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Beet Carrot Ginger Juice: The liver detox benefits of beets

Beet Carrot Ginger Juice: The liver detox benefits of beets

Why beet juice: The benefits of beets I’ve never been particularly fond of beets. I think they taste like dirt. But I’m doing a liver cleanse and protocol after protocol calls for beet juice or incorporating beets into your diet in some way shape or […]

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Watermelon is good, and good for you Seriously, what’s more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer day? In life, I rarely think, I want some watermelon. But then summer rolls around and I take my first bite and I’m like oh yeah, this stuff is […]

The Truth Behind Detoxing – Miracle cure or mythical crock?

The Truth Behind Detoxing – Miracle cure or mythical crock?

 Detox Me, Maybe?

Juice cleanses. Detox programs. Cleanse supplements and detox teas. These days, these products are ubiquitous in the world of wellness and nutrition. But what’s all the hype about? Why is detoxing beneficial and really – is it?
As with all things health and nutrition, there are two camps squarely opposing one another: those that say detoxing is the answer to all ailments and the key to optimal wellbeing, and those that say it’s all a complete crock made up by opportunistic marketers.
Juice cleanse / detox

Detoxing: It’s a crock

Ask a traditional doctor or medical professional and it’s extremely possible if not likely they’ll laugh off the notion of ‘detoxing.’ The truth is, our bodies are designed to naturally detox on a daily basis: it’s literally the job of our skin, liver, kidneys, and even the lungs and digestive system to ‘detoxify’ and remove waste. So as they say, nothing you eat or drink will magically make them work better. Fact, through and through.
As the title of this article so bluntly states: you can’t detox your body. Case. Closed. The article elaborates that ‘toxins’ don’t even really exist in the world of medical science: “Much of the [detox] sales patter revolves around “toxins”: poisonous substances that you ingest or inhale. But it’s not clear exactly what these toxins are.”
Toxins, they argue, are impossible to measure, so therefore, they must not really exist or worth worrying about.  The article further claims that detoxing is a ‘scandal… a criminal exploitation of the gullible man on the street.’
Ok, so according to them detoxing is a crock made up by charlatans. They do bring up a fair point – the markets abound with detox products and programs of all kinds that tout themselves as being a miracle cure. And yes, many will set you back a pretty penny. So, are all these supplements and programs complete bogus?
 
Are we just suckers wanting to drink a magic potion and make it all better? 

Detoxing smoothie

Detoxing: It’s the ultimate cure

Then we have the camp that claims detoxing can cure everything, from constipation to cancer. Let’s take a little closer look at the claims of the miracle doctors.
The truth is you can google ‘detox to cure…’ and virtually every ailment will show up depending on what letter you type next. To be clear, any good cleanse protocol should help with constipation. A good detox/ cleanse diet should eliminate difficult to digest foods, increase plant-based fiber consumption, and increase hydration. If done right, this basic approach should clean out the system.
Will detoxing cure constipation? Well, that entirely depends on what an individual does after the detox. Any good protocol should encourage you to continue eating a balanced, plant-heavy diet post-cleanse.

Clean green detoxing salad

But let’s focus on arguably the most extreme case: cancer. (Also, I’m biased.)

There are endless claims of people having cured their cancer from cleansing, juicing, and detoxing, and just as many resources explaining the ins and outs of curing cancer through these methods. I’m a huge proponent of healing naturally whenever possible. However, the reality is that many people who have eschewed the traditional ‘cut, poison, burn’ methods of surgery, chemo, and radiation and gone the alternative, natural route have, very unfortunately, also not survived.
It’s true: many people have been entirely cured of cancer utilizing exclusively natural methods. Many patients with terminal prognoses have lived much longer than the doctors ever suggested they would. Many fighters had a vastly improved quality end of life by forgoing aggressive cancer treatments. Many survivors cured stage IV cancer naturally and never had it come back. Many thrivers have successfully achieved Radical Remission.
These cases, however, are, unfortunately, little studied and while it’s lovely to believe that certain alternative healing methods truly do work, and while there actually is much logic (to my mind) supporting these methods, it’s truthfully impossible to determine precisely why and how these individuals healed. For these reasons, I think it’s extremely dangerous to claim that detoxing and juicing can cure cancer. 
Each and every person is unique, and each and every cancer case is extremely individual, and what worked for one may not work for another. Personally, I do think detoxing and cleansing is extremely beneficial when it comes to healing from cancer. When doctor-approved and supervised by a trained health professional, detoxing can help heal cancer and many other diseases.
I believe there’s a time and place for both traditional and complementary methods of treatment, but every individual facing a serious diagnosis must choose the best healing methods for themselves, armed with education and information on each approach.

