Why we all should eliminate refined sugar from our diets

Sugar comes in all forms, the most beneficial are those from whole foods. These are the good sugars that are beneficial and necessary to our body – in moderation. It is the refined sugars that, frankly, have no place in our diet.

Refined sugar in your body

1. Increases inflammation in the body. Ingesting refined sugar triggers the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.

2. Mineral imbalance. “Refined sugar passes quickly into the bloodstream in large amounts, giving the stomach and pancreas shock. An acid condition forms which consumes the body’s minerals quickly” – Healing with whole foods. An example is a loss of calcium from the system resulting in bone problems.

3. Sugar has been known to compromise the immune system. It lowers the efficiency of white blood cells.

4. Excess sweet foods (or poor quality sweets) promote unhealthy mucus conditions in the body which makes a wonderful living situation for yeast and fungi.

5. Addictive. Dopamine is released in the reward centre of the brain when sugar is consumed. “Consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure, leading to the seeking out of sugar”.

Health issues related to the intake of large amounts of refined sugar include but are not limited to: obesity, hypoglycaemia, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, bone loss, immune deficiency, anemia, male impotence, cancer, PMS, menstrual problems, yeast infections, herpes outbreaks, negative thoughts, loss of memory and concentration, fatty liver disease… to name a few.

Other words for sugar

Anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, syrup, white sugar, fructose, lactose, maltose, carbitol, diglycerides, disaccharides, erythritol, fructooligosaccharides, galactose, glucitol, glucoamine, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, maltodextrin, malted barley, malts, mannitol, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol and zylose.

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/25/is-sugar-really-as-addictive-as-cocaine-scientists-row-over-effect-on-body-and-brain

Healing with Whole Foods-Paul Pitchford

Why I’m in love with Ginger.

gingerFresh Ginger Root (Sheng Jiang) is a commonly used herb in Chinese Medicine. The reason I am so in love with ginger root is not only because of its many health benefits, but also because of the accessibility of it. Unlike multiple other TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) herbs, ginger root can be found at pretty much any and every grocery store. It is also wonderfully easy to cook with, juice and/or apply topically. Ginger’s properties in TCM include; pungent, warm, effects the Lung, Spleen and Stomach meridians. It warms the Lung to stop coughing, warms the middle to stop vomiting and energizes the middle. And lastly, it disperses wind-cold (common cold).

Stimulates Digestion

Ginger helps to stimulate digestion, therefor helps ease digestive discomforts. It is not just that ginger stimulates digestion, but that it aids in assimilation of nutrients making them more “bioavailable” in the blood stream. Also, with it being warm and pungent in nature, it helps to unclog the channels.

“Fresh ginger is used to break down high-protein foods… and lessen the effect of uric acids in the body from eating these foods.” (Healing with Whole Foods). Adding ginger, cumin, and coriander with bean dishes diminishes problems with flatulence. You can also add ginger to mucus-forming foods, such as milk, yogurt, sour cream, kefir, etc. to help with digestion.

IMG_0687Nausea

Ginger also has the ability to combat nausea, which can range from morning sickness to the flu, and even chemotherapy. Fresh ginger is so effective at decreasing nausea because it helps regulate the direction of Stomach Qi. The stomachs natural direction of Qi is downward, so when vomiting begins that can mean Rebellious Stomach Qi, by introducing ginger into you tea or diet during that time it will significantly help decrease vomiting and nausea. Because fresh ginger root is pungent and warming, which is downward, it is a popular kitchen medicine in the east for nausea and vomiting.

Disperse Wind-Cold Invasion

A wind cold invasion, also known as the common cold, is almost defenseless against ginger. As stated above, ginger helps to warm the lungs and disperse phlegm. I don’t know about you, but I love anything that helps me get over a cold in a natural way and quickly!

Anti Inflammatory

As you may know, from discussion or previous posts, I have had a bit of experience personally with inflammation in the past. Reason #174 why I love Ginger – drum roll please…. Ginger has anti-inflammatory agents. It also has been known to treat hypertension, although must be avoided if there are heat signs.

Reduce Toxicity

In Chinese medicine fresh ginger root is used to reduce toxicity, both medical and seafood. That is why it is common in Chinese culture to steam fish with ginger root and green onion, because ginger is an antidote to fish poisoning. It is also why Japanese eat pickled ginger and horseradish/wasabi with sushi, also because raw fish has such cold energy, it needs balance by warming.

Cold Signs

 

IMG_8871If you are similar to me and you love anything warm and tend to shy away from cold ginger root is for you. I for one, use ginger to help with PMS symptoms including muscle aches and nausea. I also use ginger in my komutcha to help warm my body. I am chronically yang deficient, as I learnt more about ginger; it quickly became my best friend.

 

Cautions

Ginger should not be used in excess if you experience a lot of heat signs.

Fresh Ginger Root Tea

IMG_0706.PNG

Place a few fresh ginger slices or diced fresh ginger into 12 oz of water.

Bring to a boil.

Steep till cool enough to drink.

Sweeten with honey.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

References:
Healing with Whole Foods – Paul Pitchford
Acupuncture Desk Reference – David J Kuoch
The Foundations of Chinese Medicine – Maciocia

Fall Equinox Cleanse

With the equinox approaching, it is a great time to do a cleanse! An autumn fast eliminates the residue from excess sweet and cooling foods we tend to enjoy in the summer, and helps our body prepare for the storage season of winter. I personally don’t think you should just do any cleanse just any time of the year. I also don’t think that a cleanse should be a scary thing or make you not want to leave your house. Depending on if we are going into summer or winter will determine the type of cleanse I choose.

steamingIn the autumn I promote a steamed vegetable cleanse, this cleanse is particularity beneficial to the colon due to the increase in fiber. The reason I like steamed vegetables at this time of year is because it is getting colder out and our body is trying to prepare for winter – a juice cleanse or complete fast would not be as beneficial at this time in the year as it would be in the transition from cold to warm weather.

Why cleanse?

  1. Well, because a lot of the food we eat today is not actually that good for us (sadly not surprising..). A lot of our everyday typical foods are made in factories, gmo, have pesticides… it goes on. We need to give our body a chance to eliminate the toxins a few times a year for ultimate health.
  2. Virtually every religious and healing tradition recommends fasting for therapeutic or spiritual advantages.
  3. To overcome emotional attachment to food – ah yes… this one I think we all know about. When you’re tired/ angry/ sad do you reach for a particular food? This is not a healthy attachment, a cleanse will help reset your body in a way.
  4. Between seasons, we eat and live differently in Canada where we have a very extreme difference between summer and winter. I like doing a spring cleaning and fall flush to help my body prepare.

Any Cautions?

  1. I would recommend avoiding a cleanse in the middle of winter on a very cold day – or any cold weather actually. If you really want to, do a 1-2 day cleanse, an extended fast could be harmful.Six-Top-Cleansing-Foods
  2. Do not cleanse during pregnancy or lactation. You need to nourish your body at that time with a health building diet.
  3. It is not advised to cleanse during a serious physical or mental degeneration – unless advised by your doctor.
  4. It is important to remember that a cleanse is to remove the toxins from your body. Not every cleanse is appropriate for every person. Just like in Acupuncture, we treat each person differently and so does food. It can depend on your emotional state, your blood type and your constitution what cleanse will and will not be beneficial.

I tend to do a juice cleanse around the spring equinox or summer solstice and a steamed vegetable cleanse around the fall equinox. I do this because a liquid cleanse is more cleansing and alkaline forming whereas a steamed vegetable cleanse is building and acid forming. I also enjoy using the equinox and solstice as my cleanse time because it is a time full of movement and self cleansing.

TWO CLEANSE OPTIONS:

Steamed Vegetable Cleanse

  • If you have been over eating – especially sweets, nuts, beans, grains, dairy or eggs. (See why this cleanse is awesome for after summer!)
  • Take at most three different vegetables at a time.
  • Lightly steam vegetables.
  • Drink water or herbal tea according to thirst.
  • 3-5 days.

Whole Grain Fast

  • If you want to improve metal focus.
  • 3 days.
  • Rice, Millet.
  • Water or grain beverage between meals.
  • Can eat sourdough bread (naturally leavened bread of unrefined grains).
  • Can add black peppercorn, fennel, cumin, and/or ginger.
  • A mug bean and rice fast is commonly used by yogis and referred to as ‘the food of the gods’.

There will be more cleanses when spring comes, I promise! Join me and give one of these cleanses a shot and see how you feel.

nelson

“A healthy outside starts from the inside” – Robert Urich

– Under the weather? This might just help! –

As Canadians we like to savour our summers. But as the weather starts to change and the temperature slowly starts to drop we need to be sure to take care of ourselves. Unfortunately the cold and wind from this past weekend got the best of me and I am under the weather… But here are my 10 favourite go-to’s that tend to help me kill that little bug.

  1. Gargle with warm salt water morning and night.
  2.  I put thieves oil on the glands on my neck.
  3.  Make a delicious thieves-lemon-honey-hot water drink. I use about three drops of the Young Living Thieves oil. It contains: clove, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus (E. radiate).IMG_4198
  4. I put onions on my feet. Sounds weird right? There is some truth behind the old wives’ tale. Onions naturally absorb from their surroundings, so when you take that into account it makes much more sense!
  5. Dress for the weather – Protect your neck! In Chinese Medicine your neck has points that are really good for getting rid of a cold, but also very susceptible to the elements. Always protect your neck!
  6. Acupuncture! A combination of Acupuncture and Guasha does wonders to help me get back on my feet. From clearing congestion to helping get rid of a cough. It is definitely key in my tool kit of health.
  7. Oil of Oregano. Oregano can help reduce a cough and spasms, it also helps fight against some bacteria, viruses, fungi, intestinal worms, and other parasites.
  8. A good night sleep and naps are always a good idea. Your body is telling you it needs rest and is run down. Listen to it!
  9. When I get sick I always tend to look back over the past few days and see what got me to this point. A lot of the time my diet has been compromised, so getting those vitamins and minerals back into the diet are important.
  10. Coconut water! It is great for replenishing – instead of a Gatorade/Powerade type drink choose coconut water to get those electrolytes back up.

So whether or not you are sick right now, next time you do get sick give these a try!