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Help for Cellulite with Real Food

Help for Cellulite

It’s true that 90 percent of women have cellulite, but that doesn’t mean we are supposed to have cellulite. Does it?

Today I’m excited to share a guest post with you from Melissa, The Cellulite Analyst. We’d both love to hear your comments after reading…

ntIt started innocently enough. My brother, an organic farmer in Western Pennsylvania, gave me a copy of Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions for my birthday one year. Silly me, I thought it was a cookbook. I used it to make chicken soup. I referenced a recipe for meatloaf. It sat there on the shelf between Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everythingand a book about baking bread I picked up at Barnes and Noble.

Years passed. Another birthday approached. This time, I turned thirty. I won’t go into detail about the dramatic fitting room incident that preceded my thirtieth birthday, but suffice it to say, I soon developed a passion for ridding my body of cellulite. The conventional wisdom on the subject didn’t sit well with me.

Upon further research, I came across an alternative viewpoint. In this theory, cellulite isn’t harmless and genetic –it’s a sign of impaired lymphatic flow. The lymphatic system is the “sewage disposal system” for our cells. Blood delivers nutrients to our cells while lymph carries away the metabolic waste. The lymphatic system is often referred to as the secondary circulatory system, even though the human body contains over twice as much lymph as it does blood (six to ten liters!).

With this understanding of cellulite, Real Food becomes a critical aspect of an effective cellulite treatment plan because any food that is not digested properly can cause congestion in the lymphatic fluid. Trans fats, food additives, anything your body interprets as a waste product can contribute to impaired lymphatic flow.

Moreover, the dense nutrients found in traditional foods lead to healthy cell metabolism and improved circulation, two essential aspects of cellulite recovery. For example, the antioxidants in raw honey work to rid the body of free radicals in the bloodstream. Grass-fed beef, raw dairy and quality pastured butter contain high amounts of conjugated linoleic acid, the active ingredient in many anti-cellulite products.

Most cellulite treatments provide only temporary results because they never address the cause of the problem. Treating cellulite involves caring for our lymphatic system and this must begin with a switch to nutrient-dense Real Food.

Cellulite Secrets Cellulite isn’t an inevitable part of the aging process –it’s a “disease of civilization,” as Weston Price might have put it. Once I realized the significance of Dr. Price’s work, I read Nourishing Traditions the way it’s meant to be read: cover-to-cover. My poor legs are so glad I did.



Melissa continues to unravel the modern cellulite mystery at Check out her site for more info on how to care for your lymphatic system and how to treat cellulite with Real Food. (Just don’t expect any advice on dieting and exercise. We’re curing cellulite the old fashioned way here –with butter and dry skin brushing and hot soaks in the tub!)

Top photo source.


  1. I love the idea of approaching cellulite with the idea of whole body health. It really is more of a symptom than a condition, a sign that other things are not working right in the body.

    I’m 23 and not overweight (though I wouldn’t mind dropping those proverbial 10 lbs, lol), but I still have enough cellulite to bug me. I used to do dry skin brushing every day, but when it got cold I didn’t want to stand naked in the bathroom for 10 minutes brushing my skin and freezing my you-know-what off. 😉

    This reminds me that I should start up dry skin brushing again. I wrote a whole article on Natural News about the benefits of dry skin brushing – I ought to know better!

  2. Jumping on the rebounder (mini-trampoline) is an excellent way to exercise the lymphatic system. I am 32, once overweight but not anymore, 4 pregnancies and no stretch marks or cellulite to speak of. I did have cellulite after my first baby when I was overweight but after using the rebounder daily and changing our diet to a more Nourishing Traditions style, no more cellulite! I can’t say how long it took for it to go away. It wasn’t something I expected, I just realized recently that it was all gone.

  3. Elizabeth, the dry brushing is a great place to start. My initial experience with dry brushing is what prompted my whole cellulite investigation in the first place. My body had such a strong reaction to it, it showed me that cellulite is indeed treatable, contrary to conventional wisdom.

