Category: Health

Everything You Thought You Knew About Raw Honey Is Wrong–Plus Buying Tips!

raw honey in jarsSo if you try even a little to eat clean, or healthy, or organic, or paleo, you’ve likely heard someone wax poetic about the benefits of raw honey:

It possesses super healing powers…

It helps to treat allergies…

It’s basically the Chuck Norris of natural sweeteners…

Don’t get me wrong, honey is my favorite sweet ingredient for some of those reasons, indeed. But the truth is raw honey is highly misunderstood and a lot of the hype surrounding its recent popularity is anecdotal at best.

So I thought I’d debunk some raw honey myths so you can better understand what you should be spending your money on, what you can expect raw honey to do for you, and how to use it for maximum nutritional impact. Basically, I want to save you from making my rookie mistakes. ‘Cause I’m a giver like that.

Let’s start with a definition.

The National Honey Board defines honey as raw when it’s sold “as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling, or straining without adding heat.”

Now that you know what qualifies as raw, here’s what you’ve probably heard about raw honey nutrition.

Raw honey provides vital health benefits, including:

  • soothing coughs(1)
  • eliminating free radicals due to antioxidant properties, and possibly even acting as a cancer preventative(2)
  • delivering a time-released energy boost(3)
  • moisturizing skin and hair
  • reducing dark circles and signs of skin damage

The good news is that all of the above is true. 

But.

All of the above is true for processed honey as well!

In fact, a 2012 study by the National Honey Board analyzed the levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in both raw and processed honey. The study concluded that neither the antioxidant activity nor the nutrient levels of honey were affected by processing. So…

The nutritional values for processed and raw honey are the same.

Honey being drizzled onto a spoonThis was big news for me. I spent a lot of time worrying that the way I prepped a recipe that included raw honey as an ingredient was rendering the health benefits moot. This affected everything I did in the kitchen, from baking to sweetening my morning coffee. I was convinced that heating raw honey above 95 degrees was ruining each pricey golden spoonful, so I eventually bought processed honey for all those myriad “heated” projects and saved the raw honey for what was left, namely drizzling over my morning yogurt.

Then I wrote a product description about honey for a client and did a bunch of research. Which led to a facepalm.

Don’t be like me.

Be smarter. Go boldly forth into the health food store, secure in the knowledge that:

Heating raw honey doesn’t affect its vitamin and mineral content.

Now if we were to go beyond applying honey topically for beautification, and wanted to make use of its antimicrobial qualities, raw honey actually is superior to processed when it comes to:

  • helping wounds heal faster(4)
  • healing herpes(5)
  • diminishing acne(6)

This is because the pasteurization process kills the beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Instead, try manuka honey–made in Oz and New Zealand from tea tree pollen. It has the highest levels of antibacterial activity and is often referred to as medical grade honey.

Manuka honey is so powerful at inhibiting the growth of microbes, it even works on drug-resistant bacteria, providing a natural wound remedy that doesn’t contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Stop the presses. Drug-resistant bacteria? In this regard, honey is more potent than man-made medicine!

High five, honey.

WAIT! I hear someone shouting from the back of the room.

What about raw honey for allergy relief?

Ah yes, that is what everyone is talking about it, isn’t it?

The theory that local raw honey can prevent seasonal allergies initially came into existence because raw honey has small amounts of pollen present in it. This pollen is missing from conventional honey because of the filtration process.

Some people believe that regularly consuming small amounts of local pollen might act like a series of allergy shots. Over time, the body will build up an immunity to that offending allergen in your surroundings.

Unfortunately though…

There is very little proof to substantiate that raw honey can prevent or diminish the effects of seasonal allergies.

Bee harvesting pollen on a sunflowerOne issue with this hypothesis is that the amount of pollen present in honey is negligible–we’re talking less than 0.5%. Not only that, but some experts claim that the pollens that are the greatest cause of allergies are small, windblown types that are not typically found in honey at all.

Very few studies have been conducted on the subject, contributing to the confusion. This study found that participants showed no change in allergy symptoms regardless of whether they consumed local, unpasteurized, and unfiltered honey or commercial, filtered, and pasteurized honey. The researchers, therefore, concluded that regardless of its processing, honey is ineffective for treating allergies.

