A New Year’s Resolution for Better Health: Detox and Lose Weight

We are into the second week of 2012 and if you’re anything like me, you are just getting around to actually putting a plan into place to help you accomplish your New Years Resolution for better health, which could include weight loss and/or detoxing your body.  One of the best ways to accomplish both of these goals is to simply rid your body of  the harmful chemicals and other toxins that you accumulated in 2011 (or for some of you-the past decade).  If you’re feeling quite not like yourself or if you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition, you’re probably finding this article to be very timely. On the other hand, if you’re experiencing “good health”, you’re probably saying (while gasping), “I don’t have any toxins in my body.” Well, here’s a reality check-you do! We all do so let’s focus on how we got toxins in our bodies and what we need to do to get rid of them.

 

Gasp-Where Did They Come From?

 Toxins enter the body through the following methods:

(1) When you consume the chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, heavy metals (i.e. apple juice), and growth hormones that are found in the American diet;

(2) when you apply personal care products that are heavily burdened with harsh chemicals to your skin, hair, and mouth (i.e. your tooth paste; and

(3) when you breathe in toxic fumes from cars, airplanes, cleaning supplies, cigarette smoke, and indoor air pollution from gas emissions via your carpet, mattress, and many other furnishings and building materials.

 

 

I know, it’s a mouth full and lucky for you-I won’t continue to “beat the proverbial dead horse.”  If you are reading the above information for the first time, you’re probably in shock. Yeah- I was too, but I quickly refocused so that I could get into the solution and take control of my health.   Let’s take a look look at what you can do to eliminate toxins from your body short of living in a bubble-I mean, after all, a girl has gotta pay the bills-right?

 

How do I Rid My Body of Toxins?

One of the best ways to eliminate toxins from your body is to do a detoxification. Just like your car, your body needs to eliminate all of the sluggish slime that has accumulated throughout the year(s), and get replenished with fuel that will promote energy, vitality, and health. Dr. Don Colbert, a medical doctor with preventative medicine training, says that one of the best ways to detoxify your body is with the following diet:

 

The Detox

 

Avoid these foods:
Sugars- including honey

Wheat products (pasta, breads, bagels, and processed cereals), chips and corn
All processed foods- refined foods, fast foods, fried foods, animal skins, preserved meats, and fatty meats
Alcohol, coffee, sodas, dark teas, and chocolate
Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils or trans fats

 

You can consume a small amount of these foods:
Skinless, extra lean free-range poultry and meats

If you must have dairy-eat plain yogurt, cheese made with skim milk, and/or organic butter sparingly. You can also drink skim milk and kefir sparingly

 

You can consume as much of these foods as you like:
Organic vegetables and fruits

Extra-virgin olive oil
Brown rice and wild rice
Raw, fresh nuts and seeds (avoid peanuts and cashews)
Flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, borage oil, and fish oil
Garlic and onions
Filtered water with fresh squeezed lemon or lime (about two quarts daily)
Freshly juiced vegetable and fruit juices (you will need a juicer)
Green tea and other herbal teas
Green super foods or just take chlorella.

 

How Long Should I Detox My Body?

You should follow this diet for 14 days to adequately prepare your liver to do its job of detoxifying your body. Moreover, you will be slowly detoxifying during these 14 days so that your liver can handle the toxins and eliminate them efficiently when you do your juice fast on day 15. If you do not do this, you will run the risk of recirculating the toxins back into your blood stream because your liver will not be able to handle the excessive amount of toxins being eliminated. When toxins recirculate back into your blood stream, they can cause more damage to your cells, which promotes more sickness.

On the 15th day, do a juice fast of freshly juiced fruit and vegetables juices with chlorella or a green super food and drink plenty of water also. If you thoroughly follow the diet for the first 14 days, your liver will be ready to handle the amount of toxins that will be eliminated on day 15 when you do the juice fast.

 

How Do I Resume Eating After the Detox?

