It doesn’t matter how healthy you eat (organically grown, pastured), or whether you live in the country or a big city, or how “clean” you think your lifestyle is (yoga, meditation, Qigong), your body is going to be exposed to dangerous toxins both externally from our environment in the air, water, and soil, and internally through metabolic waste and the process of eating. That’s life.
And, if your body is not prepared for the barrage of toxic residues, you could suffer from an onslaught of physical and emotional challenges as your body tries to cleanse itself.
So, how can we possibly prepare for an overload of toxins if we can’t even avoid them? We need ensure that our detoxification organs are in excellent condition and supported by us on many levels.
Our body is designed to support us on this journey through life, and we need to be able to help out where it’s needed most.
The first place we have to start is with the liver because it’s the one of our major detoxification organs. When the liver is suffering from toxic overload, or it’s not getting the support, flavors and nutrients it needs, it gives us a variety of symptoms to let us know something is amiss.
Below are some signs of liver stress:
- Digestive problems, bloating, distension
- Fatty deposits under the skin (lypomas)
- Muscular tension (head, neck, shoulders, hips), tight tendons
- Allergies and environmental sensitivities
- Menstrual irregularities
- Migraine headaches
- Dry eyes, blurry eyes
- Anger and irritability
- Inflexibility (both physical and emotional)
The ancient view of the liver is that it is considered the “Commander.” The liver rules the morning and gives us the capacity to wake energized and inspired. If you can’t get out of bed in the morning, it’s a sure sign that the liver has been compromised in some way.
The sense organ associated with the liver is the eyes, so floaters, dry eyes and red irritated eyes can all show liver stress.
The sour flavor governs the liver and it has a gathering effect, which is imperative for the support of our physical structure. But, according to the Nei Ching, too much of the sour flavor causes the flesh to tighten. This leads to inflexibility in body, mind and spirit.
A healthy liver ensures our physical, emotional and spiritual needs are balanced. When liver energy is blocked, anger and frustration arise. Take a look around you, including at your own self. How many angry and frustrated people do you know? Their main detoxification organ is speaking out!
The liver and its complementary organ system, the gallbladder, are considered our creative channel and when physical, emotional and spiritual needs are balanced, creativity flows.
If you find yourself feeling stuck and unable to create what you want to create: a book, a baby, a business, or a blog. It’s time to get creative to help support your liver in some unconventional ways.
Here’s 5 things you can do right now to ensure your commanding organ is given the support it needs to do it’s job more effectively:
- Eliminate or reduce fried foods: Fatty fried foods cause the liver to work overtime breaking down the toxic residue of oxidized fats. I’m not talking about a quick stir fry here, I’m talking about French fries, fried calamari, fried chicken, deep fried oreos, that have all been cooked in oxidized oils. High, continuous heat oxidizes and damages oils.
- Eat smaller meals: when you eat food your body produces metabolic waste. If you overeat food (which many of us do), it puts a LOT of stress on the liver. Smaller meals, means the liver and the digestive system have to do less work breaking down large quantities of nutrients. We’ve grown accustomed to eating excessively large meals. And, the only thing that overeating supports is the food economy, not the health of your physical body.
- Fast or cleanse: Fasting once is a while is a good habit to get into – it’s been around for thousands of years for a reason. Fasting from food gives your liver, digestive system and kidneys a break, and your body can work on detoxing your system more effectively and efficiently.
- Use sour and astringent herbs and foods: The sour flavor can be found in many foods; lemons, sprouts, green apples, oats, yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi. Remember to find the right balance of sour in your life, both too little and too much can impact liver health.
- Find a creative outlet: The liver is not just a physical organ with a mechanical process. According to ancient wisdom it is our creative channel. Take a class, find something that inspires you creatively (cooking, writing, painting, singing, pottery, glass-blowing). You get the picture… now start drawing a picture, even if it’s a stick figure! Get your creative juices flowing to support the health of the liver on a deeper level.
When your liver gets what it needs from you, it can do its job better to support your physical, emotional and spiritual health much better.
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 The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, California Press, Ilza Veith, pg. 23