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Show your liver some love

2015-09 LiverBring your hand to your right lower ribs. Behind the bones, just below your diaphragm, is your 3 pound, rubbery liver. Most of us are unaware of the body’s largest gland, unless there is a problem. But now is the time to start showing your liver some love.

You cannot survive without your liver. It supports almost all the other organs. Your liver is a filter for blood leaving the digestive tract. It detoxifies chemicals, metabolizes drugs, and makes proteins important for blood clotting. Special cells, called Kupffer cells, capture and digest bacteria, fungi, parasites, worn-out blood cells and a bunch of debris from cellular processes throughout your body. Imagine the constant fight your immune system would have without your liver’s help.

Viruses, like Hepatitis A, B and C, overuse of acetaminophen, and chronic alcohol abuse can cause scarring in the liver. Over time, the growth of scar tissue destroys the liver cells, a condition known as cirrhosis. Just because you don’t have cirrhosis doesn’t mean your liver is healthy, however. An overload of the bad stuff your liver should be filtering results in toxicity. An overloaded liver might show up as chronic fatigue, moodiness, bloating after a meal, or being unable to lose weight despite lots of dieting and exercising. Or you might not even notice it.

When I was researching my last “Lunch Date” call, I found out that eating too much fructose can lead to fatty liver and insulin resistance. Cutting down on or eliminating refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup helps ease your liver’s load. Eating whole, organic foods reduces the amount of toxic chemicals your liver has to filter out. Taking probiotics or eating fermented foods helps maintain your digestive system’s health so less bad bacteria and other microbes get to your liver.

Supporting your liver is supporting your whole body’s health. What other signs and symptoms of liver toxicity are there? How are you caring for your liver? Please share by leaving a comment.

Lunch Date: the science behind the sugar blues

This week’s “lunch date” is a 15 minute rundown on sugar. The history of sugar (including an interesting tidbit about the American Revolution), what sugar is, how your body processes sugar and what happens when you eat too much of it are covered. Plus I share how to spot hidden sugar in processed food and some tips on giving it up.

Listen in during your lunch break, or anytime. You can join me live on meet.FM every other Monday at 1:00 pm ET for another topic. Find the upcoming topics on my calendar, or join my email list for an invitation in your inbox.

Grouchy without my sugar: Day 14 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox #21dsd

I promised posts about my experience with the 21 Day Sugar Detox, but I haven’t felt much like writing. To be honest, I’ve been very, very cranky. I spent the first week feeling overwhelmed, although some of that was just life’s stuff piling up. This week has been better, but I’m tired and still grouchy. My family is trying hard to stay on my good side, so my temper must be a bit short.

Detoxing my body has inspired a thorough cleaning of my home (helped along by the arrival of my new Norwex mop) and I took a few days away from the internet to clean windows, vacuum under sofa cushions and mop all the floors. Perhaps taking control of my house made up for the lack of control I have over my body’s reaction to the sugar detox.

If I ever questioned if I was truly addicted to sugar, I’m positive now that I am. I did some reading online just to ensure that I was not the only one to still be irritable and suffering from fatigue fourteen days in. Some folks shared the sugar withdrawal symptoms lasted nearly the entire twenty-one days. What I didn’t find was anyone who said the symptoms never stopped, so I’m sticking with it.

Wanting to experience the detox as “purely” as possible, I hadn’t taken any of the recommended supplements. I decided that for the last week I would add in a Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, L-Glutamine and Magnesium. I’ll also start taking my probiotics again, to help crowd out previously well-fed candida in my gut. I’m hoping the supplements may help me get past the irritability sooner.

It’s not all bad, though. My face is much clearer and my usually pale cheeks have a bit of color. Although I do still have some cravings, I’m recognizing that I’m not actually hungry. It is difficult to be hungry if you follow the menu plan. There is plenty to eat and, unlike sugar, it stays with me for hours. I’ve been enjoying trying new recipes from the book and corresponding cookbook.

If I wasn’t so grouchy, I’d probably think this was fun. Maybe by this time next week, it will be.

Day 1 without sugar was not easy #21DSD

I haven’t been sleeping well, so when I got up to start the first day of the 21 Day Sugar Detox I was already tired. This has been my mornings for a couple of months, but at least I’d been getting up. Much better than mornings in 2013, when I sometimes did not get out of bed at all.

I dragged myself into the kitchen to prepare breakfast and make almond milk from almonds I had soaked the night before. I was full after breakfast, but I couldn’t help wishing breakfast came with dessert. I had the same thoughts after lunch. And after dinner.

Sugar has control of my mind, for sure!

Homemade almond milk has no additives.

Homemade almond milk has no additives.

I snacked on an apple and a handful of almonds mid-morning, which relieved the cravings temporarily. When I was thinking about another snack at 2:00 p.m., I drank a glass of water instead. The water seemed to help hold me to dinner.

When I woke up this morning, I was still tired, but I realized when I looked at the clock that I had slept through the night. Although it was only six hours, it was the longest block of uninterrupted sleep I have gotten in awhile.

Here’s to day 2, and onward!

Why I’m preparing for the 21 Day Sugar Detox #21DSD

Even before I started my journey to becoming a holistic health coach, I was trying to find my best way of eating. After lots of research and just as much trial and error, I found that a slightly-modified, GAPS-leaning Paleo diet was helping me beat the fatigue and joint pain that had been plaguing me. While I have felt much better this year than I did in 2013, I am still struggling with and, more often than I care to admit, giving in to intense cravings for sweet treats.

Although my energy is generally higher, it still fluctuates quite a bit during the day. I find myself looking for something flour-y and sugar-y when my energy dips, especially after lunch.

My 47th birthday just passed, and my body’s gift to me was another breakout along my jawline and down the sides of my neck, along with an eczema flare-up on my hands. 35 years of acne and itching is enough.

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”  ― Tony Robbins

I’ve decided it is time to reach for a new level of wellness and beat my sugar cravings once and for all. After hearing and reading good things about The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally by Diane Sanfilippo, I ordered the book, signed on for the online support, and picked a date to start – October 1st. It seems like the right time, to change with the leaves and let go of old ways. It is my gift to myself, celebrating my birthday and Mabon (the celebration of the fall equinox), which coincided this year.

I’ll be preparing this weekend by cleaning out the pantry and the refrigerator, making some food ahead, and putting myself in the right frame of mind. I’ve found some helpful advice online, like this post from bembu, and will be doing more reading to make sure I’m ready.

I’ll be posting my daily progress on my Facebook page, so be sure to follow me there. I’ll check in here with updates once a week as well.

Have you tried the 21 Day Sugar Detox? Were you able to complete the full plan? I’d love to hear about your experience!