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A Day In The Life….Of Your Toxic Exposures

By Darcy McConnell, MD

We come into contact with thousands of chemicals each day.  Luckily, we are equipped to handle toxic exposure – our liver metabolizes and removes these harmful substances the best that it can and we go about our business. Unfortunately, sometimes the burden of toxicity becomes overwhelming to the body, and causes us to suffer a multitude of ailments from fatigue and brain fog to autoimmune disease and cancer.

Though it is impossible to avoid exposure altogether, it is not difficult to reduce our body’s burden of toxins with some simple steps.  Let’s take a look at where these toxic exposures are hiding in our everyday life so we can address them and make some simple changes.

A day in the life … of your toxic exposure.  Where you might be accumulating toxins without even being aware of it:

You wake up after sleeping for hours on a mattress that may be exposing you to hundreds of harmful chemicals, and walk across a carpet that has flame retardants and VOCs seeping from it.  The cleaning products used in your home are full of toxins that remain in the air you breathe and on surfaces you touch.

  • You start your day brushing your teeth and showering with water that may be contaminated with chlorine, heavy metals, and other toxic compounds. 
  • You use personal care products that contain endocrine disruptors, harmful chemicals that alter hormones, and other dangerous substances like aluminum, phthalates, propylene glycol, and all kinds of colorings and fragrances.   
  • Into the kitchen for breakfast, and you prepare and eat food that is tainted with chemicals and additives.  Pesticides, antibiotics and hormone residues lurk in conventional produce, meats, and dairy; heavy metals and PCBs contaminate our fish supply.  BPA and phthalates leach from plastics in food packaging and bottles.
  • You get dressed, and the clothing you wear may have toxins from dry cleaning chemicals, flame retardants and synthetic plastics that are breathed in and absorbed through the skin.

It’s scary, you haven’t even left the house yet and you’ve been exposed to so many disruptive chemicals!

But we should not despair, though the research and evidence of harm is damning.  We have a choice to make the less toxic purchase every time we buy food, cleaning products, cosmetics, clothing, or furniture.

Come learn how to detoxify your environment and find guidance on how to make clean, healthy choices for decreasing your everyday toxic exposure.  Join me for my free talk on Monday April 18th at 6pm! 

Photo Credit: Household Chemical Cleaners 

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What Role Do Genetics Play In Your Health?

by Elizabeth Greig, FNP

Several times a week, I see someone at Blum Center who has multiple autoimmune conditions or cancer or both and has had a moderate to high level of toxicant (toxin) exposures.  For example, they may have lived on or near a farm with an apple orchard and drank well water growing up in the 60s, they spray their apartment weekly or monthly with roach-killer, they play golf regularly, or they’ve taken many prescription drugs over many years.  All of these toxicants can be removed by the detoxification pathways in the body, particularly those found in the liver.  The efficiency of this process is determined in part by your genes.

How much effect – or risk – a particular gene, or group of genes, has on your health or illness is determined in part by your environment, such as food, chemicals, stress, and infections, as well as by interaction with other genes.  The part that environment plays is the part you have some control over.

For example, if you have a genetic tendency to diabetes, you can control your intake of sugar, sweets and starchy vegetables and be sure to exercise and thus reduce the likelihood that you will become diabetic.  This effect that lifestyle has on your genes to turn them on or off or modulate their expression is called “epigenetics.”  So, rather than:

Genes = Destiny

The answer is determined by epigenetics:

Genes + Lifestyle + Environment = Destiny

Some people have a collection of genetic mutations in their detoxification pathways that decreases their ability to rid the body of these toxicants and can increase the risk that those toxicants will cause problems.  The toxicants stay in circulation longer because they aren’t being removed efficiently. Then they can have a prolonged suppressing or damaging effect on the immune system and other systems that maintain the body’s health.  With genetic testing, we can identify some of these mutations and then make recommendations about foods, supplements and lifestyle changes that can help you decrease those toxic effects, helping you to heal and stay healthy.

Come find out more about some simple genetic testing you can do, learn about epigenetics, and discuss lifestyle, nutrition and supplement changes you can make to help you express your best destiny! 

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What is Kitchari?

