“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)
Yesterday, I had a rare chance to see Martha Stewart’s TV show for a few minutes when she interviewed renowned Integrative Medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil, MD. Andy was sharing techniques for liver detoxification, which is very imprtant for everyone, in our toxic world, but it is critical for diabetics, as we really need our glucagon – insulin relationships in balance. Your liver is your second largest organ (only your skin is larger) and without your liver’s proper function, you are seriously challenged. It’s capable of self-repair, but in today’s toxic world, it’s overwhelmed. As diabetics, we need it to be working for us!
I will include the link to the video, as they do not offer embed code. In the video, Dr. Weil speaks about the importance of your liver; it is your largest gland and everything has to go through your liver before anything is ever allowed to enter into the rest of your body. Your liver needs to be able to perform 500 different chemical processes to keep you healthy, and you need to keep IT healthy so it can work for you!
Your liver is your Prime Defender. You must take care of it!
If you drink alcohol, smoke, eat lots of foods that have chemical preservatives or dyes, eat regular produce which has been sprayed with fungicides and herbicides or if you are on prescription medications, then you ESPECIALLY need to pay attention. You do also, if you eat large meals or lots of fried foods.
Dr. Weil only had less than 6 minutes in this interview, so I need to expand on what he mentioned and so do you — by talking to a knowledgeable physician — as Andy was not specifically addressing diabetics. For example, using saunas is very efficient as a way to detox, BUT saunas are not automatically applicable to all people (those with heart conditions and high blood pressure likely cannot do it, and other conditions may not allow this suggestion, either).
However, Andy is one of the most knowledgeable physicians, and his suggestions for ways to detoxify using the foods and supplements he showed during the interview will likely be allowed by diabetics.
Effective detoxifiers include:
___ cabbage family vegetables – cabbages, kale, bok choy, radishes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, horseradish, real wasabi root (not powdered), mustard greens, collard greens, turnips, “swedes” / rutabaga, garden cress, watercress, “broccoflower”, crambe, nasturtium, rocket, and kohlrabi. These foods participate in both biochemical pathways which are needed to detoxify.
(Em’s note: Cabbage family foods are also “goiterogens” and if used too much, they can effect your thyroid function — slowing it down, and slowing your metabolism with it. If you already have low-thyroid, or are obese, consult with your endocrinologist to see how often to use this group of otherwise healthy foods.)
___ matcha – the special “freshest, least-processed” green tea. Dr. Weil has contracted with Ito En to make a Dr. Weil matcha which had been sold as tea bags in Target (and maybe at his own site; I didn’t check), but the best Japanese and Asian groceries should have a “matcha” — get the best, or almost-best; make sure it says “matcha” on the label. Dr. Weil blends his with “sencha”, the next least-processed tea to make the taste milder.
Green tea has very positive effects on sugar metabolism, and it aids weight loss. As all teas have slightly diuretic properties, make sure that you are drinking plenty of pure spring water to stay hydrated.
___ hand-squeezed, fresh citrus juice – from oranges, lemons and limes especially. When the fruit is pressed and then the juice is drunk immediately, you get the benefit of the limonenes. These are very powerful natural detoxifiers and they won’t be found in less fresh juice.
Limonenes come from the colored zest and are also released from the inner white peel when the fruit peel is “squeezed” by teeth when eating whole fruit or by a press when making fresh juice. So, when eating whole fruit (which is always “better” than juice, especially for those with diabetes), then wash the peel well, and make sure you are scraping the peel, as much as possible, with your teeth, as you eat the wedges; then discard the peel. A lot of great bioflavinoids and rutin are in the peel, only!
___ fresh ginger root — not only is it a wonderful anti-inflammatory, but it helps detoxify your liver too, (as well as spicing-up any dish with great flavor)!
___ Japanese Seaweed Salad — this is one of my most favorite foods on earth! It is a finely shredded, delightfully “crunchy”, transparent, green seaweed with lots of other tasty dressing ingredients.
This seaweed, and all sea veggies, remove toxic metals and chemicals and radiation metabolite products (after X-ray exposure etc.) and help to have your liver safely let go of some of the toxic waste dump that it has to cordon-off to keep you safe.
Mercury from”silver” dental fillings and from high-on-the-food-chain fish (like tuna)( and some other animals) would also be able to be released because the seaweed is the singular food that can “bind” these serious toxins. The nori seaweed around sushi will help, but there’s lots more in a salad only composed of seaweed!
