It’s Sunday morning… I get out of bed and vow to begin this new week wine-free and start living healthy and clean. That is, until I realize I made this same promise to myself last week and decide that maybe a quick and easy liver detox cleanse will suffice.
Why should you detox the liver? Well, your liver acts as a waste management facility for the body: it takes materials that pass through via the bloodstream and decides what do to with them. Some are “recycled” for the body to use later; others are sent out of the liver as waste or remain in storage.
But almost all substances––both healthy and toxic––pass through the liver at some point. Beyond its waste management job, the liver plays a vital role in many other bodily functions, too, including blood health, digestion and metabolism. A nice, clean liver can also mean nice, pretty skin.
Here’s an example: Let’s say I have a glass (or five) of wine. My liver is responsible for breaking down that alcohol and ridding it from my body (this goes for all alcohol, by the way; that antioxidant-rich OJ doesn’t negate the vodka in your Twister). But, say I also have a beautifully charred ribeye steak and a slice of cheesecake for dessert. My liver now has to work extra hard, taking the good nutrients from what I consumed and absorbing them while breaking down the bad ones for excretion.
Now, if this kind of night is a rare occurrence it’s not that bad, though whether you eat and drink clean regularly or not, the liver always needs a little TLC from time to time. It works 24/7 (should we be calling it “Mom”?), and we’re constantly putting demands on it, whether we intend to or not. A cleanse recharges the liver, helping to remove some of its toxins. There are many different liver cleanses out there, but today I’m choosing to focus on one that’s a quick and easy detox cleanse.
Three Step Process:
Hot lemon water:
Start each day with a glass of hot lemon water. Lemons are full of vitamin C, a great antioxidant for the body and starting your day off with hydration and antioxidants is never a bad thing. How do I make hot lemon water, you ask? Here’s my super–secret detox cleanse recipe:
- Cut a lemon into quarters.
- Fill a mug with boiling-hot water.
- Squeeze one lemon quarter into eight ounces of water (add another lemon quarter if you like a more lemon-y taste).
- Give water a quick stir. Sip and enjoy.
Apply a castor oil pack. I always feel great after I do this. Are the results so drastic that I go from hangover level 7 to 0? No, but something magical does happen when I use it. Castor oil affects the body in multiple ways when applied topically: it promotes lymphatic flow and drainage, and it decreases inflammation. It’s also simple, painless and relaxing. Tell everyone that you need 20 minutes alone for medical purposes and thank me later.
To apply a castor oil pack, find your liver, located on the right side of your body, running from right underneath your breast tissue to the bottom of your last rib. It’s the body’s largest solid organ (sorry fellas). Next, cut up a flannel shirt (your ex’s in the back of your closet will work perfectly) and boil some water.
Let the water cool a bit, then carefully pour it into a hot water bottle. Soak the piece of flannel in castor oil and let the excess drip off. Now you’re ready to relax. Find a comfy spot to sit and place the castor-soaked flannel over your liver area and the hot water bottle over the flannel. Sit for 20 minutes (or until your five-year-old needs her bottom wiped) and detoxify.
I’ve mentioned using a hot water bottle here because I prefer to get my heat from water (it penetrates deeper), but a heating pad will work if that’s what you have. If you don’t have any flannel, a cotton cloth works too, or you can apply the castor oil directly to the skin.
Take a supplement. Sometimes it’s just easier to pop a pill, you know? N-Acetyl Cystine, also known as NAC, aids in detoxification by helping to increase the production of one of our body’s most powerful antioxidants, glutathione. Antioxidants eat up the free radicals in our body, so the more glutathione we have, the less damage those free radicals can do. Think of it like this: glutathione = Wonder Woman; free radicals = villains. If our liver produces a whole fleet of Wonder Women, we can rid the city of free-radical villains.
So, when you find yourself deep into the wine and pizza, don’t get down on yourself.Just remember to give your liver a little extra love the next day with those full-proof detox cleanse steps.
*Please consult your health-care provider before starting any new supplements to make sure they’re right for you.*