Love Your Liver
Love your whole body as well — but today we focus on liver cleansing. Love, because this is the clear path to better health. You are called to read this because you are ready to know, to love, and to care for your body — you too, are on the quest for optimum health — the path to true happiness.
You may be here because you have become aware of conditions in your body: symptoms of fatigue, mental fog, aches, pains, and indigestion perhaps. As we age and our organs wear, we may become more prone to experience less than optimal health — and in many cases: unnecessary, preventable pain and suffering.
The natural wear and tear on our bodies over the years is enough to cause fatigue, not to mention consumption of those extreme liver taxing substances such as alcohol, tobacco, high-fat foods, and pharmaceuticals.
If you feel young and healthy already (which is great!), your interest in detoxing your liver and gallbladder may be preventative: to maintain your current health, strength and vigor.
Whatever your motivation, we answer these questions:
- Section 1: Where is the Liver — it is important to form a working relationship with all organs in our bodies; we should know where they are located and how to communicate with them.
- Section 2: What is the Function of the Liver and Gallbladder — we’ll next learn what they’re actually doing in there, embedded within us, working away to keep us fit, focused, and full of the energy we need to thrive.
- Section 3: How to Detox the Liver — two parts of the liver cleanse will be covered; let’s commit to do the work needed in order to have the best functioning liver we possibly can; to cleanse, relieve it of stress, fatigue, and accumulated toxic matter.
- Section 4: How to Eat Liver Cleansing Foods and Avoid the Most Harmful Ones — tasty foods good for the liver are plentiful, enjoyable to eat, and should be integrated into your regular diet if you want to experience better health — while at the same time, harmful foods that can lead to liver stones and carcinogenic onslaught, should be avoided.
- Section 5: Integration and Expansion of a cleansing and detoxing lifestyle to other areas of your body, including the Kidneys.
Section 1: Where is the Liver (and how to communicate with it)
Let us now become aware of our Liver — it is the largest internal organ of our body and yet, we hardly know that it is there, we hardly give it the attention it deserves — it is time to connect, time to care for it.
The Liver — your Liver — is situated to the right side of your belly, protected within your ribcage — say hello, feel its presence — it has been working very hard for you all your life.
Give your liver a gentle massage with the points of your fingers up under the right of your ribcage. Massage in circular motions from right to left. Does your liver feel soft? Or is it more firm and a little sore when you poke around up there? The latter could indicate high liver toxicity.
True communication always requires two sides, giving and receiving — speaking and listening.
Listening is very important; your body communicates with you through sensations (pain and pleasure), emotions (joy and sadness), thoughts, and habits (i.e. repeated behavioral responses, repeated actions, addiction).
What has your body (particularly your Liver) been telling you lately?
And how have you responded?
You can speak to your body with your thoughts, words, intentions, imagery, and conscious action:
- You can choose to, for example, to eat a piece of fruit instead of a Twinkie when you crave sugar. And say to your body, this is the healthy glucose you need right now.
- You can choose to stretch or do Yoga when you feel muscular aches, instead of sitting around watching T.V. all day. And picture yourself strong, fit, and flexible.
- You can choose to drink a Kombucha instead of a beer. And visualize vibrant, healthy digestion, plenty of energy, and a positive outlook in this gift of life.
If you are unfamiliar with how to communicate with your body and organs, then take the time to read-up on developing this skill, it will be very important for your health moving forward.
We indeed can communicate and support the functions of our organs by consciously connecting with each of them. It is our body, we are the captain and its keeper. Our organs do communicate with us constantly, we just need to learn how to listen — we can respond with positive thoughts, imagery, words, and conscious actions to encourage healing and optimum health — a body functioning as designed by the divine.
Go ahead, talk to your liver — often we just need to give ourselves permission to have this type of communication — whether its with parts of our body or even with our ancestors.
Section 2: What is the Function of the Liver and Gallbladder
At about the size of a football, the Liver is our largest organ, weighs about 3lbs, and has two lobes; a large lobe on the right and smaller on the left. Just below the Liver is your Gallbladder and your Pancreas; together, these organs serve an important role in digestion and energy assimilation.
