Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Daniel Fast - Is It God's Perfect Eating Plan?

The Daniel Fast is gaining in popularity with Christian believers and fans of Rick Warren.

Currently I am reading/praying/meditating through the Transformation series by Warren, and see that the Daniel Fast is mentioned in week 2. It is being highly recommended as the next small group focus. I am always skeptical of diets - South Beach, Paleo, WW, you name it...and now, the Daniel Plan is brought to my attention.

Three years ago I asked God to direct me in regaining my health, which I did, having lost 80 lbs and maintained, and reversed a number of health concerns. My goal was to restore the Temple of the Spirit, and honor God with my body and choices as a steward of His property. I called it the "Temple Restoration Project", and was successful - becasue God was with me on the journey. It was He who helped me resist temptation. It was He who filled my head with knowledge, helping me to discern fads from long term healthy living choices. It is He who I am able to please, with my own heatlh restored, as I serve others who struggle and sincerely desire to restore their earthly temple for the Indwelling.

 During my journey, which has been continual since 2010, I have read a lot on cancer prevention and foods to avoid, which was just as important as weight loss for me. My husband has also joined me on my health journey. We are  a Rx and OTC free household now, and have been for years - using God's medicines - which is whole food nutrition based on plants. Because of our health we save a lot of money on what we previously may have spent on Rx, OTC, doctor visits - it pays off to shop the perimeter of the grocery store and also compare prices. It may require sacrifice - fewer DVDs purchased or movies. Ask yourself, what is your health priority?

I have NO DOUBT that people will lose weight in their 30 day challenges, or diet plans - because one is making a conscience effort to restrict their diet, caloric intake, thereby losing weight. With or without special supplements, you are going to lose weight.  The BIG question is...will you keep it off? Is the plan you are incorporating a plan that can become a lifestyle ...a habit?

Can you eat Paleo for the rest of your life and live healthily? I question those that incorporate a lot of meat into their daily consumption. Even organic, animal foods are acidic based.  Sure, you will lose weight, have muscle mass...but what is going on in your body on a cellular level? Iron toxicity is real, and builds up in the body...and studies are linking iron toxicity to breast cancer. A primarily meat-eating diet may not manifest until you are in your 60s.  At least Paleons promote organic choices, which is wise.

In reviewing the Daniel Fast....on line recipes, the second one I looked at, contained canola oil, which is a red flag for me. It is not only processed, but genetically modified.  We did not have GMO foods back in the days of Daniel. Whole wheat is listed in a flat bread recipe? Organic? It would be better to list Spelt, a wheat that can be traced back to biblical times - prior to the GMO introduction into our food chain in 1983.

Several foods on the Daniel approved list concern me - in particular soy, whole grains containing gluten, which can cause sensitivities and contribute to health issues and often do not manifest as full blown allergies.
Canola oil, an unhealthy oil (it has been hyped as healthy to create a market for the crop), is listed in a recipe. Canola is an Omega 6 (our ratio of heart healthy O3 to O6 is greatly skewed in this country), it is a heavily genetically modified crop, and the process to make canola oil is far from healthy. Using canola oil does not avoid the chemicals in the food, and avoiding chemicals is a part of the Daniel plan.

We utilize only organic coconut oil and EVOO in our kitchen. If we do use sesame or seed/nut oils they should be freshly ground to avoid free radicals from developing.

Organic fermented soy should be limited to twice weekly as it is naturally high in glutamates, and contributes to thyroid issues and hormonal imbalances. It is also being linked to having an affect on memory as one ages, due to glutamates which build up  as an "excitotoxiin" in the brain, per Dr. Russell Blaylock..

Corn - another major GMO food. Our son is an example of the difference non-GMO can make. We eat pretty clean - and he is 16. Sixteen year old boys eat a lot - so corn chips are gluten free and relatively inexpensive. His acne was prevalent however. I read about the effects of GMO on the skin. We switch to ogranic corn chips and the his skin cleared up dramatically. If teh store runs out of organic (which they do) - the acne worsens.

