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Dietary Changes & Supplements for Removal of Candida Overgrowth, Part II

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If you think you might have a candida or yeast overgrowth problem, today’s discussion is a continuation of how to take control of this issue in your body and regain health. In Part I last week, I gave an introduction of how candida overgrowth starts in the digestive tract and immune system, and if left unchecked due to poor dietary and lifestyle habits (including eating processed foods) can invade other organ systems and cause many different health issues.

Today I will offer suggestions about which foods should be avoided to reduce and eliminate unhealthy yeast overgrowth, as well as which foods are essential to rebuilding your digestion and immune system function to support your entire body in the healing process. I will also talk about the critical nature of probiotics or friendly bacteria in helping you to regain health, useful supplements that can aid in yeast removal, and how long you can expect to maintain this type of protocol for optimal results.

Is there a special diet I should follow if I have candida yeast overgrowth?

Yes. To control candida, a specific diet is very important. Various factors can cause candida overgrowth to worsen.  The primary food source for candida yeast is sugar.

Therefore, to successfully eliminate yeast from the body, it is critical to avoid sugar:

  • Table sugar
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Maple syrup
  • Foods containing corn
  • Corn syrup
  • Candy and desserts
  • Soft drinks
  • Some fruits
  • Dairy (with the exception of raw dairy kefir and yogurt for beneficial bacteria – see probiotics below)
  • Foods containing yeast
  • Grains and foods containing flour
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pasta

It is also important to restrict consumption of any refined carbohydrate food such as grains, bread, pasta, cereal,and foods containing flour. All of these feed yeast. In her book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride says raw honey is acceptable to use in small amounts on a detoxification protocol.

Milk and dairy products:
Restricting the consumption of milk and dairy products is important because:

  • High-lactose content present in milk encourages the growth of Candida
  • Milk is a common food allergens
  • Many dairy products contain antibiotics, which can also encourage yeast overgrowth by destroying beneficial bacteria

If you are a raw milk drinker, there are exceptions (see below) for eating foods that have naturally-occurring probiotic activity such as yogurt and kefir (and also cultured vegetables). As you progress in your yeast-removal protocol, some people can tolerate milk and cheese as well, but this can take some time and is very individual, depending on the person. For more information about how you can incorporate milk into your diet with a yeast-removing protocol, read Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Mold and yeast containing foods
Those with chronic candidiasis need to avoid consuming foods with high mold or yeast. This would include alcoholic beverages, cheeses, dried fruits, mushrooms, vinegar, nutritional yeast, and peanuts.

Soy

Avoid all types of soy – even fermented such as miso, natto, or tempeh. When you have regained control of the yeast in your body, fermented soy is acceptable to eat again.

Legumes, starchy vegetables and other foods

Avoid potatoes, beetroots, squash, and carrots. Beans should be eaten in moderation but should be soaked overnight in filtered water and add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Rice should be limited and be certain to use sprouted or germinated rice.

Coffee and tea

Coffee should be avoided due to the problems it creates for the liver, adrenal glands, and acidity it causes in the stomach. Black and green teas should be avoided due to their possible mold content.

Acceptable foods on the candida or yeast removal diet

  • Fresh meats, poultry, duck, game meats and fowl, eggs, and lamb or mutton from organic and grass-fed or pasture-raised sources, and safe-sourced fish are staples of this diet.  Home-made broths from meats, poultry, and fish are also healthy to consume. Avoid processed meats from factory farms with antibiotics, hormones, pesticide residues, and other chemicals added to preserve or alter flavor.
  • Most organic vegetables and some fruits are also acceptable. There is much debate about which fruits are okay to eat, and generally speaking it is a good idea to avoid eating too much fruit due to its sugar content. Some fruits are worse than others, however, such as melon (which contains mold and should be avoided), bananas, and any type of dried fruit. Occasional fruits such as citrus, apples, and berries are fine.
  • Healthy oils and fats are also important such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter and cream, and lard and tallow from healthy animals on pasture.
  • If you are going to consume nuts or seeds, do so only occasionally and make sure they are raw and then soaked or sprouted. Almonds, Brazil, cashews, hazel, Macadamia, pecans, pine nuts, poppy, pumpkin, sesame (tahini), and sunflower are all fine in moderation.
  • Herbs and spices – fresh garlic and onion (natural anti-fungals), ginger pepper, herbs or dried herbs from clean sources, sea salt or Himalayan salt, and raw apple cider vinegar (use in moderation).

The importance of probiotics (friendly bacteria) in eliminating yeast overgrowth:

The small intestine, which is the main organ responsible for absorption of the food you eat, can become damaged when certain foods and in particular, processed foods, are eaten.

