Friday, March 05, 2010
The information I'm going to share with you today is based on a strictly scientific yet holistic medical model. My excitement after having successfully reduced my own internal inflammation, however, propels me to discuss this topic using a more personal approach. I think you will see why as you continue reading.
What many people do not understand is that internal inflammation leads to premature aging, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and many more conditions of illness.
What does Chronic Internal Inflammation Feel Like?
Ask yourself if you are suffering from any of the following symptoms:
• inability to focus
• chronic pain and stiffness
• loss of organ function
• accumulated fat around the waist
• dry, irritated skin
• an inability to lose excess weight
• an out-of-control hunger for junk food
You may be experiencing these symptoms because of an internal inflammatory condition created by your current or previous diet and lifestyle. Did you know that this invisible inflammation is the driving force behind most age-related diseases? You can't always see it because it exists at a molecular level. Doctors usually use laboratory tests to confirm it, then assign a diagnosis to the results, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's, or arthritis. They give you a “diet” to follow and send you home with little understanding of how your body cells created this experience or how they might be healed.
My own journey
From my 20s to my mid 40s, I was a junk-food junkie as well as a smoker. I exercised vigorously, so I was able to maintain my weight within the normal parameters for my height. But I noticed that I was always tired and needed to take sick days from work during my menses, which were pretty painful. I also continued to suffer horrendous back pain after a fall that occurred in my late 20s. A chiropractor tried to help me, and suggested that some of my pain would subside if I quit cigarettes, soft drinks and pizza, just for starters! Everything improved except my back pain.
In the following decades I honed my diet so it consisted solely of fresh vegetables, whole grains, fruits, organic grass-fed meat, and lots of water. I took vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals, and I had more energy. But my back continued to hurt and I couldn't exercise as vigorously as before. Consequently, my muscles stiffened, especially in the morning on rising. Even my joints started to swell. I couldn't figure it out. I was eating a really healthy diet, exercising a little bit every day, but I had gained about thirty pounds in the interim, and I couldn't seem to lose it. I went to visit a trusted MD, and he suggested that I was experiencing internal inflammation and toxicity. So I did some studying. What you read next is the result of that research.
The first thing I wanted to determine was how did my body cells become so inflamed?
I learned that chemicals and toxins are the primary cause of cellular inflammation, weight gain, and disease. The body becomes so contaminated with toxic residue that our internal self-healing mechanisms become overwhelmed and consequently suppressed. Every day, our bodies absorb thousands of toxins from the air we breathe, the water we drink, genetically modified foods, pesticides, grain fed meat and dairy, preserved flour products, MSG (monosodium glutamate), micro-waved foods, refined sugar, saturated fats, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, electromagnetic radiation, heavy metals, industrial chemicals, prescription drugs, stress, and more. They accumulate over time inside the body and cause the liver and kidneys to overwork, kind of like an engine burning polluted fuel. The body struggles to perform under stressful conditions, overheats in the process (resulting in inflammation) and risks failing entirely. In order to avoid engine failure, immune cells in the digestive tract signal the production of inflammatory chemicals and fat cells to isolate and sequester the toxins so they can't do any more damage to the engine. The ratio of chemicals and toxins is directly related to the ratio of inflammation and fat manufactured by the body.
Then, I determined my goals in reducing cellular Inflammation
I began by making a list of each individual goal I wanted to achieve, figuring that the strategies for accomplishing the goals would reveal themselves after more careful study. I decided I wanted to “spring clean” my whole body by:
• Reactivating my self-healing mechanism
• Reducing inflammation on my body cells' surface, opening cell pores (doors)
• Cleaning out the accumulated toxins from inside the cells
• Gently transporting debris out of the body via bowels and urination
• Restoring the structural integrity of the newly clean cells
• Feeding my cells with anti-inflammatory substances to prevent further free-radical damage (from oxidation) and promote
normal cellular activity
Cleansing was the 'missing key'
Imagine what would happen if you never dusted or vacuumed your house, never cleaned the stove or refrigerator; never scrubbed the toilets, shower or sinks; never replaced the filters for the A/C or heating systems. Imagine the consequences if you or a handyman never removed rusted hinges on the cupboards or doors; never replaced worn out plumbing fixtures. Your house would fall apart!!!
