Love Your Liver

Why should I love my liver?

Liver is the most important organ after the heart.  It performs hundreds of essential functions :Cranberry Apple Dessert

  • Liver stores and regulates blood. It is responsible for circulation and nourishing every cell in our body.  Every part of the body depends on blood from the liver for nourishment and sustenance.
  • Liver helps the body to digest food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate toxic substances.
  • The amount of sugar in our blood is carefully controlled by the liver.
  • Liver is connected to proper eye function. Diseases involving the eye are closely related to a liver imbalance.
  • Liver also regulates emotional and mental state. A healthy liver ensures patience, endurance and the ability to maintain a strong spiritual center.

How does my liver communicate to me that it is not nourished? 

When the liver is overworked or under pressure, it generates too much heat within itself. One might feel hot and sweat excessively. When there is heat in the liver, the eyes are likely to be bloodshot, or feel a painful or burning sensation. When the liver blood is deficient, you might experience blurry vision, color blindness or dry eyes.

If liver is stagnant, we feel down or even depressed; it is hard to get started in the morning. Liver is responsible for anger. People with tired liver are quick to anger and have so called “short fuse”.

A weak liver expresses itself in deep insecurity, irritability, frustration, anger, excitability, and stubbornness.
Sometimes we can read right on our face if our liver is too tight – it manifests by deep vertical lines from nose going up between the brows.

How can you love your liver?

Get good night sleep

Liver likes to have a good night sleep on empty stomach. Liver rests and rejuvenate between 1:00 am and 3:00 am. In order to nourish your liver, it is best to go to bed no later than 11:00 pm. It gives you 2 hours to get to the stage of deep sleeping.

Do not eat late at night

Eat your last meat by 7:00 pm. Late night dinners, especially with hard to digest foods like meat and chicken, will send our liver to work most of the night. You might find yourself tired when you wake up in the morning and not willing to get out of the bed. Your mood in the morning also could be not the brightest.
Torah tells us that it has to pass 6 hour after eating meat before one can eat dairy. 6 hours is time it takes to digest meat.

Eat healthy and do not overeat

Eat plenty of organic vegetables and beans. Add complex carbs to your daily menu ( whole grains ).  Minimize consumption of processed food, fruits, honey and sugar which contain 50% of fructose. Just like alcohol, fructose is metabolized directly into fat. So eating fructose is really like eating fat—it just gets stored in your fat cells. Healthy liver can process no more than 25 grams of sugar a day.

Liver likes sour taste – lemons, Granny Smith apples, cranberry, sour cherries. If you crave sour taste, that might be your liver is talking to you.

GrannySmithcranberries lemons

In return, your nourished liver gives you bright happy energized mornings; handles your stressful situations; maintains fit body, radiant young-looking skin, healthy eyes, nails, and well-circulated, oxygen-rich blood.

Your liver would be happy if you chose this dessert to complete your early dinner 🙂

Cranberry Apple Dessert

Healthy Life Lessons from Maimonides to our Days

Rambam

Our generation is facing one of the serious health issues – obesity. In response to public demand many diets were introduced in the recent years. Some of them come and go quietly without creating too much damage; some of them unfortunately did not go so unnoticed. We have rights to ask the question who is behind promoting those diets and how many years of scientific studies did they undergo?

When a new diet shows up, people jump to it without realizing we are playing with our
own health. It is not yet another book, or an article – it is our health that is at risk.

Some people who follow kosher dietary laws would eat anything as long as the package has a trusted rabbinical certification. It is assumed to be good. G-d will take care of theside7 rest. Is it true?

We do not seem to think that the Torah requires us to control our eating to preserve our health. It is quite opposite. There are laws in the code of Jewish laws (Halacha) about eating. I will have another post to cover this amazing topic.

Maimonides – one of the greatest Jewish philosopher and the outstanding doctor who lived 800 years ago wrote a tremendous amount of material concerning health. Maimonides’ teachings have withstood hundreds of years and are as solid and truthful as they have ever been. Many recent nutritionists outside of Jewish world came to the same conclusions after decades of proven studies on the matter. Every science and medical discovery till nowadays just provides confirmation of Torah’s ultimate truth and wisdom. It encourages the fact that this manual for living is given to us with love and care.

In his writings, Maimonides gave very clear instructions regarding what, when and how much people should eat in order to lead a healthy life. One of his well-known quotes is: “No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”

His attitude to medicine is based on three main fundamentals — nutrition, physical exercise and balanced mental state. If you practice physical activity but neglect your nutrition, or eat healthy but do not exercise, or suffer from depression, then eventually your health will suffer. Maimonides has talks on the benefits of sun exposure, vegetarianism and a good night sleep.

Maimonides teaches Don’t eat three hours before bedtime; wait one hour after rising to eat; don’t drink milk; avoid meat (if you must eat animal flesh, choose chicken); eat small fish, such as the sardine, instead of big fish, like the tuna; don’t drink as you eat, (Too much fluid dilutes the enzymes, which makes digestion harder) and, the most obvious one, don’t overeat.”

Maimonides says that most of the health and sickness of the body ruled by how one digests his food. One who does it in the proper way will be a healthy person, but one who does not do it right will be a weak person and can bring himself to danger.

The beginning of the digestion process takes place in the mouth, as the teeth grind the food and mix it with saliva. Therefore, one should not swallow any food without chewing it first. The stomach’s job is much easier if one were to chew his food properly before swallowing it. Since chewing is so important, one should refrain from talking (including talking on the phone). Aside from the danger of choking, this also prevents proper chewing. Reading also distracts one from chewing. One should not place food on his fork while he is chewing, as he will swallow his food faster if he sees food ready on his fork to be eaten.

One should be in a happy mood and not full of anger, fear and worry while eating.


Even a snack requires you to sit down, chew well and give it your full attention.

Healthy Snack


Are all vegetables born equal? 

The majority of people know that eating fruits and vegetables is very important.

Vegetables are essential to our health because they are whole foods, created by nature and are rich in large amount of nutrients. The processed foods that we so commonly eat, can never compare to the health benefits provided by broccoli or carrots which have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.

By eating variety  of vegetables, one can get the best all-around health benefits. Different color vegetables contain unique health components that are important to our health.

Vegetables have many common properties – vitamins, minerals and fiber. One might think that it doesn’t matter which vegetables to eat; that they provide equal benefits. It is fascinating how different they actually are, even just  by looks – size, taste, shape, and color

Green vegetables

Green vegetables contain chlorophyll  (a protein compound that aids in creating healthy Kale Green 300x400red blood cells), fiber, folate, vitamin C, calcium, and Beta-carotene. The nutrients found in these vegetables reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, normalize digestion, support health of our eyes and vision, and boost immune system activity.

Green vegetables have fewer calories, less sugar. They are cleansing and provide light uplifting energy. They are good throughout the year but especially during spring – natural time for body cleansing after winter when our system was collecting and storing to keep us warm.

G-d created people in balance with the nature. Signs and hints are everywhere around us. Green leafy vegetables grow during the spring. Spring is the first season when nature is awakening after the winter. New green leaves are emerged on trees and bushes, and new green grass covers the land.

Spring is the best time of the year to eat leafy greens – arugula, watercress, parsley, bok choy, mustard greens, etc.

But even among green vegetables some possess undesired properties.

Chard, spinach, rhubarb, beet leaves – are stressful vegetables. They might increase risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones since they contain oxalic acid, which binds calcium and eliminates calcium from the body.

Green paper – is one of nightshade vegetables (as tomato, eggplant, red pepper, potato) which is better to avoid. Nightshade vegetables speed up the heart rate and slow down digestion. They are high in alkaloids which block vitamin B absorption. They might contribute to arthritic and rheumatic symptoms.

List of Healthy – Healing – Good For YOU – green vegetables:

Kale Dinosaur 330x400

Broccoli,

Brussels sprouts,

Green Cabbage,

Kale (green, red, dinosaur)

Collard, Bok Choy,

Parsley, Cilantro,

Arugula, Watercress,

Dill, Mustard greens,Leek 300x400

Cucumber, Kohlrabi,

Chinese cabbage,

Romaine lettuce, 

Dandelion, Celery,

Green onion (scallion),

Leek, Zucchini, 

Sugar snap peas,

Green beans.


**Health Tip: Kale and Collard provide more vitamins, minerals and protein than meat (pound for pound)


Acquired Taste

Blanched Kale Salad

Blanched Red Kale Salad with Seeds and Pecans

I grew up on a very different diet than I am eating now. From the childhood I loved bread, pastries, cheese, eggs, chicken, tomatoes and fruits. ( At that time I believed tomatoes are vegetables 🙂 ). Coffee was my main drink – I had a cup of strong coffee for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a late night out.

I enjoyed my food while struggling to normalize my digestive system and lose extra pounds. Though I was traumatized by being overweight, I had no idea it is possible for me to lose weight and maintain it without going on a strict hunger diet. I had gone a long way through trying all kinds of rather damaging diets until I learned about macrobiotic balanced approach to lifestyle.

I read about it and went to many classes. I met people who got cured from terminal cancer by following macrobiotic diet. I believed in the system but I was very skeptical that I would be able to adjust to eating porridge, beans and cooked vegetables. Even more, I could not imagine my life without cheese, pastries and coffee.

When I got the list of recommended food I was surprised by so many different names I have never heard before. I took the list and went to the Whole Foods store. I asked the store employee for assistance to locate these strange foods.

I was determined to try this system and see what effect it will make on my health.

I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks by eating lots of porridge!!! I could not expect that! It was an additional benefit I was not even looking for. My digestive system started working on its own and I dropped supplements that I believed I was doomed using for the rest of my life!

I was so pleased and excited with the results while being busy learning how to cook a basic miso soup and blanched kale that I did not think about cheese. I stopped drinking coffee and started drinking kukicha tea. It has very mild taste and very easy to switch to.

A few months later I was enjoying baked Brussels sprouts, sautéed Portobello mushrooms and brown rice rolls.  I started questioning what if I have a little bit of food I ate before that gave me so much pleasure in the past? A new unexpected experience took place – I did not enjoy that food as much – it tasted too salty, too heavy, or too sweet. Every time I eat out, I feel that homemade clean plant-based food is so much more delicious and satisfying. It pleases my palate during eating and leaves me with very enjoyable taste. I feel energized, light and nourished.

I discovered amazing natural taste of kale, collard, rutabaga, parsnip, daikon, leek, mushrooms, millet, lentil and more…. They are so delicious by being simply cooked! I learned that cooking healthy is EASY! Natural taste does not call for complex long cooked fatty or hot sauces. It inspired me to start creating my own recipes of delicious simple dishes.

It does not take long to acquire taste for new food. Our taste bites follow the food we eat!

This salad is rich with calcium, vitamins, fiber, protein and uplifting energy. It is a great vegetable option for breakfast to accompany soft grain dish. During Spring or Summer it is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner due to its cleansing properties.

Kale salad


**Health Tip: A high-fiber diet has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. It helps normalize blood glucose and insulin levels. It promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipationFoods containing fiber are helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.  We get fiber from unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans.