Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 9 - 10 Days to a Healthier You in 2012!

Day 9 – Pancreas Support

Did you know that you have an organ in your body that leads a double life as an endocrine gland? 

Your pancreas plays a vital role as an organ in your digestive system.  It is responsible for releasing enzymes that are absolutely crucial to your digestive process.  These powerful enzymes are responsible for the final break down of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into a format that can be delivered into your bloodstream and taken to individual cells.

That alone is a really big job . . . but your overachieving pancreas has yet another function that is equally essential to sustaining life (I know, it’s all very dramatic!).  Your pancreas in it’s other life is a gland in your endocrine system.  As an endocrine gland it produces and secretes hormones directly into the blood stream.  And the essential hormones of the pancreas are insulin and glucagon, without them our blood sugars would spiral out of control and death would be immanent.

This is likely why an article in the NY Times called your pancreas “An Organ of Many Talents, at the Root of Serious Ills.”

So today we are going to concentrate on foods, drinks and techniques to support each of the functions of your pancreas.  In order to work on both aspects of it’s dual personality, the choices should concentrate on easy to break down proteins, very low sugars, high soluble and insoluble fiber and foods very high in proteolytic enzymes.

One very simple way to lift the burden of digestion from the pancreas is to puree your foods.  However, when this is the focus, one of the obvious choices is to make smoothies, but they can put a burden on the endocrine/hormone portion of the pancreas because of the concentration of sugars.  So today’s food takes a lot more thought than any of the other days.

I’m going to provide a list of the most helpful foods that support both aspects of the pancreas.  In addition I’ll include a few herbs and drinks plus a technique or two to help you on your way to a healthier pancreas!

Suggested Foods, Spices & Herbs:
Pineapple and Papaya (including seeds) – high in proteolytic enzymes Bromelain and Papain
Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Onions, Garlic and Eggs – high volume of Sulfur
Fennel, Ginger, Mint and Parsley – aide in digestion
Celery – high in bioavailable Sodium to increase HCL in the stomach
Sweet Potatoes, Oatmeal, Apples and berries – low glycemic load with lots of fiber
Cinnamon, Mullin, Cedar Berries, Garden of Life’s Raw Fiber, Chia Seeds – stabilize blood sugars
Goat Whey, Egg Whites and Garden of Life Raw Protein – easy to digest protein
Pumpkin Seeds, Brazil Nuts and Almonds – high mineral contents
Fermented vegetables like Sauerkraut, Kim Chi, etc. – valuable enzymes and prebiotics
Coconut and Palm Oil – medium chain fatty acids
Ground Stevia Leaf – the green powder, not the white stuff

So our smoothie of the day is going to include properties to improve digestion, stabilize blood sugars and provide tons of fiber.

Berry Tropical Smoothie
This delicious drink is a great way to both begin and end your day.  Each ingredient either aids digestion or balances blood sugars to ease the burden of the pancreas. 
Yield – 1 serving

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1/2 cup papaya chunks + 10 seeds
1/2 cup raspberry or blueberries
1/2 frozen banana
1 sprig mint
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1/2 scoop Garden of Life Raw Meal
1 teaspoon Garden of Life Raw Fiber
1 1/2 teaspoons goat whey
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 cup pH 9.5 ionized water

Blend all ingredients in your VitaMix or other powerful blender and enjoy!  This one has to be made fresh and consumed pretty quickly because the tropical fruits break down the proteins in the drink. 

Menu Suggestions:
In an effort to remove as much digestive stress as well as blood sugar spikes from your day, I recommend drinking 4 smoothies and eating 3 bowls of pureed soups today.  Use the Green Goddess Juice as a base and add pineapple, papaya, and berries plus Raw Meal or Raw Protein and Raw Fiber and a teaspoon of chia seeds to each smoothie.  Additionally a warm Pumpkin Pie Smoothie is also a great choice.

Curried Red Pepper Soup
Sweet Potato Soup with Brazil Nut Crème
Southwestern Style Kabocha Squash Soup with Spicy Pepitas are great soup choices.

This can leave you wishing for something to chew, so add 2 servings of fermented raw veggies as snacks.

Drink Suggestions:
Mullin Tea, Pineapple White Tea (Republic of Tea), Chai Tea with a splash of coconut or almond milk, Ginger Tea

Take a 15 – 30 minute break after each of your meals today to rest.  Play soft relaxing music, sit in a very comfey chair, close your eyes, think about something pleasant or nothing at all (if you can do this I’m envious because I have NEVER had an empty mind!).  This exercise helps to move your nervous system into the “rest and digest” or parasympathetic nervous system state.  In this state your digestion is enhanced, your stress hormones are dramatically reduced, blood pressures and blood sugars are regulated easier.

Take 2 minutes every 2 hours to stretch and focus on an object at least 10 feet away from where you are working.

Happy Pancreas Day!

Dr. P


  1. Wow! Thanks for this post! It is perfect for me right now! I love the way you can make a complex organ easy to understand. The food choices are so many helpful And the smoothie sounds so delicious! Di

  2. Thanks Di! I hope you enjoy the food when you give it a whirl in your new VitaMix!