Over the years, I’ve learned that my skin troubles are often a reflection of what’s going on inside my body. To have beautiful skin and maintain it, you need to avoid stress and do your best to keep your body in balance. It’s the old adage garbage in, garbage out. If you eat bad, drink loads of sugary drinks, and alcohol, it’s like ingesting toxins and slowly poisoning your body from the inside out. Nobody sets out to do that of course, but sometimes — hormones happen. And depression. And 2017 happens. But I’m over it. I’ve let all that go and I’ve set out to make my liver (and body) happy again with simpler eating.
Sometimes it’s hard to hear, but your body tells you exactly what it needs (or doesn’t need). It starts out as whispers, then progresses to shouting. For me, I started seeing all the signs my liver was sluggish, overwhelmed and unhappy about a year ago.
So I finally started paying attention to the shouting.
How does your liver shout at you?
- You’re tired all the time.
- Your skin looks bad. Itchy skin and/or blotchy skin. Acne or rosacea.
- You’ve gained weight and/or find it difficult to lose weight no matter how many spinning classes you go to.
- You get really bad PMS.
- You get sick more than you usually do.
- You have trouble digesting fatty foods.
- You sweat a lot.
- You get mood swings.
How did I know my liver was shouting at me?
Well, for me I got all the warning signs my liver was not working at its best.
For me, It starts with weight gain and difficulty losing weight no matter how much yoga or intense spinning I do. As I continue to eat the “bad foods,” I start to get digestive problems — gluten and dairy become hard to digest. Gluten will give me bloating and dairy makes me sick to my stomach and is painful to digest. If I drink too much wine, I start to get heartburn and it gets really bad when I’m actually drinking a glass. Then the acne shows up on my body (not my face) to say, hey lady, you’ve had too much sugar and dairy. The pimples show up on my shoulders or this one spot on my chin. Weird, I know. Then I get itchy skin. Sometimes it’s the skin right where my liver is and my face will get itchy in random spots.
Oh! Can’t forget the worst ones of all — PMS gets super bad. I turn into a borderline rage machine. Think Furiosa in Mad Max Fury Road. And cramps are uber painful. And I sweat. A lot.
You feel a bit out of control when your body starts to rebel against you and you feel tired and depressed most of the time. It may feel like you’ll never crawl out of this unhealthy hole, but with a few small changes, you can start feeling more energetic in a few weeks.
How do you make your liver happy and your skin super healthy and glowing?
The #1? Simple, colourful, whole food eating.
Sure, it’s a simple solution but much harder to do when you’re used to all the bad foods. All those bad habits. Ugh.
Here’s how I go about making my liver happy and doing a liver detox:
Eliminate the bad stuff.
This means you caffeine, sugar, alcohol and anything processed. All of these damage not only your insides but also your skin. You’re handing over what collagen and elastin you have left to sugar.
For me, trying to go cold turkey from any of these is close to impossible without me having a meltdown or raging fit of some kind. So, I start by substituting with healthier alternatives.
Replace coffee with green tea.
Replace sugar with honey, dates, and fruits.
And my trick for nixing alcohol? Grab yourself some sparkling water, kombucha, or club soda (add fresh lemon/lime), pour into your wine glass and voila! Wine substitute. You’re still drinking from the fancy glass just not with wine. You’re fooling your mind without all the liver clogging side effects of alcohol.
Do a liver detox.
To get your liver working at its best again, you need to flush out all those toxins that have built up in your liver and bloodstream.
After eliminating the nastiest offenders above, I head to my natural clinic and get a gentle, body clarifying manual lymph drainage massage (sounds scary but it’s not). This type of massage gets all the bad stuff moving and out of your lymph nodes so it can be processed and flushed out of your body. It detoxifies and decongests. Be sure to drink lots of water and/or green tea after getting your massage to flush all the nasties out!
Next up is liver cleansers like an A.M. warm water with lemon, dandelion tea, or some milk thistle tablets. I have to keep the milk thistle to a minimum because allergies. If you’re allergic to ragweed like I am, you may be allergic to milk thistle. I find my sinuses get congested.
The last and most important step is eating simple, whole foods. Nothing processed or refined. No matter how badly you want to grab a quick “something” from a fast food joint or coffee shop, don’t do it! Instead, try heading to a juice bar if you can for a quick pick me up to keep you going.
When I’m on the go, I keep a GoMacro peanut butter protein bar and an apple in my purse for times when I’m out longer than expected or just in case I get hungry. It stops me from spending money and grabbing something bad for my body.
I love eating fresh, whole foods but it can be challenging sometimes. During stressful times, my cravings for bread, sugar, and rich foods come out. Practicing self-care regularly ensures you don’t slip back into bad eating habits.
In Eat Beautiful, Wendy Rowe suggests “tuning in to the seasons” and eating what’s fresh and grows where you live. She follows the principles of Ayurveda which I’m a huge fan of. I believe we do have the power to heal and transform our bodies with our mind.
Fun fact: I have been known to push a cold out of my body with my mind. It does work. It’s not hooey.
Simple eating is easy to incorporate into your day:
- Quit refined sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Eat whole fresh foods. Or, as Wendy Rowe says in Eat Beautiful, “Eat the Rainbow.”
- Choose foods that help liver function.
- Be mindful when you eat.
A few of my fave liver boosting recipes from around the Googleverse:
The Perfect Cleansing Smoothie: Lemon Cleanser
In addition to any of the recipes above, I’ll make a quick and easy liver healthy recipe by cooking some quinoa with garlic and cumin and topping it off with kale. If I want added protein, I’ll toss in a few cubes of tofu. Healthy and done in 15-20 minutes!
Related: Books: Healthy Eating