When I was faced with the prospect of giving up salt, I was scared. I LOVE salty things. It is my biggest weakness. But I learned about using vinegar instead of salt. And my health, weight and waistline has changed for the better.
As you have learned from my book, BREAK THE CYCLE, salt is one of the biggest no-no’s as far as our health is concerned.
If you want inflammation, just add salt. If you want high blood pressure, just add salt. If you want, arteriosclerosis, just add salt.
Salt is also bad for weight loss. Everything tastes better with a little salt on it. Salt triggers the release of dopamine in our brains and makes us feel good so we eat more food.
Dr. Alan Goldhamer mentioned in his talk on the 2021 Weight Loss Summit that if you conducted an experiment, you could see the difference. Imagine there are two big bowls of rice in front of you. One bowl is plain rice and the other has salt in it.
With the plain rice, you would eat until you were satisfied and then stop eating. But there is something about that delicious salted rice that makes you eat the whole bowl. It’s the salt that makes you eat more calories than your body needs. So, if you want to lose weight either give up salt or be VERY careful with portion control.
Our taste receptors for salt are right on the tip of the tongue. But guess what is right beside them, our taste buds for acid. So, an easy way to trick our tongues is to add an acid like vinegar or lemon juice.
A great habit to get into is to finish your soups, stews and chilis with a tablespoon or two of vinegar or lemon juice. What I mean by finishing is once the soup or stew is cooked and it is cooling, add some vinegar. It really helps enhance the natural flavours of the dish.
We are so lucky to live when we do. Designer vinegars are available in almost every town and are available online. My town has no less than 3 boutique oil and vinegar shops where I can get lots of experimental flavours.
I like to buy the small sampler sizes to test out new flavours. They are also perfect for putting in your purse to take to restaurants. Then you can order undressed salads, vegetables or potatoes. You will always be prepared with a complaint topper to jazz them up.
The white fruity ones can be quite sweet. Some people like to add them to sparkling water as a refreshing drink. They are also nice to dress salads with. Even the dark flavored balsamic vinegars can be sweet. So, if you are not a fan of sweet, stick to plain vinegars like balsamic, red wine or apple cider.
I find the best deal for Balsamic Vinegar is COSTCO. The recipe I use all the time chef-ajs-barefoot-dressing.html requires over a cup of balsamic vinegar. So, I go through a lot of it to make my dressings.
The vinegars pictured above are from CALIFORNIA BALSAMICS.
Here is the website: California Balsamic. The two flavours that I couldn’t get anywhere else are the curry flavour and the teriyaki. So, I simply had to have them.
Unfortunately, they can’t ship bigger bottles to Canada. So, if you are up here like I am, the solution is to get Chef AJ’s Sampler Set. They are all in plastic bottles and if you mention Chef AJ in the Promo Code you get two more flavours for free.
Shipping is expensive to Canada so I recommend putting this on YOUR Christmas List. It won’t be a surprise as you would want to choose your own flavours. But they are nice to have to jazz up and change the flavour profile of your dishes.
I find that this simple trick of using flavoured vinegars has really helped me give up salt. And I am not scared anymore!
My husband recently had a colonoscopy. He had been putting it off for several years. With COVID going on it was super easy for him to do so. The hospital was basically on lock down for all ‘extra’ procedures.
Getting him to go for a colonoscopy got to be like convincing a cat to get in the bathtub. It was a fight. But anyway, it was finally done and I am so happy he had it done as it has changed everything for him as far as food goes. He had good news and bad news.
The good news was that he only had three non-cancerous polyps. As an aside, the two ‘foods’ that you should avoid to prevent colon cancer are red meat and alcohol. This is according to Dr. Alan Desmond in his talk on Plant Summit 2021.
The bad news was that he had something called diverticulosis. Now what the hell is that? I had heard of diverticulitis. And I knew with the word ‘itis’ on the end it meant inflammation but that was about all I knew. So, what is diverticulosis?
It turns out that our colons can form these protruding pockets like bubbles. You can be symptom free unless they get inflamed or infected. This is caused by undigested material getting trapped in the pockets. And this could mean a long stay in the hospital until the inflammation goes down.
BREAK THE CYCLESo, diverticulosis is the formation of these bubble-like pockets. It’s more common in people over 60 and men tend to be more prone to it than women. The most common contributing factors are:
For more information check: (Diverticulosis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention (webmd.com)
So, what can we do about it?
It just so happens that the perfect diet to adopt is a whole food plant-based diet. Your colon and gut microbiome love fiber. Fiber and water bulk up the stool and make it much easier for you to pass the toxins out of your body.
So, the way of eating that I promote in my book BREAK THE CYCLE, turns out to be the perfect way of eating for colon and gut health.
The four food groups I recommend are:
· Whole grains
They are all LOADED with fiber and water. The Standard American Diet is loaded with meat, dairy and oils which contain NO FIBER. Health promoting fiber comes from PLANTS.
By adopting a high fiber diet, you won’t be able to reverse these bubble-like protrusions. But you will be able to vastly improve your colon’s health and also the health of your entire body.
If you don’t want this to happen to you, be proactive. Start flooding your body with nutrient rich, high fiber and water content foods. You can avoid this issue entirely. And as an added bonus you can lose any excess weight. I am confident that with every day that I eat this way, I am avoiding this type of lifestyle illness.
I alluded to positive changes in my husband’s diet in the beginning. Although the changes we’ve made are small, they are also significant in increasing his fiber intake. These changes are great for me too as there are no longer ‘dangerous’ foods in the house. (By dangerous I mean addictive because they are so highly processed.)
