Dampness – How to resolve it…

In traditional Chinese Medicine dampness comes from a failure to burn off or transform moisture in the body. It is nearly always associated with a weak Spleen, often with a weak Kidney and sometimes a weak Lung – all from a Chinese Medicine perspective.

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the Spleen is expressed as the digestive system, the Spleen is responsible for adapting food to nourish and support our system. This process is called ‘transportation and transformation’. The stronger or Spleen function is the better we are able to extract nourishment from any food to support our body’s needs.

Dampness can lodge in a specific part of the body or affect us more generally, dampness can make us feel heavy and tired and it can make us swell up and it can obstruct our body’s functions.

Some people are more prone to damp than others, a tendency towards dampness can be aggravated by living in damp conditions and places (ex. Ireland) or by a sedentary lifestyle. It needs the transformative power of the body’s Yang Qi (energy) to stop it accumulating. Eating in ways which inhibit our Spleen function or which injure the Yang Qi will increase our tendency towards damp.

Dampness may also be caused by pathogens lodged in the body which have not been properly expelled or by the use of suppressant drugs.

Foods which promote dampness are:

  • Dairy – milk, cheese, yogurts, ice cream – Sheep & Goats products are less dampening
  • Wheat – breads, pastry’s, biscuits, all yeast products
  • Pork & rich meat
  • Processed foods, sugar & sweeteners
  • Concentrated juice’s especially Orange & Tomato
  • Beer
  • Bananas – these are a big NO in TCM
  • Saturated fats

In particular foods that need to be avoided are too much raw, cold, sweet & rich foods and the overconsumption of fluid, especially cold water.

yin yang 1
Balancing your diet & lifestyle is the key to wellness in TCM

Dampness can be divided into three kinds:

Dampness

This is the generalised condition of dampness associated with weakness of the Spleen, in may manifest in such ways as tiredness/aches in the limbs, digestive weakness or muzzy head. How it manifests depends on our individual constitution.

Water

This describes a condition of edema where dampness is retained as water; this may be specific or general in location. It causes us to swell, be become waterlogged.

Phlegm

This describes a more sticky manifestation of dampness. It often lodges in particular organs and combines easily with heat or cold. Phlegm or mucus congeals and obstructs our functioning.

Resolving Dampness though food and Acupuncture:

All dampness is treated by strengthening the Spleen and may also need tonification of the Kidneys, Lung and Yang. Phlegm demands the reduction of Phlegm-forming foods and the use of Phlegm- resolving foods. Water is helped by Water-removing (diuretic) foods. Acupuncture in conjunction with the correct foods can help eliminate damp, water and phlegm.

Dampness is often the result of overeating or over-nutrition. It is important to support the Spleen to avoid the over accumulation of Dampness.

Here are some tips on how to assist the Spleen with its digestive function:

  • Joy – enjoy your food, have a good relationship with food
  • Positive attitude – welcome food as wholeheartedly as you can
  • Relaxation – the Chinese believe not to mix food with work, watching TV or reading, also important to relax your posture as not to hinder the passage of food through your body.
  • Chew well – well chewed food lessens the work for your digestive organs and increases the efficient extraction of nutrients, it also warms chilled foods.
  • Stop just before you are full – if you overeat at any one meal, you create stagnation, a temporary queue of food waiting to be processed. This results in feeling tired.
  • Don’t flood the Spleen – the Spleen does not like too much fluid with a meal. A little warm fluid with a meal is helpful; nut too much dilutes the Spleen’s action and weakens digestion.
  • Don’t chill the Spleen – too much raw or chilled food or fluid will also weaken the Spleen, the digestive process needs warmth.
  • Eat your main meal early – when your main meal is eaten late at night, your system is naturally slowing down and the food will sit around longer and creates stagnation.

