What is pH?

The letters pH stand for the potential of hydrogen, which is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in the body. The pH scale is a scale ranging from 1-14 with 1 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being the most alkaline. Our ideal pH reading is 7.3 – 7.45 which is slightly basic, or alkaline. Unfortunately, due to processed foods and chemical rich environments, many of us are too acidic these days.
How can you test your pH?

This is very simple! You can test your pH with inexpensive pH strips that you can buy online or in health food stores. You simply tear off a piece and put it in your mouth allowing the saliva to touch it for two-three seconds. Next, compare it to the colour chart provided and see where you’re at! This is best done first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. Food and drinks can alter the pH reading of the saliva.

Another way to test your pH, which most health experts believe is a little more accurate of total body pH is by testing your urine. This also should be done first thing in the morning. The first reading can usually be a little more acidic because the body is clearing out acid while you sleep at night. So generally the second urine test of the morning is most accurate.
Why should we test our pH?

It’s good to get a general idea of your pH reading because it is a great indicator of health status in the body. If overly acidic, you may have some underlying issues that need to be addressed. Some diseases and disorders that are associated with over-acidity are diabetes, obesity, migraines, cataracts, cancer, arthritis, stroke, gout, morning sickness, allergies and osteoporosis. Addressing over-acidity is vital to bringing the body back into balance, as every single system in the body is affected by too much acid.
Diet, lifestyle and pH

Everything we eat or drink affects our pH. Some foods make us more acidic while others make us more alkaline. In general, animal based foods such as meat and dairy products are acidic, while plant-based foods like fruits and veggies are alkaline. We do need both acid and alkaline foods in our diet, though the convenience factor of fast-foods and processed foods have made many of us overly acidic.

Environmental factors come into play as well. Household cleaning products like soap, detergent, air fresheners, glass cleaners and other various cleaning agents all contain chemicals that are toxic to the body and contribute to acidity.

It’s the same with conventional bath and body products that contain not-so-friendly chemicals and toxins in them as well. If they go directly onto your skin, which is your body’s biggest organ, than they can be some of the biggest offenders. Try switching over to more natural and safe products. There are some great ones out on the market now!

Our bodies are amazing and fierce when it comes to protecting the pH levels. Since our body must maintain a slightly alkaline level to survive, the body will start pulling alkaline minerals out of the bones to buffer the acidity else-where. Amazing survival instinct, but this can lead to osteoporosis and other health challenges like fatigue.
How to become more alkaline:

Drink a fresh green juice every single day.
Drink the juice of half a lemon squeezed in a glass of warm water first thing in the morning (citrus fruits seem acidic but are actually very alkaline!)
Eat a diet full of nutritious and alkaline vegetables and fruits.
Stay away from all processed foods and fried foods which are extremely acidic.
Avoid refined sugar like the plague, fresh fruits are okay.
Drink quality water such as purified water or even better, fresh spring water (tap water usually has fluoride in it and is very toxic to the body, which your dentist may not tell you.)
Use natural household cleaning agents such as diluted apple cider vinegar.
Use natural bath and body product such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, lotions, facial creams and make-up. Commercial ones are made with chemicals that have a massive toxic load to the body and make you acidic.
Eat more plant-based foods and opt for only grass-fed, organic animal products.
Include more wheat grass, barley grass, kelp, cayenne, chlorella and spirulina in your diet.
Mix ½ tsp of baking soda in a glass of water and drink daily .This may be the most effective and easiest way to bring your pH level up in alkalinity, so give it a try.So where does your pH level score at? Buy some strips at your local health food store and see where you’re at. Leave a comment below and let me know. We’re all on this health quest together!

Herbs are rich in antioxidants, phytosterols, vitamins, and other nutrient substances that equip the body to fight against toxins and germs. They help in boosting the immune system as well. In fact, you can call herbs as ‘medicines’ when taken in small doses. I have been making broths out of medicinal herbs along with powerful nutrient-rich vegetables like beets, onions,m celery, carrots, kale, mustard greens, shitake mushroom and red cabbage.

The Herbs

Alfalfa Leaf (Medicago sativa):

Naturally high in protein as well as many essential vitamins and minerals, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins. Alfalfa detoxifies the body and purifies the blood.

Astragalus/Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus):

Astragalus nourishes and tonifies the blood, builds immunity and resistance to colds and flu, promotes skin generation, strengthens muscle, strengthens chronically weak lungs, improves digestion and metabolism, tonifies spleen Qi, and helps to maintain upright posture and positioning of the organs in the body.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa):

A highly nutritive herb, rich in vitamins A & C, burdock root improves gallbladder function, helps to increase the absorption of fats, and aids in the detoxification of excess wastes. Burdock also helps to control sugar cravings as well as treating alcohol addiction. Burdock relieves lymph congestion and cleanses and nourishes the blood.

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum):

Improves circulation, increases metabolism, boosts the immune system, and aids digestion. It breaks up congestion in the body, clearing mucus, moving blood and dispelling cold dampness. With anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, cayenne may be used internally or externally to treat muscle and joint pain, including arthritis. It is a tonic for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen, and stomach.

Chickweed (Stellaria Media):

Loaded in nutrition and best known for its ability to cool and soothe inflammations, both internally and externally, It can be used to treat blood toxicity, inflammation and other “hot” type diseases.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum):

Cilantro­ is rich in micronutrients, high in calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and has been found to remove heavy metals from the body. There is evidence that consumption of cilantro accelerates the excretion of lead and aluminum deposits from the body

Codonopsis Root/Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula):

A supreme tonic supporting digestion and the immune system, it is a primary herb used to tonify Qi, particularly in the spleen and lungs. Codonopsis increases vital energy, strengthens digestion and assimilation, and is given in all diseases associated with weakness, debility after illness, tiredness, lack of strength, poor appetite and anemia. It supports breast milk production and can alleviate diarrhea, vomiting, gas, bloatedness, chronic cough and shortness of breath.

Cordyceps/Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps sinensis):

Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that, in the wild, typically grows on and completely consumes the larvae of certain moths (eg. caterpillars). Cordyceps is a tonic for the kidneys which control sexual function, cognition, structural integrity, and healing ability. It strengthens the skeletal structure; specifically the lower back, knees, and ankles, and is anti­bacterial, anti­viral, and anti­fungal.

Dang GuiDang Gui/Chinese Angelica Root (Angelica sinensis):

Alleviates pain, regulates menstruation, and moistens intestines. Dang Gui is used as a blood tonic, vitalizing and improving circulation. It is used for abdominal and menstrual pain, traumatic injuries, arthritis, rheumatism, sores, and abscesses. It normalizes heart contractions and dilates blood vessels increasing peripheral blood flow. It causes red blood cell proliferation and helps treat anemia.

Dioscorea Root/Shan Yao/Chinese Yam (Dioscorea opposita):

Best known for regulating female hormones in Western Medicine, Chinese Yam is used as a Spleen Qi tonic and supports both the Yin and the Qi of the spleen, lungs and Kidneys. It is used to treat fatigue, lack of strength, exhaustion, and weakness.

Eleuthero Root/Siberian Ginseng/Ci Wu Jia (Eleutherococcus senticosus):

Increases appetite, improves energy and enhances immune system, boosts endurance, stimulates virility and helps the body better withstand stress. Indicated when there is low energy, chronic fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness. As such it is popular as an adjunct treatment for cancer patients. Can be helpful in Lyme disease protocols when there is joint pain and fatigue.

Eucommia BarkEucommia Root/Du Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides):

Supports the functions of the endocrine and skeletal systems, particularly ligaments and tendons. It is also known for its kidney tonifying effects and supports normal healthy sexual functions.

Fo­ ti Stem/Ye Jiao Teng (Polygonum multiflorum):

A Chinese herb used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. Helps to quiet the mind and calm the nerves.

Galangal Root/Gao Liang Jiang (Alpinia galanga):

Has a stimulating effect on the digestive system. Galangal root is antispasmodic and antibacterial.

Garlic (Allium sativum):

Garlic contains a substance called Allicin which has antibiotic properties. It is useful in treating everything from a common cold to allergies to tonsillitis. Garlic contains many sulfur compounds which detoxify the body, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Garlic has also demonstrated anti­cancer, anti­fungal and anti­oxidant effects.

Ginger RootGinger Rhizome/Gan Jiang (Zingiber officinale):

Ginger is a wonderful herb for digestion. It helps break down proteins to decrease stomach and intestinal gas. It also aids in the digestion of fatty foods. Ginger’s warming quality improves and stimulates circulation and relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood throughout the body. Ginger also treats nausea and morning sickness. Studies demonstrate that ginger can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption in the blood and liver.

Berry/Gou Qi Zi (Lycium barbarum):

Regular consumption of Goji is traditionally believed to lead to a long and happy life. Goji is also said to brighten the eyes and support vision. It is traditionally said that Goji strengthens the legs and enhances sexual function. Goji fruit contains polysaccharides that have been demonstrated to support the immune system. Goji provides B vitamins and is high in Beta Carotene.

Jujube DatesJujube Date/Da Zao (Ziziphus jujuba):

An excellent superfruit that fosters radiant health and provides energy when consumed consistently. Red Jujube Dates nourish the blood, soothe the mind, and build and strengthen muscle. Jujube is considered a mild Shen tonic because it calms the mind ­ without causing drowsiness – while increasing physical energy.

Kaffir Lime Leaf (Citrus hystrix):

Aids in digestion and purifies the blood. It is believed to have a positive effect on the mind and the body and leaves one with positive thoughts. The leaves can also be rubbed on to gums and teeth for total dental health.

Kelp/Kun Du (Ascophyllum nodosum):

Seaweed draws an extraordinary wealth of mineral elements from the sea including sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur and phosphorus. Kelp is rich in natural iodine which benefits proper functioning of the thyroid glands.

Kombu SeaweedKombu/Hai Dai (Laminaria japonica):

Kombu is very high in organic iodine, and has been used to treat thyroid disease in China for centuries. It also is very high in calcium and potassium, and contains a number of other minerals and trace elements. The algin in kombu has been found to fix and remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body, have a strong blood anticoagulant activity, and reduce blood pressure.

Ligusticum Root/Chinese Lovage Root/Chuan Xiong (Ligusticum wallichii): Ligusticum treats conditions such as upper respiratory infection, helps to promote healthy blood flow and relieves pain. Liguisticum has been known to treat all types of headaches and relieve menstrual symptoms. Because it warms the uterus and decongests blood in the pelvic region, it is especially popular for menstrual cramps.

Lily Bulb/Bai He (Lilium brownii):

Lily bulbs are used to relieve coughs, dry throats and other respiratory conditions, to clear away heat, and to treat insomnia and heart palpitations. Its tonic properties make it a good herb for promoting restful sleep and treating restlessness and irritability.

Lotus Seed/Lian Zi (Nelumbo nucifera):

Beneficial for the heart, tones the spleen and kidneys, prevents insomnia, and calms the nerves. Lotus seeds have astringent properties, which make them helpful in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea while also improving appetite. The seeds are used to treat weak sexual function in men and leukorrhea in women. The seed also has calming properties that alleviate restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia.

