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    Archive for the ‘colonics’ Category

    The Internet Needs a Gwyneth Paltrow Detox!

    gwyneth-paltrowGwyneth Paltrow is back, folks.

    No, not back from England.  And, no, not back on screens.  She’s back with more detox nonsense.

    In her latest newsletter, the Goopster (as I like to call her) mentions that she is “finishing [an] amazing three-week-long “Clean” detox program.”

    She goes on to say she “feel[s] pure and happy and much lighter” as a result of following said cleanse.

    Alas, the cleanse conveniently happens to be the basis of New York City “detox specialist” — and Goopster friend — Dr. Alejandro Junger’s latest book, which she then goes on to plug.  How… convenient.

    In the newsletter, Dr. Junger, like any good businessman, explains that while the cleanse “can easily [be done] at home with freshly made foods and drinks, a meal replacement shake-supplement version of it is also available in a kit from www.cleanprogram.com.)”

    Second mortgage, anyone?

    Apparently the inspiration for this cleanse program — besides a larger bank account — was Dr. Junger’s personal experience following a 15-day juice fast several years ago, on which he “lost 15 pounds and was told repeateadly [that] he looked ten years younger.”

    Citing his medical experience, he claims to have perfected that cleanse in order to make it healthier and more manageable for those leading busy lives.  How someone with a busy schedule can find the time to get daily colonics beats me, though.

    Anyhow, you can view the cleanse manual here.  Page seven, which details the dietary principles, is quite interesting.

    Let’s see (my comments in bold):

    1. Oranges, strawberries, grapes, and bananas are not allowed.  Any diet program that tries to blame certain fruits for health problems loses major credibility.
    2. Rice milk and oat milk are allowed.  I thought processed foods were a no-no?  In what universe is rice milk not a processed food?
    3. Chicken and turkey are allowed, but not shellfish.  Right, because shrimp is so unhealthy…
    4. Tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant are banned. Oh, you didn’t know?  Tomatoes are TERRIBLE for you.  Yeah, uhhh… the tomato lobby has just been lying to you all this time.  Those bastards!
    5. Brown rice syrup, stevia, and agave nectar get a thumbs up, but all other sweeteners — including honey — get a thumbs down.  Someone please send this doctor to Nutrition 101 so he can learn that all sugars are created equal.

    It’s rather ironic that a wellness website so intent on living harmoniously and in balance encourages avoidant eating patterns.

    Anyhow, if you believe what the Goopster says on the back cover of the book, this cleanse helps “end chronic depression.”  Did your BS detector just go off?  Good!

    Hollywood execs: if you’re out there, I beg you, please cast this woman in a film so she can get off the computer and stop spreading this cleanse nonsense.

    Thanks in advance!


    You Ask, I Answer: Fish Oil Supplements/Metal Toxicity Cleansings

    Yesterday I attended a talk given by an “applied clinical nutritionist” who works at a local pharmacy.

    She really advocated the use of supplements for everyone (probably because the pharmacy she works at generates a lot of revenue through the sale of herbs/supplements and homeopathic remedies).

    She recommended taking fish oil instead of flax because she said that flax requires an extra step to be processed by the body.

    She said that some people’s bodies aren’t able to perform this extra step and you would never know one way or another, so she just prefers to stick with fish oil.

    Since you often recommend flax, what are your thoughts?

    She also talked about “cleansing” (the colon in particular).

    Her recommendation wasn’t about losing weight, but rather to flush out toxins, no matter how healthy your diet.

    She said this is needed to flush out “toxins” that accumulate in our bodies from pesticides in food, air pollution, etc.

    The cleanse involves eating certain kinds of foods (she wasn’t specific) and taking some sort of supplements that help flush your colon, like magnesium (I think).

    All of this sounded sort of unnecessary to me.

    Is there any evidence that this type of cleanse is beneficial for people whose diets are already consist of nutritious, whole foods?

    — Kristin (last name withheld)
    Austin, TX

    Before I begin, let me thank Kristin for following up her question with an e-mail revealing the results of her own investigative research.

    Turns out that acquiring the “applied clinical nutritionist” title is a simple task.

    “It’s a self paced certificate program through the Texas Chiropractic College. To earn the certificate, you must be a health care professional, or the staff or student of a health care professional (I suppose you could be a dental receptionist). You have to attend 7 seminars (100 hrs), take a test and pay $1400. In return, you get a shiny wall plaque,” writes Kristin.

    Sigh. Anyhow, onto Kristin’s question.

    As far as the fish vs. flax issue, I agree with the speaker, to a point.

    It is true that the Omega-3 fats found in flaxseed (ALA) need to be converted by the body to DPA and EHA.

    It is also accurate to say that the majority of people do not convert ALA efficiently.

    A significant factor inhibiting conversion is that Omega 6 fatty acids compete with Omega 3 fatty acids for the same desaturase (conversion) enzymes.

    Keeping in mind that our current food supply contributes an abundance of Omega 6, you can see why ALA –> DHA/EPA conversion isn’t happening as optimally as we would expect.

    That being said, I still recommend ground flax simply because most people don’t consume much of ANY Omega-3’s.

    Simply put, ground flaxseeds are an effortless way to add some Omega 3’s to a variety of foods (not everyone likes fish or wants to eat it.)

    I also hope that the speaker’s recommendation of taking fish oil supplements was mainly targeted at people who do not consume fish (or sea vegetables, which offer the same omega-3 fatty acids).

    I would much rather you get your DHA and EPA from actual food first, and consider supplements a “second best” choice.

    Furthermore, I hope she stressed that non-DHA/EPA sources of Omega-3’s offer a wide array of nutrients.

    Ditching walnuts and flaxseed and instead swallowing a spoonful of fish oil every morning isn’t necessarily a smart swap.

    What I COMPLETELY disagree with her on (and why I doubt she is an RD) is her colon cleanse recommendation. It is unnecessary and not particularly healthy. If people want to “flush out” their colons, all they need to do is consume more insoluble fiber and liquids. Plain and simple.

    Not to mention, I would love to ask this expert how, exactly, toxins accumulate in a body with a regularly functioning liver and kidneys. There is no evidence whatsoever supporting the belief that we need to cleanse ourselves of toxins.

    What I find most illogical is that people who furiously support colon cleanses apparently fail to realize that colon cleansing eliminates all the HEALTHY bacteria in the human gut and can cause electrolyte imbalances!

    If you’ll excuse me, I now need to go center myself.


    Shame on You: Kevin Trudeau (Part 5)

    Let’s continue with Kevin Trudeau’s secrets that will help us never get sick!

    Too bad “not reading Kevin Trudeau’s books” isn’t one of the tips; I simultaneously get nauseous and high blood pressure every time I read some of his ridiculous ideas on health and nutrition.

    For example…

    “Do a seven to thirty day fast.”

    Trudeau recommends going to his website to find out specific suggestions and guidelines, but, lo and behold, you can only see this information if you subscribe to his website – and pay $9.95 a month.

    Although I was considering forking over that amount for the sake of research, I then crashed back to reality and realized I didn’t need to see Trudeau’s suggestions to discredit this piece of advice.

    Fasting as a way of losing weight or “getting rid of toxins” is not only ridiculous, but also unsafe.

    When our bodies are in ‘starvation mode’, they go into ketosis (a state in which they burn fat, rather than carbohydrates, for energy). If you were ever on a low-carb diet, I am sure you remember being told this was ideal.

    Not so much. States of ketosis often result in kidney damage that can lead to filtration problems down the road, and also prevent our brains from being nourished in the most optimal way — with glucose (a carbohydrate).

    If you are concerned with toxins and “cleaning out your system”, then eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, integrate whole grains into your diet, stay hydrated, and perform physical activity.

    Starving yourself for seven days, or drinking only cayenne pepper, water, and maple syrup for three weeks is one of the least helpful things you can do for your body.

    How could you possibly be benefiting from starving yourself and thus not nourishing your body with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals?

    Bottom line — fasting weakens our immune systems, thereby elevating our odds of getting sick.

    “Do not eat any food produced or sold by a publicly traded corporation or is a ‘brand name’ product.”

    Which leaves us with…? I would love for Mr. Trudeau to tell me how I’m supposed to eat in today’s world without getting at least a handful of foods that are brand name products.

    The standard “get everything at your local farmer’s market” isn’t enough in this situation.

    Don’t get me wrong – I am all for supporting local farmers and getting fresh produce from them, but why this expectation that they should be our sole source of food?

    Farmer’s markets, for instance, can’t provide me with raisins, edamame, tempeh, oatmeal, or brown rice – some of the healthiest foods in this planet! As far as I know, these are only available from publicly traded companies, no matter how small.

    “Do not eat anything that comes out of the microwave.”

    The reason for this? “When you microwave anything, it becomes energetically toxic to the body. [It] weakens your immune system and causes depression and anxiety”, Trudeau explains.

    Going back to the real world, microwave cooking can be beneficial in some aspects. Since microwave cooking requires less time than conventional methods, more nutrients are retained when cooking certain foods.

    Water-soluble nutrients (vitamins B and C, in particular) are quickly broken down if they are boiled in hot water; in a microwave, however, they will be retained in a similar fashion as to when they are steamed.

    Additionally, microwaves are often the best way to defrost certain foods by reducing the risk of foodborne illness.

    “Do not drink diet sodas.”

    “The idea that diet sodas have fewer calories, [and] thus are good for weight control, is a total lie,” Trudeau revels.

    In fact, if you follow his advice, you can replace diet soda with regular soda and not gain weight. Good luck!

    If you are currently drinking 3 cans of Diet Coke and replace them with regular Coke, you’re talking about 400 extra calories added to your day. If you change nothing else about the way you eat, you will undoubtedly gain weight.

    While I wouldn’t necessarily advocate drinking diet sodas, I also think this concept of “don’t you ever take a sip of Diet Coke” is hysteria.

    This summer, a student in a class I was assisting with raised her hand and proceeded to breathlessly share “facts” about Coke that have been circulating in e-mail chain letters for the past ten years. Among them, “If you put a penny in a glass of Coke overnight, it disintegrates!”

    The supposed link we are supposed to make is, “Wow, if it can do that to a penny, imagine what it does to our body!” Except that pennies don’t have the same protective acids our stomachs do, and our internal organs are not made of copper.

    Sorry, but spam chain letters are not good sources of nutrition advice.

    If you are eating a balanced diet rich in calcium, having a Diet Coke or two every weekend is not going to kill you.

    Apart from the calcium-leeching properties of diet soda, the big concern is that these are usually accompaniments to unhealthy fast food. If you pop open a can of soda in the afternoon, you are most likely to have it with chips, cookies, or candy rather than fruit, vegetables, or a handful of trail mix.

    Come back next week for more nuggets from the book the New York State Consumer Protection Board billed a “fraud”!


    Shame On You: Kevin Trudeau (Part 4)

    When we last left our infomercial wiz, Mr. Trudeau was making the ridiculous claim that animals in the wild never get sick and, therefore, we must really be doing something wrong if we get a cold once in a while.

    Chapter Six, titled “How to Never Get Sick Again” was one I could not wait to sink my teeth into.

    Trudeau opens the chapter by arrogantly claiming it might as well be titled “How to Be Young Forever” since his tips will not only prevent you from getting sick, they will also reverse the aging process!

    I’m surprised he doesn’t pitch something along the lines of “If you call within the next 30 minutes, I’ll even provide you with a small bottle from the Fountain of Youth! CALL NOW!”

    Trudeau claims that “a healthy person has little, if any, body odor, bad breath, foot odor, [and] their urine and stool do not smell.”

    Really? I know plenty of people with diabetes who don’t have body odor or bad breath, just as I know people who are in fine physical condition but apparently don’t get along too well with their bar of soap and toothbrush. I’ll chalk this one up to yet another Trudeau opinion spun as fact.

    He then goes on a rant about life expectancy, explaining that our sense of aging is completely warped. In his mind, living until the age of 85 is a darn shame, since our bodies are meant to live until we are at least 120.

    “The fact of the matter is a person 100 years old should be strong, flexible, full of life and energy, and have the physical capacity of what the average forty-year-old person has,” he explains.

    Since Trudeau is so hell-bent on using animals and nature as benchmarks, perhaps he can see that all animals — including humans — go through a life cycle, which goes from birth to death, and includes childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Being 100 years of age and unable to run a marathon like someone in their thirties is not a sign of decay and disease!

    Trudeau then goes on to list his “amazing secrets” for never getting sick and remaining young. I will divide these into several posts so I can break down my favorites at length.

    1. “Get 15 colonics in 30 days.”

    That is one colonic every two days! As I mentioned recently, colonics are completely unnecessary. The only thing they accomplish is the loss of water weight, which is immediately gained back. Additionally, they destroy all the healthy bacteria in our colon, which is responsible for fighting away infection!

    Trudeau claims that as I am reading his book, I have “three to fifteen pounds of undigested fecal matter stuck” in my colon, which in turn cause gas and bloating, slow down my metabolism, and prevent me from absorbing nutrients! I’m surprised he isn’t also blaming the death of baby penguins in Antarctica to my colon.

    Furthermore, if Trudeau is so concerned with nutrients, why is he advocating people get colonics, which wipe minerals like potassium (which our colons absorb) out of our bodies?

    I am going out on a limb here and assuming Trudeau has never taken a basic human physiology course. Otherwise, he would know that toxins can not build up in our colon since it consistently sheds its lining.

    As I have mentioned before, the best way to cleanse your system is by reducing the amount of junk food you eat and increasing your intake of fresh, whole foods, getting at least 30 grams of fiber a day, and staying hydrated. This alone will keep the nasty stuff moving through your system so it can be excreted.

    And, if you want to speed up your metabolism while getting rid of toxins, do physical activity! This way, you’ll sweat the toxins away while keeping your metabolism working at a speedy rate.

    Tips two through eight consist of more cleanses! That’s right — Trudeau wants you to get liver, kidney, gallbladder, parasite, and full-body cleanses.

    Is Trudeau supposed to be helping people get healthy? The above sounds like the perfect way to suck out all sorts of nutrients from our body. Enough said.

    10. Use a rebounder (mini trampoline) ten minutes a day.

    “A rebounder stimulates the immune system and is incredibly effective at cleaning out toxins out of the cells.”

    And, according to Trudeau, it stimulates all major organs and glands.

    The same can be said for ANY exercise, whether it’s power walking, lifting weights, taking an aerobics class, dancing for 20 minutes, or doing jumping jacks in your underwear.

    There is no need to go out and keep a mini trampoline handy to prevent from getting sick.

    11. “Walk one hour a day.”

    “Walking outside reduces stress, stimulates the lymphatic system, promotes a thin, lean body, and walking while looking at the world eliminates depression and dramatically reduces stress.”

    Again, any physical activity will result in the production of endorphins, the “feel-good” natural chemicals that have been linked with feelings of vitality and

    I do want to point out that exercise will not cure or eliminate depression. If you are clinically depressed, power-walking for 60 minutes a day might help, but it should by no means replace counseling or any medication you may be on.

    And, yes, ANY physical activity will promote a thin, lean body if it is also accompanied by a sensible and balanced eating plan. Walking one hour a day and then dining at Burger King is a whole different story.

    The important thing is to simply move more. Your body doesn’t care if you’re walking in Beverly Hills or a treadmill in Des Moines, Iowa. Simply move!

    If you weigh 300 pounds and do not exercise regularly, do not attempt to walk for one hour if you currently feel short of breath after going up one flight of stairs.

    Rather, simply start by walking for as long as you can handle, even if it’s just five minutes. Then, slowly try to increase the amount of time you walk each day — even if it’s just 20 more seconds each day.

    Although you need to challenge your body’s limits, you also need to respect them to avoid from getting hurt.

    In a few days, I’ll post more of Mr. Trudeau’s gems. Come back for a good laugh!


    You Ask, I Answer/Celebrity Diet Secrets: Colonics

    I often read about celebrities (i.e.: Jennifer Aniston) using colonics as a weight-loss tool. Are they a good way to lose 5 pounds quickly, which you can then keep off with dieting?

    — Tiffany Polder
    San Francisco, CA

    How coincidental! I was planning on publishing a posting on colonics when this question arrived in my Inbox.

    I wonder if Tiffany and I were both thinking along the same lines after catching an insepid Vh1 special on celebrity diet secrets where, among other things, they shared that Kate Beckinsale, Ben Affleck, Demi Moore, and Madonna are big fans of colonics (a process where a gallon or so of water is flushed into the intestines via the rectum, which supporters believe helps cleanse and purify internal organs).

    I find colonics to be unnecessary and not at all useful for weight-loss purposes.

    Much of their reputation stems from the fact that after finishing a colonic procedure, people find they immediately dropped four or five pounds. Guess what? It’s all water weight. In other words, once they go home and eat and drink like normal, all that weight is gained right back.

    Remember, water weight is not lost, it is just temporarily gone.

    It’s also important to note that we carry beneficial bacteria in our colon that act as immune barriers to a variety of pathogens. Since a colonic flushes both the good and the bad out, people can be susceptible to a variety of illnesses and infections for a few days until the helpful bacteria re-establishes itself.

    Since some of these bacteria are responsible for the production of Vitamin K, it is sometimes advisable to take a Vitamin K supplement after getting a colonic.

    Successful weight loss is attributed to adopting healthy habits like portion control and choosing nutrient dense foods, which a colonic does not teach you.

    If you are concerned with ridding your body of toxins, eating your recommended amount of fiber, staying hydrated, and cutting back on added sugars and saturated fats will do the trick.


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