Of course, the participants were only instructed to eat one tablespoon a day.

This study, on the other hand, did see its participants’ allergy symptoms improve…the only difference was that a 150-pound person had to consume just over three tablespoons of honey per day! And if you weighed more, you took more.

Yowza.

It’s also important to note there is no mention of “raw” honey in this experiment. Quite possibly, the researchers used the good ol’ store-bought honey bear, and the results can just be attributed to that Chuck Norris quality that all honey has.

Since we’ll likely never know, I settled on “jury’s still out” or “most likely hype” for this one. Feel free to check out the studies and decide for yourself.

But don’tcha feel just a little bit smarter than everybody else now?

You’re welcome.

Raw Honey Buying Tips

Ideally, you would buy raw honey from a local beekeeper. Other considerations include:

  • Filtered–filtering, or straining, doesn’t require the application of heat so isn’t technically considered processing. Unfiltered honey has bits of wax and bee parts, so if you don’t enjoy spreading those things on your toast and you have an option, choose filtered.
  • Unfiltered–because the straining process removes the “bits,” it’s thought to remove the pollen and the propolis too. You already know the pollen probably doesn’t matter, and even though propolis is a fascinating thing that sounds crazy good for us, if the National Honey Board says the antioxidant activity of honey is the same whether raw or processed, then it doesn’t matter that much either.
  • Pure–100% unadulterated honey with no added ingredients, like water, sucrose, flavorings, or colorings.
  • Organic–to be considered organic, honey producers must consult with every land user within a five km radius to ensure the crops are free of chemical residue. They must also regularly test the samples and keep the hives free of sugar and antibiotics. But finding 100% organic is nearly impossible. I mean, they’re bees. They do what they want.
  • Manuka–the FDA approved the use of medical honey in 2007. The healing action is attributed to what’s known as the “Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).” Official manuka honey displays the UMF on the label. Look for a rating higher than 5; 10 is acceptable for clinical use. This is definitely the honey to use topically, but it decreases inflammation and assists in creating a healthy gut biome when taken orally as well.

But wait there’s more!

There’s some cool research out there on the interweb regarding honey helping with weight loss.(7) The science looks sound, and I feel compelled to deep dive into whether a spoonful of honey before bed will, in fact, make me superhuman. Okay, maybe not superhuman, but well rested, lean, and detoxed, which is close enough.

I’ll be sure to post my results for you here so we can assign “honey helps with weight loss” to its proper category of fact or fiction.

Until then, I wrote this post about how honey can help prevent hangovers in case you want to whip up a Bee Sting and do something delicious for yourself. You know, for science.

*I love to cook delicious things. Though for many years I cooked healthy food for people with dietary restrictions, I am not a nutritionist. Back then, I researched the hell out of things, absorbed all I could from speaking with my clients about their allergies, and at the end of the day, just followed the instructions I was given by their respective doctors.
Therefore nothing on this blog is meant to constitute medical advice. Health-related posts are, at best, anecdotes about what works for me or are meant for sharing interesting info I come across in my research. Take it all with a grain of salt and always consult your doctor or nutritionist before making a major change to your diet or health regimen.

Switch to All-Natural Cleaners, Recipes Included!

A mop, a broom, and a dustpanFor years I’ve had a thing. I’ve loved walking into a recently cleaned room that smelled of bleach. Oh sure, my nostrils would burn, but in direct proportion to the degree to which my face was on fire, I’d feel this satisfying sense that everything around me was sterile. I could eat off this floor! As much as this catchphrase makes me laugh, I’ll admit there’s something comforting about being in a perfectly sanitized environment.

All of that changed the day I walked into a space that smelled like lavender and tea tree oil. It was subtle and oh-so-pleasant, a stark contrast to the nose hair-singeing experiences of my past. So imagine my surprise to discover that this room was just as sterile as the bleach-soaked example above.

So for the latest installment of tiny-changes-you-can-make-that-will-impact-your-life-in-a-big-way, I want to ask you, dear reader: If you could get the same efficacy from non-toxic, all-natural cleaners, would you make the switch?

