As spring approaches, people naturally think about detoxification. I offer several approaches in my office and make recommendations depending on the person’s preferences and what I think will serve them best. In general, we want to increase the body’s detoxification activity by several approaches: 1) improve the function of the liver in it’s biochemical pathways of breaking down materials, 2) improve the kidney to remove waste from the body, 3) cleanse the bowel of long-held fecal material, 4) stimulate the lymphatic system to carry wastes away from all the tissues.

While we are doing that with a specific program of supplements, we want to support the process by having you eat an extremely carefully chosen group of foods that help by 1) lowering your insulin response to carbs, 2) avoiding adding any artificial materials such as food additives and drugs found in meat, 3) reducing your dependence on caffeine and alcohol. Hopefully the foods consumed during the period will start you off into a new way of thinking about your food.

“Food is the first medicine.” This is part of a famous quote and I see it in my practice every day. We can do all the acupuncture, herbs, and supplements possible, but the effect of those things can never be stronger than the food we eat. Food is the basis of all our biochemical building blocks. Without proper building blocks our body cannot renew damaged tissue, clear out wastes, and give us the energy to do what we want. People with poor diets have worse outcomes with acupuncture than those with better diets.

You are what you eat. Last year while speaking with a colleague we discussed this topic. I said “people who eat nothing but garbage have pretty unsatisfying responses to acupuncture.” He responded, “and garbage is not very motivated to improve itself.” Sad but true.

I was encouraged today when I heard that the President and Mrs. Obama signed a memorandum and promised to fund a program to improve nutrition in the schools by increasing the funding for vegetables and fruits in the school meals. They also highlighted the topic of schools growing gardens where children learn about growing food, provide food for the meal programs, and even sell produce to local groceries to raise more money for the school meal programs. Fantastic!

So, my challenge for today: eat only one serving of gluten-containing food and eat 6 servings of fruit or vegetable. One serving of bread is one slice, one serving of fruit or vegetable is 1 cup raw or 1/2 cooked. YOU CAN DO IT!