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Gentle Detox Done Naturally

From a conversation recorded in Jan 2016 by Hilda Labrada Gore, for the Wise Traditions Podcast. Kim Schuette has been in private practice in the field of nutrition since 1999. In 2002, she established Biodynamic Wellness where she and her staff address digestive disorders, ADD, autism, and other health concerns. Kim recommends a host of practical tips, everything from the benefits of bone broth to dry brushing. Kim is a certified nutritionist and a certified GAPS practitioner.

My interest in nutrition started when it was pretty young; I was about 15. I had just been diagnosed with hypoglycemia so I was trying to figure out what should I be doing and, at the time, my doctor just recommended that I keep rock candy in my purse so that, if my blood sugar got too low, I could get it back up. Rock candy. I thought, “That is so odd. Why would you recommend something that I think isn’t real good for you?” and I stumbled upon a book by William Dufty called Sugar Blues. It was written, I think, in 1965 and I just devoured it and I was shocked at all that I learned about sugar. That really was the starting point for me.

Now, hypoglycemia issue has been completely resolved. It was incredible to get to a point where I can go 4 to 5 hours, 6 hours in between meals and feel completely steady and stable because I was so used to grabbing some sort of sugar. I grew up with every kind of junk food you can imagine and literally eating powdered Tang by the spoonfuls as a quick snack after school. It resolved because I figured out what type of foods my body actually needed. It took a while because, initially, late teens I decided, “Maybe I need to become vegetarian,” so I went down that path for about 10 years and then realized, not only was I hypoglycemic, but I was also anemic. Then I had a friend that kept telling me about this book; I was introduced to Nourishing Traditions. Prior to that, I had figured out being vegetarian isn’t working for me and started adding fish back into my diet, but what I really craved was red meat. I would just crave it and dream about it. I’ll never forget an older friend of mine, we were dear friends, we were in church together and we were about the only people that cared about holistic nutrition, so we became fast friends. I remember her coming over one day and she had roasted a little piece of lamb with all the fat intact. I just felt like I had died and gone to heaven; my body immediately lit up when I ate it. Then I learned about Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon from a mailing list. It was funny, our doctor at the time was a very gifted holistic osteopath and he became a very dear friend of ours. He kept saying, “You’re going to look at this book,” and every time I would open Nourishing Traditions in his office, it would open to the page on sweetbreads or the page on liver pate and I just wasn’t ready to go there yet. But then, finally, I grabbed a copy and just started reading from cover to cover and it resonated with me on all levels.

The purpose of gentle detox is to support our organs that are designed to help us detox every day for the rest of our life. So the purpose is to support the liver, the kidneys, the intestinal tract, the skin, the lungs. We call it “gentle detox” and we contrast that with some of the very extreme three day fasts that people go on. There is a place for some people to do a three day fast, but when you’re talking about people that have hormonal imbalances, and especially blood sugar regulation issues like hypoglycemia or insulin resistance, you take that individual that is challenged with hypoglycemia and you put them on a three day juice fast, they’re going to have so much blood sugar dysregulation. They’re going to feel wiped out.

The idea behind gentle detoxification is that we’re using complex homeopathic remedies or gemmotherapies, which are plant stem cell extracts, that have an affinity for different tissues or organs in the body to help the body gently open up those organs for elimination and breakdown of certain compounds. We can actually use remedies in different combinations depending upon the person’s history, their medication history, vaccine history etc. So we can, in a very subtle way, help the body start being more efficient in what it was designed to do, which is to detoxify.

A body that’s functioning well could and should, in a perfect world, be able to do that on its own, but our bodies need some help. That’s because we’re dealing with 80,000 chemicals. I think something like 1000 new chemicals are introduced into the US market every year. You’ve got methylmercury that’s being emitted from industries that are burning coal tar and all of us are being exposed to methylmercury in the atmosphere, but we’ve also got the chemicals that are in our foods that the FDA allows to be in our food, many of which we know are known carcinogens, meaning they have the ability to help the body create cancer. We’ve got the chemicals that are in our food, we’ve got glyphosates that make up Ready Roundup. It’s in the genetically modified food. It’s used in the number one herbicide that’s in use in the United States.

The cosmetic industry/personal care industry uses such a huge array of estrogen mimicking chemicals, xenobiotics, which are extremely toxic. They get lathered on our skin or even on our scalp and they work their way into the bloodstream, which eventually the blood is detoxified, every molecule of blood in your body passes through the liver for detoxification every minute. This means the liver is overwhelmed and, in many cases, we see that. Oftentimes, you can just see it by looking at a person – looking at their skin, looking at the different markings, the liver spots, what we call aging spots. Those are often indications of a liver that’s overwhelmed. The same thing with hormonal imbalances; women that have PMS challenges, heavy bleeding, that’s a result of the liver not clearing those xenobiotics and the excess estrogen that’s not only made by our bodies but is coming from external sources through our skin care, through our food, and the liver is just working overtime.

