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

The Benefits of Eating Meat

Is meat a second rate food or is it not? Do we need to consume meat for optimal health? Here are some points to consider:

1- Eating meat may help stabilize blood sugar. A meal based on meat and veggies will satisfy and keep full longer than a meal based on carbohydrates and veggies.

2- Meat provides the easiest way to get all four amino acids, iron and vitamin B12. It is rich in zinc and selenium as well. Studies show vegetarians tend to be deficient in certain nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and zinc.

3- Although vegetarians are concerned about toxins stored in the fat of animals, animal fats can play an important role in vitamin absorption. For example, one study showed that absorption of beta-carotene from a salad with no added fat was close to zero. Other studies have shown that beta carotene consumed with beef tallow rather than sunflower oil increases its absorption by 11 to 17 percent.

4- Most meat eaters who participate in the anti-meat studies also consume high amounts of sugar, refined carbs in their highly processed, inflammatory diet, which could explain some of the results obtained by these studies.

5- One study did screen subjects to ensure they were health conscious.  The overall death rates were cut in half for both health conscious meat eaters and for vegetarians as compared to the average persons. The study concluded that for the vegetarians, there was no benefit found, and for the meat eaters, there was no increased risk for heart disease, cancer or death.

6- Vegetarian diets typically contain large amounts of legumes and grains and low in bioavailable nutrients. Organ meats, however, are among the most nutrient dense foods.

7- Fat soluble vitamins A and D are critical to human health. They are concentrated and almost exclusively found in animal food.

The key is eating small to moderate amounts of grass-fed or organic meat along with a pile of colorful fruits and veggies. Is it essential though? Each person needs to listen to his or her own body. Many different factors could influence how much meat a person can or should eat.

General Health, Plant Based

The Problem with Eating Meat

First, I want to start by saying I am not a vegetarian. I don’t believe animals are creatures equal to humans deserving the same treatment. I am a Christian and I believe God gave us dominion over them and offered them for our subsistence after the Flood. When Noah and his family left the ark, God said to them: Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (Genesis 9:2-3). The climate had changed drastically and plant food was going to be sparse. But it might not be optimal for man to eat animals, it might be a second best when we have access to vegetation. And I am not even talking about conventional meat, there is a host of other problems with industrially raised meat that I will not mention here. I am talking about possible problems with eating organic, humanely raised animals:

1- Meat is low in fiber and takes longer to digest than plant food. In transit through the intestines, it can putrify and produce toxins. We secrete less hydrochloric acid than cats for example, and our intestines are long compare to theirs, which allow them the rapid expulsion of their waste products.

2- Although research about eating habits is not perfectly reliable, since so many factors need to be taken into consideration about the subjects and it’s impossible to eliminate all variables, there is a body of evidence suggesting that meat consumption can cause inflammation and, in some forms, cause cancer.

3- Animals store more toxins than plants because they have a higher fat content.

4- One study showed that meat consumption increased allergies (this page presents an extensive list of studies pointing to the risk associated with the consumption of meat).

5- Eliminating meat from one’s diet will improve his or her gut’s microbiome in a matter of days.

6- A plant based diet will provide just enough protein. Eating to much protein is easy to do when consuming meat and too much protein is associated with weight gain, diabetes, inflammation and cancer.

7- Good quality meat is expensive and there is a reason for the fact that eating meat used to be for the more wealthy people. It should be considered as an indulgence.

I think a good summary here might be: Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Cor. 6:12)

General Health

Can we find a consensus on the ultimate diet?

From vegan to paleo, the options are endless! Worse is, everyone’s opinions seem to be supported by “science”.

There are, however, a few points on which every one agrees, and I think we should take heed:

1- Eat  veggies and more veggies

2- Eat unprocessed whole foods, avoid anything that comes from a package.

3- Avoid refined flours.

4- Avoid refined sugar and limit natural sugars.

5- Favor organic over conventional as much as possible.

These basic tenets are a good starting point for anyone wishing to improve his or her diet.

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.