An important take-home message is to focus on the types of foods you eat and your overall dietary pattern, instead of on individual nutrients such as fat, dietary cholesterol, or specific vitamins. There are no single nutrients or vitamins that can make you healthy. Instead, there is a short list of key food types that together can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease.
Total transparency; I find it difficult to feel grateful for the way this person addressed me publicly at the end of a shift. Regardless of the very positive outcome, that memory brings back anguish and humiliation. The thought of coming face to face is like facing my own atrocities all over again. Seeing each other would be inevitable, but a lot of nurses work there. I figured I’d get into a comfortable routine and eventually we’d cross paths.
Sarah Knight has advice of a more specific kind to offer. Her latest book, “You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want” (Little, Brown), is the third she has published in two years, after “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do” and “Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do.” Knight’s books belong to what Storr sniffily calls the “this is me, being real, deal with it” school of self-help guides, which tend to share a skepticism toward the usual self-improvement bromides and a taste for cheerful profanity. Other recent titles include “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” by Mark Manson, and “F*ck Feelings,” by Michael I. Bennett, a practicing psychiatrist, and Sarah Bennett, his daughter.
The important thing, in any case, is the word “collective.” Brinkmann doesn’t care so much how we feel about ourselves. He cares how we act toward others. His book is concerned with morality, which tends to get short shrift in the self-improvement literature. He likes old-fashioned concepts: integrity, self-control, character, dignity, loyalty, rootedness, obligation, tradition. Above all, he exhorts us to do our duty. By this, I think he means that we are supposed to carry on with life’s unpleasant demands even when we don’t feel particularly well served by them, not run off to the Dominican Republic.

For example, the phytochemicals that induce phase 2 enzymes can be found in cruciferous vegetables, onions, and garlic.8 Fiber intake supports regular elimination, which is crucial for excreting toxins through the bile and stool, Foroutan says, noting that brown rice fiber may be particularly beneficial in eliminating fat-soluble toxins. Turmeric/curcumin has shown promise in protecting the gallbladder and promoting bile flow,9 and research has shown the potential for pomegranate/ellagic acid in assisting detoxification pathways.10
To set yourself up for success, try to keep things simple. Eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories, for example, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. Focus on avoiding packaged and processed foods and opting for more fresh ingredients whenever possible.
“Detoxification is an important part of health and healing, and it can be supported by diet and lifestyle,” she notes. “The question for practitioners will always be: How can I help my patients feel better and be healthier? Detoxification surely has a role to play there because so many steps in the detoxification pathway are dependent on nutrient status.”
In general terms, the detoxification process involves two, potentially three, phases. “Phase 1 enzyme activities include oxidation, reduction, and hydrolysis reactions during which the chemical [or toxin] is ‘activated’ to a more unstable, reactive form,” Foroutan says, adding that the cytochrome P450 is the family of enzymes responsible for phase 1.1,2

“Detox diets range from total starvation fasts to juice fasts to food modification approaches and often involve the use of laxatives, diuretics, vitamins, minerals and/or ‘cleansing foods,’” writes Hosen Kiat, Head of Cardiology at Macquarie University Hospital and the Australian School of Advanced Medicine, and Dr. Alice Klein from the Cardiac Health Institute, in a review about detoxification diets published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.


In order for the body to survive, it must maintain a pH level of 7.365, which is slightly alkaline on the scale. When we ingest foods, the body breaks them down and uses their foundational inorganic components for the basis of its energy. That can either be acidic in nature (i.e. sugar, coffee, etc.) or alkaline in nature (i.e. fruits, vegetables, and so on).
Two days later, on the final morning of the retreat, my heart was light. I’d experienced the fullness of She Recovers retreat magic, and felt empowered to return home renewed. I smoked 3 final cigarettes before leaving the island, that I had ashamedly bummed off a couple of friends (but obviously not too ashamed, since I asked anyway. Love you ladies.)
Since it was winter vacation, I hadn’t really planned ahead for this scenario. My luggage contained one exercise outfit: long, black leggings, and a thick, double layered top – also black. At least it wasn’t long sleeved. This was the type of outfit you’d pack if you planned to power walk outdoors in near freezing weather. An outfit you would layer under a sweater and match with gloves and boots- not proper attire for doing push-ups in a sauna.
Examine each list daily or as often as you need to get them off your mind. Look at your pending tasks and then rank them in overall importance and put a due date on each one. Identify the action items that will give you the greatest return on your investment. Also note those action items that hold the greatest potential to escalate into a crisis situation if ignored. Schedule a time to review the list weekly, and reevaluate and reassess for the coming week.
The saturated fats in animal foods generally boost levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and have other adverse effects. To limit your intake, choose lean meats, skinless poultry, and nonfat or low-fat dairy products. It’s also a good idea to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats (see next slide). Keep in mind, though, that not all saturated fats are bad for you; those in chocolate, milk, and cheese, for example, are more neutral in their effect on blood cholesterol. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are even worse than saturated fats, but FDA regulations have now nearly phased them out of the food supply.
Dean notes that it’s important to understand that xenobiotics include much more than just the obvious toxic offenders, such as cigarette smoke and lead. In fact, the past 50 years have seen tens of thousands of new synthetic compounds introduced into the environment.3 A simple look at a person’s morning routine shows the potential for being exposed to chemical compounds in deodorant, shampoo, and makeup, not to mention artificial substances and heavy metals ingested through food or chemicals inhaled through air-sanitizing products or air pollutants.
Foroutan says that eating detoxifying foods, beverages, and spices almost always is beneficial, but because of the lack of evidence-based, peer-reviewed clinical trials evaluating specific detoxification protocols, she says certain patient populations, such as pregnant and breast-feeding women, shouldn’t follow any vigorous detox program due to the potential for toxins to be released to the fetus or through breast milk.
Much research has focused on green tea’s potential benefits in detoxification, according to Purdy, and one study showed its particular promise in promoting the induction of phase 2 detox enzymes.11,12 Foroutan notes that research has shown promise for various other foods in assisting the detoxification process, including high-quality proteins, artichokes, watercress, cilantro, and apples.12
Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, author of "The Superfood Swap," offers this tip: Swap grazing for plated snacks. “I have a tendency to graze mindlessly, and even if it’s on healthy stuff, it adds up,” she says. “Grabbing a spoonful of ‘this’ while standing in the kitchen, scooping a handful of ‘that’ while working at my desk, or eating just a few little bites of ‘something’ while watching TV.” Anyone else familiar with this scenario?
Avoid alcoholic drinks (such as wine, beer, and spirits) during the cleanse. Alcohol is metabolized in the body mainly by the liver. It is broken down briefly to acetaldehyde, a chemical that has the potential to damage liver cells and body tissues, before it is further broken down and eliminated from the body. Besides lightening the load on your liver, avoiding alcohol (and caffeine) for the week can help to shift habits you've cultivated.
You probably made some New Year’s resolutions or set monthly goals for yourself (whether on paper or in the back of your mind). Have you followed through on any of them? Are there ones you can get rid of, or alter? Do you feel confident in achieving all of them? Take some time this week to reflect positively on how far you’ve come, and think about where you want to be—and maybe write down the steps you need to take to get there.
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