Tag Archives: detox program

Introduction to Blue-Green Algae (an overview)

According to science, this world we live in has existed for about 4.5 billion years; spinning in space while continuously evolving, giving us life as we know it today. Suddenly, almost miraculously, something fascinating happened! Approximately 3 billion years ago, a single celled micro-organism began an incredible journey, exploding into a diverse biota of blue-green algae; commonly known today as marine or aquatic phytoplankton.

Well over 70% of our earth’s oxygen supply comes from these microscopic organisms. They possess a unique and amazing ability to utilize the energy of sunlight to drive the process of photosynthesis which in turn synthesizes oxygen…and without oxygen, life on our planet would be absolutely impossible.

Although I am using the term “blue-green algae,” (aka, chlorella and spirulina and their kin) they are actually cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are classified as bacteria because their genetic material is not organized in a membrane-bound nucleus. And, unlike other types of bacteria, they contain chlorophyll and use the sun as their energy source, in much the same way plants and other forms of algae and seaweed do.

So it comes as no surprise that because of blue-green algae’s evolutionary history and its longevity, a huge amount of interest and science has been directed towards aquatic phytoplankton over these past thirty to forty years. And this research is not just conducted by oceanographic and other aqua explorers. Forty years ago, when the research began, it was preliminary, mostly based on supposition and anecdotal evidence about the potential health benefits of using phytoplankton as a viable food source.

But now, the most recent findings are nothing short of incredible! Advanced molecular technology shows that these ‘plankton’, also contain an array of the most potent and powerful biological substances known to mankind; being of great benefit to our bodies as well as our earth.

Blue-green algae is unparalleled in the animal and plant kingdoms because of its biological efficiency and effectiveness, delivering the highest vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content per gram than almost any other substance known! These humble phytoplankton continue to amaze and inspire scientists and laypeople alike…They contain up to 60% protein by weight, compared to 22% for beef, and please keep in mind, that once beef is even slightly cooked, it contains 50% less protein leaving only 11%! Heating, frying, grilling, basically adding any high heat, even for a short amount of time, destroys almost all of the protein content found in animal and fish meats.

Another (relatively new) discovered fact, is that they are now considered a “complete” protein source; containing all nine of the essential amino acids that we cannot produce in our own bodies, and these amino acids are contained in great abundance in every single cell of these phytoplankton. Additionally they include almost every other element in the “Periodic Table of Elements;” each one in proper balance and totally bio-available to your body, almost instantly upon ingestion!

From a biological standpoint, they are the richest, most nutritionally dense food source on the planet. It’s no wonder then that people’s lives and their health have been transformed forever, when they begin supplementing with blue-green algae on a regular, daily basis!

This begs the question of why we don’t hear much about this, if only for our own health. Well, one primary reason is the harvester/producers don’t have as big a voice, lobbying power or nearly as much money, as the dairy, beef, and poultry industries have! Another reason may be that these potent micro-organisms just don’t seem as appetizing or as friendly to eat” to the modern day palate, especially when compared to most of the other things people are tempted to eat. Most people prefer their food cooked (or dead) before they eat it, even if it’s a powerful and nutritious substance that might well be the key to attaining and maintaining optimal health.

Today, some forty years later, through science and technology we’re finally discovering the truth about these “aquatic phytoplankton.” Chlorella, spirulina and other blue-green algae may just become the next “evolutionary” food, while at the same time, becoming our most effective agent for fighting disease. We currently live in a chemical world, and we’re confronted by toxins everywhere we go. Fortunately, these microscopic miracles are also known to be powerful natural detoxifiers, and purifiers; they can even eliminate radiation and heavy metal toxins from deep within our bodies, down to a cellular level.

One of the best products on the market today is E3live – a type of “wild” blue-green algae known as Aphanizomenon Flos-Aqua (AFA for short) that grows in the glacier fed Klamath Lake in Oregon, which is extremely mineral rich. E3Live, is a wild-grown, organic, USDA approved, certified kosher liquid super-food that has more blood-building, oxygen-attracting chlorophyll than any other food substance. It has every mineral, all the B vitamins including Vitamin B12 (human active) and is a complete protein. E3Live%

Summer – The Time for Healthy, Cleansing Foods

Everyone knows summer is the season of the sun, outdoor activities, and vacations. Summer is also the best season for plenty of good healthy, detox foods. All produce is best when we can find and buy it locally grown and in its freshest state, which supports both our community and the environment. In most of North America summer is the season of fresh fruit and vegetables, including those nutritionally dense greens (Mustard/Turnip/Collard Greens, Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Arugula, etc.) and wonderful herbs (Basil, Thyme, Parsley, Oregano, Mint & Rosemary, etc.).

