Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. Body Detox + Spring Cleaning Your Cupboards: It's '7 Questions' Time

    I first met Andy and Ivy Larson about 10 years ago when they were promoting their book The Gold Coast Cure. Since that time Andy and Ivy have become a major force in the world of weight loss and healthy living.

    Andy is a respected surgeon; Ivy is a lifestyle coach. As a team, they got you covered from head to toe.

    In today's edition of "7 Questions with...," the dynamic duo talk about their latest project -- -- and give valuable insights into what it takes to get healthy and then stay that way.

    7 Questions with Ivy and Andy Larson, M.D.

    Your new website is called Hot and Healthy Living -- so what is it that puts the heat into a healthy lifestyle?

    "Healthy Living" can be a bit of a ho-hum subject. We added the word "hot" because we wanted to put some spice and some excitement into helping people improve their lives by improving their health.

    A lot of people think healthy living is synonymous with zero fun. We're trying to bust that image. We've been walking the talk and living a healthy lifestyle now for over a decade (ever since I was diagnosed with MS in 1998) and we've got a ton of tips and strategies for how our family stays on the healthy living wagon -- without going to extremes.

    I also see that you are offering a free 8-Step Detox Method e-book... do I really need to detox my body?

    Yes! Let's face it; toxins lurk everywhere. Toxins are defined as anything that causes our body harm. Unfortunately, our modern world overflows with toxins from numerous sources, including our food, water, environment and even personal hygiene products.

    Each year the average American consumes over four pounds of chemical preservatives and food additives. Exposure to such toxic substances over time can transform healthy cells into abnormal cells that may lead to a variety of chronic health problems.

    Although it is pretty much impossible to live a completely clean and pristine life (unless you want to commit to living in a purified air bubble), there are numerous doable and safe detox steps you can take that can help your body gently rid itself of stored toxins.

    And no, we aren't advocating you take drastic measures like colonic irrigation, fasting or laxatives. Our jump start recommendations are simple, safe and effective. And, they won't have you dashing to the toilet.

    The truth is your body is capable of detoxifying itself -- it just needs the raw materials to do so.

    Our 8-Step Jump Start Detox will turn up the intensity and effectiveness of your body's natural detoxification system. The process of detoxification depends on substances that our body obtains from a nutrient-rich whole foods diet.

    The problem is, most of us living a modern life (and eating a modern diet of processed empty-calorie foods) don't get the adequate nutrients our bodies need to naturally cleanse itself. As a result, we end up getting sick, tired and fat. And, we end up looking and feeling older than our age.

    Although detox is primarily thought of as a treatment for alcohol or drug dependence, the term is also used to refer to diets, herbs, and other methods of removing environmental and dietary toxins from the body for general health. For example, a cleansing detox program will do some of the following:

    • Increase bowel regularity and bile flow.
    • Assist the liver in breaking down excessive fats (because what we are unable to break down, we store).
    • Increase hydration (through water input) which is widely known to be elemental in successful weight loss.

    The last time we spoke you were promoting your Whole Foods Diet Cookbook. What is inherently wrong with the American diet---and how can we reverse the growing obesity epidemic?

    The number one problem with the American diet is that most people don't eat "real" whole foods anymore.

    Think about the typical grocery store and how it overflows with processed empty calorie foods (mixtures of refined flour, refined sugars, refined oils, processed corn products, refined soybeans, etc.)

    In comparison, whole foods are foods in their most natural and nutritious state. Corn on the cob is an example of a whole food. Corn flakes are not. Foods in their most natural state are also the most nutritious and the most filling.

    A nutrient-rich whole foods diet works for a variety of overlapping reasons to enable you to lose weight WITHOUT HUNGER!!

    It's rich in the nutrients your body needs to support a healthy metabolism and curb food cravings. Your body needs certain nutrients such as essential fats, B-vitamins, calcium, chromium and vitamin C to support a healthy metabolism and keep food cravings under control.

    A low calorie and nutrient-poor diet will slow your metabolism and result in out of control food cravings.

    A whole foods diet takes up a lot of bulk and space in your stomach (because it is rich in fiber and water) a whole foods diet works mechanically so you actually feel full on fewer calories and you feel full longer. On a whole foods diet you can go for hours between meals without feeling hunger pangs.

    A whole foods diet decreases inflammation and this results in an increase in metabolism, which means you can still lose weight without having to drastically reduce your calorie intake. Anti-inflammatory foods activate PPAR's, which help burn fat and improve sensitivity to insulin. Pro-inflammatory foods activate NF-Kappa B proteins that do the exact opposite.

    A whole foods diet keeps your blood sugar levels stable and helps keep insulin -- your body's primary fat storage hormone -- suppressed.

    A whole foods diet drastically reduces the numerous hidden sources of empty calories (such as trans fats) in the standard American diet that disrupt your metabolism, increase insulin resistance and interfere with your body's ability to lose weight

    What are a few positive wellness trends and what simple steps can someone take to regain control of their health and weight?

    The number one most important thing people can do to lose weight and gain health is to start eating real whole foods. Instead of counting food calories, carbs, fat grams, cholesterol, or points, it's much more effective to make your food count nutritionally.

    Choosing nutrient-dense whole foods will not only boost your health (and even help prevent diseases) but you'll lose weight as a side benefit. Most importantly, on a nutrient-rich whole foods diet you'll lose weight effortlessly, without feeling hungry.

    Exercise is also super important. But, it's important to exercise smarter not necessarily harder. With a properly designed workout you can get fit and lean exercising as little as 30-minutes 3 days a week. Shorter, more intense workouts are highly effective for fat loss. On our site I feature a new 30-minute workout video once a week that people can do right at home, without joining a gym.

    I see Dr. Larson is a renowned weight loss surgeon. So, who is the ideal candidate for weight loss surgery and who should stick with diet and fitness for weight loss?

    Weight loss surgery is not without risks and it's absolutely not a magic bullet. However, if you have failed repeated diets, are approximately 100 pounds overweight and also have an obesity-related illness such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, the surgery might be an option to help you regain your health and improve your quality of life.

    It's not a surgery to take lightly though and it should be followed up with psychological counseling, nutritional support and exercise.

    Ivy, you call yourself a healthy lifestyle coach. In that capacity, how do you work with your clients? And, do I really need a coach to tell me how to shape up?

    People absolutely do not need a coach to get in shape. However, coaching is often helpful for people who need the extra motivational support.

    In fact, I've found people often do best not just one-on-one with me but when I conduct my Health & Body Makeover Programs and they have the support of each other. The Weight Watchers concept of weekly meetings and accountability are very helpful and highly effective for certain people. Other people do just fine with no coach and no support system at all. It just depends on the individual.

    Personally, I don't want a coach for anything -- I like to learn on my own. But that's just me!

    If I were spring cleaning my cupboards, fridge and freezer what are the first foods I should toss and what good foods should I not be without?


    Freezer: frozen low-calorie entrees (such as Lean Cuisine which are loaded with processed ingredients), frozen pizza, frozen desserts, frozen waffles, etc.

    Fridge: sugary yogurts, orange juice, processed cheese, processed cold cuts, salad dressings made with processed oils (such as soybean oil), breads made with wheat flour or other refined flours

    Pantry: white pasta, white rice, crackers, pretzels, cereals made with refined flour, granola bars, vegetable oil


    Freezer: frozen fruits, frozen vegetables, edamame beans, grassfed meat, fish, pastured chicken, sprouted whole grain bread

    Fridge: organic eggs from pastured chickens, high quality flax oil (such as Barleans), grass-fed yogurt (such as Siggis)

    Pantry: ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, nuts, seeds, beans, sprouted whole grain pasta, whole grains (barley, quinoa, brown rice, millet, steel cut oats etc), "whole food" snack bars (such as LARA bar), extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil

    About the Larsons

    Dr. Larson is a board certified general, laparoscopic, and bariatric surgeon, one of only a couple hundred physicians in the world currently directing an internationally certified "Center of Excellence" program offering weight loss surgery. He is an Affiliate Clinical Assistant Professor at the Schmidt College of Biomedical Science at Florida Atlantic University and a Voluntary Assistant Professor of Surgery for the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

    Ivy is a healthy lifestyle coach, author of the #1 bestselling Gold Coast Cure, which included a 30-minute workout DVD she choreographed and instructed, the follow-up Gold Coast Cure's Fitter, Firmer, Faster Program and The Whole Foods Diet Cookbook. In addition to doing the recipe development for her own books, Ivy also does recipe development for other authors. Ivy Larson currently teaches Lifestyle Makeover programs, nutrition seminars and group exercise programs in south Florida. Ivy also teaches whole foods cooking classes at Whole Foods Market, Williams-Sonoma and In the Kitchen.

    Author: John McGran

    Archived posts 2010
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