After day 15, you should slowly resume the previous diet starting with fruits and vegetables and gradually work your way up to the dairy and meats. This step allows your body to gradually prepare to eat your regular diet again. Although this diet requires four weeks of discipline and determination; the payoff is well worth the sacrifice.

 

What Should I Expect When My Detox is Over?

 

You will be amazed at the following results:

  • Your brain will be completely clear (you probably don’t even know that you have brain fog);
  • Your skin will be radiant;
  • You will feel very happy (this diet eliminates depression);
  • You will have more energy than you ever imagined possible;
  • You will reverse many medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, some chronic aches and pains, migraine headaches, psoriasis and eczema, autoimmune diseases, and heart disease;
  • You will lose enough weight to reduce your dress or pants size; and
  • You will have an increased libido.

This detoxification diet is a safe diet; however, please note that you should not stop taking your prescribed medications. Therefore, you will have to monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar regularly. If you see that your blood pressure or blood sugar levels are dropping, consult with your doctor regarding reducing your medication dosage while on the diet. Lastly, if you have psoriasis or eczema you should eat vegetables that are right for your nutritional blood type to get the maximum results.

We’re almost into the third week of January so that means no more excuses. It’s time to start being the best you for 2012.  If you do decide to do this detox, please share your experience with me and if you’re interested in doing it together-grab some some friends and leave a reply.

How to Achieve Spiritual Healing

If you look at the top ten New Year’s resolutions, you probably will not find spiritual health on the list. But, did you know that having a peaceful existence is probably one of the most important things that you could do to restore your health and vitality. In fact, research has shown that most diseases and illnesses are actually due to unresolved traumas from your childhood or your past, and that if you work through them, you will experience healing in ways that you could not possibly imagine. So here is a list of things to do to restore your mental and spiritual health.

 

Forgiveness
First of all, you must truly forgive those whom you believed to have harmed you. To truly forgive means that you acknowledge the offense, and perhaps, confront the person (if necessary), and move on. The incident should not persist in your mind anymore and when you see the person, you should feel comfortable around her.

 

Exercise
Everyone knows that exercising truly releases endorphins that make you feel happier. So start a daily exercise regimen to get you on track for better mental health. You don’t have to start out running a marathon; instead, start out with walking about 15 minutes a day until you reach a rigorous routine that works for you.

 

Connect
Once you wind down from exercising, don’t forget to call friends or family. However, make sure that you surround yourself with those who are supportive of you and who lift your spirits. This is also a good time to examine relationships that you might need to let go of because they bring you down. Always remember that your inner circle of friends and family should consist of people that show their love for you by listening to you when you need someone to talk to, supporting your dreams or ideas, celebrating your successes, and making you feel like you are okay.

 

Stay Motivated

If you want a take it a step further, here are a list of books and movies that will uplift your spirit and give you a happier perspective on life.

 

Books for the soul

(1). “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential” by Joel Olstein. Joel Olstein has always delivered a compelling sermon about the Word and how the Christian faith can bring you through any circumstance.  This book is sure to enlighten any Christian who seeks to understand her purpose.

 

(2).” Mind Body and Spirit: The Awakening” by James Hackley-As a result of a major epiphany, James Hackley was able to lose an amazing 50lbs of fat in just 4 months and has sculpted his 46 yr-old body into the best shape ever. He has learned to significantly reduce stress, quiet the mind and get in touch with his spirit like never before. As a result, he’s been able to free himself from a lifetime sentence of high blood pressure and high cholesterol prescription medications. In Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening, James explores the root causes of why we overeat, refuse to exercise, live chaotic lives and fail to accomplish the goals that God has intended for your life since the dawn of time.  In fact, this guaranteed bestseller would be better categorized as a “Negativity Loss” guide; loss of negative fat, negative habits, negative foods, negative people, negative thoughts and negative actions. This guide arms you with knowledge and encouragement to put a plan into action to finally master the things that have long mastered you.

