Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Food

This was my first white Thanksgiving. Here in Spokane I've had to adjust my climate expectations from the balmy bay area. The snow has been falling since last week more or less, with more to fall over the next three days. It's quite lovely and makes a warm holiday meal that much more satisfying, especially after shovelling a bunch of snow. My biggest worry over the long weekend is that we don't lose power.

Every year about this time I remember a 20/20 I watched many years ago where John Stossel investigated what became of the turkeys that receive a Presidential pardon each year. He was amazed (and so was I) that the ranch they are sent to had very few turkeys enjoying their retirement. These mass bred birds usually die shortly after arriving, most not even able to walk. Why? They have been so hybridized and inbred that they can't survive beyond a year or so. Watching one bird, so oversized, and barely able to walk, I vowed to never eat a typical $.29/lb overgrown bird from the grocery store.

I recently read how most turkeys in the store are injected with saline and flavorings just to cover the usual dry texture and bland taste of these "unnatural" birds. When I've cooked a turkey myself I would usually get a Diestel free range bird or this year it was a Fred Meyer Private Selection Organic. There is now a growing trend to raise the wild varieties of turkey whose numbers are now in some cases close to extinction. The nutritional difference between the wild varieties (what are called heritage birds) and those that are mass raised in feed lots is stark. Not to mention the load of hormones and drugs you get from your "free turkey with a purchase of $50 or more."

Of course our organic bird cost more. But I only do this once a year. So I paid $39 for a 13.5 lb bird compared to $20 for an overgrown behemoth with wings. Would you eat one of these if you had to shoot and clean it and then inject it with flavor enhancers?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

21 Day Detox...... Postscript

There is a reason the 21 Day Detox is 21 days long. It takes about that long to develop new habits. How long they stick depends on how committed you are to setting a new course for your life. How well they stick also depends on how well you followed the diet during the preceding 21 days. If you cut corners, took detours, and didn't fully remove unhealthy foods from your diet, then in the days that follow you will most likely return to those entrenched habits.

I think some people view supplements as "magic." The supplements used in this detox program are food and botanical extracts that support the process, but it's the diet that detoxifies. What is most important and why I've used this program is that it transitions you into a healthy diet for life. That is how you will truly detox and heal.

Unfortunately our society is obsessed with the pursuit of the quick-fix. We want to look good and feel good, but don't want to work too hard or change our habits. It's a personal responsibility thing. If you are trusting someone else to make you well you never will be. It's just like sitting around and playing the lottery with your welfare money, hoping for that big break. It won't ever come. At least not that way.

I'm going to let you in on a deep secret. You don't need to send your money or do another "Race for a cure." We have the cure; we've had it all along. You have the healing power within you and all around you. I'm speaking of the top causes of death here: heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and don't forget nosocomial and iatrogenic causes (death from hospital interventions and acquired infections, prescriptions, and doctor induced).

Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are curable. It simply takes the fortitude and personal responsibility to make the changes necessary... at least before it's too late. Same goes for cancer. The jury is out on how successful you'll be with only alternative treatments once you have cancer. Cancer is apripos to "an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure." Or in this case a milligram of prevention equals a ton of cure..., or no cure at all, just lots of very expensive and toxic chemicals that may or may not prolong your life. But I digress.

I think some people think they are taking responsibility, but fail to think critically. How many times will you seek help from someone that leaves you no better... or worse off? I think others really want to live in denial, afraid to give up what's become what they live for.... lets not mince words, "SUGAR" and "CAFFEINE." Wasn't it Stephen Covey who said, "begin with the end in mind." Do you have a defined purpose for your life? Do you believe your life matters? If not, what is the point of taking personal responsibility for it?

On the other hand you may be sincerely wanting to be healthy. You may be listening to your doctor, getting your flu shot, keeping your little one on schedule and yet you and your kids never seem to be fully well.

My path has led me to conclude that much of our modern culture has a flawed view of health and what constitutes good healthcare. Many of us live off balance from creation or nature. We live addictive lives. To change requires filling your mind with knowledge, translated into action and application (wisdom). Left to our deep-seated habits and biological instincts within our modern milieu of industrialized food conveniences, we will not reach our true potential.

So my day after the 21 day detox was not unlike the day before. I skipped the shakes, but made homemade split pea soup and yogurt whole-grain bread, warm out of the oven with melted organic unsalted butter. I move onward, ready to do battle against sugar, unnatural fats, and toxic food additives. Thankfully, I love real food and I learned to cook. And thanks Mom for making me eat my veggies.

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.
Prov 19:8

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day every day

In celebration of Veterans Day, Naturopathic Med is now offering a discount to anyone who has served or is serving in the US Military.

I want to thank all those out there who put their lives on hold and on the line so I can do what I do: have a family, make a living, worship God, and help others.

Thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

21 Day Detox......The last few days

With just a few more days left in the 21 day detox It almost seems effortless to eat like this. The shakes are a nice convenience. As has been my routine, always preparing my own food takes time. With this program, it takes just a few minutes to make my smoothies for the day, that's breakfast and lunch. One can get used to feeling good.

As I mentioned previously it's important to be intentional about reintroducing foods back into the diet. You don't need to reintroduce foods you don't plan on eating and you'd be better off continuing to avoid processed, sugar-laden, and devitalized foods. I highly recommend controlling your sugar intake like the FDA controls heroin; then again, you should do a better job of it. A few rules of thumb: counter an occasional high-sugar food with fiber and protein; ground flax and chia, rice bran, whey protein powder are great in this respect. When it comes to reading nutritional labels on packaged foods, I never buy or eat anything that has a higher added sugar content than the sum of the fiber and protein content per serving. For example if your favorite cold cereal has 10 grams of sugar and one gram of fiber and two grams of protein, you're getting a very unbalanced food. A better option is something with less than 3 grams of sugar per serving, 3 grams of fiber and protein.

It's also best to reintroduce foods starting with the least allergenic foods first. If you've suspected you are sensitive to milk then start with a high quality plain yogurt, then aged cheese, maybe cottage cheese, and lastly fluid milk. You may find that you are sensitive to the cheap homogenized stuff you were consuming, but can tolerate high quality organic whole milk. You may find that a high quality yogurt (unsweetened) and aged cheeses like Swiss and sharp cheddar are fine but drinking any kind of milk is out. For some raw cow or goat milk is best. Then there are certain people who don't do well with dairy at all. The challenge phase is the time to figure out where you stand.

Next you might start introducing grains and starches. Start with potatoes and other nightshades if you've eliminated them. I'd save wheat until last and consider only eating wheat that has been soaked, sprouted or soured. That goes for spelt, rye, kamut, oat, and barley as well.

The other concept to come away with is the idea of rotating your diet. It's possible that anybody can develop a sensitivity to any food if eaten daily year-round. Diversity is key. I recommend eating a variety of healthy foods as you alternate your meals throughout the week. In addition, eating seasonally and locally produced foods makes health and economic sense. Depending on where you live, locally may need to be within 1,ooo miles. But eating summer fruit right through winter grown in South America, New Zealand and who knows where, isn't necessarily good for you or the environment. And by all means support your local farmers. Better still, grow your own food as you are able, but don't eat bananas everyday, unless you live in Ecuador. Some foods are going to be worse than others from repetition.

Those I treat with food allergies are most often sensitive to a food or foods they love and eat two or three times a day. A rotational diet doesn't have to be difficult. It just takes some planning. For each meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner, have at least four options. Make enough for leftovers, and alternate.

The worst thing you can do is end a detox diet with a binge party. Then again, it may be the lesson you need to stick with healthy eating. Most of those I know who've done this get quite sick.

A post-purification diet is ideal, which continues the main principles but ensures you are covered, given your unique nutritional needs. The shakes or smoothies can be continued, but take a break even from them now and then. Everyone needs some core supplement support. This will be individualized depending on your needs. For example, a common core for an adult is SP Complete or Catalyn and a fiber supplement, along with essential fatty acids. You may need additional bone nutrients, trace minerals, and B vitamins.

Take time to assess and document what changes you've experienced through this journey: weight loss, more energy, better sleep, no more constipation. It's amazing to see the changes that can occur in blood work, cholesterol numbers for example.

I'm looking forward to staying healthy through the winter, how about you?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

21 Day Detox......Day 13 - 15

Aren't the best gifts ones that appear unexpectedly and are just what you wanted... even if you didn't know you wanted it? A couple of days ago a friend and colleague stopped by my office bearing gifts, wild Alaskan salmon. Since moving to Spokane my family hasn't eaten as much fish as when we lived in California or Seattle. Now on day "what-ever" of the detox I've been ravenous for meat. It's really satisfying when you sense your body's need and can satisfy it.

Needless to say I brought the salmon home and ate it straightaway. I've been feeling the need to horde some of my food. My girls are like vultures sometimes. They seem to always want to eat what I'm eating no matter what they've already eaten. Briley kept wanting more of my salmon (after she's had a healthy portion) and I finally had to cut her off. It was good stuff. I baked it for 1o minutes and then broiled it briefly to finish it off. Salmon can not be overcooked. That is, you do not want to overcook it. I didn't.

