Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fall Detox Y'all

It seems like it took a really long time but finally it feels like Fall! As promised, I started a structured Detox the first week of October. Following a Detox food plan, adding a Detox meal shake and using fiber and supplements that improve Detox pathways - all of these adding up to help move toxins from my body and decrease inflammation and things that can increase the rate of cellular aging. (That's your cells that make up your bodily tissues - not your cell phone- when they last longer, your body functions better.)

I've posted before about why to do a Detox(here) and also posted a simple outline of how a medical detox works (here).

This post is to reflect on the experience of doing a detox. It's hard, I'm not going to lie.

To prepare for my detox, I pulled out all of my detox supplements (some shown here) and decided which ones I would use. Then I went shopping and bought lots of cruciferous vegetables, one of the main food categories that help your liver detox. I bought cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and broccoli.

I also got salmon and sardines and pastured chicken because the first part of the detox allows all of these plus unlimited therapeutic vegetables. I picked out a Detox shake and a fiber supplement to help increase my number of bowel movements daily. I bought alkaline water to help me hydrate during the process.

Once I had all the things I needed, I planned out the 12 days I would be doing the Detox. Advance planning is the key to success because there will be challenges, especially on long days when you are tempted to just grab some food from a restaurant. Most restaurant foods are heavily processed - meaning they are going to cause inflammation and have ingredients that decrease your ability to detoxify - and they are not organic, so they have toxic pesticide residues and will slow down your ability to detox.

The first two days involved drinking one detox shake daily, taking my detox supplements, drinking extra water and trying to eat as many organic vegetables as I could. I decided to use a binder that binds heavy metals and biologic toxins (like mold) and that had to be mixed daily and had to be consumed at least an hour away from any other supplements so that got tricky when my daily schedule varied from one day to the next.

The next few days I increased the detox shake to two servings a day and ate no meat, only fish or vegetables.

Then I moved on to the 'peak' of the detox, where I was using homeopathic drops to increase my detox pathways, drinking lots of water and using the detox shake mix three times a day.

I found when I got to the third serving for the day, I just decided to make half of the shake and have it as a dessert after my dinner because I was really tired of drinking the shake - even though it was pretty tasty. I encourage my patients to listen to their bodies. My body was saying it didn't want the full serving at dinner so I had half a serving.
I drank a lot of tea! These are a few teas that can help during a detox. The Cleanse and Detox Pukka teas help improve detox functions, the Relax tea helps you to let go of stress at the end of the day, especially since you are not supposed to do strenuous exercise during the detox so your energy can be directed toward detoxing. The Super Slim tea is a Senna-based tea to help you move toxins out through the digestive track (in other words - poop).

Drinking tea is also helpful as a replacement for adult beverages! I carried tea bags with me so that if I met a friend for an after work 'stress management' session, I could just order hot water and drink my tea. Sometimes during the detox, the hardest part is altering your habits to accommodate the detox.

After the intense - 3 shake a day - phase of the detox, I tapered back to two servings a day of the detox shake and added back meat. I was getting tired of fish! This part lasted a couple of days and then I had two final days with one shake a day.

The last part of my detox was an ionizing foot bath. This involved using an ion generating motor in regular water in a foot bath. The ions generated will attract oppositely charged ions from your feet and draw them out into the water. Some of the ions are already in the water but many will be drawn from your feet, as the company has shown in their product research. Here are pictures of the before and after appearance of the water:

Pretty gross, right? I did the detox foot bath the night before I started the detox, then 5 days later, in the middle of the detox and then the evening of the last day of the detox. These are from the first day and the water pretty much looked the same each time so I plan to continue doing the foot detox at least once a week. We are constantly breathing in toxins, eating them, getting them in drinking water or showers (at hotels, friends' homes, etc), so an ongoing detox plan is essential.

Lastly, but definitely not least, is taking time for meditation, walking in the woods or doing whatever relaxes you and speaks to your soul. You can't detox when you are stressed.

I leave you with a forgiveness meditation to open your heart. (adapted from Luminous Mind by the Leveys) 

...Awareness is the light by which we see the world..
                   -Stephen Levine

Sit comfortably in your seat and bring your awareness to your breathe. Place a hand over your heart and become aware of your heart beating. Think of an action, thought or deed that you did that may have hurt someone or caused them emotional pain or distress. Bring that person to mind and extend the sincere heart-felt plea to them for forgiveness. Imagine asking for their forgiveness and receiving their forgiveness. 

Forgive yourself whole-heartedly for the harmful words or deeds that you have done in haste or irritation or some other circumstance. Release them and open your heart up to yourself to receive your forgiveness.

