The Gerson Therapy

Synopsis:

Raised on a wildlife reserve in Alaska, 15-year-old Garrett was interested in the dietary habits of the farm animals. After the tragic death of his mother, Garrett’s father decided to home-school his son and assigned a book written by Dr. Max Gerson that proposed a direct link between diet and a cure for cancer.

Fascinated, Garrett embarks in this documentary on a cross-country road trip to investigate The Gerson Therapy. He meets with scientists, doctors and cancer survivors who reveal how it is in the best interest of the multi-billion dollar medical industry to dismiss the notion of alternative and natural cures.

For more information about The Gerson Therapy, check out the Gerson Institute website.

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Boost Your Metabolism With Exercise

I mentioned before that your metabolism is simply the result of the break down of your basic carbohydrates, fats and proteins to create energy and “burn calories” so that the body can maintain itself. Well, nothing gets those calories burning faster than good old-fashioned physical activity.

You can think of your body as a factory…constantly creating and destroying and creating things within it. Factories can get pretty warm from all the heat (energy) created as a result of all the work done by the machinery. Machines often use a lot of energy to do their jobs and put out a lot of energy as well. You can think of your muscles as the machines of your body, burning calories constantly as you use them to create more energy for your body and increase your metabolism.

I read somewhere that you burn 50 calories for every 1 lb of muscle you gain. Building your muscle mass is therefore a highly efficient way to increase your metabolism with exercise and provides a pretty solid reason for losing weight and staying slim. What kind of exercises really put a kick into your metabolism?

  • strength training like resistance exercises and weight-lifting. Build that muscle mass to burn those calories!
  • interval training involves cardio workouts which use high-intensity periods followed by a period of low-intensity exercises and another high-intensity routine. This type of training helps improve aerobic capacity allowing for longer periods of exercise at varying intensities.

Boost Your Metabolism With Food

“Geez! How can she eat so much fast food and still be so slim? She must have a pretty fast metabolism, huh?”

Does this sound vaguely familiar? I hear lines like these all the time – the infamous metabolism. Metabolism is the process of breaking down carbohydrates, fats and proteins to yield the energy your body needs to maintain itself. Most people are looking to increase their metabolic performance for weight loss but the practices of keeping your metabolism on the higher end of the performance chart happens to place your general health up on that end too!

“You’re young so you have a faster metabolism than me. No wonder you can eat all that stuff.”

Many factors determine the speed of your metabolism. Factors like sex, age and genetics are unchangeable but they only have a small role to play. If you have a slow metabolism, by adding and/or adjusting your lifestyle, you can have your metabolism revving and rearing to go no matter your age or sex!

Here are some foods which can help increase your metabolism:

Calcium, Complex Carbohydrates & Fibre

I mentioned before that calcium is the best way to lower acidity of the body. It helps keep the body’s pH close to it’s normal range of 7.35-7.45. The more acidic your body is, the slower your metabolism is going to be since more of your cells will not be working as they should, using less calories than they would if they were functioning at the optimum pH.

Foods high in fibre like whole grains and cereals and foods loaded with complex carbohydrates like apples, grapefruits, spinach, broccoli, beans, and other lovely leafy vegetables increase metabolism simply because it takes a lot of energy to digest them. More energy used = faster metabolism.

Calcium, complex carbohydrates and fibre are all substances that help keep the levels of insulin low after a meal. A spike in insulin level is a signal to the body that there are loads of carbohydrates floating around so it’s time to store it all away as fat. When your body starts to stock up on fats, the metabolism slows down so that you use fewer calories. Using fat for energy is, after all, a secondary mechanism…not primary. Of course, eating your low glycemic index foods help keep your insulin levels low too!

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Is This Chamomile, Really Chamomile?

I’ve mentioned the importance of specifying the plant source of an essential oil before [link to eucalyptus post]. Each essential oil has its own therapeutic effect according to its chemical makeup. The functional groups (e.g. alcohols, ketones, aldehydes) in its chemistry, dictates the function the essential oil will serve for the body (e.g. anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, mucolytic). Chamomile is of no exception to this rule.