Tonight we finished it off with some winter squash curry soup and mixed green salad. I was especially hungry after mountain biking this afternoon. It's been awhile so I was feelin' it. But I kept up with my fitter fellow bikers... most of the way. Mountain biking was something I took up in the early nineties. I was avid until moving to Seattle. Then I took up road biking more and running. By the alignment of Jupiter in the third house of Neptune or was it Chicken of Sea? I was able to ride today. It was very therapeutic and I was amazed how quickly my trail skills came back. And tomorrow, by about 4 pm, I'll need a warm Epsom salt bath.

I thought I might have trouble having energy for the ride being on the detox and all. I haven't been able to stay as prepared with my meals. I've been eating a lot of apples because we bought a box of Fuji's. I'll throw some veggies in my smoothies: carrots, celery and beets. My digestive system has been moving steady. I eat three meals; I eliminate three times. I've been losing weight, not my wish. I've tried to up my calories and protein. Hopefully I've levelled off. With a little more consistent exercise I can put some muscle on.

I've challenged a few things back into my diet. Eggs, almonds, oatmeal, and tonight because of guests I ate my wife's delicious salad with a little Gorgonzola. So far no reactions, but I haven't felt like I had any strong food sensitivities. I do notice if I eat certain grains too often I might get a minuscule patch of eczema and just not feel as good. Prior to the detox I'd been hitting some super-dark chocolate and sweetened banana chips fairly regularly. The night before I started I polished off our supply. I've missed something sweet and crunchy in the evening sometimes. I try to eat a hardy dinner and maybe have a piece of fruit and don't have the snack attacks.

Only one week to go. The other day I told my wife maybe I should give up eating anything with added sugar for a year. She thought that was extreme. I thought to myself... "I could do that." I probably won't. But After this detox my desire for sweet has been reset again and eating our low-sugar homemade delights will be just fine. I don't plan on buying any more banana chips.

Next time I'll talk about how it's important to rotate your diet, daily and seasonally. Food allergies are borne from repetition and excess.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

21 Day Detox......Day 11 - 12

Cruising along now, I wish I could say I'm not even tempted by the cheese and rice chips my wife is munching on while we chat in the kitchen. I had to turnaround and converse while I searched the cupboard for some kosher snack that had somehow just magically appeared there to satisfy my desire for salty and crunchy. Alas, I had to resort to my banana coconut pudding with a little cocoa. I topped it off with cracked-cell chlorella, a detoxifying blue-green algae, and feel even more satisfied in my mind and palate. It's really pretty good (I have a greenish-brown ring around my mouth).

Over the last few years when I speak on detoxification and lead patients through the process, I am always asked about other programs, The Master Cleanse, Isagenix, liver flushes, etc. Although there are many I haven't looked closely at, the one's I've examined often come up short. Some of these do work to some degree, weight loss, an improved sense of health, but I've found most of them lacking what I consider basic and important attributes in a healthy cleansing or detoxifying diet.

For example I finally just looked over the Isagenix products, a very popular program. As is often the case I see some real problems with their ingredients. Most glaring is their use of fructose as a sweetener. For all you who read my liver articles recently you'll recall that fructose as an added sugar is very bad news. An effective and safe cleanse needs to support the liver, one of the most important detox organs. Fructose effectively congests the liver and is efficiently converted to fat. Next, I noticed in their fiber product Isagenix uses something called Fibersol-2 (produced by a proprietary method of controlled enzymatic hydrolysis of cornstarch). While this newfangled fiber may provide some of the health benefits of increasing fiber in the diet, it seems completely unnecessary to use a Franken-fiber created in a lab, when all around on God's green Earth is nature's fiber ("so turn Frakenstein into Franken-fine"). Lastly, I noticed some odd herbal additions that could be problematic, especially for those suffering from acid reflux; namely mint.

Not to pick on this one company, but my goal is to really feed the body while detoxing, support the organs of detoxification, and weed-out hidden food sensitivities or allergies. To that end, as we proceed through the last half of the 21 Day Detox, now is the time we can prepare for the "challenge phase."

