I get asked about cleanses all the time, literally. Which ones are good, are they necessary, are the real,… you get the drift. Here’s the facts, and trust me, this is interesting – and applicable to you, I promise.
First the Scoop, and then, every day Solutions.
Cleanses are Real, they’re Important, and they’re Necessary (I’ll explain why in a minute). Unfortunately, “Cleanses” have been hijacked by the Diet Industry; when we think of a cleanse, we think of ingesting something that will make us poop away all the blubber in our stomach. Right?
That’s faulty reasoning. Delete it. If our stomach has blubber on it, it’s not from impacted intestines, it’s Body Fat, and all the pooping in the world won’t reduce that.
However, we could have excess body fat because our liver is Toxic, Sluggish, and Fatty. Slow livers also impact our moods, our immune system, and our sex hormones. Struggling with any of that?
Our liver is the seat of our metabolism. It performs between 400 and 500 jobs a day. It burns more calories than our muscles. It metabolizes fats, proteins, and carbs. It filters every single chemical that goes in our mouth or our skin. It makes cholesterol. It makes bile. It breaks down all our old hormones. It transports amino acids through the blood. The list is endless; the point is: guess what happens when it’s not working correctly?
Dr. Mark Hyman says we become “toxic waste dumps”. I love that analogy!
Our liver deals with all the chemicals that we breath in, slather on, bath in, and ingest. Some studies say that 80% of all liver toxicity is from pharmaceutical drugs. Ever taken a Tylenol? It’s the most popular drug in the US, and the #1 cause of Liver Failure. More than 900 prescription drugs are known – it’s listed on their fact sheets – to cause damage to the liver.
Enough scare tactics. What To Do About It? I used to advise a liver cleanse once or twice a year, and I still do. But I’ve expanded my thinking: I personally cleanse my liver every day. Every day I eat or drink Liver Loving Foods. Every day I take herbs that are good and helpful for my liver. Every day I avoid as many chemicals as possible.
I think of myself as a person in a row boat that has a leak in it. The water (toxins) keep coming in, but I have buckets that I use to scoop the water out, so I don’t sink. That’s what we need to do: keep up with the constant assault of chemicals in our world.
By the way, anxiety, stress, depression, and anger, all the negative emotions, can have negative effects on our liver. The Brain, the Nervous System, and the Liver are INTIMATELY connected.
Here’s some Cleanse Particulars: foods; herbs; with how-to’s on incorporating them; and actions that make a difference.
1) Eliminate any and all Processed Foods. Really. #1 Thing To Do – quit putting chemicals, refined carbs, and toxic vegetable oils IN YOUR BODY.
2) Use natural cleaning products. Here’s a link to EWG’s Guide to what to use and what not to use. MOMS: cancer, heart disease, auto-immune, behavior disorders – they’re all on the rise in our children. Let’s protect our kids by investing time in learning about this.
3) Use make-up and skin care products that aren’t loaded with cancer causing chemicals. Read this Post to learn what’s in Clinique lotion; a recipe for homemade lotions; and a link to EWG’s beauty data base to research everything you rub on your body.
Oddly, I still talk to people who think that what we rub on our body couldn’t possibly harm our liver or brain. Wrong. Our skin is our bodies largest organ. It’s filled with pores. There’s a fast and direct connection to our blood stream. The blood goes through our liver and our brain. Of course what we rub on our skin affects us!
4) Add these Foods to your grocery list, and use them every week:
* garlic * grapefruit * beets * carrots * leafy greens * green tea * avocados * olive oil * cruciferous vegetables * LIVER * cabbage * walnuts * turmeric * .
These foods contain specific nutrients the liver uses to break down chemicals, toxins, and old hormones, and convert them into something we can poop or pee out.
What about All Vegetable Diets, or Juice Fasts for cleansing? I don’t recommend them. The liver uses a LOT of amino acids to do it’s jobs. Go too long without eating amino acids (proteins), and your body will break down MUSCLE TISSUE for the amino acids. You don’t want to lose muscle tissue!
Do you have to eat all these foods every single day? I have garlic, turmeric, and leafy greens every single day. I hate grapefruit, so I never eat it. The other foods I rotate in. Make the effort.
5) Herbs to incorporate, either through teas, or pills, or tinctures:
* milk thistle(I use Herb Pharm) * dandelion(tea, greens, or tincture/Herb Pharm) * chicory root(tea) * turmeric * yellow dock * chlorella ( I add to my smoothies).
There’re a lot of great herbs on the market. Try your local health food store, or order from Mountain Rose Herbs, Yogi Teas, or Jon Barron.
Dr. Group has a great liver tincture, as does Herb Pharm. I also like the Biotics 10 Day Cleanse and have used that several times. Mark is finishing one up right now. Email me if you’re interested in that.
6) Sweat. Seriously. Like, go to Bikram, or a hot yoga class once or twice a week, or a sauna. We can eliminate toxins through our pores – use that pathway!
7) Give Up The Alcohol. Yes. Do it. Alcohol converts to fat that gets stored in the liver. Alcohol contains “aromatase”, which converts testosterone to estrogen. Alcohol contains fructose, which builds up as fat in the liver. Alcohol raises blood sugar, which has to be converted into triglycerides in the liver.
Repeat This: Alcohol is Liquid Donuts.
8) Pray and Meditate. Remember I said there’s HUGE links between our moods, emotions, and our liver? We’re a giant connection, and the enteric nervous system connects our brain to our liver and gut. It’s important to get control of our minds, we need to “think about what we’re thinking about”.
9) Drink a TON of water. All day. The liver needs water not just for “flushing”, but also for doing it’s jobs. We all know this, so make water a priority. Fill a bunch of water bottles or pitchers at night or in the morning and get through them. Add some lemon or lime if you want – they’re liver loving:)
Does this all make sense? If we want to be vibrant, sharp, stable, and healthy, we need to do everything possible through our food and lifestyle to make that happen. Nurturing our liver, every day, is a huge part of the puzzle. Take these ideas, read the links, and invest time in learning how your body functions.