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Coffee Was My Lifeline. Why Did I Give It Up?

For over 20 years I have maintained, “Coffee is my medicine.” Imagine the shock when I realized recently, that, in fact, coffee has been playing havoc with my health.

Shock. Horror. Dismay.

Here’s the backstory: From the time I was a toddler I have suffered from migraines. As a young adult I went to the Montefiore Headache Clinic in New York City. I was put on a strict diet, eliminating every known migraine trigger, including coffee since too much caffeine creates “rebound” headaches. Once my system was “trigger-free” for several weeks, trigger foods were added back one-by-one to see what I reacted to.

With one exception: Coffee.

Coffee replaced all medications: One cup of coffee early in the morning, one cup of coffee around 2pm.

My mantra for the last 20 years has been: I can’t give up coffee! Coffee is my medicine! Doctor’s orders!

This came to a crashing halt recently. You see when I committed to the 14-Day Whole Life Detox, I decided to follow Dr. Blum’s plan exactly as outlined. That meant no coffee for 14 days.. The week before I started Whole Life Detox I reduced my coffee consumption from 2 cups to 1 cup.

Then one Day 1 of Whole Life Detox, the reckoning: No coffee.

What happened next shocked me! After completing the detox I decided I would add coffee back into my morning routine. I bought fresh beans, ground it to fill the kitchen with that delightful smell, and brewed the perfect cup of coffee in my French Press. I could not wait to taste it.

Oh, that coffee goodness! Full body, lovely bouquet, chocolatey, caramel flavors.

And then? A big, fat case of the shakes!

What? How can this be? I even tested it two days later to see if I was right. Yep, same response.

And the reality is …. several weeks later … I have less headaches without it.

So here’s the thing: We hold on tightly to the things that cause us pain.

I challenge you: What do you think you can’t live without? Sugar? Bread? Cheese? Meat? Whatever it is, drop it for a week and see what happens.

Looking for an easy 14-day detox to reduce your toxic load, and jumpstart weight loss & healthy choices? Check out the Whole Life Detox. It’s a great place to start. Show Me Whole Life Detox

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters.

 

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Hashi-toxins: The Link Between Pesticides and Hashimoto’s

By Jill Grunewald

If you’re someone who keeps your finger on the pulse of holistic health and wellness, you’re likely doing so many of the “right” things: tending to your gut health and microbiome, eating nutrient-dense foods and minimizing processed foods, sleuthing out food sensitivities, eating organic as often as your pocketbook will allow, taking the right supplements, hydrating, exercising, and cooking at home as much as possible.

All of these factors are important for overall health and taming the inflammation that the science has shown can lead to degenerative disease—and they’re also, not surprisingly, important for thyroid and immune health. In fact, many are able to manage their Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism) and other autoimmune conditions simply by heeding the above.

Yet another important consideration is environmental toxins. I know, it’s a broad term—and one that overwhelms many. Unfortunately, all of us are victim of a modern world where chemicals abound. There’s no way around it. And when the amount of incoming toxins exceeds the outgo, our “body burden” increases, affecting our health on multiple levels including our hormones, immune system, respiratory system, and cognitive function.

The good news is that there are ways to mitigate the inflow of any environmental toxin (offense is your best defense), but there are also simple ways to support our glands of detoxification (see below) so that these chemicals don’t rule the roost and we don’t end up living life with our “toxin goggles” on.

As far as pesticides go, the benefits of eating a chemical-free diet—whether it’s “organic” or simply “sustainably-grown”—are vast and beyond the scope of this article. It’s indisputable that they’re chemicals. But there’s been a significant “campaign” attempting to convince us that they’re not harmful chemicals.

I don’t believe that every morsel of food that passes our lips needs to be organic and as the saying goes, “The dose makes the poison.” But know that “a little here, a little there” can increase your toxic body burden, slow thyroid function, and affect how our immune system functions.

