Creating a Culture of Health, Part 2

What is a Health Culture?

Health is not a place, not a final destination. Our bodies are in constant flux, always responding to circumstances in the immediate environment and redirecting resources to deal with whatever new conditions arise. We are not the same moment to moment—our sleep, food, climate, amount of movement, hydration, contact with pathogens and toxins, and thought/mood are all constantly changing. And the cells and systems of our bodies are always in some state of repair, maintenance, detoxification, or protection.

So what are the determinants of health, what are the factors that contribute to a person’s current state of health? Biology and genetics, individual behavior/lifestyle, physical and social environment, and access health services. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of mental, physical, and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  And wellness as, “an active process through which people become aware of and make choices toward a more successful existence.”

On Healthcare in the U.S.

Healthcare in this country should be called emergency care because it is not serving to keep people healthy or well. It is not taking care of the basic preventative wellness of Americans. Because of this our health care system is not serving the populations with chronic conditions and those lifestyle diseases are impacting employees performance and ability to show up at work and that is impacting U.S. businesses.

As much as our healthcare model likes to separate out systems in order to talk about how things work, the systems are connected and interdependent –no matter how far downstream, they are still part of the same watershed. For example, let’s look at just one man (we will call him Jim) in his 40s who wants to lose some weight. To do that safely and effectively Jim learns about eating more vegetables and reducing his alcohol intake and cutting out processed sugars and grains. He goes to see a practitioner and learns about high intensity interval training and incorporates that into his walking schedule 3 days a week. Then he also learns about healthy fats and switches out all the processed oils in his house for healthy fats and includes some targeted nutritional support. And the changes he makes are working. The weight starts to drop away. But that’s not all that happens. By changing out the high-glycemic and inflammatory foods from his old diet for nutrient-dense whole foods healthy insulin levels return, his heart and vascular system begin to strengthen, making him feel less sluggish and like he can take in more air when he breathes. In addition, by removing dietary sources of inflammation his digestive tract begins to stabilize, bloating after meals disappears, his bowel movements become regular, and his microbiome begins to get into balance. A healthier microbiome alone affects every cell in his body by: increasing nutrient absorption, modulating immune function, and increasing neurotransmitter and essential gut-centric nutrient production. Strain on his adrenals from insulin spikes and crashes and the chronic low-grade inflammation disappears and that improves the quality of his sleep. And getting more sleep and healing his gut has improved his mood during the late afternoon dip.

How Can We Create a Culture of Health

How does health spread? Health is contagious– through our environment and social interactions and our culture. A culture of health is a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that promote health for the individuals. Because 70% of our chronic disease burden is lifestyle-driven via out choices, behaviors and social factors, we all have the power to improve our own health!

Why Try Dietary and Lifestyle Changes First

 

A large part of my work is empowering and inspiring people to embrace the essential lifestyle changes that can prevent or reverse chronic disease. Sustainable, long-term health is not something someone can “give” another person. It’s something we all have to create for ourselves. You and I know this in our heart of hearts. But the conventional western health model tells us that our bodies are conundrums, often working against us, and that only a doctor can “fix” whatever ails. The truth, of course, is more nuanced. We may need expert medical attention from time to time, especially in an emergency. But we all have to be stewards of our own health during all the minutes and days and weeks in between. It is in our day to day behaviors and habits that we are creating the environment within which our bodies will thrive or falter.

 

Luckily for us there is an ongoing and growing body of research and evidence showing that many of the things that allow a body to thrive are within our reach. These are the basic necessities of health.

 

 

 

Some questions . . .

What if I could prove to you that instead of, say, feeling tired every day, or having chronic pain, or taking medications for the rest of your life, you could make dramatic shifts to your health with foods you can access for pennies on the dollar—like cruciferous vegetables and healthy protein and food-derived herbal supplements with zero side effects?

Don’t you owe it to yourself to take one, 30-day period, to discover how food is affecting your overall health? What if you uncovered truths about food and your body that changed the way you eat and live? What if, based on that new understanding, you could make choices that restore your own health and energy and remove symptoms? Wouldn’t that be worth 30 days of experimentation?

What if instead of believing you were “broken” and unfixable, I could show you that your body is a self-healing organism and that you and no one else can change and improve your health?

 

 

Links Between Diet and Lifestyle Changes and Disease: What the Research Shows

B12 deficiency is far more common than most healthcare practitioners and the general public realize. Data from the Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study suggest that 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have plasma B12 levels in the low normal range—a range at which many experience neurological symptoms. (1)

According to the lower boundary of the U.S. lab range of 30 ng/mL, as many as 70 percent of Americans are considered Vitamin D deficient (2, 3).

One study of obese postmenopausal women found that a modified Paleo diet improved several metabolic markers, including weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and kidney function (4).

Low physical activity is correlated with cardiovascular disease, obesity, insulin resistance, and all-cause mortality (5, 6). Just one additional hour in a sedentary posture per day is associated with a 22 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes and a 39 percent greater risk for metabolic syndrome (7).

A meta-analysis of 17 low-carb diet trials including more than 1,000 patients found that low-carb diets improved CVD risk factors, including decreases in triglycerides, blood glucose, BMI, abdominal circumference, plasma insulin, C-reactive protein, and HDL cholesterol (8).

The negative effects of sleep deprivation are serious: sleep durations that are consistently shorter than seven hours in a 24-hour period are associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors, depression, automobile and workplace accidents, learning and memory problems, and an overall increase in mortality (9). Some may argue that poor sleep can even undo the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise routine (10, 11).

The gut microbiota plays a key role in the development, maturation, and function of the immune system. As such, gut microbes are key mediators of inflammatory signaling. A recent study pinpointed the microbiome as a key player in age-associated inflammation. This age-associated dysbiosis and the accompanying inflammation may in part explain the age-associated increase in the incidence of cardiovascular disease (12).

