The Toxin Solution

Chapter 3. The Two-Week Jumpstart Diet

Toxins are literally everywhere. And as you learned in chapter 2, only by understanding that there are both avoidable and hard-to-avoid toxins can you realistically limit your exposure. This chapter provides an overview of the toxic intrusion into our food. You’ll also discover exactly how to steer clear of toxins in food and water through following the Two-Week Jumpstart Diet. Over the next two weeks on this diet, you will feel better immediately and will get the energy you need for the succeeding weeks of the Toxin Solution.

What will I do without my daily cheeseburger? some people wonder. Don’t worry! The food plan I present in this chapter makes it easy to eat a nourishing, delicious, and contaminant-free diet that you will actually enjoy as you release toxins and regain health. And even though I want you to follow the entire program offered in this book, I’ll let you in on a little secret: if you do nothing but follow the Two-Week Jumpstart Diet two to three times a year, you will experience a substantial improvement in your energy and well-being.

So, if you happen to pick up this book at a time when it’s not convenient for you to do the full program, just follow this diet for two weeks. Once you discover how easy it is, you will feel more confident, and motivated to make time in your schedule to do the complete program. But first, let’s delve into why our once-healthy food supply is now an ugly conglomeration of poisons.

The Toxification of Food

Much of what people eat today can barely be classified as food. If you roam a supermarket, pick a few examples of food “products” right off the shelves, and take a good long look at what they contain, it will not surprise you that these highly processed products actually contain very little real food. Yes, they may look and even taste pretty good, despite their long list of mysterious ingredients. That’s because they’re dosed up with plenty of fat, salt, or sugar. Even if you avoid the central aisles and stick to the produce, dairy, and meat sections, you will still not have escaped from toxins in food. Why? Because bit by bit, a wide array of chemicals that human beings were never meant to consume has been introduced into the food supply. And sadly, even many once-nutritious foods are now made by industrialized agricultural entities that, while efficient, deliver a high load of toxins straight into our bodies.

Up until recently, the organic-farming movement had been making great headway in reversing the trend toward toxins in agriculture. But as the government weakens organic standards and subsidizes large corporations that farm thousands of acres with businesslike efficiency, it’s becoming harder for everyone to find sources of healthy food. To make up for the depletion of our soil wrought by their megascale practices, agribusinesses pour a witch’s brew of toxic chemicals onto fields—and into our nation’s food supply. These substances include pesticides, contaminated synthetic fertilizers, and herbicides that contaminate not just the food they produce, but also the environment for miles and miles around.

Take apples, for example. Apples are as American as apple pie. But did you know that for the last several years, this quintessential American fruit has topped the “Dirty Dozen” list of the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization? The Dirty Dozen is a list of foods so contaminated that people must eat only the organic varieties. No longer “keeping the doctor away,” apples contain more pesticides than any other fruit or vegetable. For starters, 80 percent of apples grown in the United States have a chemical called diphenylamine on them, which breaks down into cancer-causing nitrosamines. Growers spray apples with this chemical after the harvest to keep them from turning brown. Yes, the apples look great on the shelf, all red and shiny, but if you’re smart, you’ll leave them there!

“Nitrites and nitrates belong to a class of chemical compounds that have been found to be harmful to humans and animals,” says researcher Dr. Suzanne de la Monte of Rhode Island Hospital. Increased levels of nitrates and nitrosamines are linked to increased incidence of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and type 2 diabetes. “We have become a nitrosamine generation,” Dr. de la Monte says, adding that “more than 90 percent of these compounds that have been tested have been determined to be carcinogenic in various organs.”1

No wonder the European Union banned American apples in 2012. So far, the U.S. apple industry has not responded to Europe’s concerns. (In fact, if the new global trade deals like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership [TTIP] are passed, Europeans will soon lose their safer standards and healthier options.) Meanwhile, Americans sustain an ongoing toxic exposure through eating nearly ten pounds per person of raw apples every year. And even if the amount of diphenylamine in each apple is small, the risks mount with multiple servings of apples, apple juice, and applesauce in our own and our kids’ diets. But the real problem is that this is not the only toxic chemical, and apples are not the only food that is contaminated. It all adds up.

Does that mean you can never again eat an apple? Certainly not. As you will see, they are included in the food plan you will find later in this chapter. But for certain foods—like apples—that are more contaminated with agricultural toxins, you must choose organic (or near-organic) varieties.

Will eating organic (or close to it) just for two weeks make a difference? Well, a family of five in Sweden did just that. As part of a study, researchers put the family on a diet of conventionally grown food for one week, followed by two weeks on organic foods. When researchers tested the family members’ urine for chemicals, they found that “concentrations of selected pesticides decreased by 95% when the family switched to organic food.”2 The scientists’ conclusion?

Eating organic foods reduces the levels of a number of chemicals and substances that we are exposed to through what we eat. This in turn reduces the risk of a long-term impact and combination effects. Choosing organic products also helps to reduce the spread of chemicals in the environment and protects those who work in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables.3

I’ve long recommended that my patients try this same experiment. Switching to organic, even for two weeks, cures a variety of ills that people often fail to recognize as due to toxins. Researchers are now finding a strong connection between the pesticides used to grow fruits, vegetables, and livestock feed, and virtually every dangerous illness. “Whatever is happening is happening to everyone, suggesting an environmental trigger,” claims Robert H. Lustig, professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.4

The good news is that blood levels of many toxins can decrease quickly. The bad news is that it takes much, much longer to clear out the cell, bone, and fat stores.

Sally’s Story

Sally was a dedicated young mother with two beautiful little girls ages four and six. Both Sally and her daughters were having problems with energy—opposite problems. Sally reported feeling exhausted and “at the end of her rope.” Meanwhile, the little girls were bouncing off the walls. At first glance, the girls’ actions just seemed like youthful enthusiasm, but as I watched them noisily interact with other patients in my waiting room, I began to suspect that they were right on the edge of hyperactivity.

Also suffering from insomnia and menstrual-cycle irregularities, Sally had seen her family MD several times, but he had nothing to recommend. As I watched her girls bounce around my office, irritating my patients, my first question was “How much sugar are you feeding them?”

Her answer: “None!” This surprised me. Sally did everything right for her family—avoiding junk food, giving a good multivitamin supplement, and offering a loving home environment. But where was she buying food? A recently published Seattle study measured the toxin levels in children. The study compared the toxic load of children who ate organic food from the Puget Consumers Co-op with that of those eating food from a regular grocery store. The neurotoxic pesticide levels of the children who ate conventionally grown foods were nine times higher!5

Since Sally’s physical exam was normal, rather than undertake expensive testing, Sally opted to start with the basics: properly grown healthy foods rich in nutrients and low in toxins. I recommended that she begin by shopping at the Puget Consumers Co-op. (I have been buying my food from this healthy food cooperative since 1970—back in the day when early organically grown foods did not look as nice as they do today thanks to a range of new growing techniques.)