Visit your local produce stand or farmers market and choose from the variety of fruits and veggies straight from the field, and often picked that very morning. These local harvests contain a great deal more nutrients than the store bought varieties. Filling your refrigerator with the foods listed below insures your body is filled with all the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients it needs. Additionally, these wonderful nourishing foods, when eaten fresh off the farm have awesome detoxing properties.

Here’s a list of healthy choices, easy to find, nutritious and delicious summer detox foods. Try to incorporate as many as possible into each week through daily planning of meals you make yourself, for yourself and/or to share with your friends and family…


Berries (Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries & Blackberries are the most popular) and are some people’s favorite summer food. Oftentimes it’s possible to pick local and fresh from the “pick your own” farms in your neighborhood. Berries are an awesome way to start your day; they are light and refreshing and their high water content helps to rehydrate your body after a good night’s sleep. Berries are rich in vitamin C, phytonutrients (cancer fighters), and their rich colors can even help to elevate your mood. They are wonderful for breakfast or as an evening desert.


Cherries are not only rich in flavor; they are also known to contain potent anti-inflammatory properties and are great for gout and arthritis sufferers. They pack high doses of beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate. Cherries also contain high amounts of melatonin which is known to help regulate sleep patterns. Enjoy a small bowl of cherries in the evening an hour or more before bed. They are delicious warmed-up slightly with some sliced apples in a pot for desert.

Carrots, Yams & Sweet Potatoes

These rich orange vegetables always add a vibrant dose of color to any meal. Carrots and sweet potatoes not only help add a bit of sweetness to a meal they are loaded with vitamin C and beta carotene, (both powerful antioxidants). These fiber rich vegetables also help to sooth and cleanse the bowel plus they fill you up, boosting your energy levels as well.

Alliums (Onions/Garlic)

Two words that are often used to describe garlic and onions are pungent and aromatic. These are wonderful foods to add to any dish and can be enjoyed either raw or cooked. Both onions and garlic are known for their rich content of sulfur compounds (that’s what makes your eyes water when cutting an onion), they are also very active disease fighters and detoxifying agents as well. Onions and garlic both fend off infections and have been used as medicine for centuries. They help to support good bacteria in the bowel, fight cancer cells, kill viruses and bacteria, lower cholesterol and add a nice of flavor to any dish you make.

Dark Leafy Greens

Greens have an excellent reputation for packing in an extreme amount of nutrition in each and every leaf. , rich in vitamins, water and minerals bring energy and cleansing to your body when included in any meal. They are one of the richest sources of the B vitamins, insoluble fiber and phytonutrients; no afternoon or evening meal is complete without some greens, either fresh or lightly steamed on the plate. For vegetarians and those on a plant-based diet they is the best natural source of iron, B12 and folate. Because of their rich fiber content greens are digested slowly, creating nice even blood glucose levels and sustained energy.

Start Your Day Right with “Wake-Up Yoga”

Do you find yourself waking up begrudgingly after repeatedly pressing the snooze button? Well you can turn this around and make starting your day something you want to do; you may find you’re even excited about getting your day started! The first 5-minutes in the morning can provide a critical window of opportunity that might just change your whole day for the better.

When used wisely, those precious few minutes between being in lala-land and getting out of sack can greatly improve your mood, prompt your commitment to eat well, and increase your likelihood to exercise or work out that day; and all this can be accomplished while you’re still in bed! Now that’s a whole lot better than hitting that snooze button one more time, wouldn’t you agree?

Regardless of whether your exercise choice is yoga or not, scientific studies report that if you wake yourself up in a way that stimulates your body’s blood flow, balances your hormonal system and starts the process of detoxification, you’re more likely to continue those healthy habits throughout the day.

