Smorgasbord Health Column – The Gentle Detox – Food Intolerances, Nightshade Family and Environmental Toxins by Sally Cronin


On this final post on the gentle detox, I am going to cover some of the other reasons that you might give your body a break from your usual daily routine, and this includes the inevitable modern day stresses.

Having said that it is virtually impossible to take all the time out that you need to do this when you are working full time or have one of the most stressful jobs, keeping a family warm, fed and where they need to be each day.  However, by eating lighter with all natural foods and drinking plenty of fluids you will have made a good start. If you can find 45 minutes to an hour every day to sit quietly and breath in fresh air with some music playing, then that will help too.

To live long and healthy lives we need to nurture and sustain our body. Our organs, bones, tissues, skin and blood accumulate debris and toxins over a period of days, weeks, months and years. Under normal circumstances our body is very efficient in clearing out harmful toxins and has a number of systems in place to deal with them. I took a closer look at the liver earlier in the series, since this is the one organ that has the responsibility of getting rid of waste as well as the toxins within our body.

Unfortunately, life is a little more toxic these days and we are bombarded through our skin, in the air we breathe and in the food we eat. This leads me onto the skin which in fact is our largest waste organ. For example if you break out in spots and find that your skin is not as hydrated as it should be then it is likely that you liver is under pressure and unable to get rid of the build-up of toxins that need to be excreted. Rather go into it in full detail here you might be interested in these posts from 2017 on the skin and its vital role in our defence and waste systems.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-skin-the-largest-organ-of-the-human-body/

To illustrate the effect of a build-up of toxins in the body here is a post on eczema that covers the impact of our diet on skin conditions.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe-the-skin-eczema-genetics-or-lifestyle/

Environmental Factors.

Our modern society is not just about what we eat and drink. The pollutants that are surrounding us on a daily basis attack every system in our bodies and we need to build a strong and robust immune system to cope with the age we live in.

Think about all the chemicals that we come into contact with knowingly and also unknowingly. Household cleaners are pretty obvious (wear gloves) second hand cigarette smoke, hair colouring, make-up, most shampoos and conditioners, air fresheners, washing powder and softeners, washing up liquid, plastic food containers, industrial pollution, car exhaust fumes – the list goes on and on.

A spring clean for your body.

A gentle detox is a spring clean and a preventative measure. It will release the toxins from your body and improve your general health. For anyone already suffering the symptoms of toxic build-up it should bring some relief to the symptoms and aid your recovery.

It is almost certain that unless you live on a remote pacific Island, you will be suffering from some form of general toxicity. If you look back at your life in detail you will be able to identify if there might have been specific exposure to toxins in the workplace such as heavy metals in industry, a dry cleaners or dentist surgery. You may have been a heavy smoker in which case you have certainly been exposed to over 4000 chemicals every time you inhaled tobacco smoke. You may have also used excessive stimulants such as coffee or alcohol that will not only have acidified your body but also prevented the absorption of essential nutrients it needs to be healthy.

If you are sick and in pain then it is very probable that you are suffering from an imbalance of acid/alkaline levels causing acidosis, which is an environment that toxins thrive in. More specific toxins would be ingested, inhaled or absorbed from the intestines, through the skin or into the muscle via injections. If you have undergone suppressive treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy or used medications that have driven the toxins back into the system, this will have resulted in stored poison.

You might also be suffering from either food allergies or more commonly food intolerances that are adding to the toxic overload.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/smorgasbord-health-column-food-allergies-or-intolerances-the-difference/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/smorgasbord-health-column-a-z-of-common-conditions-allergies-and-intolerances-dairy-leaky-gut/

If you have already adopted some of the guidelines from earlier in the week and are eating all natural, unprocessed foods, drinking 8 glasses of pure water per day and have given up a very high percentage of the sugars you are consuming… You are doing a great job.

If you suffer from food intolerances then you also need to keep a food diary and note when symptoms of bloating, joint pain, headaches or other signs that are unique to you occur.

It is likely that the culprit food is one that you eat every day and therefore results in a build-up in the toxic element that you are intolerant too.

Your body, a bit like our own waste collection services, has a cycle. Instead of a week it is around four to five days and the liver and your other systems can handle the odd toxin that wanders in by ejecting it.

However, if you are ingesting or being exposed to this toxin every day your body cannot deal with the build-up and it is stored in the cells causing skin problems, damage to the cells which in turn lead to serious diseases such as cancer.

redpeppersLearning to live with the nightshade family.

There are a few suspect foods as you will read in the post on Allergens and Intolerances above. For example I discovered many years ago that I react to certain members of the nightshade family if I eat too many of them together and every day. For example eggplant (aubergine) peppers, fresh tomatoes and potatoes are favourites of ours but I find if I eat them all every day then I get joint pain.

This does not mean giving them up entirely since they are full of nutrients and health benefits but I manage it by only consuming them individually every three or four days. The exception is cooked tomato which funnily enough does not cause me a problem.

If you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned check your food diary after a week and circle the foods that are the nightshade family and how many times you are consuming in the week. And if you are eating potatoes, peppers and tomatoes every day and some Goji berries in the mix you are probably intolerant to the nightshade family. Split them up and only consume every few days and see how you feel after a couple of weeks.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.. or if you prefer send in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You can find all the Gentle Detox posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-gentle-detox-2019/

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Gentle Detox – Part Three – Willpower.


One of the hardest things that I ever did was give up sugar 23 years ago… not forever, but certainly for the two years that it took me to lose 150lbs. I still do it periodically when I can see my weight creeping back up again. After being so obese for many years my body is determined to regain lbs it has lost and it is still a struggle for me to stay at a reasonably healthy weight.

Completing this gentle detox two or three times a year has certainly helped me to get back to basics and curb my very strong sugar cravings. Once I start, I find it difficult to stop. I discovered when I began working with clients over 20 years ago that I was not alone in this.

I often would have this discussion with my clients who felt that there was no way that they could give up one or more of these because they ‘LOVED THEM’.

This is a little tip – if you keep a food diary for a week, and after seven days review the food that you have eaten and attach the emotion ‘LOVE’ to certain items, you are probably eating too much of that particular food . If the food is sugary in nature then you are also addicted to it.

You might admire, covet, desire to have an object or type of food but to ‘LOVE’ something implies that there is a chance of reciprocation, that the object of your love is a live, warm entity such as a parent, partner, child, dog, rabbit. I am afraid that all you will get from that bar of chocolate you are eating every day is extra weight around your middle, clogged arteries and indigestion. You can have a relationship with chocolate, but like many that we enter into it is healthier when experienced in small amounts from time to time.

“Surgically implanted willpower”

It is no secret that I am not an advocate for weight loss surgery as I believe that it is ‘surgically implanted willpower’. As we have become addicted to fast foods and sugar, we have also become addicted to the fast fix. It took me 18 months to lose 11 stone (150lbs) nearly 23 years ago. Whilst I am not as slim today – I am still 10 stone lighter than I was in the beginning. I also do not have the obesity related health problems I had then, including high blood sugar levels, very high blood pressure and elevated LDL cholesterol. Neither do I need to take medications for those conditions.

These are the future health problems that they believe will be alleviated by giving at risk obese patients the surgery now at a very high cost.

What is even more disturbing is that whilst there may be valid psychological reasons for such radical measures on medical advice, the private sector is making millions offering this surgery to those with enough money to buy into the marketing. The NHS in the UK is now spending £85 million annually (2012 figures) on obesity related surgery whilst patients with life threatening diseases such as cancer cannot receive the drugs they need to extend their life or more disturbing possibly put them into remission.

When considering any surgery you should always research the benefits and the risks. If you are contemplating any form of obesity surgery then here are a few risks to consider.

Post-operative risks that need to be considered.
1 in 20 people will suffer an infection
1 in 100 people – blood clot
1- 100 people – internal bleeding
1 – 12 people – gallstones (common with anyone who has lost a great deal of weight in a short space of time – including me).
1-50 people -gastric band slippage
1- 2000 people with a gastric band – death

Source – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/weight-loss-surgery/Pages/risks.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/08august/Pages/gastric-bypass-surgery-up-fivefold-in-six-years.aspx

This may seem harsh, but my own experience of obesity is that it is self-inflicted. Of course there are enabling factors – the availability of fast and processed foods, sugar addiction and manufacturers cashing in on our taste buds, but at the end of the day it is actually about our own choices and decisions.

If you read the recommendations for eating following gastric surgery you will understand why a patient can lose 10 stone in a year.

Four weeks of liquid diet a further two on pureed food – the rest of their lives on three small meals a day – minimum snacking – no fizzy drinks, diet or otherwise, eating and chewing slowly and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables with lean protein.

I have worked with a number of clients post weight-loss surgery and found that they had received little or no nutritional counselling (or any that stuck) and had resumed their poor eating habits that had caused their obesity in the first place. A bar of chocolate fits well into a shrunken stomach and saves a lot of hassle preparing a small healthy meal!

Non Surgical Intervention.

So that was the extreme end of the willpower spectrum. But if you are embarking on this gentle detox or any healthy weight loss programme, then perhaps you might consider this formula that I have found very successful for myself and those I work for.

DECISION + VISION + DETERMINATION = WILLPOWER  (DVD=W)

Decision

If you are contemplating anything major in your life that you want to succeed, you cannot approach with a wishy-washy attitude and wing it. This applies to any work, personal or health related project. A decision is not a ‘maybe’ a ‘might’ or ‘perhaps’ it is a firm commitment to do something. It is not an ‘I should do this’ it is an ‘I Must do this’.

So having decided you are going to embark on a healthier lifestyle then you need some incentive to stick to that decision to the end.

Vision – Where do you want to be in six weeks’ time or six months?

You want to be healthier, slimmer, more energetic, and able to do more activities. Well this is where your imagination comes in and you need to see yourself at the end of all this hard work looking and feeling fantastic and that the time spent achieving it was worth it.

To help this process it is a good idea to draw up a balance sheet.

On one side the negative impact your current health is having on your life. Why you feel that you need to undertake this project. Perhaps you are too overweight to keep up with your children or grandchildren, you have painful knees and hip joints that are feeling the strain or you have high Blood Pressure, LDL (harmful cholesterol) levels or High blood sugar that could indicate that you are pre-diabetic.

It might be that activities that you were passionate about are now not possible because of your fitness levels. You get the idea. It does not matter – what is important is that you are really clear about why you want to improve your health and lifestyle.

The other side of the balance sheet is the positive impact you expect from working hard over the next six weeks or longer. It is where you visualise what you will be able to accomplish, enjoy and participate in once you have completed the job. This is your reward for making a decision and sticking to it.

Determination

This is where the determination comes into it. Having made your decision, have a clear vision in your mind of where you want to be in the time frame you have chosen (realistic) you then have to be firm with yourself every time you feel that you are going to veer from the plan and indulge for a few days.

If you are half-hearted about the process it is effectively taking two steps forward and one step back..It is also likely that you will not complete the project because eventually it will fall by the wayside and end up as one of the high percentage of ‘diets’ that fail.

So the choice is yours when it comes to willpower. If you do not want to be where you are today with health and weight, then you need to make a firm decision to change, visualise where you want to be and stick to it.

Unlike surgically implanted willpower, the only side-effects to this type of attitude are a positive result and a great deal of self-satisfaction in a job well done.

Next time I will be looking at some of the other reasons for doing a periodic detox or health reviews which include food intolerances and unexplained health problems.

You can find the other posts in the Gentle Detox series in this Directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-gentle-detox-2019/

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.. or if you prefer send in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Gentle Detox – Part Two – Eat food your body recognises…and can work with! by Sally Cronin


Part one of the Detox can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/03/smorgasbord-health-column-the-gentle-detox-introduction-and-phase-one-before-you-begin-your-weight-loss-programme/

The Gentle Detox – Part Two – Eat food your body recognises…and can work with!

In my previous posts you will often find me having a poke at the diet food industry – well actually more than a poke. There are certain products that are health related that I do not have a problem with, but I don’t have much time with slimming bars and shakes. I do not care how many nutrients they say are in them, they are not in the form that the body understands or wishes to. We are designed to take our nutrients from natural foods.

I do agree to an extent that what we assume is a nutrient packed vegetable or fruit is not as nutritionally dense as it used to be. Farming methods have changed in the last 50 years or so and we also have to consider the addition of fertilisers that may not be of organic origin. However, despite having busy work or family commitments it is easy and quick to bulk prepare vegetables for several days and it is a great deal cheaper.

There are other times of the year when spending at least two weeks in a transitional mode as far as your diet is concerned is a good thing.

Around May time I get a yearning for the crisp crunch of lettuce, the peppery taste of watercress and Rucula, the smooth buttery taste and feel of avocados – I lose my appetite for parsnips and stews with mashed potato and butternut and carrot soups, preferring gazpacho, cold and tangy with an omelette for lunch.

The same happens again in September when I start to think about more root vegetables and warming foods. I think you get the idea.

Our bodies over the last hundreds of thousands of years, would have been sustained by seasonal foods, both animal and plant. It makes sense that we would therefore get the most nutritional benefit from seasonal foods, with the added benefit of an abundance of other fruits and vegetables that we now have year round. It is wonderful to have this access to so many varieties because they offer us so much more than our ancestors could scratch together.

I am fully supportive of any ‘diet’ programme than encourage us to only use fresh produce and cook it from scratch, but some trendy diets out there are a bit too restrictive, and you need to include other fruits and vegetables and other food groups that were not necessarily available to our ancestors.

If you make seasonal fruit and vegetables your primary choices, you can add in others to provide a more varied and balanced diet. This is why I follow the Gentle Detox seasonally every three months and not just at the beginning of the year. It marks the change in different eating patterns from the more stodgy, carbohydrate driven diet for the winter months to the lighter spring available food and the even lighter summer options and then back again.

Doing any form of detox should not put your body under increased stress but alleviate it. Which is why, this programme is not intended to be used as a crash diet, with few calories and nutrients. Even if you wish to lose weight as well as detox your system, you must not consume below 1500 calories if you are a woman or 1800 as a man.

How many calories do you need each day?

Basal metabolic rate – BMR establishes the approximate calories your body needs to function. At rest, with your digestive system inactive. So basically, first thing in the morning when your organs have been idling, rather than fully functional. This is dependent on your age and gender and as we age our requirement for calories decreases which is why you need to make sure you are compensating by including plenty of activity.

The simplest thing is to give you a link so that you can establish according to your age and gender what the minimum calories your body requires. However, it is important to point out that whilst calories are vital, it is also critical that those calories be as nutritious as possible. Particularly, if you are planning on cutting down calorie intake to lose weight.

http://www.calculator.net/bmr-calculator.html

For example my basal metabolic rate at 66 is 1450 calories per day. That is not taking into account the calories required to operate my digestive system, organs such as my brain and heart, lungs, liver and kidneys etc. If you are not desk bound, walking around, doing shopping, housework, etc. you will use about 100 calories per hour – in activity and operating the body. That will add about 500 calories per day.

Men use slightly more because of body mass so I use 2000 calories basic requirement for women and 2,300 for men.

I never drop calories for an individual to less than 1500 for women and 1800 for men per day.

These calories should be nutrient dense and be sourced from good quality fresh produce. Your meals should be prepared from scratch using these ingredients, and if you are not very experienced in the kitchen, then do get yourself one of the many excellent cookery books available that promotes healthy produce and preparation. You can find some great recipes courtesy of Carol Taylor in the Food Column: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-2018/

Don’t buy pre-chopped salads and vegetables

To prepare these meals you have to first buy your ingredients and in step two I would like you to think more carefully when you buy produce. For example buy whole vegetables and fruits rather than pre-chopped. Cabbage will lose at least 50% of its nutritional content once it is chopped and the longer it sits there in that plastic bag the more it will lose. This also applies to bags of chopped salads. It is also a more expensive way to buy your vegetables and fruit. Check the prices but I am pretty sure that the extra that you pay for convenience multiplied over a year will easily pay for a week if not more of shopping.