By Mary Gocke, RDN, CDN980827_920155898020966_3217417002046508483_o

Kitchari is an ancient Ayurvedic meal consisting of Mung beans and rice cooked into porridge. Kitchari (kitch-ah-ree) literally means mess – referring to this warm, delicious, satisfying (not messy!) porridge.

The Ayruvedic culture discovered the magic of the Mung bean; they do not cause gas; they are anti-inflammatory; and they are hypo-allergenic.

As a cleanse, kitchari is eaten for 7 days – breakfast, lunch and dinner as a mono diet, meaning eating one food. This limits the diversity of food which helps decrease inflammation while supporting digestive enzymes and the entire process of digestion.

At BCH we perform the Kitchari Cleanse once a year, during the winter months.  We  find this cleanse both nourishing, healing and weight reducing. Typically, a pound a day is lost with ease.

Kitchari is comfort food, warming and nourishing for this time of year.

Learn more at our Winter Fat Flush cleanse here and join us on January 10th for ether the morning or evening session! And don’t forget if you are too busy to make Kitchari at home, you can pick it up already prepared from Organic Pharmer!


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Why We Care About Kale

Kale is one of the most nutrient dense leafy greens you can eat. From a nutrition perspective, it’s the vegetable that will give you the most bang for your bite.

Dr. Susan Blum explains why we care so much about kale:

It Helps The Digestive System: Kale is loaded with fiber that aids in elimination. This process helps flush waste and toxins from the body.

Calcium & Iron: Who says you need to drink dairy to get your daily calcium? Or eat meat to get your iron? The calcium in kale will help keep your bones strong, and the iron will support energy and strength.

Vitamin Packed: Just one cup of kale contains 134% of your daily Vitamin C, 684% of Vitamin K, and 204% of Vitamin A needs!

Antioxidants: Kale contains many antioxidants including carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytonutrients called thiols. Antioxidants are the antidote to the environmental stressors and exposures of every day life.

Kale Is The Ultimate Detoxifier: All of these antioxidants and vitamins work to lower inflammation and protect the body from disease. Much of this activity happens in the liver. Kale provides these powerful nutrients to help your liver do it’s job: clear out toxins.

Celebrate National Kale Day with us on October 7th by making a simple kale salad, adding kale to your smoothie, or trying one of Organic Pharmer’s Top 5 Kale picks! #kaleday2015





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Stop, Take Stock, & Detox

Are you thinking about starting our fall Group Detox program? With over 80,000 chemicals used in our environment today, we can understand why.  The risk for accumulating toxins is unbelievably high.  Detoxing once or twice a year is essential for the body to function properly and to ward off disease, lethargy, brain fog, and extra pounds.

There is a science to detoxifying your liver and it’s best to prep prior to starting any detox program. Detoxing safely and effectively is our first priority, and prepping will help your body avoid the shock of removing sugar and inflammatory foods and beverages from your diet when you begin the program.

Mary Gocke, our Director of Nutrition, offers tips you can start incorporating a week or two before your detox program.  Feel prepared, empowered, and ready for success!

1.  Stock Your Fridge: Eat large amounts – 7 servings a day – of deeply colored fruits and vegetables.  Colorful fruits and vegetables will give you antioxidants to safely remove toxins from your body through your liver.  Antioxidants prevent tissue damage, or oxidative stress, that often accompanies a detoxification program.

2.  Wake Up and Don’t Smell The Coffee:  Instead, brew organic green tea. This will also support and prep the liver (antioxidants from the tea) while weaning your body off caffeine.  Coffee is highly sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides – you do not need to be putting these extra toxins into your body!

3.  Pantry Purge:  Stop buying sugar laden and processed foods and do not allow them in the house.  If they are already there, toss them (without the guilt!).  You’ll be less likely to be tempted or to cheat on your detox with these items missing from your kitchen.

4.  Hydration Station:  Increase your water intake to better hydrate your body before you start!  A well-hydrated body performs much better than a dehydrated body.  Here’s an easy way to remember to hydrate.  Fill a glass of water before bedtime and put it on your nightstand.  When you wake up in the morning, drink your glass of water before getting out of bed.  That extra hydration will energize your body and help flush out toxins before you even step your feet on the ground.