Nice cream (pineapple-banana-nice-cream.html) has replaced ice cream. It's made with fiber-rich frozen fruit. And cookies are replaced with high fiber baking like Chef AJ’s banana muffins (chef-ajs-banana-muffins.html).
It seems that a lot of people don’t want to improve their diet until there is a legitimate threat to their health and quality of life.
And a lot of the excuses we use are to cover up for our food addictions. It’s like being a smoker unable to quit until they get a cancer diagnosis. The drug-like effects in processed foods can keep you trapped for YEARS.
BREAK THE CYCLE of food addiction before it causes irreversible damage to your health and quality of life. You can do it!
This question comes from a friend who had a health scare that landed her in the emergency room in a great deal of pain. She has had Hepatitis B since birth and she explains it best in this quote:
My HBV viral load was at 15,500. The liver specialist said that drug therapy is prescribed for values over 10,000.
Once again, a whole food plant-based diet saves the day! She managed to get her HBV levels down to 1880 in 90 days. This is considered in the low range being under 2000 IU/mL.
This is awesome and quite an achievement and just what she said she would do. There is no cure for HBV and to keep off the meds, she would have to stick to a WFPB (whole food plant-based) diet.
So, the question is, what can we all do to support our overworked livers.
Through my experience, it is not what we ADD but what we SUBTRACT has the best benefit for the body. Which she had certainly proven in those 90 days of WFPB compliance (whole food plant-based).
By cleaning up her diet so dramatically, she gave her liver the much-needed break to get back in balance. Once she started to add in 'artificial foods' the recovering liver couldn't keep up.
Chronic HBV is very serious stuff and well out of my scope of practice. I suggested that she make an appointment with a plant-based doctor who specializes in the liver.
In the meantime, according to my nutritional pathology book here are the recommendations for supporting the liver.
WHAT TO ADD:
SPECIFICALLY FOR VIRUSES ADD:
Antiviral foods such as:
• Citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes.
• The onion family: onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives which are high in sulfur.
• Green leafy herbs: mint, parsley, coriander, basil, thyme and oregano. • Medicinal mushrooms. • Sea vegetables (seaweeds)
For the complete list and article go to: sandracabot.com/anti-viral-foods/
Okay. That's the good news. No we go on to the lists that you intuitively know are not health promoting and, of course, bad for your liver.
FOODS TO AVOID:
THE PRO-INFLAMMATORY FOODS ARE:
Really look at these lists. The foods to avoid for liver health are also pro-inflammatory foods.
EVERYTHING on it is EXACTLY what I recommend you add and avoid in my book BREAK THE CYCLE. So, you can lose extra fat, you can reduce inflammation and you can support your liver. All you have to do is follow my book.
SUPPLEMENTATION FOR LIVER SUPPORT:
Even though lots of Holistic Nutritionists like to push supplementation, I am not one of them. I think it is better to spend your money on organic whole plant foods to heal your body.
However, I will mention two of them for special circumstances.
1. A High Dose Vitamin C Treatment can help clear jaundice.
2. Vitamin B12, given intramuscularly.
3. Folic acid to shorten recovery time.
The lifestyle treatment for anything about the liver are Castor Oil Packs. I did this a couple of times. It is messy but does seem to help. I used saran wrap and my husband wrapped me up like a mummy. Here's a great article on how to do it: https://wellnessmama.com/35671/castor-oil-packs/
Finally, I don't like to recommend botanicals/adaptogens in an article. I don't know your medical history. I don't know what other meds you are on. These types of herbs can counteract your medication or may give you a negative reaction.
But there is one thing that we all can benefit from and that is dandelion root. It is high in vitamins, minerals and very high in antioxidant carotenoids. It is particularly good at enhancing the flow of bile.
I hope this helps. I am sure there are lots of us who would like to know about the best ways to support our overworked and underappreciated livers. BH was kind enough to offer to help and relate her journey in more detail for anyone who is suffering. If you have more questions for my friend BH, you can contact me and I will pass on your contact information.
Spirulina tablets are my secret weapon. I never go anywhere without them.
They are compressed algae tablets that balance blood sugar among many other things. They are also an awesome appetite suppressant without any side effects or contraindications.
This is how I can manage to start work at 5 am and not eat until 10 or 11 am. I take 8 tablets at 4 a.m. and I don't start to get hungry until about 10 am. If I have to work late or am somehow delayed from eating I will take 2-4 more tablets which will safely hold me over for a few more hours until I can get to my compliant meal.
Before I started eating this way, I had a huge problem with night eating. Now, I don't have any problem eating my dinner and waiting 3 hours before going to bed without snacking. But in the early days of following this way of eating I needed to rely on spirulina before bedtime to ensure that hunger cravings wouldn't keep me awake at night.
I would take 2 at bedtime (either to stave off hunger or to deal with my restless leg syndrome). BTW I no longer suffer from restless leg syndrome. Something that has plagued me since my early 20's and now has magically vanished. (Another benefit of this way of eating.)
Spirulina can be found in your health food store or in the health aisle in some supermarkets.
You can buy it in powdered form and add to water. But I find it takes more motivation do this for something that tastes pretty gross. Or, you can buy the compressed tablets. They aren't that cheap....about $36.00 for 360 tablets (so 10 cents a tablet). But if it keeps your waistline going down and your self esteem going up, it's worth it!
Prairie Naturals is a reputable Canadian brand for supplementation and is my favorite for all of my supplements. If you are in the US or another country, seek out a reputable national company that uses the cleanest organically-sourced ingredients.