But the real secret to lifelong good health is actually the opposite: Let your body take care of you.Deepak Chopra
Valentine’s Day is a day I never forget. It was on February 14, 2013 that I received the news from my doctor. The tests had come back positive; I had Hepatitis C. And it was evident from the numbers that the virus had been in my body for years.
I was flabbergasted. My mind was full of doubt: What, me? I’m one of the healthiest people I know! I don’t drink. I don’t take any drugs, not even aspirin. I eat my vegetables. So what gives? Isn’t this a disease that only drug addicts and ladies of the night get? No, apparently not.
Thus began my journey and love affair with my liver.
After successful treatment for this liver disease, the doctors pronounced me virus free, but afterward I was anemic and devastatingly weakened. So I began to study everything I could about the liver and ways to heal and support it, as well as how to build up my depleted reserves.
One of the things I learned was that as a cosmetologist I was exposed to tons of heavy metals and many other toxic chemicals daily — not a liver-friendly environment! This was a big wake-up call, and I knew it was something I would have to change. Not only was I going to have to give up all my favorite cosmetics but I could not very well continue to recommend them to anyone else knowing what I had learned.
At first the list of no-nos seemed daunting.
Cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos, conditioners and other hair styling products, cosmetics and fragrance in anything — all of it had to go. Flame retardants that are on fabric, in clothes or furniture, chlorinated water for bathing or drinking — it had to go. Yikes, the list was endless! Little by little, product by product, a few air filters and water purifiers later, I felt less and less intimidated by all that needed to change, so much so that I have made it my mission to help other people live healthier too.
Loving your liver is more than just cleaning up your cosmetic drawer.
Improving your health starts with assessing your whole being. For example, in the Chinese five elements system, the liver is the seat of anger. Now that’s a powerful feeling. How do you deal with anger? Do you avoid it? Are you able to express it, or do you hold on to old resentments or angry feelings? Letting go of anger enables us to forgive and love ourselves that much more. And love, after all, is the ultimate healer.
Of course we have to be good stewards of our livers by eating well, avoiding fatty and fried foods, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of regular exercise and good sleep. (By the way, if you wake up between 1:00 and 3:00 in the morning, that’s the liver speaking.) Avoiding excess alcohol or caffeine goes without saying.
Spring is the ideal time to cleanse your liver.
Soon it will be springtime and this is going to be the ideal time for liver cleansing. Start thinking about this now because cleansing requires a commitment. You’ll need to clear your schedule to make time for it.
Next month I will talk about different cleansing programs you may want to consider to help you support this vital organ. Some of you may opt to join me on a liver adventure starting at the spring equinox.
In the meantime, here are a few simple daily habits that will help out your liver.
DAILY HABITS FOR A HEALTHY LIVER
Drink 16 oz. of lemon water first thing in the morning, and then stay hydrated throughout the day.
Drink dandelion and ginger teas.
Eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the cruciferous and dark leafy greens.
Consider milk thistle as a daily supplement.
Dry brush before showering, and if you have access to a far infrared sauna, use it 2 to 3 times a week.
Avoid bad fats like saturated fatty foods, fried foods and heated oils that stress the liver. I know Paleo and Keto people out there will not like this, but it is the truth. The better fats in the form of extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and grass fed butter and ghee are fine in moderation. If you eat tons of animal protein, including dairy, you are getting too much of the wrong kind of fat. (There I said it.)
Limit alcohol and caffeine. During an actual cleanse you will be eliminating these entirely.
Stop all refined flour and sugar. Generally, don’t consume processed foods, but sugar especially. Substitute with stevia, dates, honey, molasses or pure maple syrup.
Stop drinking water from plastic. Get a water filter and fill your own glass container. Stop microwaving in plastic or storing your food in plastic.
May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love for your gorgeously healthy liver!