This month we’re exploring the properties of a much talked about piece of our digestive process known as HCl. HCl stands for Hydrochloric acid (the “L” is written as a lower case) which is commonly referred to as “stomach acid”. It helps digest food by breaking up fats and proteins. The low pH of the stomach's hydrochloric acid also destroys ingested bacteria and other micro-organisms which are trying to invade the body and lower your immune system. If you have low stomach acid, these infecting invaders may not be destroyed by your stomach's acid bath. They can then cause many types of infections. Now you can see why low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) is associated with so many common health problems. If these infections are not cleared, over time they can cause many symptoms, paving the way for full-blown diseases. Furthermore adequate levels of HCl are necessary for adequate absorption of protein, calcium, vitamin B12 and iron.

This is an essential step in the digestive process facilitating the breakdown of fats, proteins, and minerals preparing them for our digestive enzymes in the small intestine to continue the digestive process so that we can assimilate (absorb and metabolize) these proteins and use them for fuel, repairing tissue, and maintaining healthy bodily functions. According to Jonathon Wright MD after testing the PH (acid levels) of thousands of patients approximately 90% of Americans produce too little HCl.

Looking at how it works in the digestive process: Lets say your doctor or nutritional counselor says you’re deficient in some nutrient…(fill in the blank). So you go to the supplement/herb shop or your local organic grocer and drop a fair amount of money on some product that’s supposed to bring you back into balance. Assuming that the product you purchased is of sufficient quality and has the nutrients you need, you should be on your way to health. Next you get home and start taking your food or supplement.

The first stage of the digestive process, chewing and or swallowing and mixing with saliva begins breaking down the nutrients into smaller pieces preparing them for the stomach and the next stage of digestion. Next as the nutrients enter the stomach the signal goes off for the parietal cells in the stomach lining to start producing HCl but because for various reasons your body can’t produce enough to break down the nutrients in your food or supplement, these large pieces of undigested nutrients move on to the small intestine skipping an essential piece of the digestive process.

The small intestine is largely responsible for the third stage of digestion. Digestion in the small intestine requires an alkaline environment as opposed to the acid environment in the stomach. If the foods entering into the small intestine aren’t sufficiently acidic the small intestine won’t be triggered to alkalize. The small intestine is where carbohydrate digestion, and absorption of most nutrients takes place; but because the nutrients you just ate weren’t broken down enough in the stomach before entering the small intestine these valuable foods will pass on through undigested and leave the system with all the other bodily wastes, making all you efforts a major loss.

Another fact that few people are aware of (including many health professionals) is that low stomach acid can cause indigestion. Believe it or not, too little stomach acid is the most common cause of an acid stomach, not excess acid. Some people take antacids to relieve the uncomfortable acid feeling in their stomachs but the vast majority of those with an "acid stomach" suffer from not enough acid. They simply can't digest what they've eaten. For some, an antacid may temporarily relieve a queasy stomach, but in the long run, regular use of antacids makes the problem worse. Taking antacids is a sure way to destroy your body’s ability to produce HCl.

So why don’t I have enough HCl?... Some of the many reasons may be taking antacids, insufficient intake of natural salt (non heat treated which binds the sodium and chloride in salt making it useless to us and impossible for our bodies to break down) during adolescent years. High carb diets- particularly when combined with inadequate intake of dietary protein. Also certain nutrient deficiencies such as B1, zinc, and C also needed for HCl production. And overeating at mealtimes and or a highly processed food diet.

Even though lemon juice and apple cider vinegar greatly help improve symptoms and help balance ph they do not help much with nutrient digestion and assimilation; which HCl replacement does. If your interested in finding out for sure if you’re deficient in HCl you can schedule a nutritional counseling session with us and learn about not only where you are deficient but also what you can do about it. Take a look at our nutrition page to learn more about our sessions. Stay well:)

Shawn Kinsella LMT, CA, PYT
Minga Lily PYT

Sources for this article:
Premier Research Labs product sheet
Primal Mind Primal Body by Nora Gedgaudas CNS, CNT
Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You by Jonathan Wright M.D. and Lane Lenard Ph.D.

Ten Reasons Why You Should Stretch

When pondering writing this article (being the Yoga nerd that I am) I got really excited to get into talking about the anatomy and physiology of what occurs when we stretch, define different types of stretching, and provide a whole list of stretching recommendations. I set to work in front of my computer and spewed out more information than any normal person should know on the subject. I also realized that I would have bored most of you into a deep sleep after you got past the first paragraph. So instead here’s a 10 reason list of why you should stretch. I hope it inspires you.

1. It is essential in preventing common injuries such as sprains and strains.

2. It helps you recover from workouts quickly, by improving circulation to the muscles.

3. When your muscles are more limber your posture improves, and you have less difficulty performing everyday tasks.

4. It can help your breath more deeply and naturally, which reduces stress throughout the day.

5. Stretching improves body awareness which can help us be more informed of what’s going on in our bodies. You are your own best physician.

6. Improves proprioception (sense of the orientation of ones limbs in space) Why is this important? Because, believe it or not our bodies can forget our own range of motion when we restrict our movements and range of motion by our modern living patterns. We sit in our cars till we get to work where we sit at a desk then back in the car to get home where we watch tv while eating dinner in our favorite ez chair. Get the picture? When we don’t use our full range of motion chasing wild boars for dinner and running away from saber tooth tigers like we were designed to do, our muscles actually accommodate our lack of movement by getting shorter and less flexible. Use it or loose it baby!

7. Stretching can improve our health and energy level by increasing circulation which brings much needed oxygen to our muscles and removes wastes that otherwise build up in our tissues causing us to feel chronically sore and tired.

8. It can improve our mental focus. When we make our stretching routine a meditative practice by synchronizing our breath with our movements and focus on the breath while holding a static stretch we are engaging in a higher state of awareness and a type of mental focus not common in this modern society. It exercises your brain! Ancient yogis figured this out about 6 to 10 thousand years ago so it’s about time we reclaimed this ancient wisdom; don’t you think?

9. When we stretch we are actually relaxing our muscles and if our muscles are relaxed the rest of us is sure to follow, both mentally and physically. (Be sure when you’re doing your stretching routine you relax the target muscle or group of muscles. The only way to stretch and elongate muscle is to relax it. Any sort of “effort” or “powering into it” is counter productive. (If it’s not relaxed it’s not being stretched.)

10. Stress reduction is the gold mine benefit of stretching. For most of us one of the ways stress manifest in our bodies is by chronic tension or tightness in our muscles. This can cause a stiff neck, headaches, poor posture- pinching nerves, and even poor digestion. Becoming aware of where we hold our stress and stretching plus relaxing those areas can contribute to overall stress reduction.

Convinced yet? I hope so. For anyone interested in the mechanics of stretching in the human body a great resource is a free downloadable pdf called “Everything you never wanted to know about stretching”. Just google the title and you’ll find it. An anatomy teacher who holds a phd in kinesiology recommended it to me many years ago; and though the author is a self proclaimed non-expert in the health field, he discovered as I have that all the available information and books on stretching pretty much say the same things, and can be boiled down to 68 pages. So stretch intelligently and grow the happiness in your life by honoring your body and health.

Shawn Kinsella LMT, CA, PYT


Sunlight and Vitamin D

There are a lot of questions that surround sunlight and vitamin d and it is difficult find definitive answers on how to receive the most beneficial amounts for each of our unique body systems. Because of this in my humble opinion there are no definitive answers, but there is a lot that we do know that can help each one of us find our own answers if we’re willing to look for them. Much like the questions that arise regarding diet and nutrition we are all different to some degree biologically and physiologically which are large factors in how much sunlight we need to keep in homeostasis- (the balancing act our bodies are constantly playing to keep us healthy and free from disease).

Although we refer to vitamin D as a vitamin, about 30 years ago while searching for a cure for rickets it was discovered that It’s actually a hormone.

What’s a Hormone?- A hormone is a substance that is produced in one part of the body, enters the bloodstream and exerts it’s effects at sites distant from the original site of production. It is also a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another. All multicellular organisms produce hormones.

What’s a Vitamin?- A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism. A compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be obtained from the diet. Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions, including function as hormones (e.g. vitamin D), antioxidants (e.g. vitamin E), and mediators of cell signaling and regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation (e.g. vitamin A)

I’ve read some books based on this finding that “Vitamin D is not a vitamin but a hormone”. However it appears to have qualities of both vitamin and hormone, implying how incredibly important this substance is to our physiology, biochemistry and even psychological balance. Although we can obtain vitamin D from food I’m going to focus this article on mainly on sunlight, which is one way we obtain vitamin D and its many benefits to keep things more simple (for both of us). Vitamin D and food will be in a later article.

I feel it’s important to know how the vitamin D our bodies use is produced, so take a deep breath and here we go.

Vitamin D is produced in the skin from pro-vitamin D3 which is derived from cholesterol. Here is evidence that cholesterol is not all bad, contrary to what most people think. In fact cholesterol is a precursor for most hormones in your body. Type B Ultraviolet rays (UVB) from the sun act on pro-vitamin D3 and convert it into pre-vitamin D3, which is then converted into vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 then leaves the skin and gets into the blood stream where it is carried on a special protein called a vitamin D-binding protein. Through blood circulation, vitamin D3 reaches various organs in the body. In the liver, vitamin D3 undergoes a slight change in it’s chemical structure. At that point it’s called 25 (OH) vitamin D3. It is then carried through the bloodstream to the kidneys where it goes through another change in its chemical structure. At that point it’s called 1,25 (OH)2 vitamin D3. This is the active form of vitamin D. It goes back to the blood stream and goes to various parts of the body and exerts its actions (more actions than is known by modern science safe to say). This is why vitamin D was re defined as a hormone.

The lesson here is that the vitamin D obtained from sunlight or food goes through several changes before it’s transformed into a substance we can use. The above scenario is assuming that your organs are functioning optimally and your source of vitamin D is bioavailable (viable and able to be absorbed by the body) which in these modern times with troubled food sources and environmental challenges to the system is often not the case. Much of the D sources we take in can be lost for this reason. So don’t assume if you’re taking the RDA from the FDA by way of a supermarket multivitamin that your not deficient in vitamin D. A 2000-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reported that 50-78% of Americans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. In the U.K. a national data collection survey in 1988-1994 showed 90% of adults to be found low in vitamin D.

So what happens if I don’t have enough vitamin D? In his book “Power of vitamin D” Safraz Zaidi MD links vitamin D deficiency as a factor to not only degenerative arthritis and Osteoporosis but also: body aches and pains, chronic fatigue syndrome, hyperparathyroidism, low immune system and the common cold, asthma, tuberculosis, lupus (SLE), M.S., type 1 diabetes, hyper- and hypo- thyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease, heart disease, cancer, and hypertension.

Realizing the power of vitamin D as a hormone affecting so many bodily functions and systems helps us to realize how this could be possible, that so many disorders could be linked as a factor to a single deficiency such as this.

Some of the most amazing and startling findings on sunlight and its effects on humans, plants, and animals came from a man named John Ott. If you’ve heard of an ott light (which is a full spectrum light bulb), it’s named after him. He developed time lapse photography. All those cool films showing flowers growing from seed or fruits growing from flower to something big red and juicy that take weeks or months to happen in real time; he developed a method of showing that growth spurt in half a minute on film.

During the time as he was developing his filming methods he was continually asked to film this vegetable, flower or plant during it’s growth process from sprout to bloom or fruit which in order to film this long process had to be in a controlled environment often with artificial lighting. What he discovered was that the growth process was altered depending on the type of light being used, if color filters were used, or if he allowed sunlight to pass through glass or clear plastic pains. He was suffering from debilitating arthritis in his hip during this time and wore glasses. Inspired by his discoveries in working with plants he began giving himself sunlight therapy part of which involved removing his glasses and allowing unfiltered sunlight to enter through his eyes and his skin, and effectively completely reversed his arthritis and found it unnecessary to wear his glasses. (Sunlight therapy is a healing practice that has been well documented as having been used as early as pre Roman- Greece.)

He began conducting his own research with sunlight, including using time lapse photography to show the effects of sunlight on the cellular level through a microscope. These experiments showed cells moving in chaotic and distorted patterns when different parts of the light spectrum were cut out using different colored filters or glass. He spent the rest of his life with much support from leaders in the medical community lobbying to have research conducted that could be published and accepted by western science on his findings. This of course never came to pass, since if it were shown that sunlight could cure many of todays most baffling and destructive diseases it would take a huge bite out of the billions in profits enjoyed by the pharmaceutical industry. However he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science Degree from Loyola University of Chicago, authored many books and articles, produced a film of some of his work, gave literally thousands of lectures at conferences, scientific symposiums and to the general public over the years, including lectures to the Cancer Control Society. So his lifes work lives on. His work also showed that like plants, animals and humans evolved with and have a need for the full spectrum of sunlight to have all their systems function properly.

Consider this. In 1900 more than 75% of the population in the U.S. worked outdoors, while in 1970 less than 10% did. I can’t imagine what the current percentage is in 2011.

In the 1930’s sunlight therapy was very popular and a doctor named August Rollier who was director of a sunlight therapy clinic in Leysin, a town high in the Swiss Alps, attributed the therapeutic action of the sun to it’s ultraviolet rays. This clinic was built at a 5000 foot elevation to allow maximum exposure to U.V. rays for their therapies. They had patients who were completely cured of tuberculosis (among other diseases) and one doctor at the clinic discovered that the sunlight had no affect on patients who wore sunglasses. This is one among many reported examples of how important it is to receive natural full spectrum sunlight through the eyes in addition to the skin when possible.


There is much research showing how harmful and dangerous the sun is and we’re sold many products to help protect us from the “dangerous” sun because of “the increase in U.V. rays from our depleted ozone”. Dr. Ott said it best when he stated “If you stick your hand in a furnace it’s going to get burned. But this doesn’t mean you should avoid heat completely and keep your house at absolute zero! The public has to understand that light is a nutrient just like a vitamin or a mineral. Trace amounts of ultraviolet radiation are as important to people as trace amounts of vital nutrients.”

I could go on and on about the benefits of sunlight and some people have (take a look below at the books which were sources for this article). One of the most important aspects of receiving adequate sunlight on a daily basis in my minds eye is the synthesis of vitamin D. So I encourage you to do your own research and read some of the sources I list at the end of this article. Here are some helpful practices regarding sunlight that will help boost your vitamin D level among other health benefits:

1. Spend as much time as you can outdoors every day regardless of the weather. (1hour minimum is suggested). Even on a cloudy day or being in the shade (which is said to reduce U.V. rays by aprox. 50%) is extremely beneficial. Other considerations on this are:

The further north you are from the equator the less is the intensity of the sun rays reaching earth.

The hours between 10am and 2pm (aka the burning hours) should be utilized with caution. Sunburn damages skin cells and dna and is thought to cause skin cancer. If you have fair skin it might be best to avoid direct sunlight during these hours completely.

2. Regarding suntan lotion- SPF 8 blocks 95% of U.V. rays thus nullifying the benefits of skin exposure to the sun. Also a recent report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration concluded that fourteen out of seventeen suntan lotions containing PABA can be carcinogenic when exposed to the sun. Additional research indicates that PABA can cause genetic damage to the DNA in the skin. It might be advisable to use no suntan lotion and gradually build your time in the sun. Other ingredients to avoid include Benzophenones, Cinnamates, Salicylates, Digalloyl trioleate, Menthyl anthranilate, and Avobenzone. All found in most commercial sunscreens.

3. Ordinary window glass blocks almost 100% of short wave U.V. and this distorted light spectrum has in fact been implicated (by Dr. Ott and others) to cause a myriad of developmental issues in plants and animals especially by exposure through the eyes. How many hours a day do you spend wearing glasses that don’t have full spectrum lenses or looking through the windshield of a car?

4. The skin of an elderly person is said to produce 25% less vitamin D to that of a young person, so more exposure to sunlight may be advisable.

5. The color of your skin comes from a pigment called melanin. Melanin serves as a natural sunscreen and blocks sunrays from getting into deeper layers of your skin. Therefore although sunburn is less of a danger if you have darker skin the need for longer exposure to sunlight to get the same benefits as a person with fair skin would be necessary. For example an African American would need to spend about 10x’s the amount of time in the sun as compared to a fair skinned person to receive the same benefits.

I hope you’ll find these suggestions useful and are able to spend more time outdoors honoring the star that gives our planet life.


In Gratitude-

Shawn Kinsella LMT,CA,PYT


Sources for this article include:

“Light Medicine of the future” by Jacob Liberman, O.D. PH.D.

