There are a whole lot of ways to be perfect, and not one of them is attained through punishment.
Ursula K Le Guin
Mother Earth is rousing from her Winter slumber and it’s time to get your liver and gall bladder cleansed. Or so they say. Aren’t those two organs already in the business of breaking down “stuff” and helping us digest? How much more cleaning do they need?!
There is a lot out there about various fasts and cleansing programs, ranging all the way from a vigorous cleanse (i.e., don’t be far from a bathroom. Sort of like prepping for a colonoscopy. Only longer. And even less fun…) to very mild (pass the lemon water and bitters, please.) Sometimes there is fasting involved or even just a few days of only liquids. Regardless of the steps involved, it comes down to why do it at all?
Detoxing can be a way to hit the reset button. To ‘reboot’ so to speak and help get things back on track, physically and emotionally. If there has been overindulgence in food, alcohol, or general habits (too much social media, anger, frustration or lack of tending to oneself), detoxing can be a time to unstick the underlying physical and emotional imbalances that feed one another. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, an unbalanced liver can lead to anger. By using bitter/sour foods and herbs that support the liver (milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock root, gentian, to name a few), we can cool this hot energy and see things with clearer eyes.
By using a combination of gentle herbs and diet changes for a few days, one can reset and help bring clarity and a new perspective. Foods that tend to cloud and heat us or dampen us over time are those foods associated with causing inflammation such as processed sugar (some honey, maple syrup, molasses are fine), gluten/grains and dairy.
Not all detox programs have to involve physical purging. The liver and kidneys do a good job of detoxing, but even they can be stressed when presented with poor food choices or overdoing certain things. Detoxing is a temporary activity, not a diet to continue over time. Once it is over, it’s about transitioning back to more sustainable eating. To me, the point is to become more mindful of not just what I put into my mouth, but by being in touch with HOW my food choices feel in my body and what drives me to make the food choices I do. That is an interesting journey in and of itself and can be an eye-opener.
At the end of April, The Elderberry will be offering a 10 day Reboot program that limits inflammatory foods and supports the liver and gall bladder. To learn if this seasonal transition diet would be right for you, check out the Reboot class.