Raw vegan green detoxing blender soup

Revisiting the counter-arguments

The Guardian article quotes Edzsard Ernset, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter Medicine: “If toxins did build up in a way your body couldn’t excrete, he says, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention – “There is no known way – certainly not through detox treatments – to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better.”’
Here’s the thing – many of us are not perfectly healthy. Many people are facing a health crisis. Many people do not have a healthy body, and it stands to reason that everything is not working perfectly well in that less-than-healthy body.
And, the reality is, environmental toxins are a thing, and they’re a thing we should all be concerned about, according to the CDC itself. On average, the study found 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine, 75 of which had never been measured before in the US population at the time of the study. Alarmingly, tests have found that these 200-plus chemicals are also found in newborn umbilical cord blood– babies are now born with hundreds of chemicals in their bodies.
Traditional medical practitioners and articles like the one published by the Guardian will claim that there is no scientific proof that things like spirulina and nettle tea actually work to detoxify the system.
However, there is a reason there is little ‘scientific’ proof: they don’t study these substances because funding for these studies often doesn’t exist. The fact is, there is no money to be made by the medical or pharmaceutical industries from natural products and supplements that heal and cure, so studies on these natural substances with healing potential are limited.

For more analysis of these arguments, this articledoes a nice job rebutting some of the claims made by the Guardian article and explaining the mechanisms of detoxing.

Cruciferous crunch detox bowl

FLC Syndrome – The Reality of our current State of Health

Mark Hyman, MD, asserts that half of us suffer from FLC: the Feel Like Crap syndrome. And the reason we feel like crap is because we eat crap.
Given the contaminated state of our food system and the less-than-natural environment in which the majority of us reside, I must agree. Simply put, if you overload the system with crap and (dare I use the word) toxins, your body will not be happy.
You don’t need a medical degree to comprehend that ingesting unnatural compounds and excessive amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats can trigger our immune systems to attack and cause inflammation. You don’t need a PhD in biology to understand that not eating the right food or getting enough nutrients will not supply the cells in our liver and other organs with the nutrients and proteins it needs to keep those enzymes working properly.
Detox juice

Why does detoxing work?

By stripping the crap from our diets and replacing it with real, whole foods, we give our bodies the chance to reset, and YES, to do just what they were designed to do: detox! The result is natural detox the way it was designed, without interference. Elimination approaches result in detox done right: with the all the nutrients and resources the body needs to get the job done right and to get the job done thoroughly.
Think about it like a messy desk – if you keep piling papers and files on top of the already existing piles of papers and files, you’ll never clear off the desk. But if you stop piling more stuff on top of what’s already there and start sorting through the existing mess, you’ll give yourself the chance to clear what’s there in due course. Same goes with the body: if you stop feeding it crap and just give it clean fuel and resources, your body gets the chance to get rid of the crap that’s still in there without being further burdened by continual crap piled on top of the existing crap.
Basically, if you don’t give your body the chance to properly reset, it’s like sisyphus rolling that rock up a hill: you might have good days, but you’re never going to get over the hump because you’ll keep falling back into the Feel Like Crap state.

Detox -friendly breakfast

Detoxing vs Cleansing: It’s all in the name

The key thing to understand when trying to come to grips with the notion of detoxing is that the term ‘detox’ is used very loosely, and it means different things to different people and different programs. One detox diet can consist of consuming solely lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne alternated with tea for ten days (the infamous master cleanse) while others (like mine) call for not a single juice – just real, whole foods. And there are countless products on the market using the term ‘detox’ that it’s difficult to suss out what’s legitimate and what’s putting a popular label on a product just to sell.
Because the term ‘detox’ is so incredibly loaded these days, I prefer to use the term ‘cleanse’ as it sounds a little less harsh and rigid. And that’s precisely the approach I take. My cleanse approach is entirely whole foods based, juice optional. I have personally done a couple 3-day juice cleanses to see what the hype is about, but that’s not how I approach cleansing on the whole.
Truthfully, it’s entirely unnecessary to do a juice cleanse if you’re not into consuming an entirely liquid diet. I use real, whole foods, with soups, smoothies, salads and simple veggie sautées on the menu, snacks allowed, supplemented with plant-based protein powder and even some chicken or fish if you really need it.
When you approach cleansing from this standpoint, the two camps are really not quite as far apart as they sound at first glance. To give the naysayers the credit they’re due, they all of course recommended eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in plants and healthy protein while cutting the refined and processed foods. Really, that’s what it’s all about: cutting the crap and allowing your body to reset.

