So if you're a twitter follower of mine you would have seen some interesting pictures of magnesium salts, and olive oil + lemon juice concoctions in place of a delicious dinner yesterday afternoon/evening. What the hell for? Well, my liver. My gallbladder. At the root of it all. But also for strange loopy headaches I've been getting this week, digestion issues that are appearing after I eat anything (so you're the first to hear that I've gotta start looking into foods that exacerbate symptoms seen in IBS, slow oxidiser diet principles, GAPS, and the whole salicylates thing... most of which contradict each other so this will be loads of fun! - hear the sarcasm), and for that fatigue which has actually been so great of late and I've not really felt it. Except for yesterday. Wowzas. Anyway... the liver gallbladder thing.
The Liver and Gallbladder Flush is a really quick way of flushing toxins, fat, sludge and small gallstones out of the liver and gallbladder. If you google "liver flush" or "gallbladder flush" or "epsom salt lemon liver flush" or anything of those sorts, you will no doubt find a host of amazing reactions and results, but a few not-so-great ones also - usually due to unpleasant reactions. Most of us will have gallstones or sludge in our gallbladders, but often they cause us no pain or discomfort and can be termed "silent gallstones", posing no real threat. But about 18% of these will cause problems over a 15-year period (says Dr. Sandra Cabot) so dissolving them away is a better option than coming up against problems later down the track.
Disclaimer here: If you think you have gallstones or sludge and are feeling pain in your upper abdomen, experiencing nausea, vomiting, or right shoulder pain, you need to see your doctor.
A weak liver and congested gallbladder can result in many symptoms including:
|• depleted immune system||• increase in allergies|
|• poor digestion and constipation||• endless fatigue and exhaustion|
|• front right side pain below the rib cage||• poor skin condition|
|• back pain under the right shoulder blade||• emotional outbursts|
|• weakened eyesight||• depression|
|• weak alcohol tolerance||• increased desire for sugar|
|• tendency to put on weight||• debilitating stress on other organs|
The reasons we want to keep on top of our liver and gallbladder health are numerous, but put simply, we want to keep these organs! It's a sad fact that too many gallbladders are being ripped out of people with gallstones and gallbladder disease these days, and we should want to keep ours. Gallstones are a Western disease purely due to (poor) lifestyle, and it can easily be prevented, and even reversed (liver removal on the other hand equates to death - not cool either). So this flush is one way to stimulate the elimination of toxins and/or gallstones out of the bile ducts, for happy healthier organs.
So in my decision to try this for the very first time, I came across loads of different ways to do this. Which of course had me (the perfectionist) in a bit of a tizz wondering which was right. Were they all right? How was I to actually know? I'd only be guessing if one book says to do it one way, yet another reference says differently - and both are reputable books by qualified practitioners with a history of experience. Hmmm... more research needed as I wasn't happy swallowing amounts of olive oil and lemon juice that could have been too much (coz who actually wants to swallow a cup of olive oil?), or not enough to have an effect (again - who wants to swallow olive oil?).
The way to begin this flush can be (1) by drinking as much apple juice as you can each day (along with your regular diet) for a week prior to D-Day, or (2) to skip the juice and just do your usual thing and flush on the weekend. Most sources recommend cutting out meat and dairy for a week prior (if not two), and some suggest eating only raw foods for 2 days prior. Now as I'm eating predominantly cooked foods right now for optimal digestion, I wasn't going to put my tummy in the firing line of 2 days on solely raw veggies as I'm not eating any fruit right now. Ouchies on my tummy that's for sure. So I just ate simply; had a salad or two, cooked eggs for brekkies, at least 3L of water each day, extra coconut water with my green powders, etc. Nothing too heavy or clogging basically. And then came the end of my delicious lunch out on Sunday and that meant no more food until late this morning.
How to flush
+ Pick a day when you've got little on that afternoon, and nothing on the following morning (most people choose Saturday)
+ Eat light on the flush day. Lunch will be your last meal so try not to think of it as you're last feed and eat more than you usually would. I had a salad with a veggie pattie. Be sure to drink plenty of water (I had about 4 litres throughout the day, but bear in mind I'm in the tropics. 2-3 litres is likely enough if it's not too hot)
+ At 5pm* mix 1Tbsp of epsom magnesium sulphate salts (make sure they're food grade) into 1/4 cup warm water and drink it. Urgh this stuff was horrid. Chase this with more water.
