2006 article in the journal Diabetes Care revealed that people with diabetes have a much higher risk of being depressed—and people with depression have a much higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes. The study focused on more than two thousand people and determined that if people didn't have pesticides in their system, even if they were obese, the chances of getting diabetes were next to nothing.
Let me repeat that: if there were no pesticides or herbicides found in a person—that person had virtually no risk of diabetes, even if obese!
How To De-Inflame and Detox
Okay, this is where the rubber hits the road. You learned about [in a previous article] the clear connection between toxic metals and chemicals that can enter your body and cause disruption of the brain, immune system, and hormonal system. So, what can you do about it?
Step 1: Lifestyle Changes
For many people, even with severe issues of digestion and mood, this first step is quite effective, even by itself.
Drink at least 50 ounces of water a day, or about 1 ounce for every 2 pounds of body weight. For the person who is 120 pounds, that would be 60 ounces of water. I like to drink one or two large glasses of room temperature water in the morning, and then I carry my stainless steel 40 ounce bottle to drink during the workday. If possible, consider purchasing a high-quality water filter.
Bring in the Fiber
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Fiber is important to clean out the body and remove inflammation, for it basically sucks up all the toxins, hormonal by-products, and cholesterol released by the liver.
One way to know if you are taking in enough fiber is to check your poop. Healthy movement is one easy, full-diameter bowel movement per day. The better your poops, the better your brain will work.
Here are some good sources of dietary fiber:
- Organic, unsulphured prunes
- 1 cup cooked greens like kale or Swiss chard
- 2 cups fresh salad
- 1 teaspoon fine-grade psyllium in 8 ounces of water once or twice a day
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of flax meal in your cereal or on a salad
- 1 organic carrot and 1 rib of organic celery
- 1 apple a day
- 1 cup lentil soup
A note of caution: You may not need to add all these fibers, and do not add them all at once. It really depends on your particular system what, and how much, you need, so try them slowly. I have also noticed that many patients with irritable bowel syndrome should stay away from raw foods, for sometimes these can aggravate that condition.
Move Your Body
Your lymphatic system is like the sewage system for your body, taking in all the sludge that will eventually be dumped out. Unlike your blood vessels, your lymphatic system does not move this fluid unless you are moving your muscles. If you don't exercise, there's no way to clear out the sludge. At minimum, walk every day for thirty minutes.
Sleep It Off
Sleep is crucial for a good brain function and detoxification. Remember to go to bed by eleven p.m. at the latest and to rack up at least seven and a half hours of sleep every night.
Step 2: Clear the Digestive Tract
Once you've made the lifestyle change detailed in step 1 and you're having daily bowel movements, you can start working on the action plan of step 2. This plan can be carried out for up to three weeks. When you remove the toxic onslaught, then your body has a better chance to heal and clean up.
I usually recommend my patients do this step two or three times a year.
In the discussion above, I didn't tell you to stop eating this or that food. I find that when we focus on what is being taken away, most people feel deprived. So for the long term, the plan in step 1 is to include healthy foods—not so much to exclude the unhealthy ones. To detox, though, this step asks you to avoid (for three quick weeks) foods that are considered the most likely to cause inflammation.
The foods you will want to avoid include:
- Dairy and cow's milk products (rice milk, almond milk, and hemp milk are good alternatives)
- Gluten (from wheat, rye, triticale, oat, and barley)—this includes all conventionally made pasta, bagels, cupcakes, cookies, and so on (quinoa, wild and brown rice are okay)
- Soy and tofu products
- Citrus (except grapefruit and lemons)
- Peanuts (other raw nuts are fine)
- Corn products of any kind
You'll also want to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, unheated on top of your food or salad
- Raw nuts and seeds like walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds
- Organic berries, especially blueberries, raspberries, or lingonberries
- Grass-fed beef (Try to limit red meat to once a week.)
- Organic, free-range chicken
- Cold-water, low-mercury, wild fish like wild salmon, mackerel, or cod (See www.drpeterbongiorno.com/happyfish for more cold-water fish ideas.)
Look into the blood type diet for advanced information about which foods are most healthy for your body and which may be inflammatory. For more information, see Dr. Peter D'Adamo's first book, Eat Right for your Blood Type, which introduced this concept to the world.
Take note of which foods in your diet are high in pesticides and switch these to organic. The foods highest in pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group, include berries, celery, apples, peaches, nectarines, grapes, bell peppers, potatoes, kale, and collard greens. Keeping these foods organic significantly decreases the levels of pesticide in your body.
