It has been a month since I found out about having gallstones and started doing a liver/gallbladder detox diet. Since diving into all of this, I have learned so much about the way our bodies function and how to help it. If only we would ‘listen’ to what our bodies are trying to tell us.
In this article, I will do my best to relay my observations and findings concerning this situation.
For one, I learned that the liver provides over 500 crucial functions that our bodies need which include metabolic support, thyroid and hormonal support, and digestive support, all of which aid in the breaking down of nutrients, proteins, and fats that in turn help us to lose weight. So, not surprisingly, I have noticed a consistent decrease in numbers on the scale in the past few weeks.
Who knew that ‘being nice to your liver’ has such benefits!
From livertransplantindia.com: “About the Liver”
The liver is the most complex and metabolically active organ in the body. It performs more than 500 vital functions. Some of the important ones are:
- It provides immunity against infection. Hence, if the liver is damaged, infections are more likely.
- It is the factory for manufacturing most of the important proteins in the body, and also cholesterol and special fat forms called lipoproteins in which all body fats are carried.
- It clears the blood of most chemicals, drugs and alcohol.
- It excretes bile into the intestine. Bile is vital for digestion of fats, and also serves to throw out body wastes.
- It regulates clotting of blood by manufacturing vital proteins.
- It converts and stores extra sugar (glucose) in the form of starch (glycogen) which can be used in times of starvation. – Source
Although there are benefits, we also need to be aware that there are potential side effects in doing a detox diet such as frequent headaches, nausea, and crying spells, among other things. Detoxing for me has included all of these side effects, plus the ‘gnawing urge’ to face and/or address the long-forgotten and/or buried thoughts, feelings, memories, traumas, and emotions.
There is something ‘refreshing’ in acknowledging, addressing, voicing, and feeling your pain and anger. One night, that was all I did was talk to my husband about all of the trauma that was on my heart concerning all the pain that we have been through. It is essential to ‘see things as they are and to hold nothing back’ in order to release what is buried inside.
Oftentimes as Christians, we think we cannot be angry or upset about things, but that is a misconception.
God does not want us to ‘mask our feelings and/or pain, much less sweep it all under the rug, as it were. Instead, He wants nothing more than for us to get them out while, at the same time, come to Him for our healing and support. In all things we are to rely on God by trusting in Him and in His Sovereignty.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
One alternative remedy concerning detoxing the liver/gallbladder that I kept stumbling upon was a certain ‘gallbladder flush plan.’ This included drinking apple juice for a set amount of days to ‘soften the stones’ leading up to the day of the flush. Finally, on the day of the flush, the plan is to drink down some water mixed with Epsom salt, some olive oil, and some lemon juice several times before going to bed to lay on your right side. Apparently, there have been reports of people passing stones in the morning and feeling much better; then there were reports of people feeling grossly sick from consuming the salt and oil, and nothing ended up happening by way of passing their stones either.
Ultimately, I chose to forgo this harsh method for a more gentle and natural approach to treating my liver/gallbladder issue with diet changes, detox juicing, and exercise.
Therefore, my detox diet consisted of a glass of water (always filtered reverse osmosis) first thing in the morning, then my veggie/fruit drink made in a blender, which served as my breakfast. Most days my lunches consisted of bone-broth soup which usually had bits of chicken, tomatoes, okra, black beans, broccoli, rice, spices, and flax/chia seeds. Almonds and pecans, along with reduced-sugar cranberry ‘Craisins’ for a snack helped to sustain me as well.
In part 1 of this series, I talked about drinking cranberry and lemon juice and my plans of getting some ACV (apple cider vinegar) in hopes of dissolving my stones. Well, I did end up getting the bitter concentrated cranberry juice which I actually liked better mixed with lemon juice. I would also drink straight lemon juice at least once a day to try and dissolve the stones. The ACV was not my ‘fave,’ but I drank it for a couple of weeks as well.
Consistently doing this regimen for the past month did bring on several side effects, but the ultimate ‘positive effect’ has been no gallbladder attacks or pain. For days after my ER visit, I would wake up praying with my hand over my liver and would rub the area under the right side of my ribs to help it feel better. Come to find out ‘massaging your liver’ is a therapeutic practice that serves as an alternative treatment… Who knew!
