Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cleanse Thy Liver

One of the detoxes I do regularly is called the liver cleanse.  Although it is a bit dramatic, it is also quick, super fascinating, and personally beneficial in overall health improvements.  

I did my first liver cleanse about 9 years ago in Vegas, after my chiropractor recommended this book with several detox programs.  I tried the parasite, the kidney, and the liver cleanse.  Last year I read about an amped up version of this liver cleanse by a Canadian fellow who also created an excellent version of the zapper.  What is a zapper?  You can check it out here: .  Trust me, I know it can sound wacky if you have never heard of it before.  But everything in the health care world can seem pretty wacky if you are not accustom to it.  For example: "I'm supposed to believe I can take this little pill and my pain will really go away???"  I have done research on the zapper and have used one for many years.  That said, it is pretty funny to see the reaction of friends when I pull it out.  Just the other day a friend was reminiscing about our old house and the electrocution devices in our living room. ;-)

The liver is one of the largest detoxifying organs in our body.  This means that everything we eat, absorb, and breathe goes through the liver.  When the liver detects a toxin (viruses, parasites, bacteria, etc.) it encapsulates it in a shell of cholesterol, creating a stone.  Most people have thousands of these in their liver.  More commonly heard of, gallstones were once liver stones that have overflowed from the liver into the gallbladder.  Many people have to have their gallbladders removed as these stones can cause havoc.  For our liver to be functioning optimally, it would also be free of stones.  If our liver is clogged up with too many stones it cannot function optimally and toxins are missed, affecting our body's overall health.  Also, if our liver stones are passed, gallstones will often move back up into the liver, relieving the stress on the gallbladder.  My mother in law was scheduled to have her gallbladder taken out before doing the liver cleanse, but did not have to continue with the surgery once she did the detox.

Liver cleanse basics: 

#1 – I first complete a parasite cleanse.  The liver cleanse will not be successful (no stones released) if there are parasites present.  It is pretty common to have parasites in your liver, along with other places in your body.  Many of them are natural to the human body and some are not.  Parasites can contribute to disease and have been linked to many kinds of illness.  That does not mean killing parasites is going to save the world or your life.  They are only one of many contributors to disease, but for the purpose of the liver cleanse, we need to get rid of them.  There are herbal remedies I have taken before, but the zapper method has given me the quickest results.  If I have not used the zapper in awhile, I will preface the liver cleanse with 3 weeks of zapping. 

#2 – The day before the cleanse I try to eat light or just drink liquids.  This is not mandatory, but it is easier on your body to work into the cleanse.  No matter what I choose to eat, I make sure to stop by midnight the night before. 

#3 – On the day of the cleanse,  I only eat until 2pm.  Whatever I eat this day must be 100% fat free.  I have found the best option is to only drink apple juice.  It has been reported that drinking the apple juice increases the success of your liver cleanse.  I actually love my apple juice days, but for some people, drinking just the apple juice throws them off.  Eating fat free grains, fruit, and veggies will also work.  I try to stay away from fake fat free products like “fat free chips".  Whatever you eat should be naturally fat free.  The purpose of this step is so that our liver’s bile, which is released when we eat fat, will build up in the liver awaiting release later in the night. 

#4 – I do not eat or drink after 2pm!  This vital rule is another reason why I like to do just liquids that day.  It ensures that I am fully hydrated for the rest of the day when I am not allowed to drink even water.  

#5 – This next step is completely optional, and is probably the hardest step if you have never tried it before.  At 4pm, the option is to do a round of 3 water enemas.  It made me nauseous the first time I tried it, but since then I have gotten used to them and found that 1-2 is usually enough.  The purpose of the enema is to create a clear bowel line, so more stones will come out and come out sooner.  I often skip this step myself, depending on how I feel.

#6 – At 6pm, I drink a mixture of 1 cup of cold distilled water and 2 tbsp of epsom salts.  I make this ahead of time because it takes some stirring action to completely dissolve the epsom salts.  The mixture tastes a little metallic, but it isn’t too hard to for me to get down.  You can also put the epsom salts in capsules, if that helps you with the taste.  The purpose of the epsom salts is to relax the bile ducts coming out from your liver, where the stones will soon pass.  People also say the epsom salts relax them, and they usually ease any hunger I am feeling at that point.  