Chronic heart failure patients have also been shown to have reduced gut bacterial diversity and lower abundance of key bacterial genera (13) and increased intestinal permeability compared to healthy controls (14, 15)

Several studies have reported that probiotic-containing yogurts significantly reduce total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and improve the LDL-to-HDL cholesterol ratio (16, 17, 18).

One study examined the specific differences in the bacterial make-up of the microbiome in patients with major depressive disorder in comparison with healthy individuals (19). Significant differences were identified between these two groups. Additionally, the severity of depressive symptoms was related to the amount of a specific bacterium. A lower relative abundance of Faecalibacterium was associated with more severe depression.

Dysbiosis is associated with a growing number of diseases such as Crohn’s disease (20), ulcerative colitis (21, 22), irritable bowel syndrome (23), and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (24, 25).

A 2014 study found that individuals with hyperthyroidism had significantly lower numbers of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli and significant higher levels of Enterococcus species compared to healthy controls (26).

  • 1: https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2000/b12-deficiency-may-be-more-widespread-than-thought/
  • 2: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/3/e362?sso=1&sso_redirect_count=1&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token
  • 3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19543765
  • 4: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23414424
  • 5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633039/
  • 6: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18502225
  • 7: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26831300
  • 8: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x/abstract
  • 9: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727237/
  • 10: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951287/
  • 11: https://www.verywell.com/sleep-deprivation-and-athletes-3119144
  • 12: http://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/fulltext/S1931-3128(17)30112-9
  • 13: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5542738/pdf/EHF2-4-282.pdf
  • 14: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26682791
  • 15: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17936155
  • 16: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12209372
  • 17: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12906063
  • 18: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8968702
  • 19: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25882912
  • 20: http://gut.bmj.com/content/55/2/205.short
  • 21: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ibd.22860/full
  • 22: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016508511005208
  • 23: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016508507007342
  • 24: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06340.x/full
  • 25: http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/59/4/617.short
  • 26: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00284-014-0640-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Coaching

Unbridled inflammation is rampant in Western cultures, with leading scientific research showing that it is the fundamental  cause of the morbidity  and mortality associated with coronary heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, Alzheimer’s and virtually every other chronic disease.”       David Perlmutter, M.D.

Inflammation has been sort of a hot topic of late as more and more research is linking it to almost every major disease condition, including diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers. Research is showing, for example, that coronary artery disease, a leading cause of heart attacks, may actually have more to do with inflammation than high cholesterol numbers. And while we all might be familiar with inflammation as it relates to things like asthma and arthritis, the past decade has produced an extensive body of research clearly pointing the finger of causality at inflammation when considering neurodegenerative conditions as well.

The key downstream effect of inflammation that is responsible for the damage is the activation of chemical pathways that increase free radical production. At the center of chronic inflammation, then, is oxidative stress—a biological type of “rusting.” This gradual corrosion happens on all tissues and is a normal part of life: it also occurs everywhere in nature, including when we turn calories (energy) from food and oxygen from the air into usable energy. But when we get too many free radicals causing too much oxidative stress, it can become deadly.

The good news is that we can all reduce the amount of oxidative and inflammatory stress on our bodies just by addressing gut and liver health through diet, lifestyle, and targeted nutritional support.

During your month of one-on-one coaching you will learn what foods work with your physiology and what foods are causing inflammation. And by creating a diet that works with your body instead of against it, your body will be able to start repairing tissues and organ systems. One of the main ways we will support the body in this work is by improving nutrient absorption–just getting the right nutrients to your cells will help upregulate hormones, improve digestion by restoring healthy stomach acid levels, healing the gut lining, and improve bowel function by restoring nerve function and peristalsis. By the end of the month you will have learned what foods make you feel your best and what foods take you down. And if you take what you learn and live this way at least 80% of the time during the holidays your body will handle those holiday feasts and stressors with greater resilience!

Your month of coaching is individualized just for you in the context of your current health strengths and challenges. All diet, lifestyle, and targeted nutritional support recommendations are geared towards removing inflammation and supporting the bodies natural detoxification and healing, which makes it ideal for anyone with food sensitivities, metabolic, auto-immune, or other chronic disorders. You will learn how to eat, how to move, how to hydrate, and how to think about your health and choices in the most optimum ways for you and your lifestyle. There are no expensive powders, shakes, or supplements to purchase. You will be eating real food — and no calorie counting or portion weighing allowed!

PROGRAM INCLUDES:

  • Complete Health Assessment*–A 90-minute in-depth analysis of your personal and familial health history, overall health status, and current trajectory.
  • Personalized food plan
  • Meal planning ideas
  • Easy, fast, delicious recipes
  • Individualized exercise plan that reduces inflammation and fits your fitness level
  • Over 2 hours of one-on-one coaching sessions either via Skype or phone or in person
  • Relaxation tools and training
  • Liver detoxification protocol
  • Gut restoration protocol
  • Shopping and cooking tips
  • Bliss Body Shake recipes
  • Regular email support check-ins
  • Supplement suggestions and schedule

BENEFITS:

  • Reduced cravings
  • Weight loss, if needed
  • Improved digestion
  • Improved gut health
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced aches and pains
  • Improved stress response
  • Improved strength and vitality
  • Alleviation of allergy and autoimmune-related symptoms
  • Elevated mood

Your first month of coaching, including your Complete Health Assessment, one-on-one coaching sessions, nutrition, exercise, supplement, and relaxation protocols is only $547. All additional months only $467.

