As is customary, I shall embark on my annual springtime liver/kidney cleanse. Spring is liver season, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and is the most beneficial time to embark on a cleanse. According to TCM, anger, irritability, and depression are associated with excess liver heat or stagnation. Foggy thinking, headaches, joint pain, bloating, constipation, skin eruptions, and rashes are all signs you need a cleanse.
Check back for my weekly reports! I’ll be co-teaching a detox workshop here in San Francisco and will be participating with the group this year. We’ll continue to run these workshops regularly, along with weight loss workshops, so please contact me if you are interested in participating. The detox workshops are a GREAT way to jump start weight loss, reduce unwanted symptoms, clear your mind, and do something beneficial for your health.
Cleansing is a time-honored tradition that has myriad benefits: clear skin, stable moods, weight loss, reduced pain (joint, headaches, back/neck pain), better sleep, better digestion, anxiety reduction, more energy! Cleansing has become quite trendy and newsworthy as of late, and there are several different methods, some more extreme (and unsafe) than others.
We are all living in a toxic world, and just by stepping outside your door every day, you are exposed to pollutants from car exhaust on your way to work, office equipment where you work, and additives/pesticides in your food. Add alcohol, coffee, soda, (even water!) and medicine/drugs (prescription or otherwise) to the mix, and all these toxins accumulate in fat tissue and are stored in the body, where they can lead to endocrine problems and contribute to pain, weight gain, constipation, and other symptoms.
The good news is that your body is quite resilient and your liver’s main job is to neutralize the toxins that bombard you every day. When your toxic load exceeds your body’s ability to detoxify, however, you begin to experience symptoms.
There are a number of different detox methods you may choose, from cutting out wheat, dairy, coffee, and sugar to juice fasting, to raw foods, to the Master Cleanse, which involves drinking lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup (I do not recommend this method, which can be very harsh). The cleanse I follow comes in a kit and is easy to follow: take herbs, amino acids, and antioxidants to facilitate cleansing for 3 weeks while also eliminating gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and coffee. Depending on your level of toxicity, you may experience some symptoms such as headache or fatigue, but this is a sign the cleanse is working.
I also recommend a week of pre-cleansing to prepare the body. From day one to day seven, begin by cutting out gluten, dairy, coffee, sugar, and booze. Add plenty of steamed vegetables and raw fruits, and begin some detox supportive activities like beginning the day with hot water and lemon, adding psyllium husk/flaxseeds to aid in elimination, exercise/yoga, and drinking ginger teas and green drinks. Hit the sauna – sweating helps!
So, for the next 28 days I shall embark on this year’s cleanse. To begin day one of pre-cleanse, I’ll have the following:
begin the day with a smoothie and spirulina, herbal tea
lunch: a green salad with chicken, roasted portabellos, lemon juice/olive oil/herb dressing
dinner: maybe some fish or lentil soup with kale (i think i have some leftover), cultured vegetables
snack: raw vegetable crudite, hummus
I’ll make a big pot of mineral broth to sip on in the evenings. See recipes section for the recipe. This alkalinizing +mineral-rich broth is excellent for cleansing. Here’s to a clean liver and a clear mind!
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.
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