Have you have ever done a detox or cleanse? Well, I am a “serial detoxer,” for lack of a better term. I like doing a cleanse a couple of times a year to reset my body and “clean it out,” so to speak. My cleanses usually follow a trip to Puerto Rico, or more recently, 2 weeks in Spain, where I MEGA indulged and was feeling literally “weighed down!”
A detox is a way to revitalize, rejuvenate and renew the body. Its purpose is to eliminate toxins from the body, and as we have heard in the past, our food, water and plants are all toxic so we better get on board!
However, it is important to note that there is little to no actual scientific evidence that a detox or cleanse is effective or even beneficial. Data is mostly anecdotal, and reports on how people FEEL after a cleanse does not quite qualify as science in my mind.
Fasting, which is a part of most detox programs, has been around for centuries, and is a part of most religions; think Lent, Ramadan and Yom Kippur. In the US, however, detox has become yet another “fad diet,” ranging from a 3 day juice fast to a 10 day starvation/deprivation program which may include lemon juice, maple syrup, water with cayenne pepper and a laxative tea (This is known as the Master Cleanse, originally from the 1970s but made famous by Beyonce when she lost 20 lbs in 14 days for her role in Dreamgirls! What?! CRAZY!)
For me, the best part of the cleanse is eliminating processed foods and added sugars, (although my last one was a 3 day cleanse where I ate 45 lbs of fruits and veggies in juices, smoothies and soups…now that’s efficient!). If you choose to participate in a cleanse, make sure you listen to your body (always!) and reevaluate if it doesn’t feel right!
- Probiotics (in collaboration with Tiffani Ghere)
Probiotics, literally means “for life.” Probiotics are the more than 500 species of microorganisms, mostly bacteria, that make up our intestinal flora. These are the “good bacteria” that help us with digestion and help with immunity, help process B vitamins, vitamin K an short chain fatty acids. Probiotics are found in fermented and cultured foods like yogurt and cheeses.
People say “health starts in the gut,” and this statement might be very true. When our gut flora is healthy, it’s harder for bad bacteria to take hold and cause illness. Some known names are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacter. They have been shown to be helpful in regulating and even preventing some inflammatory bowel diseases like Chron’s or Ulcerative Colitis, and two recent studies have shown probiotics can reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by as much as 60% and even shorten the length of diarrhea due to stomach viruses in children.
This one is a keeper! If you can tolerate dairy, go for the yogurt, otherwise this is one supplement worth taking!
- Healthy Fats (in collaboration with Tiffani Ghere)
Since the early 1990s, the message from US health agencies has been that “Fat is Bad,” mostly because of its high caloric density. However, America literally got fat when the “Low Fat” craze hit the US! In order for food companies to take the fat out, they had to replace it with sugar and highly refined carbohydrates to make food taste good (and sell!)
Thankfully, over the years we have come to realize that the correlation between fat and heart disease may have been oversimplified. More importantly, we need to be able to understand which are truly “healthy” fats and which are not!
Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA)
Omega 3 FA are essential fatty acids that MUST be consumed, they are NOT made in the body. More importantly, our brains are made of Omega 3’s! Many studies have shown health benefits from omega 3’s, including improvement in Alzheimer’s disease as well as heart disease.
Sources: walnuts, flax, salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel
Omega 6 fatty acids
Omega 6 FA are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are often converted to trans fat by the food industry in order to increase shelf life, making this unsaturated fat behave in the body like a saturated fat (NOT GOOD!) While there are some healthy sources of omega 6 FA, refined vegetable oils, such as soy oil, are used in most processed snack foods, cookies, crackers, and sweets in the American diet as well as in fast food. Again, stay away fro processed foods!
Sources: meat, poultry, safflower/sunflower oil, as well as processed and fast food.
- Everything Coconut!
I grew up in PR, eating coconuts and drinking coconut water from coconuts that my grandfather cut down from the palm trees himself, but I had NEVER heard or seen coconut “milk beverage,” coconut milk ice cream, coconut butter, coconut flour, flavored coconut oil, coconut yogurt and even coconut croutons?! Talk about a “Food Trend!”
Coconuts were evil in the era of “fat is evil” because it has a high content of saturated fat. HOWEVER, as I mentioned earlier, the link between saturated fat and heart disease is being seriously questioned, and the type of fat in coconuts is not the average kind. Coconuts contain MCTs (medium chain triglycerides, instead of long chain). MCTs have been found to increase metabolism and help you lose weight!
Coconuts also contain LAURIC ACID in their fatty acids, which have been shown to kill viruses, bacteria and yeast, and can potentially help prevent infections.
The MCTs in coconut oil have been found to help people with seizures, help Alzheimer’s patients, improve cholesterol, protect against hair damage, moisturize skin and even function as sunscreen! Anything else?!
And of course, you know you’re a food trend when Costco carries you in LARGE quantities!
Next week in Part 3, we’ll cover the trends of “Low Sugar replacing Low Fat,” Sports Nutrition and Functional Foods! Have a great weekend!
Thank you again Tiffani! For more information on Tiffani’s background and private practice, go to SageRD.com