These simple, everyday tips to a healthier lifestyle can be incorporated to prep and support a detox program, and will benefit anyone who is looking to make small healthy steps to lasting change.

Join Mary for her medically sound detoxification program.  Info session begins on 9/28 or you can join us online in our 21-Day Do It With US program!

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The Benefits of a Summer Detox

Fall and spring may be the most talked about time to detox because they are seasons of transition, but the summer months – filled with busy social calendars and beach vacations – is also a beneficial time to cleanse.  Consider a summer detox a way to reboot and reverse the dinners al fresco, crisp rosé, and trips to the ice cream parlor.

Take a Break from the BBQ’s

Summer is a social season.  Practically every weekend is booked by the time July hits with parties, bbq’s, vacations and holidays. We don’t believe in deprivation and advise our patients to indulge occasionally, but in-between events, our bodies need a break from the sugar, alcohol, and carbs, so the liver can detoxify.  Liver function is a key component to reducing inflammation and is essential to our health.

Detox for More Energy

Hot summer days coupled with poor food choices can make the body feel overtired and sluggish.  It may sound counterintuitive, but detoxing can actually increase your energy so you can enjoy those long summer nights.  By removing foods that slow you down like sugars and processed flours, and adding vital nutrients like greens, herbs, and proteins, energy will increase naturally – you may even have a better nights sleep!

Beat the Bloat and Lose Weight

Water retention, slow digestion, and salty, processed foods contribute to public enemy number one in the summer: bloating.  Feed your body with nutritious vegetables, fruits, and herbs during a detox and you’ll naturally see a decrease in water retention and stomach bloat.  Because let’s face it, it’s full on bathing suit season.

Make it Easy on Yourself

A lot of the times fitness routines and diets ramp up in spring only to lose steam come the end of June. Recharge your body and eliminate unhealthy eating patterns with a detox program that is easy to follow and will set you up for success! Mary Gocke, our Director of Nutrition, will walk you through step-by-step what to expect including foods to eliminate, a shopping guide and recipes.  For more information on our program click here.

Looking for something even easier?  Organic Pharmer has foods that are detox approved for grab and go ease to take with you to the beach, pools, and parties!

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The Food-Mood Connection

Food and Mood

mary-gocke_fullI believe diets make people very unhappy.  They don’t work long term because every one of us is different and requires an individual food plan. When you try and fit the mold of a restrictive diet, you live within the confines of your new program instead of exploring the freedom of foods that make you feel better.

All of our nutrition programs, whether through testing or food experiments, are designed to help you figure out what makes your body work well and feel well, which is a key step on the path to overall happiness. Our 21-day elimination food plan is brilliant at helping you discover how food actually makes you feel.  Removing all allergenic foods for 21 days and then adding them back individually is a great way to experience this body-mood-food connection.  These food reactions can be very insidious at first, but with care and mindfulness you can discover, for example, that dairy can give you brain fog, or that eggs make you gain 2 pounds.  I have found that sugar can feed depression, and that for some people, taking it out of the diet is the best happiness cure there is!



Choosing the right foods for your body can tap your highest potential. While I know that finding your true north food plan is a process, it is important to me when I work with you to bring you into your own power of healing – and happiness — by finding the foods that work for your body and then staying the course.  Join me on May 11th for our 21-Day Group Detox and discover the foods that make you happy! Check out our class calendar to learn more about our cooking class dates and times.

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ZocDoc: What Doctors Need to Know About Detox

Dr. Susan Blum shares with ZocDoc what fellow doctors need to know about detox, and how they can help their patients make informed decisions in the market.

“As doctors we need to be in a position to help patients sort the science from the salesmanship.”

Read the full article here:







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MindBodyGreen: Can You Get Sick From Gluten Even If You Don’t Have Celiac Disease?

Find out what exactly is Celiac Disease, and why you can get sick from gluten even if you aren’t diagnosed.

“Turns out that gluten can trigger other immune reactions and symptoms without any damage to the small intestine, thus you can test negative for celiac, but still be gluten intolerant.”

Read more to find out what you can do at home to detox, here: