Tofu, Fermented Foods, and Laxatives (January 8, 2010)

Q: Nora writes, “Is it okay to incorporate tofu and tempeh into the program during the detox or should I wait until after the 28 days to eat them?  Would it be okay to eat them raw? Also what is the status of fermented foods such as Kimchi and tempeh?”

A: A woman who is enjoying the benefits of the Detox 4 Women approach to eating can expect to be able to moderately add some “avoid” items back into her lifestyle. She will be able to eat more fruit again once her yeasts and fungal growth are under control, and to enjoy the occasional smaller nut or seed-based meal. But soy is never going to be an optimal part of the human diet, for men or for women. In fact, as Natalia reminds us, “soy is the most mucus forming plant on the planet.” We do not include soy-based foods under the title of “human food” because of this. I often tell clients that eating soy is akin to pouring wet cement into your 98.6 degree intestinal tract and waiting for it to harden (not exactly in line with our quick-exit approach to eating). And the mucus formed goes beyond the actual intestinal blockage; the lungs, sinuses, and lymph system are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re looking for the density of a soy-based product try a raw cheese, an avocado, corn, squash, or a grain based dish (millet, quinoa, or buckwheat). Soy sauce (especially the Nama Shoyu raw brand) works in moderation because it is water-based and lacks density, and miso can also be used to flavor a dish without ill-effect.

For non-soy fermented foods such as kimchi, komcucha, and krauts, the rule is always freshness; anything aged, bottled, or store-bought mimics lactic acid in the body. Homemade or locally prepared freshly fermented foods are wonderfully pro-biotic (you want them 6 days post-preparation or less). So stay away from the brands you find in the stores, but enjoy the ones you make yourself or find prepared at your favorite raw restaurant.

Q: Nora also asks, “Is it okay to use an herbal laxative tea if I am not eliminating after each meal as I should?”

A: This is an important question. Let’s look at what we know. First, the waste that cannot be eliminated by the body on its own (like the petrified forest of chicken, soy, and milk glued and dehydrated in our over-laden intestinal tracts) must be hydrated and alkalinized in order to be mobilized. Our body’s natural peristalsis (intestinal contractions) have thus far been unable to do this. Stimulating these intestinal movements with a laxative like senna will not hydrate or alkalinize. So the poor Smooth Move drinker will have increased and painful movements that would have happened anyway, that will not do any more than the body itself can do on its own. And often laxative-stimulated bowel movements are extremely watery; so the hydration has been pushed along leaving the actual matter (which is now further dehydrated).

The second thing I really want emphasize is that the use of non-stimulant based laxatives, which use psyllium husk, should only be used with the coaching and expertise of a trained colon-hydrotherapist. Psyllium husk reportedly increases from five to twelve times its original mass. Think about what this means for the person who includes a tablespoon full in every morning smoothy. With no colonic this mass isn’t going anywhere; even what the body can move on it’s own is only a tiny part of what is left inside. Chronic pain and inflammation, a distended belly, and complete constipation are the result. Psyllium husk can be used for its toxin absorbing properties with the use of frequent colonics, but this is something I don’t even mess with myself. A dear friend, and colon-hydrotherapist, recently described a client who had taken one tablespoon of psyllium and poured colonic heaviness for an hour each day for three consecutive days before there was and end to the visible psyllium. It must be used with extreme caution, if at all.

And last, a lack of bowel movement is an indication of something happening in the body. Use it as the first clue, and start to collect all the pieces. Are you mis-combining too many meals? Is the detox process moving too quickly and awakening more than can be moved? This might be a time to add more safe and neutral cooked foods back into your diet. Or would a colonic aid the process? A frozen or sluggish bowel tells us about our process, and stimulation will mask these signs and create a false response in the body. Instead, listen to your colon’s alarm system, and start to figure out where a change needs to be made.