Dr. Thomas Cowan is author of The Fourfold Path to Healing: Working with the Laws of Nutrition, Therapeutics, Movement and Meditation in the Art of Medicine. He is also a family physician with a private practice in San Francisco, CA. You can meet Dr. Cowan at the annual Fourfold Path to Healing Conference, held this year on January 29-31 in Nashua, NH or sign up for his newsletter at http://fourfoldhealing.com.
Dr. Tom Cowan is one of those rare physicians who understands the important role of nutrition in real healing. Although he professes to know nothing about cellulite, his understanding of the intimate relationship between health and nutrition make him a prime source for the Cellulite Investigation.
In his book, Fourfold Path to Healing, Dr. Cowan explains how the cloudy fluids of the lymph are associated with the metabolic system. Based on the teaching of Rudolph Steiner and Paracelsus, Cowan describes the function of the metabolic system as anabolism (building up). Too much or too little activity in the metabolic system can throw off the balance of the whole organism, leading to symptoms of dis-ease.
As you recall, the lymphatic system is often described as “the sewage disposal system” for your cells. This is why the raw material we put into our bodies (and therefore, our cells) is of the utmost importance for lymphatic health.
According to Dr. Cowan, any substance that is not properly digested can end up in the lymph. Eliminating toxic additives, preservatives, and other hard-to-digest materials from your diet will help lymph flow more freely.
Dr. Cowan mentions one food that is particularly damaging to lymphatic health: trans fat. According to the American Heart Association, trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogentated oils.” If you are cellulite-conscious, keep an eye out for the word “hydrogenated” on any ingredient label.
Here’s why trans fats are so detrimental to the lymphatic system. Fat digestion usually begins in the small intestine, where bile acids and lipases (a type of enzyme) break up the fat into smaller elements. These fatty elements are then absorbed through the intestine wall and carried into the body through… you guessed it, lymph!
Lymph congestion is manifest in a variety of symptoms. Dr. Cowan points out that when the lymphatic system is impaired, people tend to get sick in the upper respiratory region –often with a sore throat –or they experience edema in the lower legs. [Analyst's note: or perhaps, cellulite?? Dr. Cowan admits the lymph theory of cellulite makes sense.]
A late sign of lymphatic problems is cancer. Cancer isn’t caused by lymphatic congestion –they are both caused by something else –but it is a sign that the lymphatic system is impaired.
The most effective step in healing the lymphatic system is to eliminate industrial foods from the diet and replace them with traditional, nutrient-dense fare. If you suffer from impaired lymph flow, Dr. Cowan notes, you might experience some nausea or sickness when you start to improve your diet. This is a sign that the lymphatic congestion is breaking up and lymph flow is improving.
Since the lymphatic system is such a crucial aspect of cellulite (and since few of us know much about it), I hereby declare February as “Love Your Lymph” month at the Cellulite Investigation! Here are some of the topics you can look forward to this coming month:
I’m still figuring out how to set up our forum, but feel free to come over and say hi while I’m working on it. It’s always nice to hear from my fellow cellulite investigators!