By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
It’s October and you know what that means – Breast Cancer Awareness Month! If you’re out and about you can’t help but notice all the “for a good cause” pink items and fundraisers. But what about true awareness? Where is the education that people need so they can actually avoid this terrible disease? We would like to remind everyone that early detection is great, but detection does not equal prevention. It is massively more powerful (and empowering) to learn action steps that reduce your risk. And our favorite way to do that is through detoxification!
Why You Should Cleanse the Liver
If you’ve been part of our practice for a while, you’ve likely heard us mention our 10 and 21-Day Liver Cleanses. We do this as a large group every January, but we encourage you to do a cleanse any time of year that works for you. Here’s why a liver detox restores so many functions:
1. It’s the Primary Detox Organ
Your liver is your detoxification powerhouse. It works together with your gallbladder and kidneys to neutralize toxins and remove them from the body. These toxins come in through our food, air and water pollution, prescription and OTC medications, tobacco, and personal care products. Probably the biggest modern-day threat to our health is the constant onslaught of environmental chemicals all around us. For all the things we can’t avoid, we have to support the liver in dealing with this chemistry experiment we live in. Getting the cancer-causing chemicals out of our body may be the best use of our time and efforts.
2. It Works to Break Down Dietary Fats
You may not have paid much attention to your liver in the past. But if you’re starting to have symptoms of poor digestion, the root cause could be liver congestion. (Congested with chemicals!) Yes, you should consider a detox if you have been having more acid reflux, bloating, or burping after meals. These are all signs you’re not digesting your fats well – one of the top functions of the liver and gallbladder.
3. It Keeps Nutrients Balanced
You may also have noticed your cholesterol values are off or you can’t get your Vitamin D level high enough. Yes, another function of your liver is to store the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K and excess glycogen. If you’re feeling immune insufficiency or have any number of health issues, it’s a safe bet you could benefit from doing a liver cleanse.
Long story short, taking care of your liver is essential to guarantee a good quality of life and prevent diseases.
Foods that Promote Detoxification
Detoxification ideally should be a daily process – not just once or twice a year. The easiest way to ensure you’re keeping up with your daily toxic exposures is to eat a therapeutic diet. A therapeutic diet includes all the nutrients you need, and none of the junk you don’t. Our favorites:
- Always choose grass-fed, organic, pastured or wild-caught for all your fresh produce, meat, and fish.
- Eat an abundance of green leafy vegetables and all other vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, avocado, beets) into your diet. Everything green is good for detox!
- Use therapeutic herbs generously: garlic, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon.
- Eat fermented foods like Kombucha, coconut kefir, Kim Chi, fermented pickles, or raw sauerkraut.
- Sip on homemade vegetable broth or bone broth. It’s a rich source of glycine that is a precursor to glutathione – the master antioxidant that fuels your detox mechanisms.
- Drink plenty of filtered water (we love our Berkey). Add a pinch of Celtic sea salt, if you like.
- If you’re really feeling adventurous, start cooking liver once a week. It’s easiest to start with beef-liver meatballs, or maybe a liver pate. Eventually you can try a gourmet liver and onions – betcha it blows your Grandma’s liver away!
Foods to Avoid During a Cleanse
We recommend to all of our clients to get on an anti-inflammatory diet year-round. An anti-inflammatory diet avoids the most common food allergens: wheat gluten, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, and eggs. Practical tips:
- Limit sugar intake as much as possible. If you’re counting, no more than 20 g total per day.
- Reduce caffeine consumption and/or switch to organic coffee/tea.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Reduce fish and seafood to only 2 servings per week.
- Avoid commercial salad dressings, because they contain inflammatory canola oil and soybean oil, along with too much sugar and sometimes gluten.
- Avoid store-bought snacks and even fruit roll-ups. You’ll want to make your own!
If you’re avoiding wheat, dairy, corn, soy, and sugar, automatically you’ll have to avoid all fast-food restaurants. There’s literally nothing in there that belongs on a cleanse.
Activities to Stimulate Detoxification
Let’s brainstorm a few things you can do (outside of diet) to promote daily detoxification:
- You’ll want to reduce exposure to airborne contaminants (get a quality air purifier and/or house plants).
- Get daily exercise. Find a way to sweat every day! Hot Yoga is one of our favorites when it’s cold outside.
- Dry brushing to move the lymph. We need gravity, fluids, and sometimes external stimulation to move toxins through the lymphatic system. See Dr. Bob for an example of a brush he likes!
- Visit a sauna. If you’re tired at the end of a long day, simply relaxing in a sauna can passively stimulate your detox mechanisms.
Sometimes it’s easier to just take a pill. But that’s OK, because we have some really great pills!
- LivCo – is a blend of Rosemary, Schisandra, and Milk Thistle. Rosemary increases the rate at which water leaves the body, and stimulates bile flow. Schisandra optimizes liver function, reduces inflammation, and repairs liver damage. Milk Thistle is the most well-known herb for liver health. It contains silymarin and betaine compounds that can prevent, treat, and reduce symptoms from liver disease.
- SP Cleanse – contains 20+ concentrated foods and herbs that promote liver, gallbladder, and kidney function, including: Spanish Black Radish, Juniper Berry, Burdock, Collinsonia Root, Red Clover, Fenugreek, Oregon Grape, Globe Artichoke, Dandelion, and Beet root.
- Artemisinin Complex – contains two herbs: Sweet Wormwood and Sarsaparilla. Sweet Wormwood increases the secretion of bile juices, improves digestion, and cleanses the liver and gallbladder. Sarsaparilla promotes detoxification by purifying the blood, flushing extracellular fluids, and promoting sweat. This product also has immune-enhancing benefits.
Join Our Next Group Cleanse!
If you’re excited about taking new action steps and setting health goals, put a Cleanse on your calendar! You are welcome to do your own Cleanse anytime; however, it’s a lot more fun with a group! And it’s very effective. The same strategies we recommend have been tested and shown to remove toxic chemicals from the body. It helps you feel better, too!
We’ll help you with recipes, so you never get bored with your food. You literally just need to make the time and jump on in! Click this link or call the office to get more details!