The Liver is essential for digestion; it produces digestive acids that break down food, filters the nutrient-rich blood received from your digestive track and enters into your circulatory system, and makes proteins essential for blood-clotting and other important functions as well. The liver filters toxins and carcinogens from the blood by breaking down these harmful substances into innocuous wastes that are then passed on to be excreted in sweat, urine, and feces.
To summarize, the Liver is responsible for the following functions:
- Filtering your blood — Deactivates and Removes Toxins and Poisons
- Digestion — Produces Bile and Digestive Enzymes
- Building and Repairing Tissue — Synthesizes Proteins and Amino Acids
- Regulating Bodily Functions — Produces Hormones & Enzymes
- Nutrient Absorption — Helps with the Absorption of Vitamins and Nutrients
- Blood Modulator — Synthesizes Cholesterol
- Exchange Agent — Transfers Glucose to Glycogen and vice-versa Depending on the Body’s Needs
Section 3: Why and How to Detox – Two Liver Cleanse Options
Because just as a car’s oil filter must be changed to allow optimum engine functioning, our inner engines can benefit from a similar cleansing. In our society, we are almost religious about changing our oil filter, but for the most part, no one talks about this kind of maintenance for our body, our primary vehicle … how has our culture come to this?
Our body is one of our most important assets in life — we should treat it as such. We should carefully choose what we put into it and take the time to remove toxic build-up, which can occur inside anyone who lives in a toxic society laden with pesticides, chemicals, and artificial — almost everything. Toxic build-up is a major contributor to feelings of anger, frustration, and depression; and an accelerator of the symptoms of aging — fatigue, wrinkles, hair loss, brain fog, pain and illnesses. We do not have to experience the onslaught of aging so severely; we can age gracefully — healthily.
Liver cancer statistics estimate that each year 42,220 adults (30,610 men and 11,610 women) in the United States are diagnosed with the disease. Since 1980, incidence of liver cancer has tripled; men have a 3 times greater chance than women to be diagnosed. Among younger people, the rate of liver cancer is decreasing; perhaps the new generations are becoming more conscious about diet and lifestyle choices.
There is strong evidence that shows that obesity, alcohol consumptions, food toxins, oral contraceptives, and liver infections are the greatest causes of liver cancer. While being physically active, eating fish, drinking moderate amounts of coffee, and eating healthy, organic, non-processed foods can decrease the risk of liver diseases.
In addition to the medical benefits of a liver detox (improvements in physical health), there are many emotional and spiritual benefits as well. Detoxing the liver can help to release anger, frustration, and depression so that we can feel happier and more fulfilled in our lives.
And How: Preparations for Starting a Liver Detox.
*** You may wish to consult with your doctor before doing any kind of fasting, cleansing, or Liver / Gallbladder flushing; we each have our unique body constitutions and conditions to consider.
Before a liver cleanse:
Only eat blended or soft foods, for a minimum of 3-4 days.
Be sure that you are drinking a half gallon (2L) of water every day. This is something that we should be doing regularly anyway.
Reduce or discontinue strong liver cleansing herbs like milk thistle, which already produce a laxative effect, and in high doses (above 300 milligrams per day) can cause gastrointestinal upset.
(Its helpful though to include Goldenseal along with Schisandra which are more gentle and generally safe. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Schisandra is known to nourish all 12 meridians, all 5 elements, and cleanses and protects all organs — used during a healthy liver/gallbladder flush, it can be beneficial.)
Part 1: Clean the Colon with Colonics/Enemas and Bulb Syringes
In order to get things flowing, it would greatly benefit you to book some sessions with your local Colon Hydrotherapist. You will be so glad you did!
At least get an enema bag or a bulb syringe. You can get an enema bag at your local drugstore or order a large sized one (4 quarts) online from Pure Life Enema.
If you’ve never used an enema bag before don’t be afraid!
After your first flush you will be feeling so good after having released so much blocked up stuff that any resistance you had will be a thing of the past.
All you do is fill up the bag with pure warm water and screw the cap on. Hang up the enema bag by its hook on a nail, lay a towel down on the floor. Lay on your back or side, put a little coconut or olive oil on the tip and push it a little ways inside your rectum, just past your sphincter and release the flow.
