Diets, Plant Based, Uncategorized, Vegan Ketogenic

Vegan Low Carb Detox

I am planning a super exciting project for the end of January: a 21 Day Vegan Low Carb Detox. Detoxying helps support your body’s healing abilities. Environmental toxins, poor diet and lifestyle put incredible demands on our bodies and this is why we need to make sure we do a detox at least twice a year.

Why a Vegan Low Carb Detox?

A detox is like pushing the reset button. Avoiding certain foods during a detox doesn’t mean that these foods are harmful, but they might require your body to expend more energy using the nutrients they provide. Furthermore, eating the same foods over and over, no matter how healthy they are, can cause you to become sensitive to them. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is a common problem today. It increases the likelihood that you will react to what you eat because it allows undigested food particles to cross into your bloodstream. Your body will fight off these invaders and cause unpleasant symptoms.

This Detox will be vegan because most of us eat too much animal protein, which is harder to digest. Some argue that plants are hard to digest because of their cellulose content, but I think it is faulty reasoning. The cellulose is simply fiber, it helps clean out your digestive tracts and reduces your risks of cancer. Considering all the healing and detoxing protocols revolving around meat (GAPS,WHALS protocol, Whole 30, AIP, SCD), I have struggled for a while with the place of meat in a health promoting diet. I have come to the conclusion that eating meat is fine, but in moderation. Also, it is best to consume organic meat.

However, in the context of a detox, the goal is to consume nutrients dense foods while facilating the digestive process. It is well know that animal protein sources are highly thermogenic. For this reason, many weight loss programs require a clean source of animal protein with every meal. Since detoxing is the goal rather than weight loss, let’s make our meals as easily digestible as possible. When your body is not busy digesting, it is regenerating. Even so, you may find that you lose weight simply by avoiding sugar and inflammatory foods.

Now you know why I chose vegan. Why did I chose low carb? Because after years of overindulgence, most of us struggle with uneven blood sugars and some level of insulin resistance. And, yes, carbs increase insulin levels. By keeping your daily carb consumption to between 30 and 150 grams, you might see the following benefits:

  • fast weight loss;
  • reduced hunger;
  • better control over insulin and blood sugar;
  • enhanced cognitive performance;
  • lower risk for heart disease factors.

However, as for meat, I want to make it clear that is is a temporary detox measure, not a long term plan. For most of us, carbs are an important part of a healthy diet. Each of us is different and need to figure out what works for our body.

If you would like to join our January Detox group, comment below or email me. You can also join later in the year if you miss the January one. Here is what you will get: access to our Facebook community and our weekly live videos, a booklet explaining the plan and how it works, a meal plan, grocery shopping lists, recipes that will include all your nutritional information as well as advice on supplements and essential oils to support your detox. All this for free (all you need to purchase is your supplements if you decide you want them). I hope to see you there!

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General Health, Uncategorized

Rebuilding your Immune System Naturally

Our immune system and chronic inflammatory diseases are closely related. Keeping our body’s defense mechanism functioning properly is key in fighting off disease on one hand, and avoiding chronic inflammation on the other hand. You don’t want an underactive immune system or you will be always catching colds and other illnesses, but you don’t want an overactive immune system either as this will cause various autoimmune issues. How does our immune system work? What happens if it works too well? How can we make sure to nourish and protect our immune system?

How does our immune system work?

Did you know that the cells of your immune system originate in the bone marrow? They then migrate using a special system of vessels called the lymphatic system. Our immune system is constantly adapting and learning to be able to fight new bacteria and viruses every day.

When your immune system is overactive

A variety of modern diseases are caused by an overactive immune system; they are called autoimmune diseases:

1- Allergies and asthma are caused when the immune system reacts to harmless environmental substances.

2- Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system attacks cells from your own body. Thyroid dysfunction, for example, is caused when your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. There is also rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis among others. To heal autoimmunity, it is essential to heal your gut and to temporarily remove your food triggers.

What if your immune system is underactive?

If you keep getting all the sicknesses that are going around, you may benefit from healing your gut too, but you should also boost your immune system with these simple tips:

1- Add more good bacteria to your diet. Are you surprised? It seems that no matter what ailment troubles you the solution is probiotics, probiotics and more probiotics. So, please make sure you know how to build your gut flora.

2- Attack the virus/bacteria naturally. Echinacea, goldenseal and astragalus are herbs often taken in the form of tincture. They are fairly common cold remedies and some people drink them in teas, but I find them most effective in tincture form. Whenever you feel the first symptoms of a sickness, follow the dosage recommendations on the bottle (typically a few drops in water every 3-4 hours). I have always been amazed at how quickly I get better when I do this. Garlic and oregano are other herbs often used to support immune function.

3- Vitamin D is so important for your well being, I might write a whole post just about it. For now, let’s just say that most people are deficient most of the year and it is critical for most of us to supplement at least 1000 IU every day all year. Vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, depression, poor immunity, muscle weakness and pain (I experienced that one for the first time in the spring of 2017, it was strange), bone pain and difficulty thinking clearly.

4- Vitamin C is also a very critical component of any regimen meant to improve your well being and your immune system function. It is the one Vitamin that everyone seems to know about and for good reason! It is used by the body not only for immune function, but also for iron absorption, collagen production, wound healing and cartilage maintenance.

5- Do not fear germs too much. It’s time to shift your paradigm away from the germ theory, The most important factor between health and disease is not so much the presence of germs, but rather it is the terrain that will determine whether they thrive or not. This point relates to protecting and nourishing your good bacteria, but it’s more than that: germs and sicknesses are keeping your immune system primed so to speak. For example, researchers have found that babies raised in homes with cats and dogs grow up to be healthier. Being surrounded by viruses and bacteria is a way to help avoid chronic diseases. People are even starting to talk about ingesting dirt as a healthful practice.

6- Avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar feeds disease and depresses your immune system. Period.

Keeping your immune system functioning optimally is necessary to health. Putting these tips into practice should help you increase your well being and your resistance to diseases.

Supplementation, Uncategorized

Detoxification through Diet and Supplements

It is a well known fact that our world is filled with toxins: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the clothes we wear, the food we eat. Of course, we can do many things to minimize our exposure, but we also need to help our bodies eliminate these toxins. Our bodies detoxification pathways can be supported through diet and supplementation. Let’s consider both.

Natural detoxification through diet

Some foods are particularly powerful when it comes to detoxification:

1- Greens. Chlorophyll, is what makes your greens green and it may be able to bind to cancer causing chemicals, which allows the body excrete them rather than store them.

2- Beets.  Beets support liver detoxification. They contain potent antioxidants in addition of being rich in nutrients. These include vitamins B3, B6, C and beta-carotene as well as iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium, which are all necessary to promote optimal detoxification and elimination. I never was a big fan of beets until I discovered roasted beets in olive oil and salt with onions. Shredded beet, carrot and apple salad has become another favourite, served with olive oil, lemon juice and salt on a bed of greens. The perfect detox salad!

3- Turmeric also promotes liver detoxification.

4- Cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. They help promote liver detoxification and they, as you would guess from their green colour, contain chlorophyll.

5- Cilantro. Cilanto, on top of being a source of chlorophyll, has been know to bind to heavy metals.

Juicing vegetables is a great way to maximize your raw vegetable intake and absorb their nutrition more readily. Juicing a combination of celery, cucumber, broccoli, apple, ginger and lemon is one of my favourite. Beets and carrots also make a delicious juice.

These foods mostly help support the liver, but the body also eliminates toxins through the intestines (bowel movements), the kidney (urine), the skin (perspiration). So it is important to eat plenty of fiber, drink lots of water and exercise (saunas are also effective) to support your body’s detoxification further.

Detoxification through supplementation

Like in many other aspects of human health, diet is extremely important factor, but supplementation brings it up a notch. In our world today, the demands on our bodies are so great and the soils are so depleted that it is really difficult to attain optimal health without the help of supplements. Here is how Plexus can help you reach your health goals by ridding your body of its toxins:

  • Plexus Slim contains XOS, which feeds your good gut bacteria. Feeding the good gut bacteria will cause them to increase and they will fight off the bad bacteria. SLIM is clinically proven to support the bacteria lactobicillus and akkermansia.
  • XFactor Plus includes grapeseed extract, which is often recommended for its antifungal properties. It helps destroy the biofilms in your body. A biofilm is a group of microorganisms in which cells stick together. Candida will often form biofilms.
  • Probio 5 contains chitosanase, which is an antifungal as well. Chitosanase breaks through yeast cell walls and effectively attacks yeast overgrowth.
  • BioCleanse is a source of oxygenated magnesium. Magnesium peroxide is a man made compound of which 43% is magnesium and 57% oxygen. Most people in the Western world are deficient in dietary magnesium because it is not readily absorbed by the body. Oxygenated magnesium is absorbed faster and it has the important advantage to act as a colon cleanser. Upon entering the digestive system, the oxygenated magnesium breaks down into magnesium and oxygen. The released oxygen liquefies all the solid waste attached to the colon, which is then expelled by the body.

The body has its own mechanisms to release toxins and it is very effective at doing so. Sometimes, however, it needs some help. As we age, our bodies can become overwhelmed with accumulated toxins. If that happens, or just to avoid it, supplements can be the solution.

Disease Prevention, General Health

Household Toxins Exposure: What you Need to Know

The following article may cause you to feel a bit helpless because you know what? Toxins can’t be completely avoided and they are everywhere. However, my goal here is to inform you and to motivate you  to make whatever changes you can manage. Remember, it’s a process and it takes time! Another step you can take is to support your body’s detoxification pathways.

Household toxins exposure has become a pretty serious problem and it starts before we are born. Did you know that more than 100 chemicals have been found in babies umbilical cord blood? Among them, flame retardants, PCBs, PFCs, non stick coating and pesticides.

Toxins exposure is linked to just about every disease we know. Our bodies health is dependant on what I like to call The Inflammation Bucket. Put good food in your body, reduce your stress, detox your body, feed your gut bacteria and you are emptying your bucket. Conversely, eat junk food or foods you are sensitive to, don’t go to bed at night, take antibiotics and you are filling up your bucket. At some point your bucket will overflow and cause you to get sick.

Let’s talk about the most common household toxins and were they are found:

1- Triclosan: an antibacterial agent found in soaps, deodorant, toothpaste, cosmetics, clothes, kitchenware, children toys. Ninety seven percent of breastmilk samples tested were found to contain triclosan. And despite studies that recommend banning the chemical, it is still allowed in the fabrication of products.

2- Phthalates: chemical agents added to plastics to make them stronger and more flexible. They are also used in fragrances to make them longer lasting. They are found in plastic packaging, vinyl flooring, baby bottles, toys, shower curtains, personal care products, nail polish, hair spray, shampoo, soap.

3- Bisphenol A: epoxy resin used to line tin cans and make polycarbonate plastics. It is found in food and drink containers, baby bottles, metal food cans and dental sealants used to prevent cavities.

4- Aluminum: this neurotoxin is found in pots and pans, beverage containers and antiperspirants.

5- Mercury: found in fish as well as some whole grains and beans, but also a hazard when a fluorescent light bulb is broken.

These are the main most well knows household toxins and I decided to focus on them because they can be found in similar household items, which allows us to avoid them with some simple steps:

1- Always favour glass over plastic containers. Avoid foods in tin cans and plastic containers as much as possible.

2- Make your own cleaning product and cosmetics or buy healthier options from your health food store. Castile soap is a very affordable and easy to find option that can be used for everything. I also like using baking soda to scrub and water and vinegar to clean pretty much everything. It even works great for windows and mirrors.

3- Try avoiding new furniture and flooring made out of pressed wood products. In this case, choosing used not only make sense for your wallet and the environment, but also for your health.

4- Buy clothes made out of natural fiber rather than man-made materials.

5- Take your shoes off before going into your house, as they will spread toxins found outside inside.

6- Buy house plants. House plants are a great way to naturally clean the air in your home.

These are simple methods that will help you reduce the amount of toxins in your home. Buying organic food is also a great way to make sure less toxins enter your body and to limit the amount of chemicals going into your inflammation bucket.

General Health

How to Let the Body Heal Itself

When sickness occurs, most of us underestimate the power of the body to heal itself and we make things worse by treating the symptoms and attacking the disease (effectively attacking the body since the body and the disease are one). The mandate of this blog is to explore the best methods to allow the body to heal itself and I believe cancer patients survival stories are a great place to start. Why? If such a deadly disease as cancer can be healed through dietary changes, there is much to learn for all of us from these practices. It’s time to stop feeding our bodies junk every day while fearing disease so much that we are willing to inject toxic chemicals into them. We cannot be our body’s friend and foe at the same time.

My favourite Web site to learn about cancer survival stories is Chris Beat Cancer. What a wealth of information! I also love the Whals Protocol because it not only focuses on which foods need to be taken out, but also which foods need to be added back in (it advises specific quantities of fruits and vegetables, and a lot of it!). There’s a lot of healing diet protocols out there and to be honest, I am a bit confused about which are the most effective, but they have points in common and we will look at what they are. But first, I would like to discuss the main difference between the anti-cancer approach and most other healing diets (GAPS, SCD, Whals, Whole 30, autoimmune protocol for example). As a side note, the ketogenic diet is being promoted for cancer patients, but it doesn’t have the success stories to back it up yet. That being said, if you want to add it to the list of healing protocols, go ahead. All the cancer success stories I have read about are based on eliminating animal products (including dairy and eggs), sugar and refined grains and feeding the body a huge amount of fresh living greens in the form of salads and juices. The other protocols eliminate grains (including the non refined and non gluten ones) and base most meals around animal flesh; this is what I call the meat versus grains conundrum. I have been wrestling with it for a while now, but I recently came to a surprising conclusion. I had a tendency to think that grains should be temporarily avoided and meat should be included on a healing journey since the vast majority of protocols advise we do so. I was struggling with that idea a bit because meat is such an expensive commodity and it goes against all the cancer miracle stories. So what happened? My family got sick with gastroenteritis. In fact, it was the worst case of it I ever had. I slept for 3 days straight and I couldn’t eat very much for about a week. And I then knew that if meat was a healing, easy to digest food, my body would crave it during this sickness. But what I really wanted was smoothies, vegetable soups and juices and some starches like rice and oatmeal. This also made me think about the fact that the exact same thing happens during the first trimester of each of my pregnancies when I feel nauseous. During the most recent of my pregnancies, I also had indigestions during the whole nine months. When I felt really uncomfortable, I also craved veggies, some starches and no meat. That is not to say that meat is bad for you and should always be avoided, but I do think that its consumption should be strictly limited for healing purposes.

Now, back to finding common ground between the various healing protocols:

1- No sugar: That is number one and that’s it. Cancer cells feed on sugar and sugar depresses the immune system.

2- No processed foods and fats: processed fats, like vegetable oils and processed foods with all their additives are unrecognizable by the body and cause inflammation.

3- No refined grains: refined grains bring very little nutrition and provide sugar to your body.

4- More and more veggies and organic as much as possible: You cannot eat too much veggies. In fact try to get even more of their wonderful benefits by juicing them daily and throwing them into smoothies.

5- No eggs  for the more severe cases.

6- As far as grains and legumes go, I would suggest to take them out for a few weeks in case they aggravate the body, but to reintroduce them and see how things go.

I have a paradigm shift to suggest: next time you get sick, instead of reaching for a prescription, which will weaken your body and cause unwanted side effects, why not allow your body to get better on its own? The changes I outlined above should be followed all the time, but during times of sickness, it is important to be even stricter and give the body as much nutrients as possible to facilitate its healing. And lastly, please keep in mind that healing through diet takes time and effort, but the results are worth it.

General Health, Lifestyle

There is more to health than diet

I think we all know that diet is not the only component of a great health, but sometimes we don’t realize to what extent. Two factors that are often talked about are sleep and stress. Getting more and better sleep and reducing stress cannot be overemphasized, but some other practices can help the body detoxify and improve health:

1- Oil pulling: An Ayurvedic practice that involves cleaning your teeth by swishing oil in the mouth for 5 to 20 minutes. The oil absorbs the toxins from the mouth, which is why one needs to spit it out afterwards.

2- Dry skin brushing: This practice involves using an exfoliating brush to stimulate the lymphatic system.

3- Detox baths: This method simply requires soaking in a nice warm bath containing between half a cup and one cup of baking soda or Epsom Salts. It’s also a good time to experiment with essential oils.

3- Reducing toxins from the environment: Avoiding putting more toxins into our body by not using commercial cosmetics (see my No Poo Experiment) and cleaners, and by eating organic food for example.

4- Reducing screen time and WIFI exposure: Turning off the router at night is a good starting point.

5- Spending time in nature: A walk outside is an extraordinary and rejuvenating practice.

I will be experimenting with these three practices over the next few months. Stay in touch!

General Health, Plant Based, Superwoman Slimdown

Detoxing for the breastfeeding mother

It’s January and well, like everyone else I wanted to implement some changes to loose a few pounds and improve my overall health. A detox seemed like a great idea, and after watching the Green Smoothie Girl’s mini masterclass, I was excited to get started on her detox protocol. However, I found out during the fourth video that pregnant and nursing mothers should NOT proceed with this detox. I am determined to do it someday, maybe next Fall, when my baby is older and mostly fed solids.  In the meantime, I had to find something that would allow me to detox safely. A little googling goes a long way and after a total of, maybe 10 seconds, I had found the Superwoman Slimdown. It’s a gentle cleanse that is plant based. During phase 1 over a period of seven days, the offending foods are removed (alcohol, caffeine, sugars, processed foods, dairy, animal proteins, soy, corn, gluten, nightshade plants). The next seven days, the cleanse phase, is dedicated to sticking to the plan and restoring health. The last phase, is the reintroduction phase. Each food is reintroduced one at a time and it is important to wait 3 days between each new introduction. The program comes with a journal to fill out, so on day 7 to 10, I will give an account of my results. Now, I am at the end of day 4 of phase 2 and I feel really good. I jumped in phase 2 right away because my diet was already very close to what was expected. I only had to eliminate animal proteins and sugar.

I will give a little more info about the program when I will write about my results, but for now, a few things breastfeeding mothers should keep in mind before embarking on a detox:

1- Toxins can be transferred to the baby through breast milk, that is why it is very important to detox gently.

2- Milk production can be affected by a lack of food, it is important for the breastfeeding mother to satisfy her nutritional requirements.

3- Detoxing can be achieved through other means than food. For example, oil pulling, dry skin brushing and eliminating toxic chemicals in the home. It’s a good idea for the breastfeeding mother to be focusing on these rather than eliminating food from her diet.

Nourishing a new baby is a very important job, and the primary principle is to simply insure the health of the nursing mother. Also, there are practices that help detoxing and that don’t compromise milk production.