been accurate to the biblical figures.

References

  1. Bible.knowing-jesus.com. 2021. 30 Bible verses about Garden Of Eden, The. [online] Available at: <https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Garden-Of-Eden,-The&gt; [Accessed 29 November 2021].
  2. Zeolla, G. 2017. Creationist diet: A Comprehensive Guide to Bible and Science Based Nutrition. 2nd ed: p.30
  3. Zeolla, G., 1999. Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament of the Holy Bible. http://www.Zeolla.org
  4. Bible Gateway. 2021. Bible Gateway passage: Genesis 2:4-3:24 – New International Version. [online] Available at: <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%202%3A4-3%3A24&version=NIV&gt; [Accessed 27 November 2021].
  5. Cleveland Clinic. 2018. Do Organic Foods Reduce Your Cancer Risk?. [online] Available at: <https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-eating-more-organic-food-reduce-your-risk-of-developing-cancer/&gt; [Accessed 27 November 2021].
  6. Van Ee, J. (2013). Death and the Garden : : An Examination of Original Immortality, Vegetarianism, and Animal Peace in the Hebrew Bible and Mesopotamia. UC San Diego. Available at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/0qm3n0mt#author: p.131
  7. Cassuto, Umberto. A Commentary on the Book of Genesis. Translated by Israel Abrahams. 2 vols. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1961 – 1964: 1: 113
  8. Wolde, Ellen J. van. Words Become Worlds: Semantic Studies of Genesis 1 – 11. New York: Brill, 1994: p.44
  9. Van Ee, J. (2013). Death and the Garden : : An Examination of Original Immortality, Vegetarianism, and Animal Peace in the Hebrew Bible and Mesopotamia. UC San Diego. Available at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/0qm3n0mt#author: p.348
  10. Hesiod. Translated by Hugh G. Evelyn – White. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1914: p.181
  11. Van Ee, J. (2013). Death and the Garden : : An Examination of Original Immortality, Vegetarianism, and Animal Peace in the Hebrew Bible and Mesopotamia. UC San Diego. Available at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/0qm3n0mt#author: p.31
  12. George, Andrew R. The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition, and Cuneiform Texts. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003: p.640
  13. Creation, 1996. Eating out in Eden. [online] (18 (2), pp.10-13. Available at: <https://creation.com/eating-out-in-eden&gt; [Accessed 27 November 2021].
  14. Bible Gateway. 2021. Bible Gateway passage: Genesis 1:27-29 – 21st Century King James Version. [online] Available at: <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%201:27-29&version=KJ21&gt; [Accessed 29 November 2021].
  15. Bible Gateway. 2021. Bible Gateway passage: Revelation 22:2 – New International Version. [online] Available at: <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+22%3A2&gt; [Accessed 27 November 2021].
  16. Wayner, R., 2014. The Christian Basis for Veganism. [online] Free From Harm. Available at: <https://freefromharm.org/veganism/christian-basis-veganism/&gt; [Accessed 27 November 2021].
  17. Bible Gateway. 2021. Bible Gateway passage: Isaiah 11 – 21st Century King James Version. [online] Available at: <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+11&version=KJ21&gt; [Accessed 29 November 2021].

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.