Canned vegetables are also in Daniel Fast recipes - which may contain aluminum - especially acidic vegetables. I highly recommend buying  canned foods in glass jars whenever possible, tomatoes in particular.

I see that the list is being edited, and I would encourage Daniel Fast writers to look into these concerns and consider altering the approved food list.

For those who need a quality vegan protein powder during the Daniel Fast - I use one that is completely balanced and pure, ie free of trace metals. Because it is cold processed - it is also NOT exposed to the harsh chemicals that protein isolates are usually subjected to in the manufacturing process.  It is gluten, dairy, soy free, AND low glycemic. Quality exists, but it is hard to find. If you click on the orange 5 box" at upper right of my blog it will take you to the site from which we order our vegan protein powder. Feel free to ask questions...a comparison to other proteins (both cost and ingredients is available) and most people choose to shop at discounts. I may consider sending a sample if asked.

There is no doubt in my mind, that the Daniel Fast is a fast of discipline and obedience to the Lord. In that regard - it is a faith based, grounded plan.  Having the Lord join me in my own journey made all the difference in the world between success and failure. Pray earnestly, ask Satan to get behind you when tempted... allow the Spirit to work in you and give you discernment for healthy choices so that you can restore His temple.

All the best to everyone participating in the Daniel Fast - even though I would alter the plan for my personal concerns - any step you make towards incorporating an alkaline based diet will go a long ways to reducing body inflammation and helpiing you become more healthy so you can have the energy to carry out God's purpose in your life.

To your health,
Rita S.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Herbal Tea Sore Throat Remedy

Sore throat? Thought I would share a brew inspired by a combination of  holistic heatlh news, books...ideas from here and there...
I made this a week ago when my 11 year old came down with a sore throat.  Truth? Kids don't like the smell of vinegar. I offered to add more honey, but she told me it would not make the vinegar smell go away.  If this happens to you....don't give up.  What I have noticed is that our daughter is usually resistant at least once to one of my healthy "concoctions", but warms to the idea when she mentally grasps the idea that it can help her feel better sooner vs. later.
Because she rejected my brew...I drank it.  I have to agree, smelling apple cider vinegar in your drink is probably an acquired taste.  I will say that EVERYONE in my household came down with the virus that begins with a sore throat, except for myself.

Brew an 8 oz mug of Arbonne detox tea (which has milk thistle for liver support), ECGC  (potent antioxidant), addtional beneficial herbs, free of trace metals (which can be a challenge to find a pure tea, even organic) - allow the tea to cool.

To the cooled tea add
- 1 T. of Bragg's organic apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 lemon - freshly squeeze juice
- pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
- pinch of ground turmeric
- organic honey or agave nectar to taste
-3 drops Ultra Collodial Silver (kills bacteria)
and/or 2 drops of Essential oil of Marjoram

This brew will soothe the throat, packs a power anti oxidant punch, and helps to kill bacteria. May need to drink several times at day at early onslaught of a sore throat.

One other tip to stay ahead of the cold and flu season... we drink AB Anti Oxidant Immunity Boosters - daily, once someone in our home gets sick.  This virus that has gone through our home in the last two weeks is actually the first time in two years that I can recall anyone being sick for more than 24 hours. I admit, we did run out of our kids vitamin chews and Vitamin D/B12 spray....just long enough for our immune systems to be compromised and allow the virus to take hold.

I guess it pays to do autoship this time of year on certain immune support supplements, but we are back in the game...  If you have a child approved sore throat remedy that is all natural, herbal based I would love to hear it.

To your health,
Rita S.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Colon Cancer Prevention: Part 2

The other day I started a post about colon cancer, and included what studies have found to be causes of the “silent killer”. It is the second most deadly cancer, and my goal today is to help give you ideas on how you might prevent colon cancer through some lifestyle changes. We never appreciate our health until it is gone, so take the information below to heart, and put some thought and reflection into your current lifestyle – are you living to live well?

