I hear from people all the time discussing the negative, toxic behaviors of other people they know that pushes them away. These kinds of behaviors can devastate your family and friends over time.

But we have to be real: we've all acted in toxic ways in the past. Things like gossip, thoughtless anger, and a lack of compassion are something I'm sure we've all done in the past.

Do any of these sound familiar?

1. You're outwardly envious of the people around you.

2. Taking things way too personally.

3. Acting like you're the victim.

4. Holding onto pain and negativity.

5. Chronic negativity.

6. Lack of emotional self-control.

7. Being overly judgmental of others.

8. Being cruel to the people around you.

9. Hiding from your personal truth.

10. Constantly needing validation from others.

11. Being stubborn about your beliefs.

12. Demanding perfection.

13. Lacking empathy for others.

14. Cutting corners because you can.

15. Cheating at life.

16. Lacking any kind of compassion for the people around you.

17. Excessive, hurtful gossiping.

18. Angry outbursts without thinking.

Are any of these traits consistent in your life? If they are, it might be time to work them out. It could be time to consider what they actually mean to you, how they impact others, and really challenge these habits head on.


Eating healthy can help you lose weight and have more energy.

It can also improve your mood and reduce your risk of disease.

Yet despite these benefits, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can be challenging.

Here are 14 ways to stick to a healthy diet.

1. Start with realistic expectations

Eating a nutritious diet has many benefits, including potential weight loss.

However, it's important to set realistic expectations.

For example, if you pressure yourself to lose weight too quickly, your plan to achieve better health may backfire.

Researchers found that obese people who expected to lose a lot of weight were more likely to drop out of a weight loss program within 6–12 months.

Setting a more realistic and achievable goal can keep you from getting discouraged and may even lead to greater weight loss.

2. Think about what really motivates you

Remembering why you're making healthy choices can help you stay on course.

Making a list of specific reasons why you want to get healthier can be helpful.

Keep this list handy and refer to it when you feel you need a reminder.

3. Keep unhealthy foods out of the house

It's difficult to eat healthy if you're surrounded by junk foods.

If other family members want to have these foods around, try keeping them hidden rather than on countertops.

The saying "out of sight, out of mind" definitely applies here.

Having food on display in various areas of the house has been linked to obesity and increased consumption of unhealthy foods.

4. Don't have an ‘all or nothing’ approach

A major roadblock to achieving a healthy diet and lifestyle is black-and-white thinking.

One common scenario is that you have a few unhealthy appetizers at a party, decide that your diet is ruined for the day, and proceed to overindulge in unhealthy foods.

Instead of considering the day ruined, try putting the past behind you and choosing healthy, unprocessed foods that contain protein for the remainder of the party.

This will help you feel full and satisfied rather than stuffed and frustrated.

A few off-plan choices make very little difference in the long run, as long as you balance them with healthy foods.

5. Carry healthy snacks

Sticking to a healthy diet can be tough when you're away from home for extended periods.

When you get too hungry on the go, you may end up grabbing whatever is available.

This is often processed food that doesn't really satisfy hunger and isn't good for you in the long run.

Having healthy high-protein snacks on hand can help keep your appetite in check until you're able to have a full meal.

Some examples of good, portable snacks are almonds, peanuts, and apples and banannas. Also consider filling a small cooler with hard-boiled eggs, chopped fruits and veggies, or plant-based yogurt.

6. Exercise and change diet at the same time

You may have heard you shouldn't change too many things at once when trying to improve your health. In general, this is good advice.

Still, research shows that when you make both dietary and physical activity changes at the same time, the results tend to reinforce each other.

In a study in 200 people, those who began eating a healthy diet and exercising at the same time found it easier to maintain these behaviors than those who started with either diet or exercise alone, then added the other later.

7. Have a game plan before eating out

Trying to maintain a healthy diet while eating out can be very challenging.

Still, there are ways to make it easier, such as checking out the menu before you go or drinking water before and during the meal.

It's best to have a strategy in place before you get to the restaurant rather than being overwhelmed once you get there.