 

(3). “As a Man Thinketh”, by James Allen.  AS A MAN THINKETH has long been read by millions of people seeking joy, success, and health through the power of thought and its effect on life.  James Allen insists upon the power of the individual to form his own character and to create his own happiness. Thought and character are one, he says, and as character can only manifest and discover itself through environment and circumstance, the outer conditions of a person s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state.” And thus James Allen teaches two essential truths: today we are where our thoughts have taken us, and we are the architects – for better or worse – of our futures. Perhaps one of the greatest writers of this century, he portrays the Truth clearly, eloquently and with no misunderstanding. AS A MAN THINKETH is a timeless piece.

 

(4). The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is an excellent book to aid you in your spiritual path. Tolle helps his readers to lose the one thing that is at the root of all conflict-your ego. According to Tolle, the more that you disassociate from your ego, the more enlightened you become. Enlightment brings about compassion and a peaceful existence in the present moment. This book is great because it takes a philosophical approach rather than a religious one; therefore, it is a great read for anyone regardless of their religion.

 

(5). 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace by Dr. Wayne Dyer. This book is a must read, or if you do not have the time, you can order Dr. Dyer’s CD.  He is an excellent speaker. His books inspire everyone, regardless of their religion, to strive to be one with nature and mankind. Truthfully, you cannot go wrong with any of his books.
If you do not like to read, there are some good movies that will give you some great inspiration towards loving yourself and being a better person to your fellow man.

 

Movies for the soul

I will just list a few of the top movies that will give you a spiritual lift:

(1) Seven Pounds with Will Smith

 

(2) “Pay it Forward with Kevin Spacey, and

 

 

(3) “Forest Gump” with Tom Hanks.

 

(4) “The Book of Eli”, with Denzel Washington

 

(5) “The Pursuit of Happyness”, with Will Smith

All of these movies will leave you feeling like there is a higher power out there guiding us to take care of our fellow man and to be a blessing to others.

 

If you employ all of these things in the year 2012, you will be well on your way to a healthier and happier you. But if you want to take it a step further, why not take a look at slowly changing your diet too. Good luck!

 

 


 

 



Hair Vitamins: Truth or Myth-Scientifically Speaking

Lately, I have been hearing a lot of discussions about hair vitamins. Some women swear by them; while others say that they are just a complete hoax and waste of money.  So I decided to take a closer look to see what all the fuss was about. 

 

What Exactly is a Hair Vitamin?

Hair vitamins are basically the same vitamins that are found in most of the regular daily multi-vitamins; however, they have been repackaged to contain only the adequate amount of vitamins that are essential for healthy hair.  Having said that, you can continue to take your multi-vitamin as long as it has the recommended daily allowance of the vitamins that affect the hair.  So what is the magical potion that leaves your tresses unrecognizably gorgeous? To answer this question, we must first define hair.

 

Hair-Is More Than What Meets the Eye

I find it interesting that the beautiful tresses found on your head, whether they are long, short, natural, straight, chemically treated, blond, brown, black, red, or grey, are nothing more than a mass of mostly keratin protein.  Keratin is the main structural component of not only hair; but, skin and nails as well. This is why hair vitamins are sometimes marketed as a hair, skin, and nails product.  The primary reason hair vitamins stimulate growth is because keratin protein is made up of amino acids, which are critical for all life forms. In fact, one of the most important functions of amino acids is to serve as the building blocks of protein. Therefore, anything that aids in the process of creating protein, i.e. certain vitamins and minerals, will ultimately have an impact on your hair depending on the amounts that are present.  But, before I talk about which vitamins are a must have for healthy hair and hair growth, I have to give you a little biochemistry lesson on cell biology.

 

Understanding how Cells Work in our Bodies

To keep this as basic as possible, I will define proteins as the start of all life (this includes hair too) within the body.  Each of our cells is made of proteins and each cell has many pathways (metabolic chemical reactions) that occur as they are being built.  Think Dallas, Texas highways, roads and streets for those of you who live in the DFW area.  Your cells have a maze of pathways that cross and overlap to create the right DNA for building that particular cell.  Therefore, you need the proper amount of vitamins and minerals when cells are dividing and multiplying so that they can be built and copied properly. One missing nutrient, can negatively impact the end result and can lead to birth defects (Sorry, I would be remiss if I did not show how serious this could be) and damaged hair, which is the purpose of this article (smile).  Now you can see why eating a healthy diet or supplementing with vitamins and mineral leads to overall better health and ultimately, better hair.

 

The MoJo of Hair Vitamins

The key ingredients contained in most hair vitamins are in the B Complex family along with a few others.  Here is what I think is a good list of key hair vitamins:

 

Vitamin A– Vitamin A is not only a critical vitamin for skin, it’s also a major player for hair growth.  The lowest skin layer, the hypodermis is where the hair follicle cells/roots are located.  Because vitamin A is responsible for generating growth and repair and making sure that cells (including follicle cells) are programmed properly, it’s a necessary vitamin for hair growth.

 

Biotinis known as the “beauty vitamin” because of its incredible effects on hair, skin and nails.  Biotin is a major player in making sure that proteins are  metabolized in your hair roots and fingernail cells, and since your hair is made up of mostly keratin protein, an abundant amount of protein is critical.  Therefore it’s wise to have an adequate amount of biotin because your body will allocate it to the most critical areas first, like your vital organs, and if there is any remaining, your hair just might be lucky to get a little. Side note, ideally your hair vitamin should contain the B-complex vitamin because this family of vitamin B work synergistically to ensure that each B vitamin is metabolized and functioning properly.

 

Vitamin C-Is an antioxidant that prevents free radical damage in your cells. Note, free radicals occur naturally within your cells during the metabolic process and it occurs when you have been exposed to environmental toxins. Vitamin C is also required for the synthesis of collagen.  Without vitamin C, you simply will not have any collagen and you need collagen because it supports and gives structure to everything in the body, including all of the skin layers, which is where hair follicles and your sebaceous glands are housed.  A deficiency in vitamin C will not only effect hair growth, but might also lead to dry brittle hair.

 

Vitamin E-Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that fights against free radical damage in your cells and reduces oxidative stress.  While we need to breath in oxygen to live, once it enters our bodies-it could cause severe cell damage. Think Fruits and veggies-it’s the exposure to oxygen that causes them to “go bad” quickly. The same reaction occurs within our bodies, and having vitamin E in your arsenal will stop oxidation in its tracks.

 

The Final Conclusion

After a close examination, I have concluded that hair vitamins really do promote long, healthy hair.  However, keep in mind that not all vitamins are created equally, and to maximize both the health and hair promoting benefits of vitamin supplementation, you should ensure that the vitamins are whole vitamins and not synthetic.  Synthetic vitamins are isolated vitamins; whereas in nature, food and vitamins derived from whole foods, contain a complex number of vitamins and minerals working synergistically. Therefore, if you isolate just one of those vitamins, you lose out on the synergistic affect that the isolated vitamin needed to perform its function properly.

 

The Role Vitamin A Plays in Producing Radiant Skin

Vitamin A was the first fat-soluble compound discovered in 1913 by researchers at Yale University. It is absolutely necessary for healthy skin.  If your levels are in the normal range, you’re probably experiencing radiant, glowing skin. However, if your skin isn’t looking so great and/or is dry, you just might be suffering from vitamin A deficiency.  Let’s talk about skin.

 

Skin-Scientifically Speaking

The epidermis and the dermis are the two primary skin layers that vitamin A impacts to give you beautiful, radiant skin.

  • The Epidermis (Outer Layer)– is made mostly of epithelial cells.  The most important function of the epidermis is to protect our internal areas from harmful agents found in the environment by serving as a protective barrier.  On the other hand, superficially, it’s also the layer that gives you a general idea of how well your skin is being maintained because you can actually see the epidermis skin layer. That’s a lot of social pressure for one organ. Yes-the skin is actually an organ.  The epidermis works very hard to make you look good.  At the very bottom of the epidermis, new skin cells are constantly forming.  When the new cells are ready, they move up to the top of the epidermis and the old skin cells die, which is why you should exfoliate your skin about twice a week. The process of new cells forming and moving up to the surface layer of your skin and old cells dying takes about two weeks to one month. But having said that, the epidermis thrives or fails based on how well the dermis perform.

