Why the liver is important

The liver is the second largest organ in the body, weighing approximately 3 pounds and is responsible for a myriad of vital functions. Because the liver has so many important functions, it is essential that we give it periodic cleanses to help keep it in good working order.

Do you know that this hard working organ filters everything that come into the body via the blood and distinguishes between what is useful or toxic? It also regulates blood sugar, makes bile and cholesterol and stores vitamins A, D and B12. In addition, it is a very important component of immunity.

Given the environmental toxins and our dietary indiscretions, is it any wonder so many people are feeling the effects of an overloaded sluggish liver?

Here are some of the common symptoms of sluggish liver:

1.  The complexion has a dull yellow cast to it.
2.  Frequent breakouts, boils, eczema or hives.
3.  Chronic headaches.
4.  Pain or tenderness in the right upper quadrant of the torso.
5.  Discomfort on the top of the food between the large and second toe.
6.  Waking up tired and depressed on a regular basis.
7.  Women experience PMS and painful menstrual cramps.
8.  Lack of appetite in the morning.

Considering that spring is here, this is the perfect moment to begin a very simple yet very beneficial liver cleanse. Just as we do a deep cleaning of our homes at this time of year, so too does the body need to rid itself from all the accumulated toxins and excess weight stored over the winter months.

Any radical change in diet can affect bowel habits. Adjust the diet accordingly to acclimate the body to the new lifestyle shift.

Here are some dietary guidelines for a 7 day liver cleanse

1.  Drink plenty of purified water daily.
2.  Use Himalayan or Celtic sea salt only.
3.  Enjoy a large mug of hot water and lemon upon rising.
4.  Drink organic green tea to replace coffee.
5.  Consume organic foods exclusively throughout your cleanse.
6.  Eat light for breakfast. A low glycemic fruit smoothie is perfect (see recipe below).
7.  Snack on apples, pears, carrot sticks, celery and a small handful of raw, unsalted nuts or 1 Tbs. of organic nut butter.
8.  Have 16 oz. vegetable juice daily, focus on greens and add carrot, beet and apple to sweeten.
9.  Eat a large salad with mixed greens, avocado, grated carrots, beets etc. Make salad dressings with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, garlic and herbs. If you need more food, have a homemade vegetable soup.
10. Dinner should be consumed no later than 6 pm. It should consist of a large steamed vegetable plate. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, a little fresh garlic and a dash of Himalayan salt if desired for added flavor. Baked sweet potatoes, acorn or butternut squash is recommended as well. Steamed or baked fish is OK twice a week.

Body Cleansing Rituals

1.  Tongue scraping morning and evening.
2.  Dry skin bushing before showering or bathing.
3.  Use extra virgin coconut oil in place of body lotion.
4.  Daily exercise like yoga, walking or rebounding (using a mini-trampoline) to increase heart rate and circulation.
5.  Evening bath with Epsom salts with the addition of a few drops of essential oil in a warm tub is recommended to expedite skin detoxification. The essential oils of juniper, lemon, grapefruit and geranium are beneficial to aid in cleansing the body.
6. Manual lymphatic drainage massage  by a trained professional is highly recommended to rid the body of excess toxins via the lymph system.

A 7 day detox program will help restore your energy, lose weight and increase liver function. Love Thy Liver!

Superfood Breakfast Smoothie

Equipment needed: Vitamix or high speed blender
Serves 1

1 cup frozen berries
½ ripe banana
1½ cups almond milk
1 Tbs. hemp seeds
2 Tbs. flax meal
1 tsp. green powder
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Dash stevia powder (optional)  to sweeten

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
2. Serve immediately.