Eat Well, Live Well: Liver Flush

Joanne Smith and Kylie JamesSpring means renewal, regrowth and rejuvenation. This season often motivates us to spring-clean our home, tidy up closets and re-plant the garden, so why not apply this same revitalizing energy to your body! One of the best ways to do this is to cleanse your liver. With over 500 crucial jobs, your liver is one of your hardest working organs. In addition to detoxifying harmful substances, its other main roles include filtering your blood, manufacturing enzymes, building proteins, producing cholesterol and bile, regulating blood sugar and helping to metabolize carbohydrates.

Those of us who take prescription drugs have even more reason to give our livers some much needed rest and relaxation. Many of the medications we take put extra burden on our liver to break down and detoxify. An overburdened liver can lose its ability to easily perform its essential functions, and toxins can build up. This can lead to the body’s systems becoming unbalanced, which in turn makes us more susceptible to illness. Signs of toxic build-up include headache, fatigue, joint pain, allergies, bad breath, rashes, insomnia, indigestion, constipation, frequent colds and anxiety.

Many detoxifying kits and cleansing programs are available in drug stores or online, but some of these products can be quite harsh on your system and unsuitable for our unique and somewhat compromised systems — not to mention expensive. Here’s a gentle, inexpensive detoxifying menu plan.  Follow it for three to five days and avoid all caffeine, alcohol, dairy, sugar and refined foods. All of the fruits, vegetables and herbs listed are extremely nourishing to the liver. This cleansing program will not only help improve your liver function by removing toxins from your body, but you may experience the added benefits of increased energy, improved digestive function, weight loss and feeling more clear headed. You’ll feel healthier, refreshed and your liver will thank you for it!

Joanne and Kylie James are co-authors of Eat Well Live Well with SCI and Other Neurological Conditions. For more information on nutrition for neurological injuries, go to www.eatwelllivewellwithsci.com

Spring Cleansing Menu Plan

Upon rising
One large glass of water with half of a lemon squeezed into it.

Breakfast
One piece (or handful) of fruit, such as an apple, papaya, peach, grapefruit, orange, blackberries, prunes, figs or strawberries. Chew well.

Fifteen to 30 minutes later
One bowl of cooked grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth or millet. For flavoring use sea salt, turmeric, garlic, lemon, 2 Tbs. of fruit juice or drizzle olive oil.

30 minutes before lunch
One large glass of water with half of a lemon squeezed into it.

Lunch
One or two bowls of steamed or blanched vegetables (use a variety), such as dandelion greens, artichokes, onions, garlic, radishes, Brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, green beans, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, asparagus, peas, spinach, potatoes or turnips. Chew well.

30 minutes before dinner
One large glass of water, with a half of a lemon squeezed into it.

Dinner
Same as lunch. After dinner, consume no foods and drink only water or the herbal teas listed below.

Snacks/special drinks
Drink as much of these in-between meals as you like:

• Miso soup

• One or two cups of veggie water (saved from the steamed/blanched vegetables)

• Herbs such as dandelion root and milk thistle strengthen, tone and stimulate the liver. These herbs can be purchased at your local health food store and made into a refreshing tea. Add 1 tsp. of these herbs to 1 cup of hot water, steep 10 minutes, strain and enjoy.

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