Tag Archives: release toxins

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

castor oil plantInformation about castor oil packs came from the intuitive readings of Edgar Cayce in the early part of the 20th century. In these readings, he recommended the application of castor oil for various ailments. For example, the packs are used on the liver to help with detoxification, the abdomen for digestive complaints, the uterus for fibroids, and on the breasts to help dissolve growths.

Castor oil is made up of a triglyceride of fatty acids, 90% of which is ricinoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid. Ricinoleic acid has been shown to be effective in preventing the growth of various types of bacteria, yeast, molds, and viruses.

When I first learned of castor oil packs, I was told that the oil seeps into the skin and surrounding tissue creating a downward, outward movement. For example, a castor oil pack over the uterus can cause a delayed period to start because of its ability to start the downward flow.

In his book The Oil That Heals: A Physician’s Success with Castor Oil Treatments, William McGarey, M.D. says castor oil stimulates and removes adhesions and lesions. It helps dissolve lumps in the breasts and heal scar tissue. Using castor oil packs can enhance eliminations of all kinds, increase lymph flow, and relieve pain and inflammation.

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

Cotton flannel is often recommended, but I prefer to use an unbleached pre-washed white t-shirt cut into wide strips and folded so there are at least three layers.

Place the folded cotton on plastic wrap, with the plastic just larger than the fabric piece.
Pour castor oil over the cotton to saturate it (but not dripping).
Place the pack on the location, oily side down, plastic on top.
Put a thin towel over the plastic and cover it with a hot water bottle or other heated pack. Avoid using electric heating pads if possible, as the electrical current can cause disturbances in your energy field. You can use a microwaveable heating pad.
Rest with the pack on for about 30 minutes.

Castor oil will stain fabric, so when you are finished with the pack, wipe the oil away completely. You might want to wear an old t-shirt or designate a couple of shirts specifically to wear right after you use the packs.

Be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins. You can reuse your pack at least 20 times by keeping it in the refrigerator between uses. Bring it to room temperature before using it. Some people use the packs for three days and take a break for three days, but you can use the packs for many consecutive days, occasionally taking a break for a week at a time and, for women, during your monthly cycle.

Gourmet Vegetarian Dining in Palo Alto

veganEvery week for the past 27 years chef Gary Alinder has prepared a delicious gourmet vegetarian dinner for the community in Palo Alto, California. Associated with the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community, the dinner is $15 and includes soup, grain, beans or bean products, vegetables, dessert, and a beverage such as tea.

What’s lovely about this is that anyone from anywhere is invited. You can be local or simply visiting the Bay Area from anywhere in the world and stop in for the best vegetarian/vegan food around. Eat dining room style or pick up a dinner to go.

Plus, the people serving the guests and attending the dinner itself are some of the most welcoming and pleasant you’ll find anywhere. I know about their congenial spirit because this past week I attended for the first time and met many warmhearted people.

Occasionally, the dinners are followed by a natural health lecture and I had the honor of being Monday night’s speaker. I’d been asked to give an after-dinner lecture on a topic related to my book, The Holistic Approach to Breast Cancer so I discussed my “Top 10 Holistic Ways to Reduce Our Risk of Cancer.”

Discussing my favorite subject.

Discussing my favorite subject: a holistic approach to wellness.

If you’re anywhere in the Bay Area, or planning a visit or business trip to San Francisco or Silicon Valley, I encourage you to schedule your Monday night to have dinner in Palo Alto ~ a dinner lovingly prepared by people who have consistently offered healthful vegetarian meals for almost 3 decades. They’re located near Stanford University at 305 North California Avenue. (It’s held in the 1st Baptist Church community room, but don’t let that deter you. It’s a gorgeous neighborhood and easy to access.) They do request that you let them know you’ll be coming, either to join in the communal dining or to pick up your takeout dinner by calling prior to 9:30am Monday morning: 650-599-3320.

Plus, you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to partake in the delicious meals. All of us can benefit from a plant-based diet, and giving yourself this Monday night meal will go a long way toward creating a healthier you.

Estrogen Dominance and Xenoestrogens

estrogenEstrogen dominance and xenoestrogens are words smart women are learning about to keep their bodies healthy and strong in our plasticized world.

Signs of excess estrogen in your body include painful or unpredictable periods, PMS, cervical dysplasia, depression, anxiety, worry, decreased libido, fatigue, weight gain in the hips and stomach, possibly cold hands and feet, and fibrocystic breasts or cancer. Estrogen dominance is partly caused from foods, cosmetics, and other products that carry xenoestrogens (fake estrogens) into the body.

Some chemicals found in plants act like the female sex hormone estradiol, our primary estrogen. Synthetic forms of this chemical are found in plastic, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, and in drugs given to livestock and poultry to prevent miscarriage and promote growth.