 

Foods which resolve Dampness

Aduki bean        Caraway             Garlic                    Mackerel                           Pumpkin

Alfalfa                  Cardamon          Green Tea           Marjoram                          Quail

Anchovy             Celery                  Horseradish      Mushroom (button)      Radish

Asparagus         Clove                    Jasmine Tea        Mustard leaf                     Rye

Barley                  Coriander           Kidney bean      Onion                                  Scallion

Basil                     Corn                     Kohlrabi              Oregano                             Turnip

Buckwheat        Daikon                 Lemon                 Parsley                               Umeboshi plums

 

Foods which resolve Water

Aduki bean       Broad bean        Grape                    Pea                                      Seaweed

Alfalfa                  Celery                   Kelp                       Plantain                              Squash

Anchovy             Clam                     Kidney bean       Plum                                    Tea

Barley                  Fenugreek          Lettuce                 Raspberry leaf                  Watercress

Basil                      Corn                     Mackerel             Rice                                      Water Chestnut

Black Soybean  Duck                     Mungbean          Sardine

 

Foods which resolve Phlegm

Almond               Grapefruit                          Mustard seed    Peppermint       Tea

Apple peel          Lemon peel                       Olive                     Plantain               Thyme

Black pepper     Liquorice                            Onion                   Radish                  Walnut

Celery                  Marjoram                           Orange peel       Seaweed              Watercress

Clam                     Mushroom (button)      Pear                      Shiitake

Garlic                    Mustard leaf                     Pepper                 Shrimp

 

If you would like any further recommendations or advice regarding Chinese food therapy and Acupuncture please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

 

Reference

Helping Ourselves – A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics – Daverick Leggett

 

 

 

 

My first published article…

Delighted to have an article published in the Summer edition of the Rude Health magazine. It explains the basic ideas behind Acupuncture and how it can help male & female fertility to help couples conceive.

Acupuncture can help couples conceive naturally

It also includes a testimonial from one of my male fertility patients on how Acupuncture and Naturopathy helped him and his partner get pregnant.

Rude Health Magazine Article – June 2013

 

If you want to know how I can help you, please feel free to contact me.

Enjoy the sunshine.

Helena

 

 

 

A Natural way to battle the blues…

No one should have to live with depression, unfortunately powerful prescription drugs such as Prozac can be almost as intolerable, not to mention expensive. Happily, nature has provided a whole range of gentler antidepressants such as St. John’s Wort, 5-hydroxytryptophan, S-adenosylmenthionine, tyrosine, phenylalanine and folic acid, among many others.

Considerable research indicates that these herbs, biochemicals and nutrients can often counteract clinical depression as efficiently and effectively as prescription drugs, but with fewer side effects and a more  modest price tag. Unfortunatly there are restrictions on many of these natural remedys depending on where you live in the world, this is where acupuncture alongside basic naturopathic principles such as the correct diet and lifestyle advice comes in and can have a profound effect on your mental well-being.

In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neuro-chemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Acupuncture can help lift your mood

Studies indicate that acupuncture can have a specific positive effect on depression by altering the brain’s mood chemistry, increasing production of serotonin (Sprott 1998) and endorphins (Wang 2010). Acupuncture may also benefit depression by acting through other neurochemical pathways, including those involving dopamine (Scott 1997), noradrenaline (Han 1986), cortisol (Han 2004) and neuropeptide Y (Pohl 2002).

Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain which is responsible for anxiety and worry (Hui 2010).  Stress-induced changes in behaviour and biochemistry may be reversed (Kim 2009).

If you would like to discuss with me how Acupuncture and Naturopathy can help, please feel free to contact me.

 

References:

http://www.acupuncture.org.uk

 

Acupuncture for Seasonal Allergies (Allergic Rhinitis)

Everyone knows that seasonal allergies are painful and uncomfortable causing runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain, fatigue, watery eyes, and other debilitating symptoms. Allergies also affect your productivity at work and school and may be linked to depression, insomnia, and anxiety.(1)

Acupuncture offers an effective drug free treatment so you can smell the flowers. Acupuncture is different than taking a pill, it helps to reduce pain and inflammation.  But rather than adding a medication that will temporarily block a receptor, histamine in the case of allergies, acupuncture works to regulate the body’s functioning.  The goals is for long term improvement from the acupuncture treatment.

The idea is that acupuncture helps to reset the body and remind it how to be healthy.  As balance is achieved, your body is able to maintain the healthy state without medications.  So instead of simply suppressing the body’s reaction, it works to correct the root cause of the problem.

Acupuncture’s Understanding of Allergies

Acupuncture has its own view of the body and health.  Acupuncturists look for an imbalance that is causing of allergies.

Qi is the body’s vital energy, it gives you the power to work, study, exercise, and fight illness. In acupuncture, the cause of allergies is often a qi imbalance.  There are two major qi imbalances.  The most common one for allergies is when there is too little qi, we call this a qi vacuity.  When your qi is vacuous, you feel tired, can get colds easily, may have poor digestion, coughing, wheezing,  and possibly asthma.  The acupuncture works to boost up your qi, giving you more energy and protecting you from allergies.

The second imbalance is called qi stagnation. This is when your qi does not circulate well. This is often caused by stress, and can cause pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, and in some cases, bring on asthma attacks.

Inflammation is a cause of allergies and chronic sinus pain. In acupuncture, this is often related to an imbalance called heat.  Heat can cause dryness, irritation, and pain.  This is often common in chronic sinusitis.

Acupuncture can help reduce allergies
Acupuncture can help reduce allergies

The Acupuncture Treatment

An effective acupuncture treatment is based upon a specific and accurate diagnosis of the imbalance and by targeting the exact root of the condition leads to the most successful treatment.

I combine acupressure with the acupuncture to create greater results and a stronger sense of relaxation. Usually people will feel some relief after only a visits.

How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation and increase circulation.  Acupuncture also helps to regulate the brain to reduce pain, so it is also possible that is another way it works to help regulate the immune response to allergies (2).

References:

1. Marcus MB. Seasonal allergies could spark depression, fatigue.  USA Today. 3/18/2008.2. Napadow V, Ahn A, Longhurst J, et.al. The Status and Future of Acupuncture Mechanism Research. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 September; 14(7): 861–869. 

Caffeine & Fertilty

A question on the minds of many women trying to get pregnant is whether the caffeine in their morning cup of coffee affects their fertility.

A large study carried out by the Yale Medical School found that the risk of infertility (which they defined as not being able to conceive after 12 months) was 55%  higher for women drinking just 1 cup of coffee per day, this was then 100% higher for women drinking 1.5 – 3 cups per day and 176% higher for more than 3 cups per day (1) and this was then backed up 5 years later by a study in Europe which found that a high caffeine intake in women slowed rates of conception. (2)

Additionally there is evidence that coffee drinking in men and women increases miscarriage rates and that caffeine intake during pregnancy has a negative influence of fetal growth. (3) Most studies indicate that it is the consumption of 300mg or more of caffeine daily that can lead to fertility problems, it is estimated that most Americans drink more that 350mg per day, as we are not far behind America in the obesity epidemic I assume that the figure for the UK & Ireland is similar to this.

Caffeine can have an adverse effect on fertility
Caffeine can have an adverse effect on fertility

Also remember that there is not just caffeine in Coffee, it lurks in tea, carbonated drinks and chocolate. Below is a chart that shows the Caffeine content in everyday items:

Item Caffeine (mg)

Coffee, brewed (240ml/8oz) – 60-120mg

Coffee, instant (240ml/8oz) – 70mg

Coffee, decaf (240ml/8oz) – 2-5mg

Tea, black, 5-min steep (240ml/8oz) – 60-100mg

Tea, green (240ml/8oz) – 20mg

Coca-Cola (355ml/12oz) – 34mg

Milk Chocolate (30g/1oz) – 1-15mg

Dark Chocolate (30g/1oz) – 20mg

So, coffee drinkers having difficulty falling pregnant are advised to reduce their intake significantly and find alternatives to their morning and afternoon fix.

References

  1. Dulgosz L, Brachs M B 1992 Coffee reduces fertility. Epidemiologic Reviews 14:83
  2. Bolumar F. Olsen J. Rebagliato M, Bisanti L 1997 Caffeine intake and delayed conception: a European multicentre study on infertility and subfecundity. European Study Group on Infertility and Subfecundity. American Journal of Epidemiology 146(I):32-41
  3. Ford J H, MacCormack L, Hiller J 1994 Pregnancy and lifestyle study. Mutation Research 313:153-164

Littleton J, Clavey S 2004 Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine. Churchill Livingstone

Male Fertility

Male sub-fertility is more common than you think, in 40% of couples that are trying to conceive male fertility issues are the main problem, yet apart from assisted reproduction technology there are limited options from a western medicine prospective.

There is growing evidence that acupuncture and lifestyle changes can improve sperm parameters and therefor play a positive role in improving male fertility. At my clinic I am seeing more and more male patients who want to try and improve the quality of their semen, not only those with low motility and morphology but also those who want to give there sperm the boost it may need to help reach their partners egg.

In Ireland normal sperm count values are currently given as:

• greater than 20 million sperm per ml
• greater than 50% of sperm moving vigorously (motility)
• greater than 14 % with no deformities (morphology).

A population study looking at men’s fertility found that those men that succeeded in fathering a child had:

• greater than 48 million sperm per ml
• a motility of more than 63%
• a normal morphology of 12%

(New England Journal of Medicine 345(19):1388-1393).

This study indicates the importance of men achieving the highest sperm count and motility possible.

sperm 1
40% of fertility issues are due to the male partner

So why are we seeing falling sperm counts?

The main reason is realistically due to lifestyle changes and environmental factors. We are constantly being bombarded with chemicals from aerosol’s and detergents to oestrogen’s in our water, preservatives in foods as well as the hormone’s being put into our meat & poultry. With regards to lifestyle we are drinking more alcohol and smoking more than any of our forefather’s, this can have a detrimental effect on sperm quality as they heat up the body and they also damage sperm with their toxicity. Sperm production is most efficient at 34 degrees and it can be impaired by a raise in temperature, so common advice is to remove mobile phones from pockets and not to use laptops on laps.

The good news is that semen matures every 90 days so Acupuncture, lifestyle and dietary advice can help in improving the quality of semen. I recommend that the male partner receives Acupuncture for once a week for a minimum of 3 months, especially around the time of their partner’s ovulation.

Fertility in Traditional Chinese Medicine terms has everything to do with the Kidneys. The Kidneys are responsible for storing life-force (Jing) and are the root of male sexual development, libido and fertility and control the urethra and testicles.

The Liver energy of the male also has to balanced; the Liver ensures the free flow and unobstructed circulation of energy (Qi) and blood in the pelvic and genital region.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin, sterile, single use, disposable needles into specific points on the body to address factors contributing to infertility.  The effectiveness of acupuncture is evidenced by its continued use for centuries and more recently by modern clinical trials showing successful results.

I believe that lifestyle advice is crucial in the improvement of semen quality, some changes that I advise to make may be relatively easy; others much harder.

  • Avoid excessive heat, especially to the testes, remove mobile phones from pockets and avoid using laptops on laps.
  • Take suitable exercise, enough to promote the smooth flow of Qi and blood, especially to the pelvic region. No excessive exercise, avoid prolonged cycling.
  • Adopt a suitable diet and reduce obesity, a balanced diet avoiding excessive soya, meat, dairy and sugar and one rich in antioxidants e.g. 5-7 portions of organic vegetables a day and green tea.
  • Stop smoking, excessive use of alcohol and recreational drugs.
  • Minimise environmental pollution.
  • Avoid drinking from plastic bottles, eating canned foods and heating foods and drinks in plastic containers in microwaves.

I also recommend a comprehensive supplementation programme to help increase the chances of conceiving and improve the health of the baby. This is individualised to the patient’s needs.

  • Multi Vitamin & Mineral – to improve nutritional status.
  • Vitamin E – increases sperm count and carries oxygen to sex organs – D-alpha-topherol form.
  • Vitamin C – helps to manufacture healthy sperm, prevents sperm from sticking together and can improve their motility, can increase sperm up to 1/3.
  • Vitamin D – essential for the healthy development of the nucleus of the sperm cell, and helps maintain semen quality and sperm count. Vitamin D also increases levels of testosterone, which may boost libido.
  • Zinc – cell division and improves desire & ejaculation.
  • Selenium – lack of selenium is linked with sterility.
  • Vitamin B Complex – stress and nervous system tonic.
  • L-Arginine & L-Carnitine – crucial for male fertility and sperm development.
  • Co Q 10 – energy for sperm.

Acupuncture can assist and improve the chances of conception by preparing the body for the journey ahead. It is important that both partners are in good health at the time of conception to give the best possible start to the new life.

If you would like more information or would like to speak with me to discuss how I can help, please contact me.

What is Cupping?

What is Cupping and how does it work?

Cupping is one of the oldest methods of traditional Chinese medicine.  Today acupuncturists use cups made of thick glass, plastic or bamboo. Glass cups are the preferred method of delivery, because they do not break as easily and they allow the acupuncturist to see the skin and evaluate the effects of treatment.

In a typical cupping session, glass cups are warmed using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is soaked in alcohol, lit, and then placed, inside the cup. Burning a substance inside the cup removes all the oxygen, which creates a vacuum.

As the substance burns, the cup is turned upside-down so that the practitioner can place the cup over a specific area. The vacuum created by the lack of oxygen anchors the cup to the skin and pulls it upward on the inside of the glass as the air inside the jar cools. Drawing up the skin is believed to open up the skin’s pores, which helps to stimulate the flow of blood, balances and realigns the flow of Qi breaks up obstructions, and creates an avenue for toxins to be drawn out of the body.

Depending on the condition being treated, the cups will be left in place from 5 to 10 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Some cupping treatments will also include small amounts of medicated or herbal oils being applied to the skin just before the cupping procedure, which lets the cups move up and down particular acupoints or meridians after they have been applied.

image_cupping

What conditions does Cupping treat?

Cupping can be used for a variety of conditions but is mainly used for muscular-skeletal pain, cold and flu’s and cold syndromes. It is very beneficial in the treatment of pain.

Is cupping safe? Does it hurt?

While cupping is considered relatively safe, it can cause some swelling and bruising on the skin. As the skin under a cup is drawn up, the blood vessels at the surface of the skin expand. This may result in small, circular bruises on the areas where the cups were applied. These bruises are usually painless, however, and disappear within a few days of treatment.

In addition, there are several instances where cupping should not be performed. Patients with inflamed skin; cases of high fever or convulsions; and patients who bleed easily, are not suitable candidates for cupping. Pregnant women should not have cupping on their stomach or lower back. If the cups are being moved, they should not cross bony areas, such as the ridges of the spine or the shoulder blades.

Finish the 6 week Detox programme with a 2/3 day Juice fast

6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle Naturopathic programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.

Well done, I know I need a pat on the back for completing the last 6 weeks. Eliminating some of those foods groups was tough, now complete the programme with the 2/3 day juice fast.

As I have said before Spring is the perfect time to cleanse for overall health and well-being! According to traditional Chinese medicine, Spring is when your liver is particularly activated. Like any irrigation system, things build up, and the system can tire under strain. Ours is no different. When this organ functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. By eliminating alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy, wheat/gluten & sugar you have done a lot of the hard work. The reason for doing the elimination over a long period of 6 weeks is so that you have gently cleansed your body and hopefully you won’t have a major healing crisis/reaction to the fasting. You can expect some on the normal fasting side effects, headaches, feeling cold, tired etc… Try not to do too much over the 2/3 days. You may have some side effects because the toxins in your body are being dumped into your blood stream and they will take 24 – 72 hours to clear through your system (Kidneys mainly). You can do gentle exercise, yoga and walking is OK but make sure you keep warm.

You can refresh with my earlier blog for the benefits of detoxing and fasting.

Juice fast

Juicing is the key to radiant skin and health. Also referred to as “cellular cleansing,” juicing is preparing and drinking fruit and vegetable juices. A juice fast is great way to nurture your body, rebuild your immune system and restore yourself to a healthy way of living. Raw fruit and vegetable juice contains many cleansing elements such as minerals, vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants to heal and detoxify the body safely.

Little energy is used by your digestive system during the cleanse, allowing the body to focus on rebuilding, renewing, and healing. You might be surprised by how much energy you have. The many health benefits of juicing far exceed those of eating solid fruits and vegetables.

At the most basic level, juicing gives us the opportunity to add far more vegetables to our daily diet. Juicing allows us to up the amount of raw food we consume which gives the body energy and boosts the immune system and the body’s cleansing process. Green juices contain lots of chlorophyll which is significantly effective in detoxifying our bodies. Chlorophyll can help make our bodies strong by detoxifying the liver. This detoxification will purify and help to rebuild our blood cells, remove mold, parasites and toxins from the body.

When fasting

It is necessary to strain the juices to ensure that solid pieces are not consumed. Solid food will encourage the digestive process to begin again and will make you hungry. This is not desirable. If you feel like you need more juice, more calories, or are a little low in blood sugar, you can repeat any of the juices during the same time period of any given day, I would recommend 3-5 juices per day. Most juices contain about 100-200 calories and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Also allow yourself to drink non-caffeinated Herbal teas.

Juicer

Earlier in the week I recommended this great value juicer, you can get almost anything through it as long as harder fruits and vegetables are chopped into smaller pieces. If you do not have a juicer you can use a blender and strain out the pulp.

Fruits are the cleansers and being very alkaline are good to do first thing in the morning and vegetables are the builders and good to do in the evenings. Avocados and Bananas do not juice well. Remember you can use herbs; mint and parsley are great in juices, also ginger.

Have 3 – 5 8oz glasses (large glasses) of juice per day plus 1.5 – 2 litres of clean filtered water

Please feel free to make up your own juices, more veg than fruit and try not to mix fruit and veg together as they impair digestion, exceptions to this are carrots (which break down simple sugars very quickly) and apples, which can comfortably be mixed with vegetables because of the higher starch content.

If you are hungry, eat raw veg such as peppers
NO Salad dressing, Salt & Pepper
NO Supplements
If you blood sugar is low have a piece of fruit

Both fruit and veg are high in Potassium and Magnesium so even though you may find this hard you are doing your body the world of good.

Juice’s

1. 1 Carrot grated, ½ Cucumber, 2 medium Beetroot, handful of Spinach or Kale & 2 Celery sticks and add Ginger and the juice of a lime to taste.

2. ½ Cucumber, 1 Apple, 2 Celery sticks, 1 Carrot grated – this mixes really well together

3. 1 Apple, Grapes and a Lemon – great in the morning

4. 1 Pear, Grapes, ½ Lemon & ½ Watermelon

5. Handful of Spinach & Kale, handful of chopped Broccoli, 2 Celery sticks and ½ Cucumber – surprisingly sweet because of the Kale

6. ½ Pineapple, ½ Cucumber & Lemon or Lime

Please feel free to make up your own and remember to dilute all juices with equal parts of clean filtered water.

juice-200x155

When you have competed the 2 days, please ease yourself gently back into the world. Lots of soups and stews, nothing processed and see how much you can keep eliminated from your diet. If your ever feeling like you have slipped back into your old routine you can just do a 2 day juice fast but watch out for the side effects!!

Hope you feel well and full of vitality!

Helena

Week 6 of my 6 week Detox Programme – Quitting Sugar

6 Week Detox Program finishing with a 2/3 day juice fast – This is a gentle Naturopathic programme that will change your lifestyle and make you glow from the inside out.

Well done, week 6 already, I don’t know about you but I feel great, my skin is clearer, I’ve lost a few pounds but the main thing is I feel alive. It has been tough but the good thing about this Detox is that it has been slow and hopefully some of the lifestyle changes you have made during this programme will become permanent. I know that is the case for me.

Anyway it’s not quiet over yet, this week we need to quit Sugar then this is followed by a 2 day juice detox. Sounds hard yes? But it should be easy, you have already eliminated from your diet a huge proportion of where sugars, mainly hidden sugars lie – up to now you have eliminated Alcohol (full of hidden Sugars), Caffeine (you will have not had any Chocolate), Meat (processed meats contain Sugars), Dairy (again full of hidden Sugars, especially Yogurts & Cheeses and ‘low-fat’ options) and Wheat/Gluten (full of Sugars especially processed sauces and pastries). So if you think about it this week should not be as hard as you think as you have eliminated all of the above & hopefully processed foods. You are a Vegetarian eating mainly veg, fruits, fish, eggs, beans & lentils – easy. Plus your sugar cravings should have of diminished some what as you have not been eating cakes, pastries, chocolate etc…

Now it’s time to ditch the fizzy drinks, any processed cereals and bars (the added sugars in some of the ‘healthy’ bars is phenomenal), sweets (these must go!), concentrated juices and squash, dried fruits and jams and many high sugar fruits such as Apples and Bananas.

Five Sugar traps to avoid

These foods are health-food shop favourites and are filled to the brim with sugar:

  • Low Fat Yogurt/Dairy – When manufacturers take the fat out of dairy they have to replace the taste and texture with something – that something is sugar. A ‘natural’ low-fat individual tub of yogurt can contain six teaspoons of sugar! ‘Low-fat’, ‘sugar free’ and ‘no added sugar’ labels are in fact full of sugar (fructose) and are highly fat creating; the ‘full-fat’ option is by far the healthiest!
  • Agave – This is a fashionable sugar-substitute and is made from a South American plant and marked as ‘low-GI’ and healthy. Beware; this is 70-90% fructose.
  • Muesli – Some muesli’s promoted at low-fat and healthy have recently been found to contain more sugar than Coco Pops – up to 44% sugar.
  • Dried Fruits, Dates & Goji Berries – Any product containing a lot of dried fruit is going to be full of fructose. When you take the water out of fruit your left with a lot of sugar – about 50-70%, Dates are the worst culprits.
  • Fruit Juice – A 375ml glass of Apple juice contains the same amount of sugar as the same glass of Coca-Cola – about 10 teaspoons. Some Vegetable juices such as Carrot and Beetroot are also high in Sugar. Eat your vegetables and fruits whole, Apples and Bananas are the worst culprits and Berries and Kiwis are the best.

1_quit_sugar_18f99om-18f99oq

Some Sugar facts…

Sugar comes in two halves – normal table sugar comprises of 50% glucose – which is safe (in moderation) and is easily metabolised by our bodies – and 50% fructose. Fructose is the issue. So when we say “sugar”, we are referring to the fructose component.

There is good sugar and bad sugar?

There’s safe and unsafe sugar. Glucose and lactose (in milk) are safe – they contain no fructose. They occur naturally in a lot of foods. Fructose, however, is, always bad. And fructose is fructose, whether it’s consumed in “healthy” forms or not – the body reads it the same way.

Honey is 40% fructose, agave is 70 – 90% fructose… these are often labelled as “good” or healthy sugars when they’re clearly not.

Fruit contains a lot of fructose too, but if consumed whole, the water and fibre content offsets things a little (although studies show we really should only be eating one to two pieces of low-fructose fruits each day).

What are some of the negative effects of too much sugar?

Weight gain is an immediate one. Fructose goes straight to the liver as fat. The issues spin off from there, primarily metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes, cholesterol issues and heart disease. Studies now link sugar to all these “modern” diseases, all of which have risen at the same rate as our sugar consumption.

My main aim of this detox programme is to quit sugar for good; there is an article in the Observer today titled ‘Is Sugar the new Tobacco?’ This is so true, look at the obesity epidemic that is apparent everywhere you look and especially with Children, re-education is needed to reduce our sugar intake and take charge of our health.

Eliminating Sugar will not only help you lose weight, lift your energy levels and get glowing skin it will have huge health benefits and help prevent against diseases such as Diabetes and Cancer’s.

I have discovered this woman in Australia called Sarah Wilson, she has an amazing book called ‘I Quit Sugar’, it really is amazing makes you realise the tasty things that you can create without sugar.

So good luck with this week, there will be updates throughout the week and on how to prepare for the 2 day juice detox.

Helena

Fertility acupuncture, pregnancy acupuncture, women's health, hormone balance, migraine, pain relief