If you practice the following sequence, confident of its ability to do the above, you’re sure to shake off the usual sleepiness and generate more energy and alertness, all the while maintaining a calm, centered mind. This practice can make a big difference as to whether you decide to continue on with your morning (or daily) workout, or to skip it.

The key is to begin to move “mindfully” before the mind’s resistance gets involved, and before both eyes are completely open, you’ll already be well on your way to an endorphin-filled morning, kick-starting a more focused, fit, and self-confident day.

Now, isn’t that worth waking up for?

Try practicing the following sequence and judge for yourself…

Laying Goddess Pose

Immediately upon waking, roll over and lie on your back. Place the soles of the feet together and open your knees wide. Rest one hand on your lower abdomen and the other one over your chest as you begin to take slow, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. When inhaling, expand your body so both hands rise. Retain the inhaled air for a few seconds, then relax and let your exhale happen naturally and your hands fall back down. At the end of your exhale, contract your diaphragm gently pressing the remaining air out of your lungs. Retain the exhale for a few seconds. Repeat this for 10 breaths.

Happy Baby

Next you begin to work the kinks out of your lower back by drawing your knees up and back beside your ribcage. Once your knees are in position, press your hips towards the mattress, so your butt doesn’t lift up, and then draw the knees down as far as they will comfortably go by pulling with your fingers around your big toes (you can also pull on the outer sides of the feet or behind your knees). Hold for 5-10 breaths.

Supported Shoulderstand

Take a pillow and bend your knees to lift your hips and place the pillow underneath. To effectively detox, your legs and hips must be elevated above the heart and your heart above your head. If more pillows are needed, keep them nearby. Lift your legs into the air, or rest them on your bed board or the wall for more support. Hold for 10 breaths or more.

Seated Eagle

Slowly roll over onto your right side, and gently press yourself up into a cross-legged easy pose. Wrap your right elbow over your left, bend your arms and touch left fingers to (or towards) your right palm. Lift up your elbows to shoulder height, while droping the shoulders. Maintain a long spine, for 3-4 breaths and then try rounding the spine, chin towards chest, to stretch and flex your upper back. Take 5-10 breaths while in this position, then uncross your arms, reverse and repeat with left elbow on top.

Seated Twist

Remain seated in the easy pose and relax returning to a “neutral” spine, then place your left hand onto your right knee. Reach your right arm high into the air while inhaling, and focus on keeping the spine extended, exhale and begin to turn your chest, right shoulder and head to the right. Slowly circle your right arm behind you with your fingertips down. During each inhale maintain the length of your torso, and while exhaling you’ll be able to gently “spiral” through the heart and neck as you stretch, flex, tone and spark your energy level.

Take 5-10 breaths, reverse and repeat.

Fists Forward Bend

Following your seated twist, swing your legs off the bed and slowly stand up with slightly bent (not locked) knees. Make fists and place them in the opposite elbows (bent elbows and closed fists trigger your body to automatically release tension in the back muscles). Fold over your bent legs, and totally relax your back, shoulders and head. Breathe deeply here, feeling any unwanted tension being released and draining into the floor. Note: This is a great pose to do at work, or anytime you’re feeling an energy crash and you need a boost! Remain in this pose for one minute, and then slowly roll to standing, reaching overhead for a full body, stretching inhalation or two. You should now be ready for your morning practice or workout, or to just go start your day.

Could Yoga Practice Cause Your Skin to Break Out?

Yoga as a therapeutic practice will encourage the process of detoxification. Hot yoga in particular really prompts a release of toxins into the bloodstream for elimination. In the long-run, this is very beneficial for your skin. But in the short-term, you might ask “what gives?” Yoga’s supposed to make me healthy not cause my skin to break out?

Since the skin is the largest organ in your body, and is also one of the key organs involved in detoxification, it’s not uncommon for your face, chest and back to show signs of the cleansing process. If you’ve been experiencing unexpected breakouts after starting a yoga practice or even when coming back to yoga after a break, these uninvited eruptions may well be a result of the detoxification process. Not to worry, this is not uncommon, and it’s is a good sign that the bodily changes yoga is making are having a positive impact on you. If you’re a bit toxic and your body is releasing a lot of toxins all at once, faster than your eliminatory organs (especially the skin) can get rid of them, then these organs will be a bit overwhelmed, but rest assured, this is a temporary situation and there are a few things you can do to avoid excessive or prolonged breakouts:

•First and foremost, eat well: A clean diet is the key; so avoid refined sugars, saturated fats/partially hydrogenated oils, fast foods and most highly processed foods. Replace these foods with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, organic whenever possible and practical.

•Remain well hydrated: Drink plenty of water! It will help flush out those toxins so they don’t get stuck in the sebaceous glands of your skin (the main cause of acne & other breakouts).

•Make sure you always use your own yoga mat: Shared yoga mats are a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. Bring your own yoga mat and keep it clean; use a natural mat cleaner after every practice

•Wash your face and hands often: After a sweaty yoga session, wash your face and hands with mild soap and water to fresh and clear. If this is not always possible, keep packs of facial cleansing wipes in your yoga bag, then you won’t have any excuses.

A real detox reaction may last from a few days to a week, and at the very worst shouldn’t last for more than two to three weeks. Then of course, over time, yoga will work to improve your skin. Here’s a couple yoga poses that can help promote a fresh complexion and vibrant skin tone…

•Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend): Sit on the floor on a folded blanket with your legs extended. Inhale, bending your right knee and drawing your heel back toward your groin. Rest your right foot against the inside of your left thigh. Lay your outer right leg on the floor, with your shin at a right angle to your left leg. Press your right hand against your inner right thigh and your left hand on the floor beside your hip. Exhale and turn your torso to the left, reaching to grasp your left foot in your right hand. Inhale and lengthen through the top of your head, twisting further to the left. Reach your left hand to the outside of your left foot, exhaling as you bend forward to touch your nose to your knee. Hold for up to one minute, then release on an exhalation. Repeat on the other side.

•Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist): Sit on the floor or your mat with legs extended. Bend your knees, sliding your left foot under your right and laying the outside of the left leg on the floor. Step your right foot over your left leg, standing it on the floor outside your left hip, right knee pointed up at the ceiling. Inhale and lift through the top of your head, then exhale, twisting to the right. Press the right hand against the floor behind you, and then position your left elbow on the outside of your right thigh near the knee, upper arm lifted in a wave. Twist your head to look right, or counter-twist it to look left. Hold for up to one minute, lifting with each inhalation and deepening the twist with each exhalation. Release with an exhalation. Repeat on the other side.

*Remember, the health and vibrancy of your skin is directly related to circulation, so poor postural habits that inhibit blood flow to the skin can lead to skin disorders.

Twists are particularly good for increasing circulation to the face and neck because they turn the head, neck and shoulders in relation to the upper back. A few that are recommended for a glowing complexion are:

•Bharadvajasana (Bharadvaja’s twist)

•Ardha Matsyendrasana (half spinal twist)

•Trikonasana (triangle pose)

* Inversions are another way to increase blood flow to the face. Begin with Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose) and ask your yoga instructor about more inversions that may be helpful.

Last, but not least: But what if you start a yoga practice and your complexion doesn’t clear up, or it gets worse? If your symptoms get worse, that may mean your practice is too vigorous. Having too much heat in the body can impact digestion and irritate the skin. This sometimes happens when you’re forcing your poses, your yoga practice is too challenging or if you’re going through your sequences too quickly. Your breath is probably the best gauge; it should remain constant and smooth. If it isn’t, try slowing down and focusing on relaxation or consult with your yoga teacher.

5 Positive Lifestyle Changes for the New Year (part 1)

Are you in a rut? Are you feeling like you’re losing your “touch”? Is complacency becoming the norm? Maybe what you need are some basic lifestyle changes. In the coming days we will review five suggestions for the New Year to help improve your health and overall wellbeing – helpful advice that may also initiate a sense of self-renewal and give you more energy, which in turn will give you a whole new outlook on life. Here’s part 1 of 5…

1.    Go on a cleanse or detox diet.

Cleansing can be compared to a knife that cuts away much superficiality, getting right to the heart of the matter. Effectively, a cleanse works on deeper levels than most of us realize because it is able to break up our daily patterns, those patterns upon which we have become so dependent (our comfort zones). When those patterns of pleasure or selfish indulgence are disrupted, we are left with our own internal resources. If those resources are bankrupt, then during a cleanse, you may come face to face with a vacuum that only your inner self (Self) can fill.