If, like me, you think of your body as your “house” - if you think of each cell in your body as a 'mini house' - you can see that cleaning and maintenance has to be done on a regular basis in order to avoid the destruction produced by accumulating dirt, grime, rust and rot.
Cleansing the body's insides by 'fasting' has been practiced by most cultures since time began. But previous societies didn't face the degree of toxicity in their food and environment that we face today. Starving the body is not the answer. 'Nutritional Cleansing' is a more recent concept. This form of cleansing establishes a long-term regime of healthy food choices alternating with weekly or monthly juice fasts that are designed to gently and safely eliminate wastes and toxins from the cells, organs and the bloodstream.
It's worth doing a lot of research when you choose a cleansing program, especially if you want to follow it for years to come. My previous goals became the following criteria for a nutritional cleansing system. I determined that in order for the program to be successful for the follower:
• It has to be easy and cost effective
• It has to follow the natural rhythms of the whole body (no starvation or deprivation)
• It has to normalize metabolism (without ephedra, hoodia, or caffeine-like stimulants)
• It has to use carefully-researched natural substances that flush harmful impurities from the body without harsh stimulant
• It has to infuse the body with fresh, plant-based foods and herbs that clean oxidized tissue, reduce inflammation, and provide
concentrated nutrition throughout the day
• It has to contain ingredients that prevent future inflammation
• It has to taste good
More about my journey
I had tried using glyco-nutrients such as those contained in aloe vera, without significant results. I had tried different individual juice products such as Acai and Mangosteen, known for their antioxidant powers. I felt a little better, but my cells continued to produce painful inflammation. It was as if none of the nutrition I was ingesting was getting into my cells, and none of the toxins were leaving! Then I thought of my housecleaning metaphor. The locks (receptor sites) on the doors to my mini houses (cells) were so rusted and swollen that none of the sugars (e.g. in the aloe vera juice) could key the doors to open. None of the good things I was eating or drinking were getting into my inflamed cells!
Isagenix® to the Rescue
So how then, could anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients get into my house to clean it up, make repairs, and restore normal function? John Anderson, the nutritional formulator at Isagenix® provided an answer. He incorporated ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs into his cleansing 'super juice'. It appears that the systemic enzymatic actions in the herbs dissolve the 'rusty hinges' of cellular oxidation, reduce inflammation at the receptor sites, and thereby permit cell pores to open and receive nutrients. In his 'Cleanse for Life' juice formula, John incorporated a carefully-chosen array of precious botanicals and trace minerals into a foundation of ionic aloe vera and alfalfa (1). I tried it. Within a very short time, my mini houses were evacuating impurities, releasing emptied fat cells, and making all sorts of wonderful proteins for my body to use for energy.
30-day Nutritional Cleansing Program
After all this study and experimentation, I decided to fully invest myself in the Isagenix® “30-day Nutritional Cleansing Program”. It was so easy. For six days, two of my daily meals consisted of delicious shakes made from undenatured whey protein (2). The third meal was up to me to devise from low-calorie fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, and small portions of meat or fish. Day seven was my 'cleanse day', a chance for my body to unload and evacuate toxins and revitalize normal cellular function. It consisted of four servings of 'Cleanse for Life' juice formula spaced through out the day. Balanced healthy snacks were provided and carefully timed in between juice servings so that I never experienced hunger or fatigue. In the following three weeks, this cycle was repeated, 6 days of shakes followed by one day of cleansing, etc.
The effects I noticed (and I would say that my results are typical) were reduced cravings for sugar and junk food, better focus and concentration, much better energy and stamina, improved sleep patterns, softer skin and a healthier immune system. My blooming health and vitality made me realize I needed to continue to cleanse beyond the 30 days, so I repeated the Isagenix® 30-day program 3 times. During that time, I lost an average of 2 lbs a week.
Several patients in my clinic tried the program after they noticed the changes I had achieved. Their results were similar. All of us combined daily exercise and sensible food choices into our programs. The most uplifting aspect for me was the fifty percent reduction in pain and stiffness I experienced within the first month of the program! That kind of sustained relief encourages me to continue using the principles of nutritional cleansing not only for myself, but also as a foundation for my acupuncture and homeopathic practice. I cleanse once a month in order to maintain the results I realized in the first 3 months, and I feel more flexible, healthier and stronger than I've felt in years. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed with our fantastic results that I chose to become a distributor for the Isagenix® cleansing programs. This allows me to continue purchasing the products at wholesale prices and assist others on their journey towards whole body wellness.