Contact me

Creating a Culture of Health, Part 1

On Chronic Disease

 

The disease profile of the world is changing at an astonishingly fast rate, especially in low and middle income countries. Long-held notions about the nature of chronic diseases, their occurrence, the risk factors underlying them and the populations at risk are no longer valid. The great epidemics of tomorrow are unlikely to resemble those that have previously swept the world, thanks to progress in infectious disease control. The risk of outbreaks – a new influenza pandemic, for example – will require vigilance. But it is the looming epidemics of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other chronic diseases that for the foreseeable future will take the greatest toll in deaths and disability. It is vitally important that the impending chronic disease pandemic is recognized, understood and acted on urgently. – World Health Organization ( Chronic Disease Report)

The prevalence of chronic diseases is a relatively new phenomenon in human history. People have always encountered acute disease and injury in the population. But the increase in longterm impairment and debilitating symptoms lasting from 3 months to years is crippling our healthcare system.  Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. From the CDC website:

Health Risk Behaviors that Cause Chronic Diseases

Health risk behaviors are unhealthy behaviors you can change. Four of these health risk behaviors—lack of exercise or physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and drinking too much alcohol—cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases and conditions.

  • In 2015, 50% of adults aged 18 years or older did not meet recommendations for aerobic physical activity. In addition, 79% did not meet recommendations for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity.7
  • More than 1 in 3 adults (about 92.1 million) have at least one type of cardiovascular disease.8
  • In 2015, more than 37% of adolescents and 40% of adults said they ate fruit less than once a day, while 39% of adolescents and 22% of adults said they ate vegetables less than once a day.10
  • An estimated 36.5 million adults in the United States (15.1%) said they currently smoked cigarettes in 2015.11 Cigarette smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths each year.12 Each day, more than 3,200 youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette, and another 2,100 youth and young adults who smoke every now and then become daily smokers.12
  • Drinking too much alcohol is responsible for 88,000 deaths each year, more than half of which are due to binge drinking.13,14 US adults report binge drinking an average of 4 times a month, and have an average of 8 drinks per binge, yet most binge drinkers are not alcohol dependent.1516

 

The Numbers

1 out of 2 Americans is affected by chronic disease; 1 in 4 has multiple chronic diseases.
27 percent of kids now have a chronic disease, up from just 13 percent in 1994.
7 of 10 deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic disease.
50 million Americans (approximately 1 in 6) have an autoimmune disease (more than cancer and heart disease combined).
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans have either prediabetes or diabetes. (100 Million)
At any given moment, roughly half of the adults in the U.S., including 9 out of 10 adults over age 60, are taking at least one prescription drug.
Almost a third of adults take two or more drugs.
Almost 30 percent of all teens are now on a prescription drug, as are 20 percent of young children.

 

The Cost

80% of the cost burden from chronic disease is due to lost productivity, 90% of which is presenteeism (at work but not at full productivity because of preventable health issues) and absenteeism (due to chronic health issue). – Almanac of Chronic Disease.
 America spent just under $310 billion on pharmaceutical drugs in 2015 (IMS Health 2016)
This generation is the first in which kids are expected to live shorter lifespans than their parents.
1 in 5 Americans struggles to pay medical bills, and three in five bankruptcies are due to medical expenses.
Medical care is the third-leading cause of death in the US., according to analyses published in BMJ in 2016 and JAMA in 2000.
Chronic disease will generate $47 trillion in healthcare costs globally by 2030 if the epidemic is unchecked (Duff-Brown, 2017). That’s more than the annual GDP of the six largest economies in the world.

 

In Part 2 we will delve deeper into the behaviors of health. Until then, here are a few studies linking gut health, what we eat, and how we live with chronic diseases . . .

Links Between Diet/Lifestyle and Disease: What the Research Shows

On B12 deficiency: Data from the Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study suggest that 40 percent of people between the ages of 26 and 83 have plasma B12 levels in the low normal range—a range at which many experience neurological symptoms. (1)

On Vitamin D deficiency: According to the lower boundary of the U.S. lab range of 30 ng/mL, as many as 70 percent of Americans are considered deficient (2, 3).

On diet: One study of obese postmenopausal women found that a modified Paleo diet improved several metabolic markers, including weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and kidney function (4).

On exercise: Low physical activity is correlated with cardiovascular disease, obesity, insulin resistance, and all-cause mortality (5, 6). Just one additional hour in a sedentary posture per day is associated with a 22 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes and a 39 percent greater risk for metabolic syndrome (7).

On carbohydrates: A meta-analysis of 17 low-carb diet trials including more than 1,000 patients found that low-carb diets improved CVD risk factors, including decreases in triglycerides, blood glucose, BMI, abdominal circumference, plasma insulin, C-reactive protein, and HDL cholesterol (8).

On sleep: The negative effects of sleep deprivation are serious: sleep durations that are consistently shorter than seven hours in a 24-hour period are associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk factors, depression, automobile and workplace accidents, learning and memory problems, and an overall increase in mortality (9). Some may argue that poor sleep can even undo the benefits of a healthy diet and exercise routine (10, 11).

On the gut: The microbiota plays a key role in the development, maturation, and function of the immune system. As such, gut microbes are key mediators of inflammatory signaling. A recent study pinpointed the microbiome as a key player in age-associated inflammation. This age-associated dysbiosis and the accompanying inflammation may in part explain the age-associated increase in the incidence of cardiovascular disease (12).

On leaky gut: Chronic heart failure patients have also been shown to have reduced gut bacterial diversity and lower abundance of key bacterial genera (13) and increased intestinal permeability compared to healthy controls (14, 15)

On probiotics: Several studies have reported that probiotic-containing yogurts significantly reduce total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and improve the LDL-to-HDL cholesterol ratio (16, 17, 18).

On depression and the gut/brain axis: One study examined the specific differences in the bacterial make-up of the microbiome in patients with major depressive disorder in comparison with healthy individuals (19). Significant differences were identified between these two groups. Additionally, the severity of depressive symptoms was related to the amount of a specific bacterium. A lower relative abundance of Faecalibacterium was associated with more severe depression.