The Big Why

I hear people joke that everything causes cancer. Pesticides, air pollutants, skincare chemicals, plastics, food additives, and industrial compounds are just a few that come to mind. That sentiment is usually piggybacked by some variation of the following: Womp womp, it’s all just a lost cause.

I beg to differ, however. If we are exposed to cancer- and other disease-causing toxins day in and day out, shouldn’t we try to eliminate as many as we can control? Let us not throw our hands up in the air and proclaim keeping ourselves healthy an impossible task. Let us instead come from the perspective that every little bit helps.

Blue bottle labeled poisonAre They Really That Dangerous?

Environmental experts say the average household contains 62 toxic chemicals. Typical cleaning products have been linked to acute hazards such as chemical burns and respiratory irritation, as well as chronic effects like asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, neurotoxicity and hormone disruption.

Let’s look at just one of these long-term effects more closely. Hormone disruptors either block messages the body is sending or mimic the hormones themselves. So we’re talking a high possibility of male birth defects and greater incidence of breast cancer as a potential cost of refusing to throw out your Clorox. Yikes.

Of course, manufacturers argue that modest amounts of exposure to their products isn’t likely to be a problem, but what about the notion that frequent use of these chemicals adds to the body’s toxic burden–aka the number of chemicals stored in its tissues at a given time? It follows logic that consistent exposure has a cumulative effect.

And if that’s not scary enough, these same chemicals change the way our immune cells function, which regulates our reactions (or over-reactions) to the foods we eat. This indicates that exposure to toxins could be a major cause of the unprecedented increase in celiac disease and food intolerance.

But Is All-Natural Really Effective?

Hands cradling a bunch of fresh lavenderThe US National Library of Medicine published a study showing that certain plant essential oils, including those from lavender, have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that are effective against salmonella, E. coli bacteria and even some strains of staph. The first two are the most common strains of food-borne bacteria, so if my Lavender Antibacterial Spray recipe can combat those, it’s ideal for use in my kitchen. (1)

Author Annie Hauser did a trial run of homemade all natural cleaners versus corporate chemicals and had this to say: “On the whole, homemade cleaning products are worth the effort. Not only do they save money, but also they can provide the same cleaning power as store-bought brands without harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia. Plus, despite what advertisers want you to think, you really can use the same natural products for multiple surfaces around your home.” (2)

I’ve been using all natural cleaners in my home for well over three years now and I’ve been thrilled with the results. But don’t take my word for it…it’s high time you see for yourself.

All Right, How Much is This Gonna Cost Me?

All of the ingredients in the recipes listed below can be acquired at your local grocery store and at online retailers. Buy them once and they will last a ridiculously long time—and as an added bonus, the cost savings will boggle your mind. An initial investment of about $30 will bring the cost of your cleaning supplies to mere cents per bottle over the lifetime of the ingredients.

It Sounds Like a Lot of Work

Trust me, it isn’t. Twenty minutes or so is all it takes to make all your products the first time and then plan on about five minutes to throw together a refill. I use a label on each bottle large enough to include the recipe along with the cleaner’s name, so I don’t waste any time looking up what ingredients I need.

The five recipes that follow are sure to cover 95% of your home cleaning needs. I have yet to try a floor cleaner, wood polisher or laundry detergent that I love, but I will update when I do:

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All-Purpose Cleaner

Since this gets near constant use in my house, I double this recipe and put it in a commercial-sized spray bottle. See below for a list of the products I use.

  • Author: Jennie
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 5 min
  • Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl to account for a LOT of foaming.
  2. Pour into a spray bottle.
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Lavender Antibacterial Spray

This super easy antibacterial spray smells amazing!

  • Author: Jennie
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 5 min
  • Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.
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Bathroom and Tile Cleanser

This creates a paste, so use a squirt bottle or a tub for storing. It also settles as it sits, so it needs to be well shaken before use, and occasionally requires more water to reconstitute the paste.

  • Author: Jennie
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 5 min
  • Yield: 1.5 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl to account for foaming.
  2. Pour into a squirt bottle or tub for storing.
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Window Cleaner

Shake this one well before using. And for super streak-free windows, use newspaper for wiping.

  • Author: Jennie
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 5 min
  • Yield: 2.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 T cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.
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De-greaser

Works like a charm on the stove top. Wipe with a slightly damp towel after using to remove all soap residue.