Chamomile is the name given to several oils but, unbelievably, only some of these are distilled from genuine chamomile leaves! Sold under the name of ‘chamomile’, some oils are actually made from a relative of wormwood but are passed as chamomile due to a compound that gives them a colour similar to chamomile. Chamomile is also the name given to some oils of the mugwort family of plants which are actually toxic and may result in damage to the central nervous system, seizures or even liver damage.

There are two main types of genuine chamomile, each with their unique function:

  • German chamomile – anti-inflammatory
  • Roman chamomile – anti-spasmodic

German chamomile

What goes in, must come out

A good full body detoxification will help cleanse the body of chemical toxins and undigested waste. The advantages of cleansing your internal environment, I’ve mentioned before and remain limitless. The “feel good” refreshment you feel afterwards is unlike any other. It’s much the same for ridding your body of unwanted, undigested food products.

Colon cancer is becoming increasingly common. Our colon backs up tons of waste every day from the tons of food we eat! We eat 3 full meals a day…will 1 bowel movement be enough to get rid of the excess foods our body doesn’t absorb? Some people don’t even have a bowel movement every day. And when we do have one, do you think the waste slips right out? Honestly, some of it still remains stuck along the walls of the colon. Ew. Don’t worry. A good deal of fibre and cleansing will help solve that problem. Colon hydrotherapy is also another route to take, but this isn’t recommended for all persons.

If you’ve been doing a good cleanse, then you should have frequent bowel movements. Not only does it give your colon a spring cleaning of sorts, you may also find that you lose a couple of pounds. Undigested waste tends to pack together like sardines in a tin and can harden like the faecal matter it is if we don’t consume enough fibre and water (or have water malabsorption in the large intestine). As a result, a lot of it can be stored in the colon in the constipated individual…or the individual who just doesn’t go at least once a day. Faecal matter becomes heavy and can end up adding a few extra unwanted pounds. Have you ever picked up after a dog? Doggies don’t exactly have feather-light poop. Ours isn’t much different.

So, if you haven’t already, go ahead and find a good cleansing programme! Now you have another reason to do one. Of course, never forget that the importance of a general cleanse is to rid the body of excess toxins and help rebalance the organ systems for our general health and well-being. Doing the occasional cleanse a few times a year is a good way to maintain your health and reduce the possibility of disease occurrence.

Does green tea really make you lose weight?

While visiting the Longjing Tea Village in Hangzhou last year, one of the tea villagers described how the green tea possibly helps with weight loss.

Many fats are consumed in the modern diet daily, many of which are absorbed by the body to be stored. The green tea helps with the removal of excess fats in the diets, allowing the body to absorb just the right amount. Without the excess fats being packed into storage around the body, one certainly doesn’t gain much weight.

The high concentration of polyphenols in green tea help increase metabolism. Increased metabolism = increased energy use = excess energy stores become utilised = lose a little weight.

As a medical student having lead a rather sedentary lifestyle for the past 2½ years, I gained some extra unwanted pads of fat in my abdominal region. Within a month of drinking Longjing green tea 2-3 times a week, I lost quite a bit of it. I felt rather impressed.

The answer: yes, green tea provides a nice helper-hand in weight loss and weight management. And it’ll only help if it’s green tea of good quality. Consuming the tea along with eating a healthy diet and incorporating exercise into your lifestyle are also very necessary for proper weight loss (and good health, generally)! It would be silly to believe that green tea alone would do the trick.

Are We Talking About The Same Eucalyptus?

There are a number of oils that are not clearly identified by their common names such as eucalyptus and chamomile. A little trackback to some secondary school (high school) biology should ring a little bell reminding us that in the plant kingdom, there are many species and subspecies of a particular plant. Saying ‘eucalyptus’ alone doesn’t help to identify the specific plant source.

For eucalyptus alone, there are hundreds of its varieties in existence around the world. Each variety has its own chemical composition which, when produced, creates hundreds of unique essential oils with different composition and therefore, different pharmacological effects. They would, of course, be used for various ailments. Here are a few examples:

  • Eucalyptus radiata – known for its high terpene alcohol content – great antiviral agent.
  • Eucalyptus dives – known for its ketone content – great mucolytic (especially in combination with Eucalyptus radiata).
  • Eucalyptus citriodora – known for its aldehyde content – reliable sedative.

When speaking of essential oils, correct terminology and specification of the plant source is extremely important in understanding its correct aromatherapeutic use.

Eucalyptus globulus