When Sally objected that organic foods are more expensive, I asked her how that compared with the money she was spending to see doctors who weren’t helping her. She got the message. A month later, she came back for a follow-up—and she was beaming. She had religiously followed my advice, and within just one week had noticed a difference. Not only was she feeling more energetic; she was also sleeping better. Her menstrual cycle had begun to normalize. Instead of hyperactively harassing my patients, her darling daughters were adorable, and calmer than on the previous visit, bringing smiles to my waiting patients. It really is often that simple; our bodies evolved to be healthy, if just given a chance.

Nowadays, accessing healthier food options is quite doable, thanks to both the food and informational resources we now have. If you can’t go whole-hog and eat everything organic, you can concentrate your food purchases where they count most.

Easy Tools for Making Healthy Food Choices

One group that gets high marks in my book is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Their online resources (at www.ewg.org) have helped millions of Americans face up to the realities of the toxins we consume and absorb. Let’s take a look at their Dirty Dozen (plus two) food list. These are the foods with the heaviest doses of agricultural pesticides. If you want to unload your toxic burden and restore your health, you can concentrate your organic produce purchases on the following fruits and vegetables:*

1. Apples

2. Strawberries

3. Grapes

4. Celery

5. Peaches

6. Spinach

7. Sweet bell peppers

8. Nectarines (imported)

9. Cucumbers

10. Tomatoes

11. Snap peas (imported)

12. Potatoes

 Hot peppers

 Kale and collard greens

How Did Our Food Supply Get So Toxic?

About seventy years ago, the nature of the food we eat changed dramatically. The small family farms and backyard gardens that supplied our food were superseded by industrial agriculture. Farmers stopped replenishing the soil, as they had been doing for thousands of years. Instead, they became dependent on synthetic fertilizers, which exhausted soil to maximize profits. Phosphates, a major ingredient in synthetic fertilizers, can release high levels of cadmium, a highly toxic metal, into the soil. Even worse, the fertilizers do not replace the trace minerals we need. The result is that the soil becomes progressively more depleted.

When we eat foods grown in mineral-depleted soil, they more easily absorb metals like cadmium. This metal is so toxic that the kidneys clear it as quickly as possible from the blood. Unfortunately, as we will discuss in chapter 6, it nevertheless gets stuck there, causing a lot of damage. In high concentrations, cadmium is even more toxic than lead or mercury and contributes to a large number of health conditions. Cadmium, for example, is linked to osteoporosis and even to the major killer diseases: heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. And, as you saw in table 1.3 in chapter 1, once cadmium gets into your body, it takes sixteen years to get rid of just half of it!

Another result of industrial agriculture was that farmers began to spray foods with insecticides on a large scale. Most of these insecticides, such as the organochlorines and organophosphates that I mentioned earlier, are neurological poisons.

Many foods are now inadvertently contaminated with herbicides. This happens because herbicides like glyphosate, used in genetically modified crops, are sprayed on the ground to keep down the growth of weeds. There are many ways these herbicides damage our bodies. For example, they disrupt the endocrine system by blocking both testosterone and estrogen receptor sites.6 Even worse, they damage DNA, making cells age faster and become more susceptible to cancer.

Crops that have been genetically modified (GMOs) are designed to be resistant to the effects of specific herbicides. That is why farmers feel free to use them more and more in their fields. But while GMOs may perhaps be resistant to these poisons, humans and livestock are not!

While all of these so-called agricultural advances have increased commercial productivity, what winds up on your plate are foods depleted of nutrients, especially trace minerals. In place of the nutrients your body needs, you get toxic chemicals and metals. Poorer-quality, cheaper food may keep you alive, but it undermines health and actively induces disease.

Sheryl’s Story

Sheryl was a college student struggling to maintain a C-plus grade average and dealing with low energy, weight gain, and acne. The last two had been lifelong problems. Sheryl regularly used both topical antiacne lotions and potions and weight-loss products from the local pharmacy. She ate a poor diet of the cheapest food she could find, including—several times a week—a big box of frosted doughnuts from the grocery store. While the doughnuts were a cheap way to get calories, the energy boost she got from eating them was short-lived. The long-term effect of regular consumption of the doughnuts’ food additives, chemical contaminants, sugars, and lack of nutrients was decreased energy, weight gain, and poor health.

Sheryl’s problems were classic: nutritionally deficient foods contaminated with pesticides, aggravated by toxic health and beauty aids, unnecessary drugs, and a sedentary lifestyle. I advised her not to waste her very limited financial resources on expensive laboratory tests, so that she could instead spend her money on higher-quality food.

Sheryl decided that if she was going to spend her hard-earned money on my services, she was damn well going to do what I asked her to. I wish all my patients were so sensible! I warned her that her skin would get worse, possibly even for a couple of months, but I assured her that if she stuck with my program, her skin would ultimately get much better. My guidance for her was straightforward. I advised Sheryl to:

1. Stop putting toxic chemicals on her face and in her body.

2. Stop buying high-sugar, nutrient-depleted bakery products.

3. Spend her precious food budget on organic varieties of the foods she ate from the Dirty Dozen (plus two) list.

4. Inexpensively balance her diet and calories by buying the conventionally grown Clean 15 foods listed at www.ewg.org. (Obviously I’d have preferred for all her food to be organic, but she couldn’t afford it.)

5. Find some exercise she liked. (It did not matter if it was simply walking or going to the free university gym a couple of times a week.)

Sheryl came back a month later, smiling. I could already see her starting to transform. Yes, her acne was worse, as I predicted, but within a week she had noticed her energy improving. After just one month, she was delighted to have lost five pounds. I congratulated her on her strong will and commitment to taking care of herself. Rather than spend her resources seeing me, I suggested she stay the course and not see me again for another three months, but I told her to feel free to give me a call at any time if she had any questions or needed any encouragement.

Over the next year her transformation was quite remarkable. Her skin totally cleared up, and she lost all of her extra twenty pounds. Her grades substantially improved, and she was accepted into a graduate master’s degree program.

Although the solution for Sheryl was relatively simple, that does not mean it was always easy. When withdrawing from a drug that suppresses symptoms, the body overresponds before coming back to normal. The tough withdrawal from sugar, the embarrassing worsening of her acne, the feeling of uncertainty when her friends mocked her for “wasting money” on eating organically grown foods—it all took fortitude. But it was worth it. Because as her body reestablished proper function, the normal response was health.

As I mentioned in chapter 1, scientists and researchers now refer to pesticides and many other toxic chemicals as diabetogens and obesogens. Because of them, many foods once considered nutritious now lead to diabetes and obesity. Other research reveals that people with the highest levels of pesticide exposure (the top 10 percent) have a frighteningly twentyfold higher risk for diabetes. In fact, body load of pesticides is a better predictor of type 2 diabetes risk than any other factor. These chemicals go directly into the body’s insulin-receptor sites and block them. As a result, insulin—the key hormone that regulates and normalizes blood sugar—can no longer perform its crucial job.