A proper detoxification program also applies pressure to the physical body and we may be appalled at how much the body will squirm and resist. But it is high time that the body be put in perspective with the role of our own inner (spiritual/essential) self. Cleansing dethrones and places the body under the jurisdiction of our will. It is this creativity of a freed will which lifts us above our animal instincts and releases us from the cages of our monotonous and empty routine.

Cleansing accomplishes two purposes. First, it will reveal how much the physical appetites have taken control of our emotions. And secondly, it will serve in breaking the body’s habitual cravings and the power they hold upon the will.

An extended cleanse (a week or longer) will invariably bring to the surface deep seated fears which affect thinking and decision-making. It does this by challenging that complex human instinct called self-preservation. This instinct has been created in every living thing on earth, including us. But we are able to choose to “recreate” ourselves, building a new life not to be controlled by old habits and base instincts. Because of our ability to make these life changing choices, we will have the power to recreate ourselves into a radiant being of a higher and grander design than that of our former life.

Cleansing compels us to face the chaos of our addictions, compulsive behaviors, depression and internal pain. It’s like pressing the pause button of life, and quietly observing how crazy and detached we have become to who we really are.

So, IMHO, a deep bodily cleanse will do much more than help us to detox our bodies and lose those extra pounds, it also clears our mind, purifies our soul and frees our spirit for a better reception of the healthy, spiritual life intended for us. This blessing is our birthright and all we have to do is remove the obstacles we have placed in our own way.

Set aside a day, a weekend, a week or even longer to recharge, rejuvenate, and renew yourself. Everyone can benefit from a good cleansing, especially following the holiday season and all its delightful indulgences. It’s a great way to jump-start your body for a more active life, a healthier life.

Keep in mind our bodies are continuously and naturally detoxifying every day. Detoxification is the normal process of eliminating and/or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and even the skin. All the days of our lives our hearts beat nonstop and our lungs breathe in and out continuously; just so our metabolic processes also work continuously, attempting to dispose of wastes and toxic matter as fast as we accumulate it.

Despite all its efforts, the environmental toxins of modern-day life; the pollutants, chemicals, other synthetic substances, are more than the average body can handle. Whenever the body becomes overburdened and doesn’t know what to do with all these foreign substances, it will store them somewhere inaccessible to these regular elimination systems, and to keep us from getting poisoned those toxins start building up in our body fat.

It is common, at this time of the year to feel “congested” or “out of sorts” from too much food or the wrong kinds of food and you may want to consider a good detox program. If your energy seems low, if you’re feeling sluggish or maybe you’ve been taking some medications that have not yet been eliminated from your system, a detoxification regime will probably help you feel better, restoring your health and your sense of wellbeing.


Stay tuned for part 2. – “Improve your dietary choices.”

Yoga & Body Detoxification…

Did you know your body is designed in such a way that it will automatically engage in some form of detoxification every single day? Regular daily yoga practice is one of the best ways to insure that your body remains subtle and as toxin free as possible.

First let’s take a look at how the body actually accomplishes the task of detoxing…

The three main bodily systems employed to get rid of accumulated waste and toxic debris are the circulatory, digestive and lymph systems. Each one of these plays a crucial role in the process. The circulatory system pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen to and carrying waste products away from cells. The digestive system processes the food we eat, separating nutrients from waste and eliminating anything the body doesn’t need. And the lymphatic system collects intracellular fluid from throughout the body and transports it to the lymph nodes where anything harmful (such as bacteria or other contaminants) is removed before the lymphatic fluid is returned back to the bloodstream.

Under optimal conditions, these are robust systems that work well on their own. However, in today’s world, the excessive exposure to both external and internal toxins, the many stresses that are often placed on our lives and an all too often, nutrient-poor diet place an undo demand on these systems, and yoga is an ideal solution to these problems.

How yoga facilitates cleansing

Some forms of vigorous exercise can stimulate all three of these systems of elimination to some extent. But yoga, with its focus on systematically and alternatively stretching and compressing every part of the body, is particularly well-suited to keeping the toxin/waste elimination on par and functioning well.

A well-rounded yoga practice session, engaging every part of the body, facilitates the removal of waste products, including carbon dioxide and lactic acid, and in turn stimulates lymphatic drainage in areas that traditional exercise just doesn’t reach.

Yogic breathing (pranayama) also plays an important role in promoting detoxification. Many people sit with poor posture which impedes the lungs from inflating fully, and our chronic state of low-grade stress often leads to a constricted diaphragm which further inhibits proper breathing. As a result, we aren’t able to take in as much life-sustaining oxygen when we inhale, or expel as much of the potentially hazardous carbon dioxide when we exhale.

Clear your body, clear your mind.

In addition to all the physical benefits of the poses (asanas), yoga aids in mental detoxification as well. Performing yoga helps to purge toxic thoughts by teaching you to move your awareness away from the constant “chatter of the mind” and back to the present “now” moment, a practice that’s not commonly found as a basic component of conventional fitness pursuits.

Furthermore, a regular daily yoga practice helps you to eliminate both the tangible and the intangible toxins that could otherwise keep you from feeling your best and maintaining a state of health and wellness.


Serious Health Threat – Autointoxication

A great reason to embark on a regular cleansing or detox program

People in North America are now beginning to realize that this is the very foundation for holistic nutrition and medicine which is increasingly being practiced here in the west and has been practiced in the orient for thousands of years.

Auto-Intoxication is epidemic in our society, and it has to do with the gastrointestinal diseases that we develop within us as a result of the amounts and types of food that we eat. The human suffering and the social, medical, and economic costs of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders that have become so common in the US and Canada are nothing short of gargantuan, representing a huge share of our annual health care expenditure, as well as being responsible for a large loss of productivity.

Up to 100 million North Americans suffer from intermittent forms of digestive diseases, and the estimated lost work, lost wages, and medical costs comes to over 50 billion dollars per year. It is also estimated that some 200,000 workers miss work every day due to digestive problems.

Let’s take a minute to discuss Autointoxication

When the eliminatory system of the human body is not in top-notch working order, particularly if it has become sluggish or clogged, it cannot properly process foods and eliminate food wastes and toxins. Medical science has finally acknowledged that 85% or more of all adult Americans suffer from some form of intestinal stasis (i.e., constipation, sluggish bowels, IBS, etc.). This virtually guarantees toxic build-up in the colon which, over time, inevitably results in one or more forms of serious illness or chronic degenerative disease. Intestinal stasis sooner or later causes the wastes and toxic by-products from the foods we eat to build up to such an extent that they start to become putrefactive. In turn, this putrefactive build-up in the colon becomes a veritable breeding ground, encouraging the rapid growth of huge colonies of toxin-producing, disease-causing bacteria (e-coli is one good example) along with a host of known toxic chemicals and waste products.

When the digestive and eliminative systems are not properly working to rid the body of this accumulating putrefactive build-up in the colon, the resulting toxins are then absorbed from the colon into the bloodstream, and are carried back into every part of the body. This process of self-poisoning is known as “auto-intoxication”. In a nutshell, because of intestinal stasis, the body ends up chronically poisoning itself with its own wastes and toxins instead of carrying out its designed purpose of eliminating them.

This process of continued self-poisoning inevitably results in candidiasis and a dramatically weakened immune system, which can lead directly to such common ill-health conditions as chronic fatigue and body weakness, nervousness, depression and mood swings, skin disruptions such as acne, rashes and boils, ulcers and other gastro-intestinal disorders, headaches, arthritic joints, swelling of hands and feet, chronic allergies, bronchial problems, cardio-vascular irregularities (arrhythmias, high blood pressure, etc.), pathological changes in the breasts, premature senility, epilepsy, and many other serious and debilitating problems.

Health statistics also show that more North Americans are hospitalized due to diseases of the intestinal tract than for any other group of disorders. The medical costs of these diseases are estimated to be $20 billion or more per year.

The annual cost of prescription and over-the-counter drug products used for digestive tract diseases is approximately $2 – 2.5 billion dollars per year, and has grown at a steady rate of 10% over the last decade.

The following is an estimate of some of the most common costs, and adequately demonstrates the fact that these diseases present a significant public health problem, which contribute substantially to our overall health care costs:

  • Laxatives – $900 million per year.
  • Antacids – $1 billion per year.
  • Antihemorrhoidals – $250 million per year.
  • Anridiarrheals – $100 million per year.

Cancer of the colon and cancer of the rectum are the second most common forms of cancer in North America, exceeded only by lung cancer. This year alone there will be approximately 150,000 new cases diagnosed, and approximately 60,000 related deaths. Perhaps as many as one out of every 10 North Americans will die of these two diseases.

The following are some of the other very common diseases and disorders that are directly related to the Colon: Constipation, Appendicitis, Gastritis, Diverticular Disease, Hemorrhoids, Benign Tumors, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease.

Because the body is amazingly resilient, impaired digestion, poor absorption and a general deterioration of the intestinal tract can go for years without producing any definitive symptoms. When symptoms first appear they are usually general and non-specific and can include: decreased energy, headache, fatigue, reduced resistance to infections and minor digestive problems, such as bloating, gas, belching, indigestion and constipation. Most of us either ignore these early manifestations of bowel dysfunction or suppress them with antacids, gas relievers, laxatives and numerous other drugs peddled by the pharmaceutical industry.

As the bowel function continues to deteriorate, other serious (but seemingly unrelated) problems may appear. They range from asthma and allergic reactions to arthritis and cancer. They include auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and lupus. Chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and hives are also common.

In short, faulty digestion, poor absorption, altered intestinal permeability, bacterial imbalance and massive amounts of auto-intoxication can be traced to most chronic conditions known today. Some of us may not develop serious life-threatening diseases from the intestines, but almost all of us will suffer from auto-intoxication caused by fecal matter buildup. The risk increases with every passing year as we consume more meat, white flour, refined sugars, saturated fats, coffee, antibiotics and prescription drugs.

The Basics of Cleansing & Detoxification

As a follow-up to the last blog post “Are You Addicted to Food?”  this article will focus on detoxification as a means to break that vicious cycle and embark on the path to optimal health and wellness. Note: In the following text the words detoxification (or detox) and cleansing are interchangeable.

Cleansing is like a knife that cuts away much superficiality, getting right to the heart of the matter. Effectively, any good detox program will work on deeper levels than most of us realize because they are able to break up our daily patterns; those patterns upon which we have become so dependent (our comfort zones). When those patterns of pleasure or selfish indulgence are disrupted, we are left with our own internal resources. If those resources are bankrupt during a cleanse you will come face to face with a vacuum that only your inner self (or Divine Providence) can fill.

Any of these detox programs will shake up the physical body, and we may be appalled at how much the body will squirm and resist. But it is high time that the body be put in perspective with the role of our own inner (spiritual/essential) self. Cleansing dethrones and places the body under the jurisdiction of our will. It is this creativity of a freed will which lifts us above our animal instincts and releases us from the cages of our monotonous and empty routines.

In addition to eliminating toxins from the body, cleansing accomplishes two purposes that many are unaware of. First, it will reveal how much the physical appetites have taken control of our emotions. And secondly, it will serve in breaking the body’s habitual cravings and the power they hold upon the will.

You may be surprised at how much your body can detoxify itself in only 24 hours, and a longer cleanse (of three days or more) will invariably bring to the surface deep seated fears which affect thinking and decision-making. It does this by challenging that complex human instinct called self-preservation. This instinct has been created in every living thing on earth, including us. But, we are able to choose to “recreate” ourselves, building a new life which will not be controlled by old habits and base instincts. Because of our ability to make these life changing choices, we will have the power to recreate ourselves into a radiant being of a higher and grander design than that of our former life.

Cleansing compels us to face the chaos of addictions, compulsive behaviors, depression and internal pain. It’s like pressing the pause button of life, and quietly observing how crazy and detached we have become to who we really are.

So, more than help us to detox our bodies and lose those extra pounds, a good cleansing also clears our mind, purifies our soul and frees our spirit for a better reception of the healthy, spiritual life intended for us. This blessing is our birthright and all we have to do is remove the obstacles we have placed in our own way.

*In conclusion: There are a lot of analogies that could be drawn in regard to cleansing and spirituality. We prune our trees, weed our gardens, separate the wheat from the chaff, etc., etc. Its human nature to think of getting “there” because we are “here” and “here” is not as good as “there”. So if we are overweight, we want to be slim. If we are profane, we want to be divine. We want an instant cure, an instant shapely body, an instant awakening. But, ask yourself, what about the enjoying the trip, what about rejoicing in the process? This is what cleansing AND spirituality both have in common.