  • Author: Jennie
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 5 min
  • Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.
*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through my link. This helps to keep this blog free. All of the products I mention are from companies I know and trust

Five Simple Detox Strategies

It seems appropriate, in light of the fact that I have never consumed more cheese (chocolate/bacon/eggnog) than I have in the last two weeks, to do a post on detox strategies. Around the holidays it’s easy to be aware of how polluted you feel, when indulgences wait around every corner, and your waistband gets tighter by the hour.

But even in our normal, mostly “healthy” lives, we are subjected to toxins on a daily basis—from pesticides on our veggies, to allergens in the air, to chemicals in our food-storage containers.

So this month’s health tip is to create detoxifying rituals to combat this constant exposure.

I’m going to start with the obvious one: drink more water. Drinking lots of water not only flushes toxins, it keeps our digestion regular and helps with weight loss. Furthermore, it makes our skin supple and allows our brains to run at maximum efficiency. Read tips on how to adopt this healthy habit into your routine here.

Then, Sweat It Out

You knew this was coming: of course exercise is on this list, because at the end of the day, strengthening your heart and circulatory system and maintaining agility is the key to vitality. But eliminating toxins is yet another bonus of working up a sweat.

A study published in Scientific World Journal (1) compared the amount of phthalates (a toxin found in personal care and household items) eliminated from the body based on the type of elimination—sweat or urine—and found that sweating was the superior method. In fact, the amount of toxin present in the sweat was twice that found in the urine. So flush your system with water, but don’t think that replaces a trip to the gym.

I’ve got great news though: even sitting in a sauna is an effective detox. As your body gets hotter and blood flow increases, toxins that are stored in body fat get released. These toxins might include pesticide residues and drugs—legal or otherwise.

Take Epsom salt baths to detoxifyThen, Soak It Away

I love any health tip that includes adding baths to the repertoire. The key here is to add 2 cups of Epsom salts, which contain magnesium and sulfate. The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells. Your skin is highly porous, and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers reverse osmosis. This process actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it.

As an added bonus, Epsom salt absorbed through the skin replenishes magnesium levels in the body. This helps produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical in the brain that creates feelings of calm and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina. Experts believe that bathing with Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you to look better, feel better and gain more energy.

And get this! There are a gazillion more uses for Epsom salts, so please go read about them here. Then I bet you’ll want to thank me for telling you to take more baths and proving that they’re soo good for you.

You’re welcome.

Try Something Different

“So drink water, work out and take baths, that’s it?” you might be saying. “Those are things I already do!”

I know, isn’t that awesome? Just ramp it up a notch. And then check out these two things you might not be doing.

Take Activated CharcoalActivated charcoal flushes toxins

Activated Charcoal—not to be confused with charcoal used in your grill (giggle)— has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. This in turn helps promote a healthy digestive tract by removing the very toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function, in addition to reducing bloating and gas. Hurray!

To optimize your health, routinely cleanse the digestive tract by taking 10 grams of activated charcoal 90 minutes prior to each meal for two days, according to Dr. Josh Axe, certified doctor of natural medicine, chiropractic and clinical nutritionist. During the cleanse, eat only organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild fish.

Oh and guess what else?

Activated charcoal can prevent hangovers. Dave Asprey, of Bulletproof Coffee Fame, suggests 2000 mg after you’re done drinking, in order to feel, well, bulletproof the morning after.

I like it.

Eat Broccoli Sprouts

There is so much talk about super foods it’s overwhelming to know where to begin. So if you only add one new thing to your diet, it ought to be these babies.

Broccoli sprouts contain a chemical called sulforaphane which greatly enhances detoxification, excreting mercury, carcinogens and air pollutants, just to name a few. Compared to vitamin C, which fights free radicals directly for approximately six hours after exposure, sulforaphane prompts our cells to make antioxidant proteins that can fight for more than 72 hours. Not only are these little powerhouses thought to combat cancer in multiple ways, studies suggest they contain 1000 times more nutrients than mature broccoli, and can even cause a reduction in symptoms of autism.

