Liver detox by going semi-Paleo

Going semi-Paleo

I am excited to say that we are getting somewhere with the naturopath treatments for my stomach and skin. As I mentioned before, the issue seems to primarily be my liver, which has been treated holistically for a little over a month now. There have been flare-ups where I had very little energy and severe breakouts, but I’ve been feeling very normal for the past few weeks and had my third appointment yesterday. My liver readings are much better! In order to flush out possible gallbladder blockages remaining, I am going to do a 2 week liver detox cleanse.

All kinds of fun bodily things will happen at the end of the cleanse — it’s not called a “cleanse” for nothing! But we will ignore that and focus on the middle. I have been told to go off of dairy, all grains, and all sugar again, very similar to when I did my 30 day macrobiotic cleanse. The good thing about this one is that I can have fruit. I love fruit!

The biggest deal to me with this 2 week cleanse is that I am seriously considering the possibility that I might go back to eating meat for that time period.

It’s a big deal because I have been vegetarian since 2003. However, in the last year since learning of my son’s difficulties absorbing nutrients I have had to learn to cook more meat because he can get a lot of proteins through organic meats that he wasn’t able to absorb properly through soy, nuts, or beans. I’ve already written about what an adjustment it’s been to learn to cook meat, but I’m feeling slightly more comfortable with it now.

The fact is, I was “hangry” a good deal of the time when I was on my macrobiotic diet. With this liver cleanse, I will be drinking hemp protein several times a day, so that should help. Still, I think that without grains and dairy I am going to get the queasy feeling I had throughout those entire 30 days because my stomach never felt truly full. I am thinking maybe adding white meat to my diet will help with that.

I do still have moral qualms about meat, since we don’t have easy access to truly ethically treated chicken and pork. We have Whole Foods, but…I think we all know that’s probably the bare minimum of animal treatment accountability aside from the conventional grocery store. I probably just need to suck it up and drive the hour or so and pay half our paycheck for some happy chickens and pigs. I am sure I’ll blog more about that later.

As for now, I think I’ll be starting the cleanse on September 28, which should give me time to do some Paleo-ish meal planning.

Send me your favorite Paleo recipes, cookbooks, and products!

Naturopathic treatment: 1st visit

I’ve blogged before about What a Naturopath Does and my experiences with my son’s treatment for food intolerances. He has seen such great results, I have been very impressed. I’ve also mentioned in past posts that I have ongoing unresolved stomach issues and have been struggling for the last few years with cystic acne that I haven’t been able to solve with natural acne solutions. I even went on a 30 day macrobiotic cleanse, complete with specialized probiotics and saw absolutely no results. Well, I finally saved up enough of my kids yoga money for my first naturopathic treatment! I am so excited!

The first visit is a broad overview, but the main thing that popped up was liver stress.  No idea why, but my liver seems to be having trouble moving things through and toxins are building up. To aid in liver detoxification, one of the things we’re doing to increase my hydration is a salt solé. Check out this video that my naturopath made to explain how to make one:

Another thing we are doing is a castor oil liver compress at night. I might try to blog about this more later.

There were a few very strange things that we found. One was that my body had a very strong NEGATIVE reaction to pretty much all the major strains of probiotics. We are having to drastically decrease my exposure to probiotics in order to halt the stress on my body. There was only one strain that my body did not react to, and I am restricted to one dose every other day. Which is totally the opposite of what most green, crunchy, and holistic folks will tell you to do. I’ve always been told the more probiotics, the better! That probiotics will solve ALL stomach issues! Well, apparently not all. Not mine! (read more about whether you should take probiotic supplements here). Interestingly, this explains why I had such a problem with kombucha after drinking it every day for a period of time. I might not have actually got a bad batch. It might just have been that I overwhelmed my body with too many probiotics when it was already having trouble.

