Toxin Blocks and Tackles

It is football season, so as I watch the players on the field blocking and tackling I cannot help but think about how that should be our attitude toward our toxic world. We need to block our exposure to as many toxins as possible and then tackle those that have already gained entrance to our body.

Fortunately, our body does have natural detoxification pathways which, when supported nutritionally and with supplements, are designed to detoxify routinely. In fact, every time you exhale, every time you sweat or use the bathroom or blow your nose, you are witnessing your body busy at the work with waste elimination. Yeah, I know, cleaning is never a pretty topic! Some chemicals have a very short half-life and are out of the body within 24 hours, while others hang around in your body for several decades!

So what are specifics? Where should you start? Well, let’s get the game started, kick off with some ways to Block, and then some ways to Tackle!

Block – Avoiding Toxins 

Buy Organic – A USDA certification ensures that produce or any ingredient has been grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.¹ While it would be optimal to eat organic 100% of the time, this may not be realistic for most or affordable for many, but any effort you can make to increase organic choices and avoid the most toxic (e.g., an apple) is a good step toward blocking incoming toxins and supporting the body’s natural detoxification process. A good resource is to determine, for example, which fruits and vegetables are most commonly genetically modified and heavily covered in pesticides and which are not so you can make wise choices.

Avoid Plastics – avoid foods and beverages packaged in plastic, especially if you plan to heat them in the package. This especially applies to drinks, including water packaged in plastic as well as plastic storage and lunch type containers used to reheat food.  Most plastics made in America are made from natural gas²and are a source of many chemicals known as endocrine disrupters, substances which when taken into our body alter normal hormonal function. Every time these plastics are heated, whether in a hot car or in a microwave, they release more of the toxic chemicals. Better options include glass, ceramic dishware with lead-free glaze, stainless steel, cast iron, and food-grade silicone, all of which do not leach chemicals into your food. ³

Choose Body and Household products carefully –from toothpaste to deodorant, and household cleaners to laundry detergent, make every effort to choose clean products free of parabens, phthalates, perchloroethylene (PERC), triclosan, quarternary ammonium compounds (Quats), 2-Butoxyethanol, ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, triclocarban, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinoic acid, retinol, retinyl palmitate, aerosol sprays, SPF above 50, Oxybenzone, added insect repellant, permanent hair dyes, formaldehyde, formalin toluene, dibutyl phthalate, petroleum distillates, fragrance, BHA, boric acid, sodium borate, PEG’s, polyethylene compounds, diethyl phthalate, coal tar, hydroquinone, lead, and toluene⁴,⁵. For a more complete list, see www.ewg.orgor shop in a health food store, or online with a reputable health oriented site. Our staff would be happy to offer name brands, stores, and website suggestions.

Filter Water – unfortunately, every year a surprising number of contaminants are found in our water supply. Many bottled and alkalized waters are tap water. There can be toxic chemical disinfection byproducts from the chlorine in water, as well as many pesticides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals found in the water supply. It is very important to choose a quality filtering system for the water you drink and if possible for the entire household for cleaning and bathing. Two good sources for information to consider when choosing filters can be found at, or

Tackle – Helping Your Body Detoxify

Eat Real Whole Food, especially your Vegetables! -While the fats and proteins we eat help to create our cellular structure and build and repair the human body, carbohydrates, namely our plant foods are purposed to clean and detoxify the human body. Green vegetables (wheatgrass, kale, spinach, spirulina, chlorella, chard, arugula etc.), green teas, herbs, seaweed, fruits in general, lemons, oranges and limes, garlic, broccoli sprouts, mung beans, seeds, nuts and omega 3 oils from hemp, avocado, and olive oil all serve as natural detoxifiers, helping to provide antioxidants and water as well as stimulating production of enzymatic activity in the digestive tract. We are designed and wired for plant and animal food, not chemically laden, preserved and processed food product.

A Note on Two Specific Foods from Dr. McManus:

SALMON: It’s very important to distinguish the different species of salmon because Pacific (Alaskan) salmon is acceptable, whereas Atlantic (farmed) salmon is ONE OF THE MOST TOXIC FOODS YOU CAN EAT! Atlantic salmon is hearty and, therefore, easily farmed. Pacific salmon, however, is a different genus with 3 different species known as king salmon (aka Chinook), silver salmon (aka coho), and red salmon (aka sock-eye). The great majority of salmon at markets and restaurants is farmed Atlantic salmon. This is HIGHLY toxic due to the salmon being fed pesticide-laden grains. Don’t be fooled by fancy names.   “Scottish Salmon” may be Atlantic salmon farmed in Scotland. “Norwegian Salmon” may be Atlantic salmon farmed in Norway.

