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Liver Support For Every Season Of Motherhood :: Gentle Liver Support & Detox Tips PLUS! A “Liver Love Smoothie” Recipe!

March 3, 2017

Gentle liver support and detox tips for every season of motherhood, plus a liver love smoothie recipe!

Liver Support For Every Season Of Motherhood :: Gentle Liver Support & Detox Tips PLUS! A "Liver Love Smoothie" Recipe!

Momma, this one is for you!

Get baby to sleep in that sling, get a stack of coloring books out for your toddler, and send the big kids off to play, and settle in so we can talk about taking care of you for a bit!

Spring cleaning…

I’ve never been enthusiastic about housekeeping, and while I do a form of spring cleaning on the house each year (as much as can be done with little whirlwinds running around the house!), I’m going to be talking about spring cleaning…you!

Momma, did you know that it is ok to focus on your health? In fact, it is vital to your kids to have a momma that feels her best and is functioning at her best!

Gentle is the name of the game…and the most effective.

So here’s the deal. I’m a go-getter. I’m a jump in with both feet kind of a person. I decide I’m going to do something and I’m full on, 100 percent into it…and then some.

However, when it comes to our liver, brute force, full on, over doing it is not always wise, especially if you have never done anything to help support or detox your liver before. I am putting this all in bold at the beginning of this post because I have over done before. And it is not pretty. And it actually is super ineffective as you flood your body with toxins you can’t handle.

I am going to show you how to add a few things into your daily routine to assist your body at getting rid of toxins in a natural, gentle, and effective way. Because when we just DUMP and over do it, you can really throw your body off as toxins are released. It makes you feel even sicker, or cause Herxheimer reactions, that will make just about everyone need to stop. Including someone like me {ahem…can you tell I have experienced this?!}

Do you need to work on loving your liver a little?

Do you eat food? Breathe air? Drink? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then the answer is probably yes! Unfortunately there are toxins just about everywhere we go these days, and even if you are a “clean eater”, the environments that we live in are just not ideal.

Our livers were designed to filter these toxins, but sometimes things get backed up. Helping the liver stay clear and doing a few things to unclog the liver will keep things flowing well. Many of these items are things you can do on a daily or weekly basis to keep your liver happy, all year long.

My goal in this post is to show you the most gentle effective ways to give your body’s natural filtering process some love during all seasons of life.

Detoxing can take on many forms, and depending on what stage of the game you are, you will want to find the best fit for you in the season of life that you are in.

  • If you are planning on getting pregnant, are pregnant, or are nursing, your goal will simply be to give your liver some love and support so it can do it’s thing. You don’t want to be dumping and detoxing while making or nourishing a baby.
  • If you are not in a season of pregnancy or nursing, but have never given your liver a second thought before (IE you have never done any of the items on the list before), you may want to consider starting out with just a few of the first suggestions. Dumping too quickly will make you feel pretty crummy.
  • If you are a veteran dry brusher, detox bather, caster packer, and beet and dandelion lover, I’ve got some great supplements to share with you at the bottom to up your liver love game – and they truly have been a game changer for this veteran! You’ll love them!

Set your thought process in the right direction.

Your thought process in this gentle, effective detoxing should be…

“I am going to nourish my liver and lymph system whose job it is to clear toxins from the body.”

You are like the assistant making the environment prime for filtering. Dumping out loads of toxins is not the end result you want. Believe me. Assisting the unclogging of your liver and getting lymph moving should be at the forefront of your mind, and your body will do the rest for you.

I promise that there are gentle things you can do to assist your body’s natural cleaning process while you keep your body environment safe, and still able to function.

So let’s get started!

Liver Support For Every Season Of Motherhood :: Gentle Liver Support & Detox Tips PLUS! A "Liver Love Smoothie" Recipe!


Proactive Ways to Support Your Liver and Lymphatic System


You can add some of these to your day today! Don’t be overwhelmed with getting every point in *right now*, however. In fact, just start with what appeals to you the most with where you are at. Some of you that maybe are already doing the first couple points are ready to move on to something more in depth. And those of you that haven’t done anything ought maybe just start with the first couple of ideas.


Lemon Water

Quite simply lemon water is a great place to start. Especially if you have never done anything to aide your body in detoxing, drinking lemon water will get the party started. It will also get things moving and flushing so the other detoxing methods can work effectively. It is something you can start today, and just about everyone can afford it!


Eat Foods That Encourage Natural Detoxing

From beets to greens, turmeric, garlic, and other herbs, there are every day foods you can fit into your meal plan to make detoxing a part of your everyday life. Beets blend into smoothies nicely (see the Liver Loving Smoothie at the bottom of this post!), as well as make a great roasted veggie side for dinner. We love this beet slaw for a side salad or as a topping to a grassfed burger too! You can wilt greens into just about any stir fry and they blend up into a green smoothie without even noticing! And as far as the herbs, well…dress your food up with real food medicine! Turmeric is the main component of curry blends – you can make curry for the whole family in the form of curry soup or curry skillets and to get that in. We also love collecting dandelion greens from the yard in the spring to make dandy salads.

Another quick note about food and the liver! The liver cleans out around 1-2am every middle of the night. If you eat big, heavy meals at night, you might notice you wake up and feel crummy around this time of the night. Try to make the last meal of your day a healthy dinner and skip the bedtime snacking to allow your liver free space to work at night and  not be so bogged down. (If you are pregnant or nursing you can snack on healthy options, but I encourage you to try eating most of your food during the day so your digestion and liver and recover at night).


Dry Brushing

You can coordinate dry brushing with your detox bath which I will discuss below. Dry brushing moves lymph. Our lymphatic system carries toxins from various parts of the body to the liver to filter. Moving the lymph keeps things, well…moving! It makes your skin feel amazing too which is just an added bonus!

To dry brush, simply start at your feet brushing towards the heart. Swipe each area 3-4 times moving up the legs and the groin, tummy, back, arms, armpits, and chest. Always brushing toward the heart. I like to use this brush for my body, and then I have this brush for more sensitive areas like my chest, neck, and face.

This is another super affordable method to aide detoxing that just about everyone can start this week!


Detox Bath

Epsom salts have been used for ages for natural detoxification. A simple hot bath full of epsom salt draws impurities out of the body after just 20 minutes, and then after about 20-40 minutes of soaking you will absorb the mineral benefits of the epsom as well. I use 3 cups of epsom salt in my bath. You can use a cup or two of baking soda in your bath if you don’t have a water filtration system. It neutralizes the chlorine and helps the minerals in the epsom salt to absorb.

This is the simplest, bare minimum detox bath, and it is very effective. If you want, you can occasionally add clay or Himalayan salt to your bath to up the ante. I like to add a few drops of lavender essential oil, and I make an herbal tea bath once and a while to make things even more relaxing. Just steep a strong pot of chamomile tea and pour it into your bath. It is very soothing!

I buy large bags of epsom salt and baking soda at Costco.


Castor oil packs

*NOT recommended if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant!*

Castor oil packs are another very simple, cost effective way to draw toxins out of the liver or digestive system. I am 3 years out from a very looong season of being either pregnant or post partum or trying to get pregnant, so castor oil packs are newer to me in the last 2 years. I used to hate doing them because it meant I needed to lay down (ha!) and I just didn’t have time for that…or did I?!

You know that 30-60 minutes before you go to bed or are laying in bed looking at your phone (yeah yeah yeah, I know we aren’t supposed to do that, but we pretty much all do it anyway!)? THAT dear momma is the perfect time to castor pack!

Castor oil packs improve lymph circulation and lower inflammation to the area it is directed toward as well as the natural detoxification for that area. You can focus on different areas depending on what you are going for. For instance, you can lay the castor pack over your liver to stimulate the liver, over the lower intestine area to aide digestion, etc

To make a castor oil pack, you will need caster oil, a thin cotton cloth (use an old cotton cloth, piece of flannel, piece of an old tee shirt, or you can buy castor oil flannel here.), and a heat source such as a hot water bottle.

  • Place the cloth in a quart jar and pour about a tablespoon or so of castor oil over the cloth and let it soak in completely. Keep adding the oil until the cloth has absorbed it all but it is not dripping wet.
  • Lay down with your feet elevated slightly and place the cloth directly over the area abdomen you are looking to help. If you are not moving your bowels well, I would recommend starting there so you can get things moving – you don’t want to be backed up while you are detoxing. Place your heat source over the cloth and rest for about an hour if you can. If you don’t want oil to get on your heating pad, put a layer of plastic wrap over it.
  • When you are done, put the oiled cloth back in the jar, put the lid on, and keep it in the fridge for up to a month to re-use. You can then wash it and reapply the oil. Make sure to drink/stay hydrated while using a castor oil pack to keep things moving. I try to aim for 3 times per week when I am focusing on detoxing because that is what I can fit in – if you can fit it in daily that is fine! Uncomfortable side effects from castor packs are rare – only really good deep sleep and relaxation! It is truly a gentle way to detox.

