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

Sun, Vitamin D, Food and Health

walk along the Miami beachFor the last three years we are spending Passover in Miami, Florida. It proved to be an amazing getaway after long, cold, sunless Chicago winter. It has all that is needed to rejuvenate – sun, ocean, long sandy beaches to stroll along, ample kosher for Passover food, multiple Chabads in walking distance, and plenty of locally grown vegetables and fruits.

I am surprised at myself getting up at 7 am every day without an alarm clock energized ready to roll. I am rushing to the beach to get my morning walk while the sun is the healthiest.

Yesterday I read an interesting article about Vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for people’s health. Sun is the best source. Vitamin D forms when the sun touches our skin and is deposited in our liver. Liver stores inactive vitamin D up to 20 days. Kidneys request a small portion of the stored vitamin D, activate it and send it to work in our body. Activated vitamin D kills diseased cells, plays essential role in calcium absorption,  healthy development and maintenance of strong bones and teeth, facilitates immune system’s function, reduces risk of chronicle diseases.ChinaStudy

Intake of animal food creates an acidic condition in our blood and slows down the activated Vitamin D.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/nutrition-advice-from-the-china-study/?_r=0

You might take Vitamin D supplements or believe that you getting it by eating cheese and meat; in reality it is quite opposite – this vitamin D does not become active and does not get to the stage where it does its work keeping us healthy.

I try to go for a walk every opportunity the sun shines in Chicago. Even 15 minutes’ walk will do the wonder. During winter I cook wild caught white meat fish to recharge the vital vitamin D level during those dark grey days. Wild caught fish is a healthy second best source of vitamin D.

Check out the recipe for a well-balanced meal with wild caught Lake Trout

Brown Rice Lake Trout

 

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.