8. Don't let traveling derail you

Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, being outside of your familiar territory can make it difficult to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips:

  • Research the restaurants and supermarkets ahead of time.
  • Pack some healthy foods that don't spoil easily.
  • Challenge yourself to stay on track for most of the trip.
9. Practice mindful eating

Eating mindfully can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Take time to enjoy your food and appreciate its ability to nourish you. This increases your chances of making successful, lasting behavioral changes.

In a four-month study, overweight and obese women who practiced mindful eating significantly improved their relationship with food.

Another 6-week study in women with binge eating disorder found that binge episodes decreased from 4 to 1.5 per week when the women practiced mindful eating. Plus, the severity of each binge decreased.

10. Track and monitor your progress

Logging the foods you eat into a diary, online food tracker, or app can help you stick to a healthy diet and lose weight.

Measuring your exercise progress is also beneficial and provides you with motivation that can help you keep going.

In a three-month study, overweight women who were given pedometers walked farther and lost six times more weight than those who didn't use them.

11. Get a partner to join you

Sticking with a healthy eating and exercise plan can be tough to do on your own.

Having a diet or exercise buddy may be helpful, especially if that person is your partner or spouse..

Researchers studying data from over 3,000 couples found that when one person made a positive lifestyle change, such as increasing physical activity, the other was more likely to follow their lead.

12. Start the day with a high-protein breakfast

If your first meal is well balanced and contains adequate protein, you're more likely to maintain stable blood sugar levels and not overeat for the rest of the day.Truste

In one study, overweight women who consumed at least 30 grams of protein at breakfast felt more satisfied and ate fewer calories at lunch than those who ate a lower-protein breakfast.

13. Realize that it takes time to change your habits

Don't be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect to adapt to your new, healthy way of living.

Researchers have found that it takes an average of 66 days to make a new behavior a habit.

Eventually, eating healthy and exercising regularly will become automatic.

14. Figure out what works best for you

There is no perfect way that works for everyone.

It's important to find a way of eating and exercising that you enjoy, find sustainable, and can stick to for the rest of your life.

The best diet for you is the one you can stick to in the long run.


So, as you can see there are some efficient ways to create healthier habits to stick to a new health regiment. 

This is why we created The Alchemy of Detox 21 Day Challenge. It has all of the components that will keep you focused and motivated. The protocols and plant based recipes are easy to follow. You will get weekly lives teaching on numerous detox topics. We will share some cooking styles and some sweet treats. You will get unlimited email access to our team to get all of your questions and concerns answered. You will also be added to our private VIP Facebook group where other people and yourself can connect throughout the challenge and share all of your successes and the issues you experience. 

You will get all of the consistency, accountability and support you need to successfully complete the 21 Days. 

You can purchase the program here: www.candisandalden.com/the-alchemy-of-detox



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It’s usually around this time of year that people stop to think about their health goals. Not only is the new year right around the corner, but with turkey and pumpkin pie followed by eggnog and gingerbread men, many people are left feeling a bit guilty about letting their healthy habits slide over the past few weeks.


And while health goals commonly have to do with weight loss, your health is also about integrating self-care into your life, staying on top of your mental health, and getting adequate sleep. Maintaining optimal health isn’t only good for your well-being, it also affects your ability to achieve your other goals. By becoming the best version of yourself, you will be setting yourself up for success in everything you do.


I try to revisit my health goals several times throughout the year, but when things get busy, this task sometimes gets pushed aside. Furthermore, if I’m going through a tough time, I typically end up working out less than usual, and I often find myself scrounging for cookies at night to relieve my stress (which isn’t actually effective, by the way). I always regret this a few days in because I feel awful, I look awful, and my productivity at work suffers.

But no matter what, I always spend a significant amount of time at the end of the year reviewing my habits, finding areas in which I can improve, and celebrating the things that I have done really well over the last year.

In this article, I will go into detail about why it’s important to focus on your health goals. Then, I will give you 23 examples of health goals that you could set for the new year.

But first, let’s look at what a health goal really is.

What is a Health Goal?

Your health is one area of your life that it is important to set goals, as these goals outline your ambitions for your wellbeing. By making health goals and taking steps to reach them, you’re able to obtain a better balance of not only your diet and exercise, but also in the subcategories of the health arena, including weight loss, eating whole foods, avoiding being sedentary, taking proper breaks from working, and having the self-awareness to realize when you’ve adopted a bad habit that could be detrimental in the long run.

