Are you constantly trying to manage your weight and feel as though you can never get rid of excess pounds? The battle you are fighting might just have more to do with toxins in your body than being “fat” or the amount of exercise you are getting. It’s time to take a good look at the chemical load you are placing on your body each and every day, and its impact on your weight.
Everything in our environment plays a critical role on our weight, believe it or not – and not just the food we eat and the amount of exercise we get – the air we breathe, the products we use in our homes and places of business, the water we drink, the water we use for washing and bathing, and everything in our environment can affect our weight. Something has to convince our population that our collective weight problem is not because of saturated fat and lack of enough exercise – it’s from all the toxins we continually dump into our bodies and all the toxins around us in the environment. What we are eating is mostly garbage – from our meat and dairy supply to our fruits and vegetables – full of chemicals and toxins. Our food isn’t food anymore!
What about saturated fat?
If the problem were as a result of eating too much saturated fat – there would be an abundance of evidence – but everywhere you look medical and health professionals advise people to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol, eat low-fat foods, load up on “healthy” polyunsaturated fats – and the products available in the stores are marketed to that end, and people are buying them. So let’s ask a very important question – if saturated fat is the enemy, and we’re all avoiding it as we’ve been told, why do we have the epic obesity problem we do? Our real problem lies in what foods we are eating – industrially-produced, food-like substances that contain no real nutrients or minerals, fat, protein, or calories. The reality is, saturated fat from healthy sources is and always will be an essential building block of health. We cannot live (very well) without it!
Getting enough fiber?
We have other problems too, such as that we are receiving far less fiber than we need and are consuming massive amounts of sugar in our daily diets in the form of various sweeteners, grain products, refined flours, and the saturated fat and protein foods we are eating are the wrong kinds (from pollluted, factory farms) – and of course the portions are staggeringly large. If people ate healthy, saturated fats and proteins, their bodies would feel full at appropriate levels. But with factory farm food, your body never feels full (big surprise, because it’s not real food!) so you keep eating and eating.
Then there’s the fact that we are told to eat low-carbohydrate foods – so we do this, and it puts a tremendous strain on our digestive tract – liver, colon, gallbladder, and pancreas. Even though you may come across people who claim to have lost weight on low-carb plans, in the long run, the repercussions of such diets on health are extremely harmful at best.
What’s the solution?
Ann Louise Gittleman, author of The Fast Track Detox Diet, believes the connection between weight and toxicity is critical – “The more toxic your body becomes, the more difficulty you’ll have losing weight.” We pollute ourselves everyday with all the things around us – and that these substances are stored as fat in our cells. In her book, Gittleman goes in-depth about all the different toxins in our world and how they affect our health and our weight – from the foods we eat to the water we drink to the products we use in our homes and places of business.
Many people who are considered obese or overweight are not really suffering from simply being fat – they are suffering from toxin overload in their cells. More than sixty different diseases are tied to being overweight. The United States has some of the highest obesity rates in the world. Over 60 percent are overweight and at least 30 percent of adults are obese. Nearly 20 million children are also in that category.
A well-known author and one of the country’s most respected nutritionists, Gittleman offers a treatment of detoxification that is thorough and easy to understand. Using whole, traditional foods, she will expertly guide you through a straight-forward detoxification that includes a healthy diet designed to support your nutritional and health needs before, during, and after the detox. The plan she has created involves an 11-day regimen where only one of those days requires fasting. Fasting is an ancient and timeless practice used by peoples all around the planet as a means to encourage the body to purge unwanted substances and return to a state of health. The remaining days include a diet replete with real, whole foods to boost your metabolism and continue the process of removing dangerous toxins from your body that are ruining your health.
How does detoxing work?
One of the basic premises of detoxing is giving up certain foods and beverages in your diet in order to allow your body to purge the unhealthy substances it is holding onto – and with the intent that you will not just abandon these foods for the detox, but that you will embrace this new way of eating, a lifestyle we will call it, for the remainder of your earthly days. After all, leaving these foods behind only for the purposes of detoxing defeats the purpose of the important work you will do for your body. It would only undermine your efforts and cause you to have to start over. What a waste of time, money, and health! Instead of the unhealthy choices, then, you replace (hopefully for good) the food you’ve been eating with nutrient dense, organic, whole, traditional foods.
