Archive for the ‘ Naturopathy ’ Category

The Gerson Therapy


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.


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!

Continue reading

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.

Ignorance Is Damaging

I’ve been most wonderfully blessed to be on a service with a consultant who blatantly insults any and every thing to do with natural medicine. I can’t help but wonder if it’s even more so given my family history (he knows my Dad!) in natural medicine. He can’t possibly think that I’d have no influences from it…can he? Two weeks into this surgery clerkship and I’m well versed with the fact that this great doctor doesn’t even seem to believe in the importance of vitamins (a concept that baffles me, as medical students are taught about vitamins, their structures and importance to health in biochemistry during the first year).

Oftentimes one hears “Ignorance is bliss” but in the medical profession, ignorance is damaging.

We had a patient who we took to surgery to have her gallbladder removed due to gallstones. Her file said that she takes Cod Liver Oil everyday and my great consultant proclaims “she could avoid surgery if she just stopped swallowing oil and her symptoms would just go away!” She could’ve honestly avoided the whole experience if she just did a liver and gallbladder detox. To clarify, cod liver oil isn’t going to make more gallstones and worsen the problem. In fact, they help prevent them. They’re the good fats containing omega 3 fatty acids that we need and, unlike regular cooking oil, does not need bile to be broken down so the gallbladder is just fine. But before you take cod liver oil for the goodness of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D, you’d need to get rid of the gallstones first, safely and effectively by cleansing the liver and gallbladder.

Remember, good oils to consume for supplementation are fish oils and cod liver oil (the difference between the two is that fish oils do not contain vitamins A and D like cod liver oil). The most popular good cooking oils are extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. We use macademia nut oil in my household. Oils like canola, vegetable and peanut are heavily worked on by the gallbladder which must produce lots of bile to break down the complex fats so that they can pass through the digestive tract safely.

Had he known this, that patient could’ve been saved from the pains and dangers of unnecessary surgery. It’s a little sad but it happens all the time. Many doctors too often choose to avoid natural or alternative therapies so they choose not to know anything about it. Due to his belief that cod liver oil makes gallbladder problems worse, he tells his patients and that’s what the patients learn. It is the duty of a doctor to teach, a principle shared with medical students of all facilities, natural and conventional. But to lend the wrong information to keen ears can result in unnecessary actions for a patient.

Ironically, my surgery consultant’s favourite saying is “You don’t know that you don’t know.” Teach what you know not what you don’t know. Clearly, he doesn’t know that he doesn’t know. Just like how he told us that coconut water has no healthy property to it. Seriously? Well, that’s another story for another day.

Longjing Green Tea – The Best Green Tea

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Longjing Tea Village in Hangzhou, China last summer. Here, I had the opportunity to learn a little about the tea-making process here where they create the green tea that’s known as the world’s best. I also got to view a very fascinating demonstration of the properties of the green tea…it was so quick and fascinating that I didn’t have time to pull out my camera and hit ‘record’. Every time I think back, I really wish I had. I’ll try doing it myself someday.

The Process & Grading

Longjing green tea, also known as dragon well green tea, is grown, handpicked, compacted and dried by hand. No factories, processors or chemicals are involved in the production of the tea. Longjing green tea, like most other green teas produced in China, does not undergo the natural fermentation process where the enzymes in the leaves act on the juices and tissues of the leaves (not the type of fermentation with yeast). The unfermented green tea results in higher quality, healthier green tea. This type of fermentation process is saved for teas such as oolong and black tea.

The quality of longjing green tea depends on the time of the year at which the tea is picked. As a result, a number of grades of green tea is produced. I’m sorry to say my memory is poor but I do believe 4 grades were set before us and were labelled as (lowest to highest) the C-grade, B-grade, A-grade and Emperor-grade. The earlier the tea leaves are picked during spring, the higher the grade is expected to be and the difference between grades is relatively easy to observe.

The Emperor-grade is, by far, the most exceptional there is and, of course, the most expensive of the tea leaves. In fact, I was informed that their village didn’t have to pay as high taxes as other cities because they send Emperor-grade green tea to the government! These tea leaves are usually picked around the middle to end of March, the A-grade in early April, B-grade after mid-April and C-grade after June. Of all the leaves picked, super high quality leaves may be found after March and are rightfully added to the Emperor batch.

Our tea village guide was kind enough to let us know that the worst of the tea leaves are usually used in the tea bags of green tea we see selling in supermarket. No wonder it’s so cheap.

The Antioxidant Demonstration

Continue reading