Pesticide toxins also stimulate enzymes that convert calories into fat—and your body’s fat is precisely where toxins are stored. This means that when you start losing weight, your fat cells release higher concentrations of toxins, making both weight loss and detoxification more difficult and uncomfortable. That is why it’s essential that detox be approached with caution and care, through the plan I offer in this book. As noted earlier, the goal is to get the toxins out quickly, but also safely.

Weight gain, obesity, prediabetes, and diabetes aren’t the only aftermaths of toxic exposure. As I mentioned in chapter 1, Americans have lost a total of 41 million IQ points due to exposure to lead, mercury, and organophosphate (OP). OPs act as a poison to the nervous systems of insects, plants, and humans. It’s a tragedy that we’ve gotten to the point where our foods are poisoning us rather than simply nourishing us as they should.

Supplanting crucial nutrients and exchanging them for toxic metals and chemicals is not a good trade if you seek health. If you follow no other feature of the Toxin Solution, I hope you will undertake this plan. It’s core to restoring and maintaining your health.

The Two-Week Jumpstart Diet

Your detoxification capability—your ability to detox effectively and safely—depends on what you eat. The nutrients that your body uses to rid yourself of your built-up toxic load are often deficient for all the reasons I’ve mentioned. Fortunately, you can change that. For example, fiber is critical to the detoxification process, because it binds toxins in the gut and helps to carry them out of the body. In the past, humans ate about 100 to 150 grams of fiber every day. Currently, people in Western countries eat about 15 grams of fiber every day; and that figure is even less—12 grams per day—among non-Hispanic blacks.7 Without enough fiber, the toxins are reabsorbed. That’s why on my plan you will consume more fiber. And that’s just the beginning.

Frankly, I am going to ask a lot of you over the next two weeks. For some, the first week may seem a little difficult. As you withdraw from the toxins to which you are habituated, you might notice some changes. Your breath might smell worse. Your energy might dip. You might feel cranky. Your friends might deride you for making yourself uncomfortable for no apparent reason. However, I guarantee that by the second week you will clearly feel better and will start to realize just how much healthier you can be.

According to my dear friend the brilliant clinician Sid Baker, MD, functional and naturopathic medicine focus on getting into your body what you uniquely need, and getting out of your body what you uniquely don’t need. The Two-Week Jumpstart Diet will help you to do both.

The Don’ts

As I mentioned in chapter 2, people commonly welcome toxins into their bodies because they don’t recognize that they are there.

On my plan you will stop consuming the following:

 Processed foods

 Gluten-containing foods

 Dairy products

 Beef and chicken

 Farmed fish

 The “Dirty Dozen” produce items

 Soy products

 Refined foods and sweeteners

 Alcohol and recreational drugs

 Salt

 Water that has not been purified or proven to be clean

Let’s take a deeper look at why, in order to relieve your toxic burden and restore your health, it’s essential to eliminate these “don’ts.”

Processed Foods

Most so-called foods on the supermarket shelves contain harmful chemicals and additives, usually to make them look and taste better or last longer. But it’s a bargain with the devil. Potassium bromate added to bread to increase its volume is carcinogenic, as is the butane added to chicken nuggets to keep them “fresh.” BHA and BHT extend the shelf life of foods while probably shortening ours: both are linked to cancerous tumor growth. Sodium benzoate added to carbonated drinks may damage your DNA. And chemicals are being added not just to processed foods but to meat, dairy products, and even produce. The sodium nitrate added to processed meat (like sliced turkey and salami) to stop bacterial growth is linked to cancer in humans.

That’s not all. Tartrazine dye is added to cheese to make it yellow, since cows are no longer eating grass high in colorful carotenoids. Unfortunately, tartrazine increases the risk of diseases such as asthma. Other chemicals help foods keep their color—like the sulfites added to dried fruit to keep it from turning brown. Those unable to effectively detoxify these sulfites (like me) experience allergies and nasal congestion, and they cause about 10 percent of asthma. And because these food products are often so devoid of nutrition and tastiness, food scientists devise flavoring agents to fool your taste buds.

Monosodium glutamate supposedly enhances flavor (it must be an acquired taste!), but unfortunately, it also enhances the risk of nerve and heart damage and seizures. And take note: while you may have sworn off MSG in your Chinese food, this shady character has a dozen aliases. Glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, autolyzed protein, autolyzed yeast extract, textured protein, and maltodextrin are just a few of them. The flavorings industry itself has estimated that over a thousand flavoring ingredients have the potential to act as respiratory hazards to the workers who are handling them, due to their volatility and irritant properties.

This survey of additives (for a complete list, see chapter 8, table 8.2) would not be complete without those artificial sweeteners luring us with their promise that we can enjoy dessert without the calories. Aspartame and saccharin have both been linked to cancer. Splenda, the best-selling sweetener on the market, has the added virtue of remaining stable when heated, which makes it “good” for baking. But though Splenda may make a very nice muffin, when heated it releases chloropropanols — a form of dioxin. According to the World Health Organization, dioxin, a key component in Agent Orange, “can cause reproductive and developmental problems and damage the immune system, interfere with hormones, and also cause cancer.”8

Gluten-Containing Foods

Wheat may be “the staff of life,” but it’s not a good food choice for most people. The main protein in many grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley, is gluten. It’s what gives bread and other foods that elastic, chewy texture and great smell when baking. But while gluten is good for bread, many find it’s not good for the lining of their intestines. In susceptible people, gluten can inflame the gut and make it too permeable, which allows toxins into the bloodstream. And an extreme form of gluten intolerance known as celiac disease can lead to malnutrition and weight loss. One in every 141 people in the United States is diagnosed with celiac disease. (If you include undiagnosed cases, the number is probably twice as high.) Even without celiac disease, many people experience reactions to wheat. The most obvious food allergies are those of the immediate hypersensitivity type. When you eat this type of allergic food, you get symptoms, well, immediately. Experiencing hives, an asthma attack, a runny nose, or even fatigue after eating a food makes the connection obvious. These allergies can be confirmed with skin testing or allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood tests. Far more difficult to recognize are delayed reactions to specific foods. Since such reactions can take hours or even days to manifest, they are difficult to recognize. Standard skin tests typically don’t measure them.

Whether or not you are allergic, it pays to avoid wheat when you are trying to restore your organs and your detox capacity. That’s why you can start by avoiding gluten-containing products on the Two-Week Jumpstart Diet. Begin by carefully reading labels; you won’t always see gluten listed, but you will see words like flour, triticale, triticum, semolina, durum, Kamut, wheat, rye, and barley that should tip you off. The problems some people have with grains are worsened when farmers breed wheat to increase its gluten content, or use antibiotics, which disrupt gut flora.

