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How To Use Simple Foods To Really Detox ...
( Reading Time – Approximately Four To Five Minutes ).
Chinese Medicine uses completely different approaches to understanding foods and their actions in the body. One of these methods is the Five Flavors. They are sweet, salty, spicy, bitter and sour. Each taste has a very different reaction in the body, producing very different results.
I will discuss in detail all these flavors eventually in this blog.
Generally, in small amounts, the tastes have a beneficial reaction. Whereas in large amounts they can disturb the body and throw it off course, even producing illnesses in it. By simply manipulating these flavors in your diet it can also help to resolve and even cure many ailments.
For example, if the body becomes too toxic, you will need to take in more foods that detoxify until you become clean again on the inside. After that the body should be able to function properly again and whatever ailment initially caused by the toxins will most likely fade away and disappear.
That brings us onto the bitter flavor. It is the master of detoxifying and cleansing your body. (Another effect it has is to cool the body. How it does this will be explained in a future blog.)
When you put something bitter into your mouth, like a slice of lemon, it causes it to tighten up and squeeze. Your tongue will nearly try to push its way out of the back of your mouth. As this is happening, you will notice that your mouth waters. The fluid washes away the bitterness and your mouth is left feeling dry.
The cells in your body don’t like anything that tastes bitter. They close up against it. As they are clamping up, they are squeezing fluid out to push the bitterness away. They are treating it like a poison, ( just like that old expression “a bitter poison”). As the cells push out fluids they also push out fats and toxins as well. This gives them a good cleaning.
The action continues the whole way down the digestive tract, causing cells to push toxins away and eventually out of your body. Some of the flavor is also absorbed into your bloodstream and circulated around you. Any tissues and organs it reaches will again reject it, by tightening away from it, pushing fluids against it, and releasing toxins as well. The whole of the body can be cleansed by the ingestion of bitter fluids, foods and herbs.
Many antibiotics are probably the chemical extraction of bitter foods and herbs. They share similar characteristics to each other. They both purge and flush toxins and bacteria from the body. Their side effects are also similar. For example, the bitter taste is constantly producing fluid wherever it touches. Some bitter fluids, such as grape or prune juice, are directed into the intestines and they end up awash with large amounts of fluid. The bowel movement then becomes looser. This is also a common side effect to be found with some types of antibiotics. (However some bitter tastes like lemon will pass out of the intestine and deeper into the body, thus causing the cleansing effect in that area. Lemon won’t therefore generally increase bowel movement.)
Another similarity to antibiotics is that if you take too much bitter taste or too intense bitter taste for a long period of time, then you can start to feel weak and tired. As good energy, nutrients and blood can end up being drained out of your body along with the bad stuff. Many people often complain of feeling fatigued after being on antibiotics. So from a Chinese Medical perspective they seem closely related.
Even in our kitchens and around our houses we can see the effectiveness of bitter products. You will notice that many washing up liquids and cleaning products, particularly ones dealing with fats, grimes and grease, use bitter lemon, orange, grapefruit, or lime in them. You can try a simple experiment to see its effects. If you get a greasy pan and put water onto it, it won’t do much. If you wipe it about you will make a sludge at best. But if you squeeze lemon juice onto it, you will start to see the fats break up. If you wipe this, the fats will easily start to remove themselves from the pan.
Plants and trees produce this bitterness in nature for very clever reasons. Firstly they don’t want their fruits to be eaten until they have matured the seeds inside of them. So to start with they are very bitter and off putting. They act like natural pesticides. When the seeds are ready they use the suns’ natural energies to ripen and sweeten the fruit. However, they often retain a bitter undercurrent and the seeds too can be even more bitter. If you have ever eaten grapes with seeds, you will notice the harsh bitterness when you bite down on them. After birds and animals have eaten this now ripe fruit, the remaining bitterness causes fluid to gather in the intestines and helps to wash the seeds quickly down through the intestines and out of the animals. The seeds are then deposited in a new area, where fresh life can burst forth and begin its journey.
In your body the natural fat buster and detoxifier is bile. It is produced in the liver and the gallbladder. Chinese doctors sometimes in the past used animal bile as treatments. Can you guess what flavor it is ? That’s right, it is bitter, hence the old expression, “as bitter as bile”.
The general rule for using the bitter flavor is to use plenty of it when you are in a hot and toxic state. Consume lots of green tea, plenty of juices like pomegranate, berries and grapes, up to about a liter a day. And if there are signs of active bacteria and infections, have watered down weakened lemon, lime or grapefruit juice for a while to help deal with them. One should also obviously stop taking in foods that are toxic and phlegm creating as well, there is no point in clearing things out and putting them back in at the same time.
However, be careful when you are detoxifying or even trying to lose weight. If you try to drink lots of intensely bitter flavored lemon or lime juice everyday to detoxify faster, you may end up over tightening your body, which will strangle some of the smooth movement on the inside, as the bitterness gets trapped in some places. This can damage circulation and badly affect the functioning of organs. As your cells violently contract against the extreme bitter flavor, you will also end up stripping away the oils, nutrients, vitamins, minerals and energy that is keeping you healthy. So it is best to avoid consuming extreme bitter tastes. Unless you have something nasty you want rid of, like bacteria or a virus.
When we are in a balanced state, the advice changes, here we can have lots of weak bitter flavors, such as green tea or watered down juices. We should also have a glass or two daily of the more medium bitter tastes like pomegranate, berries and grapes. Intense flavors like lemon and grapefruit should be taken infrequently, perhaps once a week or even once every few weeks.
In Western science there are plenty of studies and evidence to back up the theory that bitterness cleans the body. Bitter tastes like pomegranate, grapes, blueberries, green tea and others have been shown time and time again to help in preventing disease by removing damage causing free radicals and also in treating conditions like cancer, heart disease, high levels of bad cholesterol and others like diabetes.
So by maintaining a moderate amount of bitter tastes daily we will help to keep our bodies clean and prevent infections and many other ailments. And by manipulating and increasing bitter tastes if we become toxic and sick then we can help to treat and often cure our own illnesses.
(Amongst the common fruits that taste bitter are pomegranate, red or black currants, red or green grapes, blueberries, black berries, lemon, lime, raspberries, grapefruit, pineapple, cherries, prunes, plums and cranberries. And of course we can also have green tea.)
Last Updated (Thursday, 24 February 2011 00:18)
Why Chinese Dietary Therapy Is Still Superior To Western Nutritional Advice ...
( Reading Time – Approximately Four To Five Minutes ).
There is archaeological evidence to show that the Chinese have been studying foods and herbs for well over three thousand years. During that time, they refined and perfected a great system.
It is entirely different to the Western way of counting calories and dividing our foods into groups of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is instead very practical and useful in altering states and conditions, and even in treating and resolving illnesses in your body.
Once you understand the Chinese method, you can start to see why there are many flaws in current Western nutritional theories.
The Western approach is nearly always to break foods down into smaller and smaller isolated chemicals, which are then categorized into similar groups. When you do this many elements start to appear to have the same qualities. However on the bigger level, the problem with this is quite clear.
A few examples should illustrate it ...
In the fruit category, a lemon is very obviously different in comparison to a banana. Indeed if you were to eat four bananas your intestines would feel and react very differently to if you were to eat four lemons. The lemons would have most people’s insides tied up in knots.
Similarly in the carbohydrates section, a potato has a different reaction to eating bread or eating white rice. When you eat potato your belly can feel heavy and even sometimes tired, whereas eating white rice often leaves you feeling energetic and light.
Another simple example would be a chilli pepper versus a carrot in the vegetable group. Again there is obviously a very strong and noticeable difference on your system between eating a plate of carrots compared to a plate of chilli peppers, which may make you perspire and feel like you are on fire.
This Western system of categorization of proteins, carbohydrates and fats is simply inadequate, not particularly useful and can even mislead the general public.
Even nutritionists have witnessed its inefficiency over the last decade or so regarding fats. When I was growing up the advice was clear that all fats were bad for you. Now this has radically changed into good fats such as omega oils, which are now recommended for you, and bad fats which are still as bad as ever.
Another issue is encountered through the advice that individuals always require X amount of this and Y amount of that each and every day, (such as vitamin and mineral requirements, calorie intake, intake of meats, dairy, fruit and vegetables and so forth, often seen in national dietary guidelines and pyramid food charts.)
This would work perfectly if we were all the same size, did exactly the same amount of work, encountered exactly the same emotional experiences, where all born with exactly the same constitution and of course never aged or changed our bodies or their environment in any way.
On the contrary, we change all the time. We grow older, work at varying degrees of intensities, and of course our environment constantly changes throughout the seasons in the year, from cold winters to hot summers.
We are simply dealing with ever fluctuating variables in human beings as opposed to consistent and unaltered states in machines. When you experiment on a machine you will get the same results every single time. With living creatures this is not so. They are all different, constantly changing and therefore need different foods (and other background factors) to keep their own personal systems in a state of healthy balance.
This is the reason why pharmaceutical drugs work well in some people and at the same time can produce serious and sometimes even deadly side effects in others.
The idea of balance is one of the key reasons why the Chinese system is so good.
General Chinese and many other Asian medicines teach you how to spot when your system is going out of alignment.
For example, if your body is cooling down too much, there will be insufficient power to keep organs working and processing substances, which may lead to a lack of nutrients being created and delivered to your brain causing it to slump and become depressed. Alternately, if the opposite condition was in play, a build up of excessive heat in your mind, then this could cause over activity producing anxiety, restlessness and insomnia.
When the body is in balance, everything is working properly, there is enough energy and enough nutrients and raw materials to rebuild and feed cells in the body, keeping everything healthy and in good order.
There are many states we can alter in ourselves through ordinary foods in our diets. We can easily cause reactions to moisten, dry, heat, cool, detoxify, tighten, loosen, relax, stimulate, power up our bodies and so on.
For instance the idea of foods causing your system to become hot or cold over a period of time isn’t heard of in Western Nutritional advice, yet it is a major factor in Chinese Dietary therapy. When I talk of hot and cold here I am not referring to getting cold from eating ice cream or hot from consuming heated food, but to the reaction caused in the body when the food mingles with the different parts inside you. For example, whiskey served in a cold glass with an ice cube will still cause a hot sensation to spread across your chest after you have consumed it.
Once you become aware of the simple methods and characteristics that will clearly show you how a food will interact with and alter your body, then your food becomes a very useful and important tool in helping you to avoid or treat illness and to increase your well being.
Over time I will teach you through this blog many of the methods used to understand and utilize the power of your food.
We will start next week, when I will teach you a little trick of how to use bitter flavours to easily and successfully detoxify your body.
Last Updated (Thursday, 17 February 2011 13:00)
How Cold Food Can Make You Overweight, Tired And Sick !
( Reading Time – Approximately Four To Five Minutes ).
Yes you read that right, by consuming cold foods and drinks we can cause our bodies to gain weight, lose power and in a weakened state to become more prone to ills over a period of time.
Well the first thing to understand is that our body runs off energy. Quite simply, the more powered up it is, the better every organ and every cell will function. Everything from your heart to your kidneys to your brain needs power. The more it has the better and healthier it works. The less it has, the less able it is to carry out tasks around the body, leaving things to pile up and break, or leaving it vulnerable to infections and other ailments. So maximizing your energy levels is therefore of the upmost importance to a healthy flourishing well being.
Energy in essence is really heat and movement. The more active molecules become, the more they vibrate and heat up. If you think of a car engine or a machine, they heat up while they are running. Or even when you get active and exercise using your energy reserves, you will heat up. The sun also gives us an example of heat and energy in the form of solar power. In simple terms, heat and energy go hand in hand together.
Next up, we need to know how the stomach works. Its basic actions behave like a cooker does. After you have swallowed food, the stomach begins its process of digestion. This internal cooker starts to heat up your food and mix it with fluid enzymes, to further soften and break it down. If it is successful a mushy mix like a soup or stew, is passed into the intestine where it is further worked on and absorbed.
The stomach uses up a lot of energy to heat up and process the food you have consumed. The rest of the body is protected from this heat by thick mucus that lines the inside of the stomach. If you have ever had the unpleasant experience of heartburn, where some of the heat and liquids escape up into the throat, then you have had exposure to the intenseness of the heat being generated by the stomach.
Now if we think of an ordinary cooker found in your kitchen; if you wanted to use it to make vegetable soup, the most efficient way where the cooker would use the least amount of electrical power, would be to cheat by boiling a kettle and pouring this hot boiled water into the pot with the veg. The soup would cook quickly and the cooker would use up the least amount of electricity possible.
The most inefficient way would be to get frozen vegetables and put them with very cold water into your pot. And then for some odd reason, just as its starting to boil, add in a few ice cubes. The cooker would waste lots more energy and time trying to cook this soup up.
In the same way if we apply those principles to our stomachs, we can start to see that if we eat cold foods or take icy drinks with meals, our stomachs will take and use up a lot more of our vital energy trying to break the food down.
Unlike a cooker connected to an electrical outlet, our stomachs have a limited supply of energy to do their job. If they are overwhelmed and start to run out of power then this is where problems begin.
The stomach starts to steal energy from the other organs and mind, making you feel tired and sleepy. It may even just give up, causing the foods to sit in your stomach giving you a belly ache. The undigested food eventually starts to make its way into the intestine where it slowly rots, letting out gasses and causing your abdomen to distend and bloat. These gasses may build up causing pressure, discomfort, indigestion, pain and wind.
Long term, from over exposure to cold food, your digestive organs may begin to weaken and your metabolism will start to slow and become sluggish as it loses its power. This can lead to weight gain and many other implications for the rest of the system.
As energy is decreased in the body, there is not enough power for the organs to work effectively, leading to such conditions as general poor health, tiredness, low moods, depression and a weak immune system.
So to keep your stomach and digestion strong and healthy, and to keep energy levels high, just follow the simple rule to have hot meals and avoid cold ones.
Other related points to note ...
If you have a salad or a sandwich, be sure to have a hot drink with it, the heat will help to boost the energy in your stomach to break down the unheated food. (Peppermint tea is usually a great accompaniment with meals. It has special properties which help the digestive system. Green tea is also another favourite. Both will be discussed in detail in future blogs).Avoid cold drinks and fruit juices taken directly from the fridge. Before drinking them, let them heat up to room temperature, or mix some hot water from the kettle into them.
Avoid having icy or cold water or drinks with your meals. And also avoid having frozen desserts such as ice cream, frozen yoghurt or sorbet after them.
When preparing food, be sure to thoroughly heat it but do try to avoid overcooking. If you do overcook, you will reduce the vitamins, minerals, energy and other nutrients it contains. You will also lose much of the flavour of the food.
Finally, in regards to being overweight, consuming cold foods is only one of the ways to cause the retention of fluids and fat which can lead to excess weight gain, (the others will be discussed in future blogs).
Last Updated (Monday, 07 February 2011 20:18)
Namaste - A Beautiful Expression ...
( Reading Time – Approximately Two To Three Minutes ).
My favourite greeting is “Namaste”, (pronounced Nam - As - Te). It is a wonderful phrase originating from India and is commonly used there and in several other Asian cultures. To me it captures the heartfelt sincerity and deep understanding that embodies Eastern spirituality.
“Nam” means bow, “As” means I and “Te” means you. Literally it translates as “I bow to You”.
However the deeper meaning behind this saying is much more significant. The “I” and “You” in this case refers to the soul. It takes on the meaning of my soul bows to your soul.
In the East the soul is all that is good in us, and is clearly separate to the mind which harbours our ego, the home of our competitive, selfish and destructive natures.
Therefore when we greet someone with ”Namaste” we are implying that our higher real self wishes to interact with their higher self on the most genuine and purest of levels. And that we will both bypass and leave behind our egos.
When we think from our souls (and not the ego), then we act from a place of integrity, compassion and love. We act with everyone’s best interest at heart, which produces an entirely unselfish behaviour.
Apart from helping us to focus with virtue on our fellow human beings, this little saying also helps to bring our own minds the same happiness and love that we are now expressing into the world. It quietens, relaxes and calms them, leaving them in a state of joy and deep contentment. Giving us a breather and time to escape from the negativity and madness our modern world and egos often wish to drag us into.
In the East and in India, (and nowadays in many modern yoga classes all the way around the world), the spoken “Namaste” may also be accompanied by a physical expression. This is created by performing a slight bow while the hands are pressed together with palms touching and fingers pointed upwards as if in prayer. Generally they are placed in front of the centre of the chest if you wish to express love and joy from the soul, or they are placed in front of the forehead if you wish to acknowledge the integrity and wisdom of the person you are offering “Namaste” to.
“Namaste” may be used as a greeting or as a farewell.
So the next time you are amongst your friends and others you really love and respect or when you yourself want to bring the peace and wisdom contained in your soul into your mind, then instead of a simple hello and goodbye, connect with your inner spirit and offer up “Namaste” and thus bring a little more harmony and good will into our world.
Last Updated (Monday, 31 January 2011 20:29)
How Pomegranates Can Help Treat Prostate Cancer
( Reading Time – Approximately Four To Five Minutes ).
In my last blog I talked about the widening gap between real science, whose interest is in discovering the truth and in generally creating a more intelligent world, and commercial science which appears to want to patent and use anything it finds to further the financial wealth of a select minority of already wealthy individuals.
Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people in the world, commercial science now appears also to have taken a rather dubious course of leading people away from effective real science. Science which ordinary people could use to empower themselves, and help themselves prevent and treat many forms of illness at relatively low costs.
Chinese Medicine is full of such low cost and self help techniques and treatments. It was founded with the concept of helping the patient to understand how they became sick and how they can prevent reoccurrence of their illness in the future. It was developed at a time and through philosophies such as Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, where money and wealth were not the primary goals. This is very different to the position commercialised Western Medicine now finds itself in, where it is being driven by secrecy, competition and capitalistic market forces.
During the time I spent writing my book, I researched and found many Western studies to back up the theories which Chinese Medicine has evolved regarding health and illness over thousands of years through the use of empirical research.
One such case is the studies I came across regarding the treatment of prostate Cancer.
In the United Kingdom over 30,000 men are diagnosed with this illness every year and over 10,000 men die from it. In the United States it is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in men.
Amongst other things, Chinese Medicine uses bitter flavours and herbs as part of the treatment and prevention of cancers. So whilst writing my book I searched for evidence of the effects of bitter tasting foods in Western trials on cancer in the human body. There are an over whelming number of Western studies to support this Chinese view point.
Two of such studies I found, where in this case in relation to prostate cancer and the use of the bitter tasting juice from pomegranates as detailed below. As you read them, bear in mind that both studies are involving simple, ordinary, easily obtainable pomegranate juice.
The first, conducted by a team at the University of Wisconsin in the US and appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005, found that an extract of pomegranate juice when tested on laboratory cultures of human prostate cancer cells, killed the cancer cells. They found that the higher the dose of pomegranate the more the cancer cells would die.
They then injected mice with human prostate cancer cells. They fed one group of mice pure water and another two groups with water mixed with o.1% pomegranate juice or 0.2% pomegranate juice. Their results showed that the cancer in the mice receiving the highest dose of pomegranate juice was significantly slowed in comparison to the growth of the tumours in the mice fed only water.
The second study was conducted by researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles. It was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research in 2006. It involved 50 men who after receiving surgery or radiation treatment for prostate cancer, all then showed signs of the disease rapidly returning.
In the study they were given an 8 oz. (0.24 litre) glass of pomegranate juice to drink daily. The progression of prostate cancer cells are measured by levels of a chemical called PSA (prostate specific antigen). Basically the higher levels of this detected, the quicker the cancer is growing. The team at UCLA measured how long it took for the PSA levels to double in individuals in the group drinking the pomegranate juice. They discovered that whereas average times for PSA levels to double is 15 months, in those consuming the pomegranate this had become 54 months, nearly taking a staggering four times the length of time for it to double.
In my opinion and that of Chinese Medicine, I feel it is obvious to deduce from this that pomegranate juice has anti-cancer properties, which should not just be used to help as part of the treatment of cancer but also should be encouraged to be taken as part of a healthy lifestyle to help in preventing cancer from occurring in the first place.
These studies are just two examples of how simple changes in diet may strongly influence the occurrence of diseases such as cancer.
As pomegranate juice has been shown by Western science to be very effective in helping to treat and slow the progression of prostate cancer, a disease impacting and destroying the lives of thousands of men (and affecting women through the loss of their partners, fathers, brothers and friends). Then the next question is to ask ourselves why such a simple treatment or preventive strategy is not more widely encouraged. Even if the evidence at some later date turned out to be weaker than the studies currently indicate, it would certainly still have caused no harm to men to drink a glass of this juice a day. So why when we are dealing with the biggest male cancer in the UK, why is this information not on posters in doctor’s clinics and in hospitals? Why haven’t I seen adverts on the TV and in the media providing these scientific facts?
In my opinion, sadly this simply comes down to a lack of commercial profits to be made by providing this vital information to the general public.
In future blogs I will at some stage discuss how bitter fruits like pomegranate, grape and many berries can successfully detoxify and help prevent diseases in the body like cancer, in accordance with the logical, easy to understand and implement principles found in the theories of Chinese and Eastern medicines.
Chinese Medicine has a very clever understanding of how foods react and cause actions in our bodies. Once you have learnt this wisdom, then over time it becomes easy to rectify many weaknesses and ailments in your system, thus improving your overall standard of living and reducing the likelihood of illness.
Last Updated (Monday, 31 January 2011 19:59)