My Liver Cleanse Recap (Liver Rescue 3:6:9)
Throughout my entire life, I have known that my liver will always need more support than most people, because I had the misfortune of contracting Hepatitis A in San Francisco when I was just 2 years old. Gross, I know. But I want to point that out to preface this blog post, because I am usually in no way an advocate of specific cleanses, dieting, fasting, or detoxing for long periods of time. I think it creates a strange mental obsession with food that can be toxic in the long term.
With that said, the reason I decided to do this cleanse was after buying Medical Medium's book "Liver Rescue". I bought this book because of the fact that I know a lot of my health issues are linked to a weaker liver, and I was curious what his insights were into liver health and the ways that it can impact the body. I won't go too much into detail, because you can obviously just grab the book on Amazon, but I had no intention of doing this cleanse until I had read the whole book, cover to cover. It contains tons of in depth information, lots of which resonated with me and gave me many 'a-ha' moments, but my biggest takeaway was that our livers are far too overburdened with toxins from everyday life. So doing a cleanse is a small step towards allowing it a moment to purge all of the toxins that it absorbs to protect us and our health.
So what does the liver actually do?
It does a lot for you, so you should be grateful for it! But basically, anything that we eat, whether it’s food, alcohol, or medicine, gets filtered through the liver. It also filters out toxins we are exposed to, like chemicals in the air we breathe, pollution, toxins absorbed through our skin through cosmetics, gasoline in the air, cigarette smoke, etc.
The liver also breaks down fats, converting excess carbohydrates and protein into forms that are stored for later use. The liver produces bile to help break down and absorb fats, and then the waste products and toxins are removed from the body through bile. The problem is that when the liver is overburdened with toxins (which most people's livers are), it works overtime and can rarely clean itself out like it should. No matter how healthy someone looks from the outside, they can be full of backed up toxins and unprocessed fats on the inside.
You can read all of this in-depth information in the book, but I think it's important to acknowledge just how overworked our livers really are, whether we can see it or not.
Why did I do the cleanse?
After reading the book and bookmarking all of the pages that touched on my symptoms, I had a huge realization that my liver has been overburdened most of my life, and it has never had the chance to clean itself out properly. I do my absolute best to live the most toxin-free, healthy, and holistic life as I possibly can, but even so, I was still showing symptoms that my liver was unhappy.
When I read the chapter that outlined the cleanse, I decided I was going to jump in and start it the very next week. In hindsight, I probably should have prepared more, but I didn't - here's a run down of my experience during the 9 days.
Liver Rescue 3:6:9: Days 1-3
The cleanse is broken into 3 segments, days 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9. The first three days were probably the easiest, because you are still pretty much eating normally, except for removing a few things like meat, dairy, and alcohol, and cutting down on fats. I enjoyed these three first days, and felt very light and energized. I enjoy eating light and upping my fluid intake, and I felt the most energized and happy in these first 3 days. I loved the addition of eating apple sauce and dates in the afternoon, it gave me a little boost of energy that I always need in the later afternoon. At this point, I thought the cleanse would be super easy and it would go by so fast.
These next 3 days, days 4, 5 and 6 were the absolute hardest. The suddens shift in eating was so abrupt and so drastic that I felt super deprived and upset. The celery juice first thing in the morning was super tough, because it was raining the whole week I did the cleanse, and the last thing I wanted was cold celery juice, especially since celery is my least favorite vegetable ever.
In this phase, you are basically eating the same thing every single day: a salad alongside steamed asparagus and brussels sprouts. You are not allowed to use oil or vinegar, and barely any salt, so you are basically munching on a massive bowl of vegetables which was terrible for my TMJ. This phase made me realize how much I love to season my food, and how bland it tasted with just lemon juice and a pinch of salt and garlic. I felt super sick during these three days, and by the last day I started gagging on each bite. I literally had to force myself to eat it.
These three days I was in the worst mood of my life. I complained and whined nonstop, and was super negative and angry about every little thing. I cried easily, and would go off for no reason. It was very strange and emotional, and I realized how much joy was removed from my life when my thoughts were consumed by what I couldn't eat all day long. I had massive cravings: I wanted chocolate cake, a hamburger, and french fries. I rarely eat those things, so it was out of character.
Days 7 & 8
The best part of the cleanse is the mornings. Every morning, you start with a huge glass of water, and then follow it with celery juice (which I choked back), and then a giant smoothie. I couldn't wait until the mornings, and I usually am not a morning person. I was up early, and so excited to drink a full liter of smoothie filled with fruit, the key being red pitaya. I honestly could have done all 9 days living on these smoothies, they gave me so much energy and tasted so good.
On day 7, you are allowed to have steamed potatoes alongside your veggies for dinner. This is the first time you eat something that actually has some form of carb in it. I don't think I have ever enjoyed potatoes more in my whole life, even though I could only eat them with a little salt and pepper. I counted down the days until I could bite into a potato, because the veggies and salads were making me feel SO sick, I often thought I was going to puke. During the day I was freezing cold and achy, jittery and irritable. The cravings kept getting stronger and stronger, and I kept getting angrier and angrier. I have never felt so frustrated in my whole life.
Day 9: Last Day
The final day of the cleanse. I honestly never thought I would make it!
Day 9 was by far the easiest day. It was a full day of juicing, and no solid foods. I thoroughly enjoyed drinking juice all day, I felt hydrated and energized from the fruit sugar. I can genuinely say I didn't have any cravings or hunger at all, which was a nice relief from the previous days which had been the opposite.
I had no intention of having huge results after this cleanse, but in his book, Anthony William often says how different you will feel after you've completed all 9 days. Did I feel different? A little, yes. I felt like I had a new understanding of how the liver functions, how hard it works, and why it needs love. I felt like I had purged tons of anger and frustration from my body, and it almost felt like it had been more of an emotional cleanse than a physical one.
Physically though, I dropped about 10-15 pounds of fluid. I don't look all that different, but I must have flushed out tons of fluid and toxins that were hanging out in my body. This was definitely a shock.
My skin was glowing and hydrated, and I looked younger and more bright in the face. You know how you look bright and youthful after a fever? I looked like that. (I didn't take before and after photos because I hate those, I feel like they set you up to be disappointed.)
What did I learn from the cleanse?
1. I don't drink enough water.
This one I have always known though, so it was good for me to see how different I feel when I actually hydrate throughout the day. I loved how much herbal tea you drink during this cleanse, and that is definitely something I will be sticking with post-cleanse.
2. I am more aware of my fat intake.
I can't decide if this is a good thing. The book talks a lot about fats and how hard they are on the liver, and this was hard for me to accept. All of the health trends are pointing to upping your intake of healthy fats right now, so it was hard for me to realize how much fat I have been eating (obviously I don't eat vegetable oil or fried foods, I'm talking healthy fats like meat, butter, avocado, fish, seeds, etc). Nonetheless, I have probably reduced my fat intake by 50% since the cleanse, and I don't have fat for breakfast anymore. No more bulletproof coffee, eggs, bacon, or avocado. I feel better this way, at least for now.
3. I have an obsession with salt.
I live for Redmond real salt and french sea salt! It was so hard to be eating such bland foods without very much salt on them, and it made me realize how much I love to salt my food. I think the cleanse may have helped me reset my taste buds, because I don't salt things quite as much now.
4. I LOVE fruit, and I don't eat enough of it.
I've never feared fruit, but I also don't usually eat multiple servings daily. After this cleanse, I have a huge appreciation for fruit, and I notice how much energy it gives me, way more than caffeine does. I crave smoothies and fresh fruit every day now, and I love it. I've been eating lots of mango, banana, apple sauce, frozen pitaya, dates, cherries, and pineapple.
5. I was holding onto negative emotions and past trauma.
I wasn't aware of this at all, but while doing this cleanse with my mom (thanks mom, love u), she had to tell me point blank how much I was complaining and being awful and negative. As much as I thought I had processed my anger and frustration of past trauma, it was clear that it was coming up during the cleanse, and I was generally very upset. I realize that I need to work on letting go of frustration and anger so that they don't store in my body to deal with later.
Questions & Answers
Thank you to those of you that submitted questions, it really helped me write this blog post and focus on what you were curious about. Here are some specific questions that were submitted on my Instagram that I wanted to answer directly:
1) "Can one do a less drastic version of the cleanse?"
Since I didn't invent this cleanse, I can't give recommendations as to how to modify it. However, this is probably one of the most gentle liver cleanses out there, because it doesn't involve enemas, drinking salt water, or taking olive oil shots. It is very well explained and thought out, and is gentle on the body, despite it being a mental challenge. I would try it and see how you feel, and maybe try again in the future if you can't get all the way through. If I can do it, you can too!
2) "How did you have the discipline for this? What guided you through?"
I chose to do this cleanse with my mom, since we were together just the two of us during that 2 week period. I would absolutely recommend you do this with someone, especially if you are like me and go through some mental and emotional breakdowns throughout. I also read the book every day, and read the chapters that were specific to the detox period, which helped me gain perspective on what I was going through, and gave me the drive to finish.
3) "Have you ever done a liver cleanse before?"
No, this was my first time. I think I dove in the deep end for sure, since a lot of them are 3 days at most. But I think the length of it was really interesting to go through, because it allows you to really come face to face with your emotions and your cravings.
4) "Would you recommend doing this? Would you do it again?"
Yes, I would recommend doing this. I can't promise you anything, but I really feel like the perspective you walk away with is worthwhile. Plus, everyone's livers need a break, whether you think they do or not. Would I do it again? Maybe. But I need a long time to recover first, because it was really tough for me.
I didn’t realize how much mental-decluttering this nine day process would be, but I can see now how the process brought me face to face with myself. It has given me a newfound appreciation for my body, for eating fresh fruit every day, keeping myself hydrated, lightening up on even “healthy” fat and appreciating my liver for all that it does for me.
Going forward, I want to focus on bringing more positivity to my daily life, letting go of frustration, drinking lots of herbal teas, listening to my cravings, and being present to my meals.
Thanks for reading! With love & light,