If you can’t come into our center and get everything evaluated, get that personal health history to us, there are some things that you can do to gently help your body detox. Number one, get on a Nourishing Traditions diet. That’s our first step with all of our clients whether they are in our office or we’re working long distance, we’re always encouraging them, “Take a copy of Nourishing Traditions and just start with these foods.” Go to the back of the book and look at some of the recipes for the different tonics, the liver tonic, there’s the Pottinger’s cocktail, there’s a liver tonic, there’s beet kvass. One of the easiest steps that someone new to this way of eating can take is just start making beet kvass and enjoy 2 to 3 ounces of beet kvass every morning. The betaine that’s inherent in the beets actually helps support liver function and helps the liver in its process of methylation. Methylation is a detoxification process that’s necessary to break down all these excessive xenobiotics that we’ve been exposed to.

You can just get on westonaprice.org and learn. We’ve got a great video series that Sarah Pope has put together that’s free. It’s all free. There’s just endless amounts of articles on every health subject you can imagine. There’s a free, very robust resource there just in the website.

The next step, at least for a lot of my clients, we look at what’s the state of the gut. Do they have signs of gut dysbiosis, meaning a disordered gut? Are they showing signs of overgrowth of yeast and maybe pathogenic bacteria in relationship to or in ratio to beneficial bacteria? If that’s the case, then we take a little step further as far as diet in that we put them on the GAPS Diet, which is a therapeutic diet designed to help heal the gut, gently detox the gut and it’s a temporary diet; it’s a short-term diet. People may not realize that the reason they’re having allergic reactions to food or sensitivities or just discomfort in their digestive system is because they have what’s called a leaky gut. Natasha Campbell McBride wrote this book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, to help people patch up the holes in their gut so that they can function digestively properly and experience better overall health. She’s got tips for certain therapies that you can do at home, just like what we have on our website.

Very simple therapies – jumping rope, rebounding, dry brushing with just a simple, natural bristle brush; gentle strokes that you do over the whole body. It takes, literally, 60 seconds. It helps the circulation but it’s primarily helping the circulation of the lymphatic tissue. Your lymphatic system carries toxins to the liver to be eliminated, broken down and eliminated, either through the colon or the kidneys. So lymphatic skin, or dry brushing, is a very simple therapy.

Beet kvass is a tonic that can be very helpful for supporting digestion, which is key, we’re eating all of this great, nutrient-dense food, but we want to make sure that we can digest well. I often recommended that people take apple cider vinegar, preferably raw apple cider vinegar, and the juice from half a lemon, dilute that in water and just a couple of ounces, 2 to 3 ounces, and take up before each meal. That helps with digestion, it helps to encourage the stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid, which is what we need to break down our proteins. And if you had a diet that was low in vitamin B6, low in sodium from a good, unrefined sea salt, like Celtic sea salt, then you may not be producing enough hydrochloric acid to digest your food well. Or if you’ve been on a vegetarian diet long-term, your stomach senses a low-protein diet and, therefore, downregulates its production of hydrochloric acid.

I don’t do them maybe as regularly as I maybe did them 20 years ago, but there are times that I love starting my day, sometimes I will get up and I’ll just have a warm glass of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and the juice of a whole lemon and I usually put in a pinch of sea salt. I’ll drink that as soon as I wake up.

Some women notice a big difference with this. I get more feedback from the women, but I do hear from men that say, “Wow, I don’t have gas anymore.” Women tend to notice maybe their bowel movements become more regular, especially women that are estrogen dominant. The more the liver is overburdened with excess estrogen to clear, it tends to create thick bile and that tends to cause constipation. So especially adding beet kvass to your morning routine, really helps decongest the liver and then, consequently, women will notice that their skin starts to brighten up and clear up and some of their liver spots may go away, especially if we’re adding castor oil packs or occasional coffee enemas. It could be very helpful.

Just by including nutrient-dense foods into the diet, especially the animal fats, you’re increasing your intake of vitamin A. I always like to remind people there is no vitamin A found outside of the animal kingdom. We have a lot of beta-carotene and keratinoids in vegetables, but we don’t have vitamin A; vitamin A is only found in animal fat. Vitamin A is very critical to the integrity of the skin; our cells need vitamin A to be healthy. By adding vitamin A rich foods to the diet, that’s one of the best ways to improve your skin – butter, cream, egg yolks, liver.

Fat soluble vitamins are the most important. Those are the butter, the egg yolks, liver. The next thing I always recommend is bone broth or meat stock. The bone broth is full of amino acids, rich in minerals, and again, very, very reparative for the skin. I have one friend who really upped her game with the bone broth and she was motivated because she thought, “If I can increase my intake of certain amino acids, maybe I can get rid of my crow’s feet.” After about six months, those fine lines on her face had completely disappeared.

I’m more concerned about what that does to the inside of the body, but your skin is just a mirror or an expression of our internal environment. Bone broth is just a beautiful and delicious way to help repair the lining of the gut. First of all, it’s a simple and we have a video series that Sarah Pope did and Sarah talked about how to make bone broth. Once you show someone, they’re almost embarrassed at how easy it is. Literally, you put your bones in a pot, I always throw in extra chicken feet, sometimes if I have chicken heads in the freezer I take those out too, add some vegetables like celery, carrots, onions. I like to take a whole head of garlic and just chop it in half and throw that in. Then you add your water, add a little bit of apple cider vinegar and you allow it to sit for about half an hour, if you’re using chicken bones. The apple cider vinegar helps encourage minerals to be released from the bones during the cooking process and prior. Then you throw in a bouquet of herbs, I love using parsley and sage, rosemary and thyme, those are my favorites.

There is a song about that. We call that the Scarborough Fair bouquet. Throw that in and then bring it to a simmer. I tell people do not leave your kitchen until you actually bring it up to a boil because you don’t want to get distracted and have it go into a rolling boil because then you’re going to lose some of that gelatin formation. Bring it to a boil and then quickly take it down to a very low simmer where you just see a bubble here or there, with the lid on, of course, and then you just allow it to gently cook for about 18 to 24 hours. Another option would be to do it in a crockpot. If you do it in a crockpot, I would put it on the low setting and let it cook for maybe a day and a half.

The broth is great for healing and repairing connective tissue, it’s great for healing the lining of the gut, the lining of the respiratory tract, the blood brain barrier, it’s wonderful for our joints, for our skin. It’s amazing.  There was a myth going around for years that bone broth was really high in calcium. We suspected that wasn’t the case, so we did some lab studies, had a couple of different batches of bone broth analyzed by a lab, and we found what we suspected – that it wasn’t that high in calcium, but it was rich in a full array of all the minerals that we know make up bone. So there is a very synergistic effect from all of these minerals as well as the connective tissue that comes from the cartilage as you’re cooking the bones with, for instance, the feet and the heads included in the broth. You’re getting the amino acids, you’re getting minerals. Extremely therapeutic.

They always said chicken soup is good for you because chicken soup back in the day was made like this. It wasn’t just a box full of powdered, imitation chicken flavorings.  We often put people on a broth diet, for instance, using some of the principles that we take from the GAPS Diet. The GAPS Diet has what is called the introduction diet, which consists of six stages. Stage one, you’re using what we call meat broth or meat stock and it’s made from some meaty bones, bones with the meat still on them, which is good to be higher in cartilage. This makes for just a wonderful, gentle detox diet. It’s a protein sparer, so the whole digestive tract isn’t having to work as hard because it’s much more easily assimilated and digested. That is one of the best ways to gently detox but, at the same time, provide your body with amino acids and minerals that it needs to keep your blood sugar nice and steady. Plus you’re getting some of the fat that’s also part of the meat stock.

With our patients we almost always see the skin improve. I had one client that came, initially because she was concerned with hyperpigmentation that she had all around the jawline going on to her forehead. The way I would look at that is, “We’ll probably have some adrenal insufficiency,” it’s very common and it’s why a lot of women, during pregnancy, will develop this hyperpigmentation known as pregnancy mass. That’s often because you’ve gone into pregnancy with the adrenals weak, so put this person on a diet high in animal fats, easy to digest bone broth or meat stock, which actually increases the stomach’s ability to perform the task of breaking down protein. At the same time, she’s incorporating castor oil packs, she’s doing dry brushing, she’s doing a lot of the gentle home therapies that can be done, she’s drinking beet kvass every morning. After probably about six months, we can see that the hyperpigmentation is almost gone.

Without sufficient and abundant vitamin A, your liver can’t detoxify as it’s designed to do. So the fat-soluble vitamins, not just vitamin A but D, K, K2, very important to the overall process of detoxification by all the organs that are involved.

The most important thing that I want my clients to always leave with is being empowered by educating themselves so that they can then make the right choices, so that they can then become involved in the process of supporting food freedom in our country and other countries, supporting small farmers. Get behind your small farmers, support organizations like the Family Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund to protect the rights and teach those that you love. I think every kitchen should have a copy of Nourishing Traditions. I think every student should have read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price; I think it should be mandatory before anybody’s allowed into medical school. We have to educate ourselves and we have to educate those that we love and we have to start allowing ourselves to take the time to provide three meals a day for ourselves and our family. We’ve bought into the myth that we should be able to do it all and that we should cram into a 24-hour period what really should be done in 3 to 5 days, so it’s very important that we don’t neglect the fact that we should make time to provide real food for ourselves.

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