Although she found that food do not seem to be the main stressor, there were a few that registered very high reactions and that I should attempt to avoid. Avoiding these foods is going to be the hardest part of the next few weeks:

Coffee - one of the things my naturopathic treatment found as a stressor to my stomach
Goodbye for now, caffeine!
I love you and will see you again SOON!

caffeine – WHAT?!! I only have one cup of coffee a day. Just one, never more. I do not drink carbonated beverages. But let me tell you, that one cup of coffee is a BIG DEAL. I skipped it this morning and had a headache all day. This is exactly what happened when I quit cold turkey after become pregnant with LS. Which is why I did not go off of coffee when I was pregnant with LS. My fervent prayer is that this one will not be permanent!!

beef – haha, no big deal, I haven’t eaten red meat since 2003 and it is pretty gross to me.

wheat – OK, this is another weird one. My results came out exactly the same as my son’s – neither of us have any negative reaction to gluten, which is what most people react to. Just the actual wheat kernel itself, we can’t break it down. I wasn’t tested for the individual types of wheat but I bet it’s the same as with him — he was fine with white wheat flour but whole wheat was a stressor. Even stranger, I had been taking a digestive enzyme containing a specific enzyme that helps the body digest wheat and my body reacted specifically to the enzyme that was supposed to help digest wheat. What does that even mean?!

spices – strange, since I don’t really use spices. But I was told to specifically avoid black pepper. I accidentally ate Kettle chips today and then realized they are full of pepper. Delicious, delicious pepper.

soy – this one is a blow since I do occasionally eat meat substitutes as a vegetarian, and they contain soy. I make sure it is non-GMO soy. It is particularly difficult to avoid soy in grilling season when I have to bring non-meat substitutes to cookout situations.
The good news is, I had absolutely no issues with dairy. All the butter! All the cheese!!

As I’ve discussed before in our naturopath treatment journey, this first visit usually has the most restrictions. In future visits, some of these foods might be clear and if the liver has improved we can focus on hormones.

Meanwhile, send me all your soy-free spice-free vegetarian wheat-free recipes!

 

Get started with clean eating: Superwoman Detox Giveaway!

I get a lot of questions about how to get started eating more “cleanly”. Personally, I abide by the 80/20 rule of eating clean 80% of the time and eating not as cleanly 20% of the time or less. I don’t go overboard or eat junk during that 20%, but sometimes when I got to restaurants, for example, I don’t know exactly what oils they used to cook their food and I can’t guarantee that the produce is organic or non-GMO. I let those instances fall under the 20% of less-than-clean-eating.

However, if you are new to clean eating, you might only be eating cleanly 20% of the time and are looking for a way to get that percentage higher without your head exploding from too much information and without agonizing over what to buy at the grocery store. I have a solution for you! And you’ll be helping a friend of mine expand her health-focused and woman-owned small business at the same time.

I’m so excited to be teaming up with Kristen over at MIX | wellness solutions for a balanced life and some of my favorite bloggers to give YOU the chance to reclaim your inner Superwoman (or man) and WIN a coveted spot in The Superwoman Slim Down: A Real Food Detox & Cleanse for Real Women (a $347 value!) – (affiliate link)! Read all about it here.

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This is NOT your average detox. The Superwoman Slim Down is a fully-supported “done-for you” 21 day 100% REAL FOOD, hunger-free program led by experienced registered nurse, certified health and wellness coach, and certified specialist in fitness nutrition, Kristen Boucher! She will teach you step-by-step how to feel better than you ever imagined in your own skin, while eating delicious, nutrient-dense, metabolism-boosting foods and (finally) making your health a priority!

Superwoman Whats Included

Included in the program:

  • Three recorded training calls with Kristen to listen to at your convenience delivered over three weeks so that you are updated each week with what to do next  ($300 value)

  • Sample Menu Plans complete with 3 meals per day & list of snacks that you can eat to keep the hunger at bay ($100 value)

  • Preparation Checklist with a list of suggested items to have in your fridge, pantry, and home to follow the plan ($100 value)

  • Recipes For Radiance Cookbook which includes over 75 delicious, whole food recipes outlined in the Menu Plan ($50 value)

  • Detailed Detox Guidebook with all the info and resources you’ll need and then some ($100 value)

  • Workbook and personal assessment guide that will serve to show you how far you’ve come once you complete the program and help you to play detective to learn if you have any food allergies or sensitivities ($50 value)

  • Cooking and Food Preparation Tips and Tools Guide ($10 value)

  • Toxin Reduction Tips and Tools Guide ($10 value)

  • Meal Planning and Shopping List Fun Sheets ($10 value)

  • A 4-Week Detox Calendar laying out every step of the program, what to, and when to do it ($10 value)

  • Email support during the cleanse ($100 value)

  • Lifetime access to all materials, including updates for future programs ($100 value)

  • Bonus #1: Private Facebook community available to you 24/7 that is moderated by Kristen to ask questions (and get answers), share your insights, challenges, and experiences, and make a few new friends along the way ($100 value)
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Check out what these former Superwomen have to say about it here.

