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Nourishing Tips & Recipes

Your Liver is Calling

Updated: Apr 16

Spring time is Liver Time. Do you know how to answer the call of your liver’s needs?


YOUR LIVER NEEDS YOU!


Our world is a beautiful place, but it’s also a toxic place that our bodies have to navigate day in and day out. Our brilliant bodies are designed for detox, but our detoxification systems can get overwhelmed quite easily, and they become less resilient over time. In addition, some people are genetically less able to manage it all, which is why one person can drink a fifth of gin daily and live to a ripe old age, while another person may get a headache when they get a whiff of perfume in a store. The people who show symptoms with small exposures to toxins (like to fragrances, smoke, paint fumes, alcohol, etc.) have variances in their detoxification pathways and serve as our canaries in the coal mine, letting us know that the world is full of micro (and macro) chemical insults.


We encounter chemicals and compounds that are not consistent with human health every single day. My chapter “Healing the Web” from The Nourish Me Kitchen (page 404) dives into the sources of these chemicals as well as how they disrupt our endocrine systems in very potent and dangerous ways. I feel that it is our job, as stewards of these bodies, to reduce our toxin exposure at every turn, and continually support our elimination organs so we can maintain vitality for a long time. I also feel that it is our job as stewards of this planet to continue to choose food and products (from skin care to home care and everywhere in between) that don’t add to the toxic burden of the planet. We vote with our dollars, and our choices shift the landscape of how these products are produced. We are only as healthy as our environs, after all.


Everyday Practices to Support Detoxification

You know by now that I suggest weaving self-care and healthy choices into your life on a daily basis. This does not mean that you need to do all of them all the time, but the key to good health is consistent healthy choices. Supporting a “detoxification lifestyle” means making sure you are eating a lot of whole foods (especially fresh veggies, fruit, and fiber), pooping regularly, staying well hydrated, moving your body, sweating, and breathing deeply. To be able to manage and remove our daily exposures, we need to support the “organs of elimination”—intestines, kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system—to do the jobs they are designed to do: mitigate and move out the trash, so the body can thrive!


Here's a simple way to think about minimizing toxic load and cleansing the body:

 

1) Reduce as many burdens or “obstacles to healing” as possible.

2) Support your body with nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest nutrition and LOTS of water

3) Supply extra nutrients and techniques to drive the detoxification pathways.

 

Here are some specific tips to weave into your life to support your liver and achieve cleansing:


Get resourced! Check out Clean by Alejandro Junger MD, Clean Green and Lean by Walter Crinnion ND, and OF COURSE The Nourish Me Kitchen’s 300 recipes (of which I would say 90% are cleanse-friendly!)


Support your organs of elimination: bowels, kidneys, lungs (deep breaths!), skin (sweat!) and liver (all of this info plus castor oil packs!)


Learn how to move your lymph! Move your body, bounce on a trampoline, dry skin brush and sauna. My favorite source for lymphatic education is the entertaining and wickedly smart Leah Levitan (her IG is @Lymphloveclub; I love the little classes she offers on Instagram).


Consider a “cleansing diet” for a week or more which excludes: alcohol, wheat, dairy (including butter and yogurt—but goat yogurt may be great for you), sugar, soy, corn, nightshades, and eggs.


Include lots of cleanse-friendly foods which will drive the detox pathways and support the organs of elimination. Fiber and micro-nutrients (which supply folate and other nutrients) move these pathways so well! Enjoy: fresh fruit, abundant vegetables (greens! Cruciferous veggies!), whole grains (unless you are doing whole 30 or excluding these), avocados, nuts, seeds (pumpkin!), legumes, well-sourced animal protein (if desired). Use olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil for cooking.


Keep your meals simple: Make your own dressings and sauces. Lemon/lime, salt, and fresh herbs and spices can take you far.

It’s not a matter of if we are carrying a toxic burden, but rather how big that burden is and how much our unique, genetically-variant bodies can handle. The more you do on a daily basis to reduce that load, the better off you will be.

Include these special detoxifying foods and herbs: Greens, microgreens/sprouts, beets, apples, berries, pomegranate, Brazil nuts (2 daily), carrots, burdock, cilantro, parsley, artichokes, spirulina, barley grass, turmeric, milk thistle, ashwagandha and nettles.


Try these easy-to-digest, nutrient-dense favorite cleansing recipes from The Nourish Me Kitchen:

  • Gorgeous Beet Soup (page 735)

  • Cilantro-Pecan Pesto (page 808)

 

And as you might have guessed, I dig into ALL OF THIS in my two-volume book set, the Nourish Me Kitchen. I lay out a beautiful cleanse program for you in there with all the recipes for your reference.


 

Gorgeous Beet Soup

Enjoy this striking red soup because it’s insanely healthy or because it is simply delicious. The raw veggies, herbs, and citrus taste so fresh and alive that you can feel your cells soaking up the vital energy. This is an ideal soup for nourishing the body and for cleansing. Beets detoxify the liver, aid the gallbladder, and cleanse the intestines, while the parsley and cucumber purify the blood and move out excess water. Beets have been shown to reduce high blood pressure effectively with regular consumption. I usually double this recipe, since I am dirtying the kitchen anyway and the soup stays delicious for a few days in the fridge. The optional garnishes make it something special, so we use all three.


Ingredients

SERVES 3 OR 4


  • 1 large beet, peeled and cut into small chunks

  • ¼ cup orange juice (best if fresh)

  • One ½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled

  • ½ medium clove garlic

  • 1 ½ cups water

  • 1 small cucumber, chopped (peel if not organic)

  • 1 small carrot, chopped

  • ¼ cup fresh parsley

  • 1/8 cup walnuts

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider

  • vinegar or fresh lemon juice

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • ¾ teaspoon raw honey

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper (optional)

  • Pinch cayenne (optional)

Optional topping

  • Plain yogurt or sour cream (a beautiful contrast of color

  • and creamy texture)

  • Diced avocado

  • Diced cucumber


Directions
  1. Put the beet, orange juice, ginger, garlic, and ½ cup of water in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl; set aside.

  2. To the blender or, even better, a food processor (for best texture), add the cucumber, carrot, parsley, walnuts, oil, vinegar, salt, honey, the pepper and cayenne (if using) and 1 cup water. Process just to a coarse puree; the texture should be like a chunky salsa.

  3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the beet mixture and stir to combine. Ladle the soup into bowls and, if desired, dollop with yogurt or sour cream and/or top with diced avocado and cucumber right before serving.

  4. To store leftovers, transfer the soup to large glass jars or a glass container (it will stain plastic storage containers) and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.


 

Cilantro-Pecan Pesto

This light and fresh pesto offers a mild flavor and a significant nutritional gold star wherever it lands. Cilantro is a superfood and supreme detoxifier. It is a unique plant that effectively removes heavy metals from the body. Pecans are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to reduce signs of aging. I have patients who eat this pesto daily as part of their body-cleansing protocol. Medicine can, in fact, taste really good.


Ingredients

MAKES ABOUT 1.5 CUPS


  • 1 cup raw pecans, soaked and drained

  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (about 1 bunch)

  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 small limes)

  • 1 medium clove garlic

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


Directions
  1. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until coarsely chopped. Add the cilantro, basil, lime juice, garlic, salt and cayenne (if using) and pulse, scraping down the side as needed, until all the ingredients are coarsely chopped. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil.

  2. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. This pesto is definitely better a few hours after you make it. The sharp garlic flavor chills out and the ingredients get a chance to mingle. It will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator, with a thin layer of olive oil poured over the top to prevent browning. 

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