How many times do you find yourself walking down the packaged food isle, making decisions based on what the front of the package says?
I remember as a kid, the cereal packaging was the worst! Thinking back I can feel the disappointment in my body, when whatever was supposed to be in the package, wasn't. Most often it was the free toy or whatever that was featured prominently on the front, but in reality it wasn't anything like the picture.
Or, the nice photo of the cereal with fresh fruit and a beautifully laid out table. "Why doesn't my cereal look like that?"
Processed foods have become even more popular for their convenience and portability. Toaster pastries, tubes of yogurt, cans of soda, individually wrapped slices or pieces of cheese are usually heavily processed and contain various additives and chemicals to preserve their shelf life.
The term "detox" is thrown around a great deal, especially this time of year when many people have set New Year's resolutions and many of them have to do with improving health. Detoxing can mean different things to different people. Some detox plans are beneficial and some may do more harm than good.
So let's explore the general intention of a detox and figure out whether it's the right thing for you.
How can you tell if you might benefit from a detoxification program?
What are toxins and how can they impact your health?
Toxins are harmful agents found in the environment. They can encompass anything from digestive and metabolic byproducts to environmental chemicals that can pass through and/or collect in your body.
The toxicity of many chemicals is dose dependent, meaning that they can have toxic effects if they're consumed in significant quantities. This can even go for certain foods, for example spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard contain oxalic acid, which can block the uptake of calcium. So, it's wise to not eat too much of these foods, but they shouldn't be avoided entirely because they contain a lot of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.
Toxins can enter the gut through:
It's becoming easier and easier to identify toxins in your home and avoid them. I became more aware of toxins that might be present in my home environment and foods when pregnant with my first child. The childbirth classes I took emphasized avoiding toxins to increase your chances of a healthy birth.
During my pregnancy with my second child, I became especially aware as we were remodeling our home and had many decisions to make regarding carpeting, wood finishing, paints, and wood floor refinishing, While there were some resources, there definitely weren't as many as there are now!
Then, when I was trying to help my son heal from the heavy duty antibiotics he'd been on following a bone infection, the protocol that ended up helping, stressed removal of anything with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or fragrances. It was much harder than I thought, as even natural and organic foods, body care products, and cleaners contain these chemicals. It was especially hard because, he was school aged and exposed to whatever was used to clean classrooms.
I again faced frustration when our family was traveling for a time several years ago. I wrote an article how I was moved to tears when my laundry smelled so strongly of fragrance here. Looking back, I find it kind of funny that we travelled through South America with our container of fragrance free laundry detergent. And one Airbnb apartment we stayed at in France had so many air fresheners plugged into walls, or hiding here and there, that I was constantly gathering them and stashing them where we couldn't smell them. I had write an apologetic note to the host telling her where I had hidden them.
It might sound crazy to you, but once your remove artificial fragrances from your life, for better or worse you become much more sensitive to them. The benefits to your health, though, is worth it!
Should you take a supplement to improve your gut health?
My personal preference when trying to improve my own health is always to focus on the foods I eat on a daily basis first. In fact, I'm really not very good at taking supplements, although I do try hard to at least take my multi-vitamin and magnesium supplements every day.
When it comes to improving your gut health, the most important first step is to eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes though, if you aren't feeling well, you might want to do a little more to kickstart your gut health.
That's where supplements come in!
*As always, check with your doctor to verify dosages and make sure their aren't any contraindications for you. This article is meant for educational purpose and not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
Also, what works for one person may not work for another, so always do your research and pay attention to how you feel.
THREE TYPES OF SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP IMPROVE YOUR DIGESTIVE HEALTH
1. Supplements that Support Digestion
What are polyphenols?
I'm sure you've heard plenty about the health benefits of polyphenols, but do you know what they are?
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. Polyphenols give plants a certain color or taste and they generally serve the plant by defending it against ultraviolet radiation and agressive pathogens.
Towards the end of the 20th century, epidemiological studies started showing that a diet rich in polyphenols may offer some protection from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative diseases. Reference.
What are the health benefits of polyphenols?
Do you experience too much stress? Do you feel like your hormones are out of whack or like your immune system might need a boost?
My guest, Paula Grainger, has just released her new book, Adaptogens, Harness the Power of Superherbs to Reduce Stress and Restore Calm.
Paula has been practicing herbal medicine since she obtained her degree in herbal medicine from the University of Westminster in London in 2004.
Following her graduation, she worked in several busy London clinics, and then opened her own herbal clinic and apothecary called Lemon Balm. She successfully ran and worked in her clinic until moving to Santa Cruz, California in 2010.
We all know that sugar isn't great for you, but do you know why?
Our cells use blood sugar or glucose as fuel to keep our cells alive and functioning. We need it to survive. So why then should eating sugar have a negative impact on our health?
How does your body use sugar to fuel it?
What would you rather do, experiment with something new or focus on cutting something you like out of your life?
I think that most people would say that they’d rather add something new to their lives. What we add into our lives can be just as important as what we take out.
Did you know that herbs and spices have benefits beyond enhancing the flavor of the foods we eat?
Herbs and spices are often used medicinally by herbalists in concentrated forms to treat acute issues. But, their general health benefits can be taken advantage of by cooking with them on a regular basis.
They can positively influence the health of the gut microbiome and the gut flora and the gut flora helps them release their antioxidants and other beneficial components.
I’ll focus on 12 herbs and spices that support gut health here!
Inflammatory bowel syndrome...what is it?
Anyone that's diagnosed with it, would say it's frustrating, because it isn't really a diagnosis.
Inflammatory bowel syndrome, or IBS, is the diagnosis you're given when everything else has been ruled out. It's a collection of symptoms with an origin that can't be identified. 40% of people that visit the doctor report gastrointestinal problems. 60 million Americans suffer from IBS and those are only those that have received the "diagnosis."
Symptoms may include:
Symptoms may also include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and/or muscle pain.
To receive a diagnosis of IBS, the symptoms are chronic, occurring for at least three to six months.
What causes IBS?
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Women's Wellness Circle: From Inflammation to Vibrant Health
Hi, I’m Crystal!