Also do not be afraid to buy cheaper cuts of meat and get out the slow cooker to prepare a casserole or a roast while you are out at work. You will save both time and money. Visit a farmer’s market and buy your vegetables without them passing through the hands of the distributors. You may find they are all shapes and sizes, rather than beautiful but the nutrients in them are the same.

Bring them home and blanch in salted boiling water for five minutes and then freeze in Ziploc bags. They will only take a few minutes in a microwave or in boiling water to finish cooking.

Here is a basic shopping list you can cut and paste into a word document and take with you when you do your next shop.

As you can see it is not restrictive to the same degree as some of the very rigid detox programmes, but is intended to give you all the food groups in moderation.

Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes. (Any other fresh seasonal produce you enjoy) At least five or six portions a day – use a cupped handful as an estimated portion size.

Lower Fructose Fruit – Bananas, kiwi, strawberries and any dark berries that are reasonably priced – try frozen. Enjoy all fruit in season at least three portions a day.

Hot lemon and water first thing in the morning will not only give you a Vitamin C hit, start your digestive process off but will also help with sugar cravings.

Wholegrains – brown rice- wholegrain bread – whole wheat pasta – Weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats. Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals – more sugar than goodness. Carbohydrates are an important food group.

However, as we get older and less active you really only need a large spoonful of rice or potatoes on a daily basis. If you suffer from a Candida overgrowth be aware that it may not be the yeast in bread that causes a problem but the sugar or its substitute.

Fish – Salmon fresh and tinned- cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, Tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals. (Any fish that is available fresh not from farmed sources)

Meat and poultrychicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork. Lean ham for sandwiches, (processed meats should be used sparingly) Venison if you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious. Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non-vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers.

Nuts and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts.

Dairy and Eggs Milk, butter -yoghurt. Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four eggs a week.

What is very important is that you eat dairy from grass fed cows, not grain fed.. and if you buy meat, it should also come from grass fed animals. The reason being that the vital vitamin K2 is only present when protein comes from grass fed stock. (more about that in a new series on deficiencies later in January). The butter will be yellow in colour and it should state on the label that it comes from a grass fed herd.

Oils – Extra virgin Olive Oil (least processed) – great drizzled on vegetables with some seasoning and also eaten the Spanish way with balsamic vinegar on salads and also drizzled over toasted fresh bread. If you do not like the taste of Olive Oil then use Sunflower oil – do not use the light version of any oil as it has been processed heavily – use the good stuff. For cooking use ordinary virgin olive oil with a dash of sunflower or butter but do not heat to very high temperatures. You can also use coconut oil which tolerates higher temperatures well and has some additional health benefits.

Honey and extras You really do need to avoid sugars refined and in cakes, sweets and biscuits but honey is a sweetener that the body has been utilising since the first time we found a bee hive and a teaspoon in your porridge is okay. Try and find a local honey to you. You can also use a small spoonful of Manuka Honey which is produced in New Zealand. To obtain the medicinal benefits the honey should be classified as 15+.

Sauces – If you buy your sauces in jars and packets they will have a great many more ingredients than you bargained for. One of the worst is sugar or its substitutes. The greatest cooking skill you can develop is to be able to make a wide variety of sauces from scratch. If you do this you will be not only using fresh produce with its nutritional punch but also taking hundreds of pounds of sugar out of your diet over a lifetime.

FluidsGreen Tea and other herbal teas including dandelion, peppermint and a combined detox tea., tap and mineral water, coffee 1 cup a day (not instant but ground coffee) Black tea also has antioxidants so drink a couple of cups a day. Try with sliced lemon and get some Vitamin C. (depending on the climate and altitude at which you live you will need to experiment to find out how much fluid you need. If you have very low humidity you will need considerably more. Average is around the 2 litres per day of combined fluids).

Next time I will covering willpower which is another ingredient required a few days into any new health and lifestyle upgrade….

 You can find the other posts in the Gentle Detox in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-gentle-detox-2019/

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2019

A little bit about me nutritionally.

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with over twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments.. or if you prefer send in an email to sally.cronin@moyhill.com