Rest assured that I'm extremely careful about recommending products. Most of my patients try a single bottle of 'Cleanse for Life' before committing to a longer-term program. As a matter of fact, some patients have done remarkably well drinking 2-4 ounces of juice mixed with 8 ounces of water every morning. Along with healthy food habits and regular exercise, that's all they've had to do to feel more energized and symptom-free. Isagenix® offers three basic program options on their website (www.isagenix.com): The daily cleanse I just described, a 9-day cleanse and a 30-day cleanse all of which can be repeated as many times as desired. I've been following an amended cleansing program now for more than a year with a fabulous improvement in all aspects of my well-being.
For more information about how to succeed with the Isagenix® 30-day Cleansing Program, please see the article entitled Your 30-Day Nutritional Cleansing Guide on my website: www.naturesownwellness.com. For an appointment to evaluate your symptom pattern and customize your cleansing program, please contact:
Melinda Leeson, DOM. (Doctor of Oriental Medicine), HMC (homeopathic physician)
7029 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite A. Sarasota, FL 34231 Telephone: 926-9082
1. Ingredients in 'Cleanse for Life' include the following: Aloe vera leaf gel, ionic Alfalfa, Pau d'Arco inner bark, Suma root, Eleutherococcus senticosis root extract, Burdock root, Ashwagandha 4;1 extract, Yellowdock root 4:1 extract, Fennel seed, Peppermint leaf, deglycyrrhizinated Licorice root extract, choline bitartrate, inositol, betaine HCI, l-methionine, niacinamide, pyridoxine HCL, cyanocobalamin, Bilberry extract, Raspberry extract, Blueberry extract, tartaric acid, natural fruit flavoring ( pineapple, mango, passion fruit, orange), xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, citric acid.
2. 'Isalean® Shakes' are delicious 240 calorie, nutritionally complete meal replacements that make following the 9 or 30-day cleansing program easy and completely satisfying. Non-denatured organic whey from New Zealand forms the protein base for the Isalean® shakes. The natural structure of native (unaltered) whey protein is fragile and requires great care to preserve its integrity and biological function. Other whey manufacturers use ultra high heat pasteurization methods that severely denature the native proteins and diminish the availability of the amino acid L-Cysteine in their whey products. L-Cysteine is the amino acid responsible for telling the body to make Glutathione. Glutathione acts as the master antioxidant, preventing inflammation and protecting the body against disease and aging. We have to consume an adequate amount of L-Cysteine in its natural forms in order for our bodies to produce enough Glutathione. The unaltered native whey in Isalean® Shakes contains lots of bio-available L-Cysteine in both of its forms (cystein and cystine).
These shakes also contain added enzymes that the body needs to break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats for maximum absorption. A full compliment of vitamins, minerals, plant source trace minerals and other nutrients are provided by the ionic Alfalfa juice in the formula. These ingredients support normal metabolism, assist in enzyme processes, and sustain blood and cellular health. Relying on 'pure healthy food' shakes instead of 2 free-choice meals each day makes your choices simpler, equally delicious, and gives your body a chance to focus on letting go of impurities and inflammation. The shakes are clinically proven to support weight-loss results and weight management.
Statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. They are the results of my personal clinical research and experience. Product recommendations are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Remember, always consult with your doctor before undertaking a new diet or engaging in a new exercise program. Be safe.
• The Perricone Weight Loss Diet: A Simple Three-part Plan to Lose the Fat, the Wrinkles and the Years, by Nicholas Perricone M.D. ©2005 Random House Publishing) He also publishes great information about body fat and inflammation on his blog: www.perriconemd.com
• The Inflammation Cure by William Joel Meggs M.D., PhD. 2003 NTC Publishing Group.
• Nutritional Antioxidants and the Modulation of Inflammation: Theory and Practice. RF Grimble,
1994 Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Southampton, UK www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7922442
• Isagenix information at www.isagenix.com. Click on “What is Nutritional Cleansing?”
© Copyright 2010 Melinda Leeson, P.A.. All Rights Reserved. This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, for personal use only in a not-for-profit format. Copying any portions of this article for publication, either print or electronic, is not permitted without prior written permission from Melinda Leeson, P.A.