Physically, there are many symptoms of liver imbalance from the obvious to the very subtle, such as feeling a lump in the throat, or problems with tendons or eyes. One of the first signs is related to your emotions, specifically your temper: are you suffering from anger, stubbornness, aggression or irritation? When you’re thinking about a detox for your liver, you need to consider your general constitution. Some people are still physically strong, despite needing a liver detox, while some show signs of physical weakness. Another effect can show in your digestion – are you constipated, or the opposite? Do you suffer from colitis or IBS?
With an appropriate diet and a sensitive yoga routine you can have a massive effect on your physical and emotional state, especially after a period of excess like Christmas and New Year! So make a note of your emotional and physical states, however unconnected they might seem, before you start and check how you feel as they days progress.
Some general rules for your Diet:
- Eat primarily vegetarian food, including raw foods and sprouted grains, seeds and beans every day.
- Take the biggest meal of the day at lunchtime, eat early and sparingly in the evening. Avoid late meals to allow the liver and gall bladder time to prepare for their regeneration cycle during the night.
- For signs of weakness: drink organic apple cider vinegar and honey with warm water – useful for liver imbalance resulting in depression & irritability.
- For signs of heat/strength: choose bitter foods such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, rye, asparagus, Milk Thistle Tincture – all these help when anger, aggression, shouting, or splitting headaches are the symptoms.
- Once you have spent a few days on this regime, add in some foods for liver regeneration. The chlorophyll-rich foods such as wheat/barley grass, and the micro-algae spirulina or chlorella – all these are useful taken regularly to support balanced liver function. (New post about micro-algae coming soon.)
Yoga for the Liver:
How to access the liver? First and foremost, use your arms. Couple this with standing forward bends, abdominal work and some gentle twists and you’ll have a routine of benefit to the liver.
1. Half Uttanasana (wide feet) with hands on a ledge/windowsill.
2. Uttanasana – feet hip width, hands to the floor or legs, keep the legs strong and release the spine down.
3. Padangusthasana – really pull on your toes to look up, then bend the elbows wide to draw yourself towards your legs. (Have a read of this first: https://iyengarhomepractice.wordpress.com/tag/padangusthasana/
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, first using a chair and then from the floor if you are able.
5. Finish this section with Adho Mukha Virasana. (As you are in this pose, do you notice the feeling of ‘freshness’ coming through?)
6 & 7. Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana X 2, then maintaining Tadasana: Extend your arms behind – lift your chest and open those armpits! X 2
8. Ghomukhasana X2
9. Navasana – use support if needed, and LIFT your sacrum and chest.
11. Jatthara Parivatanasana – bent legs, draw knees close to opposite elbow.
12. Passive backbend – get the support right under your shoulderblades, not your waist, so your arms must be high. Breathe into the rib cage/diaphragm area, especially areas where you feel tightness. Let the breath open and extend those areas.
13. Supta Baddakonasana.
After a few days, if you’re feeling better and suddenly find you have bundles of energy, Surya Namaskar is the best way to start your day. You can slow it down and step rather than jump if you prefer. http://bobbyclennell.com/MYoga.html (Please observe the restrictions at the bottom of the page.)
After a long week of New Year celebrations, Daniel and I were keen to get ahead on 2018 and do a full de-clutter of the house – re-arranging furniture, hoovering behind things and taking stuff to the charity shop. I had a horrible cold, and we had both over indulged at Daniel’s dad’s house earlier in the week. Needless to say – we were both feeling pretty tired and needed a serious energy boost to get the productive weekend we had in mind off to a good start. Enter my Green Energy Juice. Packed with nutritious dark green plants (full of mood lifting B-Vits) and metabolism-boosting spices, this high-protein juice delivered the kick-up-the-butt that our minds, bodies and digestive systems needed.
300ml pressed Clementine Juice (can use orange or another fruit. Pineapple is great too.)
Half a cucumber, chopped into chunks (organic if possible)
Kale (I love the frozen balls you can get in supermarkets these days)
Ginger (fresh or frozen into cubes)
Large pinch of Black pepper (freshly ground)
1 whole Red chilli (optional)
2 Tablespoons of vegan protein powder (I use Pulsin Protein)
2 Teaspoons of Powdered Spirulina
Pour the juice into a high-performance juice blender (NOT a juicer as it removes too much of the nutritious fibre from the veggies).
Add the veg and spices, and a few cubes of ice if you like it really cold. Blend the whole lot for about 30 seconds. This makes enough for two people, so share between two glasses and feel the instant benefits of this delicious juice.
Don’t forget to share your juice with us! Tags us in your pics on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and help spread the juicy love ❤
Pre-solutions? Things you do before Christmas to make your New Year resolutions easier to keep.
GET A GRIP – Everywhere you turn, piles of pointless calories: tubs of sweets, mini
chocolate bars, bowls of crisps and peanuts, mince pies, and (my favourite) cheese footballs. You’re going to need a steely resolve to avoid these so rather than feeling sorry for yourself, recognise that the instant gratification you get for saying, ‘No thanks’, is worth ten times the long-term misery of succumbing.
TONE UP YOUR LIVER – Use your exercise routine to stimulate liver circulation by adding some deep stretches and working your arms more. We tend to think that twists will help, and they do, but using the strength of your arms, and stretching them over your head allows access to the liver. (Look out for the New Year Yoga Routine coming soon!) Foods to eat include sprouted grains/seeds/legumes, micro-algae, spices and herbs – cumin and turmeric – and lightly cooked brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and (guess what?) brussel sprouts! Avoid sugar, and carbs generally – you really only need 130g per day, a few small potatoes and the odd slice of bread, but more about that in the New Year blog.
3:2:2 – Alcohol, and managing your intake needs careful planning. Divide your weekdaysinto blocks of days 3:2:2. Look at your diary and map out the points during the festive season when drink will be the theme. Then, depending on your natural habits, order your blocks of days into non-alcohol, low-alcohol and party time. This is a much better system than all or nothing. You can use one of the goal setting apps to keep track – I like HabitHub.
PLAN AHEAD – Forewarned is forearmed: if you’re going to make a success of this, and above all enjoy yourself, you need to plan ahead so you can have the kind of Christmas season you won’t regret afterwards. Take each day as it comes and think through how you’ll avoid the trip wires: exercise first thing, don’t skip proper meals, carry healthy snacks with you, and if you’re eating out, make sure there’s water on your table, not just wine!
HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’re all human and we won’t get it right every day of the holiday season. So put yesterday behind you and concentrate on getting today right and you will be moving in the right direction. Give your body and mind a merry Christmas and a happy New Year too!