How to Detoxify Effectively with Fermented Foods

1947367_611236688965414_449770441_nArticle from Clean Eating Magazine Australia May/June 2014

Dr Elen ApThomas is passionate about treating the underlying causes of illness rather than just the symptoms. Dr ApThomas is a GP with over two decades of experience combining conventional medicine with a sensible, science-based approach to nutrition. Holding degrees in medicine and surgery, and a diploma in obstetrics and gynaecology, Dr ApThomas is the founding doctor of The Medical Sanctuary.

The Medical Sanctuary represents a more holistic approach to healthcare and offers a range of disciplines such as hormonal and nutritional medicine, acupuncture and naturopathy. It is this holistic, innovative approach to applying reliable science and traditional nutrition wisdom to healthcare that led Dr ApThomas to create The Fermented Food Detox (FFDetox), a simple detox program that can help reduce inflammation, toxicity and assist in weight loss.

One of the main causes of disease is inflammation and this is caused by stress, toxicity, nutritional deficiencies and insulin resistance. The most efficient program that corrects these imbalances is one that combines fermented super foods and short term calorie restriction.

The concept of detoxification is quite simple. We are exposed to toxins daily from the air we breathe, the food we eat and even from when our bodies when we produce energy. What a lot of people don’t know is that one of the biggest sources of toxicity is from bad organisms in our own gut. With stress and poor dietary habits our cleansing organs can’t do their job correctly and the toxins build up. This toxicity causes inflammation and we can experience this as symptoms such as bloating, tiredness, skin conditions and aches and pains.

A good detox program should be based on scientific research and sound nutritional advice. It needs to be able to correct the deep imbalances that are contributing to toxicity and inflammation. It needs to replenish nutrients such as vitamins and minerals as well as increase the good and reduce the bad organisms in the gut. Fermented food is nature’s most powerful source of probiotics (healthy bacteria) and live enzymes that together help correct gut inflammation and toxicity.

Calorie restriction (<25% of daily required calories) has been shown to switch on powerful survival genes that harness our body’s own healing capabilities stored in our DNA. This turns on our own production of detoxification enzymes, anti-inflammatory antioxidants and repair mechanisms.

“I have seen detoxes on the market that may assist you to lose weight – mainly because your calorie intake is so low – but in the end they are simply not good for you and often your metabolic rate is even worse when the detox has finished,” said Dr ApThomas.
“My approach was to create a program that addressed cleansing with calorie restriction but also provided nutrients and improved the digestive and immune system by supplying the body with healthy bacteria and live enzymes.”

Most ancient cultures included fermented foods such as sauerkraut and yoghurt in their diet in some form. Foods were fermented with bacteria originally as a way of preserving them. It is only in modern times that we now scientifically understand what great health benefits they offer. The bacteria that perform the fermentation process produce live enzymes that actually pre-digest the food and help our own digestion. When we eat the fermented food we gain the benefit of the healthy good bacteria and this colonises our own gut. This helps reduce the numbers of the toxin-producing bad organisms that compete for space inside us!

The FFDetox program takes advantage of this calorie-restricted state while maximising nutrients and energy at these times by providing you maximal nutrients per calorie in the form of easily absorbed nourishing fermented super foods. The result is a body that cleanses while still being provided with nutrients, healthy bacteria and protein to create enough energy to be able to detox while still having enough energy to continue to ‘live life’ at the same time.

“Detoxifying can be daunting to a lot of people, especially if they have never gone through a detoxification program, so I wanted to make the program flexible,” said Dr ApThomas. The most intensive program runs for ten days consecutively or you can take a more gentle approach and only “cleanse” one or two days a week and include 1-2 light cleansing meals on these days if desired. You can then eat “normally” in between these days. The included handbook also provides an understanding of how best to use the program and then maintain this newly found cleaner state over the longer term and enjoy improved health for life.

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