Now bring to mind when someone you care about who may have done something to hurt you. Realize that they too may have been acting out in haste or irritation or some other circumstance. Bring them to mind in front of you and extend forgiveness to them with all of your heart. Imagine them receiving your forgiveness and accepting it.

If you are ready to extend the exercise, forgive someone to whom you have negative feelings towards. Once you have done that, you may also extend forgiveness to those towards whom you are neutral who may have injured you or caused you pain or distress. Remember that you may have caused injury to some bystanders and casual contacts and forgive yourself from the heart for your thoughtless actions or words. 

At the conclusion, release any guilt you may have felt about your harmful words or actions and open your heart to be free from negative emotions and free to love yourself and others more fully.

Love is that flame that once kindled burns everything,
    and only the mystery and the journey remain.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Estrogen - what is it good for?

Estrogen - the hormone that makes women female, is found in women and men. There are actually three estrogens but the main estrogen, responsible for promoting ovulation and genital health, is estradiol. Estradiol is the most potent of the three 'estrogens' and controls the thickness of the lining of the uterus during the menstrual cycle. It also plays a role in thousands of other processes in the body. For women, it also controls vaginal moisture and lubrication, enhances libido and sexual enjoyment and thickens the vaginal wall to support the bladder and prevent urinary tract infections and incontinence.

These images of coral kind of remind me of a 'plump' uterine lining and a 'scanty' uterine lining. The plump one might results in heavy painful periods and the scanty may result in skipped periods or short, spotty periods. These types of issues with menstrual cycles result from an imbalance in your hormones, usually between estradiol and progesterone, but insulin resistance and adrenal gland problems can also throw off your hormone harmony.

The other estrogens in play are estrone, often thought of as the 'danger' estrogen because excess estrone can promote abnormal growth in the breast cells and uterine cells, increasing the risk of cancer in those tissues. Your ovaries, liver and fat cells make estrone prior to menopause and after menopause it is predominantly made in your fat cells. 

If you are overweight going through menopause you will have estrone 'dominance' which can be worsened by alcohol consumption. Estrone can block the beneficial actions of estradiol, especially in the brain (where estradiol can promote memory retention and protect nerve cells). It can also increase risk of blood clots, weight gain, gallstones and can stress your main organ of detoxification, the liver.

The third estrogen is estriol, also the weakest in potency. It can be produced when estradiol and estrone are convert into estriol. It is thought of as beneficial because it may block the harmful effects of estrone on breast cells. It may also have positive effects on autoimmune processes like multiple sclerosis (MS). In a 2003 study it decreased the size and number of MS-related brain lesions and increased protective immune functions. It has also been used extensively in Europe for vaginal health. It is also mixed with estradiol in bioidentical hormone replacement.

So how do hormones get out of balance? 

In our toxic environment, toxins called Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (or Xenoestrogens) are getting into our bodies from our food, water and air. They mainly come from dairy and beef in our food supply but can also come from herbicides, pesticides, plastics, toys, personal care products and cosmetics. Check here for more info on cleaning up your internal and external environment.

Stress can throw your hormone balance off when high demand for cortisol diverts progesterone into the cortisol pathway, as shown in this previous post. Poor liver function, from alcohol consumption, use of multiple medications which require increased processing through the liver, fatty liver disease (likely from too much sugar consumption) can all increase the amount of circulating estrogens.

Digestive issues from a poor diet can lead to dysbiosis (imbalance in the bacterial environment in the colon) which can lead to increased recycling of estrogens. High saturated fat consumption can increase the amount of estrogen produced. Being overweight also increases the amount of estrogen produced (in men and women). Lack of exercise can also increase the amount of available estrogen, as can sleep deprivation. 

Too much estrogen in women can lead to PMS, difficulty losing weight, gallstones, varicose veins, fibroids, cervical dysplasia, endometriosis or ovarian cysts. In men it can result in low libido, lack of motivation, depression, loss of muscle mass, breast development and belly fat. In both sexes increased estrogen is linked to increased risk of cancer.

So this week I'm detoxing to balance my hormones, cleaning up my internal and external environments and promoting hormone balance with stress management and sleep. Next week I'll blog about the specifics of the detox since I'm in the thick of it now and want to finish it before I report on how it went. 

So I leave you with a meditative exercise. Get out and walk if weather permits and notice nature. Look for something to speak to you: a plant, tree or bird. Expect to see something unusual and when you do, give it your full attention for at least 15 seconds (count one-mississippi, two-mississippi, etc). Be grateful for your 15 seconds of WOW.