It’s important to realize that your health and well-being are the product of a combination of your everyday habitsand not simply one aspect of it. All of your lifestyle choices become interlinked, so in order to improve one facet of your health, you have to step back to look at the big picture and your life balance.

Why is it Important to Focus on Your Health Goals?

Your health has an impact on every other area of your life. It is also something that you have the ability to strongly influence. Even if you have a genetic predisposition to a certain disease, you can take preventative action that could reduce your chances of being impacted by this risk factor.

However, research has found that people who know they have a family history of a disease often don’t believe their own susceptibility to developing the disease is any higher than average. On the other hand, some perceive inherited risk as being unavoidable, which can ultimately lead to death. What these two groups have in common is that neither of them are proactive in setting health goals to help reduce their chances of developing the disease in question.

However, the truth is, if you have a genetic predisposition to developing a disease, your genetic makeup only contributes to the development of the disease. It may not be the single cause of developing the disease, so having a genetic predisposition in addition to compounding lifestyle and environmental elements (that you can control) can either greatly increase or decrease your risk of getting the disease. This means that setting health goals can be mitigating factors in your genetic predisposition and help reduce your risk if you follow through with them.

Your health goals can range from being quick, five-minute habits to exercising for a few hours on a regular basis. There are a lot of things you can do to improve your health, and when you put them all together, they will compound to help you get the most out of life through your daily healthy habits.

Now that you know why it is important to set health goals, let’s look at 23 health goals that you could achieve in 2020.

23 Health Goals to Achieve in 2020

1. Get Adequate Sleep

A lot of us feel like there are not enough hours in the day–trust me, I’m one of them. But in order to be able to use the time that you do have efficiently, you need to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. This is a basic need that will impact all other areas of your life.

If you have trouble falling asleep, here are some tips to help you get the slumber that you need. It is also important to know the basics of sleep hygiene so you can be sure to set yourself up for success.

2. Eat a Plant-Based Diet

Set a specific goal in this domain that makes sense to your eating preferences. If you don’t want to go completely vegetarian, that’s certainly ok. You can still incorporate lean meats and dairy into your daily eating routine. But set a goal amount (perhaps 80%?) of your diet that you think you could realistically make plant-based. If you need to, start small and slowly cut things out. If you set this goal, pay special attention to limiting processed foods.

3. Abstain from Alcohol, Smoking, and Illegal Drug Use

Nearly 21 million Americans have an addiction of some sort, however, only 10% of this population seeks treatment. Many people who suffer from depression or anxiety turn to harmful substances such as alcohol, nicotine, or drugs as a coping mechanism. However, each of these options is extremely harmful for your health.

Drinking alcohol increases your chances of developing diseases such as cancer, liver disease, and other chronic conditions. It can also negatively impact learning and memory, accelerate the aging process, and disrupt healthy sleeping patterns.


Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death worldwide due to a wide variety of diseases that it may cause, and avoiding illegal drug use will result in better overall health–both mental and physical.

4. Reform Your Dessert

If you crave something sweet after dinner, you certainly aren’t alone. Somehow a plate of vegetables isn’t quite as appealing as a bowl of ice cream or a piece of cake. But sometimes eating dessert can be a slippery slope. If you get into the routine of having a brownie and ice cream every night, it will just be second nature to indulge in what you may have formerly considered to be a “treat”.

Choose something light that offers you a bit of nutrients. One of my favorite things to have for dessert is strawberries with freshly whipped cream on top. Being able to incorporate pleasures like reasonably healthy desserts into a nutritionally balanced diet is one of the most effective ways to develop a realistic approach to managing your weight and staying in great health.

5. Take the Time For Self-Care

Make sure to put yourself first by practicing self-careDoing so allows you to take intentional time away from stress so you can be more resilient when you’re facing challenges. Know what your boundaries are and set functional limits in order to operate at capacity in all of the areas of your life.

6. Eat Breakfast Every Day

We’re all rushing out of the door in the mornings, but you have to take the time to fuel your body in order to do your best work each day. Make breakfast the night before if you have to or get up ten minutes early to pack something to take with you in the car. Make sure that your breakfast includes protein and whole grains in it so you can stay full and satisfied throughout the morning. There are so many benefits to eating breakfast, including increasing your concentration and metabolism and decreasing your cholesterol.

7. Get a Pedometer

I know the standard goal is to hit 10,000 steps a day, but I want you to aim for 15,000. You can do this by:

  • Parking as far away as possible from your office (if you’re unable to walk there)
  • Going for a walk on your lunch break
  • Getting up to talk to a co-worker rather than emailing them a question
  • Taking a quick walk around the office at least once an hour

Push yourself and create challenges for yourself to always be beating yesterday’s numbers.


8. Don’t Take Two Days Off in a Row

No matter what goal you’re focusing on, whether it’s hitting the gym or doing an overhaul of your diet, you may take a rest or a “cheat” day, but don’t do this twice in a row. You need to maintain your momentum to make your goals into habits, and this requires consistency and dedication. Research shows it takes approximately 66 days to turn an action into a habit, so you don’t want to break that up too much.

9. Keep a Food Journal

Not only will keeping a food journal help you become aware of how much you’re actually eating throughout the day, it will also make you second guess yourself every time you reach for that bag of chips at 3:00pm. If you know you have to write something down, you’re more likely to take pause before eating it–especially if it’s a snack that’s open and you would typically eat it out of boredom.

10. Get Involved With a Supportive Community

If your goal is to start running, join a running club. If you want to start a Paleo diet, join an online group of people who follow this diet and share recipes with each other. Having a supportive group of people who are encouraging of your goals is critical to success. Finding a community of people who all share your common goal will give you a place to go during possible moments of weakness, and it can allow you to help other people on their journey to achieving the goal, which is motivating and rewarding in itself.

11. Be Selective of Your Rewards

If you run three miles one day and want to reward yourself for making such great progress, don’t turn to a brownie sundae to do this job. Don’t choose rewards that counteract the success that you just gained. Rather, tell yourself you can’t catch up on the latest episode of your favorite show until you complete your run for the day. Or find another motivating factor that will allow you to feel rewarded without undoing your hard efforts.

12. Unplug Yourself

Putting away your phone or laptop isn’t just good for your mental health, it’s good for your physical health as well. Sure, you will develop deeper relationships with actual people if you interact with them in real life, but aside from that, when you’re on your phone or laptop, you’re more than likely sitting or being sedentary in some way. Do not spend a significant amount of time using electronics each day.

13. Learn Your History

Find out what diseases run in your family so you can be aware of what you may be at a higher risk of developing in the future. This way, you can either take specific steps to reduce your risk, or you can begin getting screenings earlier than you normally would.

14. Do a Self-Check Mid-Meal

Often, we have a habit of finishing everything on our plate, even if we’re full, possibly because there is a sense of guilt associated with wasting food after you’ve prepared it. In fact, research shows that people tend to eat 92% of whatever they put on their plate. But if you’re satisfied after eating just 50%, that’s a great opportunity to wrap up the rest and have a meal waiting for you for another time.

Practice portion control and mindful eating by paying attention to your internal signals of feeling satisfied instead of waiting for an external cue to stop eating, such as your plate being clean.

15. Age Gracefully


I’m sure you’ve heard someone say that age is just a number, but if you’re starting to notice some physical signs of aging (such as wrinkles, age spots, etc.), it can be a tough pill to swallow that your youth is behind you.

Keep in mind that there are some really great things about getting older. In fact, people over 40 often report being happier, less stressed, and more confident than they were 20 years ago. There are a lot of reasons to embrace your age, and in doing so, you will demonstrate to others that your life experience is a strength rather than something to be ashamed of.

16. Increase Your Physical Strength

You will have to make this goal more specific depending on your current strength level, but most of us could use some more lean muscle on our bodies. When you have strong muscles, you reduce your risk of injury and make it easier to maintain a healthy body weight. Keep track of how much weight you can lift as you’re trying to increase your strength so you can watch your progress.

