To detox or not to detox?

That’s Linda’s question every January. Here she shares her cure for an overindulgent Christmas.

Detox Article
I don’t know about you, but Christmas is the one time of the year when I don’t feel guilty about eating lots of lovely, calorie-laden food.

I work hard all year round, and feel that I deserve a few treats at Christmas.

However, it’s a trade-off, isn’t it? Come the 1st January, I feel hung over, and that’s not due to the alcohol, it’s the amount of rich food I’ve eaten. I feel tired, listless, and washed out, and my skin looks dull. I’ll have a headache (and I never get headaches) and I don’t sleep as well as I usually do. I know what to expect, because I‘m like this every January.

I’ve always suspected that my liver was ‘delicate’ and this was confirmed when I went to stay at The Viva Mayr Clinic of Modern Medicine in Austria a few years ago.

The pain in my liver was worse than childbirth. At least then I had pethidine, gas and air! Luckily it calmed down eventually.I had a consultation with the Medical Director at the Clinic, Dr. Stossier. I had lots of tests, and he confirmed that my liver did need some ‘support’. It was no surprise to me. Over the years, I’d felt discomfort in my liver and gall bladder area.

I once ate some of my favourite salted peanuts that I didn’t chew properly, and had the most awful pain in my liver and gall bladder area for most of the night. I didn’t know if I was passing a stone or if one of the peanuts had got stuck in my small intestine. The cramps were so bad that at one point I thought it was going to be a trip to A&E. That taught me to chew my food well.

During my stay at Viva Mayr, I had to drink magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) before bed, every evening, as well as taking other foul tasting alkalising powders during the day. These bitter ‘salts’ are de rigeur at the Viva Mayr Clinic, and help in cleansing and flushing out the small and large intestine and the liver.

There was a time when I thought I would have to strap a commode to my back; I was forever running to the loo. Mind you, everyone was in the same situation, and many conversations were interrupted with, “Got to dash, see you later”, and a sprint for the toilet that would have given Usain Bolt a run for his money.
My problem was a combination of too many carbohydrates, not enough exercise and a propensity towards developing metabolic syndrome or diabetes.
My ‘delicate’ liver was not a result of alcohol consumption. I hardly drink. My father drank enough alcohol to sink a battleship, and I witnessed the effect this had on the rest of the family, putting me off alcohol almost completely. (A story for another day).

Type I and type II diabetes are in the family. I now understand that I do have to take good care of my liver. The last thing I want is to end up with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and the complications of a fatty liver (yes you can get this from food, not just alcohol) or diabetes.

So what do I do come the beginning of January?

I up the ante on the exercise, usually lots of walking in the fresh air.I eliminate alcohol, tea and coffee completely, drinking just herbal teas, rooibos (redbush) tea and lots of still water.

My diet is very plain, with no wheat or cows’ dairy products. I try to stick to around 600 to 1,000 calories a day. Porridge for breakfast, made with water and a tablespoon of organic golden linseeds (and a bit of cherry jam – tee hee). Protein and either vegetables or salad for lunch, and a homemade soup with oatcakes, when I get home.

I have some colonic hydrotherapy treatments (of course) with organic coffee enema treatments at the end of the colonic, to help ‘flush’ out the liver and gall bladder.

I also take a gentle herbal supplement to aid detoxification of the liver and it contains choline, methionine, glycine, riboflavin, molybdenum, turmeric, artichoke, dandelion and lactobacillus plantarum. It’s made by a British company, and I’ve known the family who own it for many years. They develop their own health products and I have a lot of respect for them. I always take a daily vitamin and mineral capsule (not tablet) and a multi-strain probiotic capsule.

If I’m in the mood, I may even do a bit of juicing, but I’m not keen on cold foods in the winter months.

If I feel that my liver and gall bladder need more of a purge after Christmas – and I know if they do, because I will get a dull ache in the liver and gall bladder area – then I will carry out a liver and gall bladder flush, using pure organic apple juice, olive oil, Epsom salts and grapefruit juice.

Not for the faint-hearted but it works for me.

If you’d like more information, here’s a video about how to do a liver and gallbladder flush.

Linda Booth

About Linda Booth

Complementary Medicine Practitioner specialising in IBS and digestive health. Founder of Just For Tummies range of digestive health supplements