Maitake Mushroom/Hui Shu Hua (Grifola frondosa):

A highly nutritious food, traditionally eaten throughout the world. It has a positive effect on the immune system and anti-cancer properties and has been effective in the treatment of diabetes.

NettlesNettles (Urtica dioica):

Is a nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of wastes. Nettles are especially important for women’s health. Through pregnancy it helps in guarding against excessive bleeding as well as strengthening the fetus. It eases labor pains and increase milk production. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti­-inflammatories that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergic reactions. Nettles is extremely high in essential vitamins and nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and even protein!

Peony RootPeony Root/Bai Shao (Paeonia lactiflora):

One of the most highly prized women’s herbs used traditionally to help regulate the female hormonal cycle and to tonify and purify the blood. It is also used as a pain reducing agent and as an emotional stabilizer by women. It is said to relieve cramps and spasms anywhere in the body. Peony root is also believed to extend life and to promote beauty. Men should use Peony as well, since it has an anti-aging effect without affecting hormones.

PoriaPoria Fungus/Fu Ling (Sclerotium Poriae cocos):

One of the main benefits of poria is it’s anti­-cancer properties. It is widely used in Chinese medicine to treat malignant tumors. Furthermore, poria stimulates the immune system and helps enhance the positive effects of cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy while negating some of their side effects. Poria is well known for correcting problems related to the digestive system such as diarrhea, constipation, acidity, and other gastrointestinal issues and promotes the secretion of digestive fluids.

Reishi Mushroom/Ling Zhi (Ganoderma lucidum):

Considered both the “elixir of life” and the “mushroom of immortality,” Reishi has long been a fundamental ingredient in the attainment of a long, happy life and even spiritual enlightenment. It is believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, strengthen memory, sharpen concentration, improve focus, build willpower and as a result, helps build wisdom. Its effect is cumulative; gradually strengthening the nerves and a sense of peace. It is safe to take on a daily basis by most everyone and other benefits include: Supports immune system, antibacterial, adaptogenic qualities protect against stress, tonifies blood and qi and strengthens major organs including lungs, heart, bone marrow and liver.

Rehmannia/Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia Glutinosa):

Frequently used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to nourish the kidneys. It is considered the food of the kidneys and is used for loss of blood, yin deficiency, lower back pain with deficiency from overwork. It can also treat cough, diabetes, urinary incontinence, deafness, uterine bleeding, vertigo, tinnitus, and regulate menstrual flow. It helps to protect and support the liver and adrenal glands and is often found in energy tonic formulas used to combat chronic fatigue.

Schizandra/Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra chinensis):

\Promotes soft, radiant, clear skin and is known to increase sexual fluids, endurance and strengthen the whole body. For this it is considered “anti-aging.” Used in Chinese medicine as an adaptogenic herb to improve mental function, reduce tiredness and improve endurance. Schisandra is also a recognized lung tonic. It enhances immune response, regenerates liver tissue, and has been proven to treat hepatitis. The Chinese name, wu-weizi, means five taste fruits and refers to the fact that sweet, salt, bitter, sour and warmth can all be tasted when it is consumed, distinguishing it as a uniquely balanced herb.

ShiitakeShiitake/Xiang Gu (Lentinus edodes):

Shiitake mushrooms have deep immune system healing properties, have been proven to stop or slow down tumor growth and are used in treating a variety of cancers. It is credited with lowering serum cholesterol and contains protein, potassium, niacin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Recent studies have shown the ability of shiitake mushrooms to help protect against cardiovascular diseases. They are also strongly anti-viral.

Spirit Poria Fungus/Fu Shen (Sclerotium Poriae cocos Circum Radicem Pini):

The poria fungus grows underground in conjunction with pine roots. This is the center of the fungus, containing a portion of the root. It is considered a shen tonic and is sought by many spiritual seekers for its ability to calm emotions and raise shen (spirit.) It also strengthens the immune system and fortifies heart, kidney, and spleen function.

Teasel Root/Xu Duan (Dipsacus Japonicus):

Known in Chinese as “Repair what is Broken,” Teasel fortifies the lower back, knees and bones as well and sinews and joints. It is used for pain and stiffness due to decreased Kidney energy or traumatic injury and promotes the movement of blood to repair damaged tissues. Used in Lyme Disease treatment, as an analgesic for pain relief, an anti­-inflammatory, and a stimulant for the nervous system.

Turkey Tail Mushroom/Yun Zhi (Trametes versicolor):

Common throughout the world, growing on and decomposing logs and stumps, it is used to strengthen the immune system and fight chronic diseases such as hepatitis and cancer. Traditionally, it has also been used for asthma and cough, invigorating digestion in cases of weakness and poor appetite, and clearing dampness associated with arthritis.

Turmeric/Jiang Huang (Curcuma longa):

Powerfully anti-inflammatory, healing to the liver, and pain relieving. Excellent source for beta-carotene. Improves circulation. Treats liver congestion, jaundice, and Hepatitis.

Wakame Seaweed/Qun Dai Cai (Undaria pinnatifida):

Aides in weight loss by inhibiting the accumulation of fat in the cells and by stimulating fat oxidation. Also helps our body transfer energy efficiently, regulate hormones throughout the body, and helps our body produce and utilize protein. Wakame balances hormone levels and promotes bone growth and repair. High in trace minerals.

Zao Ren (Ziziphus jujuba):

Ziziphus seed is the most commonly used herb in sedative formulas designed to help relax the mind. It is categorized as a heart­ blood tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, therefore it is calming to the heart, which is the Seat of Shen and which determines our emotional stability.

thank you Doug …

Juice fasting is a cleansing technique largely popularized in the mid 1930’s by Dr. Norman Walker, one of the first pioneers in the arena of vegetable juicing, author of the book entitled “Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices” and inventor of the Norwalk Juicer.

Presently becoming an accepted modern-day cleansing and detoxification technique, juice fasting basically involves the abstinence from eating solid foods for a number of days in a row, adhering to a diet of freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice.

Many health experts agree that fasting on liquid juice is one of the most basic and effective dietary regime’s you can adhere to when feeling off-balance, sick, constipated, fatigued or stressed. It is often valued as one of the top ways to normalize digestive functions as well as renew and repair other bodily systems that are blocked up as a consequence.

Periodic fasting is one of the oldest methods for alleviating many physical aches, pains and various health conditions. Benefits can be achieved by drinking juices for breakfast or between meals throughout the day, but deeper cleansing is known to occur when juices, particularly those low in sugar and high in chlorophyll content, are consumed exclusively for a period of time.

With extended juice fasting, the liver, kidneys and colon are further able to process toxins and undigested waste material that can overload normal biological functions.

Because drinking fresh pressed juice still engages the digestive system, offering a supply of nutrients to the body, most people feel quite energized when consuming nothing but raw juice for many days in a row. Aside from arduous physical activity, the average person is usually able to perform normal everyday life activities, especially once potential detox reactions pass.

While intermittent juice fasting, anywhere from one day to several weeks, can be a beneficial way to rejuvenate the body and restore health, it is not recommended for growing children and pregnant or nursing mothers. We also highly advise consulting your healthcare provider before undertaking a fast if you are taking prescription drugs, are diabetic or have a serious health condition.

What is Detoxification?

As long as we are living with a functioning liver, colon and kidneys, the body is always in some state of detox, filtering out wastes and toxins. This is what these organs are designed to do. However, an accumulation of toxic substances can occur over time from unhealthy lifestyle habits, dietary excess and/or environmental pollutants we are all invariably exposed to on a daily basis.

This toxic waste build-up can impair health and create a chronic condition of low to high grade toxemia that can cause disease and a variety of health related issues.

Juice fasting helps to support the efficiency of these aforementioned cleansing organ systems.

Detoxification is a branch of alternative medicine that believes that when certain foods are eliminated from the diet, the body is more effectively able to pull out stored pollutants from the cells and tissues.

The process of detoxification also involves a phenomenon known in physics as “diffusion.” This process is accurately described in an article published by the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, “If we lessen the amount of toxins in the blood through dietary change, fasting, and other processes, the law of diffusion tells us that the toxins concentrated in the cells begin to flow back into the extra cellular fluid. Toxins are diffused into the blood stream and then go to the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, lymph, and skin systems – where they are eliminated.” 

Juice fasting is still regarded as a controversial subject not yet entirely researched and supported by most of the mainstream medical community, yet all one need do is attempt it for 1-3 days and the process becomes quite clear and evident. Fasting works with the body’s natural biological flow and helps to facilitate health and healing when given the opportunity to do so.

In the words of health educator Paul Bragg, “Our bodies have a natural self-cleansing for maintaining a clean, healthy body and our “river of life” – our blood. It’s essential we keep our entire bodily machinery from head to toes healthy and in good working order so nothing breaks down! Fasting is the best detoxifying method. It’s also the most effective and safest way to increase elimination of waste buildups and enhance the body’s miraculous self-healing and self-repairing process that keeps you healthy and youthful.”

In a 2015 article entitled, “Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications”, evidence reveals that intermittent or periodic fasting in humans “helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.” In the review it also states that “fasting has the potential to delay aging and help prevent and treat diseases while minimizing the side effects caused by chronic dietary interventions.” 

Although we believe that juice fasting is not necessarily going to heal and eliminate all health issues, it can be a good place to start by helping to improve digestive capacity as well as encourage a health promoting diet and lifestyle.

how-to-juice-fast-green-juices

What are Detox Symptoms?

Many times when juice fasting people experience detox reactions like headaches, nausea, irritability, lethargy, food cravings or skin eruptions. These are usually all indications that the fast is indeed working to get rid of toxic build up in the body. This is often referred to as a “healing crisis.” It is important to understand that this is commonly part of the detoxification process and that symptoms normally pass quickly, frequently leaving you feeling way better than you did before the detox episode.

The reason this is known to occur is because the only way for poisons, heavy metals, plastic residues, waste material, etc to leave the tissues is through the bloodstream and then out of any one of the elimination channels. These contaminants are in the blood temporarily before they exit the body, but while they are moving through the bloodstream you might not feel so great or may experience intense food cravings.

You will notice that, after one to three days of a fast, it definitely becomes easier as potential cravings dissipate, toxins are released from the blood and you feel nutritionally satisfied and energetic. Many people, at this phase, have no problem maintaining their routine life when drinking only juice throughout the day. You will most likely experience very clear thinking and become naturally inspired about your life. 

Some doctors practicing “nutritional medicine”, describe the detox phase as such “Fasting creates a condition of low concentration of toxic wastes in the circulatory system. This is sensed by the plasma membrane of each cell and each cell will then let go of its load of toxic wastes. When this happens suddenly, as it does with fasting, the result can be a sudden case of mild systemic toxemia as the system cleanses itself. Those who fast must be prepared for a phase of headache, irritability, insomnia and fatigue. This is a natural part of the healing process and should be welcomed.” (Source)

Detox reactions can occur to a much larger degree when undertaking a water fast, which we highly recommend only under medical supervision. Juice fasting is a much gentler approach because the digestive process is still somewhat engaged as a concentrated influx of nutrients are constantly being provided.

Assisting the Detox Process

During the fasting process, as we discuss above, the body is cleaning itself on a cellular level, dissipating large pockets of clustered proteins and toxic debris into the bloodstream. It can therefore be considerably important at this time to help facilitate the evacuation of these waste products via the excretory organs, primarily the large intestine, the kidneys, the bladder, the lungs and the sweat glands.

