Are You Toxic? We Spring Clean Our Houses, What About Your Body?
Time for Spring Cleaning!
We are well into spring, and often we hear people talking about ‘spring cleaning’ – wiping down the baseboards, cleaning out the pantry, vacuuming in those hard to reach places, etc. Do you ever think about cleaning up your body?
Every day we are exposed to toxins like xenobiotics. Xenobiotics are toxins that are foreign to the body such as drugs, pesticides, and carcinogens. Today our food is highly compromised and has become our major source of xenobiotics. Among problems these chemicals create are water and fat retention, which lead to inexplicable weight gain.
When you pick up a packaged food and find many chemicals that you can’t pronounce, realize they have been added to create an addiction to that food. Not to mention all that processing and chemicals will compromise your body’s natural ability to feel full when you are eating it. Have you ever found yourself diving into a bag of chips to find that you nearly consumed the whole bag in one sitting? If you look at the food label, for a 16 oz bag of chips it is generally 16 servings and 140 calories or more per serving!
On the other hand, have you ever found yourself eating too much broccoli? “I can’t believe I just ate that whole head of broccoli. I am stuffed!” Probably not, because plant-based whole-foods don’t cause addictions or overeating. If this never happens because when you eat broccoli or other natural whole-food plants, they provide three key ingredients to make you feel full.
First, plants are full of fiber, which triggers stretch receptors to make you feel full.
Second, plants provide phytonutrients, which trigger nutrient receptors in your body letting it know that it has gotten the micronutrients it needs to make the human machinery run properly – similar to the oil in your car.
Third, plants provide complex carbohydrates that fill up liver glycogen stores. These are long chains of sugars. Since your brain functions on carbohydrates, your liver and the hypothalamus are constantly communicating with each other to regulate hunger as a function of how much glycogen is left in the liver for brain usage. Contrary to what most people think, carbohydrates are not bad. It is the simple sugars that are the problem that are in many processed foods, not the sugars found in whole plant sources.
Packaged foods that you eat are high in xenobiotics, and typically contain very little fiber and complex carbohydrates. And, they contain almost none of the critical micronutrients available in real plants. They have been chemically engineered for you to keep buying and eating them instead of real plants as sources of food. Yet they can never give you a feeling of fullness or satisfaction.
The bottom line – Most of your calories should come from Plant sources: vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide the body with the essential nutrients necessary for a healthy long life. Processed foods and animal products are the mainstay of the catastrophe that is the American diet and they are primarily responsible for the current obesity and chronic illness statistics in the US.
Your first step: Start Cleaning up your diet! If you are eating a lot of package and processed foods now, start looking for whole plant based alternatives. And, you may consider doing a cleansing program especially if you are trying to lose weight. More to come on that for another blog.