*Please remember castor oil packs are NOT recommended while pregnant or while trying to get pregnant!*


Rebounding

Rebounding is a great routine to make your exercise while loving on your liver because it moves lymph very effectively! Here’s the way this multi-tasking momma looks at rebounding….exercise AND lymph movement checked off my list for the day, all in one shot?! I’m in! My friend Kristen wrote a great post about rebounding here if you would like to learn more. (This is another one that I would be careful with if pregnant – gentle is the name of the game. You can always do stretching, yoga, or walking to move lymph and exercise too!)


Herbal supplements for liver detoxing

BIG BOLD notes for mommas who are planning on getting pregnant, are pregnant, or who are nursing! Repeat after me…“My liver focus is supporting my liver so it can do it’s thang!” You do not want to be dumping toxins while making or nourishing a baby. Focus on the supportive things above. Milk thistle is a liver supporting herb, and I loved sipping on milk thistle tea while nursing – or make milk thistle tea and use that as your base for the Liver Love Smoothie below if you don’t like tea. This is a great Milk Thistle Tincture you can add very easily to your day as well. I big puffy hear love this post my friend Kristen wrote about detoxing while pregnant or nursing.

Ok! Onto my friends who are not in a season of pregnancy or nursing! There are so many herbal supplements on the market to try out for loving on your liver. Some of them use herbs or herbal blends that are more supportive in nature, while others are focused on actual detoxing and removing toxins.

Over the years I have tried numerous liver loving herbs. I like making dandelion root tinctures because they are easy. And adding milk thistle to tea is great too. I have used a handful of herbal liver detox supplements on the market, and I am quite impressed with the Liver Detox supplement from Perfect Supplements. (If you decide to give the PS Liver Detox a try, be sure to use your RGN reader code for 10% off! Just put GENERATION10 in the coupon spot at checkout!) I have been using the Perfect Supplements Liver Detox for the last month!

The Perfect Supplements Liver Detox is naturopathic doctor designed and endorsed. It is SO easy to take, and lets just be honest…sometimes I don’t make the time to brew tea! It is the perfect blend ratios of milk thistle, turmeric, and artichoke as well as schisandra berry, broccoli sprout powder, cilantro, and chlorella superfoods to enhance both phase I and II Liver detoxing. It really is an “all in one” package! I like to take liver detoxing supplements at night on an empty stomach so that by the time “liver time” comes around in the middle of the night (livers clean out around 1-2am!) they have the support they need.


Notes About Detoxing Symptoms & When To Back Off


While everyone is certainly going to have different responses, there are a few general ideas to keep in mind as you take on unclogging the liver so you can get rid of toxins. You may not notice more than a few pimples as your body rids toxins. If you are doing something more thorough such as some of the supplements, you may feel more.

Here are some of the symptoms I have experienced myself:

  • Tiredness/Fogginess/Energy Decrease. It is a lot of work to detox. And the toxins can make you feel a little off. It shouldn’t last long – again if you feel really off it might be indicating that you are doing too much too soon. Back off on doseage, and start with some of the basics of unclogging your liver so it can filter better. Be gentle to your body as you start, getting enough rest/sleep so your body can work.
  • Nausea/Digestive Upset. As the liver and gall bladder drain, it can cause nausea, and as old material in the digestion get moving, you can feel bloated. Again – if this is amplified over days, it might mean you need to back off a bit.
  • Skin Eruptions/Rashes. Your body can get rid of toxins through the skin. A bit of acne or a skin rash may indicate some detoxing. It should be mild – if it is not and you feel like you are having a Herxheimer type reaction (I have experienced this – NOT fun!), you may be doing too much too soon. Back off and start with some of the basics of unclogging the liver.

Be sure to check this post from my friend Kristen for  more possible detoxing symptoms, and a thorough explanation of healing reactions.


What can I do to get over detoxing symptoms and still function as a mom?


GREAT question! I think many (including myself way back when) think detox equals energy. And it just doesn’t until you get rid of the toxins. Detoxing is getting rid of the yuck so you are not going to feel fabulous until the yuck is gone. I don’t feel awful when I do these things anymore, but when I first started out it wasn’t very fun. Here are a few things I have learned that will help you over the detox hump so you can still get through your day.

  • Take it easy. Nap, sleep, rest. Whatever you have to do. This is another reason why it is important for pregnant and nursing moms to not go full on overboard with detoxing. It is near impossible to get the amount of sleep you will need for a big detox when you are up nursing a baby or rolling all over uncomfortable in bed at 8 months pregnant. I am not ashamed to say that while I am spending a focused period of time on detoxing, I get at least 9 hours of sleep per night. It’s called discipline. And it stinks. I set an alarm for my bedtime. I let a few things go on the house so I can occasionally get a nap in. It is so worth it though. In the end you will have MORE energy!
  • Drink more water/herbal tea/lemon water. You may feel more thirsty while you are detoxing (I usually do), but even if you don’t, drink as much as you can to flush it out. I don’t do well with plain water diluting my electrolytes, so I sip on sea salted lemon water or herbal infusions all day. It sounds simple, but I even plan ahead for this. I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me to make a gallon of herbal infusion to sit over night so I don’t forget. Plan ahead!
  • Eat well and ditch the sugar. *ducking*. I know it. I’m sorry. But we all know sugar just doesn’t jive with a healthy lifestyle. Even “real foodies” can sometimes get caught up in making real food treats, and for occasions, that is totally fine. But sugar is still sugar at the end of the day, and it inflames the body when we get too much of it. Period. So you can do all the liver cleansing techniques you want, but if don’t eat well, you are just putting it all right back in. You don’t need to be 100% perfect in my opinion, but if you want to feel well, I do think the food we eat plays a roll.
  • Don’t over do the exercise. Again, it is a lot of work to detox. Gentle walking, stretching, and yoga are great for getting lymph to move without taxing your body. Rebounding is probably one of the best exercises during detoxing as it is a great way to move lymph and get the yuck out.
  • Sweat it out in a hot bath or infared sauna. Not only will a hot bath make your achy-ness feel better and relax you, you can make it work double time for you by making it warm enough to sweat the toxins out. This is one of my favorite indulgences to let myself have during a time of focused detoxing. I literally schedule it in and am very protective over it. You are allowed to have a 20 minute bath every once and a while. (More details on how to take a detox bath are in the Detox Bath section above.)
  • Make sure your bowels are moving. It goes without saying that your bowels are moving waste out! You don’t want to be backed up while unclogging your liver. Add some chia seed to your smoothies (see the Liver Love Smoothie below!), drink plenty of water, make half of your plate veggies, take a good probiotic (you can see the probiotics I take in the supplement section of this post), and keep the sugar low.
  • Support your adrenals and boost your mineral intake. Your body can always use a little support for the adrenals. Adaptogens like Cordyceps keep the adrenals balanced, improve energy, and build resistance to bodily stressors. I added the Aquatic Greens from Perfect Supplements into my daily routine while taking the Liver Detox supplement for added minerals to support my organs. (Adaptogens like Cordyceps and the Aquatic Greens are NOT recommended while pregnant or nursing)

As promised! My Liver Love Smoothie Recipe!


This is safe for every momma, no matter your season of momma-hood! Just watch the notes on the Aquatic Greens for my pregnant and nursing momma readers! This liver love smoothie is refreshing and energizing!

Happy liver loving to you dear friends!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Liver Love Smoothie!
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup liquid base of choice (I used herbal tea infusions or coconut water. Any herbal tea or even water works fine too. If you have higher calorie needs such as if you are pregnant or nursing, you can use coconut milk or raw milk per your tolerance)
  • 1 scoop Aquatic Greens (leave this out if you are pregnant or nursing. You can use fresh or steamed spinach instead)
  • 2-4 TB steamed peeled beets or greens like kale or spinach (freeze a load of them so it's easy to grab!)
  • 1 scoop grassfed collagen (this adds 10g of taste free protein!)
  • 1 TB healthy fat of choice (I use Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil or an egg yolk. Melted coconut oil, avocado oil, or avocado would work too)
  • 1 TB chia seed (to keep your bowels happy!)
  • ¼-1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 whole small/medium orange, peeled (I like my to be frozen. Just freeze bag full of orange slices so they are easy to grab!)
  • 1 pitted date (raw honey would be fine here or leave it out if you want it less sweet)
Instructions
  1. Everything into a high powered blender to blend until smooth. Tastes the best if the liquid base is cold and the oranges are frozen. You can freeze a load of orange slices and steamed beets and keep them in a freezer bag in the freezer for convenience. You can also steam huge boxes of baby spinach or kale and freeze them into "pucks" in a muffin tin and then into a freezer bag.

 

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37 Comments

  • Reply Emily @ Recipes to Nourish March 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    WOW Renee! You put so much love and time into this post! I learned so much and also learned things I shouldn’t be doing right now, yikes. I had no idea about the time frame when it cleans out! So many helpful tips included! This is really going to help a lot of moms. The smoothie sounds great too!

    • Reply Renee Kohley March 3, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you Emily! I am so glad it was helpful to you!

  • Reply Raia March 3, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Wonderful post, Renee! I need to go get myself some beets so I can give this smoothie a try. I’ve been craving them anyway… 😉

  • Reply Donna March 7, 2017 at 1:52 am

    A brilliant post, incredibly informative, AND that rebounding is not only fun but great for liver detox!!

  • Reply Michele Spring March 7, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    OOh, I really enjoyed this post. I’m always searching for ways to detox my liver since I’ve got issues with that. And I’m honestly a little sick of dandelion tea 🙂 So I now feel armed with a whole bunch of ideas to keep going and feel energized about doing so. Thanks so much Renee!!

  • Reply Mark March 8, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Great post as always, I loved reading it – you have such an engaging writing style! And the smoothie sounds delish. Really nice mix of superfoods and also tasty ingredients, I will definitely give it a go!

  • Reply Stacey Crawford March 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    You always have such great, information packed articles! I like the ingredients in the Liver Love Smoothie too (and glad there is not raw liver in it, lol). I agree that rebounding is such a great form of exercise 🙂

  • Reply Katja March 9, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Love this post! You did an awesome job covering all the bases. The smoothie sounds amazing. I was hoping there was no actual liver in it. Of all the superfoods, that’s one I just can’t get down with. But beets are totally my jam!

  • Reply Jessica DeMay March 9, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    What a helpful post with so much great information! Honestly, I have never put much thought into my liver. I figured by eating healthy, not drinking, and living a natural lifestyle I was ok. So thank you for all this great info!! 🙂

  • Reply Megan Stevens March 10, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    So much wonderful advice here, Renee!! I, too, have overdone it with this process, so I appreciate all the specifics on how to be gentle and how to support the body. Love that smoothie recipe, too!

  • Reply Cristina Curp March 10, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this informative post! I have been looking for ways to help my liver, I feel like it’s not as efficient as it could be from years of high toxicity levels. Thank you again!

  • Reply ChihYu March 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    What an awesome post ! I got the recipe and also some very useful information and knowledge behind living and eating healthy. Thanks so much for sharing !

  • Reply Amy March 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    So much great info Renee!! I always remind my clients that we NEED a 12 hour fast to let our liver do it’s thing. Disrupting that process is likely to cause detoxification dysfunction! Lemon water is the perfect place to start. You know everything is working well if you have a bowel movement like clockwork within 30 minutes of waking up. Not always a welcomed topic, but so important!!!

    • Reply Renee Kohley March 12, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      I’ve been intermittent fasting for just over a year and I LOVE it Amy! It’s a total game changer! I love your comment about the BM’s within 30 minutes of waking up! We definitely are clockwork in our house practically waiting in line when we wake up!

  • Reply Vanessa Woozley March 12, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    What a plethora of information in this post, so well put together and such an important post to share so I’m sharing on my blog too. I love rebounding on my trampoline with my daughter, its fun and good for you, what could be better.

  • Reply Hannah Healy March 12, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Renee – This is such powerful information for all parents.. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Taesha Butler (The Natural Nurturer) March 12, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Renee, this is such a great and important read. We mamas sometimes forget to take care of ourselves the way we take care of our familes. Sharing!

  • Reply Kari Peters March 13, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Very wise words not to always jump into something 100%, coming from an all or nothing person it’s best to make a gentle transition, and I’ve learned that even for my personality the slow transitions are the ones that stick!

  • Reply Georgina Young March 13, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Not enough people put in much effort when it comes to posts on motherhood – they’re usually focused just around pregnancy and not much else sadly. I’m honestly so impressed with this! There are a few things that at times I try but then I just forget to carry on with them. I’m intrigued by the castor oil packs though!

  • Reply Allison Wojtowecz March 13, 2017 at 10:25 am

    What a wonderful resource! I know not many bloggers know how to address pregnancy and I love the explanations for the information here. You’re paving a new path for health-conscious moms!

  • Reply Becky Winkler March 13, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Bookmarking this for when I become a momma–hopefully sometime in the next year or two!! 🙂

  • Reply Ashley March 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

    Why are castor oil packs not recommended during pregnancy? I have heard they are great at stimulating the bowels as needed!

    • Reply Renee Kohley March 19, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Hi Ashley! Caster oil can relax the muscles too much and bring labor on so we don’t want to do that if things aren’t done cooking yet!

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