You can purchase this program at any time using this link (affiliate link, which I’ll be placing in the right sidebar), or you can enter to win it for FREE below!

Giveaway Details

One winner will receive FREE ACCESS to The Superwoman Slim Down: A Real Food Detox & Cleanse for Real Women (a $347 value) (affiliate link).

How to enter the giveaway:

1. Sign up for the MIX | wellness solutions for a balanced life email newsletter.
2. Like MIX | wellness solutions for balanced life on Facebook.
3. Use Rafflecopter (below) to log your entries and unlock bonus entries.

***Be sure to visit all the blogs responsible for this giveaway to unlock more chances to win!***

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The Fine Print

The giveaway ends at midnight ET, June 30, 2014. I will announce the lucky winner on July 1, 2014. Once contacted, the lucky winner will have 48 hours to respond with his/her full name and email address. There is no purchase necessary to win. This giveaway is open to everyone except where prohibited by law.

Juicing with a Vitamix & a nut milk bag

NOTE: I received the La Parfait “Super” 2 Liter glass jar from the Glass is Life campaign. Opinions about glass jars and juicing and whatnot are my own. Obviously.

Juicing with a Vitamix | Conscientious Confusion

Do you ever buy pure fruit or vegetable juices? Juicing is great for me, personally, because it helps me get more vegetable vitamins than I get from diet alone, while reducing the bulky fiber that can be difficult for my body to process with my history of digestive issues. I don’t own a juicer, but I DO own a Vitamix. One of the reasons that I purchased the Vitamix is because it is powerful enough to liquify things completely. Juicing with a Vitamix is easy; you just need the nut milk bag to remove the pulp.

Of course, you can leave the pulp in and have great whole food juices (called “blending”, not actually “juicing”), but your body will need to process the fiber, as it would with a smoothie. My friend ecokaren just posted a great breakout of the differences between juices versus blending, I highly recommend reading it to find out which direction you’d like to go. I actually do both juices and blending at different times. Also, more information on the right way to juice.

But if you want to know how to juice with a Vitamix, here is how I do it.

First, you need cheesecloth or a nut milk bag (affiliate link). I used cheesecloth at first, but now I have graduated to the nut milk bag, because it has a string around the top that cinches it onto my jar, allowing the juice to drip through slowly over a period of time, rather than having to manually press the juice out in batches as I did with the cheesecloth.

You also need a good, tall jar. I like the La Parfait “Super” 2 Liter Jar (affiliate link), which I got from Glass Is Life. I like that it has a sealing lid that I can clamp down over the top of the nut milk bag, like this:

Dripping Juice Jar

It’s pretty easy — you can use any juicing recipe on Pinterest (follow my Vitamix board for ones I’ve tried or would like to try).

Step 1

Put the ingredients into your Vitamix. If it’s a recipe made for a juicer, you might need to add a cup of water or ice depending on how many juicy fruits or veggies are in your juice, so that they can circulate freely in the Vitamix.

Step 2

Blend until the liquid splashes around in the Vitamix.

Step 3

Secure the nut milk bag over your tall jar. If you forget to make it secure, it will fall right through and the pulp will get everywhere! I speak from experience.

Step 4

Pour the blended mixture into the nut milk bag, a little at a time. I like to use a spatula to scrap the sides of the nut milk bag.

Spatula with the Nut Milk Bag

Sometimes I help it out a little by squeezing…

Squeezing Juice

Step 5

Remove the pulp! It will look like this:

Juice Pulp

I actually feed our to our chickens, but you can compost it or even try this Minestrone Soup Recipe by Mindful Momma.

Last, enjoy your juice!

It might seem like a few extra steps, but I’ve found it only takes about 15 minutes. To me, it’s worth saving the money and the space in my kitchen that a juicer would take up.

2014 Macrobiotic Diet for 30 days: Ely Organics Miessence cleanse

NOTE: The Miessence products I’ll use in my cleanse were given to me by my friend Erin Ely of Ely Organics. She is running an awesome promotion right now on these products and I’d love if you’d take a look because I appreciate everything she’s doing to help me solve my health issues!

30 Days of Macrobiotic Eating | Conscientious Confusion

I’m not going to lie, I’m dreading January a little bit this year.

There are two things that I do not do:  New Year’s Resolutions and diets. I make a to do list each year. And I just eat well.

But there’s this issue with my digestive system and my skin, which I believe are connected. And I refuse to take ridiculously dangerous blood pressure medicine or the lifetime of low-dose antibiotics the dermatologist recommended.

