By Rachel Schwartzman, ND, L.Ac, Birth Doula

Rachel Schwartzman

Our liver works very hard to keep us healthy. Poor food choices, alcoholic beverages, medications, and environmental toxin exposure are just a few examples of what our liver has to detoxify for us.

The liver uses a two-step detox sequence known as, Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification. Phase 1 is when the liver makes toxins soluble by processing them into a water soluble form.  This crucial step is what allows these toxins to be excreted from the body. Problems arise, when Phase 1 is complete, at this point toxins can be 60 times more harmful to our bodies then before they entered our body.  This is where Phase 2 comes in, and finishes up the dirty job of Phase 1. Phase 2 neutralizes the toxins. If Phase 2 is not working well, we will store those toxins in our fat cells, and this can make us sick. This toxic burden has been connected to headaches, migraines, acne, mood disturbances as well as women’s health concerns such as fibroids, endometriosis, breast cysts, and cancer. Below are some simple things you can do to help your body move these toxins out!

  1. Increase cruciferous vegetables in your diet such as: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts at least 3 times per week. These foods support both Phase 1 and Phase 2. This means they process the toxins and excrete them effectively. Not a lot of foods can do that. Cruciferous vegetables are also touted for their anticancer properties, and are rich in indole-3-carbinol, a phytochemical that inactivates potentially harmful estrogens, reducing the risk of female fibroids, cysts, and cancers. Aim to eat this group of vegetables 3 times per week.
  2. Start your morning off with a glass of lemon water. Cut about 1/4 of a lemon wedge and squeeze into a glass of room temperature water. The bitter flavour of lemon stimulates the liver and promotes bile production from the gallbladder.
  3. Eat raspberries and add tumeric to your diet. Both of these will slow down Phase 1 and speed up Phase 2. This is a good thing. Tumeric can be added to rice, tossed in with some veggies, added to smoothies, or mixed in with some almond milk and honey as a warm beverage.
  4. Try having a few vegetarian meals per week. You can start with “Meatless Monday” and incorporate beans into your lunch or dinner plan. Beans help support phase 2. There are a variety to choose from; chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lima beans etc. Add them to a salad, put them in a wrap, on rice or quoina, or make a bean salad.
  5. Pump up your green vegetable intake. Green vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals; such as C, K, E, K, folate, calcium, magnesium and iron. They really are a powerhouse of nutrition. They also neutralize chemicals and pesticides in our foods, and support liver health. Aim for at least 1 cup of dark green vegetables per day. These can be eaten raw, steamed, stir fried or added to smoothies.



About Rachel Schwartzman, ND, L.Ac, Birth Doula

I am a licensed naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist and am passionate about helping people get healthy. In our fast paced world I truly believe a healthy body and mind starts with a healthy diet. My goal is to inspire healthy choices, be it from one person to whole families, in simple and easy to incorporate ways.

I am so excited about being part of the Cookin’ Greens community, as we truly are promoting health and wellness through food. Greens are the most important colour we can add to our diet. They are a powerhouse of nutrition loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber and are connected with so many health benefits, so make sure you eat your greens everyday!




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