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Organic Vegetables

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are organically grown foods really that important to buy? They are expensive.

Minimizing exposure to pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and GMOs is the reason to buy organically grown food, especially when it comes to animal-based foods. They may be more expensive; however, the health effects from these toxins can be far more costly. Buy foods in season and from local farmers to keep the costs down. Making purchase decisions according to the annual “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists from the Environmental Working Group (www. ewg.org) can also help people make informed and cost-effective grocery purchases.

What if a person’s genetics haven’t been tested? Can a detox program still be done?

A genetics test is not required to do undergo a detox program under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner. There are a number of steps that can be taken with food and lifestyle to support general detox processes in the body. However, the tests for genetic variations in detoxification enzymes are potentially a worthwhile investment. They only have to be done once, and they will help direct the healthcare practitioner more effectively in designing a dietary approach for the patient.

Is fasting beneficial for detox?

When it comes to detox, many forms of fasting have been tried—juice fasting, abstaining from solid food and only having smoothies and nutritional shakes, intermittent fasting where less food is eaten every other day, daily or nighttime fasting, caloric restriction, and food restriction. Each person should discuss this topic with their healthcare practitioner to see whether fasting in any form would be helpful. Most healthcare providers will continue to include quality protein during a break from ingesting food as protein is key to healthy detoxification.

Which macronutrient ratios and caloric ranges are appropriate for detox?

Detoxification requires energy. Calories are needed to fuel the pathways to move toxins through the system. Therefore, this food plan is not limited in calories. However, a specific calorie level may be prescribed if there are other aspects that are being addressed, such as blood sugar concerns, guided weight loss, or an improved body composition. Furthermore, there may be times during a detox when nutritional supplements or powdered formulas may be used by a healthcare provider to improve and balance the organs of elimination and detoxification, if this cannot be achieved with food alone. Therefore, fasting from food or limiting food intake to specific foods and amounts may be required for certain periods of time. This is done under the guidance of a healthcare provider or nutrition professional.

What sweeteners can be eaten on a detox program?

Ideally, it is best to reduce the intake of added sugars as they tend to stress the body systems and create more inflammation, making it more difficult for the body to effectively clear toxins. Sweeteners that are included on an elimination diet can be incorporated while following the Detox Food Plan. Modest amounts of brown rice syrup, stevia, honey, maple syrup, fruit concentrates, and ripe fruit can be used.

Is food packaging important?

Food packaging is an essential aspect to consider in a detox program. Nowadays, many foods are packaged in cans, cellophane, foil, boxes, cardboard, metal, and plastic, all of which can impart chemicals to what we eat and drink. Aim for whole foods with minimal packaging or in higher-quality materials (e.g., non-BPA lined cans). Special attention should be placed on keeping plastic water bottles out of the heat.

Are there certain foods that assist the body in better detoxification and metabolism of testosterone?

The type of foods that help with testosterone levels will depend on what the body needs to assist with testosterone metabolism. A skilled health practitioner can provide more guidance based on symptoms and/or laboratory assessment. Here are some general guidelines:

 

If estrogen levels are high and testosterone levels are low, a health practitioner may choose to have the patient include foods that are known to decrease the conversion of testosterone to estrogen (aromatization):

  • Phytonutrients: soy isoflavones, tea catechins such as epigallocatechin gallate, pomegranate, licorice flavonoids, resveratrol, hops flavonoids, flax lignans, grapeseed extract, mangosteen, red clover 

  • Chrysin from bee pollen

  • Medicinal mushrooms (stuffing mushroom, shiitake, white button, crimini, baby button)

 

If testosterone levels are low and estrogen levels in the normal range, testosterone production can be enhanced with:

  • Olive oil, coconut oil, soy isoflavones

If testosterone levels are too high and estrogen levels in the normal range, these food strategies and foods may be helpful:

  • Calorie restriction

  • Soy isoflavones, flaxseed, licorice, spearmint tea, omega-3 fatty acids, tomato, red reishi mushrooms, green tea, naringin (from wild mushrooms), cruciferous vegetables

 

Can bread be eaten?

Bread is not included on the Food List, but it would be acceptable to make bread from gluten-free flours (especially legume flours) with added protein (e.g., egg white, nut meal, flaxseeds, sesame seeds) and fiber (e.g., using whole grains like brown rice flour) as part of the Detox Food Plan. Gluten-containing grains should only be included as permitted by a healthcare provider.

What would an ideal detox meal look like?

An ideal detox meal would have a small bowl of miso soup as the appetizer. Next, the entrée would be presented as half a plate of steamed green leafy greens of various kinds, with some cruciferous vegetables tossed in, together with a serving of protein, such as wild-caught salmon lightly pan-fried in sesame oil with crushed garlic and minced ginger. A small serving of a high-protein grain like cooked quinoa could accompany the meal. Afterwards, enjoy a bowl of fresh raspberries and blueberries with a cup of green tea (with a squeeze of a lemon).

Is there a certain way to cook cruciferous vegetables to maximize their impact on detoxification?

Raw cruciferous vegetables are difficult for some people to digest. Additionally, active goitrogens (thyroid-inhibiting substances) are found in raw cruciferous vegetables, but are inactivated by cooking. Steaming cruciferous vegetables like broccoli for about 90 seconds (to the point they become bright green) is best for digestion and for liberating active compounds in the broccoli, yet does not cook the vegetables to the point where compounds are destroyed (within 10 minutes, the enzyme myrosinase that converts broccoli compounds to anti-cancer substances is destroyed).

 

Are cruciferous vegetables harmful for thyroid function?

There is a perception that cruciferous vegetables are problematic for thyroid function. This is a relatively minor issue and affects a small segment of the population. It is more important to get enough cruciferous vegetables. The raw forms of these vegetables and some other plant foods like soybeans contain compounds called goitrogens thought to impact thyroid function. Steaming or cooking these foods inactivates goitrogens. Thyroid concerns should be discussed with a healthcare provider to see if certain dietary nutrients are lacking, such as iodine and selenium. Thyroid lab tests can help determine whether consuming raw plant foods is a good idea.

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