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Why Food is the Best Medicine
I was first introduced to Bieler’s Broth in the early 1980s as a fasting tonic to repair the digestive system.
At the time, I was in Chiropractic College in Los Angeles and was fascinated by traditional healing practices.
Dr. Henry Bieler, who passed away in 1975, was a pioneer of alternative medicine. He practiced just minutes from my school and his legacy loomed large on campus.
His 1965 best-selling book, Food Is Your Best Medicine, rang so true to me then, and even truer now—some 38 years later! His premise for health was simple, “My position is improper foods cause disease; proper foods cure disease. Nothing else needs to be said.”1
Whole foods were his mantra, and his Bieler’s Broth, which included celery, string beans, zucchini, and parsley, was a remedy he used to heal and repair the body’s delicate intestinal lining while alkalizing the blood to support the natural detoxification pathways.
Repair Your Digestion with Food
If you follow my blog, you may have noticed that I strongly support kind and gentle care for the delicate intestinal skin, and often suggest different protocols, methods, foods, and herbs to strengthen and restore the natural detox pathways of the body, with special attention given to the lymph, liver, and gallbladder.
The more I learned about Ayurveda and how to repair the intestinal lining, the more I loved Dr. Bieler’s wisdom and his green smoothie.
The famous and wise Dr. Bieler left us with three prophetic conclusions that support time-tested Ayurvedic principles:1
- “The primary cause of disease is not germs. Rather, I believe that disease is caused by toxemia, which results in cellular impairment and breakdown, thus paving the way for the multiplication and onslaught of other complications.”
Today, over 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are dumped into the American environment each year, and 72 million of those are cancer causing.18 Clearly, toxemia is more of an issue than ever before—as is the need for detoxification and increased consumption of clean, organic, whole, non-processed foods.
- “My second conclusion is that, in almost all cases, the use of drugs in treating patients is harmful. Drugs often cause serious side effects, and sometimes even create new diseases. The dubious benefits they afford the patient are, at best, temporary. Yet, the number of drugs on the market increases geometrically every year as each chemical firm develops its own variation of the compounds. The physician is indeed rare who can be completely aware of the potential danger from the side effects of all of these drugs.”
Since Dr. Bieler’s book came out in the 1960s, the alternative medicine world has exploded, making up more than one-third of the out-of-pocket dollars spent on healthcare.
- “My third conclusion is that disease can be cured through the proper use of the correct foods. This statement may sound deceptively simple, but I have arrived at it only after intensive study of a highly complex subject: toxemia and endocrine chemistry.”
Perhaps the most popular dietary trend today is eating a predominately plant-based diet. As author Michael Pollan put it, “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.”
These conclusions, while peering into future health care wisdom and drawing from traditional insights, are why I chose to use the Bieler’s Broth formula as part of my 2-week digestive detox and lymph cleanse, the Colorado Cleanse.
Green Tonic (Bieler’s Broth) Recipe
Green Tonic is a big part of the first four days of the Colorado Cleanse, known as Phase 1.
For my readers who have not done my Colorado Cleanse, the Green Tonic is most enjoyed either as a drink – to be consumed at room temperature – or as a soup, served hot.9
Below is the recipe for the Green Tonic. This makes about two (8 ounce) servings.
- 1-2 cups filtered water for steaming
- 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
- 1 whole zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup string beans, ends trimmed and chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- Steam all the vegetables except parsley for about 8 minutes or until bright green, tender but not mushy. Try not to overcook, as over-cooking can start to decrease nutrient value.
- Combine all the ingredients, including the fresh parsley, in a blender using the remaining steaming water as a thinning agent. Puree until smooth, adding more water as needed to reach your desired consistency. If you have aVitamix or a similarly powerful blender, you can make the Green Tonic very smooth. A weaker blender or food processor may result in a chunkier, less unified texture.
- To support digestion, drink the Green Tonic at room temperature, warm, or hot – not cold. After you steam the veggies, they can be blended and taken as a hot soup right away.
- Green Tonic Soup (Warm and Savory): Make it a “soup” by adding garlic, ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a squeeze of lemon.
- Green Tonic Smoothie: Add 1 small beet with a slice of fresh ginger and the juice of ½ a lemon.
While the above recipe is recommended, if you need variety, you may use any of the greens from our Seasonal Grocery Lists.
The Benefits of Green Tonic (Bieler’s Broth)
Each of the ingredients are loaded with nutrients, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals.
In particular, these ingredients boost potassium levels, which is one of the most common mineral deficiencies today.
In fact, when you compare the mineral intakes of hunter-gatherers to modern humans, the discrepancy in potassium jumps off the page. According to Dr. Daniel Lieberman’s book, The Story of the Human Body, the average hunter-gatherer consumed 7000mg a day of potassium while the recommended daily intake (RDI) here in the states is only 580mg per day.2
The Benefits of String Beans
This food is low in sodium, and very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also a good source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin c, vitamin K, folate and manganese.3
72 phytochemical compounds have been isolated in green beans. In one study, green beans boosted energy and fought fatigue in exercising mice—confirming the theory that string beans made an effective energy sports drink.13,14
In other studies, green beans show support for good cardiovascular health.15
The Benefits of Zucchini
This food is low in saturated fat and sodium, and very low in cholesterol. It is also a good source of protein, vitamin a, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, potassium and manganese.4
The Benefits of Celery
This food is low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol. It is also a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium and manganese.5
Known as one the best alkalizers, celery or Apium graveolens extract significantly protects the gastric mucosa and suppresses the basal gastric secretion in rats, possibly through its antioxidant potential.16
It is clear that celery with different compounds and diverse concentration can have varied healing effects, most likely due to antioxidant properties.17
The Benefits of Parsley
More than just a decorative garnish, wreaths of parsley (Petroselinum sativum) were worn by Greek athletes – including Hercules, according to legend – to celebrate victories.6,7 Today, we know that parsley offers great protection to the body against environmental chemicals and toxins.8-10
Based on some of the new discoveries, parsley, as a garnish, cooked into your soups or blended into your smoothies, may be better served as a regular staple throughout your spring, summer, and fall diets.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum, neapolitanum and tuberosum) is loaded with flavonoids (which make it a great source of vitamin C) and volatile oils such as myristicin, apiol and eugenol that offer powerful toxin and chemical-protective properties. Myristicin activates the liver’s most powerful detoxification enzyme, called glutathione peroxidase, which is known to rid the body of toxins, chemicals, environmental pollutants and more.8-10
The volatile oils in parsley were also shown to neutralize certain types of benzopyrenes, which are toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke and charcoal-grilled foods.10
Eugenol is a potent volatile oil found in parsley, and also one of the primary health-promoting constituents of tulsi holy basil.
Eugenol naturally fends off undesirable foreign bacteria in the gut, such as candida. The volatile oils in parsley can help to balance blood sugar, boost immunity and mental function, and protect against chemical damage in the liver, cells, gut and more.9
Parsley is rich in flavonoids that protect the cells throughout the body against toxic chemicals and oxidation. One such flavonoid is called luteolin, which supports healthy carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar and provides enhanced antioxidant properties. All of these qualities make parsley a powerful environmental toxin-protective for the body!10-12
- Lieberman D. The Story of the Human Body. Pantheon Books. P 224.
- Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs: The Classic Guide to Nature’s Best Medicines Featuring the Top 100 Time-Tested Herbs. Rodale Books: 2001.