Try to replace your home cleaners, household chemicals, shampoo, lotion, and toothpaste with more natural versions that do not contain pesticides, herbicides, perfumes, dyes, and parabens. A good rule of thumb is that if you have not heard of the ingredient, or can't pronounce it, it's probably worth staying away from. Also, try to take off your shoes when you enter your house. Many of the heavy metals in our homes are tracked in on our shoes.
Shake It Up
A number of good-quality supplement companies now offer protein shakes with detoxification factors that can help the liver clean out, help the intestines heal, lower inflammation, and help supply amino acids for good protein levels. The increased protein serves as a support to build neurotransmitters.
You can increase the detoxification benefit of exercise by adding a good sweat to your day four days a week for these three weeks. Plan on spending twenty minutes in the sauna—if you can find a dry sauna, this will work the best, for the dry heat pulls even more junk out of your system. The best time to go is after your exercise. Make sure you drink some water before you hit the sauna, and don't bring in a magazine—through off-gassing, these emit some of the chemicals we are trying to get rid of.
Dry Skin Brushing
The skin is a major organ of elimination. Dry skin brushing can
- Remove dead cells, which block skin pores, to allow the skin to breathe easier and increase the elimination of waste products
- Improve lymph and blood circulation in the skin and return fluids to the heart
- Transport nutrients to the skin and clear out stagnant material
- Decrease the body's circulation and elimination work load
- Warm the skin
You can buy this anti-inflammatory herb as a capsule, or you can cook with it as a spice.
You can further help your colon clear out toxins from your body by using a colonic. Colonics enhance the process because the colon sends a signal to the liver to release even more. Colonics are not painful—in fact, most patients feel revitalized afterward. I recommend one colonic a week on the seventh, fourteenth, and twenty-first days of the detox. Do not have a colonic if you are pregnant, have active bowel disease, or are bleeding in the colon or rectum.
Meditate twice a day for five to twenty minutes at a time. Do yoga. Consider journaling about both what you are grateful for and the negative ideas you would like to let go. Physical detoxing can open the door to emotionally letting go. Sometimes, an effective detox also includes releasing negative messages and thoughts that do not serve us in a healthy way.
Step 3: Flush Toxins
Step 3 should be performed over the same three weeks you do steps 1 and 2. But remember, if you are not having a bowel movement every day, only perform step 1. When you have a bowel movement, then you can add steps 2 and 3 for three full weeks.
Add chlorella and spirulina to a drink once a day. These freshwater algae are mild detoxifiers. Their fibers help bind heavy metals, pesticides, and even polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). PCBs were banned in the 1970s; however, they're still found in the environment, and we take these in when we eat fish and inorganic butter. Green superfoods help your body release them.
Chlorella and spirulina, like most green superfood drinks, come in powders you can add to a big glass of water. I recommend starting the day by having a nice green drink with a squeeze of lemon about thirty minutes before your breakfast.
Cilantro is a common herb with an active component called mercaptan, which can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, find mercury, bind it, and release it into general circulation, where the liver and kidneys can help move it out of the body.
Cilantro also has blood sugar lowering properties and is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant. I do not recommend using cilantro unless you are also using a chlorella or spirulina product to make sure any released metals are ushered out of the body.
Garlic and Antioxidants
If you prefer fresh garlic, eat one to two raw cloves. You can dice them and mix them with wildflower honey for palatability. If you prefer a capsule, then you can purchase a concentrated garlic extract and take about 600 mg twice a day. Multi-Mineral Supplement
Take a supplement that includes calcium (500 mg), magnesium (250 mg), zinc (15 mg), selenium (200 mcg), and manganese (10 mg). The presence of these can stop your body from absorbing toxic metals like lead, mercury, and aluminum.
A healthy body is a key for a healthy mood. It is essential to know that there are many factors that can create an unhealthy body as well as poor mood—and that there are steps you can take to reverse the process.
©2012 by Peter Bongiorno. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Conari Press,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. www.redwheelweiser.com.
How Come They're Happy and I'm Not?: The Complete Natural Program for Healing Depression for Good
by Peter Bongiorno, ND, LAc.
About the Author
Dr. Peter Bongiorno is a licensed naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist with offices in NYC and Long Island, and an adjunct faculty member at New York University. He is a graduate of Bastyr University, the leading accredited university for science-based natural medicine. Dr. Bongiorno is vice-president of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians, a member of the American Association for Naturopathic Physicians, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a Diplomat in Acupuncture. He has contributed to The Textbook of Natural Medicine, and The Biology of Depression and Dr. Michael Murray's Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. He has worked as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health and Yale University, and has co-authored numerous medical journal articles in the field of neuroendocrinology. Visit him at www.innersourcehealth.com.
Watch a video with Dr. Peter Bongiorno and Pina LoGiudice: We Have Medicinal Power from Food Choices