Two examples of foods that irritate and cause damage to the intestinal tract are gluten-containing foods (from wheat), and casein from dairy. This is especially true of processed varieties of these substances such as from most grain products bought in the grocery and even health food stores and pasteurized dairy products which contain hormones and antibiotics. These substances can actually cause a shortening and flattening of  intestinal villi – small, fingerlike projections which increase intestinal surface area to allow for absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat.

Eventually, substances which continue to irritate the lining of the intestinal wall can create holes in the intestines, allowing undigested foods and particles to penetrate the wall and enter the bloodstream. Undigested foods cause the immune system to go on alert and create an auto-immune reaction, or “super” reaction that becomes chronic with each successive meal eaten. When the immune system continually remains on high alert, it weakens its ability to protect your body from disease and illness. It also lowers the amount of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract – another important defense mechanism against inflammation and disease.

Penetration by foreign, undigested substances can cause other health issues besides candida.  This process can either be a primary cause of the following symptoms: excessive gas and cramps, abdominal bloating, fatigue, food sensitivities and allergies, joint pain, skin rashes, and auto-immunity disorders such as MS, lupus, fibromyalgia, or diabetes. This can lead to or make the following conditions worse: leaky gut (substances penetrating into the bloodstream), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s Disease, and diverticulitis (abnormal pouches in the colon).

So it should go without saying that the presence of friendly or beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract are absolutely essential to good health – whether you are in the process of eliminating yeast overgrowth or not. 85 percent of the immune system is actually located in the digestive tract itself, which makes maintenance of these two systems inseparable. Lactobacillus and bifidus are two important bacteria that should always be included in your diet or supplement regimen.

Candida overgrowth always starts in the digestive tract because it’s the food you consume which will cause yeast to grow in the first place (grains, sugar, carbohydrates, processed foods, etc).  When yeast grows to an unhealthy level, it goes beyond the digestive tract and invades other body systems and organs. This invasion will adversely effect all organ systems it reaches, causing many of the symptoms commonly associated with yeast overgrowth in the body (see How do I know if I have candida overgrowth?).

Here are two excellent sources of probiotics to keep your digestion and immune system strong:

1) Consume yogurt and kefir, preferably made from raw milk from healthy cows on pasture. Commercial products are not recommended as the processing and pasteurization kills beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes and denatures proteins and fats.   Try combining plain yogurt with fresh berries, apples or applesauce for a more “naturally” sweetened snack. If you consume raw milk, you can make your own yogurt at home, which contains even more numbers and strains of beneficial bacteria. Diversity in bacteria is essential to digestive and immune function, and you will definitely find more diversity in bacteria in dairy products from a raw dairy source.

2) Supplement with a high quality probiotic such as Prescript-Assist, Biotics Research, or BioKult.  Avoid probiotics from supermarket chains, drug stores, and even health food stores. These products generally don’t contain the bacteria count claimed on the label, are often not standardized, and are not therapeutic grade like professional lines of probiotics mentioned above. For more information about the importance of quality probiotics, read All Probiotics Are NOT Created Equal.

Other foods especially helpful to candida yeast removal

  • Garlic – raw is best, and cooked is next best
  • If you are not already taking fermented cod liver oil, now might be a good time to start taking it. Fermented cod liver oil is a great source of Vitamins A & D (as well as Omega 3 essential fatty acids) which help support your immune system function. I recommend Green Pasture Products Blue Ice Royal Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil Combination because it is one of the most potent and natural forms of Vitamin D available.

What else do I need to take for candida overgrowth?

 

Depending on the severity of your yeast problem, although not mandatory, it can be useful to use good, natural supplements which help facilitate the removal of unwanted overgrowth.  It is usually also a good idea to rotate these products every week or so because yeast, not unlike bacteria, will mutate to survive and become accustomed to the environment in which they live. They learn to adapt to ensure survival. If you change the diversity of the environment frequently and make it unfriendly for them, they are less likely to survive. By strengthening your body and immune system and providing a diversity of bacteria, you can win the battle.

If you choose not to use supplements, strict adherence to the diet outlined in previous sections is very important as a means to eliminate the candida overgrowth causing your symptoms. Because yeast overgrowth is an insidious problem, it is often necessary to employ every safe and useful means possible to ensure its removal, which is why I have mentioned the supplements here at all. In general, you should be getting most of your nutrients from real food. With that said, I don’t recommend supplements as a replacement for a good diet including healthy, traditional foods free from chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics.

My recommendations for candida yeast control supplements are as follows:

 

Candaclear Four by Pharmax. Candaclear Four is unique in combining four supplements, with different but synergistic effects in the regulation of intestinal and/or systemic candida yeast populations, into one single product. It can also be used for vaginal yeast when coupled with Yeast Arrest suppositories.”  Including ingredients like garlic, cinnamon bark oil and cinnamon bark powder, magnesium and calcium caprylate, and various strains of beneficial bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifium.