17. Reduce Your Risk of Disease

Make sure to attend all preventative care appointments that apply to you. Aside from your annual checkup with your primary care physician, get a dental cleaning every six months, get all of the routine tests and exams for your age, and get vaccinations to boost your immune system. Stay one step ahead of your health.

18. Stop Eating Out

I know it’s easy (and sometimes the fastest option) to grab lunch at a drive-through in the middle of the day or pick up dinner on the way home from work. But, not only does this drain your bank account, it can seriously impact your health.

The amount of sodium, calories, and fat in restaurant meals is…usually a mystery. Yes, you can often find some information online, but each restaurant’s servings may vary and the nutrition facts that the restaurants give are often an estimate. You can assume that anything you eat from a restaurant has more sodium, fat, and calories than something that you could make for yourself at home. Which leads me to…

19. Plan and Prep Your Meals

Sundays are a great day to plan and prep your meals for the week. Plan out your meals and then go to the store to buy what you need (and only what you need) to prep them. Not only will this save you time during the week, but it also gives you the ability to have full control over what goes into your body. Prepping your meals ahead of time will ensure that you eat a balanced diet and get the nutrients that your body needs.

20.Practice Yoga

Yoga is great for your health because it promotes relaxation and helps you develop a mind/body connection. Practicing yoga also helps increase your strength and flexibility and helps you maintain a healthy metabolism. Finally, focusing on your breathing can help improve your respiration, energy, and vitality.


21. Walk Everywhere Within a Mile


If you’re headed out to run an errand and it’s less than a mile away, leave your car at home and walk there (unless you’re planning on doing a big grocery trip or will otherwise be returning home with a car load of things). The more walking you can incorporate into your day, the better your health will be, as it can help you lose weight, get some fresh air, reduce your risk of developing several diseases, and improve your mood.

If your neighborhood isn’t walkable, walk from store to store in a shopping center if you have to make several stops. While you may be tempted to drive from one end of the shopping center to the other, it’s healthier to choose to get some extra steps into your day.

22. Educate Yourself

It would be ideal if you have the time and the funds to hire a dietitian and a personal trainer, but many of us don’t. If this is the case, take the time to do some self-education to gain a basic level of knowledge behind the biological processes that occur to help you meet your goals. Some things to research could be:

  • The importance of getting a good night’s sleep
  • The connection between your diet, physical activity, and weight loss
  • How your diet impacts your metabolism (and how your metabolism works)
  • The principles of healthy eating
  • The proper form of exercise and recommended levels of physical activity

23. Maintain a Positive Mindset

Your mental health is certainly a big part of your overall health. You’re continually faced with challenges and temporary setbacks in life–these are inevitable–but having a positive attitude will keep you motivated to stick with all of your other health goals.

If you can learn how to cope with life’s challenges and move forward with a positive attitude, you will be able to move forward more easily with life after experiencing a hardship. You can even learn to see challenges as opportunities to grow. A large part of your ability to stay healthy comes from how you deal with and manage stress.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you find some of these health goals to be habits that you want to incorporate into your life. But keep in mind, it’s often overlooked just how closely related your goals may often be. Most improvements that you make in one area of your health will have a positive impact on another area.

For example, if you’re overweight and you start training for a 10k, the extra calories that you’re burning through increased activity will help you lose weight. Improving your diet by focusing on eating plant-based foods can also help reduce your cholesterol levels. Everything has a domino effect. So if one goal seems a little far-fetched, change your focus to other related goals that will have a positive impact on your long-term challenge. This will help your bigger goals become more of a product of your habits rather than something that is completely out of reach.


Choose some of these health goals to start in 2020, and if you come back and look at this list in six months, you may find that you’re meeting more goals than you originally thought.


Don't forget to sign up for The Alchemy to Detox www.candisandalden.com/the-alchemy-of-detox


Making the choice to switch to a plant-based diet (or better yet, a plant-based diet emphasizing whole foods) is one of the best health choices anyone can make, or even aspire to transition into. Just the concept of eating more plants in place of animals is a remarkable way to enhance your longevity, optimize your taste buds to crave healthier foods, balance your mood and hormones, and increase your chances at preventing disease with every single bite. Or, maybe you’ve made the choice to do so for your budget, the environment, and the animals that a plant-based diet benefits. Whatever the case, know that you’ve made the right choice and are likely to experience more health benefits than you ever imagined such as cancer prevention, blood sugar benefits, digestion improvements, and even a more energetic and happier mood thanks to all the nutrient-dense properties a plant-based diet has.