 

  • The Dermis (middle Layer) is made mostly of thick connective tissue and proteins such as collagen, which gives your skin structure. The dermis also has many blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells and it’s home to the sebaceous glands, which gives your skin its natural oil.  It’s basically the manufacturing hub for all new skin and as you can imagine, it’s in constant turnover –creating new beautiful skin cells that will eventually move up and become the epidermis.  But don’t get too excited, those news cells will only be beautiful if the dermis is functioning properly, and the dermis can only function properly if your body has the adequate amount of the retinoic acid form of vitamin A.

 

 All about Vitamin A

As stated above, vitamin A is a necessary vitamin for healthy skin and it comes in two forms: Preformed and Provitamin A.

  • Preformed Vitamin A (Retinoids)– include retinal, retinol, and the lifeline of our skin-retinoic acid.  Retinol vitamin A is a fat-soluble compound and is absorbed in the body when you consume animal based foods such as egg yolk, milk, cheese, butter and liver from chicken, beef, and fish liver oils).  We need the retinol form of vitamin A because it is the form of vitamin A that is converted into retinoic acid in the body.
  • Provitamin A (Carotenoids)-includes beta-carotene and is found in plants such as fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, winter squash, carrots, spinach, and orange cantaloupe. The beta-carotene form of vitamin A is also converted into retinoic acid but it must goes through several conversions in the body to become retinol and eventually, retinoic acid.

You can also take retinol as a supplement, but be very careful because supplementing with retinol can lead to vitamin A toxicity.

 

Why is Vitamin A Essential for Healthy Skin?

One of the ways to achieve beautiful healthy skin is through the synthesis of the retinoid acid form of vitamin A in the body. Optimum levels of the retinoid acid are needed to promote the healthy function of epithelial cells-the cells that your skin is made of. Both retinol and retinal converts into retinoid acid so consuming vitamin A through an animal source or a plant-based source will provide you with this critical cell growth, producing nutrient.

 

How Does Retinoic Acid Work?

All of our cells are programmed to have specific functions within the body, and this includes your skin cells. Retinoic acid is a major player in ensuring that cells are programmed properly and therefore, are a must during the programming phase of new cell development. If there isn’t enough vitamin A, the “code” is copied incorrectly and the cell does not perform properly. Retinoic acid also influences the structure and function of epithelial cells.  So if you don’t have enough of it, your skin can become structurally compromised as well appear dull, blemished, and flaky.  Needless to say, if you’re looking to maintain beautiful, healthy looking skin, you definitely will want to make sure your vitamin A levels in are adequate.

 

What is the Optimal Amount of Vitamin A

Because vitamin A is fat- soluble, it should be consumed with food. In addition, if you are supplementing with retinol, you should make sure you are adequately monitoring your levels so that you do not develop vitamin A toxicity. Furthermore, avoid all forms of synthetic vitamin A such as retinyl palmitate, which is found in many anti-aging and sunscreen personal care products. Research has shown that retinyl palmitate is linked to skin lesions and tumors. Below, is a list of what the FDA recommends safely.

 

Pediatric

  • Infants birth – 6 months: 400 mcg
  • Infants 7 – 12 months: 500 mcg
  • Children 1 – 3 years: 300 mcg
  • Children 4 – 8 years: 400 mcg
  • Children 9 – 13 years: 600 mcg
  • Boys 14 – 18 years: 900 mcg
  • Girls 14 – 18 years: 700 mcg

Adult

  • Men 19 years and older: 900 mcg
  • Women 19 years and older: 700 mcg
  • Pregnant women 14 – 18 years: 750 mcg
  • Pregnant women 19 years and older: 770 mcg
  • Breastfeeding women 14 – 18 years: 1,200 mcg
  • Breastfeeding women 19 years and older: 1,300 mcg

So the next time your skin appears to be blah-try consuming more vitamin A based foods before shelling out money to your dermatologist.