 

L-Glutamine by Designs for Health. “L-Glutamine is an amino acid, which is essential for the health of the immune system and digestive tract. It is very reparative and healing in the gut where it strengthens the mucosal cells and in turn helps leaky gut, sugar cravings, and irritable bowel (IBS). Glutamine also helps promote optimal muscle growth and strength and has shown to be particularly useful in helping prevent muscle wasting in people on cancer and HIV treatments.”

A.D.P. - by Biotics Research, oregano standardized extract in a sustained release for maximum effectiveness. Oregano is extremely potent against yeast, bacteria, and other unwanted organisms to maximize intestinal health and well-being.

Caprin by Biotics Research  this product can be purchased online through a variety of sources, or through a qualified health care professional.

Rotate these products on a weekly basis for 4- 6 weeks. You can then start the rotation over again.

Fiber - you should take a good fiber supplement daily such as Colon Plus by Biotics Research to help clean out any removal of candida from the organs and tissues which comes into the intestinal tract, and prevent it from becoming reabsorbed. Colon Plus is safe and natural and includes aloe vera, celery, bromelain, flax seed, peppermint, apple pectin, prune, psyllium powder, anise, and lactobacillus acidophilus. My family and I have taken this product for over 5 years with great results.

Note: I definitely don’t recommend that you take fiber long term unless you have a compromised digestive system issue such as a missing gallbladder or appendix (like me), or use mainstream fiber or laxative products like Metamucil or some equivalent. Also, know that most so-called “high-fiber” foods including grains and vegetables that are not properly prepared are damaging to the gut and intestinal systems and can cause more damage over time than good. Learn more about one of the biggest lies we’ve been told by the health industry about intestinal and colon health from Fiber Menace.

Digestive enzymes are also important, to ensure adequate absorption of the foods you eat. When you have a candida overgrowth, much of your body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from foods you eat has become compromised, so you need all the help you can get to make sure you are getting the benefit from a healthy diet to help your body recover from yeast overgrowth. Try the following products for digestive enzyme support: Loomis Enymes (you will need an experienced practitioner to recommend the right kind for you, there’s an entire line of these products for different needs), Plant Digestive Enzyme Formula caps or Digestzymes by Designs for Health, and Plant Enzymes from Enriching Gifts.

Sleep and stress relief for candida yeast control

It is important to keep regular and sustained habits of sleep nightly, rest or breaks from daily activity, and stress reduction and movement daily in order to allow your body to remove candida. The body regenerates and restores itself at night, and stress can definitely add to candida overgrowth. So regular sleep, rest, movement, and relief from stress is very important to allow your body to remove yeast effectively. Try to obtain at least 7 hours of sleep or more when you are doing  any type of detoxification protocol, including candida cleansing. Some people need more sleep than this, so listen to your body. Rest helps keep the immune system functioning well, which can aid your body’s ability in elimination of toxins and yeast.

Find an activity you enjoy that is stress-relieving and gets circulation going – yoga, tai chi, meditation/stress-reduction classes that have a CD or mp3 you can listen to on a daily basis, stretching, walking, or some other moderate exercise you enjoy and can participate in regularly are all good choices.

How long will I have to stay on the candida diet?

That depends on a couple of factors – how severe your candida overgrowth problem is, and how well you adhere to your diet/supplementation protocol. Although some people take on candida removal independently with success, it can be useful (again, depending on your individual health condition) to enlist the expertise of a health care professional who is knowledgeable about candida – especially if you have an acute or chronic problem that has gone on for some period of time. Most candida overgrowth does not happen overnight, and in fact develops over many years of poor dietary and lifestyle habits.

The answer about how long you will have to remain on an anti-yeast diet will depend solely on you and your body. For some people, it’s when there is a noticeable absence of symptoms. For others, it’s when they receive a test from their practitioner which says their body is free from the overgrowth. These tests can be conducted in several different ways – muscle-testing, saliva testing, or stool testing.

Here’s how to do a saliva test - as soon as you awaken and before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth -get a clear glass and fill with water. Build up saliva in your mouth, and then spit the collection into the glass of water. Check the water in about 2-3 minutes, then every  15 minutes for up to about an hour. If you have a candida overgrowth, there will be visible “strings” almost like cloudy legs, extending down into the water from saliva floating on the top, or “cloudy” saliva will sink to the bottom of the glass, or cloudy specks will seem to be suspended in the water. If there are no strings, the water is as clear as it was before you spit in the glass and the saliva is still floating after at least one hour, you are probably candida yeast free. The more strings and cloudiness there is and the faster it develops, the greater the overgrowth.

