on The Holidays

What does a pharmacy student do during her weeks off?

  • Read books that don’t require memorization
  • Bargain shop for organization tools
  • Take naps
  • Out-nerd herself by creating a Power-Point presentation for the family about the evils of sugar and grains

Yeah. I made a presentation about nutrition for my family – for fun. Oh dear. I have truly out-geeked my self.

The good news? They loved it! I have my family doing a 28-day detox program. No grains, no sugar, no processed carbs.

Lots of veggies, protein, and fat. It’s a bit shocking to people when they hear that oatmeal isn’t the holy grail of health foods. I also clued my family into the cholesterol-myth. I’ll give you the short version.

 

In our society, cholesterol is like the antichrist – satan incarnate in a molecule. Having high cholesterol numbers is considered a death sentence. We equate cholesterol with blood clots and heart attacks, which is partially true, but there is much more to the story.

Picture an artery or a vein – a hollow tube that carries blood. When the inside of that tube gets damaged in some way by inflammation or a lesion, the body calls in a band aid to patch it up. That band-aid is also known as cholesterol. Once the cholesterol band-aid is in place, the lesion is covered and it can heal…IF the inflammation doesn’t continue. If the inflammation DOES continue, other cells are called to the site, accumulate around the band-aid, and become larger over time. Eventually, the band-aid can break off an form a clot in the vessel.

Blaming heart attacks on high cholesterol is like blaming a paper cut on all the band-aids lying around the house.

So where does the damage come from? What is the root cause?

Sugar. Plain and simple. It’s one of the most inflammatory, damaging, oxidizing substances we ingest. Every carb you eat is eventually broken down into sugar: bread, rice, oatmeal, wheat, corn, barley, pasta, fruit, popcorn, etc. etc.

How do you minimize the damage? Stay away from sugar, plain and simple. If you’re addicted, the first three days will be tough. Once you get past those, its easy sailing. The sweet cravings disappear. Your body starts feeling level, normal, and happy.

Things to avoid/eat sparingly that are usually praised: Oatmeal, juice, agave nectar, very sugary fruits, grains of every sort, popcorn, rice, and any kind of grain flour.

Does it sound hard? It is if you’re grain-dependent. But think about all the lovely things you CAN eat!

Green veggies: broccoli, asparagus, celery, kale, lettuce, spinach,  cabbage, anything green!

Other veggies: tomatoes, squash, radishes, daikon, carrots, onions, peppers, mushrooms, everything!

Protein: Cows, Chickens, Sheep, Pigs, Fish, Other Miscellaneous Sea Creatures, Birds, Eggs, Dairy!

Fat. Its good for you. Eat it. Bacon, Nuts, Olive Oil, Coconut oil, Butter, heavy cream, go for it!

Seasonings and herbs. Salt, pepper. All these foods have their own flavors, their distinct profiles. The taste of a well prepared kale sautee alongside a chunk of salmon and a pile of buttery carrots will easily beat that slice of chocolate cake.

Once you experience 5, 6, 7 days without sugar, you’ll be repulsed at the thought of sabotaging your body with it. Your immune system, pancreas, skin, heart, kidneys, and liver will all thank you. Your mind will clear and you’ll be able to distinguish thirst from hunger. Hunger in between meals will dissipate, replaced by steady energy and strong muscles.

In short, it’s a good thing. Try it for a week. You won’t be sorry!

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