Looking Out for Your Liver

Let me start by saying I never ask a client to do something I am not willing to do myself, which is how I ended up doing a detox a few weeks ago. Here’s a little snapshot of how it went and some natural health tips for you to consider.

To start at the beginning you need to understand that I have had a chaotic but wonderful year. After travelling through Europe for 5 months on a rather extended honeymoon, and having relocated to London, the kilos seem to have snuck aboard. Well, not that I would know for sure; a long time ago my sister ordered me to remove the batteries from the scales because they were ‘broken’! Since then I have ditched the batteries… and the scales. We don’t need digits on scales to tell us where we are at – we should know.

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I certainly knew when I went to put on a dress the other week to find that it had shrunk – at least, that was my first assumption. But then I realised the next dress had also ‘shrunk’… then it hit me. I got away with eating my way through Europe and drinking cocktails in every destination; for a while. 

If I was a client at one of my clinics I would be suggesting a 12-day detox program. Since it’s the liver’s job to metabolise all the carbs, fats and proteins we eat, it is crucial to nurture it; something I had clearly been overlooking.

A gentle detox program can:

  • Support liver function
  • Support lymphatic system & detoxification pathways to eliminate toxins
  • Stimulate metabolism
  • Kick-start weight loss
  • Boost energy levels
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Support gut health to absorb nutrients
  • Support overall health & well-being

My detox was nothing drastic – no juice fasting, enemas or living off cabbage soup. The main rule was just getting back to ‘wholefood’ eating, also known as the caveman diet, and is something similar to the diet of our grandparents’ youth. I simply avoided all foods that had been processed or manipulated in any way. I waved goodbye to anything in a cardboard box, jar or container and, of course I gave a big farewell to sugar! I also cut out the usual culprits that play havoc on the liver and blood sugar levels, and are often the cause for blood sugar crashes and cravings – caffeine and alcohol!  

To put it simply, I avoided anything white, which meant no potatoes, wheat, white bread, white rice, pasta, sugar or anything containing gluten. I also avoided dairy, because it is generally termed an allergic food (when it is consumed your body releases histamine, an allergic response). This usually isn’t too much of an issue for me but I wanted to remove anything that put stress on my digestion, liver and immune system.

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Being a foodie and a coffee lover it devastated me that I didn’t get to have my routine cup of coffee each morning or a couple of squares of dark chocolate with my herbal tea at night. However, it doesn’t mean that your meals have to be boring and tasteless. Little changes are the key, such as lemon juice with hot water upon rising to kick-start your metabolism instead of coffee, or switching your regular potatoes for sweet potatoes, which I prefer anyway. Having Avocado on oat cakes or gluten-free toast instead of sugary cereal for brekky is another easy win.

For anyone out there looking for a detox my recommendation would be to do it under the supervision of a naturopath to ensure you are supporting your body, rather than stressing it, and to convince a friend or loved one to do it with you, or to support you. I did – my dear friend was sucked into the detox with me! On day-1 I was choosing my post-detox meal, by day-2 we were texting images of our colourful, protein-rich salads to each other to stay inspired and by day-5 our loyalty to the cause was in question. I received a text image of her local bakery, which had the most tempting looking cakes you’ve seen!

Since finishing the detox I’ll admit that it was all worth the pain… not only did we feel satisfaction from finishing it, we had a boost in our energy levels, improved digestion and clearer skin. The fact that my jeans now fit a little better was just an added bonus.

So if you start feeling a little like I did, I encourage you to take control of the situation and make a few small changes. On top of changing your diet, your detox can be greatly benefited by taking some key herbs and supplements to support your liver and have it working like a well-oiled machine. To get the most out of a detox, visit a naturopath to get advice on the supplements you need.

Remember, it is always best to detox under the supervision of a natural health practitioner to ensure you are still meeting your nutritional requirements and implementing a plan to suit your lifestyle.


Olivia McFadyen, based in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore, is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Herbalist and Homoeopath. Whilst Olivia is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist, she is also a realist and understands the demands of modern day life, offering nutrition, herbal medicine and homoeopathic consultations and support without compromising on the enjoyment food can bring. She is passionate about supporting patients to reach their lifestyle goals, optimise their health & develop a healthy yet balanced way of life through naturopathy and homoeopathy. She services her clients by offering 4 and 12 week natural health programs from her clinic in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore.