I’m sure you’ve clocked that there’s no coincidence between this month’s article on ‘love your liver’ and it being July…..’Dry’ July that is. It may be an annual constitution for you or do you strategically, quietly navigate your way around to avoid it? So, lets delve a little deeper into the relationship between the two. The detrimental impacts of alcohol on the liver are well documented, communicated and understood. However, excessive consumption continues.
The liver is one of the most vital, hardworking organs in our body, responsible for performing various essential functions. From detoxifying harmful substances, digesting food, storing energy & metabolising hormones to producing bile for digestion, the liver plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health.
However, due to factors such as stress, poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain medications, our liver can become overburdened and damaged. In fact, issues like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (which are often related to type 2 diabetes, heart disease & strokes) are reaching epidemic numbers in our society.
In this blog post, we explore some practical tips and lifestyle changes which we hope encourages positive changes toward your liver. You may well be across a lot of these aspects but what you may not are all the metaphysical concepts and representations of the liver we Kinesiologists explore and work with. There are some interesting questions we suggest you explore and consideration as you skip through July.
But let’s begin with some practical things you can integrate, apply immediately and begin upgrading your relationship with your liver.
The place to start is a well-trodden dialogue. A healthy, wholefood diet and lifestyle, is the cornerstone of liver health. But just in case you need a refresher, here’s a simple list of adjustments to incorporate into your life that will make for a happier liver:
· CONSUME plenty of fresh high fibre fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, quality proteins, legumes & some whole grains (if your body works well with them). Organic & locally sourced where possible to reduce your toxin intake. Incorporate plenty of leafy green vegetables everyday like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts. Especially bitter greens like rocket, endive, dandelion greens & kale.
· REDUCE processed foods of all kinds. Processing reduces the nutritive qualities of food and increases the toxic load. A processed food is defined as any food that has been changed from its natural state in some way. Sprayed, harvested, chopped, washed, canned, frozen, heated, packaged, homogenised, ingredients added (like flavours, colours, preservatives) etc. Consider we actually eat many more processed foods than we think. We understand many of these processes are necessary to make our food more palatable and digestible, so eating foods as close to their natural state as possible (by minimising the processing) is the best way to retain vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients to fuel your body and to reduce the load on your liver to detoxify the additives and by products of processing.
· SUGAR, yes, the white stuff. One of the biggest causes of liver issues is processed sugar in all of its forms – Glucose, sucrose, fructose & white refined carbs (like bread, pastry, cake, white rice and pasta). Reducing (or ideally eliminating) sugar from your diet is vital to liver health.
· CLEAN HIGH QUALITY FATS. Both saturated (from quality meats, coconut oil, butter & ghee) & unsaturated (from oily fish, olives/olive oil, avocadoes & nut/seed butters). Despite many of the myths we have been taught about all fats being bad, science is proving they are vital for good health. From our cell membranes & hormones to our central nervous system, fat is our friend with unsaturated and saturated fats both offering a unique set of benefits. The fats to avoid are the trans fats (found in junk & refined foods) & the highly processed oils like vegetable oil. Consumption of these trans fats is linked liver inflammation and carcinogenic changes.
· DRINK WATER and stay hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of filtered water. This aids the whole detoxification process. Replace alcohol with sparkling water…..it is of course dry July, so you know it’s time to cut it out ;-)
· MOVE your body and keep your lymphatic system clean by exercising, dry skin brushing and deep breathing. Your lymphatics largely drain into the liver, so if they are backed up with toxins, so too will your liver be. With the liver being responsible for detoxifying harmful substances in the body, regular exercise boosts liver function by increasing blood flow, allowing the liver to filter and remove toxins more efficiently.
The great news is that by abstaining from alcohol during Dry July, you allow your liver to catch up and begin to heal, regenerate, and improve its overall functioning.
There is so much more we could share about the function of the liver and how it impacts our physical health, mental health, focus, productivity, behaviour, emotions, memory, relationships, sleep, and so much more, but let’s take a look at how the liver fits into the Kinesiology model.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one of the cornerstones in the foundational philosophies of kinesiology. Therefore, we couldn’t write a blog about the liver without sharing the bigger picture of the metaphors represented by the liver, and offer them to you for consideration as you embrace dry July (or not).
One of the foundations of TCM is the five element theory; Fire; Earth; Metal; Water; Wood. The ‘liver’ resides within the Wood element and represents many different concepts worth considering:
Element: Wood – symbolised by green growing things. It provides fuel for the fire nourishing its growth.
What ‘structure’ in your life requires fortification? Do you have enough roots deep enough to fuel and
sustain your growth?
Colour: Green – is there enough new growth in your life? What do you need to push the ‘go’ button on?
Season: Spring – What seeds do you need to sew? What in your life needs to be revived or reviewed? It is
a time of creation, birth, growth and thriving. New beginnings.
Climate: Wind - do you need to do a spring clean and breath some fresh air into areas of your life?
Sound: Shouting – do you need to shout something from the rooftops? Do you have too much on your
plate and need to express your boundaries?
Emotions: Anger / resentment – what does anger mean in your life or in relation to your goals?
Liver: What requires detoxifying in your life? Is the something you need to let go of? A behaviour, habit, relationship etc? Or maybe you need to add something into your life that will be cleansing, purifying and nourishing? Are you now ‘livid’ at how you’ve been treating this amazing organ? Or are you ready to embrace Dry July with a new ‘spring’ in your step? Whatever you’re feeling, we hope it’s ‘planted a seed’ to reflect on choices and motivated some ‘new ideas’ for change.
Keen for more? We invite, and encourage you, to check out our socials for some super simple Kinesiology techniques specifically related to the liver. Sarah will talk you through what to do, coupled with a simple demonstration and explanation. Integrate these throughout July (and the rest of your life) and you'll be supporting your liver function as well as assisting it to ‘rebalance’ and ‘regenerate’ throughout the month.
Loving your liver is crucial for maintaining optimal health. Treat it with respect, and it’ll pay dividends......Long after Dry July.
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