50 ways to love your liver: Getting started

Detox is a difficult subject to advise on because everybody will have different diets to start with and different levels of commitment. Also, because detoxing can cause symptoms you may need to see a nutritionist for advice on what supplements to take. I believe that too much too soon can cause quite a big stress to the system so it is best to do things in stages.  If you are having acupuncture treatment with me I can advise on what is best for you, based on my understanding of your constitution within Chinese medicine.

On the whole, in Chinese nutrition we look at removing excess yin and excess yang foods from the diet to enable it to heal. These mostly correspond with modern detox diets which generally see these foods as more difficult to digest, nutritionally pointless or toxic. If what the body has to process is easy to digest, healing can take place in the liver. Here are the foods to think about removing:-

  • Sugar, including honey and syrups
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy products (butter, milk, cream, yoghurt) and other mouldy/damp foods such as peanuts, dried fruit, dried herbs. If you want to keep some dairy in the diet make it natural goat’s yoghurt. When reintroducing try to use yoghurt more than the others.
  • White bread and white flour products (or all gluten based grains if you are gluten free)
  • Red meat (and for a proper detox also remove chicken and eggs for a while)

A diet based on wholesome grains, fish, vegatables and fruit is what forms the bulk of most detox diets. But for some people this is a huge amount of change to implement. I would suggest choosing one or two items to get started. If you are game for helping your liver even more, add another two a fortnight later and so on.

The ideal would be to work towards going without the majority of any of these products for a period of 2-5 weeks – but even 3 days would be better than nothing. And a ten week period without one of these will help you liver more than doing nothing at all!

If you are going to choose a couple of these to start with there are two ways you can go – the easy way or the hard way. Of course the hard way will be better for you! You may have heard that we crave things that are particularly bad for us because going without it initiates a detox response (craving the substance the body is addicted to). So if there is something on this list that you think you absolutely cannot live without then the chances are this is doing your system more harm than any of the others. This is optimum one to remove from the diet!

Happy detoxing!

Kate

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