This can be achieved by the use of enemas, colon hydrotherapy, drinking plenty of water and getting rest when you feel you need it. In addition, a daily practice of skin brushing, sauna sweating, abdominal massage and deep breathing exercises can be extremely beneficial during this time.

There are also some supplements that can help to speed up detoxification, especially after the re-feeding process. This may include zeolite, milk thistle, aloe vera gel, dandelion root tea, charcoal and chlorella. A product created by Healthforce Nutritionals called Intestinal Drawing Formula may also be of benefit.

juice-fasting-blends

How to Juice Fast

Two of the most important factors to consider when juice fasting are “how to start” and “how to end” the fast. When both are done properly, you can severely reduce detox reactions as well as inspire healthy eating practices after the fasting period is complete.

1) How to Start a Fast

Depending on your level of health and current diet, it is generally best to start a juice fast slowly rather than suddenly. We recommend consuming at least one or two days of raw or blended fruits, sprouts and vegetables, excluding all salt, oil, fat, sugar and any condiments from the diet before you begin the fasting process. This will make the transition easier when it comes time to drink nothing but juice for a number of days in a row. This is also known to help lessen any detox reactions that may occur.

Abruptly beginning juices right after a day of junk food, probably the worst case scenario, will not be a pleasant experience and will most likely inhibit you from wanting to continue.

2) How to Break a Juice Fast

When it comes time to end a juice fast, it is very important that you do not overeat but consume small amounts of high quality fruits and vegetables over the course of a few days. As a guide, it is sometimes helpful to write down a menu plan for the next 3 days listing what you will eat (with exact amounts) and when you will eat it.

Immediately following a fast, the first taste of food initially makes you want to eat more. Providing a meal schedule will assist you in overcoming the urge to binge, which can have negative health repercussions and counteract the positive outcomes attained.

Similar to when you started the fast, we also recommend slowly reintroducing new foods back into the diet, avoiding all fat, oil, salt and sugar. The first day it is often best to blend your foods as smoothies or raw soups. This provides pre-digested fiber that won’t overwhelm the digestive tract.

Next, begin introducing whole foods in the form of whole raw fruit and vegetables, by themselves or in salads. Over the course of 2-3 days, depending on the length of fasting period, you can gradually add small amounts of heavier fats, like avocados, back into the diet. It is best to continue eating mostly mono-meals at this point and eventually small portions of grains, beans, potatoes, refined oils, like coconut oil. If you are not vegetarian, meat and dairy should be the last food items introduced after a juice fast.

The “re-feeding process” reinforces good dietary habits and typically requires a period of no less than one-half the length of the fast.

juice-fast-diet-green-juice

Juice Fasting Tips

1) Getting Ready for a Juice Fast

If you are making your own juices, it is nice to know where you can get a consistent supply of fresh produce in our local area. Aside from your own vegetable garden, sometimes farmers markets are ideal for providing some of the highest quality greens as well as rare and standard fruits and vegetables.

Before a juice fast is a great time to clean out your refrigerator and make room on your counter-top for your juicing needs. When you are fully stocked with enough for at least 3 days of juicing, you will have plenty to remain disciplined and provide for your juicing requirements.

2) What to Juice

For more about when to avoid cruciferous greens visit our page on  non-cruciferous varieties.

The only juices we recommend consuming for juice fasting are green juices or those made with mostly low sugar fruits and chlorophyll-rich green leafy vegetables, with the occasional citrus juice or other sweet fruit added in but in diluted amounts. We discourage drinking concentrated fruit juices as they are way too high in sugar content.

For those looking to avoid excessive intake of cruciferous green varieties, other options may include dandelion greens, chicory, gotu kola, escarole, moringa, amaranth, radicchio, purslane, lovage, lambquarters and rosselle greens.

Generally, you will find the fruits and vegetables that appeal to you the most are usually the ones most appropriate to incorporate. The top list of juicing produce often includes: celery, cucumber, carrot, green and purple cabbages, green apple, beet, lemon, lime, and assorted greens like cilantro, kale, dandelion, bok choy, parsley and collards.

For flavor and additional health benefits you can also add in small amounts of fresh green herbs and spices like fennel, mint, tulsi, ginger, thyme, turmeric, fresh moringa and gotu kola leaves as well as many wild green varieties. It is important to keep things varied and interesting to give you something to look forward to drinking.

3) Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking pure water throughout the day between juicing is very beneficial to help accelerate the detoxification process. Likewise, adding a squeeze of lemon or lime is also a great cleansing tool and will help you to feel full between glasses of juice.

juice-fast-juices

4) Preparing Juices

The only varieties of juice we advise drinking on a juice fast are freshly pressed raw, preferably organic, fruits and vegetables pressed through a juicer. Juices tend to lose their nutrient content and oxidize soon after the juicing process, especially if kept out at room temperature, so it is best to make them right before consumption. The second best option for those on a busy schedule is to keep them in a glass airtight container kept cold or frozen to preserve nutritional value.

We discourage the use of commercially made juices packaged and processed to maintain a longer shelf-life. For those who find preparing their own juices inconvenient, quality juice bars are also an excellent alternative for meeting your needs and requirements.

5) How to Juice

Don’t have a juicer? Learn about how to juice with a blender!

The process of juicing does not necessarily require a juicing appliance, although they do come in handy. Juicers come in all shapes and sizes, but all essentially do one thing; they separate and extract the fruit or vegetable juicing liquid from the pulp fiber.

The best types of juicers for highest nutrient content don’t oxidize the juice and move at a very slow rotation speed. This includes brands like the Hurom, Omega and the Green Star juicer. Others, like the Breville, are available that will quickly juice in a matter of seconds, so it just depends on your priorities. Some are also easier to clean than others.

6) How Much to Drink

You may be surprised at how filling juices can be. Usually one half a quart to a one full size quart is an adequate amount to satisfy the appetite. By the time you notice you are hungry, its time for your next juicing meal.

Normally, it is advised to drink as much as you want whenever you want it so you don’t feel deprived. You will find that there is only so much liquid that you can actually comfortably drink without feeling nourished and full.

On average, 3 quarts a day for the average sized adult is sufficient to provide what you need to support energy levels and promote the healing process. It is, however, always important to listen to your own body. You may want more or less on any given day, or may wish to make small quantities of “snack juices” between larger juicing meals if you desire.

7) Length of a Juice Fast

The length of the juice fasting period is unique to each individual and their response to the fast. It can be loosely predetermined, but overall duration should be followed according to the body’s reactions and benefits received. Some people with intentions to do a one day fast often find they wish to continue beyond the 24 hour period. Likewise, those who may aim for 2 weeks might find they need to stop after the first week.

The basic idea is to fast as quickly as possible, but as long as necessary to achieve desired objectives. Again, it is important to listen to what your own body needs at all times.

Recommended Juice Fasting Centers

1)  Hippocrates Health Institute

The Hippocrates Health Institute has been the preeminent leader in the field of natural and complementary health care and education since 1956. The Hippocrates Life Change Program is a renowned residential program that runs weekly every Sunday through Saturday throughout the year. The entire recommended program is three weeks; however one can stay for as little as one week.

2)  Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center

Tree of Life offers a variety of different self-improvement retreats and green juice fasting programs. Gabriel Cousins, founder of the center, is author of the book “There Is A Cure For Diabetes” and has done extensive research in this field, offering specific programs for reversing diabetes naturally. (Watch this video on diabetes here and learn about the other programs and retreats they offer.)

3)  True North Health Center

The center provides medical supervised fasting for all conditions and states of health with a team of doctors who specialize in water-only fasting. They offer medical and chiropractic services, psychotherapy and counseling, massage and body work. They are very affordable and committed to making health available to all with great prices and rates.

Activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. It’s made from a variety of sources, but when used for natural healing, it’s important to select activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources.

One of the most popular activated charcoal uses is for the safe and effective treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. It’s used in emergency trauma centers across the world. In addition, it’s used to reduce bloating and gas, lower cholesterol, treat bile flow problems safely during pregnancy, and even prevent hangovers.(1)

Research shows that activated charcoal works better than stomach pumping (gastric lavage) in some situations.(2)

What Is The Difference Between Charcoal And Activated Charcoal?

Charcoal is a porous black solid form of carbon, obtained as a residue when wood, bone or other organic matter is heated in the absence of air. You may think of charcoal as a residue leftover from a fire, and you’re not wrong.

Charcoal is commonly used around the house, for barbecue, in water treatment systems, in air purification, sewage treatment, in vacuum cleaners and in creating art.

Activated charcoal (or activated carbon) has oxygen added to it to increase its porosity, thus adding to its surface area. Due to its high degree of microporosity, activated carbon has a far larger surface area for binding with toxins.

How Does Activated Charcoal Work?

Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores. Typically, however, it’s not used when petroleum, alcohol, lye, acids or other corrosive poisons are ingested.

It doesn’t absorb the toxins, however. Instead it works through the chemical process of adsorption. In the body, absorption is the reaction of elements, including nutrients, chemicals and toxins, soaked up and assimilated into the blood stream. Adsorption is the chemical reaction where elements bind to a surface.

The porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. The nooks and crannies in activated charcoal are created through a heating process.

It’s important to note that activated charcoal is not charcoal used in your barbecue grill! Barbecue charcoal is loaded with toxins and chemicals, and must never be consumed.

Top 10 Activated Charcoal Uses

Whenever you take activated charcoal, it’s imperative to drink 12-16 glasses of water per day. Activated charcoal can cause dehydration if adequate amounts of water aren’t consumed in tandem. In addition, this helps to flush out the toxins quickly and prevents constipation experienced by some individuals.

In addition to being a safe and effective treatment for poisonings and the removal of toxins from the system, additional activated charcoal uses include deodorizing and disinfecting, and it’s an important step to cure Lyme disease. Here are the top 10 activated charcoal uses:

1. Activated Charcoal For Teeth Whitening

Have your teeth become stained from coffee, tea, wine or berries? Activated charcoal helps whiten teeth while promoting good oral health by changing the pH balance in the mouth, helping prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease.

It works to whiten teeth by adsorbing plaque and microscopic tidbits that stain teeth. This activated charcoal use is cost-effective and an all-natural solution for a bright smile.

BE CAREFUL, it can (and will) stain grout and fabrics. Protect counters, floors and clothing before using.

To whiten your teeth naturally, wet a toothbrush and dip into powdered activated charcoal. Brush teeth as normal, paying special attention to areas showing the most staining. Sip a bit of water, swish through mouth thoroughly and spit. Rinse well, until spit is clear.

For best results, brush your teeth with activated charcoal two-three times per week.

Note: If you have crowns, caps or porcelain veneers, it’s possible that activated charcoal will stain them. In addition, if your teeth become sensitive, quit using it.

2. Activated Charcoal For Alleviating Gas and Bloating

One activated charcoal use often overlooked is to alleviate uncomfortable gas and bloating. It works by binding the gas-causing byproducts in foods that cause discomfort.