I utilized a number of sources in pulling together these suggestions – some of it may be old news, some may be new. Here’s to regularity:
1. Fiber Intake  It’s no secret that the American diet lacks fiber. How many of us consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, as recommended? One serving equals one cup of fresh fruit, or a tennis ball sized piece of fresh fruit, or ¼ c. of dried fruit. Dr. Russel Blaylock, a neurosurgen who reports on the latest in holistic cancer research and health news, recommends blenderizing your vegetables. I have found that I can toss frozen cauliflower, broccoli or fresh kale and spinach into my non-soy, vegan vanilla protein shake, with strawberries, and not even taste the “greenies”. 

It is recommended to consume 25-35 grams of fiber per day. One source states women can consume on the low end, and men should be on the high end of that figure. I add 12 grams of soluable Fiber Boost to my protein shake each morning, and actually, since I started putting this article together a few weeks ago I am adding in a bit more. Blaylock does state that all fiber supplements are not necessarily beneficial, and one should look for “resistant starches”. He recommends fiber sources from apple, citrus and lentil peas. Apparently, the pectin from these sources and other fruits, when fermented in the colon produce butyrate, which is vital to the health of the cells lining the colon.

2. Probiotics/Prebiotics/Enzymes A number of studies indicate the importance of healthy gut flora in reducing the risk of colon cancer. Unfortunately, when we take anti-biotics we are killing off our good gut flora as well as the bad. Since our body does not replace probiotics we need to supplement to do so, and find a source that includes a robust strain with prebiotics so it can actually pass through the stomach wall and get into the intestines to do its job. In addition to probiotics and prebiotics, digestive enzymes diminish as we age, and it is important to replace them. A lack of enzymes results in esophageal reflux, and an excess of undigested food in the colon, which increases colon cancer risk.
 3. Omega 3s – studies have shown that a high intake of Omega 3 fats substantially lowers colon cancer risk. The type of fats we consume have a great impact on our chances of developing cancer. Blaylock’s report states that studies have shown that omega-6 fats (corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, peanut, grapeseed?, and canola oils) dramatically increase the risk of colon cancer, and turn existing cancer cells into very aggressive, metastasizing cancers. Blaylock goes on to state that this is evident in all cancers. Americans consume 50% more Omega 6 than are needed for good health. (Considering that almost all processed foods contain Omega 6 this should not come as a surprise, should it?) I have done some research on the vegan (non-animal) Omega 3 oils in the supplement that my family uses: which contains flax seed oil, and DHA from labortory grown sea algae to insure purity and non-ocean pollutants and contamnation/...the more I learned about benefits the more impressed I became. Our omega 3 is more powerful than 4 salmon steaks, as it has a very high ORAC value. What I do know for certain is our Omega 3s helped my husband get off his statin drugs and our joints feel better as well. Omega 3s are necessary for heart, brain, joint health, as well as cancer prevention. It is the single most important supplement you can take in addition to a QUALITY multi-vitamins. (one a day types don't cut it folks!)

4. MODERATE Exercise – walking weight resistance training, raking the leaves and mowing the lawn are all good forms of exercise. And right now, shovelling snow in Wisconsin!  Highly aerobic exercise, per doctors Lee and Blaylock, increase the free radicals and peroxidation in your body, and neither doctor recommends it, especially for cancer patients and survivors. Aerobic activity increases prolonged increases in metabolism – a process which is a major source of these harmful chemicals. Lee had discussed this in further detail in his book about breast cancer, stating that cancer survivors who compete in triathalons and climb mountains are doing themselves more harm than good. 