    Christy, you give us all hope! With so much talk about how cellulite is normal and there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s refreshing to hear from someone who USED to have it but no more… especially considering the 4 pregnancies. Yay for women everywhere!

    and Kelly, thanks again for the opportunity to write a guest post for your blog. Such fun!

  4. I used to have cellulite when I was a teen, and honestly cannot remember when it left. My first level of dietary changes (cutting out all the junk food, HFCS, refined sugar, and hydrogenated oils) started around 2002, so maybe then? In any case I have zero issue with it now.

    Elizabeth, I dry brush too, but I do mine quickly because I don’t have time during the week to do any longer. Is it really more beneficial to take ten minutes?

  5. I read to really stimulate the lymph system, a good brushing should last at least a few minutes. But I have to admit I rarely go that long (I guess it just feels longer when my bathroom is freezing cold!). On a good note, I did do some dry skin brushing this morning – I forgot how invigorating it feels! Good for these cold winter mornings.

    Christy – sounds like I may have to get a rebounder! :)

  6. I am facinated by this topic and spent some time perusing Melissa’s blog. Although I have cellulite, it’s not excessive. I suspect I’m keeping it somewhat at bay by my consistent exercise. What really caught my attention though were Melissa’s blog posts about acne and melasma. I have been trying for 6+ months to approach this problem from the inside out, but I seem to be missing something.

  7. Liz, Ann Marie also has good info on melasma at her site. Just google “Cheeseslave melasma” and it will come up.

  8. Liz, I know exactly how you feel. Adult acne is so frustrating! I had docs tell me I was touching my face too much, that I was eating too many greasy foods, that my washcloth/pillow case was too dirty. It can really make you paranoid!  I might never have pinpointed the fluoride if not for one particular session with my lymph drainage therapist.  It’s amazing how sensitive the body is to substances that are otherwise undetectable.  It could be fluoride, iodine, bromine, chlorine, petroleum products…  Perhaps you could keep a journal to help identify what is triggering the breakouts? Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions about the fluoride/melasma bit.

    Soli, sounds like your lymphatic system is in top shape so you probably don’t need a full-out dry brushing session. According to Bronwyn Hewitt (the resident cellulite guru at The Cellulite Investigation), you just have to do enough to get the skin to turn a slight rosy color.  This happens faster once your circulation improves.

    Christy, I love my rebounder, too. It’s hard not to feel like  a carefree three-year-old when pouncing on a tramp-oh-lean!

  9. What a great post! I learned a lot.

    Some questions: How does dry brushing do anything for the lymphatic system? How does a rebounder help? What exactly do these things do?

    That’s so inspiring that people have reversed cellulite!

  10. Basically dry skin brushing stimulates the lymph system/lymph nodes, and encourages lymph flow in the vessels. This helps the lymphatic system function and eliminate toxins more effectively. You can Google Elizabeth Walling and dry skin brushing for my article (which goes into the basics), or Google Dr. Denise Moffat; she has a great in-depth page about it. (I’d put links in my comment, but it’s not letting me.)

    I’m not sure how the rebounder helps (beyond just the general exercise). I’d love to hear if anyone knows specific benefits with the rebounder and cellulite!

  11. I get that question about dry brushing a lot, Ann Marie! It’s hard to see how brushing the exterior surface of the skin could have any effect on the cells underneath.  The main task of the lymphatic system is to take metabolic debris away from the cells.  Our skin is a major eliminatory organ, so it works in tandem with the lymphatic system to keep everything running smoothly.  When our pores are blocked with surface debris from dead skin cells, etc., it adds to the burden on the lymphatic system.  Bronwyn explains dry brushing as a mini-acupuncture session, as the bristles from the brush get deep into the pores.

    Also, most of our lymph vessels are just below the skin and they are readily manipulated by external pressure.  This is why you’re supposed to always brush in the direction of lymphatic flow, paying special attention to areas with a dense collection of lymph nodes.  Manual lymphatic drainage (a type of massage) is such a gentle touch, it’s surprising how effective it can be at helping the body eliminate lymphatic congestion.

    A rebounder is often recommended for people suffering with lymphedema and other lymphatic disorders because of its effect on lymphatic circulation.  Lymph circulates as a mechanism of skeletal movement combined with breathing.  A series of one-way valves along the lymph vessels keeps the lymphatic fluid moving in the right direction, which is usually against gravity. I need to do some more research on this one, but from what I understand, the rebounder helps with lymphatic circulation because it creates little moment of weightlessness. If anyone has any good info on this, please share!

    Thanks for your questions, Ann Marie! I love gabbing with the gals about cellulite, as you can tell :)

  12. This is very interesting. I wonder if some of the people who have reversed their cellulite could tell the rest of us exactly how they did it.

    Thanks for all the information Kelly. I have been reading your blog for a long time but have not ever commented before.

  13. Alright ladies, me and my fat *** thank you. 😉 I’ve been so crunched for time lately that I haven’t been reading too much of my favorite bloggers, but I saw the title and just had to check this out.

    These are exactly the type of Q&A I’ve been thinking about lately. I’ve been having some issues w/ bursitis and leg pain and am suspecting that flushing the lymph system would improve the situation (doctor just wants to inject steroids, not my preferred option).

    I’ve been working on changing my diet (more probiotics, less refined sugars, etc), but have been feeling the need to do more in terms of physical manipulation of the affected areas (radical diet change is not going to happen for me overnight).

    I’ll definitely be paying a visit to your site, Melissa, and learning the right way to use that dry brush I picked up, even if the bathroom is freezing.

  14. I’m still waiting for my stretch marks to fade, but it took them a long time to show, I can wait for them to disappear. But considering I dropped almost 100 pounds over 7 years, it’s like a badge to remind me how far I have come.

  15. I just bought a rebounder about a month ago because my friend who is a colon hydro-therapist told me that 10 minutes a day will stimulate lymphatic movement from using it. I still have to get on my schedule of using it everyday…my life is so chaotic and crazy right now. Which probably means I need to use it even more. As my next-door neighbor Jenny always says, “when you are stressed out, you need good food and exercise even more.” And she is so right!

    I’ve never had a lot of trouble with cellulite, but I do have a small amount that I’d love to be rid of, as well as a benign breast cyst (those are always connected to lymphatic congestion) that probably would benefit from regular rebound activity.

    Thanks for the info about dry skin brushing, Elizabeth. I’ve heard about this activity, and now I’ll have to read your articles about it. :)

  16. You’ve all got me thinking…I’ve got this small soft benign lump that’s been in my neck a couple years now – I wonder if that’s related to lymphatic congestion???????????

  17. Kelly,
    Thanks for the reminder. I’m all over my rebounder tomorrow.
    Keep writing!!! I love it…and like Ann Marie, I want more information too.
    We LUV you and what you do for us.
    Thanks again.
    Karen in Kalifornia

  18. Fascinating! I have never given much thought to skin brushing, but the way you explain it, it sounds like I should.

    In addition to cellulite, I have bumps on the backs of my arms (lifelong). They *seem* to be fading after months of taking fermented cod liver oil, but now you’ve got me wondering if skin brushing would help. What do you think?

  19. Laurie — I’m working on posting a free dry brushing e-book (with pictures and all), but this post explains the gist of it: 

    Treating Cellulite With Dry Brushing

    Kelly –When my acne was at its worst, I would get lumps in my neck and ears. That is what prompted me to see a lymph drainage therapist to help work them out. Fortunately, I live close to the Upledger Institute, one of the best light-touch therapy centers in the world. The results were amazing.

    Wardeh –It’s hard to say if the bumps on your arm are lymph related, but dry brushing is such a gentle treatment, I can’t see how it would hurt giving it a try!

    If anyone has any specific questions about lymph drainage therapy, please let me know.  I’ll be interviewing  Dr. Bruno Chikly, the creator of lymph drainage therapy, and Mya Breman (LCSW, LMT, CST-D), a lymph drainage therapist and international lecturer,  in a few weeks for the Cellulite Investigation.  (If you don’t want to leave your question in a comment, you can email me at Analyst {at} CelluliteInvestigation {dot} com).

  20. Yes, lymphatic drainage, I’ve heard, is very effective. I’ve had it done about a half a dozen times in the last year and a half, and it also feels really good. So far, I am not sure it has done my body any significant change, but I also I think I should probably be having it done more often, it’s just a matter of $$. Consistency, I believe, is the key to protocols that improve health.

    Something else I forgot to mention about lymphatic cleansing that I think has made a big difference where many other things didn’t is that my neighbor who is a nutritional therapist (and I’ve read about this in many nutritional type books) suggested drinking unsweetened organic cranberry juice in my water every day. I’ve been doing this now for nearly two months. The ratios are 8 ounces of cranberry juice to 58 ounces of water for a total of 64 ounces daily. I have found that not only has this helped with my cyst, but I really crave the cranberry juice. I think there is something in the juice I need – there are many vitamins and minerals in cranberry juice and I believe this has helped my body tremendously. It quenches my thirst better than straight water does now! I just get two glass liter bottles that I’ve recycled, fill them up, and make sure I drink them everyday.

  21. Raine –You’re right, lymph drainage therapy can be pricey. Fortunately, I was able to use my Health Savings Account so I did not have to pay out of pocket. It does help with lymph circulation, but it won’t fix the problem unless you figure out what is causing the lymphatic congestion in the first place and eliminate it. Once my therapist helped me pinpoint fluoride as the cause of my acne, I didn’t need any more sessions.

    Louise Gittleman writes more about the cranberry approach in her book, The Fat Flush Plan. I know it works because I developed a canker sore soon after starting with it, a sure sign of detox.

  22. A canker sore is a sign of detox? Okay, now I’m really intrigued. For me there’s a direct connection to canker sores and stress — this was especially bad when I was younger (teens and twenties). Also, I used to always break out in painful canker sores after visits to the dentist, especially for a cleaning. Now, I no longer get the flouride treatments and I don’t get canker sores either.

    I’ve done the ALG Fat Flush a couple of times. I was frustrated because I never lost a pound. Now, I feel as though the flush wouldn’t be such a stretch for me because I’ve already eliminated so much from my diet. Anyway, my husband and I continue to go on cran-water kicks from time to time and we also regularly do the fresh squeezed lemon juice in hot water to start the day.

  23. Ann Marie –I didn’t know much about fluoride, either, until I figured out the acne connection. But once I started looking into it, I was amazed at what came up in the research. Obviously, not everyone has the same reaction to fluoride.  I think my fluoroderma is a result of too much fluoride when I was little. We had well water so my dentist gave me fluoride pills.  Even when I developed chronic nose bleeds and dental fluorosis, my parents (and my pediatrician) never suspected the fluoride. Our bodies can only process out a certain amount of fluoride, and no one is monitoring the cumulative exposure through water, food, pesticides, etc. is a great resource if you want to know more.

    What else can cause lymphatic congestion? That’s another great question. Dr. Cowan told me that anything our bodies don’t digest properly gets trapped in the lymph. He singled out trans fats as particularly harmful, while others warn about preservatives and chemicals in processed food, cleaning solutions, skincare products, etc.

    Liz –That’s really interesting, the correlation between the fluoride treatments and canker sores.  I noticed a direct relationship between canker sores and stress, too, during a demanding week of finals when I was an undergrad. I rarely get them anymore, maybe one every other year. Besides the cranberry experience, I developed a MAMMOTH canker sore the week I started dry brushing (and also an itchy rash on my legs).  That’s what really got my attention and made me think, “whoa, there’s definitely something going on here…”

  24. Melissa – that is interesting that fluoride can cause lymphatic congestion. We don’t drink tap water in our house, but I did drink it for years…so maybe there is a connection. I have used the cranberry water for a couple of months, and sometimes use lemon too, as recommended by ALG – I did the fast track detox in September from her book. My neighbor who is a nutritional therapist recommended it. I think it’s a good detox, but I didn’t do it to lose weight. I’ve always had trouble gaining weight. It makes sense that lymphatic drainage won’t help unless the source of the problem is found.

    I’m still trying to find out what’s causing mine because none of the practitioners I’ve seen seem to be able to determine what it is. I have eliminated most toxic chemicals from our home, we don’t use plastic for anything to do with food except for the plastic containers they come in from the store (and then I usually transfer them to something else). I eat very healthy, and I’ve done heavy metal detoxes, parasitic detoxes, and candida cleansing. I’m currently doing another parasitic cleanse and will move onto candida again, then colon. So I’m kind of at the end of my rope!

  25. Raine — I think I confused myself, switching back and forth between talking about cellulite and adult acne. What are you referring to when you say “I’m still trying to find out what’s causing mine?” In any case, I know how frustrating it is to be pestered by a health problem and not understand what’s causing it. Maddening!

  26. Sorry Melissa, I mean my lymphatic congestion. I have only a little cellulite, but I know many other conditions are caused by lymphatic congestion, and our discussion had sort of switched to this broader subject; I think my major symptom of this being a benign breast cyst I’ve had for nearly six years.

  27. Gosh, I’ve had cellulite ever since I was a skinny (I mean *skinny*) teenager. I’m also a horrible detoxer and that really caused problems with my lyme treatment – I could hardly handle pediatric doses of antibiotics. I was so toxic that I started out with only 10 minute lymph massages when I was able to do them (per doctor’s recommendation to start slow and work up to the full time). I could only afford about 4 months of lymph massages but they were great – I would be pain-free for a little while after each one. I could only handle 2-3 minutes on the chi machine. I still don’t do more than 5 because I’m paranoid of feeling horrible if I overdo.

    The chi machine physically moves your ankles elliptically (sp?) which in turn moves your lymph. For those of us unable to exercise, or even rebound, and for whom the lymph massages are too expensive or unavailable, this is a good alternative (or can be used in addition to other things you do). I got mine years ago on eBay – it’s an off-brand and it still works great.

    I was thinking of selling it, but this thread has motivated me to use it instead! :)


  28. Beth –I’ve never heard of a chi machine. Sounds intriguing! Any idea why the ankles are so instrumental in lymph circulation? Another good question for Dr. Chikly…

    Kate –I share your excitement about a possible cure for cellulite. Bronwyn’s been helping women in Australia treat their cellulite for 20 years, and she said they are always amazed when they start to see their cellulite “move” (as she calls it). I wrote about some of her client’s experiences in this post. So exciting!

  29. Wardeh — I too have bumps on my arms, as did my mother. In fact, so do all my siblings and all of their children, so there is definitely a “family” connection here. It’s called keratosis pilaris — a buildup of skin protein cells, as I understand it. I had it on my face too, so I learned from a dermatologist many years ago that alpha-hydroxy lotions are the way to go with this. Actually I just put it on my face and leave my arm-and-thigh bumps to wax and wane on their own.

  30. I just looked up “Keratosis pilaris” and “Alpha-hydroxy acid” on wikipedia and was reminded that, natural or not, LacHydrin Five (what I use) is a topical treatment, just at the superficial level. I am greatly interested in Christy’s suggestion, which would address the systems aspect. I’ve been taking a probiotic and/or consuming raw-milk yogurt for some time now, but I can’t say for sure if that is affecting my KP.

    I will say, however, that I’ve been using the LacHydrin Five (can’t deal with the scent even on “unscented” AmLactin) for over 30 years, every morning and night. And I still get compliments on my complexion, so it must be something I do right!

  31. By the way, you might have noticed the names LacHydrin and AmLactin indicate the active source of their alpha-hydroxy acid — SOUR MILK!!! So wouldn’t it be great if a return to raw milk and its ferments relieved the condition!!