“Power of Vitamin D” By Sarfraz Zaidi, MD

“Health and Light” by John N. Ott

Nutrition and Vitamin D (Vitamin D part II)

Last month we explored how we are affected by sunlight, and it’s affects on our hormonal systems which control and regulate all the systems in our bodies. Also we looked at how vitamin D is produced via sunlight in our bodies and how important this vitamin/hormone is to our health. This month we’ll take a look at how we can increase this essential nutrient through our diet. I won’t repeat the chemistry of how our bodies produce vitamin D in this article as it was covered in last months article. Click here to read the archive.

As discussed in last months article we need to obtain as much vitamin D as possible from as many Natural sources as possible to keep our stores up, especially during the winter months. This is especially true if you live in the pacific northwest (where less UV rays reach the earths surface), are over 50 (when vitamin D production drops), or have darker skin (less UV penetration through the skin.

First don’t be afraid of taking in too much vitamin D and causing toxicity. According to leading vitamin D expert Sarfraz Zaidi, MD it’s impossible to develop vitamin D toxicity from the sun as the skin will degrade any excess vitamin D formed there. Further in his 10 years of treating and testing for vitamin D deficiency he has yet to find a single case of serious vitamin D toxicity in his patients while they are on vitamin D2 or D3 supplementation! This is also true and in line with many other experts in the field of vitamin D. When medical writers of newspapers and magazines talk of vitamin D toxicity they often make a blanket statement about vitamin D supplements which is a mistake. Because of the widespread epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, and the deficiency which occurs in patients who have kidney failure and are on dialysis, or have had their parathyroid glands removed, allopathic medicine has developed a synthetic form of vitamin D- Calcitrol aka Rocaltrol. This is a drug rather than a supplement and is much more powerful than vitamin D2 or D3 and if not monitored closely can cause vitamin D toxicity- thus the “toxicity” scare in the media.

So how much vitamin D should I be taking in?

Unless you have a job or life which allows you to be outside for a majority of the day I would highly recommend that you take some sort of vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D is measured in I.U.’s (international units). In pharmacology, the International Unit is a unit of measurement for the amount of a substance, based on biological activity or effect. Currently the recommended daily dose by the powers that be is 200-600 I.U. a day. This number was decided upon at the turn of the century during an epidemic of rickets caused by the industrialization of our culture where people were spending more time indoors (as factory or office workers) and from the radical shift in a nutrient poor diet also brought on by industrialization as well. So you may take a multivitamin that claims to meet 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) in vitamin D however if you actually got your vitamin D levels checked via your MD or health practitioner you might find that you fall into the estimated 70-90% of Americans who are deficient in this nutrient (most of whom don’t even know it).

In an article published in the July 2006 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition the authors concluded that for most people the optimal level of vitamin D cannot be obtained by current recommended daily doses. In March 2007 a number of researchers published an editorial urging that the recommended daily dosage be raised to 1700 I.U. a day to meet sufficient requirements. Keep in mind not all supplements are created equal and it’s vitally important to take supplementation from a researched, trusted, and bioavailable (made of ingredients your body can actually absorb and metabolize) product or you may just be wasting your money. Personally I take anywhere from 1000-2000 I.U. daily in a high quality and fully bioavailable fish oil supplement. This in addition to the foods I eat which contain some vitamin D already and being conscious of spending as much time as possible outside to absorb UV rays (without eyeglasses or sunglasses, and un-obstructed by glass i.e windows and car windshields). Therapeutic doses of vitamin D can range anywhere from 6000 to 50,000 I.U. and should be calculated by your health practitioner to be safe. (the 50,000 I.U. range is usually only for extreme medical conditions as mentioned earlier).

Although the experts claim diet is not a major source of vitamin D I feel it is essential to supplement and include foods that naturally contain vitamin D to keep your levels up as few of us are able to obtain sufficient amounts from sunlight alone. The body can store surplus vitamin D for up to 2 weeks in an ideal situation. Another speculation of note is that some researchers claim that sunlight is needed to metabolize dietary vitamin D.

To give you an idea of the amount of D that some foods are supposed to contain here’s a list of foods commonly indicated to contain Vitamin D.

Salmon, cooked (3.5oz) 360 I.U.

Mackerel, cooked (3.5oz) 345 I.U.

Canned Tuna (3oz) 200 I.U.

Sardines canned in oil, drained (1.75oz) 250 I.U.

Fortified Milk, one cup (8oz) 100 I.U.

Fortified Orange Juice, one cup (8oz) 100 I.U.

Fortified Cereal 40-80 I.U.

Egg, 1 whole (Vitamin D is in the yolk) 20 I.U.

Liver or Beef, cooked (3.5oz) 15 I.U.

Something to consider! Don’t rely on the stated quantities of vitamin D on food labels. In one study researchers found that D in fortified milk was less than 80% the stated amount.

In addition vitamin D content of fish is highly variable. Most people who are conscious of vitamin D intake ingest cod liver oil on a daily basis which is great as it contains EFA’s and is high in anti- inflammatory omega 3’s; but as a supplement to assist in calcium/mineral absorption and metabolizing you may want to look at the label more closely. Your body needs adequate levels of D for mineral absorption and in order to keep your D levels up there needs to be a balanced ratio between vitamin A and D in your intake. For every vitamin D receptor in the body there are 2 for vitamin A in every cell. An excess of one can cause a deficiency in the other. For example one brand of fish oil lists 650-1000 I.U. of A and a mere 20 I.U. of D on the label in an un-concentrated formula. The amount of D should be somewhere around 1000 I.U. to balance out the vitamin A quantity. Usually you’ll need to find a concentrated formula of cod liver oil which keeps these ratios in check for your supplementation to be effective.

Our ancestors weren’t subjected to the environment and food supplies depleted in nutrients that we have today in our lives. Which is why we need supplements unlike they did. So get outside as often as possible eat foods high in Vitamin D (and A) and make sure you have a high quality supplement so you can thrive not just survive.

If you want help or recommendations obtaining quality supplements send us an email at info@mettariver.com or ask us about it at your next class or session.

Stay Well-

Shawn Kinsella LMT, CA, PYT


Sources for this article:

Power of Vitamin D By Sarfraz Zaidi, MD

Primal Mind Primal Body by Nora Gedgaudas CNS, CNT

Your Body’s Ph

This month we are discussing what ph balance is in our bodies. Let’s begin at the beginning by explaining what Ph is as it relates to our bodies. In our bodies we are filled with solutions which are either acids or bases. Acids are…. acidic, bases are more alkaline (the opposite of acidic). To ensure proper functioning of all body systems our fluids must contain almost balanced quantities of acids and bases. For aspiring science nerds: The more hydrogen ions (H+) dissolved in a solution the more acidic the solution, conversely the more hydroxide ions (OH-) the more basic (alkaline) the solution. In other words we need an acid/ alkaline ph balance to ensure that our bodies can keep us in homeostasis. This happens by the regulation of the sensitive chemical reactions which are constantly occurring in the body which require acidity or alkalinity in the fluids which they occur.

The reason we hear so much about ph balance and “alkalizing our systems” is that most of us are constantly bombarding our systems with too many acid causing situations and need to be proactive toward building a more alkaline environment. But back to the chemistry of ph: So now we know what the spectrum of ph is and next we need to know how it’s measured. When we see or read anything about ph there is usually a # next to it. Ph is measured on a scale of 0-14. For some this next part might seem counter intuitive but a lower number closer to the “0” end of the scale is more acid. A number closer to 14 is more alkaline. 7 on the scale is neutral (neither acid nor alkaline). So to give you an example of what this looks like in our day to day world take a look at some of these examples of substances and their corresponding ph values:

Gastric Juice 1.2-3.0

Grape fruit juice, vinegar, wine 3.0

Vaginal Fluid 3.5-4.5

Urine 4.6-8.0

Saliva 6.35-6.85

Distilled (pure) water 7.0

Blood 7.35-7.45

Semen 7.20-7.60

Bile (liver secretion that aids fat digestion) 7.6-8.6

Milk of Magnesia 10.5

Lye 14

Another thing to consider when looking at the ph scale is that a change of one whole number is a 10 fold change in acidity or alkalizing. So a substance with a ph of 5 is 10 times more acidic than something with a ph of 6.

So what does all this mean to me and why do I care about my body’s ph? Our bodies are working very hard to maintain a ph balance in our blood between 7.35 and 7.45 so that it is slightly more alkaline than water. That is a narrow margin!! The miracle of our bodies is that they can accomplish this day in day out 24/7, and unless we have a life threatening illness our systems will keep us in balance. So as the wise and venerable Douglas Adams says “Don’t Panic!”. However we should be kind to our bodies and give them all the help they need to function properly instead of working against them and following short lived happiness by loading up on acid forming foods. And acid forming diet would require our bodies to process and expel all the extra acid (mostly through our sweat and urine) to bring us back into balance. This is very taxing on our systems and there have been studies showing that cancer cells thrive in and acid environment and cannot survive in a more alkaline environment… Hmmm.

A more acidic system is also a breeding ground for yeast infections, rashes, dandruff, mouth ulcers, herpes outbreaks, lethargy and general malaise (feeling crappy). You can test your ph level by purchasing some ph test strips from your local health food store (new seasons and whole foods has them) and test 3x’s a day morning noon and evening:

saliva –(which will test in a smaller range than urine) salivary pH mirrors the blood (if not around meals) and is also a fairly good indicator of health. It helps to tell us what the body retains.

Or test your urine- The pH of the urine indicates how the body is working to maintain the proper pH of the blood. The pH of urine indicates the efforts of the body via the kidneys, adrenals, lungs and gonads to regulate body pH balance through the buffer salts and hormones.

Urine can provide a fairly accurate picture of body chemistry, because the kidneys filter out the byproducts of pH regulation and provide ph values based on what the body is eliminating. Urine pH can vary from around 4.5 to 9.0 for its extremes, but the ideal range is 6.5 to 7.0+. Urinary pH tends to be lower in the morning and higher in the evening.

So our ph will vary depending on time of day or when you ate. It’s constantly changing. Generally you’ll be more acid first thing in the morning then you’ll become more alkaline as you drink water and eat fruits and veggies ect.

Doing this testing for about a week you’ll see a trend emerge and see how much you need to shift your lifestyle. We can bring our bodies back to a more alkaline environment first and foremost by the foods we eat.

For the most part eating more fruits and veggies will have an alkaline-forming effect on your body.

Most grains, animal foods, and highly processed foods have an acid-forming effect on your body fluids, especially refined wheat flour and Sugar.

You can purchase a chart showing foods with actual ph values from many sources online but here’s a list I found and “borrowed” from another website without ph#’s (url below)

Barley Grass
Beet Greens
Chard Greens
Collard Greens
Edible Flowers
Fermented Veggies
Green Beans
Green Peas
Mustard Greens
Nightshade Veggies
Parsnips (high glycemic)
Sea Veggies
Spinach, green
Sweet Potatoes
Wheat Grass
Wild Greens

Dandelion Root

Banana (high glycemic)
Cherries, sour
Coconut, fresh
Dates, dried
Figs, dried
Honeydew Melon
Tropical Fruits
Umeboshi Plums

Tempeh (fermented)
Tofu (fermented)
Whey Protein Powder


Chili Pepper
Herbs (all)
Sea Salt

Alkaline Antioxidant Water
Apple Cider Vinegar
Bee Pollen
Fresh Fruit Juice
Green Juices
Lecithin Granules
Mineral Water
Molasses, blackstrap
Probiotic Cultures
Soured Dairy Products
Veggie Juices

Calcium: pH 12
Cesium: pH 14
Magnesium: pH 9
Potassium: pH 14
Sodium: pH 14

Winter Squash

Canned or Glazed Fruits

Bran, oat
Bran, wheat
Crackers, soda
Flour, wheat
Flour, white
Hemp Seed Flour
Oats (rolled)
Rice (all)
Rice Cakes
Wheat Germ

Almond Milk
Black Beans
Chick Peas
Green Peas
Kidney Beans
Pinto Beans
Red Beans
Rice Milk
Soy Beans
Soy Milk
White Beans

Cheese, Processed
Ice Cream
Ice Milk

Peanut Butter

Corned Beef
Organ Meats

Avacado Oil
Canola Oil
Corn Oil
Flax Oil
Hemp Seed Oil
Olive Oil
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Sunflower Oil

Corn Syrup

Hard Liquor

Soft Drinks

Drugs, Medicinal
Drugs, Psychedelic

Beer: pH 2.5
Coca-Cola: pH 2
Coffee: pH 4

List taken from www.rense.com

One thing to keep in mind is that our emotions and stress levels affect our acid/ alkaline balance GREATLY! You can eat as healthfully as you like but if your adhering to rigid thought patterns (like adhering to a strict diet for years), working too many hours and not getting enough rest, have irregular sleep patterns, in a state of constant worry you’ll never correct your acid balance by food alone. So again “don’t panic”. If you would like to learn more about this subject or are interested in supplements or nutritional counseling to balance your ph levels contact us to learn about products we use and believe in, or schedule a nutrition session and learn how to bring yourself to an optimal level of health. Stay well.


Shawn Kinsella LMT, CA, PYT


Sources for this article include:

Introduction to the human body by Gerard J. Tortora and Bryan Derrickson



My opinions

Meal Timing is everything

This month we’ll be discussing the idea that ‘when’ you eat is just as important as what you eat. There are many nutritionists who are very passionate about this idea including myself so here’s ‘this’ nutritionists take on it.

The foundation of this idea lies in our body’s circadian rhythm or body clock. A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour cycle that many bodily processes adhere to such as digestion. Other circadian rhythms in the body are the sleep cycle, body temperature, hormonal cycles, and up to 15% of our genes are regulated by a circadian rhythm. All of these processes relate to digestion which we’ll focus on in this article.

An easy way to understand and explain the body’s digestive circadian rhythm is to look at the concept of Natural Hygiene popularly used by the Fit For Life diet. Disclaimer-(I do not believe in the Fit for Life diet as a healthful way to eat on a long term basis but this pioneering book definitely deserves a huge amount of credit for some of it’s ideas and concepts which can be useful if used appropriately).

Natural Hygiene was formed in the 1850’s by four medical doctors wishing to promote weight loss and diet as the all-important factors in acquiring and maintaining high levels of health. What is natural hygiene? Natural hygiene is the body’s internal mechanisms naturally and continuously striving for good health by continuously cleansing itself of deleterious waste material. Further, it is the understanding of food and body and the effect food has on the length and quality of a body’s life.

Natural Hygiene can be divided into natural bodily cycles as put forth by the American College of Health Science. Scientists and researchers in their studies of the circadian rhythms suggest that the body’s ability to effectively function with food intake depends on the effective functioning of three regular daily cycles: appropriation, assimilation and elimination. Although all of these cycles function to some regular degree throughout the day, they are more active during specific eight hour periods of each day:

  • appropriation – eating and digestion, is more active from 12 noon – 8pm and demands the most amount of energy comparatively
  • assimilation – absorption and use, is more active from 8pm – 4am
  • elimination – discarding of waste and debris, is more active from 4am - 12 noon and is essential to have at its side sufficient energy to discard toxic waste from ingested food and natural weight loss and metabolism. Metabolism in this regard is responsible for regenerating the body; thus, old cells must be eliminated.


These ideas are nothing new and can be seen similarly in Chinese medicine dating back thousands of years. The Body Clock found in Chinese medicine has many sub- levels in its mechanisms but on a basic level it begins with organ function/meridians and times of day they are the most active.

For two hours each day, each meridian which is associated with an organ or system has a high surge of bio-electric energy. (Proven by western science- our body’s nervous system runs on an ionic electrical current and there are documented bioelectric shifts on circadian cycles on a cellular level in our bodies. You can do a search on pub med “Cyclic AMP signaling” if you’re a nerd ). So the body clock is listed below-


5-7 a.m. — Large Intestine — Removes toxins from the night’s cleansing.


7-9 a.m. — Stomach — The stomach receives a surge of energy after a night of rest and readies itself to intake more food to optimize digestion and assimilation.

9-11 a.m. — Pancreas — The pancreas is the next organ in the digestive process after the stomach passes its contents on. Enzymes from the pancreas continue the digestive process.

11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Heart — Food materials enter the blood stream. The heart pumps nutrients throughout the system and takes its lipid requirements.

1-3 p.m. — Small Intestine — The slow process of assimilation and uptake of nutrients as they complete digestion pass through the small intestine into the bloodstream.

3-5 p.m. — Bladder — Metabolic wastes from morning’s nutrition intake clear, making room for the kidney’s filtration to come.

5-7 p.m. — Kidney — Filters blood (decides what to keep, what to throw away), maintains proper chemical balance of blood based on nutritional intake of day.

7-9 p.m. — Circulation — Nutrients are carried to groups of cells (capillaries) and to each individual cell (lymphatics.)

9-11 p.m. — Triple Heater — The endocrine system adjusts the homeostasis of the body based on electrolyte and enzyme replenishment.