What foods do you have to give up? Processed, industrially-produced, nutritionally-empty foods including, but not limited to:
- processed grain products like pasta, crackers, most breads, packaged cereals
- food bars
- bottled dressings and sauces
- sugary beverages (including juice)
- processed dairy including milk, cheese, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt
- industrially-produced factory meats, fish, poultry, and eggs
- conventionally-grown produce (fruits and vegetables)
- any other food that is processed or contains chemicals or toxins (read labels and avoid foods in packages, cans, or boxes)
If this sounds difficult to do, consider the alternative which is living a life filled with health issues and disease. Which would you choose?
Colon health support is important
Make sure you are getting enough fiber Fiber supports the function your colon was intended to doThere are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Insoluble fiber carries out toxins with it (fecal matter) when it goes. Here are some good insoluble fiber sources: whole grains, vegetables, seeds, lignans, cellulose, and bran.
Soluble fiber is softer and can be dissolved in water. This type of fiber boosts our supply of friendly bacteria in the digestive tract, helping our system maintain proper digestion and immune function. Good sources for soluble fiber include: fruits, legumes and oats (soaked overnight in purified water and whey, kefir, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice), and some raw nuts and seeds (soaked and dehydrated). Fiber is important because it helps the body to slow down our metabolization of food which in turn balances our blood sugar. Fiber also insures the food goes through our digestive tract at a rate fast enough to prevent food from rotting and building up toxins. If you have ever doubted, do not now – adequate fiber prevents heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, and many other health problems.
If you believe the health of your colon doesn’t affect your overall health, consider the rising number of incidences of digestive diseases such as IBS, celiac disorder, Crohn’s, and irritable bowel, not to mention colon cancer. Colon cancer in people under 50 is actually on the increase – despite the recommendation by physicians for patients to receive colon screenings and tests. And remember that when doctors do find cancer in colon screenings, the solution offered is usually drugs or surgery. Drugs and surgery are not going to solve the inherent problem that is causing the cancer – they will only temporarily diffuse those issues, and in most cases, make problems worse by destroying the immune system.
Rarely is much emphasis placed on a truly healthy diet and lifestyle. It should be obvious that if you have a blocked colon (and most people in developed countries do), your health cannot function optimally. As a result, if you do not take care in what you eat, you will suffer from these illnesses.
Liver support is critical too
Your liver is the largest organ in your body, and must conduct an enormous amount of filtering of toxins to keep your body healthy. If you have a clogged colon, your liver will have to deal with more toxins that are absorbed into your bloodstream because your colon cannot adequately perform its own function. This is when the liver becomes overloaded and health issues take over. And this is also where weight gain can occur.
What types of foods support liver function? Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli sprouts. Then there’s the green leafies like chard, kale, parsley, beet greens, collard greens, escarole, dandelion and mustard greens. Citrus fruits are important too – lemons, oranges, and limes. You also need foods containing sulfur such as onions, raw garlic, daikon radish, and eggs. Finally, you need to include other foods like artichoke, celery, asparagus, beets, whey, dandelion root tea, and nutritional yeast flakes.
So how do you lose toxins, maintain health, and also lose weight?
- You must be willing to detox yourself and rid your body of the harmful chemicals that are keeping you from health and your optimal weight.
- You must be willing to give up processed foods, and learn about and eat healthier choices – grass-fed meats and pasture-raised poultry, organically produced fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, unpasteurized raw dairy products from a safe source, and naturally fermented foods with probiotics like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and lacto-fermented vegetables.
- You must be willing to look at getting healthy as a holistic activity – that everything you do affects your body and your weight. If you are only willing to cut out a couple of things and keep everything else the same, your chances of success will be low.
- You must be willing to commit yourself to a lifestyle change after detox. The detox is just the beginning, not a one-time activity you engage in and then return to old habits. For most people, one detox is not going to do the trick, either. A lifetime of poor eating habits and bad nutrition pollute our bodies to such an extent that we need a great deal of detoxing. Health maintenance and support relies on your promise to your body and yourself to make permanent changes necessary to maintain health that will bring about wellness you never realized could be possible.
This is why in any lifestyle change plan, your goal should not be to lose weight – it should be to remove toxins and become healthier. As a result of doing this, you will lose weight if your body needs to do so – and it will be a natural by-product of elminating all the toxic chemicals residing in your tissues and cells causing you illness, disease, and yes, inability to maintain your natural weight. If you continue to engage in fad diets to lose weight, you will constantly be battling health problems and you will never be able to really lose the weight you want.
For more information on toxins and chemical loads in the body and our environment, read Your Toxic Load: How Does it Affect Your Health?
For more information on cleansing and detoxification, read How Cleansing Positively Affects Your Health