5. Diet – Avoid processed foods. Learn to read labels – which scream “Good Source of Fiber” only to be laden with refined carbohyrdrates and fats, which are highly inflammatory.  High fructose corn syrup and MSG abounds in processed foods...contributors to cancer and brain and heart related diseases.
Avoid most vegetable oils – known as omega 6 (N-6). These include corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower, peanut and canola. While Omega 6 are needed for health, most people consume 50x more than as needed (common ingredient in processed foods). Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil should be the oils of choice in the “cancer prevention focused kitchen”. If you cook with EVOO sprinkle turmeric and other spices in the oil, and it prevents oxidation. (I like that last tip!)

Avoid these fish – no matter what due to heavy contamination: shark, swordfish, tilefish, and large tuna.

Red meat in moderation – The biggest issue with red meat is the high iron content, which Blaylock labels “a cancer fertilizer”. Iron dramatically increases free radical generation which fuels cancer growth. Note that it is important to avoid supplements with IRON, as we Americans usually don’t have trouble getting enough iron in our diet, but we often have too much. Dr. Graham Colditz of the Washington University School of Medicine, as well as other experts, state to limit red meat to no more than 3, 3 oz. servings per week. So if you go out to dinner on Saturday night and have a 10 oz. sirloin - you have had your week’s consumption of red meat!

6. Metal toxicity – fluoride, aluminum and mercury are three metals that promote cancer, and Dr. Blaylock states they are very toxic to cells, especially brain cells. Black tea, soy milk, processed meats and processed cheese are high sources of aluminum and fluoride in foods. Mercury comes from fish, dental amalgam fillings, and vaccines. I think we’d be surprised to learn of all things we absorb trace metals from, and it is impossible to avoid it 100%. Keep in mind that although the FDA stamps its approval on many things, and manufacturers will state that amounts are too small to be harmful, trace metals in particular are fat soluable. Basically, these toxins build up as they store inside our bodies. 

For this reason, I really do believe it is beneficial to detoxify at least once every 3 mo. My husband and I both use Essentials 7 Day body detox which cleanses and removes trace metals from essential organs, and is gentle as well. Because it contains chlorella, it can also remove mercury toxins, which few body cleanses can do (i.e. your homemade lemon juice and cayenne cannot remove the trace heavy metals).  If I had cancer, I would be detoxing every month, especially because of the effects of traditional cancer treatment.

For a healthful life it would seem all of the recommendations above would be beneficial life practices to incorporate for a lifestyle of wellness. I always recommend taking the road to renewed health, one step at a time.

To your health!
Rita S.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Colon Cancer Prevention: Part 1

A good message is worth repeating.  It has been nearly three years since I originally shared my research on colon cancer prevention. At the time I was pretty nervous about my health. Since that time, I have completely turned my health around. I am no longer nervous, but mindful.  I am aware of what I put in my body, both in my gut and on my skin - as the body is blasted with environmental and estrogenic toxins from many different pathways.

Colon cancer ...not only is it coined “the silent killer”, but according to the American Cancer Society it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. (Moving up from third place in 2007.) For personal reasons, three years ago this was a concern and I began reading quite a bit about this particular cancer, and subsequently made a lifestyle change and incorporated health and wellness products that do not waiver from a pure, safe and beneficial ingredient policy. 

Dr. Robert Russell of Tufts University School of Medicine states that one half the risk of colon cancer is diet related. Changing one’s diet can significantly reduce the risk. I thought I would share some of the steps I have learned one can take to hopefully avoid Colon Cancer. By the time I finished reading from my various sources, this blog post became so long that I feel I must break it up in to two parts. 

So first, some thoughts on causes….

Hormones? In many cases, colon cancer arises from what is known as a polyp, a growth in the colon. I had suspected for some time that colon cancer could be related to hormones. Afterall, if excess estrogen causes cysts in the ovaries, fibroids in the breast, and enlarged prostrate – all forms of excess cell growth, it makes sense to me that excess estrogen also causes the growth of a polyp. In October of 2011 I received affirmation on this theory in reading Dr. Michael Platt's book - The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones. Platt concurs and adds colon cancer to the list of cancers in which too much of the estrogen hormone and too little progesterone play a part. I have since increased my Prolief progesterone cream usage upon hearing this to two metered dosages of 20 mg of USP certified transdermal cream per day.

Hormones are worth mentioning, because let’s face it…we don’t want those other forms of cancers either, do we? I am a believer in the benefits of using a bio-identical progesterone cream that counters excess estrogen in the body.

Inflammatory Diet: Dr. Russell Blaylock states, “As with all cancers, chronic inflammation and free radical generation are the ultimate causes. Those with inflammatory bowel conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease,and Type 2 Diabetes, the latter of which results in high levels of free radicals in the body, have high association with colon cancer risk.”

Lack of Sunshine? Studies show that those who live in the northeastern portion of the U.S. have higher incidence than those who live in the south. Why is this? Vitamin D3 deficiency. Studies show that vitamin D3 inhibits many types of cancer, including colorectal cancers. How do you get your D3 – spend 15 min. a day out in the sun without sunscreen! Tanning bed users beware…it is not the same thing! 
During the winter everyone in my family utilizes a vegan Vitamn D/B12 oral spray supplement. Our added bonus is a strong immune system and and ability to fight of colds and influenza viruses readily.
Calcium deficiency is another mineral shown to dramatically reduce colon cancer. However, per Dr. Blaylock, don’t replace your water intake with milk (which substantially increases the risk of prostrate cancer, and even heart attacks). The almond milk I drink every morning in my alkaline based, yellow pea, brown rice and cranberry based protein drink contains 45% of the daily recommended allowance for calcium, as compared to 30% for skim milk. Also, a calcium supplement (look for calcium citrate for absorbability) that also contains Vitamin D and Magnesium necessary for the body to utilize the calcium, and offers colon health support. I was in Costco and noted the highly marketable chocolate chew form of a calcium supplement (geared towards women of course, who usually take a calcium supplement when older) and I noticed that the product did not contain magnesium. So yes, it may taste good, but your body would not be able to make use of the calcium without magnesium present. Most Americans also have a magnesium deficiency, which is a greater problem than we realize, and common amongst many with cancers.
I use a Calcium Plus product that contains all of these nutrients, and the ORAC value is 8,000! (Which means the actual absorption of the product is phenomenal!

Okay, so now we know we need some sunshine and should avoid inflammatory foods (sugar, wheat, gluten, and dairy products are especially inflammatory). What?! Give up bread and cheese? How unWisconsin like, right? If cancer is diagnosed - no doubt, I would give up sugar, glutenous grains, and dairy - especially if it can mean life or death. But if you are in prevention mode, as I am, it simply means cutting back. Moderation.  Consume 70% GREEN FOODS and it will go a long way in providing oxygen to your cells. My daily goal is to consmer a greater percentage of alkaline based, or plant food, over acidic based foods - primarily sourced from animals.  By the way, the hormonal imbalance can be associated to eating animal based foods from animals that have been fed hormones for faster growth, anti-biotics, fed pesticide/herbicide laden grains/crops.  Know your food sources, befriend a farmer, learn their farming practices.

We need to eat vegetables rich in calcium, or supplement, and strive to balance our hormones, either with diet or utilizing bio-identical supplementation (which is not the same as HRT by any means! If you have been reading this blog a while you are aware, and if not, check the topic cloud at the upper right to learn more.) 

What else can we do to help thwart the “silent killer”? I will be sharing more thoughts on colon cancer prevention very soon. Remember, I am not a doctor, but a holistic health junkie, watching out for myself and my family, and sharinig what I am learning along my path towards a health-centered journey. Take control of your health and READ scientifically accredited studies, research by those in the medical field, and always question what you read.  Can it be backed up, or it is repeated by other sources, etc.

To your health,
Rita S.