Ready to start your Functional Medicine Liver Detox? Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way to get the most out of the experience.
The first thing to remember is to keep it simple. The detox has 2 main components:
- Eat healthy, high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory foods every 3.5 hours to balance out blood sugars and hormones and to lower inflammation in the body (starting with 2 days of shake fasting to initiate the detox process.)
- Take supplements morning and evening to help the liver clean the blood better and to support elimination of toxins out of the body.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Detox
- Prepare yourself ahead of time. Get your food shopping done. The detox comes with a shopping list, so just make sure you are well stocked Figure out your daily family life so you can focus on your first 2 days of shake fasting.
- Have realistic expectations. Change is not easy. Expect to be hungry from time to time. Realize that when we stop input into the body, we have to sit with our “stuff.” Expect to be grumpy, moody, emotional, tired and angry along with symptoms of detoxing like headaches. But also expect to change your relationship with food, to have a significant reduction in gut symptoms, to lose your cravings for unhealthy food, to start enjoying the taste of fruits and veggies more, and to feel very clear headed and relaxed after the first few days. Expect also to lose weight — you will lose toxic water weight. When you release toxins stored in tissues, fat cells shrink. For those who DON’T want to lose weight, there are alterations to the food plan that you can make, so please reach out to me, and I will help you dial that in.
- Get into the right headspace. Having a positive mindset and being open to healing is essential. Things that are worth it are usually not easy. Allow yourself to observe what comes up when things feel hard. Are you able to reach in and go a little deeper into your discomfort? What’s under there? And remember that you are in control of your thoughts. Training the mind and not letting our thoughts control us is a big part of healing and living a vital life.
- Realize that the people around you are not on the same eating plan as you are. You may be around people eating foods that are not part of the liver detox. This is where you will have to check your commitment to your health goals. If your goal is to lower inflammation, balance blood sugars, to feel better, to have more energy, and/or to lose weight… you are going to have to do the work right now in order reach those goals. No one else can do the work for you. And the only way to reach those goals is to practice self-discipline in order to stick with your liver detox. Do not let old habits or excuses sabotage your hard work.
- Drink lemon water or hot ginger tea throughout the day if you feel like you need something.
- Drink your morning shake SLOWLY. This will increase satiety and help you feel full longer.
- Stick with the 3.5 hour timing of shakes and meals. The timing is designed to keep your blood sugars stable throughout the day so you can feel your best while doing this liver detox. NO SNACKING.
- Focus on easy-to-digest foods, especially if your struggle with gas/bloating after meals. Digestion takes energy. The easier our food is to digest, the less energy we have to expend to digest it. Steamed vegetable, brothy soups and stews, and fork tender foods are perfect for this detox, especially during the cooler months when digestive fires are lower. Green salads and fresh raw veggies are wonderful for warm weather detoxes. If gas and bloating are an issue, a complete digestive enzyme can be super helpful with each meal. THIS is the one that I use.
- Keep your meals simple. Pick a clean protein, a healthy, fat, and 2 or 3 vegetables to go with each meal. Prep a big tray of roasted veggies and eat them for the next few meals. Cook several chicken thighs and freeze a few for later meals. Reheat them easily in a toaster oven or oven. Cook a big pot of black beans or white bean and freeze in portions for later.
- Don’t start 2 day shake fast during your monthly cycle. It’s best to start your detox off when you are not having your monthly period. This is a time of lower energy so lowering your calories and initiating detox may not be the best thing. If you continue on with 14 or 21 day, it’s OK to do your shake fasting days while cycling once you’re moving through the detox. Listen to your body. If it feels like too much to do the 2 days of shake fasting, just move through the fasting days with the shake for breakfast, vegan lunch, and vegan/paleo dinner plan. Feel free to reach out if you have questions about this.
- Make sure you’re eating enough at your meals. If you are hungry before the next shake or meal, you may not be eating enough at your vegan lunch or vegan/paleo dinner. Fill your plate with healthy vegetables. Make sure you are adding that healthy fat. Fat helps with satiety. Make sure you’re getting in your protein at each meal too.
- If weight loss is your goal, focus on the lower carb vegetables. Lean into your leafy greens and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels. Balancing blood sugars and lowering insulin levels is such a big part of the weight loss journey.
- Don’t overthink it. Remember why you are doing this. If you feel tempted to veer from your detox plan, take a deep breath and remember that you are doing this because you want to feel better. You are only accountable to yourself. It is only 7, 14, or 21 days. And the benefits you get from giving your body what it needs to feel good FAR outweigh any instant gratification you may get in the moment. When your body is clean, you just feel better. It is hard to be clear in the mind and the spirit if the body (and liver) and congested.
- Keep drainage flowing. Move your lymph every day to help toxins move out. Dry brush every morning. Make sure you are having a daily bowel movement. Do your water enemas or coffee enemas. Sweat it out though a sauna, exercise, or epsom salt bath. Move your body EVERY day.
- It is normal to urinate frequently during this detox. You are consuming a ton of water with your shakes and there are diuretic herbs in the Ayurvedic supplement you will be taking morning and evening. Flushing out the body is a good thing when you are detoxing.
- Get good sleep. Your body is in heal mode and will need more rest than usual. Move more slowly through your day. Take walks instead of hard-core interval training. Go to bed early. Going to bed early will also help with late night snack habits.
- Be kind to yourself. This detox is NOT a punishment or something you HAVE to do. You GET to do this in order to feel better and to have a cleaner, clearer body and mind. Detoxing is not easy, but it sure is worth it.
You will not regret investing in yourself like this. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.