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The Legendary Lymph

I have been eating for my blood type since the beginning of the year. I spent most of January and February 100% dedicated to this. In the blood type diet; there are avoid, neutral and beneficial foods. The body treats them like a toxin, regular food or medicinal, respectively. In mid to late February, I decided to live a little and go for the 80/20 approach. When I eat avoid foods, I get a headache. Sometimes it's a teeny headache and sometimes, a whopper, depending on how many avoid foods and what kinds.

I started wondering, did I always have headaches and not notice? Am I one of those people that didn't know they felt bad until they felt better? Perhaps, because I think we can always live healthier and make better choices for our bodies. Now that my gut is a bit healthier, not since January but over the last few years that I've really been working on it, and it has better ability to move out any toxins I shovel in, I notice reactions taking place elsewhere in my body. This has lead me to start learning more about my lymph system.

The lymph system is part of the body's circulatory system and is mostly water. It lies under the skin and is the pathway that toxins are moved around and leave the body. The heart doesn't move lymph around but we do by exercise, massage, diet and the body's electro-magnetic energy. Water weight is actually toxic waste that's hanging around in the lymph system. That's why when we start eating clean, we lose those first few pounds so quickly. Nice huh?
Diagram obtained from sasklymph.ca
When you look at a diagram of they lymph system, it's easy to see why people get headaches from eating foods that don't agree with them. I can eat a tidbit here and there but if I have an avoid food party, I'm up for a week of detox. For instance, this weekend I ate wheat, dairy, corn and sugar and not that much either but quite a bit more than I'm used to! For the record, sugar is a personal avoid and not one that the blood type diet recommends. Here's my list of avoids that I ate Friday thru Sunday:

  • A bite of chicken pot pie (dairy & wheat)
  • 5-6 slices of fried yucca (wheat & yucca)
  • 2-3 slices of homemade bread (wheat & sugar), 
  • 4 squares of dark chocolate (sugar),
  • about a 1x1" square of crawfish cornbread casserole (dairy, corn, wheat & sugar), 
  • 3-4 bites of homemade vanilla ice cream (dairy, wheat & sugar), 
  • 4 chunks of paneer (dairy), 
  • A few bites of naan (wheat), 
  • Gluten free brownie bite (corn & sugar) and
  • 5-6 weak hot toddies (sugar from whiskey & honey).

During this time, I ate lots of good-for-me food too! I feasted on greens, fresh farm eggs, beets, squash, broccoli and spinach. This food consisted of at least 60%-70% of my diet. Because my body isn't used to digesting what it would consider toxic, I woke up Monday morning with a gamut of allergy or cold-like symptoms: stuffy nose, clogged ears, sinus pain, MUCUS and a mild headache. Also, since we were traveling on Sunday, I can guarantee I didn't drink as much water as I normally do to help flush this stuff out.

I've learned to listen when my body talks to me. It helps me not go back the places I've been or at least bring awareness to the moves I've made. It makes me thankful when I notice signs to get my act back together and start taking better care of myself. I've also noticed that the healthier I become, the more obvious this conversation with my body becomes. In the days gone by, I probably would've had such a hangover that I wouldn't have time to notice mucus but then again a hangover is a sign of toxins and dehydration. I do recall the days that I always had to blow my nose and hock a few loogies in the morning. Well I invited that day back into my life and am working to wipe the slate clean. What do you do to help clean the lymph system? Oh great, I thought you'd never ask!

  • The most obvious answer is change your diet and start eliminating foods from your avoid list or foods you're sensitive to. We have handy charts at the store or you can download The Blood Type Diet app for your tele. 
  • Drink LOTS of water! 
  • Drink hot water (you can add FRESH lemon but I wouldn't recommend honey because it's a sugar).
  • Drink mullein tea or take capsules. 
  • Take fenugreek and thyme capsules or drink some fenugreek tea. 
  • Use your neti pot to help flush your sinuses. 
  • Use ear candles to help clean those ears out. 
  • Sit in an infrared sauna to help promote detoxification. 
  • Do a colon cleanse since a lot of mucus tends to hang out there. This can take place in the form of a cleanse, colonics or enemas. 
  • Blow your nose and spit that phlegm out of your throat. 
  • Get a Swedish or lymphatic massage. 
  • Use a dry skin brush. 
  • Exercise more and try deep yoga breathing. I even read that jumping on a trampoline is excellent!
  • Spend a 1-3 days cleansing with bone broths, fresh juice, teas and lots of water. 
  • Sleep, relaxation and lightening your stress load. 
Do I do all this stuff on a regular basis? Almost. I drink a glass of hot water every morning and follow it with about two glasses of regular water. I use my dry skin brush before I get in the shower. I don't have access to a trampoline and don't use my neti as regular as I should. I'm making an appointment to sit in the sauna as soon as I hit the publish button and will drink bone broths, hot water and tea for the rest of the day. I plan on getting a nap and some yoga in as well! 

Our bodies are constantly talking to us and telling us what it needs. What is yours saying to you?