Right, your asking, "wasn't the challenge phase days 1 through 10 or so?" Yes it was and continues to be challenging at times but one of the great opportunities we have nearing the end of the program is to begin to re-introduce foods back into the diet. One of the biggest mistakes I see by those finishing this program is to start haphazardly eating foods that have been eliminated. At this time, like no other, the body is primed to detect hidden food allergies. Food sensitivities and allergies are quite common, but often undetected. After a few weeks on a diet of this sort, the body will often produce a more obvious symptom after exposure to a food you were unaware was a problem. To know which food is to blame, one must introduce only one food at a time, in a sufficient amount, for a sufficient length of time.

Another important aspect of this program is that it teaches you or reminds you how to eat wholesomely. The diet is not intended to be permanent. It's not an ideal diet for life for most individuals. Dietary needs are individualistic, and I'm not talking caloric needs. Some need more meat, some do OK on vegetarian sources of protein. In both cases I'm talking about eating real food, from real (healthy) animals and plant foods from nutrient-rich and chemical free sources. Keeping your sugar, caffeine, and alcohol intake in check. By the way, have I told you about my nickname for Kettle Korn? "Cancer Corn;" Perhaps I'll explain that later.

Inevitably we are exposed to dietary burdens, intentional and un. That's why I recommend some form of detox diet yearly.

By the way, if you slip up, don't give up! "It's not what you've done it's what you do next."
Restoring Hormone Balance and Renewing your Vitality

Did you know there are powerful forces within you to keep you energized, youthful, and healthy?

While powerful, these forces can be easily disrupted.

These forces influence every cell in your body, from skin to bones.

An imbalance can cause low energy, low libido, poor immunity, weak bones, sleep problems, and even increased cancer risk.

Invite some friends and come to a free talk on how you can restore your hormone balance and reclaim your vitality.

Tuesday November 16, 2010 @ 6:00pm

2607 S. Southeast Blvd. Suite B-111

Please call to sign up; seating is limited!


Presented by Dr. Graves, along with Empire Digital Imaging

Monday, November 1, 2010

21 Day Detox......Day 9 - 10

What day is it? I've lost track. Actually this is an exciting time in this detox program. Today is the day I can begin to eat animal protein again. It's not anything goes, however, choices include what I call lean and clean meats: wild cold-water fish, poultry, and grass-fed or wild sources of red meat such as bison, beef, lamb, and game. It should be kept to one serving per day and leaner cuts. It's also essential it is "clean" meaning it was raised without chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and any number of unnatural techniques. In other words, it's not what you'd pick up on sale at a typical grocery store. The reasons for being choosy should be obvious; this is a detox.

Whether you are on a detox or not you'd be wise to be choosy as well. I'd recommend the documentary, Food Inc. if you haven't explored the issues surrounding industrial food production in this country. Or you can just pretend that your food is just fine and ignore the escalating problems like obesity and cancer.

Meat should cost more. Because we need to eat less. As I've said before elsewhere, I don't even bother eating animal products unless I can find and afford "real food." The proof is in the data. The nutritional content and toxic residue levels between say free-ranged organically produced meats and conventional is like night and day. One is wholesome, the other is disease promoting. Which would you choose? For you children?

Hallows eve has come and gone. I made it through with just a sampling of chile with meat of unknown origin. I am truly not tempted by candy. Even as a kid I was particular. I especially disliked the hard candy. I liked the candy bars of course. Later I started to prefer the nutty stuff. Ten years ago when I had a major nutritional awaking and began to eliminate unhealthy foods from my diet, I noticed how heightened my sense of taste and smell became. Desserts became too sweet and many prepared dishes were too salty. It's very difficult to eat out and not find the food disagreeable. This isn't completely a mind game. It takes some thought process to preconceive what that treat will taste like and ultimately yield for my being. After a while I was able to look at a bakery cake and immediately not see anything desirable in it. But I do eat cake, as long as it's wholesome. Just not at the moment.

I was pondering recently the quandary of sugar. With all the dietary advice I give, I think that regarding sugar is the most important and difficult for most of us to follow. It's especially difficult because it's everywhere (and stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain). I'm especially disturbed by how it's used to seduce kids into the habit, typically first by parents. Am I the only one who thinks it's abusive to give a one-year-old a plate of sugar in the guise of a birthday delight. There is no doubt that sugar is a drug-like substance. It's destructive power is just slower than cocaine. I guess that's why we have to start so young. Otherwise, they'll miss out on some of the fun. You know, the obese child with elevated lipids, insulin, and heart disease. Lot's of fun.

So........ that's another benefit of the detox diet, it provides a reset of your senses so that you can begin to really taste real food again. And break addictions, at least for a time and hopefully you will begin to really feed and heal yourself.

Next time I hope to talk about another benefit of this program: finding hidden food allergies or sensitivities.