Now that I am going into the second month of this detox plan, I realize that I need to detox my ‘sleep regimen.’ For the better part of 15 years due to anxiety, stress and insomnia, I have become dependent on taking an OTC sleeping pill every night just to stay asleep. This ‘sleeping pill’ is equivalent to taking a Benadryl for its sedation, but in essence it does not produce real REM sleep; it just helps to ‘mask the problem of insomnia.’
Seeing how that I am going into ‘Phase 2’ of my detox plan, I decided this week to ‘regulate not only my digestion/hormones but also my sleeping pattern.’ So far, I am finding out that I ‘can sleep’ without a sleeping pill! Getting sunlight during the day and staying off the computer/phone 2 hours before bedtime does wonders!
Also, taking two 10mg Melatonin gummies an hour before bedtime helps to prevent me from wanting to ‘relapse’ in taking the sleeping pill that I have depended on for so long. Melatonin is a natural hormone that our bodies make to help us fall asleep, so I do not have ‘much apprehension’ in taking it concerning my liver compared to the nightly Benadryl.
As far as supplements go, all the research I was doing said that Milk Thistle and Turmeric have been proven effective for the liver, so I decided to give it a try. I found these natural supplements combined in a capsule form and have been taking it along with a fish-oil soft gel each day for about a week now.
My husband and I have been taking a fish-oil pill that contains the recommended daily mgs of EPA and DHA for the past few months. Apparently, fish oil is the ‘proverbial fountain of youth’ all in a supplement. It is supposed to be beneficial for your brain, heart, and overall health. The one we take has lemon flavor added so there is no fishy aftertaste.
A big part of detoxing is removing things from your mind, body, and life.
This may be hard for some but that means pretty much anything ‘processed’ like chips, crackers, cookies, and the like. Basically, eat ‘real food’ that is as close to its ‘natural form’ as possible. If it has been made in a factory which is ‘processed,’ then we should not eat it, especially not on a regular basis.
The doctor that I saw told me that spicy foods were ok but to stay away from high-fat meats, junk foods, cheeses, and condiments. A diet of lean meats such as fish, chicken, turkey, along with fermented foods like (pickles) and an overall low-fat diet is ideal. (So, Keto is out for gallstone sufferers.) Unfortunately for those of us who have gallstones, pizza is no longer a part of our diet either. Although I may eventually try making my own ‘healthy gallbladder-friendly version’ later on down the road.
Another thing I decided to detox from was in the ‘dying of my roots’ every other month. Hair dye and salon chemicals like that are sure to put a toxic strain on the liver. So, if embracing my ‘hoary hairs’ as the Bible calls them, helps to detoxify my liver, then so be it! Going ‘au natural’ as God intended to make us is the best way to be anyway.
High fructose corn syrup, high sodium, processed foods, junk foods, high fat, most dairy, and tons of sugar are not our friends. Low fat, low sodium, low sugar, fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, bitter herbs, and spices are our friends. The verdict is that, so far, doing this detox diet has helped to save my gallbladder! For dessert every day, I eat a few squares of sea salt and caramel dark chocolate (60% cocoa) and nothing else for sweets. No more ‘bi-weekly episodes’ of decadent brownies or the quarterly chocolate chip cookies dipped in chocolate milk.
Yes, we may love our chocolate but, unfortunately, our beloved sugary sweets are not the gallstone- sufferer’s friend. (((sigh)))
One indulgence that I have allowed myself has been a weekly treat of some frozen yogurt. I love the chocolate, tart, cheesecake, and mint flavors. Yogurt has many benefits such as live cultures and probiotics which also help to aid in digestion. Plus, it is better for you than regular ice-cream. Not to mention, yogurt is low in calories and is packed with vitamins and protein.
Basically, it is a ‘good for you’ treat!
With all that is going on right now in the world, I do not plan on going back to the doctor anytime soon. Within several months to a year, I would like to have another ultrasound done to see if the ‘detoxifying efforts’ were effective at dissolving my gallstones.
Until then and God Willing, I will give an update of ‘Phase 2’ of my detox plan in a part-three article on this topic.
Bottom line, if we want to have ‘optimal health,’ we need to take care of this ‘temple’ that God has given to us. We honor God by taking care of the things He has given to us like our possessions, time, money, and our mental, emotional, and physical health!
Final takeaway… ‘be nice to your liver, and your liver will be nice to you’!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
Until next time… Maranatha!
(JESUS = THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE)