Signs of Liver Stress & Tips for Cleansing

According to Chinese medicine, Spring is an ideal time to focus on the health of your liver and gallbladder. How do you know if a cleanse or gentle detox  is right for you? One way is to look at your thoughts, physical symptoms and moods or emotions.

So many of us get into a habit of letting our thoughts run free in our minds, never really paying much attention to them. And yet, we have a great way to measure whether our thoughts are supporting us or not: (1) our body and (2) our moods/emotions.

How to Identify If Your Thoughts Are Helping or Hindering You

look at your thoughts and see what’s going on in your life
Given the mind-body connection — that continues to be studied by scientists — but has always been known by spiritual teachers, our body sends us signals when our thoughts run amok. The body believes whatever the mind thinks – so if you imagine yourself in negative situations, your body thinks those situations are really happening. This is one of the reasons that positive affirmations work so well – as you feed your mind positive thoughts and words, your body believes it. If you start to feel pain, discomfort or tension in your body, look at your thoughts and see what’s going on in your life.

Our moods or emotions are also a good indicator of our thoughts. When you start to feel sad, depressed, angry – look at the contents of your thoughts. What were/are you thinking that led to these feelings?

Cleansing The Liver & Gall Bladder

One of my favorite books about health and healing is a cookbook! I actually bought because the recipes were healthy and macrobiotic, so with some creative substitutions, I could follow the healing diet that helped me recover my digestive health and eliminate depression. The book is called The Self-Healing Cookbook, by Kristina Turner. What I realized is that this is much more than a cookbook – it’s chock full of excellent guidance, tips and exercises for healing the body of imbalance and illness.

In her book, Kristina Turner addresses tips for cleansing and the food-mood-body connection from a Chinese medicine perspective. While she covers all of the major organs, I will share what she covers on the liver & gall bladder here:

Mood Signals of Liver & Gall Bladder Stress

  • Impatient
  • Frustrated
  • Angry
  • Blocked Creativity

Body Cues of Liver & Gall Bladder Stress

  • Headaches
  • Often Overeat
  • Eyes Irritated or Bloodshot
  • Oily or Dry Skin
  • Restless from 11 PM to 2 AM

My Own Symptoms

When I first read the book, I took my own little inventory – and of course, I’ve found some of them were exactly what I was going through.

When I started my cleansing process I began by cleaning up my lifestyle and from there, I moved into a focus on dietary and body cleansing.  All of the changes I was making in my life stirred a lot of symptoms up. I remember feeling impatient, frustrated and restless from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am.

According to Chinese medicine, this time period is when chi (vital energy) is moving through the gallbladder meridian and liver meridian. During this time period, if you wake up or if you’re still awake and get a second wind or want to start planning things, these can be signs to pay attention to your liver and gallbladder.

How To Change Your Habits to Create Balance

So how do we change our habits? Well, as they say, the first step is awareness. I know that when I get busy, I sometimes get too much into my head — or into autopilot — to check things off my to-do list. During these busy times, I have to remind myself to stop and pay attention to the signals I am getting. Meal time is a great time to get still and check in with your body, mind, and heart. Or maybe there’s another time of day that works best for you.

Choose a time and take an inventory. Listen deeply to your body. Notice any symptoms you are having. Are old symptoms returning? Are new ones showing up? How has your sleep been? How is your energy? What are your moods like? What are you CRAVING (this is about more than food, it’s about what you want for your life). What thoughts have you been thinking? Are they supporting you or tearing you down? Be honest. Do you have a little voice in the back of your head filling you up with doubt?

it’s important to take a mind, body and spirit inventory to detecting imbalances in our lives
If I am feeling an uncomfortable symptom or an emotion, I like to write down exactly what I’m feeling. Then I ask myself, is this mine or someone else’s? As an energetically sensitive person, I’ve learned that this helps me to decipher whether what I’m feeling is coming from me or from some other area (other people, places, electromagnetic radiation, etc.). If it’s not mine, I tend to get a signal about what it is and the symptom dissipates — almost as if I needed to acknowledge what Life wanted me to know (also see Tips for Energetically Sensitive People).

If the symptom does belong to me, I go through what I call a “Mini LifeLine Technique” process. The LifeLine Technique is an energy healing modality created by Dr. Darren Weissman of The Lifeline Center. I got certified in this energy healing technique after hearing Dr. Darren’s inspiring presentation at a Hay House Conference. I often teach my clients a small part of the process that they can do at home on their own:

  • Identify the symptom or emotion you are feeling.
  • Identify where you’re feeling the symptom or emotion in my body.
  • Rate it on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 is almost negligible and 10 is very intense).
  • Notice what the symptom is doing in your body (Is it moving, what does it feel like? For example, someone might say it’s a gripping feeling in their chest).
  • Notice the self-talk that is happening around that symptom. What are your beliefs about yourself as you are having that symptom?

Surround yourself with love and gratitude and let the energy of love and gratitude fill every cell of your body. Imagine the love and gratitude filling you up as you inhale and imagine anything you no longer need leaving your body as you exhale.

Our Ultimate Barometer…

The key here is — instead of thinking something is wrong with you when you have a symptom, instead, stop and listen to your body. Become aware of the signals you are getting and what your intuition wants you to know. This can help you cleanse your mind, along with your body. Typically, I know both are in synch when I am at peace, feeling bliss. This peace and joy is our true essence – our ultimate barometer of when we are in balance. This is when we feel a mind-body-spirit connection.

Spring is a beautiful time of renewal — a time to recommit to your health and wellness! Taking time to do an inventory of how your thoughts are supporting your health is a great way to start. A cleansing diet can also be beneficial.

Cleansing Foods & Liquids For the Liver & Gall Bladder

  • Lemonade – 1 fresh organic lemon – squeeze the lemon into 8 oz. water and if you want a sweet taste, consider adding honey, maple syrup or stevia to taste. Have this each morning when you wake up. It is also a great drink to sip throughout the day for a sweet taste that does not cause a blood sugar spike.
  • Daikon radish
  • Parsley
  • Leeks
  • Cultured vegetables (adds beneficial probiotics to your system to help with cleansing the liver)
  • Wakame (sea vegetable)
  • Quinoa
  • Carrots
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Rosemary – herb
  • Thyme – herb
  • Animal protein: eat animal protein meals between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm and avoid eating them for dinner. This creates less stress on the pancreas and liver.

Cleansing Actions for Your Body & Mind

  • Dry Skin Brush – take a natural bristle body brush and brush your skin (skin and brush should be dry). Brush your whole body vigorously, starting with your feet and moving up from there. Brush toward your heart. Your skin is a major cleansing organ and dry brushing helps circulate lymph.
  • Meditate Every Day – just take quiet time, whether for 1 minute or 1 hour. Take the time to feel your body, surround it with love and feel the peace of the moment. Allow all negative thoughts to leave your body as you breathe out and peace to fill your body as you breathe in.
  • Celebrate Imperfection – love being human, take things off your to-do list.
  • Walk, Dance, Stretch or Do Yoga – gentle, rhythmic movement stimulates the colon. When your colon is working well, it allows the liver to do it’s job more effectively.
  • Affirmations

Your Actions

  • Are there any symptoms of liver or gall bladder imbalance in your moods or body?
  • Experiment with becoming aware of your feelings and emotions – trace them back to the thoughts you are thinking.
  • Consider actively cleansing your mind and body of negative thoughts – and focusing on positive, loving, peaceful thoughts.
  • Ask your body what type of cleansing it needs – let your body be your guide.
  • Pay attention to how your food affects your body and moods – decide if there are foods that trigger pain in body or mind. This is not about “good/bad” labels or food anxiety – it is about body-pain, digestive pain or mood alterations. Consider educating yourself about nutrition or talking to a nutritionist or naturopath to understand ways you can cleanse your diet of foods that trigger body or mood issues.
  • Instead of berating yourself for your eating habits, consider tracing your eating habits back to your moods, thoughts or body signals.
  • Consider doing one or two of the cleansing actions, whether food and drink choices or actions for your body.
  • Pay attention to what you learn, write it in your journal or talk to a friend about it.

This article started from a conversation we had on Facebook!


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I’ve added some of the great questions (and answers) from that conversation below:


I forgot one of the most delicate questions Re detoxing. What approach would you take when it is someone who is in great need of such approach yet you cannot get through to them, and they keep repeating the same destructive pattern? What do you do, and how do you settle your own state of helplessness, in knowing you cannot help them, no matter how much you tried, cared and wanted to? Thank you.


This is the ultimate question, isn’t it? First of all, I’m sending you lots of love — I know it’s a challenging place to find yourself in. One of the things you can do is just remind yourself: Life loves you AND life loves everyone else. Everyone is having the experience they came to have. We cannot fix anyone, so it’s important to remove that pressure from yourself. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is love them while they go through their challenges. Just love, with no doing, no needing to fix, change or make things better. The energy of your love is more powerful than you think.

When we trust that life loves all of us, we know that no matter what, we are all experiencing what we came here to experience. Love is the greatest healer and as Louise always says, the greatest eraser — just sitting in the energy of love or sending the energy of love can erase a lot of suffering. Trust that this is enough.

It is critical to make sure that we don’t “carry other people’s cortisol” as Dr. Mona Lisa Shulz has said. I love this article by Mona Lisa: Hopelessly Devoted to Everyone But You?

Having been the one suffering in my past, I can tell you that I had to decide for myself that it was time to heal. No one else could have fixed me or saved me. I had to hit rock bottom and decide it was time to get up. Then, when I made that decision, all the helpers and angels were there to support me. If we love without judgment while we see others in their space of suffering, they will trust us to support them when they make the decision to heal. This is when big things start to shift. xo


How can I help release/break the pattern of long-standing, STRONG addiction to sugar? And introduce healthy and good habits? Is it possible to end such addiction?


Here’s an article I wrote almost a decade ago on being addicted to sugar — when I was in the first 5 years of my recovery from bulimia and sugar addiction. I am here to tell you that it is possible! Often, sugar addicts are also energetically sensitive, so life is asking us to take care of our energy — to pay attention in ways that I mention in the Liver Cleansing article in this thread.

There is also most often a blood sugar imbalance. Loving Yourself to Great Health has a lot of tips to overcome sugar addiction.

When I started my new website a couple years ago, I carried over a lot of articles that I wrote during my recovery. You can find several on my current website because I had a whole website a decade ago about healing from addiction — in my case, sugar and food. Here’s another one called, of all things, Don’t Touch My Food.

The whole reason I got into creating recipes was to create balance in my body, so that I could ground myself, heal my digestive system & blood sugar imbalances and ground my energetic sensitivity.

These symptoms are asking us to wake up and take steps to allow ourselves to thrive. I think it’s life asking us to love our cravings symptoms as a way to learn what we really need in life. It feels troubling because it wants us to listen and pay attention. xo


How do I help cleanse someone with high and fluctuating blood pressure?


With high blood pressure, there are a lot of things going on. First and foremost, science is showing us that the heart has more neurological tissue than muscle — in other words, our hearts have a brain! We can do so much by working with our thoughts.

I have had clients do a healing meditation before taking their blood pressure and we can see the blood pressure and pulse going down after the meditation. Typically, I will put my hand on the middle of their upper back and have them breathe deeply and feel their heart filling with love and that love radiating through the whole body. Breathing in love and gratitude, breathing out everything they no longer need.

Also, it’s important to keep blood sugar levels stable if there is a heart issue or high blood pressure. This is not a time to do a fast or a harsh detox. Eating every 2 hours can be helpful. Avoid sugar and focus on vegetables – blended green soups, clear broths and getting plenty of minerals can be very helpful. Gentle is the name of the game. Nourishing foods that feel good to the body and soothing to the soul can really help. Many of our recipes in Loving Yourself to Great Health are wonderful — the blended soups especially!


How to go about people who are far far down and are TOO intimidated to begin cleansing their lives, with small yet effective steps DOABLE for them?


The best approach is a gentle approach — the one in my reply above is great. Also, Loving Yourself to Great Health — all the food, affirmations and recipes we suggest are ideal for people who need a gentle approach. What most people don’t tell us is that a healing diet is already cleansing. Nothing else is needed if we simply remove processed foods, sugar and foods that seem to produce challenging symptoms for our bodies.

Working with one’s thoughts is also truly important! Our brains affect our gut health!


GI cleanse best way completely? How to properly rebuild?


Good question — I had to rebuild my entire digestive system and my answers to your questions above apply. There’s a principle called Occam’s Razor, which essentially means that the simplest solution is always the best. This is true here — taking a gentle approach as outlined in Loving Yourself to Great Health is a beautiful way to rebuild the digestive system.


How many days should you eat the recommended foods in the article to achieve a good cleansing?


The days really depends upon what you feel you can realistically do. You could start by doing a weekend cleanse and see how that feels. If you want more, take a week or two weeks. Here’s the thing, I always recommend a gentle approach, rather than a roller coaster ride. Especially for energetically sensitive people, who shift with small, subtle changes. Cleansing is like stirring things up, so it’s important to decide how much stirring you can realistically handle in your life.

Sometimes, the best approach is to have a super gentle cleanse by just removing sugar and processed foods for a month and eating a normal diet the rest of the time. Then moving to a deeper stage of cleansing. Slow and steady is key. Let your body guide you. Back off when you need to and then step back in again.

I like to do soup cleanses because they are gentle. While the weather is still cool, I make many blended green soups and broths. This is already taking a load of work off your digestive system and it’s super gentle. I do this for as long as my body needs it. Sometimes I’ll do a full day or up to a week of all thick, blended soups and broths, then start eating regular meals again, with maybe a couple of soups per week. Most of all, do what feels right for you where you are right now. Make sure it feels like a soothing thing to do for yourself.


What’s the right way to cleanse your liver?


The “right way” for you is what feels right. Please see my response above. It might be helpful to sit down, get quiet and feel into your body — asking yourself what you need right now. Cleanses can be gentle or very active. I offer several suggestions in my article linked above. Ask your body what feels right to you, based on your life circumstances, stress levels, symptoms — what you feel you can most realistically handle.

Most people don’t realize that simple making one shift in their diets is a cleanse! Removing sugar is a cleanse…your body will go through a detox when you remove sugar. That may be all a person can handle at one time. Others might be able to eliminate all sugar and dairy at once. This is a highly personal decision and it’s important to check in with your body first and throughout the process. Let your body guide you.

This article started from a conversation we had on Facebook!


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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!