#7 – After drinking the epsom salt cocktail, I get a hot water pack ready.  The pack is placed on my liver (which is on the front right side of your abdomen, right below your rib cage – it extends over to the middle of your stomach) while laying down on the couch.  This lasts for 20 minutes.

#8 – At 8pm, I repeat the hot water pack on my liver for another 20 minutes.

#9 – At 9pm I start getting the last part of this cleanse ready.  I mix 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 3/4 cup of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.  This part is not as bad as it sounds.  If you mix it well enough, the grapefruit completely covers the oil taste while drinking it (but not the aftertaste).  You can cut the amount down to 1/2 cup of each or increase it to 1 cup of each.  The higher the amount you drink (up to 2 cups total), the greater amount of stones can possibly be released. 

#10 – At 9:45pm I make sure everything is ready for me to go IMMEDIATELY to bed after drinking the mixture.  Locked doors, lights off, final bathroom trip complete, and alarm set for 6am.  I pile up several pillows to lay my head and back against, and then I get into bed and drink the mixture at exactly 10pm.  The quicker you can get it down the better (2 minutes maximum), but I usually get it down in about 30 seconds.  Immediately after drinking it, I lie on my back and DO NOT MOVE for 30 minutes.  I am talking evening blinking.  Okay, that is a little bit of an exaggeration, but those are the rules I adhere to.  If you move it will not work and it is not fun to get this far and not get any stones.  I can usually feel my liver start to dance around and the sensation of marbles spilling out of my liver.  After the 30 minutes has passed, I stay lying in bed and try to go to sleep as soon as possible.  The purpose to this entire part of the cleanse is to overdose the liver with fat so it will quickly release the bile that has been building up all day, spitting out the liver stones along with it.  If you cannot fall asleep quickly, it is still very important to stay resting in bed without much movement.

#11 –  At 6am I wake up to drink my second epsom salt and water mixture. (2 tbsp of epsom salts and 1 cup of cold water).  Then go back to bed…or…

#12 – The cleanse says to do another set of 3 enemas.  I have only done one enema once.  I know it is helpful, but my stomach is rarely up for it.  The downfall to not doing the enemas is that the stones stay in your system longer and are potentially adding some of the toxins back into your system.

#12 – I do not have anything to eat or drink before 10:30am.  If you can wait until the afternoon, that is even better.  I usually start with a laxative tea called senna, which helps get the stones out quicker.  Then I will have some fresh juice and something easily digestible like soup.  By this time I have already passed hundreds of stones.  They are pretty soft and do not hurt to pass.  They are also totally identifiable as the green stones floating on top of the bowl.  The last of them will usually come out with your first bowel movement.  It is super crazy and good to see such quick results from all your hard work!

When I first did the liver cleanses years ago, I could not feel any difference afterwards.  But I read that it takes the average person at least 15 liver cleanses to completely clean out their liver, so it made sense that I had a lot more work to do before I would feel the difference.  I think I started feeling the results after my 3rd cleanse, with super heightened energy.  I also noticed that I wasn’t getting sick as often as I used to and my digestion improved dramatically.  Once your liver is free of stones, it is recommended to do the cleanse two times a year for upkeep.

One thing to note with the liver cleanse is that it does put pressure on your kidneys, and after several cleanses I will notice it.  If you have any sort of kidney issues, it is recommended to do a kidney cleanse beforehand and then as needed.  The kidney cleanse I follow is a minimum of 6 weeks of drinking daily herbs, tinctures, and supplements.  If you want to try the liver cleanse and have questions, feel free to email me.  Happy detoxing!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nightshade Free

Last week at the doctor, I came up positive for allergies to nightshade plants. Nightshades commonly consumed in the US include all peppers and their spices, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes (excluding sweet), gooseberries, gogi berries, and tobacco.  All nightshades are characterized by their alkaloid molecules.  As far as humans are concerned, these alkaloids have been found to be either desirable, toxic, or both, depending on how they are used and who is using them.  For people who are allergic to nightshades, the symptoms can include inflammation, acidic ph, digestive problems, lowered immunity, and pain.  I've personally had a chronic respiratory issue for the last year +, so it made sense to try out my doctor's recommendation of eliminating nightshades from my diet for the next 2-4 months and then re-evaluating.
I was a bit overwhelmed and anxious when I came home from the doctor that day.  We were leaving for Portland the following morning, so I felt the pressure of figuring this out quickly, around others, and in restaurants.

