Posted on August 5, 2010 - No Comments
Chamomile Tea is defined as “bitter and pungent” in oriental medicine, and is highly recommended for weight loss because it aids digestion and calms the nerves.
Dandelion root (Coffee substitute) doesn’t elevate insulin levels or stress the adrenal glands like coffee does. It also aids in liver detoxification and stimulates the production of bile, which promotes better digestion (especially of fats). Dandelion (both leaf and root) has a mild diuretic effect, which, unlike over-the-counter diuretics, does not deplete the body of potassium. In fact, it is actually high in potassium.
Green tea burns more calories than caffeine and slows the digestion of carbohydrates, preventing an insulin surge. It is thermogenic (burns fat) but only if steeped under heat for 30 minutes (which makes it quite bitter). In order to receive the full benefits of green tea, you must drink at least 3 cups per day. A green tea tincture is a good way to get the full thermogenic effect, fast, easy and frequently.
Water makes up 70 per cent of our bodies, so we need to constantly replenish this vital fluid. Even low-grade dehydration can cause fatigue and water retention. So we need to drink about 6 cups per day (more if you are doing intense exercise). It helps to cleanse and detoxify our bodies, promotes good digestion and improves skin tone.
Yerba Mate is a popular coffee substitute from Paraguay. It is thermogenic (burns fat), but is gentler on the body than coffee. It also provides energy without that jittery feeling.
Protein is one of the most important of all nutritional requirements. We should eat lean proteins at each meal to stabilize blood sugar levels (by balancing out the carbs). Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, tofu, and tempeh top the list.
Cottage Cheese is high in tryptophan, which produces serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter. A low level of serotonin can cause us to crave simple carbohydrates. It’s a suitable food if you can digest lactose.
Deep-Water Fish are the richest source of Omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are believed to protect against cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and are very helpful in treating inflammatory conditions. Deep-water fish are thought to be less susceptible to environmental toxins than other fish. They include: anchovies, halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout. Also high in iodine, which stimulates the thyroid.
Goat Milk & Cheeses are healthy dairy sources that are closer to human milk in nature. They also help to normalize body weight.
Shellfish, such as Oysters, are high in zinc, a building block for the thyroid hormone thyroxin.
Soybean Foods are used in Chinese medicine to aid in weight reduction. These foods include miso, tofu, tempeh and soymilk. People eating soy on a regular basis need to also eat seaweeds (such as sushi or kelp tablets) to balance out the dampening effect of soy foods on the thyroid. Tempeh is the highest vegetarian form of protein, rich in amino acids and fiber, with no saturated fats.
Yogurt is an example of how fermentation changes the properties of milk, reducing the lactose levels, and making the minerals more easily assimilated by the body. Make sure your yogurt has live bacteria added to it (many commercial yogurts are technically ‘dead’). Live bacteria (also known as acidophilus) improves the digestion and cleans the digestive tract.
Eating essential fatty acids encourages the body to burn stored fat, since a low-fat diet causes the body to hoard fat. They also stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing the digestion of carbohydrates, and help to balance hormones. “Good” fats include extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, butter, and mixed oils such as “Udo’s Oil” and “Essential Balance”. Salmon oil and evening primrose oil are available in capsules. Good fats reduce cravings for bad fats.
Apples are low in sugars, high in pectin (a soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol) and help to detoxify the body. They also harmonize the digestive system and encourage regularity (1 medium apple contains 3.5 grams of fiber).
Cantaloupes are low in calories yet satisfy a sweet craving. They are rich in nutrients, especially Beta Carotene, which supports thyroid function.
Grapefruits are high in vitamin C and fiber, and help to alkalize and detoxify the body. They cleanse and regenerate the liver and offer some diuretic action. Also help the digestive system to break down fats, detoxify the intestines and help treat constipation.
Kiwis contain more than 100 per cent of the US RDA for vitamin C in one Kiwi.
Lemons alkalize and detoxify the body, and are high in vitamin C (which supports adrenal glands and DHEA production). They clean the body of mucus and fat deposits, purify the blood, clean the digestive system and enhance circulation. Add to salad dressings and teas.
Papayas are high in papain (an enzyme which digests proteins and fats).
Pineapples are high in bromelain (an enzyme which digests proteins and fats). The basis of a fat-burning mono-diet.
Strawberries are a good source of anti-oxidant pigments. They’re also low in calories, high in water and fiber (3 grams per cup) and they satisfy sweet cravings.
Watermelon is the most potent diuretic of all fruits It is also a thyroid stimulant.
Adzuki and Mung Beans are used in oriental medicine to aid in weight loss.
Barley contains soluble fiber and is a complex carbohydrate.
Beans contain a good amount of soluble fiber and are a good source of protein.
Brown Rice & Brown Basmati Rice are both complex carbohydrates high in B vitamins and soluble fiber.
Lentils are a good source of soluble fiber, protein, B vitamins and minerals.
Oats & Oat Bran are high in soluble fiber, rich in vitamin B1, and thiamin which is important to brain function.
Peas are high in soluble fiber.
Roasted Almonds are rich in good fats (monosaturates & omega 3s), protein, zinc, vitamin E, calcium and soluble fiber. They also have anti-cancer properties.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds contain good fat and are high in zinc, which supports thyroid function. Seeds and nuts should be roasted or soaked in water for 24 hours, in order to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors they contain.
Whole Grains (Wild Rice, Millet, Amaranth, Quinoa, Buckwheat, etc.) are complex carbohydrates, which also have a low glycemic index rating, and will provide sustained energy. When they are refined or turned into flours, they are easily stored as fat in the body. They are all rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals.
Bay Leaf aids digestion, helps break up and eliminate fats, and has a mild diuretic action. One leaf in a cup of boiled water makes a pleasant tea.
Cayenne and Chili Peppers (including jalapeno and habanero) contain capsaicin which is considered by some scientists to be thermogenic (induces fat burning). Capsaicin also decreases the appetite. They are high in vitamin C, and vitamin A, which supports the thyroid.
Cinnamon stimulates the metabolism and regulates insulin production.
Cumin, Cloves, Spearmint, and Anise are considered ‘pungent’ foods, in oriental medicine, which encourage circulation and speed up the metabolism.
Fennel Seeds have a pleasant licorice flavor when used as a tea. They aid digestion and have a mild diuretic action. Fennel also prevents the production of mucus and has an expectorant action. These properties make it useful in helping the digestive system to eliminate fats.
Fenugreek can be used as spice or herb tea. It stabilizes insulin levels, and has expectorant action, helping to remove mucus from the body.
Ginger is a great digestive aid and enhances circulation. It increases the sympathetic nervous system activity by increasing adrenal output of epinephrine, which makes it gently stimulating and thermogenic.
Miso & Tamari are fermented foods (made from soybeans), rich in enzymes. Miso is high in lactic acid, which normalizes intestinal flora (acidophilus).
According to Chinese medicine, vegetables should seldom be eaten raw (and definitely not cold). They believe that life is warm, and so should our food be. The body, particularly the spleen and stomach, requires warm foods for easier digestion. Eating only warm vegetables ensure precious bodily energy is not used up in trying to heat the cold foods up to the body’s natural temperature so the digestion process can begin. Also, lightly cooking our vegetables loosens the tough fibers, and allows us to better absorb more of the nutrients.
Alfalfa Sprouts are rich in enzymes and chlorophyll, a natural detoxifier. According to Chinese medicine, they have a bitter and drying action, a benefit to reducing body fat.
Artichoke (Jerusalem or Globe) dramatically stabilizes blood sugar levels, and has some diuretic properties. It also moistens the intestines, detoxifies the liver, cleans cholesterol out of the bloodstream, and improves constipation problems.
Asparagus is high in protease (protein digesting enzyme), aids in balancing blood sugar levels and is a natural diuretic.
Avocados offer good quality fats and soothe and strengthen the nervous system. They are high in Vitamin A and E (which enhances thyroid efficiency), and are a good source of the B vitamins, especially B6 which helps elevate mood.
Beets support kidney function and are a natural blood and liver cleanser.
Beet Greens alkalize and detoxify the body, and aid digestion. They are high in vitamins A and C, and linoleic acid (good fat).
Burdock is a root vegetable found in oriental cooking. It regulates blood sugar levels and purifies the blood and liver. Mildly bitter it is good for conditions of “excess” in Chinese medicine.
Carrots are high in fiber and low in calories. When cooked or juiced, they offer a lot of beta-carotene, which supports thyroid function.
Celery is a mild diuretic and a healthy snack substitute. Very good for hypertension.
Chickweed can be eaten as a steamed green or consumed as a tea. It has a long tradition in western herbology as a fat burner and diuretic.
Dandelion Greens clean toxins out, support the liver, stimulate bile production (which aids in fat digestion), stabilize blood sugar and are a diuretic.
Dark Leafy Greens have a low glycemic rating, and help to detoxify and alkalize the body. In particular, romaine lettuce, kale and Swiss chard are high in selenium, which supports proper thyroid function.
Garlic is a thyroid stimulant, cleans fat out of the arteries, increases circulation, and kills candida (yeast overgrowth). It’s also well known for its ability to fight infections and ward off colds.
Kimchi is a Korean food made from fermented cabbage, garlic and chili peppers. It’s high in enzymes and lactic acid, which aid in digestion and encourages friendly bacteria in the intestines.
Mung Bean Sprouts are rich in enzymes, when not overcooked (they should be crisp).
Nettles can be eaten as steamed greens or used in tea. They are rich in minerals and vitamins, and they detoxify the blood, and strengthen the intestines.
Onions help to break down fat in food. They’re low in calories, help to clean the blood, reduce fat in the blood, and are a mild diuretic.
Radishes are a thyroid stimulant.
Sauerkraut is rich in live enzymes and lactic acid (normalizes intestinal flora).
Scallions (green onions) have a bitter nature, which is considered helpful for weight loss in Chinese medicine.
Seaweeds include nori (used in sushi,) kelp, dulse, wakame and hijiki. They are high in iodine, which stimulates thyroid hormone production. They are also a natural and healthy substitute for table salt, great for use in salads, stews and soups.
Shiitake Mushrooms are used as a treatment for obesity in Chinese medicine. They improve digestion, and studies show shiitake can lower the levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood.
Vegetable Soup is both low in calories and fills you up so you feel full. Eating a broth before a meal curbs the tendency to overeat. Avoid cream and cheese soups, which have a higher fat and calorie count.
Watercress is a thyroid stimulant.
Wheat Grass Juice is known as the King of greens. It is high in chlorophyll (like all bright green vegetables), which detoxifies the liver and alkalizes the body.
Yams & Sweet Potatoes are considered complex carbohydrates, which do not cause an insulin spike the way white potatoes do. They are high in beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A, helping the thyroid to produce thyroxin and absorb iodine.
If you need a sweetening agent stevia is the first choice, since it has zero impact on blood sugar levels. Next best are sucanat (evaporated cane juice) and brown rice syrup. Both of these natural alternatives provide nutrients, rather than steal them from the body (the way white sugar does).
Unpasturized Honey (use sparingly) is high in enzymes. It is used in oriental medicines as part of weight loss programs.
Bad Fats include (excessive) saturated fats and (any) hydrogenated oils (margarine, chips, fries, deep-fried foods). These culprits promote cancer and heart disease, rob the body of good fat, and create fat cravings.
Dried Fruits (in excess) have a very high sugar content, and cause tooth decay.
Fruit Juices, unless freshly made, have no enzymes and spike insulin levels. A glass of Orange juice contains the same amount of simple sugars as a can of soda.
Hard Cheeses are mucus forming, and are high in sodium & fat.
Iodized Salt impedes proper thyroid function, and encourages water retention.
Milk is biological program to build the body of a cow. Even 2% milk acquires 32 per cent of its calories from fat. Fermented milk products are better (yogurt, cream cheese, kefir etc.).
Raw Cruciferous Vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower & brussels sprouts, contain compounds that can inhibit the function of the thyroid gland. Use sparingly, or not at all if you have a weak thyroid. Cooking neutralizes most of this effect.
Raw Pine Nuts also inhibit thyroid function.
Refined or Simple Carbohydrates should be avoided. These foods rapidly elevate insulin levels and are stored as fat. The exception is after vigorous exercise. For an hour after exercise, carbohydrates will be used to replenish glycogen stores in the liver and muscles. So if you’re going to eat them, do so after a workout. Then you can have your cake and eat it, too. Examples include puffed and flaked cereals, rice cakes, corn, corn chips, simple sugars, white potatoes, white rice, white flour products, pastries, and pastas.