On bowel diseases and diabetes: Dysbiosis is associated with a growing number of diseases such as Crohn’s disease (20), ulcerative colitis (21, 22), irritable bowel syndrome (23), and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (24, 25).

On the microbiome and the thyroid: A 2014 study found that individuals with hyperthyroidism had significantly lower numbers of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli and significant higher levels of Enterococcus species compared to healthy controls (26).

 

The next major advancement in health for people is not going to be technological, it is going to come from individuals taking responsibility for their own health by making significant lifestyle changes. If we change course right now, toward preventative care (lifestyle-based intervention programs, health coaching, etc.), by 2023 the US could avoid 40 million cases of chronic disease and reduce the economic impact by 27%, or 1.1 trillion annually. Lifestyle-based interventions are the key to reversing chronic disease costs. – The Milken Institute, Oct. 2007

 

SOURCES

1: https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2000/b12-deficiency-may-be-more-widespread-than-thought/
2: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/3/e362?sso=1&sso_redirect_count=1&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token
3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19543765
4: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23414424
5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4633039/
6: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18502225
7: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26831300
8: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x/abstract
9: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727237/
10: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951287/
11: https://www.verywell.com/sleep-deprivation-and-athletes-3119144
12: http://www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/fulltext/S1931-3128(17)30112-9
13: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5542738/pdf/EHF2-4-282.pdf
14: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26682791
15: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17936155
16: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12209372
17: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12906063
18: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8968702
19: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25882912
20: http://gut.bmj.com/content/55/2/205.short
21: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ibd.22860/full
22: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016508511005208
23: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016508507007342
24: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06340.x/full
25: http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/59/4/617.short
26: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00284-014-0640-6

 

 

 

Loving Your Liver

The liver is the transmutational center of the body, and by that I mean that it converts everything we eat and absorb into life-sustaining substances. Without the liver, digestion and the conversion of food into energy would be impossible. It metabolizes hormones and is a major blood reservoir, forming and storing red blood cells, along with filtering toxins at a rate of a quart of blood per minute. All of the blood from our bodies keeps returning to the liver.

From yesterday’s post you have more of a sense of where and what the liver is, and what it does. What you may have guessed is that, to a large extent, the health of your liver determines the health of your entire body.

In the U.S. today people face a multitude of stressors at an unprecedented rate. We have polluted our air, our water, and our food supply. We live with electromagnetic frequencies bombarding us 24 hours a day. And we are living in a social, financial, and political climate that seems very dire. To make matters worse, what most people are eating is some version of the standard American diet: a highly processed, high sugar calorie omega 6 and trans fat diet, containing unknown amounts of toxins from preservatives, pesticides, and nitrates. And we are being exposed every day to unknown combinations of man-made chemicals through contact with plastics, building materials, new clothing, furniture, body products, etc. As a result, we are seeing a steep rise in chronic conditions and disease rates.

 

Why Liver Cleansing Matters . . .

 

The filter aspect of the liver is a sinusoidal system, and contains specialized cells known as Kupffer cells, which ingest,  break down, and package up toxic materials for elimination from the body.  These harmful substances can damage the delicate lining of blood vessels, leading to hardening and blockage. They can also increase the workload of the immune system leading to allergies and inflammation. Because the liver and the spleen can remove and destroy cancer cells, these organs must be kept healthy to reduce our risk of cancer spreading. When the liver is overburdened it can’t keep up with the demands placed upon it and you get liver damage. Liver congestion and exhaustion interfere with its ability to detoxify itself.

Many environmental toxins and hormones are fat-soluble and do not dissolve in water. These fat-soluble toxins can only be broken down by the liver cells, which contain enzymes to convert the fatty toxins into water-soluble forms so that they can be excreted. The liver cells perform this detoxification of fatty toxins via the two-step detoxification pathway.  But a problem develops when a buildup of inorganic and organic toxins inhibits Phase I and Phase II detoxification.

Removing toxic substances from the body helps the liver keep up with the demand. And because the liver has amazing powers of regeneration, continuing to function when as many as 80% of its cells are damaged, we can support our livers heal and minimize damage. This is where cleansing comes in.

 

Signs that Your Liver is Stressed

 

  • Bloating and gas
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Skin and/or eyes that are yellowish (a symptom of jaundice)
  • Inability to lose weight
  • High blood pressure
  • Moodiness: irritability, rage, anxiousness, or depression
  • Dark urine
  • Rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, acne
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Excessive sweating
  • Bruise easily
  • Poor appetite
  • PMS and PMDD

 

Things you can do right now to support your liver’s natural detoxification . . .

 

EAT REAL FOOD

~ Eat whole, organic, non-gmo, real food—that includes grassfed, free-range, organic animal products, if you eat animal products. You don’t want to be introducing more toxins into your body and adding to the overall stress load on your liver.  ~ Eat mostly plants—living foods like vegetables and fruits should be the staples of your diet. These foods are where we get the most nutrient-dense building blocks for health. (We are still discovering new phytonutrients, etc. that plants give us. They are information for our DNA.) ~ And consume only healthy fatsThings like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grass fed butter and ghee, plant fats like those found in avocados, raw nuts and seeds . . . (Good fats, in moderation, are essential to the function of every cell is your body.)

 

ELIMINATE PROCESSED GRAINS, SUGARS, AND MEATS 

~Cut out white flours, brightly colored flour products and candies, high fructose corn syrup, sodas, and diet drinks altogether. Instead of fake juices, eat real fruit.  (There are thousands of studies linking sugar to all of our top 10 disease conditions.) Also avoid processed meats,  hydrogenated and trans fats, highly processed and nonfat dairy products. (These fake foods will increase your risk of Alzheimer’s and cancer, put you at a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, and so on…)

 

EAT MINDFULLY

~ Not only is unconscious eating stressful for your digestion, but when you sit quietly and chew your food thoroughly and are grateful you get full quicker and you absorb the nutrients better. (As a culture living in overconsumption we have gotten so focused on weight loss that we have forgotten that the purpose of eating is to digest and absorb nutrients to feed the cells of our bodies so that they can thrive.)