With a little patience, broccoli sprouts are easy to grow in your kitchen. You can get organic broccoli seeds here. Visit Ali and Tom’s amazing Elimination Diet site for instructions on how to grow them, and start reaping the benefits today of this simple addition to your wellness routine.

For a great list of other foods you should eat after a binge, check out this article.

And Now For Something Delicious

If you’re kicking off 2017 with a cleanse, juicing is probably top of your list. For that reason, I wanted to include one of my all-time favorite juice recipes, that just so happens to have extra detox properties due to the addition of beets. Since beets tend to have an earthy flavor (I’ve been told by more than one picky eater that they taste like dirt), the addition of fennel and apple work against that flavor profile, resulting in a juice that is just slightly sweet, deliciously refreshing, and not remotely dirt flavored. During a cleanse where grass-flavored green juices abound, I consider this combo almost a dessert-like treat.

Beets contain antioxidants and minerals that have been shown to be cleansing and detoxifying. These include betaine, which helps the liver cells eliminate toxins; pectin, which clears the toxins that have been removed so they don’t reincorporate back into the body; and betalains, which have high anti-inflammatory properties that encourage the detox process.

And there’s no need to peel raw beets before juicing. Just give them a scrub, roughly chop, and juice away.

 

Beet-Fennel Detox Juice
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalks and fronds included
  • 1 small beet, scrubbed and cubed
  • 1 sweet apple, like Fuji or Honeycrisp, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 handful parsley, with stems
  1. Place all items into a high powered juice extractor and turn it on.
  2. Pour into a chilled glass, or place in freezer for 20 minutes before enjoying.

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*Of course, I should remind everyone that this blog is for information purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you.

 

 

 

Why You Should Drink More Water

Water Trio

We all know we should drink more water. And yet I still hear this craziness to a shocking degree:

“I hate water.” 

Say what?

First of all, to my mind, that is like saying you hate air. Air is—generally—odorless, just as water is typically flavorless. How can you hate the taste of…nothing?

Unless what you really mean is that you are bored. Bored by the blandness, the simplicity, the utterly unassuming quality of water. Water doesn’t come to the party wearing bubbles, or Red Dye No. 5. It won’t give you a buzz or make your booze taste anything but more, erm, watery. When your taste buds are used to partying with the likes of Mountain Dew and Gatorade, or Diet Coke and Snapple, water is like the wallflower that’s all too easy to ignore.

If this sounds like you, I beg you to indulge me. After all, you know how we sometimes drink nasty-tasting cough syrup because it will banish our cold symptoms and restore health? Or get painful shots to prevent diseases? How about imbibing ener-G concoctions the color of battery acid in order to get a quick pick-me-up during the 3 o’clock slump? None of those acts is as pleasurable as a massage followed by a nap, but we do them anyway, in the name of increased productivity, greater health and well-being, and higher energy.

So why this resistance to water–which is surely less grotesque than some of the above scenarios–when it is just so dang obvious that it’s good for us?

Here are a few tips and tidbits designed to abolish your excuses. And if you already subscribe to the notion that water is the JAM, then hopefully these hacks will help you drink even more of it and be an even bigger badass of wellness.

Invest in a Quart Jar

And then fill it up and place it next to your bed at night. The next morning, don’t begin your day until you’ve consumed the entire thing. It’s surprisingly easy to drink that much water in a sitting (I like to challenge myself to drink a quarter at a time–and mason jars have cute little lines to help you keep track), and you’ll be halfway toward your daily water goal before ever getting out of bed.

Just don’t forget to add in eight extra ounces for everything else you consume throughout the day that acts as a diuretic (in other words, causes dehydration)–things like coffee and alcohol.

Break the Chapstick Habit

The first thing I noticed when I started using the quart jar hack was that I no longer had a need for lip balm throughout the day. I still use it (because I’m an addict) but the point is, I don’t need it. That’s revelatory! So if, like me, you suffer from chronic chapped lips, take it as a sign! Don’t waste another minute! Run–don’t walk–to the water cooler! Your skin will thank you.

Purity is King

Raspberry waterCity water is full of chlorine, which is great for sanitation purposes but bad for the beneficial bacteria in our guts. It often contains pharmaceuticals like antibiotics and antidepressants as well. With options for re-filling your 5-gallon bottles with reverse-osmosis water for as little as $2 each, it’s easier than ever to drink the stuff your body wants.

What to do on the go? Brita makes super cool, BPA-free bottles that filter up to 40 gallons of tap water, like this one here. Replacement filters are affordable too—at $4.98 for two—which makes investing in one sort of a no-brainer.

There’s An App For That

How cool is it that there exist in the universe apps that allow you to track your water consumption,  monitor your hydration in real time, upload pics of your drinking glass, and help you stick to your hydration goals? Try Waterlogged (free) or iDrated ($0.99).

Boost Your Brain

Seriously, this is one of the simplest ways you can improve your health and it can be done for cheap or free. Here’s what science is telling us:

Drinking lots of water keeps our digestive systems healthy and regular, helps to flush out toxins, and facilitates the loss of unwanted pounds. I can dig it.

But here’s the really important part:

Your brain uses 30% of the water in your body in order to function at maximum capacity. This means that dehydration has exponentially degrading effects on your brain’s performance. When you are as little as 5% dehydrated, your brain is 30% less efficient. At 10% dehydration, you are 50% less efficient. Which begs the question, have any of us ever in our lives functioned at full tilt? Wowza!

Even crazier is the fact that dehydration can actually cause your brain to shrink! I’m pretty sure I’m willing to drink a hippopotamus’ bath water to prevent that from happening.

Infuse It

If you feel the need to give water a makeover in order to fall in love, this is the move. And if you are already having an affair with the stuff, this will become your go-to way to refresh yourself throughout the day.

Grab a glass pitcher (or a Voss water bottle for on-the-go), and fill it with your organic fresh herbs and fruit. Frozen fruit works best because cell walls are more broken down and therefore infuse more readily. You can also gently muddle the fruit to get even more of that yummy flavor. Rosemary has antimicrobial properties that help maintain a healthy gut. So you can chew on the sprigs for added health points after you’ve finished your water.

I was feeling summery (what? Los Angeles is FREEZING so I’m channeling the Bahamas) so I created this Peach-Rosemary Water and declared it good enough to bring naysayers to the dark side.

Muahhhhhahhahhahha.

Ok, that’s enough. Go do something delicious!

*Of course, I should remind everyone that this blog is for information purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you.

Five Reasons You Should Consider an Elimination Diet (Plus an Amazeballs Recipe)

E DietOk so I know the title of this post contains the word “diet,” and that’s likely to send at least a few of you running for the hills. I, myself, have a tendency to rebel against things that are limiting, so I feel you, I really do. But if there’s one thing I would encourage every person I care about to do in this lifetime, it’s to try this Elimination Diet, even just once.

I could go on and on about its benefits, and at its most basic, the diet will cost you two weeks of your life. That’s a small commitment to exchange for feeling better than you ever have in your time on this earth, no?

Just in case you need a push, here are five reasons you should consider picking up Tom and Ali’s book The Elimination Diet and giving it a try today.

1) Sometimes–maybe not always–but at least part of your life is spent dealing with any of the following symptoms: bloating, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, migraines, skin problems, joint pain, foggy thinking, anxiety, depression, sinus and lung problems, unexplained weight gain, low energy, insomnia.

Hey guess what? It’s not normal to feel bloated and gassy after you eat. You may have gotten used to it, but there is nothing more liberating than discovering that you can eat a meal and feel nothing but amazing afterwards.

Or maybe your digestive tract feels like a well-oiled machine, but you deal with severely dry skin or eczema. I’m willing to bet you my firstborn that two weeks of following this eating plan will reduce that inflammation.

Think it’s way too farfetched of a notion that your diet can affect how moody or anxious you feel? Okay, that’s fair. But aren’t you willing to try just about anything to get those feelings to go away, if such things are possible? Wouldn’t that include eating whole, organic foods combined into some of the most delicious meal combos to ever alight upon your palate?

Thought so.

2) Food allergies have increased 50% from 1997 to 2011—said the CDC in a 2013 study.

And no, this doesn’t just mean that people whine more now. For one, more people are starting to realize that constantly being miserable after eating is not a normal state of being. More and more doctors are recognizing the legitimacy of food allergies—especially those with backgrounds in Eastern medical theory—and are suggesting an approach to health that embraces the philosophy that “what you put in, is what you get out.” This is totally different from the Band-Aid approach we’ve become accustomed to, where your doc scribbles out a scrip for yet another “magic pill,” in an attempt to cover up your symptoms.

We have learned that 60-75% of the world’s population doesn’t have enough lactase after the age of 4 to digest the lactose in milk, so that probably means you. And if this urges you to go get a “scratch test” and discover your allergies that way, just know that food sensitivities and intolerances (as opposed to full-blown allergies) are less well known, often undetected, and can’t be tested for. They usually create a subtler, simmering sort of distress that leads to chronic symptoms.

When you can’t process a type of food, you lack an enzyme, nutrient, or organism to properly digest or metabolize. Each time you eat this food, more of the undigested particles build up in your body, feeding harmful bacteria and yeast in your digestive tract. Your body views these particles as foreign invaders and attacks them, putting your system on alert and causing inflammation. If you are constantly inflamed, your body is poorly equipped to handle actual foreign invaders—things like seasonal allergies, colds, or even cancer.

3) Maybe you’re like my roommate and you have an iron stomach, are vital as a stallion, and claim you’d gain no benefit whatsoever from doing an Elimination Diet. Okay, fine. Do you crave cheese? Caffeine? Sugar? Would it be hard to give these things up completely because the cravings would be too intense? After two weeks on the E-Diet, you will have completely reset your system, and the bacteria in your gut that leads to cravings for the afore-mentioned foods will be completely wiped out.

Don’t suffer from food cravings? Then you, my friend, are far stronger than I. But do you drink? A little? A lot? If that’s the case, your liver could use a detox. Trust me, your liver sent me a letter begging for it, and it thanks you in advance for your consideration.

4) Calories (and fats) don’t count!

Say what? Every time I pour coconut milk into my coffee, my mom cringes. “It’s so full of fat!” she proclaims. And that’s completely accurate. But! Coconut is one of the most heart-healthy fats out there, and this diet embraces these types of fat in spades. Extra virgin olive oil, coconut butter, coconut milk and oil, avocados and nuts (once reintroduced) will become staples of your diet.

Mom is coming from the perspective of years of diet advice claiming that counting calories or fat grams is the best way to lose or maintain one’s weight. But the E-Diet embraces clean, whole foods that come from the earth, and is therefore low in additives, sweeteners, coloring and preservatives, so it follows that you can literally binge your face off on these things and worry not one iota about your waistline. In fact, this diet is almost assured to cause you to lose weight. I can’t imagine anyone following it strictly and not seeing similar results. Personally, I simply love that I can eat to the point where I am almost uncomfortably full and still wake up the next day looking slender and lean with absolutely zero tummy bloat.

5) You get to eat things like Butternut Squash and Sage “Stuffing,” Chickpea Curry with Potatoes and Kale, and Mustard-Herb Lamb Burgers. This isn’t just a bunch of rabbit food here people. No boring iceberg salads drizzled with lemon juice, yeuuck! In fact read my post here about how I ate like a food champ during my last E-Diet.

The recipe below, for example, had me at hello. After tasting these little nuggets of deliciousness, I vowed to never eat store-bought, highly-processed breakfast sausage ever again, especially since processed meats have now been linked to cancer. 

Chicken-Apple Breakfast Sausages
  • 1 medium tart apple, cored, peeled, and chopped
  • 3 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 T fresh sage leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs organic skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil for cooking
  1. Place the apple, green onions, sage, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with the “s” blade and pulse a few times. Then add the chicken and process until the chicken is ground and the mixture starts to form a ball, about 30 seconds.
  2. With oiled hands, form the mixture into about 8 patties and set them on a plate. Heat a large skillet of medium-low heat and add 1 T oil. Place four of the patties in the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining patties.
  3. These keep in the fridge for about 5 days or can be frozen and reheated in a 350-degree oven.

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Now trust me when I tell you making these bad daddies–and just embracing the Elimination Diet in general–is inarguably doing something delicious! And just because I love you so much, I’m even including a link to an awesome guide to shopping for the right ingredients to support your E-Diet. You’re welcome!