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Are you constantly trying to manage your weight and feel as though you can never lose those excess pounds? The battle you are fighting may has more to with toxins in your body than being “fat”.  It’s time to take a look at the chemical load you are placing on your body each and every day, and its potential impact on your weight.

Everything in our environment plays a critical role on our weight. It’s not just in the food we eat and the amount of exercise we get – calories in and calories out, in other words. It’s also in the air we breathe, the products we consume and use in our homes and places of business, the water we drink and the water we use for washing and bathing. Literally everything in our environment has the potential to affect our weight. 

Many people who are considered obese or overweight are not merely “fat” – they are suffering from toxin overload in their cells. More than sixty different diseases are tied to being overweight. The U.S. has some of the highest obesity rates in the world. According to Health Data, “two-thirds of adults, nearly 30% of children are overweight or obese.”

Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., states:

“Inside the body, these chemicals monkey with our ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol. Over time, the changes can lead to insulin resistance. This discovery should be headline news but no one is talking about it. Why? Because there are no drugs to treat it. In the quest to conquer the two biggest epidemics of our time – diabetes and obesity – we’ve got to turn our attention to the heavy burden environmental toxins put on our bodies.”

 What about saturated fat?

If the obesity problem were as a result of eating too much saturated fat – there would be an abundance of evidence. As one example, medical and health professionals advise people to consume less saturated fat and cholesterol, consume low-fat foods, and don’t caution patients to avoid polyunsaturated fats. Consumption of polyunsaturated fats such as soybean, canola, corn, cottonseed and other refined, rancid oils has been linked to chronic health issues. Many products on the consumer market contain polyunsaturated fats, and people buy and consume them. So let’s ask a very important question – if saturated fat is indeed the enemy, and we’re all avoiding it as we’ve been told, why do we continue to have the epic obesity problem we do, which is only increasing over time? 

Health authorities such as the USDA Dietary Guidelines assert that saturated fat, sugar, salt and excess calories are a culprit. We are told to avoid fat, but what we are not told is that traditional fats from real food sources contain important nutrients that support our health and well-being, including maintaining our normal weight. Authors such as lipid biochemist Mary Enig, PhD discuss the reasons why decades of condemnation against saturated fat has been wholly inaccurate and why foods with saturated fat are essential for optimal health.

“Mary Enig made her mark in the nutritional world in 1978 when she and her colleagues at the University of Maryland published a paper in Federation Proceedings that directly challenged government assertions that higher cancer rates were associated with animal fat consumption. Enig and her colleagues concluded that the data actually indicated that vegetable oils and trans fatty acids – not saturated fats – were the culprits for the rising incidence of both cancer and heart disease. In the ensuing years, Enig and her colleagues focused their work on determining the trans fatty acid content of various food items, as well as publishing research that clearly demonstrated TFAs to be potent carcinogens, prime factors in heart disease and immune system disrupters.”

Our food isn’t food anymore

Our collective weight problem as a population – that is, the fact that 78 million adults and 12 million children are obese in the U.S. needs to be regarded as an epidemic. As we discussed earlier, it’s not the inclusion of saturated fats in our diets, but the toxins to which we are continually exposed in our diets and environments which are a major factor in obesity. From our meat and dairy supply to our fruits and vegetables – which are replete with chemicals and toxins. Our food isn’t actually food anymore!

The real problem lies in what we are eating – industrially-produced, food-like substances that contain no real nutrients found in minerals, fat, and protein. Saturated fat from healthy sources is and always will be an essential building block of health. We cannot live (very well) without it!

We have other problems too, such as that we are receiving far less nutrients than we need and are consuming excessive amounts of sugar in our daily diets in the form of various sweeteners, grain products, refined flours. The saturated fat and protein foods we consume are the wrong kinds (from polluted, factory farms) – and of course the portions are staggeringly large.

There are also those who take supplements to try to make up for the lack of a proper diet, and many of these products contain synthetic nutrients which are difficult if not impossible to absorb, fillers and dangerous chemicals. Since many supplement products contain toxic material and are not helping our bodies to eliminate properly, if anything, they are adding to our toxin load. Real foods give us the nutrition and enzymes we need.

If people ate healthy, saturated fats and proteins, their bodies would feel full at appropriate levels. They wouldn’t have to eat such large portions as well, which we are now accustomed to due to marketing and the lack of nutrients in our food. With industrial, factory farm and chemically-laden food, your body never feels full (big surprise, because it’s not real food!), so you keep eating more and more.

Modern, processed foods that contain chemicals and lack nutrients place a tremendous strain on our digestive tracts – liver, colon, gallbladder, and pancreas. Then these chemicals become stored in our bodies, in our fat cellse. These low-fat, non-fat, processed, and diet foods we consume contribute to chronic health issues, despite the fact that health experts like doctors, personal trainers, and nutritional experts tell us they are healthy. Even though you may come across people who claim to have lost weight on low-fat plans, in the long run, weight and health problems usually return. Repercussions of such diets on long-term health are extremely harmful at best. Something isn’t quite right here: if we are doing what experts are telling us, and still not losing weight or getting healthy…something is indeed very wrong.

What’s the solution?

Kim Schuette, Certified Nutritionist, advocates gentle, ongoing detox which nourishes, protects and supports the body. It involves simple steps used in daily life to facilitate the body’s ongoing task of continued detoxification. Her approach is therefore something we would be doing every day rather than viewed as an event that has a defined “beginning” and “end”.

Schuette asserts that factors in modern life are definitely culprits for adding to our toxic load:”It is understood that the root causes of 90 to 95 percent of all cancers are linked to diet, tobacco, stress, radiation and infection. These are all factors that can be altered by our daily choices through proper nourishment, avoidance of toxic exposures, and gentle supportive therapies.”

In other words, nourishing the body with real food, removing toxic exposures in diet and environment, and adjunct therapies work in tandem to support safe, gentle and effective detoxification.

Ann Louise Gittleman, author of The Fast Track Detox Diet, believes the connection between weight and toxicity is critical – “The more toxic your body becomes, the more difficulty you’ll have losing weight.” We pollute ourselves everyday with all the things around us – and that these substances are stored as fat in our cells. In her book, Gittleman goes in-depth about all the different toxins in our world and how they affect our health and our weight – from the foods we eat to the water we drink to the products we use in our homes and places of business.

How does detoxing work?

One of the basic premises of detox is elimination of problematic substances in the diet in order to allow the body to purge unhealthy substances it is storing – and with the intent that you will not just abandon these foods for the detox, but that you will embrace a new way of eating to enable detox and supply necessary nutrients (a lifestyle change) for the remainder of your life. After all, leaving these foods behind only for the purposes of detox defeats the purpose of  important work you will do for your body, and would only undermine efforts made and cause you to have to start over. What a waste of time, money, and health!

Instead of the unhealthy choices, then, you replace (hopefully for good) the substances you’ve been eating with nutrient dense, organic, real, traditional foods.

What foods should you avoid?

Processed,  industrially-produced, nutritionally-empty foods including, but not limited, to the following:

  • processed grain products like pasta, crackers, most breads, packaged cereals
  • food bars
  • bottled dressings and sauces
  • sugary beverages (including juice)
  • processed dairy including milk, cheese, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, and yogurt
  • industrially-produced factory meats, fish, poultry, and eggs
  • conventionally-grown produce (fruits and vegetables)
  • any other food that is processed or contains chemicals or toxins (read labels and avoid foods in packages, cans, or boxes)

If this sounds difficult to do, consider the alternative which is living a life filled with health issues and disease. Which would you choose?

Taking care of your colon

If you believe the health of your colon doesn’t affect your overall health, consider the rising number of incidences of digestive diseases such as IBS, celiac disorder, Crohn’s, and irritable bowel, not to mention colon cancer. Colon cancer in people under 55 is actually on the rise: “In the United States, there was a 51 percent increase in colorectal cancer incidence in adults younger than 55 years old between 1994 and 2014.” And that’s despite the recommendation by physicians for patients to receive colon screenings and tests. And remember that when doctors do find cancer in colon screenings, the typical solution offered is chemotherapy drugs, radiation and/or surgery. Sadly, drugs and surgery will not resolve the problem causing the cancer – they will only temporarily diffuse those issues, and in most cases, make problems worse by destroying the immune system.

Rarely is much emphasis placed on a truly healthy diet and lifestyle. It should be obvious that if you have a blocked or compromised colon, your health cannot function optimally.  As a result, if you do not take care in what you eat, you will suffer from chronic illness which can lead to premature death.

The importance of liver support

Your liver is the largest organ in your body, and must conduct an enormous amount of filtering of toxins to keep your body healthy. If you have a clogged colon, your liver will have to deal with more toxins that are absorbed into your bloodstream because your colon cannot adequately perform its own function. This is when the liver becomes overloaded and health issues take over.  And this is also where weight gain can occur.

What types of foods support liver function? 

Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli sprouts. Then there’s the green leafy vegetables such as chard, kale, parsley, beet greens, collard greens, escarole, dandelion and mustard greens. These foods are best eaten either cooked in a traditional fat such as butter, coconut, or palm oil or fermented. Consuming raw cruciferous vegetables can suppress the thyroid gland’s production of important hormones, producing fatigue and coldness in the body and alteration of metabolism.  

Foods containing sulfur such as onions, raw garlic, daikon radish and eggs are important for critical nutrients and assisting in detox. Stephanie Seneff, PhD believes sulfate deficiency is a significant component of most modern chronic disease, and is largely overlooked. 

Finally, include these other foods: artichoke, celery, asparagus, beets, whey and dandelion root as they provide important detox support and important nutrients such as Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin B6 and B12, Vitamin K, folate, phosphorus and riboflavin for optimal health.

How to lose toxins, maintain health, and also lose weight:

  • You must be willing to give up processed products and commit to healthier choices – grassfed meats and pasture-raised poultry, organically produced fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, raw dairy products from a safe source, and naturally fermented foods with probiotics including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and lacto-fermented vegetables.
  • You must be willing to view getting healthy holistically – that everything you do affects your body and your weight. If you are only willing to cut out a few items keep everything else the same, chances of success will be low.
  • You must be willing to commit yourself to lifestyle changes. Detox is not just a one-time activity you engage in and then return to old habits. A lifetime of poor eating habits and bad nutrition pollute our bodies to such an extent that we need to emphasize daily detoxing, versus a series of focused detoxing that has a defined beginning and end. Health maintenance and support relies on your promise to your body and yourself to make permanent changes necessary to maintain health that will bring about wellness you never realized could be possible.

This is why in any lifestyle change plan, your goal should not be to lose weight – it should be to remove toxins and become healthier. As a result of doing this, you will lose weight if your body needs to do so – and it will be a natural by-product of eliminating the toxic chemicals residing in your tissues and cells causing illness, disease, and inability to maintain natural weight. Participation in fad diets for weight loss will cause a continued battle with health problems. The result will be that you won’t be able to effectively lose the weight you want.

Cover image: Ecstatic cuisine, Flickr https://tinyurl.com/yak92y5s