 

HYDRATE

~ Drink clean water; half your weight in ounces every day is the right amount for you. Tricks: start your day with 16-20 oz of room temperature water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Drink the lion’s share of your water between meals, not during. Get all your water in before 7:00pm so that a full bladder doesn’t interrupt your sleep. (Our bodies are between 65 and 75% water. Every chemical reaction in your body requires water, including waste management.)

 

FEED YOUR GUT

~ The gut deserves a whole blog post of it’s own (and it will get one soon!) The gut lining is one of the barriers or gatekeepers that decides what gets in and what stays out of your body. Due to inflammation, the lining of the gut can become permeable, so called “leaky gut”. The intestinal barrier and microbiome are important because they determine how we tolerate or react to toxic substances we ingest from the environment. The breach of the intestinal barrier causes an immune response which affects not only the gut itself, but also the skeletal system,  pancreas, kidney, liver, and the brain. And you don’t have to have gut symptoms to have a leaky gut. Leaky gut can manifest as skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, heart failure, autoimmune conditions, mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, depression, and more. To start working toward healing, expose your diet to healthy bacteria from things like healthy soil, fermented foods: raw cultured cow or sheep or goat’s milk, fermented vegetables, or fermented coconut products. (Start slowly with a teaspoon or two and observe how your body responds.) Another great source of good bacteria is in your garden, so consider growing your own produce! Go outside—sunlight and fresh air also feed your body. (The health of your microbiota is directly related to overall health, mood, and longevity.)

 

SLEEP MORE/BETTER

~ Inadequate rest (getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep/day ) is associated with increased inflammation. Not enough deep sleep also impairs our ability to think, to handle stress, to maintain a healthy immune system and to moderate our emotions. It’s associated with heart disease, hypertension, weight gain, diabetes, and a wide range of psychiatric disorders including depression and anxiety. Actions: manage your stress by including a daily mindfulness or relaxation practice, do some form of moderate exercise during the day, go outside some during the day, reduce your exposure to electronic devices and blue light at least an hour before bed, don’t go to bed too full or too hungry – best is to stop eating 2-3 hours before bed, go to bed earlier to give your brain a chance to wind down in a quiet, dark room.

 

The Mighty Liver

The liver is one of the largest organs in your body—an adult liver weighs about 3.1 pounds–and is found in the right upper abdomen, below the diaphragm, taking up most of the space under the ribs and some space in the left upper abdomen as well.  Looking at your liver from the outside, the right lobe is larger and left lobe smaller. There is connective tissue separating the two lobes and anchoring them to the abdominal cavity. Liver tissue itself is an intricate network of smaller units of liver cells with many canals carrying blood and bile running in between.

 

One amazing fact about your liver is that it’s the only organ that possesses the remarkable capacity to almost completely regenerate–your liver can regrow back to its full size even after as much as 75% of it has been surgically removed, or injured chemically.  Maybe even more amazingly, in most cases, during regeneration liver function is only partially affected. Detoxification for things like medications is decreased, but many other primary functions are not substantially affected. Because the liver has the job of taking up toxic substances and converting them into harmless substances, or making sure they are released from the body, it is the main site of drug and environmental detoxification in the body. The exposure to chemicals can potentially induce cell death and injury. For the liver to survive this toxic onslaught it has to have this regenerative capability—in other words, liver cells regenerate to prevent its own failure.

 

Why your liver matters . . .

 

Besides being an important center of detoxification, the liver converts the nutrients in our diets into substances that the body can use, stores these substances, and supplies cells with them when needed. Blood coming from all of the digestive organs flows through the portal vein to the liver, carrying nutrients (and toxins). Once they reach the liver, these substances are processed, stored, altered, detoxified, and passed back into the blood or released in the bowel to be eliminated. In this way the liver can, for example, remove alcohol from your blood.

 

The liver plays a central role in all metabolic processes in the body. In fat metabolism the liver cells break down fats and produce energy. They also produce about 800 to 1,000 ml of bile per day. This yellow, brownish, or olive green liquid is collected in small ducts and then passed on to the main bile duct, which carries the bile to the duodenum, or the upper part of the small intestine. Bile is essential for the breakdown and absorption of fats.

 

In the metabolism of carbohydrates, the liver helps to ensure that the level of sugar in your blood stays constant. So, for example, when your blood sugar levels increase or get too high, the liver removes sugar from blood supplied by the portal vein and stores it in the form of glycogen. If your blood sugar levels drop too low the liver breaks down glycogen and releases sugar into the blood. The liver also stores and releases, as needed, vitamins and minerals.

 

Lastly, the liver plays an important role in the metabolism of proteins: it produces the ones that are important in blood clotting (it also breaks down old or damaged blood cells), hepatic cells change amino acids in foods so that they can be used to produce energy, or make carbohydrates or fats. Liver cells also take care of one of the by-products of protein metabolism, a toxic substance called ammonia, by converting ammonia to urea, which is released into the blood to be transported to the kidneys to pass out of the body as urine.

 

SOURCES
Menche N. (ed.) Biologie Anatomie Physiologie. Munich: Urban & Fischer/ Elsevier; 2012.
Pschyrembel W. Klinisches Wörterbuch. Berlin: De Gruyter; 2014.
Schmidt R, Lang F, Heckmann M. Physiologie des Menschen: mit Pathophysiologie. Heidelberg: Springer; 2011.
Michalopoulos, George K. (2013). “Principles of Liver Regeneration and Growth Homeostasis”. Comprehensive Physiology. 3. pp. 485–513
Michalopoulos, G. K.; Defrances, M. C. (1997). “Liver Regeneration”. Science.
Mehendale, Harihara (2005). “Tissue Repair: An Important Determinant of Final Outcome of Toxicant-Induced Injury”. Toxicologic Pathology.
Fausto, Nelson; Campbell, Jean S.; Riehle, Kimberly J. (2006). “Liver regeneration”. Hepatology.
Fausto, Nelson (2000). “Liver regeneration”. Journal of Hepatology.
Chu, Jaime; Sadler, Kirsten C. (2009). “New school in liver development: Lessons from zebrafish”. Hepatology.
Mehendale, H.M.; Apte, U. (2010). “Liver Regeneration and Tissue Repair”. Comprehensive Toxicology. pp. 339–67

 

George

“I have Parkinson’s and I have been tormented by different side effects, notably fatigue. Luckily, I was in touch with Laura Carrithers, and she was on the job. She gave me recommendations for better foods to eat, she educated me in the nutritional values of various foods. She helped me eat right, which was an important part of the fight. And she stayed on it, peppering me with calls and emails of support and new information. Within an amazingly short time, I was feeling better—less tired and feeding off her good energy, I was more optimistic. We delved into Helicobacter pylori, (I was glad to find I didn’t have it) and she helped me with probiotics. Laura is great. She’s highly educated but easy to understand. She helped me grow and she didn’t keep her knowledge to herself. She’s the real deal!”

– George Kennen, Alameda, CA

Melissa

“I have had such a wonderful experience working with Laura. She has helped my mother so much with a serious Gut issue! As we know working with family can be very difficult, but so can find a knowledgeable and compassionate practitioner. Well we did and that is Laura!!! She is not just a health coach she is a well-educated practitioner! The SIBO and candida issues are under control and I can’t thank her enough!”

– Melissa Weinland, Denver, CO

Siv

“Laura Carrithers is a professional adviser to me and has been since the early 1990’s. I was seeking an alternative way to treat my arthritis. She has been a great help to me over the years, especially during menopause. I knew I was in good hands with Laura because of her extensive background with female issues. I really appreciated how she stayed in contact with me over time. I recommend her highly because of her intuitive caring manner.”

– Siv Berg, Bayside CA

Eat Happy

“We now know that food is information, not just calories, and that it can upgrade your biologic software. The majority of chronic disease is primarily a food-borne illness. We ate ourselves into this problem, and we have to eat ourselves out of it.”            

–Dr. Mark Hyman

Our relationship to food is primary, as it is essential for survival, and is the foundation of our health. But the food itself is also sacred, is communion—eating is one of the ways that the earth enters our bodies and becomes us, where we physically become one. So it’s not just what we eat that matters, but how.

Most of us have lost our way with food at one time or another. Whether it was a bad week, or a phase, or a lifetime, some of our more personal struggles show up in our thoughts and feelings around food. From bingeing to calorie-restriction marathons, difficult food behaviors can result in addiction, guilt, confusion, frustration, and suffering. When our relationship to food is hampered by discomfort and unhappiness of one kind or another our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing suffer. When we can’t digest and assimilate nutrients it affects every system in our bodies.

The good news? It doesn’t take very long to get back in sync. As soon as we begin to remove obstacles, systems begin to repair, and our bodies respond. Our bodies want to be healthy, and are, in fact, constantly trying to get us back to health.

Body Wisdom

Modern humans have, in many ways, gotten separated from body wisdom. Inside each of us, however, there remains an intelligence and source of information that’s constantly projecting what you need, moment by moment, to be in balance. Once you start paying attention, you will start making more optimum choices and re-sensitize to your body. In return your body will restore your resilience and vibrance.

Homeostasis is the body’s mechanism of balance and is made up of incredibly intricate systems that keep everything from pH levels to the precise amount of sugar available to our brain cells in check. All day and night your body is adapting and making adjustments in response to changes that impact these systems: from the temperature outside to viruses, from oxygen to potassium levels — the body works tirelessly to bring things back into optimal working order. This is your body’s innate capacity.

So when you think about getting healthy, try not to think about how you or your health program needs to do something to your broken or resistant or lazy body. Think of your body as your biggest ally. Healthy choices act more like obstacle removers or an offering of support to an already perfect system that is functioning 24/7 to bring you back to center.

Body Stress

If inflammation is at the heart of most disease conditions (see my post about inflammation), stress is at the heart of most inflammation. And stress is not just one thing. It’s the combination of all the stressors in your life and how you’re responding to them. Everything in your life comes into play: from your environment, sleep, pathogens, quantity and quality of movement, age, genes, relationships, work, to your mindset and attitude. Our bodies respond to over-exercise, under-exercise, lack of sleep, deadlines, stressful emotions, negative thoughts, and even chronic macronutrient restriction (macronutrients: fats, proteins, or carbohydrates), as a stress-survival situation. Even celebratory times, like the fast-approaching holidays, can be a significant stressor.

 

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When it comes to mental and emotional stressors (including all the tension-producing thoughts and emotions like worry, frustration, judgment, fear, etc.) and how they impact our health, think of the cells of your body as a country. In this analogy your thoughts and senses are the body’s news source. The cells of the body depend on input from all the senses and the brain to know what state to be in, what level of readiness for fighting off invaders (the sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system) or peacetime maintenance and bridge-building (the parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system.) So what we think and feel and decide about things around us affects how our bodies function. And when your body is in a stress state, you end up activating the sympathetic nervous system, which affects things like cortisol levels, insulin sensitivity, and other hormone levels. And hormones play a key role in how you burn and store fat.

Food Stress

Most of you have read a great deal of nutrition information and found that much of it contradicts the last nutrition “fact” you read. Without the time and energy to delve deeper into the science (and pseudo-science) behind each new diet fad, people get overwhelmed and discouraged and end up more confused than informed. Fad diets cover the full spectrum of possibilities, from the low-fat craze of the 80s and early 90s to our current no-carb high-fat paleo craze. I get it. Maddening. Food choices can seem like a minefield. Add to that all the “truths” we’ve been sold that didn’t turn out to be true: smoking is not a health risk, DDT is safe, butter is bad but margarine is good, and so on.

For example, there are still a large number of people who believe that weight loss is strictly about how many calories you consume vs how many you burn. Some doctors even still share this formula with their patients when discussing weight management. From that understanding we’re taught to limit the number of calories and work out for more hours per week (and usually this is done from a place of anxiety, or stress). If we’re not losing weight on this formula of “calories in, calories out,” and most don’t for long, we get upset with ourselves. Truth is, one of the biggest challenges to weight loss is stress. And both constant macronutrient deprivation and over exercising keeps us in a stressed state with chronically elevated insulin and cortisol, both of which keep the sympathetic nervous system turned on.

To top off the chronicle of dieting travails, most people who are overweight and afraid of gaining try to avoid eating for as long as possible and then end up eating their biggest meal in the evening. But what we know from studies on the mitochondria (cellular powerhouses responsible for turning the fuel you consume into usable energy) is that when you consume all that fuel close to bedtime — the time when you need the least amount of energy — you end up generating metabolic complications caused by free radicals produced in the process (think accelerated aging).

Food Pace

Most people are eating on the run or while multitasking and this doesn’t allow for the body to experience the food and respond to it fully. When we eat fast or while doing something else we are not paying attention to the food: the chewing, the smells, the flavors and colors. We’re not able to savor or be grateful. We are, in short, missing out on the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR.) “Cephalic phase digestive response is a fancy term for taste, pleasure, aroma, and satisfaction, including the visual stimulus of your meal. Researchers estimate about 40 to 60 percent of your digestive and assimilative power at any meal comes from this “head phase” of digestion.” – Marc David, head of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating ” . . . [Y]ou look at a food and your mouth starts to water. You think of a food and your stomach starts to churn. That’s digestion beginning in the mind. When we are not paying attention to the meal and eating very fast your body goes into a stress state.”

In addition, fast eating contributes to overeating. When you don’t notice your food your brain doesn’t have enough time to sense or get pleasure from the food, so it keeps signaling that hunger has not been satisfied. One of the best things you can do for your digestion and metabolism is to be present with your food. And to do that you just have to slow down and notice what you are eating.

Food Love

We need to stop moralizing our food choices and start being grateful for our food.  No matter what the food is in front of you, if you are about to ingest it, let yourself feel good about it. Stressing about whether a food is “good” for us, will not make it better for us. I mean, do your best to choose clean whole real foods. But it’s time to start respecting the food and what your body is craving when you are making food choices. Appreciate the abundance of food you’re eating. Savor each bite to the best of your ability. The more pleasure you can bring to your eating the quicker you will get into your parasympathetic nervous system (your rest and digest.) Your digestion will improve. You will absorb and metabolize better. It will also allow you to feel satiated. Give yourself time to eat happy. This may seem like a small thing but eating mindfully is the sweet spot for physical transformation. And mindfulness is a profound practice. You can’t have mindfulness and stress in the same meal. And it’s critical that we stop obsessing about our health. There’s a big difference between being smart and making informed choices vs developing an eating or stress or digestive disorder because of worrying about them.

You can actually ruin the benefits of a healthy meal by dreading or resenting it, by making it harder to digest. If you tell your body something is “bad” how can your body respond healthfully? Instead, try to flip those thoughts. Think about how healthy the food is making you. Think about the soils that nurtured it. Think about all the hands that had to hold and carry the food across vast expanses in order to get that food to your table. Savor the sunlight and the rain in the food. Appreciate the resources that fed all those people that worked to get it there. It’s really a miracle that we can eat avocadoes and melons in the winter and grapes in summer.

We have all read the research on meditation and the positive effects it has on the nervous system and the body. One way to get more present with your food is to use the time you spend preparing and eating food as a kind of meditation. Even if you have to move pretty fast, practice gratitude and expectation of goodness. Use eating as a time to check in with your body. How does it like the taste and the feel? Are you still hungry? Do you need something else? Then after eating check in with yourself again. See how the food sat with you—this is how you are going to begin to learn what foods your body likes and in what amounts and what times of the day. Your body broadcasts so much important information. Get curious. Let your body teach you what works best. There is no diet in the world more perfect for you than the one your body already knows.     

Self Compassion

The weight loss industry has it wrong. It’s not about the weight. Our fat is not the enemy. Our bodies are not against our efforts. Sometimes we feel defeated and give up. And sometimes we make poor choices with the best of intentions. We go on a low-fat or no-carb diet, or we start exercising like crazy, doing lots of long punishing daily cardio workouts in an effort to change. But anything that increases our daily stress load will impact our health, and inevitably our weight, because of stress’s unique and intimate relationship with homeostasis. It’s time to stop punishing and blaming and hating on ourselves.

One of the first steps to healing is to get curious about your thoughts and feelings. In the case of food and weight, all you have to do is pay attention to how you feel when you are making food or health choices. Locate the internal sources of resistance and hurt. Start to notice the tone of your thoughts. How are you talking to yourself as you are eating or thinking about eating? Do you hear phrases like, “This is bad for me. This will make me fat.”? This kind of self-talk while eating is not only bad for digestion, it sabotages your efforts.

The Perfect Diet

Spoiler alert: there is no one-size-fits-all perfect diet. Not for anyone. And your own “perfect” diet changes with the seasons and as you change over time. While 75-80% of people will get better with the following Best Food Practices alone, another 10% will need a diet that addresses their specific imbalances—targeted nutrition plans like SCD, low FODMAP, Anti-inflammatory, Autoimmune-Paleo, or Low Histamine. In my practice I have seen that the remaining 10-15% will require more testing and care than dietary tools alone—people with autoimmune conditions, fungal overgrowth, H-Pylori, mold toxicity, SIBO, Lyme disease and its co-infections, fructose malabsorption, parasites, or other bacterial or viral infections. In my experience what most disease states have in common is inflammation and some form of gut dysbiosis (an imbalance or infection in the gut, causing or preceded by an imbalance in the microbiome, which affects digestion, nutrient absorption, hormone levels, serotonin levels and mood, food sensitivities “leaky gut”, auto-immunity, and the physiology of the gut lining itself). Underlying conditions and/or infections impact everything from body temperature and fat storage to hunger levels and cravings. And these issues all make weight loss and healthy eating more complicated. Digestive issues and symptoms like brain fog and fatigue make weight loss and healthy eating more challenging. For most people, however, chronic symptoms start to disappear with the application of these simple practices.

For those of you who want a personalized plan that will target your specific health needs, or for those of you ready to go deeper into your healing, contact me at:www.healthwithinreachcoaching.com for more program information. Or visit me at Savor The Holidays 10-day Reset to get started.

9 Best Food Practices:

- 1. EAT CONSCIOUSLYNot only is unconscious eating stressful for your digestion, but when you sit quietly and chew your food thoroughly and are grateful you get full quicker and you absorb the nutrients better. (As a culture living in overconsumption we have gotten so focused on weight loss that we have forgotten that the purpose of eating is to digest and absorb nutrients to feed the cells of our bodies so that they can thrive!)

- 2. EAT CLEAN—whole, organic, non-gmo, real foodThat includes grassfed, free-range, organic meats and dairy, if you eat meat or dairy. You don’t want to be introducing more toxins into your body whenever possible. (Toxins add to the stress load.)

- 3. EAT MOSTLY PLANTS—Living foods like vegetables and fruits should be the staples of your diet. These foods are where we get the most nutrient-dense building blocks for health. (We are still discovering new phytonutrients, etc. that plants give us. They are information for our DNA!)

- 4. EAT GOOD FATSCoconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grass fed butter and ghee, plant fats like those found in avocados, raw nuts and seeds . . . (We have been lied to about fats in general and saturated fats in particular. But good fats are essential to the function of every cell is your body!)

- 5. HYDRATEDrink water; half your weight in ounces every day. Tricks: start your day with 16-20 oz of room temperature water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Drink the lion’s share of your water between meals, not during. Get all your water in before 7:00pm so that a full bladder doesn’t interrupt your sleep. (Our bodies are between 65 and 75% water. Every chemical reaction in your body requires water, including waste management!)

- 6. Protect and feed your gut with FERMENTED FOODSthings like raw cultured cow or sheep or goat’s milk, fermented vegetables, and fermented coconut products. Another great source of good bacteria is in your garden, so consider growing your own produce! Go outside—sunlight and fresh air also feed your whole body! (The health of your microbiota is directly related to overall health, mood, and longevity.)

- 7. ELIMINATE PROCESSED AND FAKE SUGARSCut out high fructose corn syrup, sodas, and diet drinks altogether. Instead of fruit juices, eat real fruit. Eliminate processed sugars and grains. (There are thousands of studies linking sugar to all of our top 10 disease conditions.)

- 8. DON’T EAT FAKE FOOD—like: processed meats, grains, hydrogenated and trans fats, highly processed and nonfat dairy products. (These false foods will increase your risk of alzheimer’s and cancer, put you at a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes, etc.)

- 9. MODERATIONThis merits a category all to itself. People don’t like to hear this one, but it’s got to be said: the body works much better when we don’t overdo it. (That includes exercise, food, supplements, even water!) The body can process out the toxins in our food, and even deal with low-level food intolerances, if we consume trigger foods in small portions. Eat to satisfaction, but not to the point of bloatedness or a “food coma”—both being signs of digestive distress. Make friends with your hunger. We have forgotten the pleasure of eating when we are truly hungry and not just bored or “peck-ish.” Hunger makes food taste better. Hunger also allows your body to tell you what it needs—unless you are ill your body will crave what it needs.

Eat for Love

There has been a lot written about so-called “emotional eating.” In truth we eat for so many reasons. We eat from hunger. We eat for fun and entertainment. We eat to socialize and bond. We eat to distract ourselves or numb our senses. We consume things to feel strong, to feel safe. Food can seemingly replace rest, sex, or love. Food is comfort, pleasure, worship. We give food as gifts, think of food as a treat. We placate with food. We bribe, we barter. We hoard, deny, control. We have childhood foods and cultural ones . . .

Ideally, some of this myriad food behavior coincides with fueling the cells of our body with the amount and kind for optimum function. Which leads us right to the plethora of contradictory information available about what exactly are the “right” foods and in what proportions we should be eating them. In fact there are foods that better serve our health, in general. And even more, there are foods that feed our individual needs better than others. This quote sums up what years of research have proven:

 “What matters more is not how much you eat, but what you eat.”

  • Paresh Dandona, Oxford University

 What I would like to add, though, is that it’s not just what you eat or how much but HOW. Eat to nourish yourself so that you can be calm. Eat to feel inspired. Eat to be strong, to have energy. Eat to show up. Eat to give. Eat to create. Eat to join your community—to be a part of the world, not against it. Eat to make things better. Eat to love yourself more. Eat to be a better person for others. Eat to be a gentler driver and a kinder co-worker. Eat to make the world a better place to live. This is eating as a form of radical devotion. Eating as availability to the unknown. Eating as humility vs escapism. Eating to wake up rather than anesthetize. Eating as adoration vs punishment. Eating as meditation, as worship, as holiness. Savor your food. Be conscious. Recognize the sacred exchange—chew with your eyes open, swallow with gratitude, then sit in the afterglow of satiation and intimacy. Eat for Love.