Even The Best Choices for Our Health Come With Challenges

But let’s be honest — not everything is rainbows and sunshine when you make the switch, even if you’re completely stoked about the diet and are witnessing several health benefits. Many people who transition into a plant-based diet go through a detox period. Not your typical detox diet where you skip out on meals or just drink juice all week, detoxing from animal-based products is a real issue that you need to be aware of. It can include headaches, digestion changes, and even feelings of sadness as you learn to let go of old traditions surrounding meals with meat, dairy, eggs or poultry and get used to the concept of eating different foods than you might be used to.

Many people assume these are signs their body doesn’t deal with a plant-based diet well, but this is always true. Detox is a real issue that most people go through; it can last a week, a month, and for some people it can occur off and on every few months for a couple days as the body continues to clean itself out from old toxins, hormones, mercury, pesticides, bacteria, and other harmful things found in most all animal-based foods.

How to Deal With Detox Emotions

Many people don’t realize how much they’re emotionally tied to certain foods. For instance, if one of your most favorite memories is sitting down and enjoy chicken or beef burgers at the table with your parents as a kid, or having a plate of mom or grandma’s bacon and eggs on Saturday mornings makes you just smile with warmth and good emotions, the idea of not eating these dishes anymore can be a little depressing. But realize that you’re not attached to the food; you’re attached to the memory around the food that enhances the strength of that emotion.

Physiologically speaking, your body’s hormones also change when you quit eating animal products and many people’s bodies are more sensitive than others. As hormones change and stabilize, realize that emotional changes are normal. One unique thing to point out is that a plant-based diet can be very mind-clearing due to the way it sweeps out excess hormones from animal-based foods in the body. As it does this, the body can go through almost a shock emotionally and physically. If you are experiencing emotional changes, know that it’s completely normal, and don’t be afraid. See some tips for transitioning away from your favorite traditional meals, and explore How Your Food Choices Affect Your Hormones to learn more about the physiological changes that happen when you quit eating animal proteins.

How to Deal With Bodily Changes

As your body cleanses itself from many sources of harmful animal protein stored in your cells, keep in mind that your liver, digestive system, kidneys, and lymph system are in major “cleaning house” mode. Be aware of this and know that because they’re sweeping all that out without you eating any more of those foods to slow the detox down, you’ll likely be a little (or a lot) more tired than usual, may experienced increased bathroom time (which is a good thing!), and may even have headaches. It feels a little like the flu and can be exhausting in the beginning if your diet was especially toxic before. These are all signs your body is cleaning itself; be patient and wait things out, they do get better!


Be sure you eat a very clean diet with very little processed foods during this time if possible. This will better allow your body to do its job so you can feel your best much more quickly. Remember, the cleaner the food you give your body, the better it can use food to detoxify and supply you with nutrients for fuel. Greens, fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds and their milks and butters, complex carbs from gluten-free grains and root vegetables, beans, legumes, along with healthy fats like olives, coconut, nuts, and avocado are all great choices. Be sure you take in adequate protein from seeds, greens, many grains, and keep in mind that all greens and vegetables have protein too. See some digestion troubleshooting tips here if you have some especially uncomfortable issues going on.

How to Deal With Skin Changes

As your body cleans house, it may expel some of those toxins from your organs and cells through your skin. This is normal, but not always fun to deal with when you’re showing up for a big meeting or presentation at work or going on an important date! However, keep in mind this is usually short-lived and typically goes away in a week so long as you’re not eating a food you’re allergic to (such as gluten, soy, nuts which are many of the most common).

Eat a variety of foods high in vitamin C which will clear your skin and speed up detoxification even further. Vitamin C rich foods include broccoli, citrus fruits, berries, spinach, kale, apples, pineapple, papaya, sweet potatoes, and peppers. Also be sure to eat foods rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A), which clears the skin and promotes a healthy glow; it also supports your immune system which will help you during the transition. Vitamin A rich foods include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, carrots, spinach, kale, turnip and collard greens, Swiss chard, spirulina, and goji berries.

Lastly, don’t forget your healthy omega-3 fats; these fats promote healing to the skin and inner organs, reduce inflammation, stabilize your blood sugar (which will also benefit your skin), and they’re also great for the mind to improve emotional health. Omega-3 rich plant-based foods include walnuts, chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocados, and acai fruit. Be sure you also wash your skin with a natural cleanser and for those that use makeup, wash it with something free of chemicals such as coconut oil.

How to Deal With Transitioning Your Meals

When it comes to changing up your meals, there are so many ways you can learn to replace animal-based proteins with plant-based foods. Open your mind to the concept of getting to choose between limitless amounts of produce, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, legumes, and fruits. Then come up with all types of combinations that best suit your needs and taste buds’ desires. Check out our FAQ section in our Plant-Based Nutrition Guide to see how to transition more easily; you’ll also get plenty of information you need about nutrients your body needs.

Always keep in mind that your body needs adequate sleep, with no less than eight hours a night. Your body detoxifies, heals, and repairs as you rest; let it do its job and you’ll also feel much better the next day. Be sure to maintain a regular exercise routine and try detoxifying activities like yoga and hot baths. Spend time in nature, with friends laughing and communicating (which most of us don’t do enough of), and have fun in the kitchen! All of these things keep our bodies healthy even though we often seem to forget about them.

Remember, detox is temporary, but a positive healthy change can be life-altering. 







The Use of Digestive Enzymes in Specific Digestive Disorders


As a companion piece to our Q&A with M. Mamadou, PhD, in the September 2013 NMJ Supplement, we asked Dr Mamadou to outline some specific digestive disorders that can benefit from the use of supplemental digestive enzymes. Read the full Q&A here.

Supplemental digestive enzymes can be very helpful in alleviating digestive disorders. Some specific conditions in which supplemental digestive enzymes can be used include the following.

Pancreatic Insufficiency
This condition refers to the inability of the pancreas to produce enough digestive enzymes to help break down the foods in the intestine. Sometimes, the pancreas may produce the enzymes, but those enzymes are destroyed for various reasons before they perform their function.

The end result in cases of pancreatic insufficiency is malabsorption, diarrhea, high susceptibility to diseases, and other serious health conditions. Thus, under such conditions, the normal therapy is to have the patient take enzymes. The enzymes currently used are mostly enzymes derived from porcine pancreas. Although that practice has worked, there is trend to use supplemental enzymes derived from plants or fungal fermentations. The advantages of these enzymes is that they are stable to the acid in the stomach and do not require any additional ingredients to protect them from the acid as do the porcine enzymes. Furthermore, many people and their healthcare providers use fungal enzymes due to some recent animal disease concerns associated with enzymes derived from animals.

Lactose Intolerance
When lactose is not digested in the small intestine, it causes diarrhea and flatulence. Lactase is the enzyme responsible for breaking lactose down. Although everyone has this enzyme as a baby, some people lose it as they stop breastfeeding and as they grow older. For people who lack lactase, drinking or eating any milk product containing lactose results in serious discomfort. This condition of discomfort associated with the lack of the enzyme lactase is called lactose intolerance. Supplemental digestive enzyme products containing effective lactase enzyme can remedy the conditions associated with lactose intolerance.

Casein and Gluten Intolerance
Casein and gluten are 2 major proteins derived respectively from milk and wheat. Some people cannot tolerate casein and/or gluten in their foods. The consumption of these food items creates major health issues, ranging from inflammation to neurobiological disorders. In fact, these 2 proteins are the focus of major research in neurobiological disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), and others. Studies have found that in some people, casein and gluten are partially digested. Some of the resulting fragments from this partial digestion are called peptides and act as opioids and are thus termed opioid-like peptides. As the name implies, they act on the brain centers as opioids do, thus creating various mood and behavior issues. As milk and wheat components are found in many food items, the inability to digest them and the consequent health challenges constitute a major concern for patients and their parents. It should be noted that most patients experience the symptoms as kids in terms of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and ADD.

Many studies have documented the association of these opioid-like peptides derived from casein and from gluten to conditions such as autism and schizophrenia. As a consequence, efforts have been made to incorporate supplemental proteolytic enzymes that break down proteins such as casein and gluten in people with autism and other neurobiological disorders associated with digestive impairment.

In the natural and integrative medicine sector, I have seen many practitioners and even parents adopting enzymes to help in the treatment. Some well-conducted studies have documented the use of enzymes in these cases. Thus, this is another area of application of supplemental enzymes to correct a gastrointestinal disorder that directly or indirectly impact the brain function and overall quality of life.

Although casein and gluten have been extensively studied in relation to their opioid-like peptides, other proteins may also be culprits if not properly hydrolyzed in the gut. This is one of the reasons that including supplemental digestive enzymes could help prevent or reduce the risks of digestive and other health challenges originating from the gut.

Supplemental digestive enzymes could help prevent or reduce the risks of digestive and other health challenges originating from the gut.

Food Allergies
An allergy is by definition an immune reaction elicited by a foreign protein in contact with the body’s immune system. The gut's sophisticated immune system, along with digestive enzymes, helps suppress any allergen-inducing capability contained in the food proteins we consume. However, in cases of insufficient digestive enzyme function in the gut, some proteins can induce an immune reaction that could be very severe. As a result, many people avoid foods that they are allergic to. Sometimes, people may not be aware of the culprit food until after consumption. Supplemental digestive enzymes high in proteases are very helpful in controlling food allergies. As a result, many people go back and eat the foods they were allergic to. The fact is that as long as a protein is completely broken down as in digestion, it loses its capacity to induce any allergic or immunogenic reaction.

Celiac Disease
This condition results from the body’s inability to hydrolyze wheat proteins. As a result, there is an immune reaction that leads to inflammation and injury to the intestinal cells. This condition should not be confused with the gluten intolerance described above that has been associated with neurobiological disorders such as autism. Celiac disease destroys the intestinal cells and thus impairs the functionality of the brush border enzymes, as well as the ability of the cells to perform their absorptive function. Introducing supplemental digestive enzymes containing highly active proteases and peptidases may help with the condition.

Microbial Control
The digestive system receives many bacteria through the foods and beverages we consume. Some of these bacteria are pathogenic or potentially pathogenic. In the stomach, the acid helps kill some of these bacteria; this is another reason that acid in the stomach is good and has a preventative role.

Recently, some researchers have shown that enzymes taken under specific conditions can help prevent infection by bacteria. Many bacteria use some molecules to attach themselves to the surface of a cell before they penetrate the cell and take over its metabolism, thus infecting the cell. These researchers have found that by using enzymes to prevent attachment of the bacteria, they were able to stop infectivity by some pathogenic intestinal bacteria. This is an example of enzyme-controlling bacteria that could induce serious digestive infectious diseases. More research needs to be done in this area to determine the various formulations and conditions under which enzymes could effectively control microbial infection, considering the fact that various bacteria have various infectivity mechanisms.

Colon Health
The colon is like a reservoir or fermentation tank that receives all foods not digested and absorbed in the small intestine. The health of the colon is a function of the taxonomy of the probiotics and their ecological balance, as well as the nutrients they receive. The nutrients received by the probiotics depend largely on the digestive and absorption processes in the small intestine. Thus, besides maintaining good flora in the large intestine, it is important to maintain good digestive function by supplementing with enzymes.

If too much food is not digested and absorbed in the upper small intestine, not only will the body be undernourished, but the organisms in the large intestine could be overwhelmed, and the gut bacteria balance could shift toward the deleterious organisms. Moreover, the composition of undigested foods that reach the large intestine could play an important role in disturbing the ecological balance in the colon.


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About the Author
M. Mamadou, PhD, is the chief science officer of Phytomedic Labs. He earned his doctorate from the University of Cincinnati and has been actively involved in enzyme-based formulations for health and wellness. His present research activities focus on isolating new phytochemicals and enzymes for dietary supplements. He has taught and conducted research at several universities and has provided consulting and research services for many health and nutrition companies, including EnzymeScience, Inc, a key sponsor of the Natural Medicine Journal.