Highlight: Your Thyroid

One of the primary reasons that pesticides (including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and nematicides) are so impactful to our endocrine system is that many of them interfere with thyroid hormone metabolism. Dr. Mark Hyman states, “One of the most important factors that lead to hypothyroidism is exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides, which act as hormone or endocrine disruptors and interfere with thyroid hormone metabolism and function.”

The list of pesticides commonly administered to crops is dizzying, but methyl iodide, for example, is a known carcinogen and neurotoxin and is associated with thyroid abnormalities. Additionally, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women exposed to the pesticides aldrin, DDT, and lindane were at much greater risk of developing thyroid disease.

Another significant source of pesticides that many don’t consider is toxic lawn care chemicals, which are often tracked into homes from our shoes. (If you’re a golfer or live with one, know that golf courses contain some of the most toxic turf known.)

Pesticides also interfere with thyroid hormone conversion, interrupting our ability to convert T4 (our “storage closet” thyroid hormone) into T3 (the more bio-available “big daddy”). One of the issues with taking thyroid hormone replacement, while often warranted, is that some are unable to convert T4 into T3.

Pesticides are also considered xenoestrogens, the synthetic compounds that mimic estrogen. Xeno means “foreign” or “outside the body.” Among other issues, xenoestrogens set the stage for an increasingly common condition known as estrogen dominance (ED). (ED is somewhat of a loose term and doesn’t always mean that there’s excess estrogen—for women, you can be estrogen dominant simply by having too little progesterone. EDs don’t just affect women, by the way. For men, it can show up as aggression, decreased sex drive, or male breasts.)

Additionally, pesticides contain bromine, a well-known endocrine disruptor. Bromine is a halide that competes for the same thyroid gland receptors that uptake iodine, which inhibits thyroid hormone production and can result in hypothyroidism.

Highlight: Your Immune System

The association between pesticides and the immune system is robust. Remember, pesticides are xenoestrogens. Dr. Susan Blum states, “You need to know about [xenoestrogens] because they play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. A group of researchers from the University of Milan conducted a review of all the studies looking at the role of environmental estrogens and autoimmunity. Over and over, they found a positive association between exposure to different agricultural chemical pesticides and [autoimmune diseases].

“We know that estrogen affects the immune system, because all immune cells have estrogen receptors and these hormones also encourage your immune cells to begin to make too many antibodies. The role of estrogens in autoimmune diseases has been well studied.

“… every chemical you are exposed to adds to your toxic load. Having a high toxic load makes it harder for your liver to handle pesticides and environmental estrogens, toxins that we know will affect your immune system.”

How to Reduce Your Toxic Load

Keep in mind, the recommendations below can apply to most any environmental toxin, whether it’s heavy metals, plastics, antibiotics and hormones in meat and dairy, flame retardants, and toxins in home cleaning supplies and skincare/cosmetics.

Firstly, I realize it’s not feasible for everyone to eat all organic/sustainable all the time. Do the best you can. If you can’t afford to go completely organic, avoid the “Dirty Dozen.” These are the foods shown to have the highest levels of pesticides. For more information on the “Dirty Dozen” (and the “Clean 15”), visit the Environmental Working Group.

Our bodies have six built-in detox mechanisms: lungs, skin, kidneys, colon, lymph, and liver. Once we slow the onslaught of toxins entering our bodies and also support these systems on an ongoing basis, we’re better able to rid ourselves of the toxins already present.