A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that activated charcoal prevents intestinal gas following a typical gas-producing meal.(4)

Dosing recommendations to alleviate gas and bloating: Take 500 milligrams one hour prior to a typical gas-producing meal, with a full glass of water. Follow with an additional glass of water immediately thereafter to help get the charcoal into your system, where it can bind with gas-producing elements.

3. Activated Charcoal Detox — Treats Alcohol Poisoning And Prevents Hangovers

While activated charcoal does not adsorb alcohol, it does help quickly remove other toxins from the body that contribute to poisoning.

Alcohol is rarely consumed in its pure form; mixers that include artificial sweeteners and chemicals are common. Activated charcoal removes these toxins.

In addition, when activated charcoal is taken at the same time as alcohol, some studies show it can significantly reduce blood alcohol concentrations.(5)

Princeton University’s First Aider’s Guide to Alcohol indicates that activated charcoal is administered in some situations related to alcohol.(6) This includes if the individual is unconscious or showing signs of acute alcohol poisoning.

4. Activated Charcoal For Mold Cleansing

Most people don’t think about mold living in their bodies, but it can. Toxic mold causes depression, kidney and liver failure, decreased brain function, heart disease, eye irritation, headaches, vomiting, impaired immune system function, and severe respiratory distress.

Homes that have flooded, or even those with small leaks under a sub-floor or in the walls, can create an environment where mold can thrive. Poor ventilation contributes to the problem, and bathrooms, basements and laundry rooms are particularly prone to mold growth.

If there is visible mold in your home, it must be mitigated properly. It’s important to wear gloves and a protective mask to keep from inhaling toxic mold during cleanup. Baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil and borax can be used to clean mold off hard surfaces and keep mold from growing in the future.

If you or your family experience symptoms including wheezing, rashes, watery eyes, coughing or headaches that aren’t explained in other ways, your home should be evaluated for mold spore levels, even if no visible mold is detected. It can thrive behind drywall, under floors and in ventilation ducts.

5. Activated Charcoal For Water Filtration

Activated charcoal traps impurities in water including solvents, pesticides, industrial waste and other chemicals. This is why it’s used in water filtration systems throughout the world. However, it doesn’t trap viruses, bacteria and hard-water minerals.

According to a study published in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, activated carbon filters (activated charcoal), removes some fluoride. (7). Avoiding fluoride and detoxing from it is important for oral health, proper immune system functioning, and healthy kidneys and liver.

Drinking water is essential to good health; however, typical tap water is toxic and laden with chemicals, toxins and fluoride. Ingestion should be limited whenever possible. Activated charcoal water filters are available for whole-home systems, as well as countertop models. Drink eight-10 glasses of pure water per day to help soothe the digestive tract, fight fatigue, keep organs operating, and provide lubrication for joints and tissues.

6. Activated Charcoal For Emergency Toxin Removal

As mentioned above, one of the most common activated charcoal uses is to remove toxin and chemicals in the event of ingestion. Most organic compounds, pesticides, mercury, fertilizer and bleach bind to activated charcoal’s surface, allowing for quicker elimination, while preventing the absorption in the body.

Activated charcoal is also used in the event of an accidental, or purposeful, overdose of many pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medications. It’s effective for aspirin, opium, cocaine, morphine and acetaminophen. It’s important that the proper amount is administered as quickly as possible — definitely within an hour of ingestion.

In the event of poisoning, call 911 immediately. Proper dosing is imperative. According to the University of Michigan Health System, 50 to 100 grams (not milligrams!) is used in cases of poisoning in adults and 10 to 25 grams for children.(8)

In addition, activated charcoal can be used in cases of food poisoning when nausea and diarrhea are present. Adults take 25 grams at onset of symptoms or when food poisoning is suspected, and children should be given 10 grams. Increase dosage as necessary. Remember, it’s essential that adequate water is consumed when activated charcoal is taken.

7. Activated Charcoal For Skin And Body Health

Activated charcoal uses extend beyond internal applications. For external treatments, it’s effective at treating body odor and acne and relieving discomfort from insect bites, rashes from poison ivy or poison oak, and snake bites.

After a mosquito bite or bee sting, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with ½ tablespoon of coconut oil, and dab on affected area. Reapply every 30 minutes until itching and discomfort are gone. As activated charcoal stains nearly everything it touches, wrap with a bandage.

To treat bites from snakes and spiders, including the Brown Recluse or Black Widow, you want to cover a larger area than just a small bandage, as the bacteria and viruses that lead to tissue damage need to be mitigated quickly.

Create a wrap out of fabric that’s big enough to go around the affected area twice. Dab the mixture of coconut oil and activated charcoal on the fabric, and wrap. Secure with bandages. Reapply every two to three hours, rinsing well between applications.

To treat acne, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel, and smooth over face. Let dry and rinse off completely. The activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne. It’s also good for spot treatments.

8. Activated Charcoal For Digestive Cleanse

Activated charcoal uses help promote a healthy digestive tract by removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function.

By removing the toxins from your system, you can reduce joint pain, increase energy and increase mental function.

activated charcoal

Environmental factors, including pesticides on food, chemicals in the water we drink and exposure to mold, create a toxic burden in our bodies. It’s important to routinely cleanse the digestive tract to support overall health and wellness. To complete a digestive cleanse with activated charcoal, take 10 grams 90 minutes prior to each meal, for two days.

During the cleanse, eat only organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild fish. If during the cleanse you find you are constipated, this is a sure sign you’re not consuming enough water! Drink a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon and a touch of honey every half hour until constipation is relieved.

9. Activated Charcoal For Anti-Aging

Activated charcoal uses include helping prevent cellular damage to kidneys and liver, as well as supporting healthy adrenal glands. It’s imperative to cleanse toxins and chemicals routinely from the body. Activated charcoal benefits major organs by helping the body flush out the toxins and chemicals that cause the damage.

Aging is a natural part of life, but due to the toxic load we are exposed to through food, our homes and workplaces, and our environment, to prevent pre-mature aging we must get rid of them.

For this activated charcoal use, take two capsules per day after exposure to nonorganic foods, heavy metals or after contact to other toxins. This supports better cognitive function, a reduction in brain fog, healthier kidney and liver function, and a healthier digestive tract.

10. Activated Charcoal Reduces High Cholesterol

Studies around the world show that activated charcoal reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol as much as some prescription medications. In one study, total cholesterol decreased by 25 percent, LDL cholesterol decreased by 41 percent, while HDL increased by 8 percent — in just four weeks.(9)

Study participants took three doses of eight grams each for the period of the study. As mentioned below, don’t take activated charcoal within 90 minutes to two hours of taking any prescription medication or supplements as it can prevent proper absorption.

Activated Charcoal For First Aid

I recommend activated charcoal as a part of first aid kits, both at home and at work.(3)

In the event of an emergency where toxins, drugs or chemicals are ingested, it’s imperative to call 911 immediately.

If you have activated charcoal on hand, be sure to tell the operator; the operator may advise to administer it prior to the first responder’s arrival.

Depending on the amount of toxins or chemicals ingested and types of toxins, multiple doses may be required. At the hospital, physicians are able to administer more as needed.

Activated Charcoal Side Effects

For the activated charcoal uses mentioned here, it’s generally deemed safe for most individuals. However, it’s always good to be aware of any medical conditions such as intestinal bleeding or blockages, holes in the intestines, chronic dehydration, slow digestion, or a recent abdominal surgery, as they may affect how activated charcoal reacts in your body.(10)

Additionally, activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, supplements and interfere with prescription medications. Take activated charcoal 90 minutes to two hours prior to meals, supplements and prescription medications. Potential adverse interactions with the following drugs can occur:(11)

  • Naltrexone (used for alcohol and opioid dependence)
  • Acrivastine
  • Bupropion
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meclizine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Sulfate Liposome
  • Mycophenolate Mofetil
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Suvorexant
  • Tapentadol
  • Umeclidinium
  • Acetaminophin
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Theophylline

Users may also experience:

  • Black stools – taking activated charcoal may cause darkening of your stool. Do not panic.
  • Black tongue – when used on the teeth, it may temporarily blacken tongue. This is harmless.
  • Constipation – as activated charcoal is absorbing, it may cause temporary constipation. Drink more water when taking this product.

Buying Activated Charcoal

When selecting activated charcoal for any of the uses above, it’s vital that you know what it’s made from. Not all activated charcoal supplements are created equally.

Look for activated charcoal made from coconut shells or identified wood species that have ultra-fine grains.

Here are a few suggestions on activated charcoal personal care products that we like:

  • Activated charcoal capsules

If you’re taking activated charcoal for internal cleansing: tablet or capsule forms are recommended, although I prefer it in capsule form. With capsules, you may open them up and use the powder for other purposes, such as for teeth-whitening, or for the occasional skin breakouts or insect bites.

Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal and Premium Coconut Activated Charcoal are two brands that I trust for use as a natural adsorbent agent.

  • Activated charcoal powder form

Activated charcoal in powder form is versatile for use. You can use it to make your own toothpaste, facial mask, for your hair and skin, even to be added in smoothies for a quick cleansing every now and then. It is ideal for use also on your pet animals. Get this food grade Hardwood Activated Charcoal Powder.

  • Activated charcoal mask

If you prefer to get prepared activated charcoal mask, instead of mixing your own, then you should try this Activated Charcoal Mud Mask that is combined in Dead Sea mud. It is helpful for shrinking facial pores, clearing up acne, exfoliating, removing dead skin cells, micro particles, blackheads and dirt off the skin.

  • Activated charcoal soap

Some users have reported that activated charcoal bar soap has helped them relieve their skin breakouts in cases of psoriasis, eczema and acne. Use as a face soap, body wash or hand soap.

I like the ingredients that go into this particular activated Charcoal Soap Bar. It is handmade soap bar and suitable for sensitive skin. The soap bar contains: activated charcoal, Dead Sea mineral mud, olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, goat’s milk, peppermint, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils.

  • Activated charcoal toothpaste

If you have purchased activated charcoal in capsule or powder form, use it to make your own teeth-whitening agent, or tooth powder. Or just add powder from one capsule onto your favorite toothpaste and use.

How To Use Activated Charcoal Internally

  • Activated charcoal is great for removing toxins when needed, it is not meant for long-term use.
  • Take activated charcoal at least two hours away from your medicines or supplements.
  • Use activated charcoal as soon as you realize the ingestion of toxins.
  • Drink lots of water when taking activated charcoal supplement, to prevent constipation.
  • Follow the directions on the packaging on dosage and maximum amount to take in a day.

Have you ever done a juice fast? If not, you may want to consider it. We’ve learned that “fasting for three days can regenerate your entire immune system because it triggers the body to start producing new white blood cells.” Dr. Longo explains further: “When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.” you will learn to understand the digestive process and some of the most important benefits of juice fasting. I will share with you what vegetables and fruits are the most beneficial, as well as some of the tips and tricks that help me to stick to the regimen without giving in to the temptations that come along your juice fast. Let’s dive right in:

First of all, you ask, why would I want to deprive myself of food for three days or more? That’s a good question! Yet technically, you’re not depriving yourself of food. You ARE having food, just in liquid form, which is a welcomed break for your body. The digestive process is really exhaustive. I have prepared a quick summary of all the parts involved in digesting the food you consume. It will help you visualize the process and understand why juice fasting is necessary for optimal health and since most of us don’t actually do anything unless we truly believe in its benefits, I believe this is an imperative step to committing to a juice fast.