Detox warm apple pie smoothie

Ahh, but what about that protein factor?

The lack of protein is a concern mentioned in each and every article dissing detoxing. To be sure, protein is absolutely essential for proper bodily functioning. But the truth is, not every protocol calls for a complete avoidance of protein, and people underestimate the amount of protein contained in plants.
A 3-day juice fast – a common product on the market and the most extreme I’ve gone and would ever feel comfortable recommending to a client (assuming medical permission was granted of course) – is short-term and your body will certainly not shut down over such a short period of time.
And frankly, if you do it properly, a juice cleanse provides far more protein than people realize: a primarily green juice plan can provide up to 20-30 grams of protein per day. It’s also possible to supplement the juices with plant-based protein, as I recommend doing with smoothies (and even soups!) on my approach.
And the fact is most of us consume far more protein than is actually necessary. The US Dietary Reference Intake (DRI)/Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 46 grams each day for adult women and 56 grams each day for men. Meanwhile, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average female eats about 70 grams of protein while the average American male consumes 102 grams.
To be sure protein requirements vary by size and activity level, yet on the whole we clearly consume far more protein than is actually necessary. Which, in itself, may actually be doing a disservice to our bodies if we are replacing plants with excess protein.

raw vegan creamy celery detox soup

So how do you know if you need a cleanse?

The symptoms of toxic overload are extremely varied and can impact the entire bodily system. Seemingly unrelated conditions may all result from this underlying issue. You might want to consider a gentle cleanse if you:
  • have trouble sleeping
  • get headaches
  • gain weight easily, especially in the belly
  • feel exhausted and depleted
  • feel a lack of focus and energy
  • have trouble losing weight
  • experience bloating or gas
  • have digestive complaints
  • have excessive sinus problems
  • suffer from joint pain
  • have acne, eczema or other skin problems
  • feel stuck, unmotivated, or irritable
  • feel stressed and overwhelmed
  • experience mood swings
  • crave sugar or starchy food
Symptoms often include relatively minor annoyances like some listed above, which are plenty frustrating. But toxic overload can also be a factor in more serious conditions such as autoimmune conditions, asthma, arthritis, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, and more.
Next up, I’ll dive more into the details of Why Cleanse: the signs and symptoms that you need a cleanse and the benefits of cleansing.
Ready to dip your toes or learn a little more about cleansing? Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll receive my free 3-Day Cleanse Guide, which includes recipes for the featured images not linked above! 
*Update*

*Update*

Hello my friends! Happy weekend! So lately I’ve been working on updates and technical things (that are a bit beyond me) and for some of these techy reasons I have relocated my blog. You’ll find it at the same url: thisartcalledlife.com but if you’ve followed […]

Life After Cancer: A Masterpiece in Progress

Life After Cancer: A Masterpiece in Progress

Cancerversary: Reflecting on a year out This month will mark the one year anniversary of finishing chemo. Tomorrow marks the one year of finishing round 5. When I think back on a year ago, I think about the whirlwind I was in the midst of. […]

Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Recipe

Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Recipe

Cool for the Summer: Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup

Ohhhh yes, this raw vegan creamy celery herb soup recipe is a win! More raw soup. Souper delicious. Souper healthy. Creamy. Refreshing. Bursting with layers of flavor.

So I went to the local farmer’s market Saturday morning and loaded up on organic veggies. Forgetting I already had two full stalks of celery in the fridge, I bought another giant stalk. And when I got home, I realized I had to make something using mass quantities of celery, stat. Soup seemed like the obvious choice. And given that it’s the dead of summer, raw soup it would be.

A taste of Provence

I had one lonely avocado in the fridge so I pulled that out to lend the soup a creamy factor, then decided I’d add some garlic, ginger, and lemon. And by stroke of good fortune, I’d also picked up a packet of Herbs de Provence at the farmer’s market on a whim – it’s not a blend I typically cook with, but it turned out to be the perfect addition to balance out the light, refreshing flavors of the produce with a hint of savory earthiness.

Without any particular agenda or theme in mind, I also happened to pick up some fresh lavender at the market. The universe was clearly steering me through that market, taking me straight back to the French countryside.