The first night in we met up with our friends Jake and Rose at Swagat downtown.  There were a couple choices that looked nightshade free, so I chose the vegetable biriyani.  Half way through my stomach was churning and I realized that it had been cooked with jalepenos.  But what was great was I felt this awesome sense of peace and relief in it.  I was human and could only do my best with this new diet, which is not perfect but totally enough.

I've had many different health issues most of my life which have often left me frustrated, stressed, or scared.  I've prayed for healing, which I've often received, yet it has rarely been quick and always seemed incomplete.  Health concerns seem to be lurking around every new corner, so the struggle is never that far from my mind.

Last week when I came home from the doctor, Kyle and I began praying for something different.  We are still praying for healing of my chronic respiratory issue, but even more than that, we are praying that God would teach me what he wants me to learn in the midst of my physical struggles. Kyle, my friends, and our community are in this with me.  I never could have prayed this way honestly before, because in the past my fear drove me to focus mostly on the healing.  So I'm thankful for this new way.  It is from God and is he is good.  I can only do this because I trust that God is who he says he is.  Kind, loving, trustworthy, and totally in control.  And I'm also who he says I am. Unconditionally loved and lovable in the midst of all my humanness. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hello World - My First Blog

I'm in the process of combining my two blogs into one.  So for the following weeks, you'll see some personal writings which may or may not be food related.  They all remind me of people, places, and moments in my life over the last three years.
This entry is the first time I ever blogged.  We had just moved to Portland, I was a student at Western States Chiropractic College, and life as I knew it was about to drastically change. Our boxer dog Oscar passed away weeks later, which was quickly followed by the sudden death of my dad.  I took a break from school and later decided I definitely did not want to go back.  It was a rough time for us, yet somehow in the midst of it, God was very presently with us and has never left us.  It's all still a big work in process. 

I know these blogs (about 10 of them) are much different than what I've shared here thus far, but they are special to me and I'd like to share them with you for the first time or once again.  

Hello World

I’ve been planning on writing my first blog for some time now.  My first two week break from school was much needed, but as to date I’m starting the 5th week of 2nd Quarter and fully in the thick of exam mode.  Midterms begin in a week:  Histology, Gross Anatomy, Biomechanics, Radiological Anatomy, and more Biochemistry.  Fortunately, a few of my classes don’t have midterms, only finals.  They will all be in the middle of June and many of them on my 30th birthday exactly!  

For now I will study and drink my soy chai latte from the Perfect Cup Espresso, where ingredients are not given, but drinks can only be described with an "explosion of flavor in your mouth".  Oscar says hi.  He’s studying on the couch with me, as my husband showers off the salt crystals he accumulated from the half-marathon he completed this morning in Eugene, OR!  

Peace out (and veganism) to all. 

-written May 4, 2008 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tomatoes in the Garden and Spicy Tomatillo Guacamole

Being our first year in SLC, I'm new to gardening in this high desert soil.  Really I'm still new to gardening in general, but I love getting in the dirt and experimenting.  This year I planted a good variety of flowers, fruits, and veggies, but my favorites have definitely been my tomatoes.  They are like little candies on the vine.  

On another note, I also love guacamole.  I don't think I can grow a fruit producing avocado tree in these parts, but I can certainly grow the other ingredients that go in it.  My hubs is not a fan of guacamole, at all *SHOCK*, and I usually get to have his portion and mine when we eat at any mexi-restaurants.   Yet I had an inkling this time might be different, and I was correct.  He downed half the bowl and proclaimed this this best guacamole ever.  You can decide for yourself, but it's been a major hit in our house. 

Heirloom Tomato Plants

Red Beauty

Cherry Tomato Plants

Yellow Sweetness

Tomatillo Plants

Tart Ripe Tomatillos

Spicy Tomatillo Guacamole

Chop and puree, the following ingredients together:
5 Tomatillos
1/4 Large Sweet Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Small Habanero
Juice from 1 Small Lime
1 Tsp. Salt

2 Avocados

Mash all ingredients and salt to taste.  If you end up with too much tomatillo puree, save some for a later date with another avocado.  

Dip with your favorite chopped veggies (crisp cucumbers are delish) or organic corn chips. I also made veggie tacos by filling warm corn tortillas with the guacamole, refried black beans, and sliced cucumbers.    

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