My packages are Dried Seaweed Mix from Nihon Shokken Co (Torrance, California — see if they have a website)(ingredients are: wakame, kombu, akasugi, akatosaka, shirosugi) and Soken’s Sea Vegetable Salad www.sokensha.co.jp/company/e_pamphlet.html (It’s ingredients are: wakame, akamodoki, akanori, agar-agar). Follow each brand’s instructions; they are different, probably because of the different seaweeds’ needs. Each small package makes 2 -4 servings.
___ Milk thistle (or St. Mary’s Thistle) — Trader Joe’s and other good natural supplement and herbal manufacturers make and sell this product, which has a long herbal history as the main herb which supports your liver. The best form, however, is Silybin Phytosome, which is a special extract of Milk Thistle.
Dr. Weil says that the minute that we start taking this supplement, it starts to help. I would start at the lowest dose, and then gradually work upwards. As you gradually heal your liver, it is likely to be better at detoxifying your body. That’s a good thing, but you may feel some discomfort, as the process happens. As it heals, it will start detoxing more. Keep helping it with all of these suggestions.
___ Pure, spring water — your body must stay well-hydrated, and it needs water to help your kidneys to flush-out the toxins. If you have kidney problems, talk to your physician about your target amounts, otherwise, for those without kidney issues, then gradually build-up to drinking about half your body weight in fluid ounces of water. For example, if you weight 110 pounds, your lowest amount should be 55 fluid ounces, just less than the 64 ozs. which makes 1 gallon, per day, over the entire day, approximately an 8 oz. glass of water every 2 hours during your work / waking day. If you weigh more than this, do the math to get the proper amount for your weight. Build up your capacity over 3 – 4 weeks.
___ Additional supplements: zinc; lecithin or choline; B vitamin complex (used up in stress and in producing cellular energy)(make sure you have enough biotin, as it is rarely at good levels in supplements; you may have to get a separate bottle); mixed tocopherol Vitamin E; cysteine, glycine and glutamine OR glutathione (levels also decrease with age)(glutathione supplements are usually not well absorbed, so use the 3 amino acids mentioned before it, as they will help your body to make your own) and glucuronate is even more effective for liver cells, specifically; taurine amino acid is needed for chemical toxins and is likely deficient in those with chemical sensitivities (and it helps with gall-bladder issues, too)(vegetarians and vegans may also be deficient too). Dr. Cabot has a tonic which incorporates all of these in the efficacious amounts.
Other physicians add: Selenium (also needed for insulin) is important for your liver. Selenium is found in: asparagus, broccoli, dulse seaweed, garlic, kelp seaweed, nuts, onion, brown rice, rosemary, sage, sea veggies, spirulina, tomato and wheatgrass and barleygrass. Alpha Lipoic Acid – It is an important sulfur source. It helps to protect your liver from free-radical damage.
___ “Bitter” tasting foods like the turmeric spice, endives, dandelion greens, beet greens, broccoli rabe (rapini), mustard greens, arugula (rocket), artichokes and asparagus are used by naturopathic physicians to help cleanse the liver. Although some of these foods actually taste milder than others do, they are still effective. Dandelion greens should not be from your garden, parks or roadside.Only organic dandelion greens, specifically produced for food, should be used. They are usually available at Whole Foods. Dandelion greens are one of the most efficient detoxifying foods.
Talk to a knowledgeable Naturopathic physician (N.D. or N.M.D.) or a holistic, integrative medicine or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) MD, like:
Dr. Weil, MD, Dr. Elson Haas, MD, Dr. Sandra Cabot, MD (an Australian liver detoxification expert) , Dr. Mark Hyman, MD and Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD. And, for my favorite naturopathic physicians: Dr. Michael Murray, ND and Dr. Mark Stengler, ND … although there are lots more of them! And, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS is my favorite nutritional educator.
Each of these doctors have websites, and all have written books, if you don’t have access to a holistic physician. Some do phone consultations. Others have an archive of questions they’ve answered online or have newsletters.
Here are a few helpful recipes for liver detoxification.
Cabbage is full of nutrients like vitamin C and indoles, which are important cancer-fighting compounds. In addition, red cabbage also contains anthocyanins, the purple pigment with strong antioxidant activity commonly found in blueberries, in summer.
In the winter months, cabbage is an important and abundant nutritional resource. Because it is in season then, it is cheap while other fresh produce is either expensive or unavailable.
This recipe calls for a lot of salt, but it is used in this dish to soften the cabbage, and then it is thoroughly rinsed off . Then, the recipe doesn’t provide too much sodium. The garnish brings out the flavor of the slaw and adds additional crunch.
Food as Medicine
“When cabbage is sliced or chopped, anti-carcinogenic compounds called glucosinolates are formed, but cooking denatures the enzyme that creates these compounds, stopping their production. ” So to maximize its healthful properties, cabbage should be eaten raw or cooked for less than five minutes.
1 green cabbage, medium-sized head
1 red cabbage, medium-sized head
3 T sea salt (do not use table salt!)
3 carrots, large
1/4 C scallions, minced
1 T organic sesame seeds
2/3 C organic, brown rice vinegar, unseasoned
1/4 C organic brown sugar (known as Succanat) OR 1/6C of low-glycemic agave nectar (better)
1 1/2 T dark-roasted sesame oil
organic sesame seeds and green onions, minced
(Em: also add valuable Omega-3 fatty acids from hemp seed as part of this garnish)
1. Discard one set of outer leaves of the cabbages. Cut each in quarters; remove the cores (keep them for soups). Slice cabbage thinly or shred in food processor. Layer the cabbage evenly into a large, glass bowl. Add the sea salt. Then toss to distribute evenly. Let cabbage sit for 1 hour to soften.
2. About 1/2 an hour later, scrub the carrots well and grate them into thin shreds. Make the dressing. Whisk the rice vinegar, agave nectar or Succanat, as well as the sesame oil together in a small bowl.
3. Drain off any liquid from the cabbage . Rinse the cabbage well in several changes of cold, running water. Taste the cabbage; if it is still too salty, rinse it again.
4. Add all of the carrots to the cabbage and mix well.
Stir the dressing again and pour it over the cabbage. Mix well. Let it chill. Garnish with minced scallions and toasted sesame seeds before serving.
Nutrients Per Serving
Protein: 3.6 grams
Fat: 3.7 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams
Monounsat Fat: 1.3 grams
Polyunsat Fat: 1.6 grams
Carbohydrate: 23.7 grams
Fiber: 5.7 grams
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Vitamin A: 8,186.9 IU
Vitamin E: 0.5 mg/IU
Vitamin C: 98.1 mg
Calcium: 134.4 mg
Magnesium: 47.6 mg
* from Dr. Anne Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS “The Fat Flush Cookbook”.
Dr. Cabot’s LSA Mix
This is a high Omega-3 fatty acid mix which is very healthful. Store it in an airtight, dark container in the refrigerator and use within a week, at most. If you can’t use it within 1 week, then freeze it (in fact it’s best to freeze it from the beginning and just take out the spoonfuls from the freezer cache).
3C organic flaxseeds (linseeds), raw
2C organic sunflower seeds, raw
1C organic almonds, raw *
hemp seeds — see Em’s note
Mix and grind together until fine (a coffee grinder will work, but have one set aside for just seeds, otherwise everything will taste like coffee.)
Store as indicated above, and sprinkle on foods at every opportunity (but only AFTER they are cooked, if being cooked).
* NOTE: Thanks to California’s ludicrous decision to irradiate its almond crop (most of the world’s production) and have the audacity to still allow it to be labeled “raw”, it is no almost imposssible to find raw, American almonds. Trader Joe’s has begun to import “Raw Valencia Almonds” from Spain.
Em’s suggestion: also add organic hemp seed to this mix, and it MUST be ground up before being sprinkled even though they are very tiny seeds. If they are whole, our body is a lot less likely to be able to access their Omega-3 essential fats.
Dr. Andrew Weil, MD Dr. Weil, MD (Click Here!) He’s also a consultant at Martha Stewart’s Whole Living
Dr. Sandra Cabot, MD Liver Doctor (Click Here!)
Dr. Elson Haas, MD A Diet For All Seasons (Click Here!)
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD Joel consistently writes great articles on his main site and blog (Click Here!)
Dr. Michael Murray, ND the original best known naturopathic educator (Click Here!)
Dr. Mark Stengler, ND Highly regarded as the “physician’s physician” (Click Here!)
(c)2008 Em https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com