When I studied abroad, I went on a trip to Provence in the South of France, and the first memory that springs to mind when I reminisce is wandering through the local market, assessing the fresh produce, smelling the lavender, an doing my best to converse with the vendors in passable French. The day’s acquisitions couldn’t have been more appropriate. Soup’s on!

Spice blends: Herbs de Provence vs Italian Seasoning

In case you’re unfamiliar with it or haven’t yet made this addition to your spice rack, herbs de Provence is a fabulous spice blend. While the specific blend varies depending on the spice maker, it typically includes some combination of dried thyme, marjoram, summer savory, rosemary, mint, fennel, bay leaf, sage, basil, oregano and – often – lavender. Most blends will not include all of the above, but if you do a quick search you’ll find quite a wide variety of recipe blends.

In my opinion, lavender is the key player. It’s what truly sets Herbs de Provence apart from Italian seasoning, another common spice blend thats composed of many of the same spices. As the HdP flavor combination works well with everything (so says the spice master at the market), it’s fair to say that the two blends are often interchangeable in recipes. The choice to use one over the other may simply boil down to taste preference.

But the flavor profiles are in fact distinct, and absolutely worth exploring in their own right. While lavender is the obvious difference, generally, the savory, thyme, fennel, and chervil fall more in the HdP territory, while parsley, garlic, onion, and pepper are typically on team Italian.

Anyhoo, back to the soup.

I threw all the ingredients in my blender with 2 cups of cold water, and within a a couple minutes, had some delicious raw soup on my plate. I seasoned the soup with a touch of black pepper and a pinch of lavender sea salt that’s been waiting verrry patiently in my cabinet for just the right introduction to my palette since my trip to Croatia a couple summers ago, and it was delicious.

But honestly, the flavors of the soup are robust enough that it can easily be enjoyed without any salt or pepper. I highly encourage you give it a fair taste test before adding salt or pepper!

Raw Vegan Creamy Celery Herb Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 stalk of celery (a whole head), roughly chopped enough to fit in your blender
  • 1 avocado (I used one of Trader Joe’s tiny avocados – half of a normal size would work, or use a whole normal size for an extra creamy soup)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch piece of ginger
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp herbs de Provence
  • 2 cups cold (or warm) filtered water
  • salt and pepper to taste, on serving

How to Make:

  1. Clean and chop the celery, peel the garlic and ginger, juice the lemon.
  2. Add all ingredients to the blender except the salt and pepper.
  3. Blend. Taste. Serve. Enjoy!

Cheers! xx

 

Paleo Dark Chocolate Sugar-Free Recipe

Paleo Dark Chocolate Sugar-Free Recipe

Organic Vegan 0g Sugar Paleo Dark Chocolate Recipe – No Sugar Alcohols Necessary Life without chocolate simply wouldn’t be worth living, so when it comes to healthy chocolate, I’ve become somewhat of an expert. Ok ok, expert is a bit of a stretch. But I’ve been doing […]

Raw Vegan Green Blender Soup

Raw Vegan Green Blender Soup

Cooling soup for the warm weather I love soup, and it just so happens to be a great option for a detox or cleanse, particularly when the weather is a bit nippy. But summer is arguably the ideal time to cleanse your body, and warming […]

Why Go Dairy-Free (or not): The Great Dairy Debate (and dairy-free alternatives)

Why Go Dairy-Free (or not): The Great Dairy Debate (and dairy-free alternatives)

Pass the Cheese Please… Or not.

So one of the things I miss most since I upgraded my diet after diagnosis is cheese. I am not alone. Cheese is one of the foods people miss most when they go dairy-free or vegan. I briefly dabbled with going vegan in the past but cheese was my downfall – I didn’t want to give it up. It’s just soooo gooooood. The textures, the nuanced flavors, the saltiness, the creaminess, the chewiness. It’s so darn satisfying.

(more…)

Quick and Easy Raw Vegan Feta Cheese

Quick and Easy Raw Vegan Feta Cheese

Dairy-free’s the way to be Being dairy-free certainly has its advantages. I feel great, my skin seems to have improved, and my eczema doesn’t flare anymore. But it also has its downsides: cheese! Or the lack thereof to be clear. Like many others who cut […]


Life in Progress

My One Year Cancerversary

My One Year Cancerversary

The Preliminary C Diagnosis: Looking Back

A year ago today I received a call when I was at work. It was the director of the Lymphoma center at Columbia. I went into the bathroom to take the call. Gently but without mincing any words, he informed me that the preliminary results of my needle biopsy were in: I had lymphoma.  (more…)