BUTTER: Butter is ubiquitous in the diet, so I felt that this is another food to be addressed. Toxins are stored in fat cells. Butter is cow fat extracted from the cows’ milk. When you eat butter, you are eating a heavy load of toxins (e.g. pesticides sprayed on the grains they are fed). The only butter that’s fit for human consumption, in my opinion, is butter, preferably organic, that’s made from grass fed cattle. You can find this at most grocery stores. A decent brand is KerryGold. Other available brands in this area (Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s) or online include Organic Valley Pastured Butter, Kalona Super Natural Organic Butter, Anchor Pure New Zealand Butter, or Purity Farms Organic Ghee.

Promote and Support your Detoxification Pathways- using exercise, massage, and infra-red sauna, as well as proper hydration serves to promote sweating, elimination and mucus formation. It is important that whatever detoxification efforts are made, it is best to start with cleaning up the diet, water, living environment and avoiding toxins. When you are ill is not the best time to try a detoxification program.

For more assistance with choosing cleansing foods, juicing, and detoxification programs, call or office to schedule an appointment to design a clean diet and program that is right for you. Also see our Supplement of the Month (PaleoCleanse) for some specific detoxification programs designed to meet your needs.




By |2015-12-02T16:26:26-06:00November 30th, 2015|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General, NANCY’S NUTRITIONAL NUGGET|

Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “I can’t lose weight despite diet and extreme exercise,” I would be a gazillionnaire. Issues with weight gain can be quite complex and everyone has a different opinion about what a healthy diet looks like.  There are many reasons why you potentially can’t lose weight despite exercise.  You may understand the concept of portion control and benefits of exercise, but did you know this:

  • Inflammation affects metabolism. Inflammation stems from various factors, but one in particular is a food sensitivity. You may not realize that, for instance, the eggs or wheat in your diet is sabotaging you because of an underlying food sensitivity. Another source of inflammation is alcohol. (Of course, the calories from alcohol don’t help either).
  • Nutritional deficiencies affect metabolism. Are you deficient in iodine, selenium, omega 3s or iron perhaps?
  • Muscle mass helps to dictate metabolism. Are you working on increasing muscle mass and not simply trying to jog off your behind and belly fat?
  • Results will be much quicker by working on your diet, rather than trying to overcompensate with exercise.
  • Your thyroid function may be low despite normal lab results. Test yourself for low thyroid symptoms.
  • Hormonal imbalances indirectly affect thyroid function, which in turn affects metabolism. Have you heard of estrogen dominance?
  • Medications can affect your metabolism such as birth control pills, antidepressants and beta blockers.
  • Toxins may be sabotaging your efforts. We are all constantly exposed, but some more than others. Plus, some of us don’t eliminate toxins as quickly. A good detox may be helpful! Read our article on how to detox your body and search our site for detox recipes that will help you get rid of harmful toxins.

Call 281-298-6742 today to learn how we can help you start losing weight today! We also invite you to try our healthy diet recipes that are sure to spice up your taste buds AND help you feel better. The Woodlands Institute also offers an amazing nutrition program under the leadership of amazing nutrition consultants.




By |2018-05-21T13:52:06-06:00June 3rd, 2014|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General|

Overcoming Depression Testimonial

Overcoming Depression Testimonial

by Mila McManus MD

As I was my first wellness patient, and depression was one of my many issues, I thought it would be appropriate to share my story this month since this newsletter focuses on depression.

I remember feeling depressed when I was in high school, but seemed mostly situational. College years were good, but developed anxiety. Two yrs into medical school, life was rough. I was exhausted and emotional and anxious all the time. I started on antidepressants and boy did it help a lot.  I went from a lot of emotion to NO emotion. It helped anxiety as well.  I craved carbs terribly and continued to have issues with insomnia which I first noticed in my early teens.  I also had issues with terrible allergies, constipation, headaches, PMS, reflux, high blood pressure, unexplained 80 lb weight gain over a 5 year period, and eczema, just to name a few.

OK, so in retrospect, I had severe adrenal fatigue, low thyroid function, I was riddled with yeast, and was nutritionally bankrupt.  Keep in mind that my labs were ALWAYS perfectly normal (so it had to be all in my head, right?). Over the years I tried several times to wean my antidepressant to no avail.  Of course now I know that it’s because I wasn’t addressing the underlying causes of my depression and anxiety in the first place.  Skip ahead to my first year in private practice as a family physician.  I’ve now accumulated 12 prescription medications and I’m 30 years old, going on 90. I lived on diet soda and fast food. Nobody taught me in medical school that it wasn’t healthy to eat that way.  Seriously!

Thank Goodness I found wellness, which is everything we doctors don’t learn in medical school.  I was able to discover that the underlying causes of my depression and anxiety were due to nutritional deficiencies, abnormal gut flora, hormonal imbalance, and having toxic overload. Within 2 weeks of starting bio-identical hormones, changing my diet, and taking a handful of vitamins, I was well on my way to shedding all 12 of my medications.  It did take about 6 months, but my antidepressant was the first to go.

I often wonder where I would be today, almost 11 years later, if I had not found wellness.  My story is unfortunately a very common one, and I hope reading this story gives you hope.  I feel so blessed every day that I get to pay it forward by helping other people overcome what ails them!

By |2014-10-20T12:50:10-06:00May 2nd, 2014|Ask Dr McManus, General, Testimonials|

Elimination Diet

by Mila McManus MD

Hit your factory reset button with the elimination diet!  Dr. Mark Hyman was interviewed on the Today show this morning discussing this very thing.  We’ve been recommending the elimination diet to our patients for over 10 years now. It’s comical how behind the times the media can be regarding health issues.  An elimination diet is simply taking certain foods out of your diet to see if particular health issues improve.  Perhaps you have “FLC” disorder, quoted by Dr. Mark Hyman this morning, which stands for “feel like crap”.  Or perhaps you have an autoimmune disease or a skin disorder or joint pain or brain fog or depression or anxiety, all of which may improve with eliminating certain foods from your diet.  The most common culinary culprits causing your symptoms include gluten (wheat products), dairy, eggs, soy, and sugar.  I know this sounds scary, but you really can be very satisfied with what you still have to work with, such as fruit, vegetables, avocados, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and so on.  Call 281-298-6742281-298-6742 today to get help with whatever ails you.





By |2014-04-18T08:42:34-06:00April 18th, 2014|Articles, Ask Dr McManus, General|

QUESTION: How do you know if you are toxic?

QUESTION: How do you know if you are toxic?
Answer: If you eat or breathe, you are exposed to toxins. The key is avoidance (see article in this newsletter) and finding ways to continually detoxify, such as with infrared saunas, supplements that support the detoxification pathways of the liver (e.g. lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, milk thistle), drinking green tea, and eating plenty of organic green vegetables.
By |2012-12-11T16:12:13-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question: When on birth control pills, my period is nonstop for 3-4 months, with 2 weeks in between. Does this mean I won’t be able to conceive?

Question: When on birth control pills, my period is nonstop for 3-4 months, with 2 weeks in between. Does this mean I won't be able to conceive?
Answer:You should not be bleeding while on birth control pills. You should see your doctor for a change in medications, blood work (e.g. to make sure you aren’t anemic, check thyroid levels, etc). , and possibly an ultrasound to see if there’s another reason you are bleeding (e.g. uterine fibroid). When ready, if periods are normal once off the pills, you should be able to conceive. Having said that, I am not a fan of birth control pills because they are synthetic hormones with many side effects, and they cause imbalance of other hormones.

By |2012-10-11T09:57:13-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question : How do I know if I have an allergy to wheat?

Question : How do I know if I have an allergy to wheat?
ANSWER:There are different ways to test for food allergies. A true food allergy is an IgE response which is done by skin testing or blood (blood tests for IgE reactions aren’t very accurate in my opinion). There are also IgG tests that are blood tests which can be very revealing. These reactions are considered food sensitivities or intolerances rather than true allergy.Food sensitivities can cause a myriad of different symptoms ranging from mood disorders to skin rashes to joint pain, migraines, autoimmune diseases, and gastrointestinal symptoms (just to name a few!). An easy test would be to eliminate it from your diet for a few weeks and take note of improvement in any symptoms you may be experiencing. Feel free to call our office and speak to a wellness consultant for more information.

By |2012-11-05T07:14:00-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question : I have insufficient bowel movements. Help!

Question : I have insufficient bowel movements. Help!
Answer: Constipation can be caused from poor dietary habits, an undiagnosed or poorly treated thyroid problem, side effects from prescription meds (e.g. pain killers, calcium channel blockers), and/or from food allergy/sensitivity (e.g. wheat/gluten), just to name a few. You can try taking fiber and drinking more fluids, but treating the underlying cause of the problem is better, such as addressing the above mentioned. Magnesium is a great natural laxative, but should be taken under the care of a health care provider, especially if you have kidney disease.

By |2012-11-05T07:14:11-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question : What’s the best medicine for fibroids?

Question : What's the best medicine for fibroids?
Answer:Fibroids don’t necessarily require medicine or surgery, but having fibroids is a sign of hormonal imbalance. Balancing your hormones with bio-identical hormones may be the key, but it’s also important to decrease the ‘estrogen burden’ in your body by avoiding pesticides, soy, and alcohol, for example. If you are overweight, losing weight would also help the estrogen burden since estrogens are stored in fat cells. Taking a b-complex and DIM supplement will help you to metabolize estrogens more safely.

By |2012-11-05T07:14:22-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|

Question : “I have heard that drinking moderate amounts of red wine is heart healthy. Do you have any insight on that topic now that we’re in the holiday party season?”

Question : I have heard that drinking moderate amounts of red wine is heart healthy. Do you have any insight on that topic now that we're in the holiday party season?
Answer: In addition to bringing out the flavor in food, and being delicious on its own, red wine is strongly linked to a variety of health benefits. Studies have shown that drinking wine in moderation – a glass or two a day – can lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Of course, alcohol in general is not necessarily advocated for medicinal purposes, so be smart!

By |2012-10-11T10:21:09-06:00October 2nd, 2012|Ask Dr McManus|
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