Just breathe slowly as the fluid enters you. You’ll see the bag get smaller and begin to feel full. Sometime you may hit a gas bubble. Just breathe and the feeling should pass as the water makes its way further up inside your colon.
I’ve found by jiggling the lower-right side of the ascending colon, between your right hipbone and your belly button, it can allow more water to make it up there more easily. My Colon Hydrotherapist, Susan calls this The Washing Machine as you can hear the fluid squish around while you push down on the sweet spot.
You can use cold water, but it will be a strange sensation for the first time. However the benefit is that the cold shocks parasites into dislodging themselves and it is more likely that you will pass a roundworm or tapeworm. Please don’t be in denial about the fact that we all have parasites. Be empowered by the idea of regaining sovereignty over them and taking our bodies back! (More on Parasite Cleansing later.)
Using a Bulb Syringe:
A bulb syringe is like an oversized tennis ball with a plastic tip. It is quick and effective at removing any blockages. If you are constipated and you squirt a bulb syringe or two worth of water up there, just like an enema, you should experience immediate relief. Most headaches and many other ailments are linked to a stuck or dehydrated colon.
One of these little bulb syringes also comes in handy at the end of the colon cleanse to re-colonize with healthy gut bacteria. This can be as simple as getting your favorite probiotic and opening the capsule in a bowl of water, stirring around and sucking up the fluid with the bulb syringe to implant and reset your bio-terrain with healthy intestinal flora. Primal Defense is a great product for this purpose.
Part 2: The Olive Oil & Lemon Flush to Cleanse Liver & Gallbladder
This cleanse, if done correctly should leave you feeling like a million bucks!
Upon its completion you will flush 20 to 100 gallstones ranging from pinky nail to the size of a quarter.
Your gallbladder stores concentrated bile from the liver to secrete into the small intestine to help with digestion of fats. Stored bile in combination with excess cholesterol can lead to the formation of gallstones. The gallstones build up and fill your gallbladder, possibly obstructing the duct as they grow in size. However, if the gallbladder is kept cleansed there is no need for surgical removal of this highly functional organ.
By following this simple maintenance procedure, recommended to do at least once a year, you can probably save yourself expensive and invasive surgery and the removal of your gallbladder later on in life.
Directions for Flushing the Liver & Gallbladder with Olive Oil and Lemon:
Once you have been consuming liquid or blended-only meals for at least a few days, minimum, and have been doing regular enemas or Colon Hydrotherapy, you are ready for this Liver Cleanse / Gallbladder Flush.
The Colon cleansing that we covered earlier will have prepared your colon to dump toxins. This is crucial to the success of the gallbladder flush. Although it is possible to do a flush relying solely on laxatives to keep you from reabsorbing the toxins you are dumping, it is not recommended. This is really important to the success of your liver cleanse. You want to get that icky stuff out of you ASAP! Anything you can do to speed along the process, your body will thank you for it … and you will feel better throughout the process!
• The night before your cleanse fast from ANY fat. For the days leading up to when you are planning a Gallbladder flush, completely fast from eating Chocolate, or any other high-fat food, including nuts, oils and dairy.
• If you are coming directly off your colon cleanse and have been taking Chia Seeds, Bentonite Clay and/or Psyllium, stop the day of the cleanse.
• Before 2-3pm: Drink a full gallon of water.
• You may choose to fast the day of the flush, to maximize the detox, perhaps on water or coconut water. Just be careful not to include any oils.
• For lunch eat blended, steamed or raw veggies, sweet or red potatoes, or just continue drinking Veggie Juice. You can blend fruit, but at this point in the cleanse you may choose to stop fruit so as not to experience gas during Colonics. It’s your choice, but beware of gas if you don’t adhere to strict food
combining principles. You are cleansing, be sensitive to your system.
• After 2-3pm: Don’t eat or drink anything for the rest of the day. If you aren’t accustomed to cleansing, then you must prepare yourself psychologically for this moment when you might feel hungry, and deal with it though deep, meditative breathing and a calm reserve. This is your time to cleanse; embrace it!
• Between 5-6pm: Drink 1 Tablespoon of Epsom Salt dissolved in 3/4 cup of warm water. Dip your finger in some raw honey for a little treat and to get rid of the taste. The Epsom Salt will act as a laxative to open up your Gallbladder ducts to release the gallstones.
• Between 7-8pm: Repeat 1 Tablespoon Epsom Salt and Honey Lick. Prepare another cup and set it next to your bed to prepare for bedtime.
• Blend 1/2 cup Organic First-Cold-Pressed Olive Oil and 1/2 cup of Citrus Juice (no seeds) from a Large Grapefruit or a citrus blend of Grapefruit, Lemon and you may even throw in an Orange to make this Elixir even more fun!
• Visit the bathroom as much as possible before bed. Massage your colon from, bottom, closest to your right leg, up around under the ribcage where your liver is, under your left ribcage and down to your left leg. Also, push directly under belly button towards your sacrum.
• 10pm or just before bed: Drink your Olive Oil/Citrus Blend.
• Some people like to take something to help them sleep through the night. Others choose to remain aware through this process of detoxifying through the skin (which is one of the most efficient ways to cleanse the body.) Sweat It Out! If it is your first time you might want to take a melatonin, or L=Ornithine capsule to help you sleep.
• Immediately lie down on your right side, the side of your Liver. Just rest there for at least 30 min. This is a good time to send positive healing thoughts to your liver:
“I Love you Liver. Thank you for all you do for me!”
• At 3am: or whenever you wake up in the middle of the night after 3am, drink the last dose of Epsom Salt you have by your bed.
• When you arise in the morning, try to use the bathroom first thing. Then you may drink some tea or all-natural juice, and perhaps eat a light meal to celebrate.
• Don’t be concerned if you do not flush your Gallbladder stones at first bowel movement. Over the course of your next few movements you should see, and feel, the stones release. It is a painless process. The duct should be open and lubricated by the olive oil. You will kind of feel them just squish out.
• As the toxins dump you may feel a release of the toxins stored there. For me the first gallbladder flush was extremely psychedelic, probably releasing from my younger years.
• Afterwards you should feel great!
*Variation: Instead of Epsom Salts you can take a laxative like Senna Leaf Tea upon rising to make sure you keep the toxins flowing out of you.
You just did one of the best things you can do for your liver and your body!
Section 4: Liver Cleansing Foods to eat Regularly (and Habits to Avoid, for a Healthy & Happy Liver)
You know it’s bad for you — hopefully you do. But we do it anyway for that transitory pleasure — perhaps the experience of a wild night out — hopefully not a habitual behavior though, but it happens, and this can become a regular part of life for many of us.
Society bombards us with advertisement and imagery showing people having a good time (actually, the best of times) with alcohol.
Alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceuticals — are products — products for sale by their producers and they need buyers; they need you. They need your money and you in a weakened disposition as consumer to (hopefully) fall into a cycle of dependency.
But where is the imagery of cirrhosis of the liver in their advertisements? They conveniently leave that part out — we won’t:
The manufacturers will tell you just about anything to get your money — but that’s all they really want. What do they care about your health? In reality, healthcare is a personal issue, we must take our health into our own hands — as is with our happiness as well. Our happiness can not come from any product — it can only come from within, and the condition of our bodies within will have an immense effect on us having a true state of happiness.
Top 5 Foods and Habits to Avoid:
1. Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs
Alcoholic beverages, smoking tobacco, and the use of any other drugs, be they illicit or prescribed pharmaceuticals can be harmful to the liver, especially under prolonged use.
Binge drinking, even when occasional, can cause harm to the liver. Binge drinking is considered four or more drinks in a sitting — that’s just too unnatural for the liver to process without difficulties. If you must drink, then to avoid overtaxing your liver, limit yourself to one per day if you are a woman or two drinks per day if you are a man.
Tobacco smoke contains a concoction of chemicals which enter the bloodstream and must be filtered and processed, thus taxing the liver. Tobacco smoke causes direct and indirect toxic effects on all organs, has damaging immunological effects, and oncogenic effects (cancer causing). Smoking can produce necro-inflammation, fibrosis, and pro-inflammatory cytokines which cause liver cell injury.
Of course, just as with all foreign substances and toxins, the liver must process the unnatural, chemical compounds that compose pharmaceutical drugs as well. Studies have shown that the toxins found in pharmaceutical drugs can be overly-taxing on the liver and lead to cancer and cirrhosis. Codeine, Valium (pain relief), Restoril (insomnia), tetracycline (antibiotic), corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory), benzodiazepines (antidepressant), acetaminophen (found in Tylenol) are all drugs with a high potential to cause damage to the liver, especially in the long-run.
And even though usually more mild on our bodies, taking natural plant medicines in extreme doses or over long-term use can be harmful to the liver — everything in moderation, and some things like pharmaceuticals should be used only as a last resort.
2. Fatty & Fried Foods
Believe it beor not, just one high-fat meal can interrupt liver function. Thus, one can easily imagine how a prolonged high-fat diet will eventually lead to steatosis, which is non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. It is best to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats; they make it difficult for your liver to function properly and contribute to the onslaught of aging and disease.
Fast-food and fried foods that are high in saturated fats should be replaced with moderate amounts of healthy fats like those found in seeds and nuts (like chocolate macadamia nuts or almonds), avocados, and virgin, cold-pressed olive and coconut oils.
Often, the issue is that over the years we have formed bad habits and our pallets have become accustomed to eating super-sized, super-fatty foods that give us momentary pleasure, but minutes later after the artificial rush of exaggerated fat/sugar/salt intake has gone, we are left feeling fatigued, with liver health and overall health compromised.
3. Sugary, Salty, and Processed Foods
One of the jobs of the liver is to convert sugars into fats. It then follows logically, that if you eat too much sugar then your liver will produce too much fat. Too much fat leads to obesity, a fatty liver, and a plethora of other related health issues.
Try to consume sugars that come naturally in fruit or try sugar alternatives such Maple Syrup, Honey, Truvia Nectar, or Blackstrap Molasses. Avoid the concentrated, processed, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Research suggests that high salt intake can lead to fibrosis — this is the first stage of damage to the liver — fibrosis is the beginning of liver scarring. Sodium is essential for the body to function, however, as with all that we intake, we need to do so with a healthy balance.
Avoid deli meats and processed foods (almost everything that is frozen, comes in a can, or some other kind of artificial packaging such as plastic) like the plague; these usually have the highest salt content of all foods. Processed foods have preservatives and many kinds of artificial sodium such as sodium acetate, sodium ascorbate, sodium benzoate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium lactate, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, sodium phosphates, sodium propionate, sodium sulfite… yeah, that’s a lot of sodium.
4. Overeating and Poor Sleeping Habits
The theme for optimal health has clearly been balance — equilibrium, homeostasis.
Obviously, overeating — or eating for the sake of extended pleasure instead of sound nutrition — is going to cause your body to suffer from the exaggeration of substances that your body is forced to process all at once. Overeating can lead to obesity, fatty liver disease, and a shortened life-span.
On the contrary, Okinawa, Japan has the world’s highest proportion of centenarians (100 years of age or more); approximately 50 per 100,000 people. There, they practice Hara Hachi Bun Me, which is eating until 80% full. By not stuffing themselves, they leave space for the body to work, which improves digestion, assimilation of nutrients, and takes a load off the liver. This ultimately leads to better health and a longer life-span. We should take note.
Also, poor sleeping habits — not resting enough or not keeping a regular sleeping schedule — can cause all of the bodily functions to deteriorate, including liver functions. Research shows that insufficient sleep is associated with an increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
5. Overdosing on Vitamins or Nutrient Supplements
Very similar to the effects that drugs and alcohol have on our liver, overdoing vitamins or supplements can be damaging as well. The liver works to keep the body in homeostasis — in the optimal condition for the body to function at its best; to have energy and a productive life — but our poor choices and our toxic environments can create a disequilibrium that may eventually lead to disease.
Surprisingly, Iron is one nutrient that we must be careful with: unlike Vitamin C, which is excreted from the body fairly easily, an overdose of Iron can cause very serious liver damage. The body has no mechanism for excreting excess iron, thus it can amass in the liver, other organs, and bodily tissues causing a condition called haemochromatosis, an opposite to iron-deficiency anemia — you see, a healthy balance in all things is key. Haemochromatosis can eventually lead to irreversible liver scarring, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, arthritis and/or diabetes.
Top 5 Foods and Habits to Integrate:
1. Medicinal Mushrooms
Free-radicals are unstable, reactive molecules produced by the body or stimulated by environmental factors. If not neutralized, these free-radicals can damage cellular structures, sometimes damaging DNA, which may then cause mutations or tumors to form.
The Liver is one of the most susceptible organs to free-radicals. Medicinal Mushrooms however, contain a high concentration of powerful antioxidants, which intercept free-radicals by giving them something to react with and rendering them harmless to our cellular tissues. Scientific studies show that consuming antioxidant-rich foods helps prevent cancer and liver disease.
The powerful healing qualities of turmeric is derived from its curcumin content, a strong antioxidant and pleiotropic molecule which also gives turmeric its signature orange color. Pleiotropic molecules can act on a plethora of proteins and genes in the body; they can act to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, neutralize free-radicals, relieve stress, lower cholesterol, and more.
Turmeric has been used for millennia in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat and prevent illness. It is probably no coincidence that India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius (where turmeric is a staple spice) are countries with some of the lowest rates of liver cancer in the world.
With its many beneficial qualities, it is not surprising to find that eating turmeric has a number of positive, healing, and protective effects on the liver. Studies have shown that curcumin can cause a significant reduction in liver fat content, by 78.9% in many cases; there were also reductions in body mass index, and cholesterol.
Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying; ginger helps to support your liver by lessening toxic build-up. Spice up your tea with a few slices of ginger, grate it over a fruit salad or ice cream, or add to soups and curries for a healthy and flavorful addition to your favorite recipes.
Ginger makes a tasty and essential appearance in our all-natural Hawaiian Sunshine Probiotic Soda recipe, and in our Superfoods Probiotic Drink with Living Greens and Turmeric.
That pungent smell, that can make garlic so repulsive to many people, comes from sulfur compounds found in garlic. These compounds contain flavonoid antioxidants and can help stimulate enzymes in your liver responsible for the detoxification of harmful substances.
Heating garlic destroys its beneficial qualities, so be sure eat some raw; take one clove from a garlic bulb and, finely chopped, spice up your homemade salad dressing; or add to ghee to make garlic butter. With a little raw garlic you can add spice to any of your favorite dishes, and help your liver to flush out toxins at the same time.
Ginseng has been found to protect against liver injury, liver toxicity, cirrhosis, and fatty liver. Ginseng is a very ancient and popular medicinal herb of the Orient; it has been used for millennia in the treatment of hepatic (liver) disorders and various other diseases as well.
Ginseng has saponins, which are commonly known as ginsenosides, and are the primary compounds responsible for the multiple health benefits received by consuming this potent medicinal herb.
Section 5: Integration and Expansion of a Holistic, Cleansing Lifestyle
Be glad — because there are not many people who have the information that you now have — let alone be able to share it with you like we try to do here at Medicinal-Foods.
You now hold the keys to greater health in your hands; we hope you choose to open, and walk through the door, there beyond it is waiting for you: the wonderful experience of a healthier, more natural life — a life more akin to the way nature has formed us.
We believe that when we abide with the natural state of our being that our conscious experience will be one of abundance, happiness, and fulfillment — perhaps it is the toxic environment itself that causes such unrest, depression, and shallowness in our modern lives. Perhaps, if we each take the small steps to purify and maintain our bodily temples, each doing our part, that together our unified higher vibration will create a more harmonized world.
Good luck with this cleanse, and with any and all steps you consciously choose to be the best You you can possibly be. Whether through meditation, ceremony, yoga, or any variety of practices for which you feel called to fine tune your human apparatus, we at Medicinal-Foods wish you the best.
The Watermelon / Cucumber Kidney Flush!
(This next cleanse is simpler and more fun.)
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You may also enjoy:
- Are Multivitamins Bad for You?
- Audio: Medicinal Foods Radio Show with guest Dr. Douillard on Liver & Gallbladder Cleanse
- Benefits of Fermented Cod Liver Oil
- Health Benefits from Everyday Foods