To lower the chances for these xenoestrogens to enter your body and behave like estrogen, reduce or eliminate foods that come in plastic wrap and plastic packaging. This includes water you buy in plastic bottles, since chemicals in the plastic leach into food and water.

In a study at Tufts University published in Environmental Health Perspectives in 1991, Drs. Ana Soto and Carlos Sonnenschein observed that breast cancer cells placed in plastic dishes would grow quickly. Knowing these cells need estrogen to reproduce, they were curious about what contributed to the rapid cell growth. They discovered that the chemical nonylphenol, which prevents plastic from cracking, caused the growth of the breast cancer cells. Apparently nonylphenol had leached out of the plastic dishes and behaved like estrogen with the cells. Researchers then experimented with other commonly used plastics, detergents, and pesticides. They witnessed rapid growth when the breast cancer cells were exposed to these products. (See my post Breast Health through Liver Health for numerous ways to help your body clear these toxins.)

Conventionally-raised beef and dairy cows are given growth hormones. Their feed is treated with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. When you consume conventional milk, cheese, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, chocolate, and processed foods with beef, milk, or milk products in them, you risk overloading your body with xenoestrogens. (Not to mention what the GMOs are doing.) Read more about this in Milk: Does it Do a Body Good?

Organic, grass-fed beef and dairy are the better choice. If you can’t find them or if they are too costly, look for hormone and pesticide-free products. Eat organic chicken and eggs when you can find them, organic grains, and produce that is free from toxic sprays. Note that chemicals used to kill bugs and fungi on the food supply penetrate the surface of whatever they land on, including the soil. Even washing these foods well before you eat them won’t take away the chemicals they have absorbed.

Sometimes you will be in situations where poor quality food and water is all there is. I find this happens most when I travel or attend public events. Until the “food consciousness” raises in this country and truly healthful choices are accessible, we can make the best of it based on what is available. Bless your food and water then return to your organic, food-from-nature, plastic-free diet when you return home.

Detoxify Simply with Dry Skin Brushing

drySince it’s Fall, the season of letting go and releasing, it’s the ideal time to think about a little cleanse before heading into the winter months. Likewise if you’re in Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, you’re also in a perfect situation for some clearing.

We’re always hearing about juice fasting or using certain products to help the body cleanse, but with a simple dry skin brush, you can help your body do what it’s designed to do in the first place: clear out toxins. And even if you do opt for a more complicated cleanse, dry skin brushing will help eliminate the waste and prevent you from feeling poorly as an initial cleansing side effect.

As the largest organ of your body, your skin helps release toxins. Healthy skin eliminates pounds of waste each day (which is another good reason to change your sheets regularly!) however, ingredients in products applied to skin — even chemicals from synthetic fabrics — get absorbed and can block your skin’s ability to keep you healthy.

Skin brushing removes the top layer of dead skin while stimulating your lymphatic system to clear toxins that collect in lymph glands. This is an easy, cost-free way to help your body remove toxins you’re exposed to in daily living. Also, your digestion will improve, the circulation near your skin will improve, and your immune system will be strengthened. As a side bonus, it can help remove cellulite.

Skin brushing requires a natural bristle brush (not synthetic, which can irritate your skin). Find brushes specifically for dry skin brushing at a natural foods store or online. Some brushes are handheld while others have long handles — use whichever you prefer. Begin gently on dry skin at least once per day just before bathing. (Wet skin brushing can pull on your skin and will not remove the dry outer layer of your skin effectively.)

dry brushing womanStarting at the soles of your feet where there are nerve endings, brush in upward strokes toward your heart. Brush your feet, all sides of your calves, thighs, backs of knees, and inner thigh areas. Brush your buttocks, stomach, and outer hip area, always toward your heart. Brush from the palms of your hands over your arms in the direction of your heart. Brush under your arms and gently over your upper chest to the center of your midsection. Brush your shoulders and back. You can gently brush the breasts outward from the nipple on both sides, upward on top, downward below.

Your skin might take some time to get used to being brushed, so be gentle at first. After a couple weeks, wash your skin brush and allow it to dry.

Nourish Your Body with Real Food

nourishIf we think about how to truly nourish your body with real food, we can start by asking what does your body tell you? What does it need to be supported? Fresh water, of course. Fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits, those are crucial. Fresh meat, chicken, fish, and eggs? Ask your body. Yogurt, cheeses, nuts? See how you feel after eating them. What about grains? Do you feel good when you eat rice or other whole grains? How is your digestion afterward? Begin to notice what your body (and mood) tells you, then nourish yourself with those foods in their whole, natural state.

I’m a huge proponent of eating real food, which we’ve lost sight of in our convenience culture. Real food isn’t found in a package. Not in a box, can, jar, or plastic wrap. It’s found in it’s whole form shortly after collected from nature. No factories or billion-dollar corporations are involved.