  32. Sorry for the late post, I’m a couple of days behind in my reading. I just wanted to add my $.03 worth of info to this thread. For breast cysts, or anything breast related, Poke Root tincture is the greatest. It will clear just about any stagnation from the lymph system – no matter where it is. It is a traditional “spring herb”, that has always been eaten when it is no more than 3 inches high. It grows naturally in Zone 5 and above. People knew that it “cleaned the blood” after a long winter of eating salted and preserved foods. Poke is also my 1st choice for any lymphatic cleansing. For a day to day tonic, Cleavers and/or Chickweed make great teas to keep the lymph moving.

  33. I recommend to my clients, to start off with 10 drops once a day for 7 to 10 days. It would also depend on why you are taking it. For a general lymph flush, I like 10 days on, 10 days off, then 10 more days on. If you do that 4 times a year, then it works out to be a nice cleanse. I do it with the change of the seasons. That makes it easy for me to remember. But for repeated sore throats/strep issues, breast cysts, or any swellings in the glands (under the arms, the groin in men, etc….) you could certainly take it longer. Poke is out there, but you have to know the people or companies that carry it. I do have it on my website, but I would check with your local stores to see if they have it. In very large quantities, it can induce vomiting. But you would really need to take a lot of it, like by the teaspoon(s) full. When people react like, “POKE ROOT, OMGoodness, that can kill you!” I usually say, “Yeah and so can a loaf of Wonderbread”. You can choke to death on a hamburger for that matter, we just learn to chew our food well, and would never feed our children sandwiches made from Wonderbread. Poke is a fabulous addition to any home medicine kit and is totally safe to use when taken in the recommended doses.

  34. It’s fine. Drops in a little bit of tea or other liquid of your choice. Take on an empty stomach, then OK to eat within a minute or two.


  35. Most americans are either fat or skinny fat. I have been skinny fat for most of my life. And I had cellulite. Then about 9 years ago I started training for a rollerblading marathon. I was already thin, but something changed in my body. I had endurance, energy and strength….and no cellulite. I was muscular – lean muscular and my cellulite disappeared.

    Now, 2 kids and 9 years later, I had become skinny fat again. About a year ago I started exercising regularly. I’m still skinny, but no longer fat. I’m full of lean muscle again and once again, no cellulite. Now in my 30’s, I have the fun of wrinkles and dry skin. Blah! I’m hoping with a healthy diet and some tinkering in the lotion department, I can solve that issue too.

  36. Lyne –Thanks for the info about herbs and the lymphatic system. I’ve dabbled in this approach (I tried cleavers and milk thistle) but I know I have a lot more to learn about using herbs to treat cellulite. It’s on my list of cellulite topics to research. It’s a long list.

    Angela — In your experience, would you say cardio or weight training is more effective at reducing cellulite? I’ve read conflicting info on this. Thanks!

  37. Wow, thanks Kelly, Melissa, Elizabeth, and Lyne…great information. I’m going to try the Poke Root, that is something I don’t think I’ve ever used. I have been on various extracts from my acupuncturist for about 9 months, and although he is a great practitioner, those remedies have not worked. Is Poke Root a traditional chinese herb? Because if so, I wonder if that was in one of the extracts he already gave me. I’m going to go check out your web site, but I wonder if my health foods store has anything of quality. I’ll have to check.

  38. Lyne – well, I ordered a bottle of the Poke Root from your site, because I’m anxious to see if this will work (and the price is really reasonable – only $9). It sounds like a good remedy. Is it possible that a person would have to do repeated treatments, such as multiple bottles, or is one bottle normally sufficient? And how much and for how long should I take it ?

  39. Hi Raine,
    Poke Rt. is indigenous to the U.S. Depending on the overall health of your lymphatic system, I would say that you will probably need to work with it for at least a couple of months. Poke does work really deep, so it will move even very deep issues. I would definitely combine it with dry skin brushing. If you have access to a sauna, especially a FIR (far infar-red), that will also really help to move your lymph and help your body to detox. FIR sauna is one of the very few ways to actually detox heavy metals from the body. I did see your order, and thank you. I will ship that out to you today!

  40. When I started eating Real food and lost 25 pounds, much of my cellulite went away. I still have some, but, it’s drastically improved and I’m loving it!

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