Mother Nature and Divine Grace give us opportunity to learn from the simplest things. Take an apple tree for example, it lies barren for the winter, leaves and flowers appear in the spring, the flowers develop small fruits which grow until they’ve reached their optimal size…then they RIPEN! How cool is that?

Are we satisfied being mere trees? When cleansing our bodies we begin to flower; literally, we begin to give off a fragrance, a beauty, a radiant quality, and then if we continue to heal and nourish ourselves the way nature intended…we too will RIPEN! When fully ripe we are truly receiving our Creator’s blessing and then we become a blessing to others.

In summary, cleanse to heal, heal to nourish, nourish to grow, grow to ripen, ripen to receive our inherent blessing and then become an instrument of that blessing to help others. This is a way I see it possible to save ourselves, and in turn to save the world.


Are You Addicted to Food – Think Again

The silent epidemic of food addiction has become a worldwide problem, and if you answered the title question “yes” and are indeed addicted to food, (as most of us are, or were at one time), the blame does not rest entirely on your shoulders but there is still much you can do about it.

A little research shows that food addiction is similar to drug and alcohol addiction.  Very often for a food addict, processed foods, refined sugars, factory farmed meats and saturated/trans fats become what alcohol is to the alcoholic, or cocaine to the cocaine addict.

When eating food in these groups, the addict sets the phenomenon of “craving” into motion.  Like the drug addict, the food addict experiences withdrawal when attempting to cut down on the foods that trigger cravings.  They can experience both physical and emotional withdrawal such as tremors, cramps, depression, teary periods and even self-hatred.

Food manufacturers have done an exquisite job of recognizing and tapping into our cravings, using persuasive ads and alluring packaging to keep their products tumbling into our shopping carts. These foods contain chemical compounds that stimulate the brain’s secretion of opiate-like, “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which drive our cravings for them.

One way to end the dependence on these trigger foods is to complete a good Detox Program. Once the addictive substances are out of the body, the physical cravings leave and the struggle isn’t as bad as it once was. These physical cravings do subside and you will have a second chance; and a choice whether to reintroduce the foods that caused the problems in the first place back into your diet. The emotional and mental cravings will still be lurking in the background, but with the establishment of a healthy diet and a lifestyle committed to changing old habits they will eventually be overcome.

Food addiction is hard to break, and in addition to the lack of cooperation from the commercial food industry and our elected officials we have other issues to deal with. For one, food is socially acceptable and people reward themselves for almost every imaginable occasion by indulging. We are encouraged (at least here in the US) to show how much we appreciate a meal by the amount we eat. We are taught to “clean up our plates” at every meal. Fast foods are all too convenient in this busy world, but even if we go to a decent sit down restaurant, we can almost guarantee we will be over served; with the average main course totaling  1000 calories or more; and that does not count drinks, salad, appetizers or desert.

Just watch the movie “Woodstock” or any of the music videos from the early 70’s and it’s amazing, – you can’t find any obese people in the audiences; check out the average concert audience today! This is what is happening to America. Let’s get ourselves right, keep ourselves right and then help others to get a grip!

In conclusion: Habitual eating patterns are hard to break and like almost all addictions they’re based on some sort of association and this is often below the radar of our conscious attention. Food frequently reinforces our comfort zones and makes us feel good, so when we want to relax or break free of stress we often grab a bite to eat.

One of the best practices to break this trend is the Buddhist practice of “Mindfullness” or conscious attention. Bringing “Mindfulness” into play before we put anything in our mouths helps us to learn to attune to our bodies and distinguish between real physical hunger (where your stomach is rumbling and you physically need to eat) and psychological hunger (where cues such as emotions, settings, social occasions and sights and smells of food encourage you to eat). Physical hunger is a useful and appropriate cue to eat – psychological hunger is not.

“Mindfulness” also enables us to eat much slower, actually savoring and thoroughly enjoying each bite of food. Eating in this manner gives our brain time to register the sense of fullness. It is a proven fact that it takes about 20 – 30 minutes for our brains to register this sense of fullness, no matter how much we put in our stomachs during that time. People who eat slowly and mindfully are much less likely to overeat.