What about eating everything raw? I think this depends on your own personal digestion and constitution. I do better with slightly cooked vegetables, not raw, despite many fervent claims that raw is best. Raw juices and even raw foods can be difficult to digest for some, not to mention the concentrated sugars in the juices, so see how your own body responds to them. I get a lot of raw greens in my morning smoothie, but I make sure to add some protein (lately, chia seeds and/or nut butter).

If you wonder which road to take, raw or cooked, talk about it with your natural health practitioner, but avoid the fanatics who’ve made food choices and eating into a new religion. One reason we’re addressing nourishing your body with food is for your optimum health, so getting the raw or cooked controversy settled in your own heart and mind will be helpful. Personally, warm food is more nourishing for me, but what does your body say?

As for dairy, meats, grains, and so forth, listen and pay attention to your own body’s response. What happens to your digestion, your mood, any physical aches and pains after you’ve eaten certain foods? Noticing in this way, you’ll be able to optimize your health and lifestyle for your best personal wellbeing.

Do You Have Metal in Your Teeth?

teethMetals enter the body through food, water, and air, and also through metal amalgams in your teeth. These “silver fillings” have been associated with Alzheimer’s, autism, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic fatigue, and cancer. The metal from your fillings leaches continually into your bloodstream. What is this doing to your long-term health and wellbeing?

Dental amalgams contain about 50% mercury which has been shown to be more toxic than lead, cadmium, and arsenic. Mercury kills cells and has the potential to disturb metabolic processes. It is known to deplete the immune system and has been found stored in the kidneys, liver, and brain. It causes single strand breaks in DNA and adheres to hemoglobin, reducing the capacity of red blood cells to carry oxygen.

Many dentists now use alternative materials. I think it is best to have a qualified dentist remove metal fillings and replace them with composites. It isn’t cheap, so even if you go very slowly, I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor. It’s best to go very slowly anyway, having the dentist remove metal from one quadrant per visit because, when it comes out, your body experiences a readjustment period. In addition, it’s possible to absorb some of the metals, even from the vapor, as they are taken out. Precautions are taken to avoid this from happening. Any quality dentist should be able to reassure you of his or her technique to protect you from metal exposure as it is removed from your teeth. Have your dentist explain the procedure and how safe it is, to your satisfaction.

If you decide to have metal fillings removed, there are steps you can take to help support your body through the process. It’s good to supplement your diet prior to and for a few weeks following your amalgam removal. If you don’t see a natural health practitioner to advise you, use a top quality chlorella supplement. Chlorella binds to metals in your body and helps carry them out. Seaweed and miso soup will help do the same, but be certain to get seaweed that is pure and tested for metals, as many ocean foods are becoming more contaminated themselves. After your procedure is finished, take extra Vitamin C and eat a very clean diet.

The Tastiest Way to Eat More Broccoli

broccoliI originally found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten. I’ve never been able to eat raw broccoli, not even smothered in some sort of dip or disguised in a salad, so this method of roasting was a real find.

Because of this recipe, I pick up broccoli and lemons almost every time I shop for vegetables. The rich health benefits from eating broccoli are widely known, so let’s get right to it.

4 to 5 pounds broccoli (organic only!)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (make it organic!)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

The following 3 ingredients are part of the recipe, but I skip them. It’s up to you!

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I’m a non-dairy person, but I’ve tried it with the cheese and it’s delicious. If you use it, be sure to get organic cheese.)
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Cut up the broccoli into your desired bite-sized pieces (about 8 cups). Place in a single layer on a large sheet pan. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle the salt and pepper. Roast for 20–25 minutes.

Remove from oven and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, and lemon juice (and the pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil if using). Serve hot. You’re going to love it!

The Best Breakfast Smoothie for Optimal Nutrition

greenLooking for a way to easily get leafy greens into your diet? To build your health and vitality quickly and easily? Or to start your day with a strong nutritional foundation? Try my favorite breakfast smoothie!

This tops every other quick breakfast: bagels, muffins, granola bars, toast with peanut butter, cold cereal, a cup of coffee, or whatever else you grab on your way out the door. (Not to mention the donuts and pastries eaten by the tons every morning by people dancing with dis-ease in body and mind!)

Place all ingredients into blender except for the whey, which is fragile and should be added at the very end on low mixing speed.