+ At 7pm* repeat this. I'm actually looking forward to live oil now.
+ At 9pm* drink a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice - 'salad dressing' no? (Before this time, make sure you're prepped for bed with nothing else to do but drink this stuff) Now the ratio of this mix seems to be different everywhere I read; one reference said 1 1/2cups olive oil and 1 1/2 cups lemon juice... Another said 3/4 cup grapefruit juice with 1/2 cup olive oil. A third said 115ml of each. The olive oil triggers and stimulates bile production inside the liver, and the excess of bile pushes the stones out. The more oil you take, the more bile is produced. So taking more oil is better. The problem is avoiding nausea. You do NOT want to throw up.
So I decided to drink 1 cup of each. I started with them in separate glasses taking sips from one then the other. But then had to bung them together in one jar, shake, and go for gold. Either or. Just get it down. And do it quick (within 5mins is optimal). Then you need to go straight to bed. Wash up tomorrow. I mean it. Straight to bed and lie on your right side with your knees up to your chest. This will force your gallbladder and bile ducts to contract and begin to expel stones. Lay on your side for at least half an hour, after which you can lay whatever way you're happy sleeping. If you feel so inclined, speak to your stones and command them (nicely) to remove themselves. Then relax and sleep til morning.
You may wake during the night after feeling nauseous, (a stone in the bile duct can result in vomiting), or needing to visit the bathroom. Try to keep the oil down if you can, but even if you do throw up after several hours the cleanse will still work. I woke up at 3am and couldn't sleep I felt so nauseous, and yep I threw up.
+ The following morning, at 7am mix and drink 1Tbsp epsom salts in warm water, followed by at least another full glass of water. This drink will act as a laxative and provoke several later loose bowel movements. Whenever you do visit the bathroom, watch for "stones" being passed. They will float and are usually green, but can be other colors. Size can vary from pea-sized to over an inch in size. (Having a used egg carton and a disposable plastic spoon is helpful if you want to examine them further.)
|I found this photo online (not mine) but my stones look exactly the same|
+ If you haven't had a bowel motion, you can take a fourth preparation of epsom salts at 9am. I didn't need this as I began going to the bathroom as soon as I woke up at 630am. If you feel nauseous, wait until you no longer feel it and then take the prepped epsom salt mix.
+ After 2 more hours you may get up and feel like eating something. Start with some juice or broth or yogurt. Half an hour later, eat some fruit or vegetables, if you want. One hour later you may eat regular food but keep it light. Just feel into what your body wants and choose that. By evening you should be feeling good and ready to phase into eating normally.
*These times were decided upon by me as everywhere I read I was being told something different; Epsom salts at 3pm, 5pm, then the lemon and oil mix at dinner. Or maybe at 6pm, 8pm then 10pm. Well I did mine at 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm. Different again.
I found out that most people/experts/studies/reports/etc seem to lean on the later times, and this is most likely as the gallbladder does most of it's work late in the evening. However if we were to actually wait until that prime time, we'd be getting no sleep. The earlier suggested times, in my opinion, are likely to accomodate the general population who might be wanting to work around feeding times, family members, bed times, etc. And as I'm usually in bed about 930pm, I decided 10pm was too late for me, and thus the times I took my tasty beverages, are a little different to others.
So how did I go?
Well I've got to say that initially assuming drinking olive oil would be the worst of this all, it was actually the only good part. Epsom salts are revolting o drink and they made me feel nauseous to begin with. The second dose of them had me looking forward to olive oil and lemon juice! Then the lemon juice was so unbelievably sour that the olive oil was the easiest one to drink of the whole lot! I was worried I would feel very nauseous and throw up the mixture, but in fact I felt a lot better after it. It was 3am I felt horrible, got up and threw up. Bowel movements this morning were very liquid which is why I didn't take the fourth epsom salts mix (just the thought of that stuff makes my body shudder). And I've seen plenty of stones! All green. Some tiny like hundreds and thousands, but a couple that, if I hadn't seen them for myself I would not have believed it but, they are the size of brazil nuts!
So whether they are actually liver and gallstones or simply congealed olive oil, I will never know, But I will say that today I feel much better than I have been. Would I do it again? Hmmm perhaps. But the thought of it right now is too close to home. Urgh. Happy to be eating food later on.
Have any of you ever done this liver flush? I'd be curious to hear how you (or someone you know) went.
Another Source I used besides Dr. Sandra Cabot's"The Healthy Liver and Bowel Book"