Zest: All Your Questions Answered

All your detox questions answered All your detox questions answered All your detox questions answered All your detox questions answered All your detox questions answered All your detox questions answered All your detox questions answered

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Open Quote Join medical herbalist Lucy Stephens for help with your New Year detox, in our first expert clinic of the year. Whether you're aiming to rid your system of festive toxins, kickstart a weight loss program or deal with a specific health problem, Lucy can advise you on what to avoid or include in your detox regime. She will be here 1--‐2pm on Wednesday January 4, 2012 to answer all your detox queries. Join her then or post your questions in advance. Happy detoxing!

Hi All, Happy New Year! I'm Lucy Stephens and I'm a herbalist and reflexologist. I'm looking forward to answering all your questions --‐ I see I've already got some, so I better get going! Feel free to post as you think of things --‐ any burning herbal questions out there?!

Hi June, I'm sure we've all overindulged at Christmas and it can seem like we've overloaded on things like meat. # However if there is no moral/ethical reason for you not eating meat, personally I wouldn't advise it. Lean meats and fish should be one of the staples of our diet to ensure we're getting the right nutrients and vitamins. A better bet would be to cut sugar out of your diet and all refined foods and try and get some raw veg in there too. Try a juice or smoothie in the morning made with just green veg --‐ add avocado to make it creamy and some lemon juice to taste --‐ yummy and a good way to help the body with its de--‐toxing!

Hi Danielle, A great New Year's resolution! In order to stick to it though I'd advise a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix. The Paleo Diet, is a way of eating that takes the way we evolved into consideration. Focus on eating lean meats/ fish/ seafood, fruit/veg, nuts and seeds and reduce the dairy/cereals/sugar/potatoes that you're eating. If you can do this for 85% of the time --‐ give yourself 2--‐3 'free' meals a week where you eat what you want --‐ this is a well researched, scientifically based lifestyle plan that can maximize your health and wellbeing and will help you to lose those extra tummy pounds. Studies have found that the Paleo diet improves blood pressure, reduces cholesterol and helps to manage blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, whilst normalizing body weight. For more info see www.thepaleodiet.com or the new book The Paleo Answer (not anything to do with me!!). Don't forget to exercise too --‐ a great way if you're busy is to invest in a skipping rope --‐ 5--‐10mins of skipping a day (you can have a 30sec rest every minute), will definitely kick start your new regime!

Hi Liz, Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fats for the body and our health, but we can't make them ourselves, we have to get them through our food or supplements. Insufficient omega 3 fats are associated with lots of diseases including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune conditions, skin conditions such as psoriasis, arthritis or any 'itis'! Symptoms of deficiency include poor memory/concentration, fatigue, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings, depression. Some of the best sources of omega 3 fats are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring. A 4oz piece of salmon contains 1200mg of EPA and DHA (omega 3 fatty acids). But most people do not get enough in their diets --‐ we should aim to have 500--‐1800mg of EPA/DHA daily and if you are not getting this through ish, a supplement is a very good idea. Our Western diets also are very high in omega 6 fatty acids (vegetable oils, margarine processed foods etc). We need a good balance of omega 3 to omega 6 (probably something like 1:2) and at present the average person has a ratio of 1:10. This is another reason why supplementation of omega 3 is a good idea. Supplement 1g daily if you have no other health problems, up to 2g daily for conditions such as arthritis. Make sure you choose a good quality brand that ensures toxins such as mercury are properly cleaned from their products. Biocare do good quality fish oils as do Eskimo. Check with your doctor if you're taking any blood thinning medication before you supplement.

Hi Louisa, Reducing alcohol is a good way to give your liver a break --‐ as long as you don't go on a binge once January is over! Try to balance your alcohol consumption over the week/month. It's great you're not eating sugar on your diet this is a good way to get your body back on track. You could also try taking milk thistle tablets for your liver. Our livers are brilliant organs at detoxing, but milk thistle has been shown to protect the cells of the liver and improve the detoxification function. Epsom salt baths are also a good way of getting key nutrients into you. Epsom salts are made up of magnesium and sulphate which are essential to proper functioning of the body. Magnesium regulates enzymes in the body, and lack of it has been implicated in migraines, increased blood pressure, hyperactivity, heart palpitations and muscle spasm). Sulfate is needed to start the digestive enzyme cascade from the pancreas --‐ these are the enzymes that help you break down your food so vital for the body. Sulfation is also a major pathway in detoxifying drugs and environmental contaminents. You can buy Epsom Salts over the internet or in some pharmacies. Try 2 cups of salt in a bath 2--‐3x week. Soak for at least 15 minutes. Finally there is some research that shows that sauna use can help to detoxify some heavy metals in the body. So you could try a sauna 1--‐2x a week for 5--‐10minutes or possibly a hot yoga session --‐ the heat as well as exercise, perfect!

Hi Caroline, You have a very cheery way of writing, made me smile! So --‐ great work on the new exercise regime, this will definitely help. See above answer re: Epsom salts. Also to add for you --‐ sulfate is needed to flush toxins and is good for the joints. You mention you're feeling groggy --‐ poor concentration/brain fog, can all be linked to excess sugar. Try cutting out sugar completely for at least a week --‐ if you can go for longer, great! Be careful with fruits --‐ some can be very high in sugar, dried fruit can even have as much sugar in as a chocolate bar. If you are finding you're craving sweet things (including fruit) I would have a good 3--‐4 days away from fruit/sugar totally. Then add in one piece a day and see how you go. Fill the sugar void with veg instead --‐ crudite with blended raw veg dips are great (try red peppers, handful macademia nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and a bit of paprika blended, wonderful dip!). Juicing or making a smoothie of green vegetables is a great way of getting more nutrients into you --‐ start your day with it. Use any veg you'd eat raw --‐ kale/cucumber/parsley/celery/lettuce etc and avocado, blitz and drink! You mention you take evening primrose oil --‐ this is an omega 6 fatty acid. See my post to Liz re: ratios of omega 3 to omega 6. I would recommend once it's finished to switch to an omega 3 supplement instead of this --‐ in this case you then don't need the cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is high in vit A which can then be difficult to control how much you're taking of this vitamin. Biocare Mega EPA is a good one and high in EPA/DHA.

Hi Cassie, It's interesting, when we're tired, rundown or generally struggling with the day we crave sugar and tend to reach for the nearest sugary snack --‐ even if it's fruit. However recent research shows that it is actually protein we need at this point not sugar. Protein improves concentration and reduces fatigue. So try packing some high protein snacks to take to work with you. A good tip is to roast a whole chicken on a Sunday (cheaper this way too), chop it up and then you've got ready made snacks/lunches on hand. Some chicken wrapped in a lettuce leaf with some red pepper is great. There is a lot of information out there on being healthier etc and it's difficult to know where to start. My best advice is to look at the Paleo information that I wrote about earlier --‐ www.thepaleodiet.com. This is an excellent way to get you looking and feeling healthier and kickstarting a whole new approach to eating for your health. If you need a kickstart for your motivation, Rhodiola rosea is an excellent herb for reducing fatigue, and for giving you energy. Alternatively Eleutherococcus senticosus is Siberian ginseng, which again is good to help the body recover its balanceand energy levels. As an aside it's been tested in cancer patients and those in convalescence and been shown to improve concentration, reduce fatigue and to calm the sympathetic nervous system.

Hi Jen, I get questions like this all the time. It's interesting because it sounds like your body has adapted to your diet of branflakes, however it doesn't necessarily mean this is the way you always have to be! It may take some time however to get your bowels functioning in a different way. So: 1. I would recommend a good quality probiotic -‐Optibac are reasonably priced and do a good range. Try the daily wellbeing product. Take these daily for at least 3--‐4 months. Your gut bacteria are the first line of defence against invading toxins etc and they also help to digest your food. If your bacteria are not happy, your bowel won't be happy! 2. I would suggest you find slippery elm powder (not tablets) --‐ Organic herb trading do some but I'm not sure if you can get it in small quantities. You should mix 1/2TBSP of powder with ½ tumbler of water, leave for 10minutes for it to go gloopy and then drink it. Take 2--‐3x daily for 2 weeks, then 1--‐2x daily after that. This is a prebiotic which your new good bacteria above can feed on. It's also a good source of soluble fibre which will help your bowel to move. 3. If you're really struggling try 1tsp psyllium seeds in 1/2tumbler of water. Leave for at least 15minutes (it should form a gel around the seeds) and drink. Try this 2x daily. 4. ½ hour before you eat you need to get your stomach juices active and ready for food. You might find you often don't feel hungry or eat when you're not hungry? At these times, you're putting food into your stomach when there are no digestive enzymes ready to break it down, so it just sits there. When it eventually moves through to your intestine, it starts to ferment causing wind and bloating. Swedish bitters are a good herbal product to kickstart your digestion. Take 5ml ½ before meals. 5. Invest in a good digestive enzyme -‐ Similase is a good one or Gastrozym. Take these with every meal to help digest your food. 6. Look at your diet --‐ do you bloat more easily with certain foods? Lots of veggies including green veg, kale etc, will give you the fibre you need for bowel transit time. Hope that helps! (and yes, skipping is a killer!). PS Milk thistle not specifically for digestion, it's more used to protect the liver. Bitter herbs stimulate the liver and also increase peristalsis (the movement of faeces), so better herbs to use would be Swedish bitters as above or Berberis vulgaris which has specifically been shown to improve bowel transit time and peristalsis. I think this would be harder for you to get though without seeing a herbalist.

Hi Eva, Juices are a great way of getting vitamins and minerals to help the body carry out its function. However, these are best taken in the morning when you wake, followed by a healthy food regime for the rest of the day --‐ see the notes on the Paleo diet. Reducing sugar, processed foods and anything out of a packet would be a good first step. Try cooking from scratch and make up your plate with tons of veggies, some fruit, and lean meat/fish or eggs. Herbal teas can also be a good way of improving digestion which can help the body detox. Try nettle, dandelion, chamomile --‐ all bitter herbs and are good for the gut, liver and gallbladder. Buy loose leaf tea from places such as Neal's Yard or healthfood stores, steep 2--‐3TBSP in 1L of water, leave for at least 15 minutes. Strain and drink freely!

An hour has flown by! It's time for me to go unfortunately. Thank you for all your questions. For more information about me or herbal medicine have a look at my website www.revaclinic.com. Herbal medicine is very good for skin conditions, gut problems, mood/anxiety, infertility and women's health. My clinic is South Kensington, London --‐ I look forward to seeing you at some point in the future. Have a happy, healthy 2012! Lucy

It's 2pm so we've reached the end of this week's expert clinic. Many thanks to Lucy for taking the time to help us out with her expert advice. Zesties, let us know how you all get on with the January detox and health kicks! Close Quote