CLEANSING By Nicole Eckert & Mark Haynes
Can we just take a moment to thank our liver for all that it does? This vital organ is working hard everyday to filter out toxins and waste from the body, as well as conducting hundreds of other functions. Your liver’s primary action is to convert toxins into a safe waste that can be excreted from the body through the means of elimination in the form of poo’s and wee’s.
The liver is responsible for a large part in your overall health. It has over 400 functions in the body, from digesting fats with it’s friend the gallbladder, storing essential vitamins and minerals, processing nutrients that have been absorbed in the intestines and breaking down drugs and alcohols. With only naming a few functions I’m sure you can already see, and you may already know the importance of it’s role in your health.
Supporting our liver on a daily basis is vital. Because if we are not providing the body with the right nutrients our hardworking friend becomes sluggish and backed up with loads of toxic work.
How The Liver Deals with Toxic Substances
The liver has two pathways for detoxification:
Toxins, which are a poisonous substance that can cause damage to cells are first taken on by Phase 1 of Liver Detoxification, this phase involves using enzymes to transform these lipid-soluble toxins into less harmful substances that Phase 2 can now handle.
Phase 2 of Liver Detoxification involves pairing these battered up toxins with other molecules which increase their water-solubility so they can be safely removed from the body through the means of elimination.
Efforts in Proactive Liver Support are for Everyone
Even for those who make a concentrated effort to follow a healthy lifestyle which revolves around organics, filtered water, regular exercise, use of toxin-free personal care and cleaning products.. We are still exposed to toxins from our environment (air, soil, water, cars, factories, plastics) and these factors, while we cannot control them – affect us!
Even as a Holistic Nutritionist, I will continue to practice daily routines on top of eating clean, exercising and living in my little toxin-free home – because I know I need to, and it makes me feel amazing!
Is Your Liver Feeling Sluggish
When the liver becomes sluggish, toxins are no longer able to leave the body and are instead stored in fat tissue (since they are lipid-soluble) and they will hang out there until liver function improves and they can be safely eliminated. This can be a huge factor as to why you aren’t shedding extra weight even with a healthy diet and exercise.
There are a variety of tell-tale symptoms of a stressed out liver, regardless of the degree of your symptoms, by taking holistic approaches and preventative steps you have the ability to improve your liver function and improve your quality of life (because you deserve to feel good).
If you experience the following symptoms, don’t stop reading – there are some tips to follow for improving liver function, which I encourage you to practice in your daily routine.
- Chronic Fatigue
- Negative Emotions
- Brain Fog/Lethargy/Feeling Drained
- Dull Headaches Improved with Rest or Headaches/Migraines Behind Eyes
- Chronic Joint or Muscle Pain
- Excessive Perspiration
- Trouble Digesting Fats
- Gall Bladder Removed
- Acne or Skin Conditions
- Gas, Bloating, Abdominal Pain, Constipation, Diarrhea
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Anxiety and Depression
- Chemical Sensitivities
- Chronic Stinky Breath
- Unexplained Weight Gain
How does cleansing help keep the weight off?
Below is a simple explanation on how the body responds to toxins specifically when working to achieve fat loss.
- Fasting (water only)
- Lemon Detox (not the packaged stuff of tv or from your super market)
- Juicing (not to be confused with blending) See the article on juicing vs blending on our website.
- Removal of meats and inflammatory foods.
- The addition of pure therapeutic grade only Essential Oils.
- Combination of any of the above.
- Specific cleanses – colon, heavy metals, yeast, parasites etc
- Daily ongoing wholefood support.
Things you need to consider before choosing a cleanse.
- What are the motivations behind wanting to do a cleanse?
- What do I need to take into consideration due to my current lifestyle habits and choices?
- How do I make the cleanse fit my current lifestyle habits and choices depending on the cleanse of choice?
- How long should I perform the cleanse for and why?
- Do you intent to continue exercising? If so what type, for how long?
- Am I after a gentle or aggressive cleanse?
- Can I take time out from my daily life to perform the cleanse?
- Am I on any medication which may impact the cleanse or vica versa?
- Should I be doing anything to prepare for the cleanse?
- What is the plan after I have completed the cleanse?
- Consult a qualified professional.
- Reading the below paragraph.
Why you should you always consult a qualified professional before attempting a cleanse?
I truly believe in a holistic approach to nutrition and health and there is definitely a place for cleansing. To make sure you take the upmost care of your body, which is the only place you get to live in this life. I highly recommend you should always consult a qualified professional before undertaking a cleanse.
Why? Well, firstly they will help you work through some on the questions from the above list. Which need to be answer and thoroughly understood before undertaking a cleanse. Also depending on the type of cleanse and for how long it performed. Both can affect a range of metabolic processes and body functions. And can have a minor or major impact on how you feel, how your body responds before, during.
Down regulation of the body as an organism is a major factor. Yes our bodies have an amazing ability to adapt to its environment but at what cost? Down regulation of hormones, digestion, brain function, ability to recover and repair, metabolism, going catabolic (loss of lean mass) are all real possibilities when cleansing, under eating and/or in an absolute calorie deficit.
Metabolic damage is a serious possibility if the cleanse hasn’t been planned and programmed for the individually. To suits their bodies needs and lifestyle requirements. Headaches, migraines, dizziness, vomiting, lack of energy, diarrhoea, just to name a few. Are all signs and symptom that your professional knows how to work with and guide you through, as you undertake the cleanse.
The idea is to listen to your body and work with it. Not mask the signals with supplements, stimulates or at worst ignore what is going on. I don’t mean in anyway to deter you from wanting to cleanse. Because as I said earlier there is absolutely a place for cleansing and it is something I recommend when coaching my clients. There are companies and individual out there who are mis-informed and are misleading the general public. Please take the advice and information we have shared with you as a way to empower you to be more informed and educated on cleansing. So you can make the best possible choice for you mind and body, which will allow you to achieve lasting results.
Tips for the Kitchen (where the magic happens)
Your health begins in the kitchen, you cannot expect your body to thrive on supplements alone. We need to create a healthy body through healing meals and habits. You don’t need to diet, restrict or eliminate entirely – the key here is balance.
First begin by reducing or eliminating your exposure to processed foods and fraudulent “health” foods (aka “gluten-free” high sugar/starch products) and switch to healthy substitutions, if you’re craving a brownie, give a black bean brownie, made with cacao and coconut sugar a try instead of reaching for the white flour, refined sugar “traditional” version. Make your own favorite meals from scratch with high-quality ingredients at home, instead of dining out.
Eating healthy doesn’t need to be complicated, focus on the following steps to get on the right track:
- Buy Organic, avoid GMO and
- Consume a balanced diet which consists of whole foods, high quality animal and plant proteins, sprouted ancient grains, fermented foods, healing fats, raw nuts and seeds
- Eliminate inflammatory oils: canola, corn, soybean, vegetable oil, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower
- Drink Enough High Filterd Water: If you take your weight in pounds, and divide it in half, this is the amount of water you should be drinking in ounces (150lbs = 75oz). Source out your best filtered accessible water, whether it be reverse osmosis (remineralized) or self harvested spring water.
- Increase consumption of healthy healing fats: coconut oil, sustainable red palm oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocado, hemp, raw nuts and seeds.
- Get in enough fibre: 35g daily minimum – coming from plant based, whole food sources such as chia seeds, artichokes, golden flax seeds, avocado, broccoli and brussels sprouts
- Eliminate refined sugars: brown/white sugar, cane sugar, cane juice, cane juice crystals, beet sugar
- Increase Leafy Green Vegetable Consumption: for their magnesium, folate, vitamin C and B-vitamin content
- Include Animal-Based and Plant-Based sources for Amino Acids: bone broth, collagen, pasture-raised chicken & eggs, raw spinach, parsley, cabbage, beets
- Focus on Food Sources of Sulfur: pasture-raised eggs, broccoli, brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, asparagus, kale
- Limit or Eliminate Alcohol: if you are experiencing 3 or more of the above symptoms find a healthy replacement for this (toxic) habit, such as grape kombucha.
The 3 Superstars for Your Liver
This vegetable is a member of the thistle family. If you want to see something very pretty look up an “artichoke flower”. This veggie is in the same family as Milk Thistle, with the main difference being that you can include this in your diet! Beneficial properties include protecting and supporting liver function and increasing bile production, their high fibre content also promotes flushing out bile and reducing LDL cholesterol.
Even when cooked, artichokes contain more antioxidant potential than raw garlic, asparagus and broccoli.Steam your artichokes and pair them with some ghee or coconut oil, raw garlic and Himalayan salt for a liver supporting meal
This most clinically tested herb for inflammation. It’s active ingredient, curcumin has been linked to many benefits which include assisting the enzymes which are responsible for flushing out known dietary carcinogens! This results in enhanced protection against liver damage, and even regeneration of affected liver cells due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Always pair turmeric with a source of healthy fats and black pepper for maximum absorption, also look for these two keys for best absorption in a supplement. Take a high quality turmeric/curcumin supplement and give golden milk a try, a beverage with freshly grated turmeric root, plant milk, coconut oil, black pepper and warming spices.
By far the most suggested herb for liver health, in fact this herb has gotten so much attention in the health food world that I put it third just to give the other superstars a chance. Siymarin, which is the active component in milk thistle has anti-fibrotic, anti-viral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (which explain it’s fame). Milk thistle protects the liver cells from damage which can be caused by viruses, toxins, alcohol and drugs such as acetaminophen.
Take a high-quality milk thistle supplement that is free from GMO, unnecessary binders and fillers. You can also find fermented milk thistle in a liquid form which can be added to a cold-pressed vegetable juice or taken as is.
Your liver does a lot for you, and these are just a few things that you can do to support its function. Be mindful of how you are feeling throughout your day, remember that a symptom is your body telling you that something is wrong and make the appropriate preventative steps.
Additional daily/weekly add ons:
- Organic Lemon juice in water to start the day.
- Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother) on or before each meal.
- Have one day off all supplements (I do this every Sunday)
- Introduce a weekly slow pressed juicing day
I recommend cleansing with the change of seasons, as the colon stimulating component of cleansing is of much value to the liver and for your other systems of detoxification. Remain aware and be in control, you can’t live without your liver, so give it some love!