11 p.m.- 1 a.m. — Gall Bladder — Initial cleansing of all tissues, processes cholesterol, enhances brain function.

1-3 a.m. — Liver — Cleansing of blood. Processing of wastes.

3-5 a.m. — Lung — Respiration. Oxygenation. Expulsion of waste gasses.


These are two well referenced and used systems for tracking your body’s metabolic processes and shouldn’t be taken as law as we are all bio-individuals. However use one or both of these systems as a starting point to understand the importance of when and how to eat.


Our digestive system is beyond fascinating. We use more energy and resources in digestion than ANY OTHER BODILY FUNCTION! Yep- more than lifting weights, running a marathon, or thinking really really hard. That might be why our digestive system has it’s own branch of the Peripheral nervous system which is divided into three parts. There’s the somatic system SNS, the autonomic system ANS, and the enteric system ENS-(devoted solely to digestion). I bring these points up to illustrate how important the digestive process is and how devastating it can be when we don’t allow our digestive system to work efficiently and rest when it needs rest. The resting periods are shown in both the Natural Hygiene and Chinese body clock systems and are vitally important to our health.

If we are constantly full and or are eating when we’re not hungry we’re forcing our digestive system into a state of exhaustion. Our stomachs can’t produce enough acid to break down proteins, our pancreas can’t keep up with the demands to produce enzymes to further break down carbs and proteins (not to mention produce adequate amounts of insulin for sugar handling) and our gallbladders run out of bile to break down fats. Any imbalance in the digestive process could be further linked to just about every disease and life threatening illness imaginable; by impairing our immune systems ability to fight disease.

Here are some examples of what can go wrong if we don’t give our digestion a rest once and a while. Un-digested nutrients entering our intestines won’t be absorbed properly and can putrefy causing our immune system to devote it’s energies to protecting us against our dinner rather than that bacteria we just inhaled during flu season. If we do absorb nutrients which aren’t fully digested into our bloodstream, again our immune system takes action to protect us and we’ll feel an allergic type response and not know where it came from. This is occurrence is what’s referred to as leaky gut syndrome and may be the cause of what’s known as food “sensitivities”. Also a stomach constantly bombarded with the task of producing more HCl (stomach acid) than it’s able to can cause low stomach acid. A low acid environment in the stomach can cause unfriendly bacteria to form which can cause ulcers, systemic candidiasis, yeast infections ect.

So what to do!? First let’s start with meal times:

I recommend to my clients that they give themselves approximate meal times with a 1-2 hour window. We need to honor our body’s circadian rhythm by eating at the same time every day, but we also need to allow ourselves to become empty between meals, and definitely at night when our body is detoxing. So in other words if your Lunch time is between 12-2pm don’t eat right at 12noon if you don’t feel hungry and you still feel your breakfast in your stomach. Wait a little while and eat a later lunch closer to 2pm.

First and last meals of the day:

Break-fast… You are breaking the fasting and detox you underwent while sleeping so give yourself a chance to wake up and feel fully awake and energized before consuming your first meal. I recommend a small but nutrient and energy dense meal to give yourself lasting energy for the first part of the day; without putting too great a demand on your digestive system while it’s still trying to wake up. Foods high in fats and proteins serve this purpose well and you might want to add a small amount of green vegetables or fruit with low sugar such as grapefruit to add some fiber and live enzymes to your meal.

Dinner- Never ever eat just before you go to bed. You should have a minimum 2 hours after your last meal before going to bed. In other words your stomach needs to be empty before you sleep. A full stomach before bed is asking for sleep disorders and worse (re- read the leaky gut part of this article). Because of the amount of energy it takes to begin breaking down your food your body will need you to be awake to have enough resources to get the job done properly. On that note eating desert (anything sweet) at night is a bad idea; especially if you have any difficulty sleeping the night through till morning. One of the many ways that sugar or anything sweet (as you body doesn’t know the difference) can mess with your adrenals, hormonal function, and sleep patterns.

Meal size: Limit the amount of food you eat at each meal to what you determine you can digest in 3-4 hours (the next meal time). Everybody is going to be a little different and needs to find what’s best for them. So if you find you’re never hungry at lunch I recommend you make your breakfast smaller. If you’re not hungry 2 hours after rising in the morning you probably need to make your dinner smaller. Lunch time is usually the best time to eat a larger meal and eat a sweet food and then keep the first meal (coming out of your daily fast) and last meal (going into your fast) smaller.

So to re-cap:
-stick to regular meal times

-only eat when your stomach is empty and you feel hungry

-determine appropriate meal sizes

-make sure you’re empty before bedtime

These are some general recommendations to help your digestion and aren’t meant to be exacting. A personal dietary plan can take trial and error or may require professional guidance to become effective. Contact us if you’d like to schedule a free nutrition consultation to learn more about a nutritional therapy session. Stay well.

Food Combining

This month I will be discussing the idea of food combining. I mentioned food combining in last month’s article while discussing meal timing and mentioned that I felt it has some relevance to a healthy diet. So first lets look at what food combining is and how it’s proponents “think” that it works physiologically.

Basically food combining is eating your macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins) in an “optimal” combination to maximize digestion and absorption. The food combining dogma is that eating in this way will “help you loose weight!”… Exciting stuff.

First here is the claim of the food combining world :

It’s based on the theory that different food groups require different digestion times and that digestion is helped the most by using foods which have roughly the same digestion time. Thus proper food combinations are important for proper digestion, utilization, and assimilation of the nutrients in our diet. The principles of food combining are dictated by digestive chemistry. Different foods require different digestive enzymes to aid in the digestive process - some acid, some alkaline. As any student of chemistry will assure you, acids and bases (alkalis) neutralize each other. When acids and alkalines come in contact, they neutralize each other and this retards digestion.

Protein foods require a highly acidic environment for digestion while carbohydrates (starches, fruit and sugar) and fats require a more alkaline medium. Anytime 2 or more foods are eaten at the same time, and those foods require opposite conditions for digestion, the digestive process is compromised.

When starches and proteins are combined their stimulation to the digestive juices generates a conflicting response and produces a medium which does not digest either food very well. This situation often leads to indigestion, bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, and poor absorption of nutrients. Any quick digesting foods - such as fruit - must wait until the slowest digesting foods leave the stomach before they can leave - a process which can take up to 6 or 8 hours. While waiting, the fruit and some of the starches undergo some decomposition and fermentation, producing gas, acid and even alcohol along with indigestion.

Proponents of food combining advocate the following principles:

The most important rule, is this: Don't mix starch foods with protein foods at the same meal.

Here are the other principles which proponents of food combining adhere to:

1. Eat starches and acids at separate meals. Acids neutralize the alkaline medium required for starch digestion and the result is indigestion and fermentation.

2. Eat carbohydrate foods and protein foods at separate meals. Protein foods require an acid medium for digestion.

3. Eat only one kind of protein food at a meal.

4. Eat proteins and acid foods at separate meals. The acids of acid foods inhibit the secretion of the digestive acids required for protein digestion.
Undigested proteins putrefy in bacterial decomposition and produces some potent poisons.

5. Eat proteins and fats at separate meals. Some foods, especially nuts, are over 50% fat and require hours for digestion.

6. Eat proteins and sugars (fruits) at separate meals.

7. Eat starchy foods and sugars (fruits) at separate meals. Fruits undergo no digestion in the stomach and are held up if eaten with foods which
require digestion in the stomach.

8. Eat melons alone. Melons combine with almost no other food.

9. Forget the desserts. Eaten on top of meals they lie heavy on the stomach, requiring no digestion there, and ferment. Bacteria turn them into alcohols, acetic acids and vinegars.


O.K. This is your humble author speaking again and wanted you to have the full claim by food combining proponents. Now before I go any further you should know that I love experimenting with my own body and tried food combining quite exclusively for over a year, so I’ve had the full experience of this way of eating for my system.

Some people when switching to this way of eating see great changes in their health and I’m a huge proponent of doing what works for the individual and that we are all biological individuals. But I often wonder what people ate before they switched to this or any “new way” of eating. Often the answer is the diet might have ranged from fairly nutrient rich but random, to garbage/non-food which is why when a systematic approach to one’s diet is addopted huge health improvements are seen and hot new diets are sworn by.

Now lets look at the food combining claims a little more closely: First the claim of weight loss have been tested in several clinical studies (here’s one http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=1339098) and this claim has to date never been substantiated.

Next the picture painted on “how” food combining works is only partly true and a little skewed in my opinion.

What needs to be understood in the digestive process is that the acidity and alkalinity during digestion has very specific organs in which these extremes take place and must take place in order for digestion to function properly. For example we need the highly acid environment in the stomach to trigger the pancreas to neutralize the acid enough so that it’s safe to move from the duodenum where most of the fat and carb digestion (catabolism) takes place.

Here’s an oversimplified version of the digestive process so you can have a little more understanding: The process of digestion needs the extreme acid of the stomach to break down proteins and then the acid from the stomach is neutralized in the duodenum by the pancreas which also is stimulated to produce enzymes (enzymes are kinda like little machines that build or break things down in the body) which break down carbs and then the gallbladder puts in bile to break down fats (if saturated fats are present). From there this chyme enters the rest of the small intestine where it is slowly absorbed and where the possibility of purification can take place if digestion is compromised for some reason. Also it should be understood that no macro nutrients are purely carbohydrate, protein, or fats. That’s just the way it is. Our digestive systems were designed to eat digest and reorganize these nutrients into the components it needs for optimal health. Because of our bio-individuality we might need to eat more or less of certain macro nutrients for optimal digestion but as long as we don’t abstain from any of the macro nutrients (like a low carb, low fat, or low protein diets) our biology will be stimulated to keep producing the enzymes needed to digest these nutrients properly.

So all of this being considered I need also add that we never evolved separating out our nutrients. Never… What is relatively recent in our diets is carbohydrates such as seeds, grains, flours, and sugar in the quantities we consume them in now. Large quantities of carbs or sugar will neutralize stomach acid and compromise digestion which is why food combining seems like it works for some; but the reason why it works isn’t really how they claim it works.

It might be tempting to say “Well it works so why are you writing this article?”. Here’s why- If you follow the food combining dogma then you eat carbs all by themselves without fats or proteins to help “digest” them. But starchy carbohydrates eaten by themselves (and of course sugar) causes sharp spikes in blood sugar which creates a cascade of events in the body that are linked to too many diseases and disorders to write in this article. There’s been a lot of research showing that these insulin spikes might be linked to hyper tension and arteriosclerosis (not by eating too much cholesterol and fat which I’ll get into in another article), and is definitely linked to everything having to do with diabetes… Something to think about.

All this being said I do feel food combining is useful because it helps us become more mindful of what were eating and in what proportions. For example if your going to eat some bread or hot cereal put some butter on it or coconut oil to slow the absorption of the sugars into the blood. And don’t worry about eating fats and oils they won’t make you fat. I’ll tell you why in a future article but for now trust me. In general keep carbohydrate consumption in check. Really look at what you eat on a daily basis and if you're eating more than %50 of your meals in the form of starchy carbs or sugar than it could be a problem.

So to re cap what I’m suggesting: eat proteins, fats and carbohydrates together but stop eating before you feel full to allow for proper digestion. Or eat fats and proteins without any starchy carbs if you feel you need some help digesting them.

If you’d like to learn more about basic dietary info. you can schedule a Nutritional Therapy initial consultation with me and gain some knowledge on moving closer to your optimal health. Consultations are 30 minutes and will also give you an idea if you’d like to commit to a full session and have a deeper understanding of your organ function and what your optimal diet designed just for you should be.

Shawn Kinsella LMT, CA, PYT

Walk it Off

This month I want to talk about the seriously underrated practice of walking. It’s something that we all take for granted say like breathing but like breathing if we stop walking and using our legs it can lead to serious health issues. So that movie got it wrong… “Dead Man Not Walking”.

First lets look at the mechanics of walking and it’s benefits. Did you know you have a second heart besides the one in your chest? It’s one of the calf muscles in your lower legs known as the soleus. It’s main job besides flexing your ankle as you push off to take a step is sending blood from the lower extremities back up to the heart. It’s important to know that the heart works pushing oxygenated blood out to the entire body but has a lesser roll in returning the blood back to the lungs for more oxygen. When you’re standing the pressure pushing blood up the veins towards the heart is barely enough to overcome the force of gravity pushing it back down. So if you contract/flex your soleus (and the other calf muscles) as in walking, running ect., this action compress’ the vein in your lower leg to send your blood back on it’s way to the heart. The flow of lymph in the body is circulated by similar actions throughout the body.

You may say “That’s nice but I really don’t want to live forever and while I’m here for this short visit on this plane of existence all I really want is to look as attractive as I possibly can on the outside.” Well guess what, walking is beneficial for that too! When trying to stay trim or loose weight everyone knows you need to exercise but few people know the profound effect of taking a simple hour long walk on fat burning and maintaining muscle structure. When muscles are inactive, they are easily attacked for conversion into glucose by the liver when it’s doing its job maintaining proper blood glucose levels to keep us alive. However if muscles are used on a regular basis, they begin to metabolize some of their stored fat as a choice source of energy to exert their force and maintain or increase their bulk. To do this they begin to activate a fat-breaking enzyme, hormone sensitive lipase. It has been shown in repeated blood tests in Sweden (those Swedes…) that this enzymes activity is seen after one hour’s walk and it retains it’s fat-breaking activity for 12 hours! (1 for 12 what a deal!). With repeated walks, the activity of the fat-burning enzymes becomes much more pronounced.

Back to the health aspect again, it is this same lipase (fat-burning enzyme) in the blood circulation that also cleans the blood vessel walls of plaques and deposits which build up to patch and repair damaged vessel walls. Now we’re getting into the subject of a future article about big Fat lies.

So now that you have a new appreciation for walking… just do it. Walk instead of drive when you can and make it enjoyable. Go outside and walk in nature. This is much needed medicine in our culture and I hope you have a new found appreciation for this mobile movement which our bodies were specifically designed for. Stay well.

Sources for this article include:

Your body’s many cries for water- F. Batmanghelidj M.D.

Introduction to the Human Body, Essentials of A&P- Tortora and Derrickson

Whole Food Challenge

Spring is here and it’s time for spring cleaning. Time to dust, sweep out the old cobwebs and now is the perfect time for a cleanse. Many of us think that this has to be a cathartic dramatic experience and sometimes it can and should be but I’m here to give you a kinder gentler path. One of my Nutritional Therapy teachers wrote the article below and was kind enough to share it with us. This diet is designed to regulate blood sugar balance and free the body from addiction to starches (flour and grains) which rapidly  convert to sugar once consumed. Grains aren’t bad we just are coaxed into over consuming them in too large quantities by the food industry and of course eating refined sugars of any kind (see article below) also feeds this addiction. My personal spin on this diet would be to follow it to the letter for the 14 days and when you feel your energy and wellness returning at the end of two weeks continue the diet but eat larger meals at meal times (so not as frequent as every two hours. Read and stay well.

Shawn Kinsella LMT,CA,PYT




The following is a trial eating plan designed to: help you transition from a processed food rut; improve your digestion and blood sugar handling responses, and recalibrate the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. This whole food diet increases energy and vitality when followed closely. While certain individuals may find the diet does not provide complete nutrition for optimal health over the long-term, it is hugely beneficial for everyone during a trial period. As physical symptoms related to poorly functioning digestion, blood sugar and detoxification systems improve, some eliminated foods may be added back into the diet in a moderate manner. This way of eating takes planning, but is well worth the effort. Most people will lose many of their cravings for unhealthy foods within one or two weeks. Many are pleased to experience weight loss without feeling hungry or deprived. Others who need to gain weight often find weight return without undue effort.

THE KEY: Eat small amounts of food every two hours. Between meals, a small amount of nuts, or one half of an apple with a small amount of nut butter is enough. No processed or packaged foods are allowed. Eat only whole foods as found in nature. Choose organics when possible, look for seasonal variety.

BEGIN EACH DAY WITH A GLASS OF PURE, CLEAN WATER, SIPPED NOT GULPED. For an early morning detoxifying beverage, try this: 15 minutes prior to breakfast, squeeze the juice of a lemon in an 8oz. cup of hot water and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Sip slowly and feel the energy return!



Each meal should include a minimum of 2-4 ounces of protein. Eat as much as you desire of healthy, organic protein sources. Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are unlimited. Consider a homemade protein shake using whey, rice or hemp protein (no soy) as a quick, easy meal.


Eat as much as you desire, you can’t eat too many veggies! Focus on dark leafy greens, and a variety of bright and rich colors. Consider vegetable juicing to increase your intake of plant foods. Eat some vegetables raw or lightly cooked every day unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Try to avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes or yams.


Grains often cause a food sensitivity for many people, causing digestive and immune system dysfunctions (especially when not properly prepared as in most processed foods, including breads), so they are not allowed on the 14 Day Whole Food Challenge. Consume no wheat or other grain containing foods, including breads, rolls, muffins or pasta. A gluten-free starch may be allowed at the discretion of your Nutritional Therapist : whole grain brown or wild rice, ½ cup serving only at the evening meal. All rice should be roasted first before cooking. Place dry uncooked rice in pan and brown, some of the kernels will pop. Then steam or stovetop cook as you normally would. Try quinoa as an alternative, higher healthy protein content then rice.


Eat plenty of wholesome natural fats such as butter, lard and chicken fat, avocado, coconut, hemp, sesame, olive, walnut or sunflower oils. Supplemental fish oil is often recommended. Eliminate all artificial fats or oils such as margarine, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, and refined corn or vegetable oils.


One or two pieces of fresh, whole fruit per day from the recommended fruit list will encourage an alkaline environment in your body, helping your detoxification pathways function optimally. If you are concerned about your blood sugar levels, eliminate all fruit from your eating plan for 2 weeks and focus on increased vegetable intake. When enjoying fruit in your diet, eat it in combination with a nut butter (to balance the protein, fat and carbohydrate ratio), and the combination is best eaten as a snack between meals. Never eat fruit in combination with a flesh protein as it will slow digestion of the meat. Avoid the sweeter fruits such as bananas, mangos, grapes, persimmons, papayas, dried fruits, etc. Choose low glycemic fruit such as apples, pears, peaches, berries.


Raw nuts (soaked overnight and then low temperature dried), especially raw cashews, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, etc. make good healthy snacks. Be sure to chew well!


Dairy products are also commonly a food sensitivity, and they are difficult for many people to properly digest. Consume no dairy during this phase of your eating plan. A concession may be to allow some cultured dairy, such as whole-fat plain yogurt or kefir, or soft white raw cheeses such as feta. Small amounts of butter or ghee for cooking may be appropriate; splashes of heavy cream in decaf coffee or tea are also allowed.


To stop the sugar addiction: Use No Sweeteners of any kind. (No honey, sugar, agave, or stevia; and especially NO artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucrulose/Splenda.)


To avoid crashing blood sugar levels, eat something every 2 hours of the waking day. Only a small amount of food is necessary at one time. Consider sipping a homemade vegetable broth or water-diluted chicken or beef stock as a snack. This will boost your metabolism and fuel your detoxification pathways with healthy nutrients.


Divide your body weight in pounds in half; this is the recommended number of ounces of water you should consume on a daily basis. For example, a 150 lb. person should consume 75 oz. of water each day.

Avoid caffeinated beverages. If this is not possible for you J, add 12-16 oz. of water to your daily intake for every 8 oz. caffeinated beverage you do consume. Avoid alcohol as well during this 2 week eating plan.

After one to two weeks on this eating plan, your body will be digesting foods more effectively, increasing the nutrition you receive from all the great foods you’ve enjoyed. Many people find their blood sugar control mechanisms will be more balanced and cravings for sugar reduced. Your ability to detoxify and cleanse your body will also be enhanced. We’ll discuss how to incorporate additional healthy foods, with balanced ratios of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, back into your daily diet after this two week period.

Cathy Eason, NTP, CHFS, CGP, Abundant Health, LLC

Email: Live-Well@comcast.net

You can email me with and questions or comments at Shawn@mettariver.com

Coffee Enema Protocol

Greetings and happy spring in full swing! Last month we talked about a cleansing whole foods diet as a way to detoxify and enter into spring in a healthful way, so this month we'll continue that thread by sharing a coffee enema protocol you may want to try (disclaimer: at your own risk). I've been doing them for years and find them to be a quick simple way to detoxify if I'm too busy to be able to do a more involved fast or cleanse protocol. Here in the pacific northwest where coffee is king and seen as sacred. This is in my opinion mostly due to the fact that a large portion of the population is sunlight and vitamin D deficient and use coffee as a way to stave off full blown depression.... but I digress. If you're still reading this and ready to commit what might seem like sacrilege to most coffee drinkers, I've posted some of the finer points (some of which I've learned through experience) of how to perform a successful coffee enema. Like any type of cleanse it takes practice and patience. So if you have some difficulties try try again and find what works best for you. Here are some reasons you might want to try this if you've never done one before (taken from seekinghealth.com link is listed below to read in more detail.


Coffee Enema Benefits: Quick Facts

  1. Non-stimulating. In fact, they are calming when done properly.
  2. Stimulates bile flow. Caffeine stimulates your gallbladder to release toxic bile - a lot of bile - and bile stores a lot of toxins. This toxic bile gets washed out of your colon when coffee enemas are done properly.
  3. Increases glutathione production. High levels of palmitic acid, found in light roasted enema coffee, stimulates one of the bodies most important detoxification enzymes: glutathione-s-transferase (GST) which stimulates glutathione.
  4. Increases circulation. Theobromine, a stand alone compound and a byproduct of caffeine, is a potent dilator of blood vessels thereby increasing circulation. Poor circulation leads to a buildup of toxins, weak cell metabolism and cellular waste products. Thus, once you place theobromine, and caffeine, directly into your sigmoid colon via the coffee enema, you increase circulation thereby reducing cellular waste, stimulating cellular metabolism and eliminating toxins. Theobromine is found in lightly roasted enema coffees, especially Arabica or Robusta coffees
  5. Stimulates a bowel movement. The water found in the coffee enema stretches out the colon stiimulating the stretch receptors. This signals the body to have a bowel movement. Why is this a plus? You'll learn that in a minute.
  6. Pain Reduction. Pain reduction by coffee enemas was actually one of the first noticed benefits. The pain reduction occurs through a complex of processes which, although theoretical, makes sense and will be explained soon. In short, pain reduction may be due to increased bile flow, circulation and elimination of toxins.
  7. Contains antioxidants. Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants - one of the highest containing levels of any food or product.



So to start with just like any cleanse even a quckie like this one pick a day when you have a free schedule. In the case of a coffee enema I like to have at least half the day free. This is very important and not to be altered. If you don't have the time then you shouldn't be cleansing right now. You should be adjusting you life so you have more time which would be the first step to any cleansing practice.

Next you need to have some equipment to perform the enema such as an enema bag or bucket. I use one like the bag listed last on this page- http://www.optimalhealthnetwork.com/1.5-Quart-Economy-Enema-Kits-s/1019.htm but there are also some more fancy ones out there like this http://www.optimalhealthnetwork.com/2-or-4-Quart-Stainless-Steel-Enema-Buckets-s/1022.htm I got mine at a local drugstore. Once you have your bag or bucket (bucket style seems nice and easy to use and fill) you need the coffee. Buy only organic non roasted coffee beans and grind them yourself for best results. 

My friend Brian Campbell has a great coffee enema protocol I use with a few modifications. So I'm posting his protocol with my added comments. Have fun!! 

Brian Campbell's Coffee Enema Protocol

I always do my enema in the morning and prep the coffee the night before. If you try to cook the coffee in the morning you could be waiting around for hours for the coffee to cool off enough to use. So cook your coffee and the next morning filter out the grounds and warm it up a little.

1. Prepare coffee

  • You can pour grounds directly into a pot of water and cook at slow boil for 10 minutes. strain grounds well from coffee afterwards.
  • You can also brew coffee in a pot. 

How much coffee to use?
For first time users, 2-4 Tablespoons is a good starting point. The more experienced you become, add more Tablespoons!  Make sure it is organic!

In the end, your coffee-should be dark --

  • not too light and see thru--too much water/too little coffee.
  • or, not pitch black and thick-too much coffee/too little water. 

How much water to use?
You will use approximately 2 quarts of water.

It's usually best to split this procedure into two rounds, of 1 quart each.
I always brew 4quarts (1 gallon).  Better to have more than you'll use in case of a "malfunction" so you didn't set aside your morning in vein and have to cook and cool more coffee. Most enema bags hold 2 quarts as mine does and I put the extra in an insulated travel coffee container to keep it the same temperature in case I want to use it after the first two quarts are gone.

2.  Enema Equipment
You can get enema bags at most CVS, RiteAids, or Sav-On.
It will come with a bag, tube, and insertion thingy.
Clean your bag out first, then put it together.

3.  Procedure
Pour coffee into the hole in top of bag. Make sure you keep the end of the tube higher than the bag or else coffee will start pouring out.
Put your finger on the hole.
Put some lubrication on the tip,-good coconut oil or olive oil is fine.

I use some coconut oil for lubricant and put a little smudge on the edge of the bathtub for easy access and to avoid potential contamination if I need to use it twice that morning.

Assuming you are in the bathtub, you must have your bag suspended, so that the end of the tube is at the desired height(the position your anus will be in when you insert)-do not try and hold the bag while you do it. To take the enema you can lie on your back, on your side, or on your hands on knees. You must be comfortable.
Bring the end of the tube close, and let out all of the excess air-until the first bit of coffee comes out. This makes sure you don't fill your bowels up with air before coffee.
Insert, and start breathing.
The key is to relax, first external sphincter muscles, then internal sphincters, and keep relaxing as coffee fills up your rectum and sigmoid colon.
Many enema bags will have a clipping device, which will allow you to control the flow, by stopping it.
You must keep holding the tube or else it might shoot out.
Once full, or as full as you like. Hold the enema and perhaps drum on your belly moving the coffee around. You can also practice the abdominal excercise of uddiyana bandha-however, this may bring on an urgency to release the enema. I often use uddiyana bandha-to help release the last little bit at the end.

You can hold the enema for 5-15 minutes, or as long as is pleasureable to you.

How much coffee you take in and how long you are able to hold it takes practice. Also coffee is a mild laxative so don't be surprised if you have to let go of the first quart after a minute or so. I usually intentionally let go of a first round after a minute or two just to empty my bowels which helps the second round be more effective I feel. Then I go for a second round and hold for the 15 min or so.  

When ready have a seat on your toilet and practice the art of letting go.

I'd also like to comment  here not to strain! Relax as much as possible and you'll empty out just fine. Straining can cause a hemroid :[

Once completed. Repeat as desired, though doing one is just fine. (not recommended doing more than 3 in one day.) 

I strongly recommend just one "session" in a day and definitely no more than once a week. I've heard of people doing coffee enemas every day which is just pure lameness. Without having to go into all the physiological details an analogy would be scrubbing the hood of your car every day with a solvent.... Think about it. Give your body time to recoup and benefit from the cleanse and come into homeostasis in it's own time.  

Eat Fat

Consider this: The human brain is about 60% fat (dry weight).

Human breast milk is 54% fat, 39% carbohydrates, and 7% protein.

Every cell in the human body has a lipid membrane which protects it’s inner workings and selectively allows nutrients in and out. In other words all of our cells are surrounded by a layer of fat.

Our body’s ability to anti-inflame comes from prostaglandins derived from fats.

In the 1930’s Weston Price DDS while studying indigenous cultures who still adhered to their traditional diets discovered that 30 to 80% of their calories came from fat; mostly saturated and monounsaturated fats from animal sources.

Again- 30% was the lowest amount of calories from fat Weston Price could find in these healthy cultures!

Scientific Fact- Healthy fats are the best source of energy for all muscles in the body Especially the Heart.

Fats are also imperative for: hormone balance (hormones are how our bodies send and receive messages to function properly…. and their not just for women!!), liver and gallbladder function, and healthy cholesterol levels.

Fatty acid deficiency is in epidemic proportions especially in America. So what’s with all the mixed messages regarding fats? The sad truth is that in most scientific studies the source and quality of a food product is rarely considered. Also the interpretation of what the results of any study actually mean to our health can be slanted towards the opinion of whoever wishes to site it. The more money and resources one has the more people hear and believe alleged scientifically backed opinions. This is fodder for a whole other article so I won’t digress. Just know and understand that there are basically 2 kinds of fats in our diet: natural unadulterated “healthy” fats and processed “unhealthy” fats (or poison fats as I like to call them).

There are entire books written on “good” vs “bad” fats which I’ll mention at the end of this article but I’m going to try and empower you to know the difference in just a few short paragraphs.

If you consume healthy fats that aren’t adulterated or processed not only will you not “get fat” or gain weight but you’ll most likely loose pounds of fat.

A 2003 Study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health (presented to the Association for the Study of Obesity but not published.) Twenty-one overweight volunteers were divided into 3 groups. All food was prepared for the volunteers so the researchers knew exactly what they were eating. Those eating the high-fat diet lost more weight than those eating high-carb, even though calorie intake was the same. In fact, those eating a high-fat diet containing 300 more calories per day than the high-carb group lost more weight.

And another study with Saturated Faaaat: Eating 2 tablespoons medium-chain fatty acids (the kind found in coconut oil) with a meal caused body temperature to rise after the meal. This means that coconut oil can boost metabolism, helping you to avoid the slowdown in metabolism that often occurs during dieting.

Am J Clin Nutr 1991 Mar;53(5):1130-3 (Human Study)
Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides.
Scalfi L, Coltorti A, Contaldo F.

I could make this article a mile long with such studies but I don’t want to bore you. I’m going to site one more study which is more health related than just about weight gain just to satisfy health concerns about fats in general.

1992 after 40 years of study in Framingham, Massachusetts, The director of the study was quoted as saying “The more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower people’s serum cholesterol. . . we found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories weighed the least and were the most physically active.”
   William Castelli, Director, The Framingham Study
   Archives of Internal Medicine 1992

This sick and twisted thing about this last study is that the results of that research are often sited as proof of the cholesterol-animal fat theory of heart disease! This is a prime example of what I mentioned earlier about slanting results of a study to produce “scientific proof” for your agenda. Personally I trust the opinion of the director of the study.

Obesity is a sign of ill health plain and simple. Consuming poison fats are just a part of what can lead to this symptom. Just to be clear Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature so when we discuss fats or oils we’re discussing the same macro-nutrient.


Fats the good and the bad

Oils from vegetable, nut, and seed sources are the least stable oils you can purchase. They go rancid easily and should be in dark bottles and refrigerated right after opening. Look for:

• Cold Pressed

• Unrefined

• Expeller Pressed

• Organic

• Extra Virgin

on the label of these oils. Use them for salads but DO NOT EVER COOK WITH VEGETABLE, NUT, AND SEED OILS. Yes even olive and canola oil. Any plant source oil that says it can be used for for high heat cooking is a processed beyond belief poison and should be avoided.

The human body cannot and does not have the capability to digest refined oils so avoid anything that says:

• Hydrogenated

• Partially Hydrogenated

• Processed

• Cold PROCESSED (do not confuse this trick phrase with Cold Pressed)


Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

The difference between a Good fat and a Bad fat is in the way they are processed not in the inherent nature of their source.

Exception: canola (rapeseed or mustard seed), soy and cottonseed oils. These oils are not recognized as food by the body….because they aren’t.

So what is a good fat that is going to keep you fit, trim, heart healthy, and provide optimal cholesterol levels? Remember look for: Cold Pressed, Unrefined, Expeller Pressed, Organic, Extra Virgin on the label of plant source oils.


The Good Fats/Oils





-Fish oil

-Flax seed oil

-Wheat Germ




-Sunflower oil

-Sesame oil

-Safflower oil

-Peanut oil

-Black currant seed

-Evening Primrose

-Palm oil

-Coconut oil



-Raw dairy

-Animal flesh fats from pastured animals

-Extra virgin olive oil

-Hazelnut oil

-Almond oil

-Avocado oil

Note: The ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s in the diet should be approximately 1:1.


A word on animal fats- Animal fats are vitally important to our health and the best source of saturated fats in the diet. We can’t absorb Omega-3’s and other essential fatty acids without saturated fats. ALWAYS CONSIDER THE SOURCE AND HEALTH OF THE ANIMAL. A sick animal is going to produce toxic fat. Just as in humans fat is often used to store toxins when the system is overloaded and can’t get rid of them fast enough. So think organic, pastured, grass fed when buying meat or other animal products.

Cooking- Saturated fats are the only fats stable enough to withstand high temperatures without becoming toxic to our bodies so look at the chart above under saturated for cooking fats. Minga and I do all of our cooking with coconut oil or some type of animal fat (and lots of it!).

This is such a quick look at fats and there’s so much more I could say but I try to be as brief and user friendly with these articles as I can. If you’d like to learn more about fats and how they can bring you to a higher level of health here are a few books to check out:

Eat Fat Loose Fat- Dr. Mary G. Enig and Sally Fallon (source for this article)

Fats that Heal Fats that Kill- Udo Erasmus

Know Your Fats- Dr. Mary G. Enig (source for this article)


Other sources for this article include:

NTA course materials

Fats (article) by Caroline Barringer CHFS, NTP

This article above by Caroline B. is longer and has way more information than my modest article but shorter than a book. If you’d like a copy send me an email and I can send it to you in PDF.

Email questions or comments to info@mettariver.com