From the clinical point of view, by avoiding wheat, rye, and barley, over 75 percent of my patients who were suffering from chronic diseases improved dramatically; some were even totally cured. (Those with the most severe reactions also had to avoid corn, rice, and oats.) I can recount hundreds of stories of people who received little or no benefit from years of conventional treatment but were totally cured of rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, eczema, chronic vaginitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic ear infections (in children)—simply by cutting out grains.

A Mysterious Depression

Ed was a therapist I often referred patients to. One reason he was so good at his job was his own personal history of depression. Therapy and medication hadn’t helped him overcome this, so Ed consulted me to see if I could find a nutritional reason for his problem. He had a relatively good diet, took an excellent multivitamin and mineral supplement, and had no apparent physical problems. I was mystified, but since I had seen many patients get better through the simple act of giving up wheat, I told him to avoid wheat and all other grains for four days. Following my instructions, on the morning of the fifth day, he ate one piece of bread—with stunning results. A half hour after eating the bread, Ed described feeling “high” and became hyperactive. After two hours of this, he became so depressed he couldn’t get out of bed for the rest of the day. This extreme reaction was such a surprise to him that he repeated the challenge test a week later, with the same, though less intense, results. As you might expect, Ed religiously avoided wheat from then on. His bouts of depression totally disappeared.

Most people find they are able to eat gluten-containing foods again after completing the two-week plan. However, based on genetics, 20 percent of people should never eat wheat, and 60 percent should not eat it more than a few times a week. For that lucky 20 percent, wheat causes no problems, and they get the benefit of the important nutrients and fiber in whole grains. In appendix G, you will find resources and information for testing to find out which category you are in.

Dairy Products

Mother’s milk is a natural food for infants, but once we leave infancy most people’s intestinal cells stop producing lactase, the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar. Some people continue to produce lactase into adulthood but lose it later in life. Lactose intolerance is especially common in adults of African, Mexican, or Mediterranean descent. Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize, because people don’t expect foods they normally eat to suddenly become a problem.

Maria’s Story

Episodes of indigestion brought Maria, a forty-five-year-old Hispanic mother of three, to my office. The discomfort came a few hours after meals and gradually disappeared. In the previous few months her symptoms had become more frequent and longer-lasting. I suspected lactose intolerance. Maria doubted that this was the problem, since she had been eating dairy products her whole life without apparent trouble. When her symptoms disappeared after four days of scrupulously avoiding all dairy products, she was pleasantly surprised, but not totally convinced. Just to be sure, a week later she drank a glass of milk —and suffered the worst symptoms she’d ever had!

Maria’s was an extreme case. Eliminating all dairy foods, such as milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream, does not have to be a permanent feature of your diet; it’s just for these two weeks, when it will unburden your liver and help your gut heal. And unless you eat organic dairy products, you are also giving your system a two-week break from the hormones and antibiotics that are fed to milk-producing livestock. Cows are fed large amounts of these drugs, usually through a slow-release pellet in their ears, to stimulate milk production and ward off infection. Some of these pellets also contain insecticides to keep flies away.9 Livestock also eat grains raised with pesticides and herbicides. All of this gets passed on to you with the cheddar slices and Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.

On the two-week plan, you will just say no to dairy products.

Beef and Chicken

Staying away from beef and chicken for two weeks is another short-term measure. Cows raised for slaughter also get ear pellets that deliver androgens, estrogens, and progesterones to enhance growth. The pellets, along with the ears, are discarded when the cow is slaughtered.10 The corn fed to cattle to make them bigger, and their meat more deliciously fatty, also makes their meat high in omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, which promotes inflammation. To counter this, you need more anti-inflammatory omega- 3 fatty acids. Fish is a good source of this commonly deficient fatty acid.

Many people consider chicken a healthy food. I consider it to be a good protein source. However, conventionally raised chickens have elevated levels of arsenic due to the drugs and chemicals used in their production.11 In fact, the CDC has listed arsenic as the worst toxin in the United States, largely because of its presence in chicken. Chicken may also be contaminated with salmonella.

In contrast, eggs from free-range chickens are an excellent source of protein, and, when combined with organically grown vegetables, provide a much healthier option.

Farmed Fish

Don’t be fooled by claims that “all fish is good for you.” Large fish (like tuna and swordfish) are virtually always contaminated with high levels of mercury. Many fish are also contaminated with PCBs. Even though food companies market farm-raised fish under harmless-sounding names like “Atlantic salmon,” these fish are fed food contaminated with persistent organic pollutants (POPs). It’s not surprising they generally have high toxin levels as can be seen in figure 3.1.12 Along with salmon, tilapia, rainbow trout, and striped bass are often farm raised. Read the label—and choose “wild-caught” instead. More expensive but much healthier. And, you will soon notice how much better wild fish taste.

The fish oils made from farmed fish are also highly contaminated. I am a great believer in taking fish oils for health, but make sure they come from reputable sources!

Note that farmed fish have more total fat than wild fish. And stored in the fat of those supposedly healthy fish exists a shocking assortment of toxins, including DDT. Yes, DDT. Even though it was banned in 1972, it persists in the environment, and makes its way into farmed fish. It’s especially scary that some farmed salmon also have a stunning 7,200 ng (nanograms) of PCBs per serving! Farmed fish may have less mercury, but the benefit is far outweighed by very high levels of these other chemical toxins.

Remember, these chemicals are extremely difficult to get out of the body, with half-lives ranging from months to years. One serving or even ten servings is not a problem. But eating farm-raised fish even once a week (the least amount you need to eat to get enough omega-3 fatty acids) results in a huge toxic load.

In contrast, wild-caught fish have low levels of toxins. But large fish, even wild-caught, eat other smaller fish in the wild, and tend to bioaccumulate mercury that way. The best fish are wild-caught sardines and salmon, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury.

Figure 3.1. Median concentrations of HCB, HCHs, DDTs, PBdEs, and marker PCBs per gram of fat in salmon, feed, and fish oil samples

The sad reality is that PCBs and mercury aren’t the only chemicals polluting fish. Recent testing found a “medicine chest of common drugs” in juvenile salmon—and in the waters of Puget Sound, Washington. A local news report noted that “most of the chemicals detected aren’t monitored or regulated in wastewater, and there is little or no established science on the environmental toxicity of the vast majority of the compounds detected.”13 These included the following:

 Flonase

 Aleve

 Tylenol

 Paxil

 Valium

 Zoloft

 Tagamet

 OxyContin

 Darvon, Cipro, and other antibiotics

Even if you haven’t been prescribed these medications, even if you conscientiously avoid antibiotics, you could be imbibing them anyway.

Table 3.1. mercury Levels in Seafood

Large fish with high levels of methyl mercury

SPECIES

MEAN(PPM)

RANGE (PPM)

Tilefish [alsocalled golden or white snapper!

1.45

0.65-3.73

Swordfish

1.00

0.10-3.22

King mackerel

0.73

0.30-1.67

Shark

0.96

0.05-4.54

Fish or shellfish that may at times contain high levels of mercury

Grouper [Myctero perca)

0.43

0.05-1.35

Tuna [fresh orfrozenl

0.32

N0-1.30

Lobster, northern [American]

0.31

0.05-1.31

Red snapper*

0.60

0.07-1.46

Trout, freshwater*

0.42

1.22 (max.)

Trout, seawater*

0.27

ND-1.19

Fish or shellfish with much lower levels of mercury

Halibut

0.23

0.02-0.63

Sablefish

0.22

N0-0.70

Pollock

0.20

ND-0.78

Tuna [cannedl

0.17

ND-0.75

Crab, blue

0.17

0.02-0.50

Grab, Dungeness

0.13

0.02-0.40

Crab, tanner

0.15

ND-0.30

Crab, king

0.09

0.02-0.24

Scallops

0.05

ND-0.22

Catfish

0.07

ND-0.31

Salmon [fresh, frozen, orcannedl

ND

ND-0.10

Oysters

ND

ND-0.25

Shrimp

ND

ND

PPM = parts par million ND = not detectable

’Based on limited sample sizes, therefore, these figures havea much greater degree of uncertainty

Healthiest Fruits and Vegetables

Earlier in this chapter you read about the Dirty Dozen produce types. In terms of pesticide levels, the worst fruits on that list are clearly apples, strawberries, and grapes, so be sure to eat these organically. The menu plans in this chapter all call for organically grown varieties of these fruits.

The worst vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list are celery, spinach, and kale. This is especially frustrating, since spinach and kale are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Kale not only has the highest nutrient-to-calorie ratio of virtually any food; it also has critical phytonutrients that promote detoxification in the liver. Unfortunately, nonorganic kale also has the highest levels of organophosphate pesticides, which are extremely neurotoxic. As mentioned earlier in chapter 3, high levels of these toxins are associated with decreased IQ. They are also associated with increased ADHD in children. As you can see in figure 3.2, adults in the 76-90 percent levels of organochloride pesticides show a risk of dementia 2.5 times higher than that of those with the lowest levels. Those in the top 5 percent level of exposure have a whopping 6.5-fold increase in risk for dementia.

Figure 3.2. Associations between organochlorine pesticides and cognition in U.S. elders, 1992-2002

Nutrient Deficiency

Our bodies are basically enzyme machines. We use these special proteins to:

 Digest our food.

 Convert protein, carbohydrates, and fats into energy.

 Produce our hormones.

 Make reproduction possible.

 Create the messages that make our brains work.

In order to perform these and countless other functions, we need ample enzymes—and enzymes are made using key nutrients from the foods we eat. What does it take to make an enzyme? Enzymes have two components: an inactive protein skeleton, and a “cofactor” that activates it. Almost all the enzyme cofactors are vitamins or minerals. If you don’t get generous quantities of vitamins and minerals from food, your enzymes won’t work, or will work inadequately. That undermines health and leaves the body more susceptible to toxins. But most of the food grown today by huge agribusinesses is not providing the critical trace minerals and vitamins our enzymes need.

Figure 3.3. Loss of minerals in food the past fifty years

As you can see in figure 3.3, the amount of copper in food, for example, was almost 80 percent lower in 1991 than it was fifty years earlier! I suspect that if we had data from over the past one hundred years, the numbers would show an even greater disparity.

Cadmium

But it’s even more serious than that. Forty years ago, I read a study that gave me an important insight. When plants are grown in nutrient-depleted soils, they actually absorb toxic metals more easily. The study looked at spinach grown on zinc-depleted soil. The results were clear: low zinc in the soil resulted not only in less zinc in the spinach but, even worse, more cadmium. That’s because cadmium replaces zinc in critical enzymes when zinc levels are low. And once the cadmium levels get high enough, these enzymes will be poisoned. That exchange of unhealthy cadmium for healthy zinc is taking place right now in food crops across this country. Exactly the same thing is happening in our body.

Cadmium is one of those sneaky toxins that produce almost no symptoms (unless you sustain a high level of industrial exposure). The first clinical indication of its presence at dangerous levels in the body is a serious disease like osteoporosis, or a heart attack or kidney failure. You would not know about it unless you measured the amount of cadmium in your body through one of the methods discussed in appendix B. If you eat conventionally grown foods, and especially if you smoke cigarettes, you probably carry a toxic load of cadmium in your body.

Soy Products

Soy allergy is far more common than generally recognized. And in terms of toxicity, soy is third on the list after arsenic-laden chicken and farmed fish.

While soybeans have a number of nutritional benefits, they absorb a lot of cadmium when grown with high-phosphate fertilizers. A Seattle study found that soy products now have so much cadmium that their consumption causes an incredible 20 percent of the osteoporosis in women.14 And when you think soy, it’s not just tofu and soy sauce. Today we have the following soy products:

 Soy milk

 Soy protein powder

 Soy cheese

 Soy ice cream

 Soy pasta

 Soy burgers

 Soy protein bars

 Soy pizza

Most people are unlikely to consume more than one serving a day of broccoli. But soy food, because of its neutral taste, has become a staple.15 Soy is also widely used in the feed for cattle, chickens, and pigs, serving as a secondary source for those who eat meat and dairy. Even if you aren’t actively eating tofu and other soy products, soy oil is hard to avoid. It’s present in countless processed foods, from mayo to chips to pudding. That’s another good reason to avoid processed foods—as well as much meat and all dairy.

There is another big concern about soy in the food supply. Ninety-nine percent of the soy Americans consume is GMO. (Unlike sixty-four other countries, the United States does not require labeling of GM foods.) Why is this of concern?

There have been sharp increases in the amounts and numbers of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops. And further increases—the largest in a generation—are scheduled to occur in the next few years. GMOs were genetically modified to allow them to resist herbicides, so larger amounts of them can be sprayed on GMO crops to kill weeds. Unfortunately, those herbicides affect not only weeds; they damage us as well. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, “the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified glyphosate, the herbicide most widely used on GM crops, as a 'probable human carcinogen’ and has classified a second herbicide, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), as a 'possible human carcinogen.’”16

There is a lot of controversy about whether GMOs are good for us or not. But there is no dispute that they lead to much higher levels of chemical contamination. A research team in France has shown that although glyphosate-containing herbicides like Roundup are touted as safe, that finding overlooks the real problem: their inactive—and much more toxic—constituents aren’t disclosed.17 In fact, this research team found that when you consider those ingredients, Roundup is one thousand times more toxic than pure glyphosate.18 No wonder the European Union is considering dramatically restricting its use. Come on, U.S. government, what about you? You are supposed to be protecting us, not the big chemical companies!

Refined Foods and Sweeteners

Certain “foods” have their nutrient content and fiber stripped away to make them more attractive or tastier or more easily digestible. Flour, stripped of its germ and fiber and then ground into a very fine powder, is a common example. Another refined food, table sugar, has been linked to the following health issues:

 Obesity

 Diabetes

 Cardiovascular disease

 Dementia

 Macular degeneration

 Tooth decay

Even natural foods that have a high sugar content, like fruits, fruit juice, and honey, can cause blood sugar to fluctuate wildly when consumed to excess.

Sugar is remarkably addictive. For most of humankind throughout all of human history, getting sufficient calories was critical for survival. This is still true in many parts of the world, though it’s quite the opposite in the United States today. A special biochemical pathway in the brain rewards us for eating sugar by releasing dopamine,19 the very same molecule activated in heroin and cocaine use (and leading to addiction) in all populations studied.20 If you don’t believe that sugar is truly addictive, try to stop eating all forms of refined sugar for two days and watch what you crave. Toxins come in many forms, and even normal molecules, when taken in at high dosages, can cause problems.

Now, having said all that, I am not suggesting using synthetic sugar substitutes, like Splenda, saccharin, aspartame, and high-fructose corn syrup. They are all foreign chemicals your body must detoxify.

I consider high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), widely used in sodas and fruit-flavored drinks, to be a toxin. HFCS, which is cheaper than sugar cane because of government corn subsidies, carries an even worse risk than sugar, including a link to fatty liver disease, obesity, and diabetes. I’ll discuss this issue further in the next chapter.

Small amounts of sugar are not a problem. But when the average person gets 20 percent of his or her daily calories from sugar, that excess consumption is a problem. I suggest you get no more than 5 percent of your calories from sugar. (A teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories. So a typical woman should not eat more than 10 teaspoons of sugar, a typical man not more than 15 teaspoons. Yes, that seems like a lot, but the average person consumes 25 to 50 teaspoons of sugar a day!)

Noreen’s Story

Noreen had developed obesity and type 2 diabetes; her pancreas wore out from having to produce excessive insulin. To assess what was going on, I ordered certain tests that measure blood sugar every five minutes over a twenty-four-hour period. Figure 3.4 shows her blood sugar while eating a typical poor-quality diet, low in fiber and high in sugar. Every time Noreen ate a food with refined sugar, her blood sugar soared, only to then drop quickly, making her voraciously hungry.

Over a period of a few months, Noreen cleaned up her diet, ate more fiber-rich foods like beans and lentils, and started taking 6 grams of fiber (PGX) two to three times a day. The difference was dramatic.

Figure 3.4. Blood sugar levels for Noreen, a type 2 diabetic, taken every five minutes for a twenty- four-hour period

Figure 3.5. Blood sugar levels for Noreen six months after her diabetes disappeared

After six months of detoxification, Noreen lost thirty pounds and no longer had diabetes! Not only did the fiber stabilize Noreen’s blood sugar; it also helped her get rid of the toxins, which had poisoned her insulin-receptor sites. Diabetes is a diagnosis, a label. By understanding disturbed insulin functions, Noreen was able to avoid the foods and the toxins that produced and worsened this condition.

Almost 50 percent of the population has diabetes or prediabetes—both of which are almost entirely due to poor diet, lack of exercise, and toxins. Avoiding refined sugar can help ensure that your blood- sugar level remains steady throughout the day—neither too high nor too low nor changing rapidly.

Alcohol and Recreational Drugs

Along with the toxins in your food that you will be eliminating on the Two-Week Jumpstart Diet, I also suggest that you eliminate alcohol to excess, marijuana to excess, and any drugs that aren’t necessary to keep you alive. (But check with your doctor before eliminating or reducing the dosage of any prescription drug.)

It’s well known that alcohol, in moderation, provides some protection from heart disease. But alcohol is a toxin. That’s the bottom line. The reason alcohol is used to preserve dead specimens is that it kills microorganisms. To detoxify alcohol, your liver uses up an essential antioxidant called glutathione. (Glutathione is the key molecule your body uses to get rid of most chemical toxins.) In excessive amounts, alcohol will damage your body, in addition to impairing your judgment and making your thinking fuzzy and your movements less coordinated. Chronic excessive drinking can also cause the following issues:

High blood pressure

 Stroke

 Irregular heartbeat

 Degeneration of the heart muscle

 Weakening of the pancreas

 Weakening of the immune system

 Lowered resistance to infection

 Increased chance of getting cancer of the liver, mouth, esophagus, throat, or breast

In later weeks of the program, I will explore in detail how alcohol weakens the organs of detoxification. For now, here is a good rule of thumb: women should drink a daily maximum of one to two ounces of alcohol; for men, the maximum is two to three ounces.

Salt

Excess salt acts as a toxin in the body. When you eat too much salt, you impair your body’s ability to produce glutathione. The higher your salt intake, the less your kidneys are able to detoxify because they are wasting their capacity getting rid of the excess sodium and chloride. More important, researchers now think that lifelong consumption of salt at the current typical amount of 3.4 grams per day may be the key reason people’s kidneys degenerate as they age. The salt seriously stresses the kidneys to work overtime to get rid of the excess. This progressive loss of kidney function not only makes excretion of toxins more difficult; it’s also a key factor in premature aging. So on my plan you will also eliminate salt. After two weeks, you will be surprised at how good your food tastes without it—but during the first few days you will most certainly notice its absence.

Unpurified Water

Unfortunately, at least 10 percent of U.S. public water supplies are contaminated with arsenic. In areas that burn coal for energy, the water also contains undesirable toxins like mercury. Water supplies near large, conventional farms contain pesticides and herbicides. Unless your water has been tested and found to be pure, I recommend that you err on the side of caution by drinking only tested and purified water. You can ensure that your water is safe in several ways:

1. If your water comes from a well, connect with Doctors Data (www.doctorsdata.com), which will test your water for toxic metals. Great Plains Laboratory (www.greatplainslaboratory.com) will test for chemicals.

2. If you drink municipal water, ask your city to provide an analysis. Be sure they are actually testing for metals, not just reporting total mineral content, which typically looks only at calcium and magnesium.

3. If you live in a house and want to be very careful, install a whole-house carbon block filter. This filters out all chemical toxins (except probably fluoride) from the water you drink and use for bathing. It’s expensive, but fortunately, it’s a one-time expense.

You can find information about getting your water tested or treated in appendix G.

The Do’s

In this chapter so far, I have covered how to limit toxic exposure by avoiding certain foods and substances. But it’s also necessary to focus on what you should eat. I do not want you to be fasting. I want you to be super clean in your eating and provide your body with the kind of nourishment that will help it detox naturally. To accomplish this, you should:

 Drink at least four quarts of clean water every day.

 Take a high-quality multistrain probiotic.

 Take a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement.

 Include more fiber in your diet.

 Eat half a pound of brassica-family foods every day.

 Eat lots of vegetables from the “Clean 15.”

 Eat real, unprocessed food.

 Use turmeric but not pepper.

 Use oils carefully.

Drink at Least Four Quarts of Clean Water Every Day

Our kidneys play a major role in detoxification. They do this by removing water-soluble toxins from the body to be excreted via the urine. In the detox process, which I discuss in chapters 5 and 6, these toxins are bound to specific molecules (like glutathione, in the case of chemical toxins, and n-acetyl cysteine, in the case of methyl mercury from fish). Water is key to this process, because it helps to dilute the toxins, lowering their concentration in the urine so that they are less toxic to the kidneys. That is why you will be drinking four quarts of water daily.

Take a High-Quality Multistrain Probiotic

Choose a good probiotic, one that contains both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. (Taking this supplement may give you more gas for a few days—a harmless side effect as your body adapts to reestablishing a healthy flora.)

Include More Fiber

The first day, take 1 gram of fiber three times a day. Increase to 2 grams the second day. The rest of the first week, take 3 grams of dietary fiber three times a day. Be sure to consume a full glass of water (this is included in your four-quart calculation) each time you take the fiber supplement. The second week, increase to 6 grams three times a day, again with plenty of water. And, of course, eat more foods rich in fiber, like beans and lentils.

Increase Brassicas and Healthy Vegetables

Eat half a pound of brassica-family foods every day (any color cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.) These vegetables must be organically grown. It’s okay to cook them, but they must first be chopped up so the enzymes needed to produce the healthy, anticarcinogenic compounds that facilitate liver detox can be activated. (After chopping, wait at least five minutes before cooking, because heat will kill the enzymes. The compounds themselves are heat stable, so once they are produced, the enzymes are no longer needed.)

Fiber

There are quite a number of healthy fibers. I especially like flaxseed powder, pectin, alginate, and a combination fiber called µg X. (Full disclosure: I consult for Natural Factors, the manufacturer of µg X.) I recommend fiber supplements because it is much easier that way to get the needed amount. Note: this will likely give you more gas and bloating, and more voluminous stools. If the gas and bloating do not go away in a few days, decrease the dosage. The reason I want you taking all that fiber is that, as your body starts dumping toxins, you must have fiber in your gut to take them out in the stool, or they will simply be reabsorbed into your system. The only contraindication is severe gastrointestinal disease, in which case you should, of course, consult with a doctor.

A 2013 study showed that consuming brassica-family foods results in lower rates of breast cancer.21 Brassicas increase the activity of the crucial Phase I and Phase II liver enzymes, which I discuss in a later chapter see table 5.3.

Eat lots of vegetables from the following list. While it’s best to eat organically grown produce, the fruits and vegetables in the Clean 15 list aren’t heavily sprayed. So, if you want to budget when to buy organically and when you can eat conventionally grown foods, base your choices on the Clean 15.

Clean 15

1. Avocado

2. Sweet corn*

3. Pineapples

4. Cabbage

5. Sweet peas

6. Onions

7. Asparagus

8. Mangoes

9. Papayas

10. Kiwi fruit

11. Eggplant*

12. Grapefruit**

13. Cantaloupe (domestic)

14. Cauliflower

15. Sweet potatoes

About cooking on this plan: it’s fine to cook your food, but be careful about frying or browning it. This way of cooking generates toxins you don’t want right now. I recommend baking, braising, or steaming instead.

Eat Real, Unprocessed Food

Eat as many organically grown fruits and vegetables as you want, except tomato-family foods and grapefruit. Eat wild-caught small fish. Eat well-chewed nuts and seeds.

Use Turmeric but Not Pepper

Freely add spices like turmeric, but not black pepper or cayenne pepper. Turmeric is excellent for promoting liver detoxification and decreasing inflammation. Black pepper, however, increases gut permeability, which we do not want. And cayenne pepper, although it is a very healthy food, acts like members of the nightshade family of foods in slowing down some key liver-detoxification enzymes.

Use Oils Carefully

Technically, oils are a refined food. Flax oil and fish oil are fine in moderation, but be sure they are toxin- free: fish oils can have a lot of POPs, which you are so diligently trying to get rid of. It’s fine to cook with oils as long as the temperature is not too high. Once oils start to smoke, they are damaged and potentially toxic. If you’re making a sauté, use water, and add the oil after the food is cooked.

The Maybes

The big “maybe” is coffee. Obviously, you should not be taking any sugar or milk in your coffee during these two weeks, but should you be drinking coffee at all? Coffee is unique in that it does upregulate some key detoxification enzymes and may actually increase glutathione levels. However, whether coffee works for you personally depends on whether you are able to detox the caffeine easily. This depends on your individual genetics. I have advised my patients in the past not to drink coffee during this important detoxification process. However, based on the recent research, I am reconsidering my position. I simply don’t have enough new experiences with patients to make a clear recommendation.

After all the foods that this diet eliminates, you may be wondering whether there’s anything left to eat. Trust me, there is! The daily portions of vegetables, especially brassicas, and the fiber supplements will leave you feeling full. And all that fiber will carry the toxins from your system.

Meal Plans for the Two-Week Diet

The meal plans for the Two-Week Diet are based on the Do’s and Don’ts you’ve just read. Following this carefully thought-out meal plan will provide you with fourteen days of delicious and nourishing meals. This is the food that will support your detoxification. Feel free to modify and adapt these suggestions while staying within the basic guidelines.

Table 3.2. Meal Plans for the Two-Week Diet

DAY 1

Breakfast

Zucchini omelet with sliced oranges

Midmorning

snack

Dairy-free coconut yogurt with chopped almonds and berries

Lunch

Poached wild-caught cod with fennel and cauliflower

Midafternoon

snack

Oven-baked organic kale chips with avocado dip

Dinner

Garlic broccoli with lamb chop and dairy-free Caesar salad

DAY 2

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with chopped Brussels sprouts

Midmorning

snack

Organic strawberry smoothie with hemp milk

Lunch

Watercress and sunflower seed salad with sardines, organic kale chips

Midafternoon

snack

Chia seed pudding

Dinner

Grilled vegetables with cauliflower “rice” and carrot-cabbage salad.

DAY 3

Breakfast

Pumpkin pecan soup

Midmorning

snack

Organic apple with almond butter

Lunch

Curried egg salad with pea shoot salad and dilled broccoli and cauliflower

Midafternoon

snack

Vegetable crudités with hummus

Dinner

Black bean and red quinoa soup, lamb burgers

DAY 4

Breakfast

Energizing oatmeal with organic apples

Midmorning

snack

Coconut kefir with berries

Lunch

Lentil burger with lemony slaw

Midafternoon

snack

Carrots with chickpea dip

Dinner

Organic baked chicken, sweet potato, steamed broccoli, and green beans

DAY 5

Breakfast

Deviled eggs with sesame green salad

Midmorning

snack

Dairy-free yogurt with fruit and nuts

Lunch

Organic chicken salad with watercress and chopped steamed broccoli

Midafternoon

snack

Lentil chips

Dinner

Braised wild-caught salmon, curried cauliflower and green bean sauté with dilled cucumber salad

DAY 6

Breakfast

Dairy-free huevos rancheros with gluten-free tortilla

Midmorning

snack

Baked peaches with nut crumble

Lunch

Hearty cabbage soup with gluten-free bread and almond butter

Midafternoon

snack

Organic celery with sunflower-pecan spread

Dinner

Brassica stir-fry with wild salmon cakes

DAY 7

Breakfast

Quinoa cereal with fresh fruit and dairy-free milk

Midmorning

snack

Mocha hemp smoothie

Lunch

Lentil burgers with sesame green beans and napa cabbage salad

Midafternoon

snack

Cilantro black bean soup

Dinner

Gluten-free quinoa spaghetti and grass-fed bison meatballs with tomato zucchini oreganata and tossed salad

DAY 8

Breakfast

Hot amaranth cereal with pears and cashews, hemp milk

Midmorning

snack

High-energy shake

Lunch

Black beans with mushroom gravy in baked sweet potato skins

Midafternoon

snack

Cold cherry soup with coconut yogurt

Dinner

Roast turkey breast with braised Brussels sprouts, kasha, and cranberry-orange sauce

DAY 9

Breakfast

Gluten-free coconut French toast topped with berries

Midmorning

snack

Crudités with garlic nut dip

Lunch

Cold red-beet borscht and collard turkey roll-ups with sauerkraut

Midafternoon

snack

Baked apple

Dinner

Baked cod with garlic string beans and sweet potato fries

DAY 10

Breakfast

Cinnamon organic apple-nut porridge

Midmorning

snack

Scoop of parsley/egg salad with chopped cucumber and celery

Lunch

Quinoa-stuffed acorn squash with turkey loaf

Midafternoon

snack

Gluten-free bread with cashew nut butter

Dinner

Rosemary lamb chops with sautéed garlic broccoli and corn on the cob

DAY 11

Breakfast

Organic spinach mushroom frittata with gluten-free bread

Midmorning

snack

Green drink with spicy cashews

Lunch

Vegetable and bean chili with organic kale chips

Midafternoon

snack

Gluten-free pear cobbler

Dinner

Stuffed sweet potatoes, green beans, and red cabbage slaw

Day 12

Breakfast

High-fiber cereal with berries

Midmorning

snack

Walnuts with sliced organic apples

Lunch

Super-energy curried lentil soup with organic kale

Midafternoon

snack

Homemade sweet potato chips

Dinner

White bean and cauliflower soup, baked wild-caught halibut with herbs and lentil salad

DAY 13

Breakfast

Gluten-free waffles with berries

Midmorning

snack

Protein smoothie with pectin

Lunch

Broccoli soup and Asian chopped organic chicken cabbage roll-ups

Midafternoon

snack

Wheat-free pita triangles with hummus

Dinner

Black bean sesame loaf, grilled mushrooms, and sweet potatoes

DAY 14

Breakfast

Eggs over easy with sautéed Swiss chard

Midmorning

snack

Rainbow fruit salad

Lunch

Adzuki bean burger with stir-fried shiitake mushrooms and sauerkraut

Midafternoon

snack

Organic popcorn with olive oil and nutritional yeast

Dinner

Curried lamb stew with lentils, cabbage, carrots, garlic, and parsley

What to Expect

During the first week you may be surprised by how you feel. You may feel light-headed, confused, tired, craving certain foods, and cranky, with an upset gut and especially bad breath. A lot is happening. You are:

 Withdrawing from foods and substances like sugar, salt, meat, gluten, and dairy, to which you are habituated or addicted.

 Changing the balance of bacteria in your gut, which means some bad bacteria are dying and releasing their toxins.

 Releasing toxins from your cells.

Reestablishing healthier physiology.

Natural medicine doctors have known for centuries that as the body becomes healthier and recovers from chronic disease, acute symptoms increase—but this lasts for only a few days. In general, natural healers do not interpret most symptoms as signs of disease but as evidence of the body’s efforts to heal. Symptoms can even become intense enough to be called a “healing crisis.” As you follow this nutritional plan over these two weeks, the goal is not intense detox. Nevertheless, depending on your own degree of toxicity, if you have symptoms that don’t resolve in a few days, back off the diet a bit, or see a natural medicine doctor to help you with the process.

The first week, you will likely start craving foods that you eat most often and consider your favorites.

The second week is more difficult to predict. Usually, you will start feeling quite a bit better since the initial intense toxin release and food withdrawal symptoms will have abated. People on this program often notice that their body is simply starting to work better again, and many people feel decades younger.

Is This Dangerous?

While this detox program is strenuous, it’s safe—except in certain situations. What you undertake on this plan is far less strenuous than what our bodies can tolerate. Having helped a lot of patients detoxify, I have designed this program to minimize discomfort. Nonetheless, if you are seriously ill or feel that this is not working, by all means stop the protocol and see your doctor if needed. It’s fine to be uncomfortable . . . it’s not fine to injure yourself.

Note also that certain people should follow this protocol only under the supervision of a knowledgeable doctor. These include:

 Children

 People with type 1 diabetes

 Type 2 diabetics on insulin

 People whose blood sugar varies widely

 Patients with cancer

 People who are emaciated

Unfortunately, very few MDs are knowledgeable in this area. If you need support, I suggest you find a naturopathic doctor, broad-scope chiropractor, or MD certified in integrative or functional medicine.

Can I Just Keep Doing This Protocol?

Sorry, I realize you may now be quite excited by how much better you are feeling, but a detoxification diet is not the same as a healthy maintenance diet. The diet I have just presented is simply too low in protein to be optimal long-term. Nonetheless, there is no harm in continuing on it during the next two weeks as you do my Gut Cleanup Program in chapter 4. During chapter 5, “Restore Your Liver,” and chapter 6, “Revive

Your Kidneys,” I will offer modified versions of this plan customized with special nutritional supports for those two detox organs.

To review: In these first two weeks, I am guiding you to rigorously stop putting toxins in your body. This is preparation for the next phase, in which you prepare your organs of elimination to get rid of toxins. Even though these first two weeks have only a limited goal—to simply decrease your intake of toxins— your body welcomes this so much that it begins its housecleaning. The first week may be tough, but by the second week the clear improvement in your health will make it all worthwhile. I know I am asking a lot of you, but fully engaging in my recommendations has a big payoff. You will feel healthier than you have in years—and we have only just begun your path to restoration.