The Liver Cleansing Diet (LCD) was developed by naturopath Dr Sandra Cabot. The principles behind the LCD are that the liver is the supreme organ of metabolism, and the missing key in excessive weight and sluggish metabolism.
The LCD has 12 vital principles to improve your liver function, they are:
1) Listen to your body – do not eat if you are not hungry.
2) Drink at least 8 – 12 glasses of filtered water daily, this cleanses liver and kidneys and aids in weight loss.
3) Avoid eating large amounts of sugar, especially refined sugar as the liver converts this to fat.
4) Don’t become obsessed with measuring calories this is not the aim of LCD. Ignore the bathroom scales.
5) Avoid foods that you may be allergic to, digestive enzyme tablet should be taken before you eat if you have weak digestion.
6) Be aware of good intestinal hygiene, eat only fresh food, avoid reheating food, avoid take out foods, wash your hands before eating, etc.
7) Do not eat if you feel stressed or anxious.
8) Check if organically grown fresh produce is available in your area.
9) Obtain your protein from diverse sources including legumes not just from animal products.
10) Choose your breads and spreads wisely.
11) Avoid constipation by eating plenty of raw foods and vegetables and drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
12) Avoid excessive saturated or damaged fats because these will harm your liver if you eat them regularly. If you avoid healthy fats within four weeks your body will show symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency, your liver function and metabolism will slow down leading to easy weight gain.
The main aims of this diet are to help people with stubborn weight, “If you follow the LCD your metabolism will improve in leaps and bound and you will start to burn fat!” It is also recommended for patients with high blood pressure, those with general digestive problems and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). LCD targets liver disease and dysfunction as well as gall bladder disease. This diet helps with problems caused by imbalance in the immune system, to cure headaches and/or migraines, as well as women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It helps to eliminate toxins from alcohol and recreational drug users. People who have hepatitis B or C will have less chance of developing chronic liver disease. It increases longevity and vitality for older persons by staving off degenerative disease, because liver weight and volume decrease with age.
The LCD is divided into three sections:
1) The first two weeks
2) The next four weeks
3) The last two weeks
During the eight weeks lunch and dinner are interchangeable, you should not have more that two courses in one meal i.e. soup and a main meal, or a main meal with dessert.
Dessert and sweets are provided for in the LCD. Snacks between meals are fine you should not have more that two or three snacks between meals especially if you are trying to loose weight. Always have a salad with your main course as this will improve digestion.
Snacks are raw carrot or celery sticks, an orange, an apple, or a handful of raw almonds, cashews, seeds or raisins. One rice cake, one rye vita biscuit spread with avocado or hoummus. But the best snack is to have a raw juice. Snacks to avoid include all dairy product, including chocolate, packed crisps, pretzels, salted or roasted nuts, anything that is found in a packed and loaded with salt, chemicals and damaged fats.
You can have a maximum of three main meals daily.
Drink 8 to 12 glasses of water daily.
Restrict tea to 2 – 3 cups of tea and 1 cup of coffee daily, and only 4 glasses of alcohol per week.
A typical days menu for the first two weeks:
On arising drink 2 large glasses filtered water with the juice of a lemon, lime or orange. 15 minutes later have a raw vegetable juice made with carrot, celery and parsley.
Breakfast: 2 wholemeal pancakes topped with strawberries and banana, lemon juice and LSA mix (linseeds, sunflowers and almonds).
Lunch: Spicy seafood salad with a side salad of grated carrot, beetroot, cherry tomatoes.
Dinner: Vegetable ratatouille with one bowl of brown rice sprinkled with LSA.
Soup: Harricot bean soup or Dessert: Nutty Cream
The next four weeks:
Avoid chicken and egg yolks, seafood is allowed. On rising the same as the previous two weeks.
Breakfast: Cereals such as unsweetened or homemade muesli, weetbix, special K, sustain, cooked rolled oats or porridge, use around 50g of cereal, use soy almond or rice milk, you may add LSA for extra protein, may add fresh banana, apricot or apple to cereal if desired.
Lunch: Bamboo shoot, carrot and raisin salad, with one of the dressings and tabbouleh, sprinkle with LSA.
Dinner: Pumpkin baked with sesame seeds and grilled fish of your choice.
Soup: vegetable and barley soup or Dessert: Banana mousse
The last two weeks
Breakfast: Scrambled tofu with a side of carrot sticks, sliced apple and cherry tomatoes.
Lunch: Pumpkin soup with a slice of bread with tahini, topped with coriander, parsley and chives.
Dinner: Vegetable paella
Soup: Potato and leek soup or Dessert: Carrot cake
In order to follow this diet correctly it is best to buy the book: The Liver Cleansing Diet by Dr. Sandra Cabot, published by WHAS 1996 (New South Wales, Australia)
This diet is adapted from Henry Osiecki The Physicians Handbook of Clinical Nutrition
This is one of my favourite detoxes to do and I highly recommend it to everyone, it is simple and achievable. Also useful for bowel problems, bacterial overgrowth or yeast overgrowth (though focus more on vegetables than fruit because of its high sugar content), eating too much, eating poorly, after substance abuse, convalescing after illness or just a general detox that can be incorporated monthly, seasonally or yearly into your normal health regime.
You will need a time when you are not too busy, preferably not working, especially the first three days. It is best to plan all your meals and you will need a juicer. All foods must be fresh, in season and preferably organic. If you have a family they need to understand what you are doing and support you in it. Maybe they can participate too, or just include a few aspects of the detox in their diet.
In the beginning you may experience symptoms such as headaches, pimples, smelly discharges, dizziness, nausea and generally not feel so good. This is just the spring cleaning part, after the first few days you will feel like a million dollars.
Vegetables – cooked (lightly steamed) or raw (grated).
Cereals/grains – (e.g. brown rice).
Raw fruit only.
Juices only (diluted with water) or raw fruit and vegetables.
Herbal teas (e.g. buchu, nettle, chamomile, peppermint).
Clear vegetable broth (from any veggies, especially tops of root veg, dandelion leaves, nettles, seaweeds etc) every 2 – 3 hours (this can be pre-prepared and refrigerated/frozen if needed).
Add, to what you have been eating for the past three days, some small serves of fruit and vegetables.
Then add cereal/grains.
Plain yoghurt (and/or acidophilus/bifidus supplement)
Slowly back to normal (but healthier) diet. Eat less of the foods that you routinely ate every day before the diet (e.g. less or eliminate cows milk, wheat, sugar, caffeine). Experiment with new taste experiences, (e.g. tofu, miso soup, beetroot muffins).
- Eat well but don’t overeat. Eat small serves, 5 or 6 times a day.
- Eat more in the morning less at night.
- Aim to drink more water, filtered, but not with meals.
- Start and finish the day with a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon.
- Juices should be freshly prepared and not stored.
Forbidden: alcohol, tobacco, caffeine (tea, coffee, chocolate, cola), soft drinks, meat, sugar (any ingredient ending in -ose), dairy products (except the yoghurt on Day 8), processed foods (any
packaged product that has several ingredients or any preservatives).
- Even when you have finished the diet, try to avoid or limit the above list of forbidden foods.
- If you get constipated, drink more water or add psyllium husk.
- If you get faint or dizzy, add a little honey to your juice.
- Do not be too concerned about getting adequate nutrition – you may supplement with alfalfa, spirulina or a quality multi-vitamin supplement. You may be advised to support your liver with a specific liver supplement to aid detox pathways.
- If you feel like 9 days is too much or you cannot find enough time, you can make it a 7 day detox and just do one day of juices/broths/herb teas (during day 4,5,6). So then, obviously, day 7 would become day 5, day 8 would be day 6 and day 9 would be day 7.
- Get plenty of sleep, meditate, smile, avoid stressful situations as much as possible, this time is dedicated to you and your wellbeing. And while you are detoxifying your body you may as well keep the mind clear to!
- Paint, write, read, dance, laugh, play, cry. Crying detoxifies your body of emotions!
- Take gentle exercise, warm baths, sauna, yoga, tai chi, do some dry skin brushing and get a full body massage.
- Enjoy cleaning out the old and making space for the new!
NB: Please consult your health practitioner if this is the first time you have attempted a detoxification programme! You may cause serious damage to your body or your health if you detox (or fast) unsupervised.
‘Candida’ refers to the proliferation in the intestines of the usually healthy bacteria Candida albicans, which may link to various symptoms. These symptoms may include:
- Persistent digestive disorders such as indigestion, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, flatulence or diarrhoea
- Fatigue, depression, poor memory, irritability, headaches, lethargy, tiredness
- Fungal skin infections e.g. athletes foot
- Frequent throat and ear infections, nasal congestion, chest infections
- Vaginal yeast infections/thrush, cystitis, PMS
- Food sensitivity, allergies.
- This diet is best done for 4 weeks, the first two weeks being the most disciplined. The good thing about this diet is that it encourages eating natural unprocessed foods, and is a good detoxification programme. The problem with the detox part of it is that there may be a release of toxins into the bloodstream, therefore it is important to drink a lot of water and eat soluble fibre (which is present anyway) to help get the toxins out of the body.It is also helpful to take supplements (e.g. zinc, vitamin C), and herbal remedies (e.g. Hydrastis canadensis, Propolis) to aid in reducing the candida overgrowth
Permitted Foods and Drinks
- Vegetables: especially onion, garlic, green leafy veg, cabbage, broccoli, celery, cucumber, carrots, spinach.
- Whole grains: millet, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, corn, barley, spelt also can have these as pasta.
- Protein foods: free range organic – chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, beef, eggs.
- Nuts and nut spreads (except peanuts and peanut butter).
- Seeds: flaxseeds, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, tahini, psyllium (husk).
- Fats and oils: cold pressed flaxseed, olive, pumpkin, walnut, sunflower, sesame, butter, coconut.
- Water: filtered, at least 8 glasses, or herbal tea, vegetable juices preferable diluted.
- Stevia and xylitol as sweeteners.
- Plain yoghurt with acidophilus.
- Sugar free oat, soy or rice milk.
- After 1 week introduce fruits: apple, pear, pawpaw, pineapple, banana and kiwifruit allowed.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid
- All sugar (glucose, fructose, lactose) all foods containing sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Fruits, dried fruit and dates.
- Refined foods: white bread, white flour, margarine and foods containing these.
- Dairy products.
- Vegetables for 1 week: sweet corn, sweet potato, squash, potato.
- Alcohol: especially beer and wine.
- Meats preserved and processed: sausages, salami, polony etc.
- Fermented foods: such as soy products – tempeh, miso, tofu, soy sauce.
- Peanuts and peanut butter.
- Yeast: bread with yeast, marmite, beer.
- All fruit juices, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, soft drinks.
In order not to feel too limited by this diet it is necessary to find foods that you can enjoy and are ‘allowed’ to eat. I suggest perusing your health food shop, there are a number of healthy and delicious foods that you will discover.