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Healthy Eating

The Scary Downside To Detox Teas That Nobody Tells You About



If there is one thing you should know about healthy weight loss it is that there is no magic pill or tea to help you achieve it. To see significant and lasting changes on the scale, you need to adjust your diet so that it is filled with nutritious foods that will keep you full and limit food cravings while promoting positive habits.

That being said, the diet industry has created the unrealistic expectation that certain detox teas can help you reach your goals faster without actually changing your lifestyle. While this would be handy, there are a number of terrifying side effects of detox teas that are not often advertised alongside products that can permanently affect your digestion and even make it difficult to lose weight.

We spoke to registered nutritionist Amy Shapiro to understand the potential effects of drinking diet tea for weight loss, and that’s what she has to say.

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The main problem with detox teas stems from the fact that they don’t need to be regulated by the FDA before they hit the market and claim that they will help you achieve your weight loss goals.

“Many detox teas contain ingredients or instructions that go beyond tea leaves, such as chemicals or drugs like ephedra, that can be harmful to your health and lose your appetite at the same time,” explains Shapiro. If it’s unclear what ingredients are actually in these detox teas, you may be putting your digestive system at risk by consuming foods that have not been FDA-approved to help you lose weight.

In addition, diet teas can also contain excess caffeine, which can have a laxative effect. While this may allow you to lose water weight initially, it is ultimately not a sustainable approach to fat loss. Instead, you may be more dehydrated than you were before, and even have a decreased appetite, which returns with a vengeance once you stop drinking these teas.

“Any results you get with tea are temporary, just like any other fashion diet you partake in. If you don’t learn to eat a balanced, healthy diet, a tea that will make you lose water or poop more often will only work in the short term and may even have the opposite effect in the long term as you damage your system and metabolism can, ”warns Shapiro.

Your gastrointestinal system gets into a delicate balance of gut bacteria and can be very easily unbalanced by drinking detox teas, which can only run through you and cause nasty side effects like diarrhea, dehydration and even electrolyte loss without you to help achieve something long term or permanent results. Many people assume that they need to detox after a weekend of unhealthy eating or binge drinking, but the best way to do this is not with a tea that flushes the system, but through a healthy diet change that aids better digestion . There is no easy way to detox, and trying to speed the process up with a tea can ultimately do more harm than good.


“If you want to detox, I recommend that you take a break from inflammatory and / or repellent ingredients such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar beverages. Drink more water, add lemon and dandelion roots to your water, drink green tea that has been shown to boost your metabolism, and be sure to consume hydrating foods like plenty of fruits and vegetables, ”suggests Shapiro.

Something else to consider is to include foods with a natural diuretic effect like celery, cucumber, and certain spices and herbs in your diet for a healthier detox without potentially harming your system.

While tea is generally a positive addition to your diet that can help boost your metabolism, boost your energy levels throughout the day, or calm you down to sleep in the evening, you should never turn to teas that hold big and unattainable promises about fast weight loss and detox make. While you may see temporary results, they are unlikely to be long lasting and more on the surface of water weight than real fat loss.

Achieving these bigger changes will require a major lifestyle overhaul to incorporate healthier habits into your day that can support the goals you want to achieve without sacrificing. As nice as it would be to find a tea that can actually help you lose weight, detox teas are not the solution if you really care about your digestive health.

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Healthy Eating

RECIPE: Lois’ seared tuna birthday dinner



Seared ahi tuna with coconut rice and fiddlehead ferns. Photo: Bob Luhman

Every year, when it comes around to Lois’ birthday, I never have to ask what she’d like for her birthday dinner. Seared tuna is always on the menu. Having been together for 15 years, that means I’ve tried many different preparations just for her birthday alone. Some have been successful and some not.

One of the preparations I’ve not mastered is an olive oil poached tuna, which Lois especially loved when she ordered it while dining at Blue Heron Restaurant & Catering in Sunderland, Massachusetts. The restaurant is owned by Deborah Snow and Barbara White, with Executive Chef Justin Mosher leading the kitchen. They’re 2022 James Beard Foundation Award semifinalists, so replicating their dish to my satisfaction was a high bar to clear. Rather than continue to chase mastery of their wonderful dish, I chose to sear tuna more traditionally this year.

Giant yellowfin tuna. Photo courtesy of

First, let’s talk a bit about tuna.

There are several species of tuna, including skipjack, albacore, yellowfin, bluefin, and bigeye. When taking all these species together, tuna is the most consumed fish in the world. It can also be the most expensive. The record price was $3 million for what was deemed a perfect 600-pound bluefin tuna in 2019. The tuna species used most for searing and sushi are yellowfin, otherwise known as ahi, and bluefin. Ahi tuna is leaner and milder with a lighter flavor, while bluefin is richer and fuller flavored with the fattiest flesh of all tuna varieties. Ahi tuna are comparatively smaller than bluefin, with a top weight of 400–500 pounds, while bluefin can top out at about 1,500 pounds. Having done my share of saltwater fishing, I can’t imagine what it would be like to land even a smaller yellowfin tuna.

Next, there are issues to consider when preparing seared tuna. Seared tuna is essentially raw, which can lead to problems if not purchased carefully, handled correctly, or eaten in moderation. Being a predator at the top of the food chain — consuming smaller fish contaminated with varying amounts of mercury — tuna’s mercury levels are high. Tuna is also susceptible to parasites which can cause food-borne illness. Because of these issues, children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those who are immunocompromised should avoid raw tuna. The FDA recommends eating no more than 6 ounces of tuna steaks per week for healthy adults. This is not a problem for me, as sushi-grade bluefin tuna steaks usually retail for $30 or more per pound!

World record bluefin tuna. Photo courtesy of

On the plus side, in addition to being luxuriously delicious, tuna is extremely nutritious. It’s packed with lean protein, and what we’re looking for when seeking to lose weight. A 6-ounce serving of ahi tuna contains 35 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, and 94 calories. It’s an excellent source of iron, potassium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, which helps form red blood cells preventing anemia. It’s also an excellent source of selenium, a trace mineral that acts as an antioxidant. Eating tuna contributes to lowering the risk of heart disease because its high level of omega-3 fatty acids help reduce LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol.

Whether fresh or frozen, purchasing sushi-grade tuna is important, as it means it’s been judged safe to be eaten raw. With all this information in mind, we happily have sushi-grade seared tuna as an occasional luxury, and I’m careful about where I purchase it. I prepare it as soon after I’ve either thawed my center-cut saku block ahi tuna from Wild Fork Foods in the refrigerator for two days, or prepare it the day I purchase it from my favorite local fish vendor, Mazzeo’s in Guido’s Fresh Marketplace . Speaking with Mazzeo’s fish department, they stressed their fresh bluefin tuna is sushi grade and completely additive and chemical free, unlike many frozen tuna steaks which have been treated with preservatives.

Lois’ Seared Tuna Birthday Meal
(Serves 2)

So many recipes claim to be quick and easy, but this really is. It’s my version of Tuna Tataki which, instead of using all sesame seeds, I use half sesame seeds and half mustard seeds, giving it a bit more zip. I particularly love the crunch of the seeds contrasting with the rich tuna. If you’re not familiar with ponzu sauce, it’s a citrus flavored soy sauce-based dressing readily available in most grocery stores.

I served the tuna over a bed of jasmine rice made with coconut milk, which I finished with chopped cilantro. This coconut rice recipe is a stickier, cooktop version, while this recipe is a fluffy Instant Pot version. It’s all a matter of taste; you may have a favorite of your own and there are countless other recipes to be found online. Alongside the tuna and coconut rice, I served steamed and buttered fiddlehead ferns because we love their asparagus-like flavor, and I’d just plucked my first batch of the season.

Any leftover seared tuna can be used the next day to make summer rolls: chill the seared tuna, slice it thinner, and use it for summer rolls as a wonderful addition for a picnic with friends. Tanglewood anyone? Here’s a YouTube video with basic instructions for putting together summer rolls.

Seared tuna summer roll with coconut rice, mint, cilantro and julienned vegetables. Photo: Bob Luhman

(2) 6-ounce sushi-grade tuna steaks
1 cup ponzu sauce, divided
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons raw sesame seeds
½ cup high heat oil such as grapeseed, sesame, avocado or peanut

Whisk together ½ cup of the ponzu sauce with the toasted sesame oil and pour it into a nonmetallic container large enough to hold the tuna. Place the tuna in this marinade, making sure both sides are coated, and refrigerate for an hour or two.

Discard the marinade and spread the sesame seeds and mustard seeds on a plate. Firmly press the tuna steaks into the seeds on both sides and refrigerate for an additional ½ hour or so to allow the seeds to adhere.

Heat the oil in a heavy-duty sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it just begins to smoke. Sear the tuna between 30–45 seconds per side.

Slice the tuna into approximately ¼-incg slices and serve with the remaining ½ cup of ponzu sauce mixed with the grated ginger for dipping.

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Healthy Eating

Quality sleep may be the key to weight loss



Share on PinterestA study shows that sleep duration and quality may be the key to managing weight. and ljubaphoto/Getty Images

  • Adults should sleep at least 7 hours a night for health and well-being, yet more than one-third of American adults fail to get enough sleep.
  • A new study has shown that short-term low calorie diets can increase sleep quality in adults with obesity.
  • The study also demonstrates that lack of sleep may prevent weight loss maintenance in adults with obesity and that regular exercise may promote the maintenance of good sleep.

Adults ages 18 to 60 should aim for at least 7 hours of sleep each night to promote health and well-being, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends.However, data from the (CDC) shows that more than 30% of American adults regularly fail to get enough sleep.

According to the Sleep Foundation, adequate quality sleep is important for healthy weight loss. Studies have shown poor quality, and limited sleep may increase the risk of metabolic disorders, weight gain, and obesity. Lack of quality sleep has also been shown to increase the desire for high calorie and high carbohydrate-containing foods associated with weight gain.

New research has found that lack of quality sleep can also undermine people’s attempts to maintain weight loss after dieting.

Researchers with the University of Copenhagen presented their findings at the 2022 European Congress on Obesity held in Maastricht, Netherlands.

dr Signe Torekov, the study lead and a professor of clinical translation metabolism, spoke with Medical News Today.

“Adults who aren’t sleeping enough or getting poor quality sleep after weight loss appear less successful at maintaining weight loss than those with sufficient sleep.” dr Torekov explained.

Using data from the S-LiTE randomized placebo-controlled trial, the researchers studied the quality and duration of sleep in 195 adults with obesity. The participants followed a low calorie-restricted diet for 8 weeks and lost an average of 12 percent body weight.

For the following 12 months, participants committed to receiving either a:

  • daily placebo injection
  • daily placebo injection and exercise
  • daily 3 mg injection of the weight loss drug liraglutide
  • daily liraglutide injection and exercise

Sleep quality was measured by a questionnaire using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), where a score of 5 or more indicates poor sleep and below 5 good sleep. The participants wore accelerometers to measure sleep duration before and after the 8-week low calorie diet and at weeks 26 and 52 of the weight maintenance study.

Researchers found that sleep quality increased by 0.8 global PSQI score points and sleep duration increased by 17 minutes per night after the initial 8-week restricted-calorie diet.

MNT spoke with Dr. Jane Odgen, a professor of health psychology who was not involved in the study, she highlighted that “Weight and sleep are linked – we don’t know which way round ie poor sleep causes weight gain or weight causes poor sleep.”

Giving her take on the study, Odgen explained: “The first part of the study shows weight loss is associated with improved sleep.” However, she added a note of caution: “But for this part, there was no control group and no randomization. So it might not have been the weight loss and could have been something else, such as time, being in a study, or eating more fruits and vegetables regardless of weight loss.”

The longer-term study showed that adults with obesity who slept less than 6 hours a night or had poor sleep quality increased their BMI by 1.1 kg/m2. In comparison, obese adults who achieved over 6 hours of quality sleep each night reduced their BMI by 0.16 kg/m2.

“The second part shows less sleep and poor quality sleep at baseline predicted weight gain,” says Dr. odgen “This was not the randomized bit. So an association but not causal, such as poor sleep, might lead to eating more in the night, which leads to weight gain, and it’s not the sleep,” she added.

Researchers found that the more active participants maintained the diet-related sleep quality improvement compared to the less active participants.

“Weight loss maintained with exercise seems promising in improving sleep,” said Dr. Torekov. “Adults who aren’t sleeping enough or getting poor quality sleep may benefit from sleep pattern support as well as weight loss maintenance support.”

She added that “before initiating weight loss maintenance, it may be helpful to identify sleep patterns.”

When asked about the research findings, Dr. Ogden said that “[..] the take-home message is that sleep and weight are associated but we still don’t know whether this is causal. But it does indicate that exercise promotes the maintenance of good sleep.”

“The best intervention would therefore be to do more exercise, improve your sleep, and then maybe also show weight loss,” Dr. Oden explained.

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Healthy Eating

Try these vegan recipes for a hearty stew and cheesy sauce



Like most people, I grew up eating meat. It was just what everyone did — including my family and everyone else’s family I knew.

I met my first vegetarian during my freshman year of college. She was a nice enough person, and I wrote her vegetarianism off as something of a quirk or mild eccentricity. In short, I didn’t give it a lot of thought. At least not consciously.

Fast forward many years to a day in 1998 when I happened across an article in The Atlantic magazine entitled, “Could Mad-Cow Disease Happen Here?” The article discussed Great Britain’s recent epidemic of Mad-Cow disease that necessitated the slaughter of 3.7 million cattle.

That was troubling, but what really captured my attention was the fact that Great Britain also placed a ban on the sale of certain cuts of beef. Why? Because 27 people had contracted a variant of Mad-Cow disease known as Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease by consuming beef products.

As I read further, the article explained that CJD is a fatal nervous system disorder. Unable to contain my alarm, I looked up at my husband and shared what I was reading. His casual response supplied a further shock. “Yeah, that’s why I can’t be a blood donor.” Then he reminded me that before we met, he had lived in Tunbridge Wells, England, for a number of months in the 1980s when Britain had its first outbreak of Mad-Cow disease.

He was informed that he was banned from becoming a blood donor. His revelation led to a longer discussion that ended in both of us deciding to ditch meat. We kept fish and dairy, though. It seemed like a reasonable choice at the time.

Fast forward to 2006. Again, I am reading. This time it is John Robbins’ book, “Diet for a New America.” Robbins, whose father was the co-founder of Baskin-Robbins ice cream company, had refused his inheritance. Why? Because after becoming an ethical vegan, he could not in good conscience inherit riches from his family’s industry.

His book is an illuminating exposé detailing why dairy is no less ethically troubling than meat and, in many ways, more so. Until reading Robbins’ book I didn’t realize that cows must be forcibly impregnated to produce milk. I felt ridiculous for never having thought about what now seemed so obvious.

So, what happens to the male calves? They are separated from their disturbed mothers, so their milk is available for human consumption. And the calves become veal.

What happens to the dairy cow when she can no longer produce milk? She goes to the slaughter house.

At that moment, our earlier decision to eliminate only meat didn’t make sense to me anymore. It made even less sense when I read about the egg industry, the details of which I will not go into here.

And again, I looked up at my husband. Our eyes met. So did our thoughts, because I had already shared many of the details of my reading. silence

Then I blurted out, “I think we should go vegan.”

“Yes,” he replied.

And that was that. The next day, we cleared our kitchen of all animal products. Practically speaking, it wasn’t exactly a major transition since we had already left meat behind several years before. But for both of us, it was the best and most personally transformative decision we’ve ever made.

Becoming vegan has paid enormous dividends in terms of our health. Despite our ages (65 and 79), we sleep well, have terrific energy, and rarely get sick.

And unlike many, if not most, people in our age group, there are no medications for chronic illnesses at our house. We don’t spend time in doctors’ offices. Instead, we hike and bike, and I still run several miles most mornings.

We chose the Whole Foods Plant-Based approach to our vegan food, which means that we don’t eat processed vegan “meat.” For one thing, those processed vegan foods are still processed foods. So, they aren’t what anyone could call “healthy choices.” And they can be expensive, even if they are useful in helping people make the transition to vegan eating.

We found that eating whole plant foods is better tasting, more satisfying and actually less expensive than the standard American diet that includes meat, dairy and eggs. When we want to try out something new, we just type in “Whole Foods Plant Based Recipes” in our search box to find an endless supply of easy and appetizing recipes. The bottom line is that we eat many delicious foods without having to watch our weight, knowing that it is the biggest factor in keeping us healthy. That’s a lot of peace of mind.

I think many people assume that becoming vegan is a sacrifice. They tend not to think about — because they don’t know about — the remarkable benefits that follow from making that choice. What I have “sacrificed” in becoming vegan feels entirely trivial compared to the powerful health advantages, the peace of mind, and the sense of wholeness that awaited me on the other side.

Creamy African Stew

(Adapted from The Plant Pure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell)

Yield: 10 cups

  • 2 onions, sliced ​​into half rings (approx. 4 C)
  • 1 large carrot, diced (approx. ¾ C)
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes (approx. 3 C)
  • 1C of vegetable stock
  • 1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ⅓ C peanut butter
  • 1-15 ounce can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 C coconut milk (light or regular)
  • 2 C chopped frozen spinach

Combine all the ingredients in a pot and cook over high heat until bubbly (10-15 minutes). Lower heat to simmer for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Note: You can also put all ingredients into a slow cooker on medium heat and cook for 2-3 hours.

Serve as a stew or over rice.

A plant-based cheesy sauce spread over baked potato, broccoli and cauliflower.

All Purpose, Plant Based, Cheesy Sauce

Yield: 4 cups

  • 1 cup potatoes (approx. 6 oz.), peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup carrots, diced
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup broth from cooking the veggies
  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 30 minutes and drained (or ½ c white beans if you have nut allergies)
  • 4 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes (available in most grocery stores)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ⅛ tsp. paprika
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

In a medium pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Place potatoes, carrots and onions in the pot and allow to cook until veggies are tender, approximately 15 minutes.

When veggies are tender, drain and place them in a blender. Add the reserved 1 cup cooking broth. Add all the remaining ingredients; blend until smooth.

Use in nacho cheese dip, mac-n-cheese, a topping for steamed broccoli, on veggie burgers or anything else when you need a creamy, cheesy sauce.

Note: This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Deborah Gallagher lives in Iowa City with her husband and two cats. She is recently retired from the University of Northern Iowa, where she was a professor of education.

For questions or comments regarding the Vegan Community of Eastern Iowa, email or visit Everyone is welcome to join the VCEI on Facebook and MeetUp.

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