  1.     For lungs, simply breathe, deeply and fully, on a regular basis. Overall, try to avoid shallow breathing. Additionally, high quality oils (coconut, olive, and avocado) and dark leafy greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale, watercress, collard greens, arugula, etc.) help to support the lungs and cleanse our respiratory filtration system.
  2. For skin, dry brushing and sweating (via exercise or sitting in a sauna—or both) are two of the best detox strategies. Antioxidant-rich, free-radical fighting foods from a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables also help to keep our skin breathing. Quality oils are also helpful, as are bone broth and chlorophyll-containing foods like dark leafy greens, including cilantro, parsley, and sprouts.
  3. The kidneys filter our blood—more than 48 gallons of it daily. And what’s the best way to support our kidneys? Drink water. Get plenty of it and make sure it’s clean and filtered. Kidney-supportive foods include cranberries, blueberries, lemon, beets, sea vegetables, and spinach.
  4. It’s critical that your colon is working optimally. If waste backs up in your bowels, toxins can be reabsorbed into the body. Daily fiber helps to keep our trains running smoothly—if constipation is an issue, supplemental fiber may be in order. Some experts claim that fiber is the most clinically important deficiency in our diet. Fiber-rich foods include true whole grains (vs. processed grains/flour), vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  5. The lymphatic system is a head to toe network of organs, nodes, ducts, and vessels that transport lymph fluid. It removes waste from every cell in our body while helping to regulate our immune system. One of the biggest contributors to lymph stagnation is dehydration. Other strategies for keeping things flowing are dry brushing, sipping warm water throughout the day, and drinking warm water with fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning. Sitting in a sauna and exercising also helps.
  6.  Ah, the liver. Another “big daddy.” It’s a giant filter and next to our skin, is our largest gland of detoxification. Not only does it filter toxins from food, water, pharmaceuticals (including supplemental hormones), air, and what our skin comes into contact with, but it also helps with thyroid hormone conversion (T4 to T3).

Dr. Susan Blum states, “Think of your detox system as a little engine that is inside every cell, with the biggest engine in the liver.”

Gentle liver support includes:

  •   Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning
  •   Choosing herbs (via teas, foods, or supplements) like dandelion, nettles, milk thistle, and turmeric
  •   Getting plenty of fiber
  •   Choosing DIM-rich foods (diindolylmethane) found primarily in the cruciferous vegetable family: cabbage, kale, broccoli,      Brussels sprouts, etc. (You don’t have to worry about these foods slowing your thyroid function.)
  •   Other liver-supportive foods include garlic, walnuts, grapefruit, avocado, dark leafy greens, beets, olive oil, coconut oil, apples, and apple cider vinegar.

Remember, offense is your best defense. It’s not only important to be mindful of where toxins live and how to best avoid them, but also to support your glands and organs of detoxification. It doesn’t have to be complicated—and as you can see, some of the most delicious whole foods can give toxins the heave ho. Get these foods regularly and you’ll be way ahead of the game.

Jill Grunewald, HNC, FMCHC, is a functional nutrition and hormone coach and best selling author of The Essential Thyroid Cookbook.

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One of Our Favorite Detox Recipes

In cultures all over the world the advent of Spring signals rebirth — the grass and trees turns green, a burst of color transform the landscape and the earth starts to give us Spring produce. Hooray!

It also signals Spring cleaning — our homes and our bodies. Here at the Blum Center we are all about detoxing our bodies in Spring to rid ourselves of the Winter heaviness, and to reduce the toxic load we carry from the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breath — not to mention all the chemicals used in our homes and in our cosmetics. It’s cathartic and a powerful way to celebrate the reemergence of life, and longer, warmer days.

In fact, you can join us to Detox! Our 14-Day Whole Life Group Coaching Program begins Wednesday, May 30th at 8pm. Sign Up Now

In the meantime, try out this delicious and easy detox recipe developed by Blum Center Executive Chef Amy Bach. We love using both red and yellow beets — it adds such beautiful color to the dish.

Roasted Beet, Walnut & Baby Kale Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized red and/or yellow beets, quartered  
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil  
  • 8 cups organic baby kale OR one plastic pre-packaged container (a baby kale and greens blend is fine). Bonus: for those short on time the prepared blend are usually pre-washed!
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees  
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine prepared beets, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Place on a cookie sheet and place in preheated oven.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until beets are fork tender. Remove beets from cookie sheet and let cool.
  4. Toast walnuts on another cookie sheet in the same oven for 7 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  5. While the beets and walnuts are cooling, prepare the Apple Cider Vinaigrette, below
  6. Place salad greens in large bowl, top with beets, and dress with Apple Cider Vinaigrette, to taste.
  7. Enjoy!

Apple cider vinaigrette:

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve over your favorite salad.

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters.

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{Recipe} Alkaline Green Smoothie

One of the ways I suggest to refresh your body for spring is to start the day with an alkaline green smoothie.  Not only do you get an abundance of vitamins and nutrients from the fresh kale and spinach, it also helps with digestion.

Every spring I pull out my Alkaline Green Smoothie recipe to jumpstart morning and help set healthy habits for the rest of the day.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Alkaline Green Smoothie

Ingredients: 

2 cup fresh kale and spinach mix

½ cucumber

½ green apple (with skin)

1 celery stick

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon

½ tbsp fresh parsley, minced

1 tbsp ground flax seed

16 ounces filtered water

Directions: 

Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve!

 

 

Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health.  She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse.  Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.

 

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10 Steps To Refresh Your Body For Spring

Spring is here, a perfect time to refresh! This is the time when we give our body the nourishment it needs to support its innate ability to regenerate and thrive!

Feeling any of the following symptoms: sluggish, lack of clarity, chronic headaches, poor sleep, constipation, undesired weight gain?  If you do, your body is yelling out to you…it’s time to refresh!

On a day-to-day basis we encounter an overload from unhealthy exposures such as:

  • chemicals in the air
  • mercury in fish
  • medications and bacteria in the water supply
  • pesticides in food
  • even plastics from water bottles

Our liver and kidneys do a great job to filter these exposures but sometimes this load can cause strain on these organs.

What happens if our bodies become overburdened with toxins? Our immune systems become compromised because our liver is using up our glutathione supply, not to mention many other nutrients, to filter these toxins out. Glutathione is a powerful detoxifying antioxidant necessary to prevent damage to our cells.

When our immune system is not functioning optimally we get run down and become susceptible to infections and are at risk for developing disease. Plus, our fat cells do a great job of storing toxins resulting in excess weight. In fact, this is why we at Blum Center for Health detox every Spring. → Join Dr. Blum’s FREE Detox Masterclass

So how about you? It’s time to refresh, and give your body a boost!

First, 5 things to avoid when flushing your liver and kidneys:

Ø  AVOID prolonged detox programs that require severe calorie restrictions, < 500 calories a day, or 3 days or more. A starvation plan like this will deplete your nutrients instead of supporting your detox pathways. It will also put you at risk of dehydration, headaches and fatigue. Ultimately this puts the body in stress mode rather than reboot and go!

Ø  AVOID energy drinks with sugars and excessive caffeine, as well as “detox” drinks containing additives, color dyes and sugar sweeteners. We can’t refresh when we are adding more toxic substances.

Ø  AVOID diet plans that ask you to eat one food all day for many days such as the watermelon fast. I think the jury is out on this one! This type of diet promotes macronutrient deficiencies, calorie deficit, hormonal imbalance and more!

Ø  AVOID laxatives and colonics without adequate mineral and electrolyte replenishment or good flora to support your immune system. These types of procedures may be considered somewhat of an extreme way to detox and can be better achieved through a whole foods diet plan. Besides, colonics are not fun by any means and often result in nausea and abdominal pain.

Ø  AVOID any detox type diets for children and teenagers who are growing and require many calories and nutrients. Healthier ways of refreshing their bodies can be found in a simple elimination diets that only requires them to omit common allergens as well as sugars, additivities and color dyes.

Most  importantly,  you must know i how to cleanse and refresh your body, promote nourishment and gut healing.

10 Steps to Refresh Your Body for Spring:

1)Eat only whole foods, avoiding food that is highly processed, void of essential nutrients and generally full of unwanted additives and chemicals. The Spring is here! Look for fresh produce at local farmers markets where food was recently harvested containing more nutrients and taste delicious! See localharvest.org to find one near you!

2) Remove sugar from your diet. One of the most important things you can do for your health is to stop eating sugar. Sugar in all forms can be toxic for the body putting you at risk for fatty liver, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Stick with natural sugars found in fresh fruits or other whole foods such as raw honey or pure maple syrup added in small quantities to a recipe.

3) Pay attention to your body and how it feels after eating certain foods. Consider a 3-week elimination diet from common allergens and/or inflammatory foods such as dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, alcohol. Each person responds differently to foods and not all foods that are consider “healthy” are right YOUR body. For some, an additional benefit can be seen from removing nuts, shellfish and nightshade vegetables that sometimes serve as inflammatory foods in the body. Reintroduce these foods one at a time every 2 to 3 days and take note to symptoms, if any after consuming the. Looking for a medically supervised elimination diet, come in for a nutrition consultation! We will take you every step of the way.

4) Eat an abundance of vegetables in your diet each day including a variety of sulfur-rich sources such as cruciferous vegetables. Best picks for the Spring include cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, collard greens, garlic, onions, and Swiss chard. My favorite is Bok Choy. Sulfur is an essential mineral that supports methylation and transsulfuration, optimizing the liver’s detoxification system.

If you cannot tolerate the sulfur in these vegetables, you’re not alone. Some people have genomic dispositions that affect these metabolic pathways. Add at least one serving day of sulfur-containing vegetables along with a vitamin known as molybdenum. Include a variety of vegetables and fibrous fruits such as berries to provide beneficial fiber, an important part of the elimination of excess waste in the body.

5) Hydrate! Drinking adequate water ensures good filtration of the kidneys, digestion, and bowel regularity. Eliminating waste in the body is vital to preventing toxic overload in the body. As a general rule, drink half your body weight (in pounds) as ounces. When exercising and in the warmer months, add more! Add fresh lemon and receive even more benefits for your liver. Consider a good water filtration system that uses a carbon filter.

6) Purge your home from harmful chemicals and environmental pollutants. Dump the harsh chemical cleaners and opt for a simple but effective solution of equal parts of water and vinegar. Be aware of harmful substances in your cosmetics and toiletries such as oxybenzone, parabens, and phthalates. Add an air purifier and/or a green plant.

7) Make time to unwind. Making time to rest in today’s fast pace world we often need to be reminded to do. Incorporate some kind of stress reduction modality each day whether it be a massage, a hot bath or reading a book of interest. Get closer to the earth with a walk-through nature or earthing (sinking your feet into the sand). Find THAT THING that relaxes you and plan to make it part of your day because it will be the best part by far!

8) Consider intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is generally considered a time period of caloric restriction such as 14-16 hours a day. When we “fast” it gives our body time to digest and ultimately deplete our glycogen stores (stored liver glucose). When this happens, our body looks for another source of energy to function in which it then uses our fat stores via a system known as B-oxidation. This energy source is known as ketones. This state results in the generation of new mitochondria, reduced insulin resistance and weight loss,2. As many positives as there may be with including some period of fasting in your diet, there can be some risks for some medical conditions. Talk with your Practitioner when considering fasting as well as what kind of fasting is the best fit for you.

9) Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! Studies will confirm that a lack of sleep correlates with a lack of concentration, weight gain, poor eating habits, as well as puts stress on your immune system. The best way to make sure you include adequate sleep each day is to plan it. Set a bedtime each day by shutting your electronics off at a certain hour while setting up a bedtime routine to help you unwind at the end of the day. Shoot for a minimum of 7-9 hours a night.

10) Be positive! Ever spend time around someone who’s energy is addictive? If you ask me, being pessimistic is nonproductive. Saying something nice to someone will not only make that person happy but in return reward you at the same time!

Other refreshing rituals that can be adapted include, meditation, dry brushing, infrared saunas and gentle movement such as restorative yoga, stretching and rebounding.                        

Look to refresh at least 2 times a year or more. Start each day with an alkaline green smoothie. Plan for a casual hike and a calming magnesium bath before bed. However you choose to set up this day, remember you deserve it and your body will thank you.

 

Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health.  She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse.  Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.

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{Recipe} Bok Choy Sautee

In the Spring, the land once again becomes fertile and the earth is wanting to feed us with fresh, crisp, and alive food to give us a boost of energy from the long, dark, and cold winter days. An abundance of lighter vibrant vegetables should now be included in your diet each day along with a variety of sulfur-rich sources such as cruciferous vegetables, which are great for detoxing during the spring months.  The best picks for the spring include cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, collard greens, garlic, onions, and Swiss chard. My favorite is Bok Choy.  Here’s an easy to re-create recipe with nutrients and flavor abound!