Mouth

when we hear digestion, we think the magic happens in our stomach for the most part. So you may be surprised that the mouth plays an important role in commencing the digestive process. Your teeth chop food into small pieces which become moistened by saliva—this is produced by an accessory organ called salivary glands. Pretty straight forward. Saliva doesn’t just moisten the food, though, it also begins the digestion of carbohydrates. The tongue helps to push food toward the posterior part of the mouth in preparation for swallowing.

Throat
Now you’ve likely swallowed food accidentally that wasn’t chewed properly, and you know it hurts so badly! That’s because your throat is a tight funnel-shaped tube that has two functions: 1) send your chewed food on its way to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and 2) channel air from the nasal cavity to the lungs. Because your throat is duo-functional, you can think of it as a railway station that uses a flap of tissue to switch tracks depending on if the train coming through is air that must be sent to the lungs, or if it’s food and needs to go to the esophagus.

Esophagus
Esophagus what? Now don’t get bogged down by technical terms that sound like latin gibberish. The esophagus is a muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Food is forced into the stomach by powerful waves of muscle contractions passing through the walls of the esophagus. So you can imagine it as a water slide! Kind of looks like one too…Now at the end of the esophagus is a muscular ring, also known as the cardiac sphincter. The purpose of this sphincter is to close off the end of the esophagus and trap food in the stomach. Sounds scary, but it’s actually quite useful in preventing food from coming back up, which is super uncomfortable and just down right gross.

Stomach
Your stomach is a major organ that acts as a storage tank for food so that your body has enough time to digest large meals properly. The stomach also contains hydrochloric acid (the stuff that makes your vomit burn your throat) and digestive enzymes which continue the digestion of food. Cool little fact to nerd out over: the average person’s stomach is about the size of their two fists placed next to each other. Go ahead…I know you want to press your two fists together…Alright now that we have that covered, let’s talk about your small intestine.


Small Intestines
The small intestine is attached to your stomach. It’s a long, thin tube about 1 inch in diameter and about 10 feet long, that’s about 3 meters. Crazy right? That’s your small intestine and it plays a major role in the digestion of your food and even more so, the absorption of nutrients. By the time food leaves the small intestine, around 90% of all nutrients have been extracted from the food. This thing is a sponge machine!


Liver&Gallbladder Liver Simultaneously, the second largest organ in your body, your liver, has many different functions in the body. When it comes to digestion, its main purpose is to produce bile and secrete it into the small intestine. Bile is incredibly important here because it an essential “de-greaser” and “emulsifier” of dietary fats, but it’s just as imperative for the utilization of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Now while the liver produces bile, your gallbladder stores and recycles excess bile from the small intestine so that it can be reused for the digestion of subsequent meals. A lot of problems arise when the liver and gallbladder are not working properly, which I will discuss in a later post (and of course, how you can repair your liver—HINT: you’re on the right track; juicing is a great start!)

Pancreas is unique in that it is both an organ and an endocrine gland. For the digestive process, it is integral to producing pancreatic enzymes which are essential to break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates properly. You may have heard of these enzymes: lipase for fats, protease for protein and amylase for carbohydrates. Sufficient production of enzymes is an energy expensive process, which is just another reason to eat more raw vegetables because they contain natural enzymes so they partially break down themselves. So the more you have, the less work for your digestive system!

Large Intestine
At last, we have the large intestine which is also commonly referred to as the colon. Now that the food has been broken down, the large intestine “cleans up the beautiful mess” so to speak. Healthy bacterial flora are responsible to absorb vitamins and decompose waste. Unused waste, or feces, is then compacted and stored in the rectum, where it will remain until you go to the bathroom to take care of business.

And that concludes the digestive process. Amazing how every time you consume any type of food, it goes through this extensive process. Having said that, how well this process works is solely dependent on how well you treat your body. And when it doesn’t work optimally, you are at risk of both physical and mental ill health. So take care of your digestive system! Which is a perfect segue…to introduce the benefits of juice fasting.

Take a BreakSo let’s say you consume an average of 3 meals a day. That’s 1095 meals per year!

Now let’s assume that you are privileged to eat 3 meals a day throughout your entire lifetime. The average life expectancy in Canada based on 2009 statistics is 81 years. That’s 88,695 times your body goes through the digestive process explained above. You don’t expect any other part of your body to work that hard every single day, do you? How about working out your legs 88,695 times with no break? It seems absurd when you do the math and that’s exactly the reason why I laid out the numbers for you. Everyone and everything needs rest, including your digestive system. The few hours in between meals don’t count—it’s simply not enough time to actually get high quality restKeep Going What happens when you use any part of your body so strenuously over a long period of time? It starts to slow down. It gets tired. Of course, it does. So now that you get the big picture, I want to provide you with a concise list of benefits as well. Most of us are goal driven individuals and tend to stick to habits more if we have specific outcomes to work towards.

We’ve already heard how Fermented Foods Can Heal Your Gut and Make Your Skin Glow thanks to health and wellness expert, Simone Samuels. But where does this ancient preservation technique come from and why has is gotten away from us? Could it be our busy, fast paced, instant-gratification lifestyle? Have we lost the patience for cultivation?

As I delve into the complex history of fermentation within human culture, my eyes are opened to a long lost art. Those on the forefront of whole foods nutrition and healthy digestion are not privy to this ancient preservation technique but they hope to share its secrets of longevity and well being for the benefit of all. Fermentation has been around as long as humans have cultivated crops. Once we gave up living in small nomadic groups and settled into larger communities, the need for a constant, reliable food source was apparent. With seasonal growing patterns, farmers began to farm on a grander scale and preserve harvests in various forms. At the forefront of this preservation was fermentation. Fermentation gives us our basic staples – bread and cheese. It also gives us our sinfully delicious desserts – chocolate, coffee and wine.

The process of fermentation begins when decay consumes one form and new life takes over, new life in the form of millions of microscopic interactions and processes. Complex organic molecules begin to breakdown and form smaller, more digestible organisms. The microscopic wizardry happens as bacteria and fungi, yeasts and molds do their thing, an absolutely essential process in the complex cycle of life. With the addition of salt and the air barrier created by the brine, harmful bacteria are kept at bay. This also creates the right conditions for beneficial bacteria like lactobacilli to thrive. When we eat food that has been fermented, these microorganisms help us digest efficiently and stimulate our immune system to function as it should.

There are misconceptions that while fermenting, one must use precise and complicated technology. According to the research of Sandor Ellix-Katz in his book Wild Fermentation, “cave paintings in locations as geographically diverse as India, Spain and South Africa depict images of people gathering honey in the Paleolithic period, as long as 12,000 years ago” (13). Still to this day, honey collectors from Ethiopia use nothing more than common sense, a keen sense of smell and a whole lot of patience when brewing mead, a fermented honey wine. While discovering the western world, Captain Cook knew the benefits of fermentation. With barrels upon barrels of sauerkraut on board, he and his crew evaded scurvy due to high amounts of Vitamin C present in the sauerkraut. In Korea today, kimchi is on the table at every meal and tempeh, originating in Java is one of Indonesia’s staple sources of protein. If it can be done with limited resources then we can certainly brew up a multitude of fermented magic in our own kitchens.

My intention is to inspire you to experiment for yourself. With a little patience and a little effort, you’ll discover what has been common knowledge for millennia, the way to build a healthy army of intestinal flora to boost your immunity and improve your digestion in your very own kitchen.I do indeed have an array of jars with many a veggie inside, fermenting nicely under the protection of its salty brine. My husband and I experiment by making our own cold brewed rooibos kombucha, strawberry vanilla coconut kefir and of course a random sampling of herb and veggie kraut, the most recent being a fine-tuned Bold Brassica Kraut. It was so yummy, that I just had to share it!
Bold Brassica Kraut

Time frame: 1-4 weeks (more salt, more time)

Special Equipment:

Ceramic crock pot or one-gallon food-grade plastic bucket Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
A weight of some sort (a jug filled with water, a scrubbed and boiled rock)
Cloth or mesh to cover and an elastic band to secure it with (a clean dish towel, a mesh nut milk bag)

Ingredients:

5 pounds of mixed vegetables including a medley of at least 50% cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale.
3 tbsp. pink Himalayan Crystal salt
2 tbsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. crushed, dried curry leaf
A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, minced (about 1 inch)

Instructions:

1. Thinly Slice the Cabbage/Veggies (leave a few large leaves for the top layer)

2. Layer and Salt the Cabbage/Veggies Slices

3. Punch the Cabbage! (or pound it with a pestle). In order to get the culturing process started you’ll need to press (punch) the cabbage down into the crock or food-grade bucket for 5 or so minutes. Combined with the salt, this draws the water out.

4. Weigh Down the Cabbage. When ready to cover, arrange the whole leaves of cabbage over the top and make sure it is totally covered. The kraut should be submerged in its own brine after all the punching. Over the first 24 hours, check the kraut often and press it down to make sure that the water level rises to just above the cabbage. If after 24 hours there isn’t enough water to completely cover the cabbage, mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt with 1 cup of water and use this brine to fill in the water line to just above the level of the cabbage.

5. Check Sauerkraut to see if it is ready. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, the humidity of your climate and the amount of salt used, the sauerkraut will take at least a week to ferment. I always leave it for 4 weeks! After the first day, you don’t have to check it until you are ready to eat it. You may see a slight scum on top, this is normal but I discard this top layer.

6. Store the Sauerkraut. Transfer the kraut to a mason jar and store in the fridge. It will keep for months in the refrigerator. Enjoy as a side dish, in salads, or on its own with a big spoon. Yum!

Sprouts truly are the best locally-grown food, yet not enough people eat or grow them. Considering there many health and environmental benefits, it’s time to consider adding sprouts to your diet.

10 Reasons To Eat More Sprouts:
1. Experts estimate that there can be up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and vegetables. Enzymes are special types of proteins that act as catalysts for all your body’s functions. Extracting more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids from the foods you eat ensures that your body has the nutritional building blocks of life to ensure every process works more effectively.

2. The quality of the protein in the beans, nuts, seeds, or grains improves when it is sprouted. Proteins change during the soaking and sprouting process, improving its nutritional value. The amino acid lysine, for example, which is needed to prevent cold sores and to maintain a healthy immune system increases significantly during the sprouting process.

3. The fiber content of the beans, nuts, seeds, or grains increases substantially. Fiber is critical to weight loss. It not only binds to fats and toxins in our body to escort them out, it ensures that any fat our body breaks down is moved quickly out of the body before it can resorb through the walls of the intestines (which is the main place for nutrient absorption into the blood).

4. Vitamin content increases dramatically. This is especially true of vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E. The vitamin content of some seeds, grains, beans, or nuts increases by up to 20 times the original value within only a few days of sprouting. Research shows that during the sprouting process mung beansprouts (or just beansprouts, as they are often called) increase in vitamin B1 by up to 285 percent, vitamin B2 by up to 515 percent, and niacin by up to 256 percent.

5. Essential fatty acid content increases during the sprouting process. Most of us are deficient in these fat-burning essential fats because they are not common in our diet. Eating more sprouts is an excellent way to get more of these important nutrients.

6. During sprouting, minerals bind to protein in the seed, grain, nut, or bean, making them more useable in the body. This is true of alkaline minerals like calcium, magnesium, and others than help us to balance our body chemistry for weight loss and better health.

7. Sprouts are the ultimate locally-grown food. When you grow them yourself you are helping the environment and ensuring that you are not getting unwanted pesticides, food additives, and other harmful fat-bolstering chemicals that thwart your weight loss efforts.

8. The energy contained in the seed, grain, nut, or legume is ignited through soaking and sprouting.

9. Sprouts are alkalizing to your body. Many illnesses including cancer have been linked to excess acidity in the body.

10. Sprouts are inexpensive. People frequently use the cost of healthy foods as an excuse for not eating healthy. But, with sprouts being so cheap, there really is no excuse for not eating healthier.

How To Get Sprouting At Home!

Growing your own is a great way to have a supply of gourmet varieties, ensure access to high quality fresh foods year round if you live in a colder climate, or simply to become more aware of the food you are eating.

I prefer the jar method which involves using a wide-mouth mason jar and either sprout lids from a health food store or cheesecloth and a rubber band.

You’ll need only a few basic supplies to get started sprouting. They include: organic sprouting seeds, nuts, legumes, or grains (such as mung beans, alfalfa seeds, clover seeds, broccoli seeds, and garbanzo beans.)

Avoid sprouting kidney beans as they are poisonous if eaten raw or sprouted. Make sure the seeds you choose are from a reputable supplier that can guarantee they haven’t been heated during processing, which prevents them from sprouting.

What You’ll Need:

1. Large wide mouth mason jars

2. Sprouting lids for jars (Sprouting lids are typically available in most health food stores but you can use cheesecloth and rubber bands over the top of the jars if you prefer)

Now you’re ready to get sprouting! 🙂

Grow Your Own Sprouts

For hygiene’s sake, wash your hands before handling seeds. Use seeds, grains, nuts, or legumes. For simplicity, I’ll be referring to any of these items as seeds throughout the instructions.

Remove any broken or discolored seeds, stones, twigs, or hulls that may have found their way into your sprouting seeds.

Place one type of seed in the jar. Use about a teaspoon of seeds or one-third cup of beans. Remember they will grow in size during the soaking and sprouting process.

Cover the seeds with pure water. If you are using a few tablespoons of seeds, cover with at least one cup of water. If you are using beans, nuts, or grains, use at least three times the water of the amount of seed. In other words, one cup of water for one-third cup of mung beans, for example.

Allow the seeds to soak for about 6 to 12 hours. I find it easiest to start them before going to bed. They absorb the water while I’m sleeping and are ready to start sprouting in the morning.

Cover the jar with the sprouting lids or cheesecloth. If you’re using cheesecloth, secure over the top of the jar with a rubber band. Drain off the water.

Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and drain off the water again. Set upside down in a clean, cool spot in your kitchen area, preferably on a slight angle to allow excess water to drain off. Alternatively, use a stainless steel dish drying rack which gives the sprout jars the perfect angle for draining.

Rinse the sprouts a few times a day. Be sure to drain them well each time.

Once the sprouts are ready to be harvested (this amount of time differs for each variety; alfalfa or mung bean sprouts are ready in about a week), place them in a large bowl of cool water and stir them around to loosen hulls and skins from the seeds (this is an optional step). They’ll usually come to the top so you can remove them. Don’t worry about removing every hull. Doing so helps prevent spoilage so the sprouts will last longer. Drain sprouts well and store in the refrigerator covered for a week to 10 days, depending on the sprout type.

HANDY TIP:
To increase the mineral content of your sprouts, add a piece of kelp or other type of seaweed to the water while the seeds are soaking.

Chances are in the past few years you have come across the Ketogenic or ‘Keto’ Diet – which is nothing but a reincarnation of the super low carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins & South Beach diets. Credit where credit’s due – the proponents of this dietary framework have been extremely clever with their marketing strategy which has resulted in a wide circulation of their message. Keto proponents claim that this diet can effectively turn a body into an efficient ‘fat-burning’ machine that is also better at regulating blood glucose. These are certainly attractive claims for anyone wanting to stay thin (which, let’s be honest, includes most of us) and particularly anyone who suffers from any type of Diabetes, so I completely understand why many of us are turning to this diet as some form of panacea. After all, as a society, we have never been more overweight, and rates of Type 2 Diabetes – which is a lifestyle disease – are soaring across the world. But being the science nerd that I am – I really wanted to separate fact from fiction and understand where the science lies. Are these claims supported by the literature? Beyond marketing and agenda-setting, what is the truth about the Keto Diet? To do this, I set out to answer 4 questions:

  1. Is the Ketogenic Diet better for weight loss than other diets?
  2. Is the Ketogenic Diet better at reversing insulin resistance than other diets?
  3. Does the Ketogenic diet reduce one’s risk for chronic disease?
  4. Is the Ketogenic Diet sustainable? 

Fundamentals of the Ketogenic Diet 

Before we jump into the science, it’s important to understand the specifics behind this dietary framework. Followed properly, a ketogenic diet consists of a very low amount of carbohydrates (20-50g/day), a moderate amount of protein, and a very high amount of fat (70% or more of total calories). By depriving the body of glucose, the body’s primary fuel source which is provided by carbohydrates, the body transitions to a state of ‘ketosis’ whereby it begins to produce compounds called ‘ketones’ that are used for energy. Essentially, this is a survival mechanism whereby the body is able to keep creating energy using a secondary source, derived from fat, until the person can consume carbohydrates again. As you can imagine, this process would have been extremely useful for our ancestors when food supply was scarce and their next meal was rarely guaranteed. Today, however, with the abundance of food we are spoiled with in the western world, this survival mechanism is simply made redundant.

1 – Is the Ketogenic Diet better for weight loss than other diets?

In theory, the thinking goes, if a Keto Diet can make a body switch from producing energy from glucose to a body that “burns fat”, this would mean greater fat loss and thus a leaner body mass. Less fat around the thighs, bum and/or waist – happy days! An attractive theory no doubt – but unfortunately, that’s not really how it works. Unless you are in a calorie deficit, when in ketosis you are simply using the energy from dietary fat, not stored fat. This is a distinct point that many keto proponents often fail to mention. Fat burning is very different from fat loss.  In fact, to actually tap into your body’s fat stores and shed some weight, you need to be burning more calories than you consume (a calorie deficit). This is why a study that compared a ketogenic diet to a high carbohydrate diet with equal calorie intake found zero differences in body fat loss [1]. So yes, people following a strict Keto diet will be in ketosis and thus utilise fat as their primary source of energy, but, just like any other diet, unless they fall into a calorie deficit, they are not burning stored body fat – just the fat they are eating.

So why then do people seem to anecdotally lose weight when they switch to a ketogenic diet? There are two major reasons that explain this phenomenon. The first and super obvious one is glycogen. The average person stores about 500g of glucose in their muscles as glycogen. Each gram of glycogen attracts 3g of water. Thus, when you switch to a ketogenic diet, the body utilises all of its glucose stores before falling into a state of ketosis – this process alone results in a drop of about 2Kg. But friends, it’s important to note this is purely scale weight and is again not a reflection of actual fat loss. I can see how this very sudden drop in scale weight acts as an initial motivator and is what hooks people to the Keto Diet. However, far from being a miracle diet, it is nothing but a misleading occurrence, and a somewhat dangerous one: many studies have shown that maintaining glycogen stores is absolutely crucial for optimal recovery, performance and overall exercise capacity [2].  

The other reason that the Ketogenic Diet helps people lose weight, which I actually think is a positive aspect, is that by encouraging the consumption of an extremely limited amount of carbohydrates per day, it means that by default people cannot eat their favourite refined junk foods. All of a sudden, chocolate bars, doughnuts, pastries and fried potato chips are categorically off the menu. This is likely going to result in a significant calorie deficit for a lot of people. But it’s important to appreciate that this isn’t some magic weight loss process and you can in fact remove heavily refined junk foods (e.g jelly beans), whilst still keeping healthful carbohydrate-rich foods in the game (e.g black beans), and also lose weight. 

2 – Is the Ketogenic Diet better at reversing insulin resistance than other diets?

Perhaps the most concerning of the claims made by keto proponents is the idea of “reversing insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.” Addressing the totality of the science surrounding Type 2 Diabetes is beyond of the scope of this article (this topic was addressed in an article I wrote with Dr Michelle McMacken) however, in short, to reverse insulin resistance or Type 2 Diabetes it is necessary to improve one’s someone’s ability to tolerate carbohydrates. Two of the major ways we can achieve this is by changing the types of food someone eats with or without the presence of weight loss.  A ketogenic diet may help control blood glucose, however, without weight loss, it will not improve insulin sensitivity. What’s the problem with this?  It means one would need to continue to eat a low-carbohydrate diet for the rest of their life as the underlying cause of their disease has not been addressed, and in fact, is likely to have been made worse by higher amounts of ectopic fat stores in muscle and liver cells.

On the other hand, unlike a ketogenic diet, a low-fat wholefood plant-based diet has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity even without weight loss. By merely changing the food one eats it is possible to achieve an almost instant change in insulin sensitivity. In fact, several trials have been published where Type 2 Diabetics who adopt a low-fat plant-based diet have been able to completely come off their medications [3–6]. It’s also important to keep in mind that the #1 cause of death for diabetics is cardiovascular disease and that the lowest levels of cardiovascular disease are consistently found among populations that get the majority of their calories from wholefood plant sources of carbohydrates such as the Indigenous Tsimané people in Bolivia and plant-based Seventh Day Adventist’s in California & Canada [7,8].  

3 – Does the Ketogenic diet reduce one’s risk for chronic disease?

The evidence is clear: across the world, no population consuming a low carbohydrate diet fares well in terms of longevity, and in fact, research suggests that in the long-term, people who adopt such diets have a higher risk of premature death [9]. Low carb proponents often point to the ‘Inuit Eskimos’, a population who consume a very high-fat diet made up of almost exclusively animal products, to defend their position. However, it’s been well-documented that the original claims of this population experiencing a low incidence of cardiovascular disease were based on anecdotal rather than empirical scientific evidence [10]. In fact, compared to non-Eskimos from nearby populations, the Inuit population actually have the same risk of heart disease, twice the risk of stroke and a shorter life expectancy of around 10 years [10].  Studies going back over 1,000 years have also reported the presence of heart disease in frozen Eskimo mummies [11].  

This is likely because a high-fat diet made up of almost exclusively animal products contains foods associated with increased LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk and that’s exactly what we see in the science [12–15].  A recent study compared a ketogenic style diet (less than 20g of carbohydrates per day) to a control diet and in just 3 weeks found that the subjects on the low-carbohydrate diet experienced a 44% increase in LDL cholesterol [12].  

Overall, basing recommendations for a low carbohydrate diet on anecdotal evidence from the Inuits ignores what we know about high-fat diets and cholesterol as well as a plethora of evidence that we have on how the longest living populations in the world eat. We know that people who consume higher amounts of dietary fibre, a nutrient found in carbohydrate-rich plant foods, and lower amounts of total dietary fat, particularly saturated fat, experience a significantly reduced risk of developing major chronic diseases [16]. Adopting a ketogenic diet, and therefore restricting your dietary fibre intake, is risky business.