So far, I’ve had limited success with supplements, essential oils, and reflexology at precise times in my monthly cycle. However, it’s probably time to bring the probiotics back in and do a little “reset” of what’s inside my gut.

I’ve talked before about the thought of doing a cleanse. I could never really convince myself to do it. But with the help of my friend Erin from Ely Organics, I’ve decided to commit to a regimen of specifically targeted organic superfoods and a macrobiotic diet geared to help bring my body back into balance from the inside. I’ll be doing this for approximately 30 days, (or until I fall off the wagon).

What is a macrobiotic diet?

According to Wikipedia:

A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics), is a dietary regimen which involves eating grains as a staple food, supplemented with other foods such as local vegetables, and avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods and most animal products. Macrobiotics also addresses manner of eating, by recommending against overeating, and for chewing thoroughly.

More specifically, the percentages of foods are as follows, according to WikiHow:

  • 50% grains
  • 25% in-season vegetables
  • 10% protein
  • 5% soups
  • 5% sea vegetables
  • 5% nuts and fruits

How is this different from how I already eat?

Honestly, it’s not that much different from how I eat currently.

I found a chart on Hubpages describing a step-by-step process of transitioning to a macrobiotic diet:

Steps to a macrobiotic diet from http://emmamedu.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Start-Macrobiotic-Diet-Step-by-Step

According to this chart, I already eat Step 6. I actually don’t use that much soy presently, because I am very aware that most soy is genetically modified (GMO). I like to avoid that. I actually do more beans and nuts than soy. But for the next 30 days, I can make a concerted effort to obtain only non-GMO soy products. It’s a little more expensive, but do-able short term.

What will I need to change to go fully macrobiotic?

Eliminating sugar/fruit. I don’t currently consume much refined sugar, but I do eat a lot of (organic) fruit, honey, and maple syrup or products containing those things. Apparently you can consumer brown rice syrup for sweetness, but it is strongly discouraged. One thing that I am very worried about is coconut milk. I do consume quite a few coconut products, and coconut milk in cartons does contain cane syrup (sugar). The idea is that I should be replacing my fruit and sweet consumption with green vegetables. I am not sure how this is going to go.

Eating slowly. Hahahahaha!! Whoever invented this diet did not have two preschoolers or live in Dallas, Texas. Yes, let me wait to chew 50 times before I tell my son to stop flinging water at my daughter at the table. And it’s super fun to listen to her screech for 5 minutes straight because she wants a napkin but I’m still chewing. In the time it takes to chew 50 times, my children can collectively ask 500 questions. Or the same question 500 times. Either way, it’s possible that I’ll go insane. I am seriously considering the possibility that I might only be able to eat when my children are asleep. Which, unfortunately, kinda makes the macrobiotic principle of “eat when you need food” impossible. Because if I need food and they’re awake, I can’t eat slowly.

No snacks on the go. In the macrobiotic diet, there are no “allowed” foods that can be carried in my purse or eaten on the go. I eat about 3 snacks a day right now because I am constantly hungry. I am not sure how this is going to work. Do I just ignore the fact that I’m hungry because I can’t cook some rice with seaweed and eat it slowly? I’m a little stumped on this one. I’m considering rice crackers, tahini, and dried nori. Right now I carry around mixed nuts and dried edamame but there is oil used in the roasting process that isn’t OK according to the macrobiotic diet.

Adding Miessence certified organic superfoods

To make up for gaps in nutrition and protein, and to help rebuild positive flora in my gut, I’ll be using the following Miessence certified organic superfoods.

Fast Tract: Gluten-free certified organic probiotic liquid. To re-colonize the gastrointestinal tract with the full spectrum of Lactobacillus (friendly) bacteria.
Usage: I was instructed to drink one 750mL bottle per week, which is around 3.6 oz per day.

InLiven: probiotic powder (dormant organisms until hydrated & activated). In-Liven certified organic probiotic is the result of over 20 years research and development. The bacteria are produced from fruits and vegetables and not fast-tracked from fecal matter. Contains significant enzymes, vital amino acids and a broad spectrum of essential nutrients (including plant proteins).
Usage: 3 teaspoons InLiven every day, total – take 1 teaspoon 30 minutes before a meal. Can be blended into a drink with 2 c. apple juice and strawberries, no banana.

Topical: Make a poultice using Fast Tract powder and InLiven liquid and apply to the face.

I’ll also be using Miessence skin care, and will do another post about that.