Spring is traditionally the time that we start to think about detoxing- both inside the body and outside in the other areas of our life. From cleaning our closets and home to cleansing the toxins that have been stored in our bodies all winter long, spring is the time to come out of our long winter hibernation and start fresh.
The only thing is, spring is not yet upon us. But, as the sun shines longer each day and the snow melts, we can't help but feel the stirrings of spring approach. So, instead of waiting until spring is already here, we can plan ahead about how we will support the natural cleansing of our bodies this season. Supporting the liver is one of the best ways to enhance spring cleaning and detoxification.
As our bodies cleanse, it is important to make sure that all pathways of elimination are open and functioning properly. The pathways of elimination are all of the organs in our bodies that are responsible for moving waste out. If any of these organs are blocked, we could get backed up and have toxins stuck inside. The pathways of elimination include: the liver, the intestines, the skin, the kidneys and the lungs.
Over the next few weeks we will be writing about how to support all of these organs. Today we'll start with the liver.
3 Simple Ways to Detox Your Liver
1. Buy yourself some Swedish Bitters
Swedish Bitters is a blend of different herbs that have historically been used to support digestion. The combination of herbs has a very bitter taste, which is one of the qualities in many foods that support the liver. For example, bitter vegetables like arugula and dandelion greens also support the liver. That bitter taste stimulates the liver to produce more bile and digestive enzymes. Bile is used by the digestive system to breakdown fats so that they can be used properly by cells. Bile also helps remove toxins from the actual liver.
How to use:
Take 1 teaspoon of Swedish Bitters about 10 minutes before each meal. You can do this for a month. You should notice a difference in your digestion and better elimination of waste.
2. Eat Turmeric
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice, which is made from grinding up the root of turmeric. This spice has a pungent taste to it, another quality that is found in foods that support the liver. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body and can be helpful in a variety of health conditions, from keeping skin healthy to supporting heart health by reducing LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). One of the reasons that turmeric is associated with skin health is because of the anti-inflammatory effect it has on the liver. When the liver is functioning properly, more waste and toxins can be moved through the digestive system and bowel. Often, if these pathways of elimination are not working properly, then toxins can get caught in the skin as they try to leave the body through this pathway.
How to use:
You can find turmeric in supplement form, to easily incorporate into your routine every day. Or, you can cook curries and stir fries with 1 tsp or more of turmeric. You can also make Golden Milk.
1 cup dairy free milk (almond milk or rice milk or coconut milk)
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup
1. Gently warm the milk in a small pot.
2. Before the milk simmers, stir in the turmeric and sweetener of choice. You can use a whisk to blend in the turmeric quickly.
3. Eat Brassica Family Vegetables (ie- broccoli)
You'll recognize the Brassica family vegetables by their pungent, sulfuric smell. Broccoli, kale, Brussels Sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage. These smelly vegetables pack a big punch of antioxidants and contain glucosinolates. Glucosinolates contain sulphur, which protects the liver from damage and support the liver in eliminating excess hormones.
How to use:
One of our favorite Brassica family vegetables are Brussels Sprouts. We love to roast them with a little bit of ghee (or high heat cooking oil), maple syrup, mustard, and sea salt. Here's a recipe for Maple Pecan Brussels Sprouts. Broccoli and kale are easy to steam and serve with some olive oil, lemon, and sea salt. Or add these vegetables into stir fries. Or make a delicious kale salad. Here's a recipe for Vegan Kale "Caesar" Salad.