Bok Choy Sauté

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh bok choy, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tbsp sesame oil

1 ½ tbsp coconut aminos

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and Bok Choy stems, sauté until tender. Add Bok Choy greens and coconut aminos and continue to cook on low until wilted but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health.  She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse.  Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.

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What’s the Difference Between a Detox and a Cleanse?

The terms cleanse and detox are often used interchangeably, and while they both remove toxins from your body, a detox and a cleanse are two different things! At the root of the word “cleanse” is clean, and you should think of a cleanse as a way of cleaning your body. Often a cleanse uses supplements or pills to eliminate substances directly and cleanses normally focus on the digestive tract. On the other hand, detox programs strive to support your body’s natural toxin-eliminating processes. Since the body’s main detoxing centers are the liver and the kidneys, good detox programs focus on supporting your liver and kidneys by giving them the nutrients and supplements they need to function optimally.

So what are toxins anyway? Heavy metals including mercury are top of mind, but the lists also include persistent organic pollutants, plastics, and pesticides. Basically, toxins are harmful particles that can stay in your body, irritating cells, causing inflammation, and interfering with your body’s normal functions.

Signs of toxicity or a high toxic load (and thus the need for a detox or cleanse) include:

  • fatigue,
  • headaches,
  •  joint pain,
  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • and constipation.

But there’s much more to detoxes and cleanses, in fact, season is important. Watch the short video above to see why spring is a great time for a cleanse, to find out why a toxin load is important, and what lowering your toxin load can do for you. Or view the whole video on my Facebook.

For more information, we offer a Detox Treatment kit with our Detox Guidebook, Fiber Blend, Liver Support with Antioxidants, Daily Detox Support, and Magnesium Tablets and you can take our Medical Symptom Questionnaire for toxins.

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Why Detoxing is a Spring Cleaning Must-Do

Spring Detox

The idea of Spring cleansing is ancient.

For 3,000 years most of Asia, the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin and the Caucasus have celebrated the Persian New Year, the first day of Spring, by cleaning everything from the curtains to the furniture.  Passover, in the Jewish tradition, also asks us to Spring clean our homes.  Almost all religions have a period of fasting that are considered spiritual cleanses.

Cleansing is Synonymous with Detoxifying

At Blum Center for Health, spring is the best time to cleanse the body, with a focus on the liver, your primary detoxifying, or cleansing, organ.  Your liver safely removes toxins out of your body with the help of antioxidants, B vitamins, and amino acids.  With over 8,000 chemicals in circulation in the environment, we need to constantly support this process with the food we eat, and sometimes with supplements, otherwise, the liver pathways can get jammed, become overburdened, and toxins can bioaccumulate in tissues and fat cells.  This can make us feel unwell and lead to excess accumulation of weight.

We strongly believe that periodic liver support cleanses are essential for good health.

Here are 7 signs that you are carrying a toxic load:

  • You constantly feel tired.
  • You experience achiness in your joints.
  • You experience brain fog.
  • You suffer with headaches.
  • You experience mood swings.
  • You feel heavy in your body and in your mind.
  • You have difficulty losing weight.

One place that you might be exposed to toxins is in your water supply. Water is so important and yet our water has become a big issue.  This is something you are exposed to on a daily basis — multiple times a day — due to showering, baths, washing your hands and hair, brushing our teeth, and washing our clothes.

Here are the possible chemicals commonly found in water and their potential toxicity issues:

 Lead — from leaching lead from pipes, or solder, in our water system

  •      in children, colic, developmentally delayed and learning difficulties
  •      fatigue, irritability, nausea, constipation, miscarriages, anemias, kidney issues

According to the New York State Department of Health: Lead affects all organs and functions of the body to varying degrees. The frequency and severity of symptoms among exposed individuals depends upon the amount of exposure.

There are also chemicals that can found in your water supply that create havoc in your body:

Copper, from our pipes

  •      vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea
  •      associated with liver and kidney damage

Fluoride, fortified in our water

  •      can cause bone disorders

Pesticides, a problem if your well is shallow, or if you live near a farm or golf course

  •      nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, night sweats, muscles aches

This is our water and it is not good news.

We are also exposed to chemicals in our food, our cars, our homes, our clothes, our furniture – and the list goes on.  Safe removal of these compounds is possible with a liver that functions well.  I hope you agree, that it is MANDATORY that you detoxify and tune-up your liver on a routine basis.  A good detox program can lead to a reversal of symptoms, improved metabolism and a decrease in weight. Spring is a great time!

If you live near Blum Center, consider joining our popular 5-Day Intense Detox Group Program, a medically-sound jumpstart to reducing your toxic load. The group kicks off on Monday, May 15th at either 10am or 6pm. Join Now

If you don’t live near the Center and want to detox, purchase our quintessential 21- Day Simply Detox Kit, which includes a step-by-step guidebook and all the liver cleansing supplements you need to detoxify your body and eliminate your toxic load.
Learn More

About Mary: Mary Gocke, Director of Nutrition at Blum Center for Health, has been successfully using food and nutrition science to treat and heal people with chronic illnesses and acute conditions for over 25 years. When Mary’s not helping people feel better through nutrition, this mother of two grown children can be found practicing yoga, which she has taught for years, or in her kitchen cooking something colorful.

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Mercury and Your Health

Sardines

By Susan Blum, MD 

Are you concerned about your exposure to mercury from the food you are eating?  If you eat fish at all, then you should be. This can be confusing, but is very important because mercury can cause autoimmune disease and other health-related problems.  That is why I decided to dedicate our April newsletter to this topic…to shed some light on this issue and to help you decide what to eat, and what to do to protect yourself from this environmental toxin.

Where do you find mercury and what is it?

Mercury is part of a group of compounds called heavy metals. There are ‘good’ heavy metals like iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc.  They are good because humans require these metals to function properly.  However, keep in mind that these too can be toxic at excessive levels.

On the other hand, heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and plutonium are ‘bad’ toxic metals and if they accumulate in the body over time, can cause serious illness.   For our purpose today, I will focus on mercury because there is plenty of data that explains what it does in the body and how we are exposed.

Where does Mercury come from?

There are 2 main sources of mercury that we are exposed to.  First, mercury is released into the air from coal burning power plants and from volcanoes.  After it settles in the oceans and soil, we end up eating it from the fish or plants or animals that grow and live in these places. The big fish eat the little fish, and the mercury bio accumulates, which means it gets more concentrated in the bigger fish.

The other main source of mercury is the vapor released from silver fillings.  While this is somewhat controversial, there is enough evidence suggesting this is a real issue, and why I recommend replacing your fillings if possible.

There are also other places you can be exposed to mercury, like in the preservative of some vaccines, and old thermometers.  But fish and silver fillings are the biggest problem.

How does mercury accumulate in your body and make you sick?

Your body was created with multiple detox systems in place to clear out the mercury you are exposed to.  One of these, called the glutathione system, is very active in your liver and also in all the cells in your body.  If you are exposed to more mercury than this system can handle, the mercury can build up in your body and cause damage to your nerves, thyroid, immune system (autoimmune disease, for example), and all the cells in your body by causing something we call oxidative stress.  This simply means that you run out of the important antioxidants that your body needs to protect itself, resulting in free radicals created by the mercury that can then damage the tissues.

To protect your cells and tissues, it is critical that you keep your liver detox system in tip-top shape by eating lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables with plenty of color.  In addition, you can take specific antioxidant supplements to boost your glutathione.  Our favorite and most convenient way to do this is by taking our BlumBox Immune & Antioxidant Support Packets, created for just this purpose.   

The next step is to support your liver and its ability to clear this metal out of your system. The best strategy is to do a liver detox program once or twice/year, and to make sure you are eating foods with selenium, sulfur (onions), cruciferous veggies, and lots of antioxidants.