4 – Is the Ketogenic Diet sustainable?

One of the biggest problems with low carbohydrate diets is that they are not sustainable and that in the long run, they almost always lead to weight gain. On the other hand, we know from several studies, randomised trials and population studies that adopting a wholefood plant-focused or exclusive diet helps people maintain a healthy body weight without having to count and track calories [2,17].  

Finally, when talking about sustainability we need to touch on the health of our planet. Typically, a ketogenic diet is made up of a large number of animal products (fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy and eggs) which we know require far greater water inputs and produce significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based foods [18]. For example, for an equal amount of protein, the production of cheese produces approximately 14 x more greenhouse gas emissions than that of legumes [18].

Summary

In summary, there is no evidence to suggest that when calories are matched a typical ketogenic diet is better than any other diet in terms of weight loss, we have no data to suggest its a healthful way to eat in the long term, and in its typical form it’s a diet that places great strain on our already severely damaged environment. What about a vegan keto diet? While at a high level it appears to be better for human health, planetary health and animal welfare, there is still a lot more science needed to before one can confidently recommend it as a safe and healthy dietary framework to follow long term. 

My recommendation is to look past the sexy headlines and adopt a carbohydrate-rich wholefood plant-focused or exclusive diet that is sustainable for both you and the planet and at the same time will help you achieve the health & performance goals you desire. To help identify what this might look like, I have developed a science-based Healthy Plant-Based Food Pyramid so you can easily construct countless delicious meals while making sure you are fueling your body the right way.

References

[1] Hall KD, Chen KY, Guo J, Lam YY, Leibel RL, Mayer LES, et al. Energy expenditure and body composition changes after an isocaloric ketogenic diet in overweight and obese men. Am J Clin Nutr 2016;104:324.

[2] Bob Murray CR. Fundamentals of glycogen metabolism for coaches and athletes. Nutr Rev 2018;76:243.

[3] Barnard RJ E al. Diet and exercise in the treatment of NIDDM. The need for early emphasis. – PubMed – NCBI n.d.

[4] Michelle McMacken SS. A plant-based diet for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. J Geriatr Cardiol 2017;14:342.

[5] Anderson J W And Ward. High-carbohydrate, high-fibre diets for insulin-treated men with diabetes mellitus. – PubMed

[6] Barnard ND, Cohen J, Jenkins DJA, Turner-McGrievy G, Gloede L, Green A, et al. A low-fat vegan diet and a conventional diabetes diet in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled, 74-wk clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1588S.

[7] Kaplan H, Thompson RC, Trumble BC, Samuel Wann L, Allam AH, Beheim B, et al. Coronary atherosclerosis in indigenous South American Tsimane: a cross-sectional cohort study. The Lancet 2017;389:1730–9. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(17)30752-3.

[8] Orlich MJ, Singh PN, Sabaté J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fan MJ, Knutsen S, et al. Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2. JAMA Intern Med 2013;173:1230.

[9] Noto H E al. Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. – PubMed

[10] Fodor JG E al. “Fishing” for the origins of the “Eskimos and heart disease” story: facts or wishful thinking? – PubMed

[11] Zimmerman MR. The paleopathology of the cardiovascular system. – PubMed

[12] Retterstøl K E al. Effect of low carbohydrate high-fat diet on LDL cholesterol and gene expression in normal-weight, young adults: A randomized controlled study. – PubMed

[13] Castelli WP E al. Incidence of coronary heart disease and lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The Framingham Study. – PubMed

[14] Nettleton JA, Legrand P, Mensink RP. ISSFAL 2014 Debate: It Is Time to Update Saturated Fat Recommendations. ANM 2015;66:104–8.

[15] Katan MB, Brouwer IA, Clarke R, Geleijnse JM, Mensink RP. Saturated fat and heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2010;92:459–60.

[16] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31809-9/fulltext

[17] Wright N, Wilson L, Smith M, Duncan B, McHugh P. The BROAD study: A randomised controlled trial using a whole food plant-based diet in the community for obesity, ischaemic heart disease or diabetes. Nutr Diabetes 2017;7:e256.

[18] Poore J, Nemecek T. Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science 2018;360:987–92.

Herbs are rich in antioxidants, phytosterols, vitamins, and other nutrient substances that equip the body to fight against toxins and germs. They help in boosting the immune system as well. In fact, you can call herbs as ‘medicines’ when taken in small doses. I have been making broths out of medicinal herbs along with powerful nutrient-rich vegetables like beets, onions,m celery, carrots, kale, mustard greens, shitake mushroom and red cabbage.

Today I very gently simmered Astragalus Root, Codonopsis Root, Reishi Mushroom, Poria Fungus, Shiitake Mushroom, Jujube Date Fruit and the vegetables I detailed… I simmer for about an hour and then I strain the herbs and the vegetables out of the liquid. I drink the liquid both cold and hot. I may add a freshly squeezed lemon. I also make a clear chickpea miso soup with the broth…

The Herbs

Alfalfa Leaf (Medicago sativa): Naturally high in protein as well as many essential vitamins and minerals, including A, D, E, K, and even the full family of B vitamins. Alfalfa detoxifies the body and purifies the blood.

Astragalus/Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus): Astragalus nourishes and tonifies the blood, builds immunity and resistance to colds and flu, promotes skin generation, strengthens muscle, strengthens chronically weak lungs, improves digestion and metabolism, tonifies spleen Qi, and helps to maintain upright posture and positioning of the organs in the body.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa): A highly nutritive herb, rich in vitamins A & C, burdock root improves gallbladder function, helps to increase the absorption of fats, and aids in the detoxification of excess wastes. Burdock also helps to control sugar cravings as well as treating alcohol addiction. Burdock relieves lymph congestion and cleanses and nourishes the blood.

Cayenne Pepper (Capsicum annuum): Improves circulation, increases metabolism, boosts the immune system, and aids digestion. It breaks up congestion in the body, clearing mucus, moving blood and dispelling cold dampness. With anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, cayenne may be used internally or externally to treat muscle and joint pain, including arthritis. It is a tonic for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, spleen, and stomach.

Chickweed (Stellaria Media): Loaded in nutrition and best known for its ability to cool and soothe inflammations, both internally and externally, It can be used to treat blood toxicity, inflammation and other “hot” type diseases.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum): Cilantro­ is rich in micronutrients, high in calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, and has been found to remove heavy metals from the body. There is evidence that consumption of cilantro accelerates the excretion of lead and aluminum deposits from the body

Codonopsis Root/Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula): A supreme tonic supporting digestion and the immune system, it is a primary herb used to tonify Qi, particularly in the spleen and lungs. Codonopsis increases vital energy, strengthens digestion and assimilation, and is given in all diseases associated with weakness, debility after illness, tiredness, lack of strength, poor appetite and anemia. It supports breast milk production and can alleviate diarrhea, vomiting, gas, bloatedness, chronic cough and shortness of breath.

Cordyceps/Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that, in the wild, typically grows on and completely consumes the larvae of certain moths (eg. caterpillars). Cordyceps is a tonic for the kidneys which control sexual function, cognition, structural integrity, and healing ability. It strengthens the skeletal structure; specifically the lower back, knees, and ankles, and is anti­bacterial, anti­viral, and anti­fungal.

Dang GuiDang Gui/Chinese Angelica Root (Angelica sinensis): Alleviates pain, regulates menstruation, and moistens intestines. Dang Gui is used as a blood tonic, vitalizing and improving circulation. It is used for abdominal and menstrual pain, traumatic injuries, arthritis, rheumatism, sores, and abscesses. It normalizes heart contractions and dilates blood vessels increasing peripheral blood flow. It causes red blood cell proliferation and helps treat anemia.

Dioscorea Root/Shan Yao/Chinese Yam (Dioscorea opposita): Best known for regulating female hormones in Western Medicine, Chinese Yam is used as a Spleen Qi tonic and supports both the Yin and the Qi of the spleen, lungs and Kidneys. It is used to treat fatigue, lack of strength, exhaustion, and weakness.

Eleuthero Root/Siberian Ginseng/Ci Wu Jia (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Increases appetite, improves energy and enhances immune system, boosts endurance, stimulates virility and helps the body better withstand stress. Indicated when there is low energy, chronic fatigue, exhaustion, and weakness. As such it is popular as an adjunct treatment for cancer patients. Can be helpful in Lyme disease protocols when there is joint pain and fatigue.

Eucommia BarkEucommia Root/Du Zhong (Eucommia ulmoides): Supports the functions of the endocrine and skeletal systems, particularly ligaments and tendons. It is also known for its kidney tonifying effects and supports normal healthy sexual functions.

Fo­ ti Stem/Ye Jiao Teng (Polygonum multiflorum): A Chinese herb used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. Helps to quiet the mind and calm the nerves.

Galangal Root/Gao Liang Jiang (Alpinia galanga): Has a stimulating effect on the digestive system. Galangal root is antispasmodic and antibacterial.

Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic contains a substance called Allicin which has antibiotic properties. It is useful in treating everything from a common cold to allergies to tonsillitis. Garlic contains many sulfur compounds which detoxify the body, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Garlic has also demonstrated anti­cancer, anti­fungal and anti­oxidant effects.

Ginger RootGinger Rhizome/Gan Jiang (Zingiber officinale): Ginger is a wonderful herb for digestion. It helps break down proteins to decrease stomach and intestinal gas. It also aids in the digestion of fatty foods. Ginger’s warming quality improves and stimulates circulation and relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood throughout the body. Ginger also treats nausea and morning sickness. Studies demonstrate that ginger can lower cholesterol levels by reducing cholesterol absorption in the blood and liver.

Berry/Gou Qi Zi (Lycium barbarum): Regular consumption of Goji is traditionally believed to lead to a long and happy life. Goji is also said to brighten the eyes and support vision. It is traditionally said that Goji strengthens the legs and enhances sexual function. Goji fruit contains polysaccharides that have been demonstrated to support the immune system. Goji provides B vitamins and is high in Beta Carotene.

Jujube DatesJujube Date/Da Zao (Ziziphus jujuba): An excellent superfruit that fosters radiant health and provides energy when consumed consistently. Red Jujube Dates nourish the blood, soothe the mind, and build and strengthen muscle. Jujube is considered a mild Shen tonic because it calms the mind ­ without causing drowsiness – while increasing physical energy.

Kaffir Lime Leaf (Citrus hystrix): Aids in digestion and purifies the blood. It is believed to have a positive effect on the mind and the body and leaves one with positive thoughts. The leaves can also be rubbed on to gums and teeth for total dental health.

Kelp/Kun Du (Ascophyllum nodosum): Seaweed draws an extraordinary wealth of mineral elements from the sea including sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, chlorine, sulfur and phosphorus. Kelp is rich in natural iodine which benefits proper functioning of the thyroid glands.

Kombu SeaweedKombu/Hai Dai (Laminaria japonica): Kombu is very high in organic iodine, and has been used to treat thyroid disease in China for centuries. It also is very high in calcium and potassium, and contains a number of other minerals and trace elements. The algin in kombu has been found to fix and remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body, have a strong blood anticoagulant activity, and reduce blood pressure.

Ligusticum Root/Chinese Lovage Root/Chuan Xiong (Ligusticum wallichii): Ligusticum treats conditions such as upper respiratory infection, helps to promote healthy blood flow and relieves pain. Liguisticum has been known to treat all types of headaches and relieve menstrual symptoms. Because it warms the uterus and decongests blood in the pelvic region, it is especially popular for menstrual cramps.

Lily Bulb/Bai He (Lilium brownii): Lily bulbs are used to relieve coughs, dry throats and other respiratory conditions, to clear away heat, and to treat insomnia and heart palpitations. Its tonic properties make it a good herb for promoting restful sleep and treating restlessness and irritability.

Lotus Seed/Lian Zi (Nelumbo nucifera): Beneficial for the heart, tones the spleen and kidneys, prevents insomnia, and calms the nerves. Lotus seeds have astringent properties, which make them helpful in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea while also improving appetite. The seeds are used to treat weak sexual function in men and leukorrhea in women. The seed also has calming properties that alleviate restlessness, palpitations, and insomnia.

Maitake Mushroom/Hui Shu Hua (Grifola frondosa): A highly nutritious food, traditionally eaten throughout the world. It has a positive effect on the immune system and anti-cancer properties and has been effective in the treatment of diabetes.

NettlesNettles (Urtica dioica): Is a nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of wastes. Nettles are especially important for women’s health. Through pregnancy, it helps in guarding against excessive bleeding as well as strengthening the fetus. It eases labor pains and increases milk production. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines and anti­-inflammatories that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergic reactions. Nettles is extremely high in essential vitamins and nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and even protein!

Peony RootPeony Root/Bai Shao (Paeonia lactiflora): One of the most highly prized women’s herbs used traditionally to help regulate the female hormonal cycle and to tonify and purify the blood. It is also used as a pain reducing agent and as an emotional stabilizer by women. It is said to relieve cramps and spasms anywhere in the body. Peony root is also believed to extend life and to promote beauty. Men should use Peony as well since it has an anti-aging effect without affecting hormones.

PoriaPoria Fungus/Fu Ling (Sclerotium Poriae cocos): One of the main benefits of poria is it’s anti­-cancer properties. It is widely used in Chinese medicine to treat malignant tumors. Furthermore, poria stimulates the immune system and helps enhance the positive effects of cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy while negating some of their side effects. Poria is well known for correcting problems related to the digestive system such as diarrhea, constipation, acidity, and other gastrointestinal issues and promotes the secretion of digestive fluids.

Reishi Mushroom/Ling Zhi (Ganoderma lucidum): Considered both the “elixir of life” and the “mushroom of immortality,” Reishi has long been a fundamental ingredient in the attainment of a long happy life and even spiritual enlightenment. It is believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, strengthen memory, sharpen concentration, improve focus, build willpower and as a result, helps build wisdom. Its effect is cumulative; gradually strengthening the nerves and a sense of peace. It is safe to take on a daily basis by most everyone and other benefits include: Supports immune system, antibacterial, adaptogenic qualities protect against stress, tonifies blood and qi and strengthens major organs including lungs, heart, bone marrow and liver.

Rehmannia/Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia Glutinosa): Frequently used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to nourish the kidneys. It is considered the food of the kidneys and is used for loss of blood, yin deficiency, lower back pain with deficiency from overwork. It can also treat cough, diabetes, urinary incontinence, deafness, uterine bleeding, vertigo, tinnitus, and regulate menstrual flow. It helps to protect and support the liver and adrenal glands and is often found in energy tonic formulas used to combat chronic fatigue.

Schizandra/Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra chinensis): Promotes soft, radiant, clear skin and is known to increase sexual fluids, endurance and strengthen the whole body. For this, it is considered “anti-aging.” Used in Chinese medicine as an adaptogenic herb to improve mental function, reduce tiredness and improve endurance. Schisandra is also a recognized lung tonic. It enhances immune response, regenerates liver tissue, and has been proven to treat hepatitis. The Chinese name, wu-wei-zi, means five taste fruits and refers to the fact that sweet, salt, bitter, sour and warmth can all be tasted when it is consumed, distinguishing it as a uniquely balanced herb.

ShiitakeShiitake/Xiang Gu (Lentinus edodes): Shiitake mushrooms have deep immune system healing properties, have been proven to stop or slow down tumor growth and are used in treating a variety of cancers. It is credited with lowering serum cholesterol and contains protein, potassium, niacin, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and B vitamins. Recent studies have shown the ability of shiitake mushrooms to help protect against cardiovascular diseases. They are also strongly anti-viral.

Spirit Poria Fungus/Fu Shen (Sclerotium Poriae cocos Circum Radicem Pini): The poria fungus grows underground in conjunction with pine roots. This is the center of the fungus, containing a portion of the root. It is considered a shen tonic and is sought by many spiritual seekers for its ability to calm emotions and raise shen (spirit). It also strengthens the immune system and fortifies heart, kidney, and spleen function.

Teasel Root/Xu Duan (Dipsacus Japonicus): Known in Chinese as “Repair what is Broken,” Teasel fortifies the lower back, knees and bones as well and sinews and joints. It is used for pain and stiffness due to decreased Kidney energy or traumatic injury and promotes the movement of blood to repair damaged tissues. Used in Lyme Disease treatment, as an analgesic for pain relief, an anti­-inflammatory, and a stimulant for the nervous system.

Turkey Tail Mushroom/Yun Zhi (Trametes versicolor): Common throughout the world, growing on and decomposing logs and stumps, it is used to strengthen the immune system and fight chronic diseases such as hepatitis and cancer. Traditionally, it has also been used for asthma and cough, invigorating digestion in cases of weakness and poor appetite, and clearing dampness associated with arthritis.

Turmeric/Jiang Huang (Curcuma longa): Powerfully anti-inflammatory, healing to the liver, and pain-relieving. Excellent source for beta-carotene. Improves circulation. Treats liver congestion, jaundice, and Hepatitis.

Wakame Seaweed/Qun Dai Cai (Undaria pinnatifida): Aides in weight loss by inhibiting the accumulation of fat in the cells and by stimulating fat oxidation. Also helps our body transfer energy efficiently, regulate hormones throughout the body, and helps our body produce and utilize protein. Wakame balances hormone levels and promotes bone growth and repair. High in trace minerals.

Zao Ren (Ziziphus jujuba): Ziziphus seed is the most commonly used herb in sedative formulas designed to help relax the mind. It is categorized as a heart­ blood tonic in traditional Chinese medicine, therefore it is calming to the heart, which is the Seat of Shen and which determines our emotional stability.

Fiber is a powerful nutrient to achieve a healthy approach to digestion, weight loss, cancer prevention, heart disease prevention and increase your lifespan! The only source of fiber comes from plants. Natural fiber is found only in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, and legumes. Fill your plate with whole plant-based foods as if your life depends on it…. because it does, trust me on this!

There are two types of fiber: -soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in oats, beans and other legumes, and some fruits and vegetables. Soluble fiber lowers cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, and bran and acts like a broom, cleaning your digestive tract.

Both types of fiber are only found in plant foods. Meat and dairy products contain no natural fiber at all – not an ounce! When people ask me “where do you get your protein?” I ask them, “Where do you get your fiber?” Meat and dairy are loaded with saturated fat that clogs your arteries with the blockage that ultimately causes a stroke or a heart attack. Because there is no fiber in meat and dairy, your colon is clogged as well and that leads to diseases and deadly illnesses.

Let me be perfectly crystal clear – there is only one way to acquire fiber and that is from plants – beans, legumes, lentils, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, seeds, and nuts. There is no pill or additive or super packaged food to achieve healthy fiber. Just eat lots of plant-based foods, in fact – eat nothing else but plant-based foods. Think of eating plant-based foods as your medicine for life. It is that simple!

Combine exercise with a 100% vegan plant-based diet and you will live a long healthy disease free life. Those that eat meat and dairy do four damaging things – (1) they slowly kill themselves, (2) they participate in the senseless and brutal slaughter of a once thriving animal, (3) they contribute to global warming, mass pollution and devastating the planet’s natural resources, and (4) they make doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and mortuaries rich.

I eat whole grains, beans, lentils, vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts every day. I combine all of these foods so I am insured to overindulge in fiber. I always add hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds to all of my whole grains. I combine whole grains like hulless barley, brown rice, farro, spelt, quinoa, millet, amaranth, and other high fiber nutrients grains with lentils, split peas and lots of beans.

I make a raw hummus that I eat every day. I soak the garbanzo beans (also goes by the name of chickpeas) for 24 hours., rinse well after the soaking process, add them to a high-speed blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix (I suppose a food processor will work well too), add lots of lemon juice and garlic and a little water to achieve a smooth consistency – It is that simple! No oils or fat – just hardcore garbanzo beans, lemon, and garlic. I also dry roast garbanzo beans after the 24 hours of soaking and eat those with the hummus… I am obsessed with this amazingly healthy food. It is cheap and very easy to prepare.

Garbanzo beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are a very good source of folic acid, fiber, and manganese. They are also a good source of protein, as well as minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium. Being high in fiber, garbanzo beans can help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels. Garbanzo beans are extremely-low-fat and complete protein food.

Never use canned beans or for that matter, never eat anything out of a can, jar, box, bag, bottle or any food that has been processed in a factory. Buy all of your food from the farmer. I even buy my beans, lentils, seeds, whole grains and nuts from farmers and sources that I know do not compromise their product. They are out there, you just have to search for them.

This morning I am having two sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber, vitamin A, beta-carotene, antioxidants, and other powerful life-saving nutrients. I simmer ther potatoes in chickpea miso. with a roughly chopped onion, celery, carrots, and chopped kale. I season with fresh lemon juice and add chia, hemp and flax seeds. This is my favorite breakfast. The fiber fills me up so I am not hungry during the day.

For an early dinner, I may have a bowl of quinoa, millet, and amaranth. These three seeds contain all the essential protein, calcium, vitamins, antioxidants, nutrients, minerals and lots and lots of fiber. They take fifteen minutes to prepare. I have a huge glass jar of combined millet, quinoa, and amaranth. When the quinoa, millet, and amaranth are done simmering, I let stand for ten minutes with the lid on top of the pot. Then I place in a bowl and add chia, hemp and flax seeds and season with fres

lemon juice.

I do not eat past 4:00 p,m, Once a week I fast. The most efficient form of anti-aging is a low-calorie die. I chew my food well, I never juice or make smoothies as that compromises the fiber and all of the liquid loaded with sugar goes straight to your liver. I believe that eating the food naturally is the most beneficial way to absorb all of the valuable nutrients whole plant-based food has to offer.


What is left is just fat. Eat olives, coconut, nuts, and avocados to acquire the powerfully nutritious healthy fats. But eat them intact with the fiber as your body will absorb the fats that benefit your health.

Do I eat dessert? Of course!!! My favorite dessert is a mashed banana with loads of raw oats, chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin, sunflower seeds and chopped walnuts on top. I then puree berries and pour that over the banana oats and seeds… You will never see me eat cake or bread or any form of baked goods at all… I also love just fruit like papayas, dragon fruit, pineapples, mangoes, apples, pears, melons, etc…

Thank you Doug for your help ric