Choose your base liquid, 1-2 cups to achieve desired consistency:

  • Organic nut milk (homemade is best)
  • Raw organic milk or goat milk
  • Coconut water
  • Water

Add the following:

  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup raspberries, strawberries, cherries or other dark red/purple/blue berries
  • A handful of greens: I usually use kale, but you can use spinach, chard, beet greens, or whatever leafy greens you want.
  • 1-inch piece raw ginger or 1 TBSP ginger juice
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds or a protein powder of your choice—try for 30 grams. (I’ve used Manitoba Harvest Hemp Protein Powder because many protein powders have poor ingredients or a soy base. Don’t use soy, ever, unless it’s fermented and organic.)
  • 1 tsp Nordic Naturals Cod Liver Oil or other pure, high-quality fish oil
  • 1 scoop Garden of Life Perfect Food “Super Green Formula” or similar green powder
  • 1 TBSP Buffered Vitamin C powder (I use one from Allergy Research Group.)
  • ¼ tsp probiotic powder (get a top-quality acidophilus blend)
  • 1 scoop whey protein, added at the end and mixed in lightly (I use Natura’s Beyond Whey or Designs for Health Whey Cool)

Optional additions:

  • Coconut powder, shredded coconut, coconut milk, or a spoonful of coconut oil
  • Raw cocoa powder
  • Banana
  • Any other organically grown fruit–peaches, apricots, papaya, etc.
  • Vegetables–grated carrots, celery, greens (kale, spinach, etc), beets, parsley, or whatever else you’d like to add
  • 1 TBSP almond or cashew butter
  • 1 TBSP maca powder
  • 1 scoop PaleoCleanse by Designs for Health (a detoxification vitamin powder)
  • 1–2 TBSP ground flax seeds (I’ve used Barlean’s Fortiflax)
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • organic plain, unsweetened yogurt

At the end, after I’ve poured the smoothie into a glass, I put 3 drops liquid Vitamin D on top. (I use Bio-D-Mulsion Forte by Biotics Research Corp.) If supplementing with Vitamin D, you need to have your levels monitored so you don’t get too much or too little.

Enjoy! Your body and mind will thank you!

Breast Health Through Liver Health

liverThe health of your liver is closely linked with breast health. The liver processes hormones, but also toxins from your food, medications and drugs, commercial drinks and alcohol, and the environment. When too many of these toxins are in the body, the liver gets sluggish and can’t work optimally. This directly affects the breasts because they rely on the liver to help move toxic waste out of the body, some of which can collect in breast tissue.

Some studies show women who drink two or more alcoholic beverages per day have a 40% higher rate of breast cancer than women who don’t drink alcohol. This could be because alcohol puts more stress on the liver, besides contributing to an acidic environment.

If your intestines are toxic and sluggish and do not move on schedule, toxins released from the liver to be expelled get reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This creates a cycle of re-polluting the liver. The following steps will help your liver become healthier and function in the way nature intended.

  • Eat plenty of leafy greens every day, such as kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, collards, and dandelion. I add these greens to a morning smoothie.
  • Take dandelion tincture in a little water or make an infusion by adding boiling water to an ounce of dried dandelion leaves. Let sit for several hours, strain, and drink the tea.
  • Take milk thistle extract for at least one month. Milk thistle extract can be found at any natural foods store. Follow label directions.
  • Drink plenty of purified water.
  • Heal emotions of anger, frustration, and indecisiveness through methods such as counseling and energy work.
  • Avoid all processed and fast foods, fried and fatty foods, sugars, white flour, and alcohol.

Revitalize Your Body with Gua Sha

guaGua Sha means “to extract toxins” and has been used in China for over 2,000 years to alleviate stiffness and pain, bring back mobility and circulation, heal digestive disorders, release toxins and stagnant energy, and generally revitalize the body. It is also known to treat tumors and cysts. Most acupuncturists are trained to use this technique.

During a Gua Sha treatment, strokes are made over your skin with a smooth-edged tool such as polished jade, although an item as simple as a lid from a jar can be used. Gua Sha is done in areas of congestion, tightness, tension, or discomfort on your neck, shoulders, and back, but sometimes on your chest and abdomen. Blood gets released from peripheral capillaries while fluid under your skin is pushed, creating space. Toxic fluid from deep in the tissue rises to the skin’s surface into the space. This causes the skin to turn red or take on the coloration of bruising. It is not bruising though, and clears up in a couple of days. It is actually a welcome sight to see this “Sha” coming to the surface of the skin, because it indicates the release of old, trapped energy. The color of bruising is a sign of healing.

Gua Sha is not painful. Instead there is a sense of relief as the stagnant energy is freed. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the freed energy is also called qi, pronounced “chee” in China. Stagnant qi is associated with pain and areas of oxygen deprivation. In the case of breast disease, Gua Sha is a way to increase oxygen in your tissue while moving stagnant energy and releasing toxins. It is believed that exposing the Sha — indicated by the discoloration that occurs — removes disease from deep within the body.

If you’re in pain, or have recently had surgery or other traumas that have areas of stagnation around them, ask your acupuncturist to “gua sha” you. You’ll be glad you did!

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