My experience with candida removal took almost two year’s time.  It can be different for everyone. For most people – a problem serious enough to warrant a candida cleansing program – should count on about a year’s time.  Even to this day, I still avoid many of the things that would cause my body to regain a yeast overgrowth.  After you have had yeast overgrowth in the body, you will be  vulnerable to yeast overgrowth in the future unless you take care to manage your diet and keep foods out of your daily intake that would contribute to this problem occurring again.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, another very effective protocol for healing your gut and removing candida overgrowth and yeast issues is the GAPS protocol by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride.

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My liver and gallbladder miracle cleanse experience

This post is part of The Healthy Home Economist’s Monday Mania Carnival.

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My Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse Experience

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For many years I experienced digestive difficulties and various health problems. When I was pregnant with my son in 2000, I experienced a ruptured appendix during my 7th month of pregnancy and he was born 9 weeks premature.

The night I came home from my near three-week stay in the hospital, I began to have the first of various gallbladder “episodes”. These attacks were some of the most unpleasant and painful I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Seven months later at the order of my surgeon, I had my gallbladder removed. I had tried some natural products from the health food store before having my gallbladder removed, but having no experience treating this sort of thing nor anyone to consult for advice, my efforts failed to yield positive results. Had I known then what I know now, I would have performed the liver and gallbladder miracle cleanse to remove stones that were harming my health and causing the attacks.

Gallbladder and digestive disease have completely and utterly altered my outlook on health forever. I was very sick for over five years to the point where I wasn’t feeling well enough to do my normal activities such as taking care of my son nor maintain a healthy relationship with my husband and family. I was weak and in bed a lot. Sometimes I’d have muscle weakness, heart palpitations, nausea, or shaking for days at a time. I thought my body was falling apart and I didn’t know why.

Discovering the root cause of health ailments

Before I changed my eating habits, I was consuming alcohol and eating a  lot of processed foods regularly (what can I say, I used to party a lot and enjoyed having a good time a little too much!). Because I was a music promoter and event coordinator for my local underground music community, I’d often keep hectic social schedules and stay out late. Although I was eating some healthy foods, I was still consuming a lot of refined carbohydrates and my fair share of processed foods. My stress levels were also sky-high.

Doctors had failed to help me overcome my health challenges, and simply offered pharmaceutical drugs as a solution. The prescriptions would sometimes sit in my purse for months; I was scared to become a drug-dependent patient like so many other people I knew.

Eventually I began to read about how food can affect health and it all started to make sense. After research, conversations with qualified practitioners who knew about nutrition and listened to me and knew what kinds of problems I was having, I started to eliminate various foods from my diet like refined sugars, wheat, soy, pasteurized dairy, and other processed foods and noticed startling results – I began to feel better.

How I’ve begun to overcome health challenges

Since 2005, I have completely changed the way I eat and no longer buy processed foods. In that span of time, I’ve discovered better health than I’ve had much of my life. I attribute the change to my discarding of junk and processed foods, and switching to meals made at home, from scratch, and wholesome, real ingredients. I can’t always afford organic or sustainable, but I do the very best I can.

I make most everything from scratch including salad dressings, sauces, and condiments (when I can). If I can’t make it from scratch, I do the next best thing which is to buy a product from the store which has the least amount of ingredients in it, doesn’t contain artificial additives, preservatives, or chemicals. One example of something I might buy instead of make is that I buy organic ketchup because the conventional equivalent is incredibly nasty. We don’t use a lot of ketchup in our house, but when we do I want it to be healthy. I could make my own, but this is something I haven’t started doing yet – it’s on my list.

I make compromises in some areas, while compensating in the more important places – such as with fats and proteins. I buy organic grass-fed meat and raw milk for my family to make sure we are not getting genetically-modified material, pesticides, antibiotics, nor hormones in our bodies.

I’m a big believer that real food can eliminate health problems. I also firmly believe that synthetic vitamins and minerals are not going to do the job – which is why I know all those fortified foods sold in the store in packages are no better than cheap supplements claiming to offer nutritional benefit are a waste of money.

Health issues from years of a poor diet

Despite all my efforts, I’ve still been experiencing some health challenges. For the last six years, I’ve had fibrocystic breast condition. This condition occurs when the lymphatic system becomes congested or clogged with toxins. The breast and armpits contain thousands of lymph nodes and pathways for the elimination of waste and toxins to exit the body. When those lines become blocked, lumps can form. Many conventional doctors tell patients that these lumps are harmless and normal.

Fibrocystic breast condition and other benign lumps are often a symptom of estrogen-dominance. This occurs when there is a deficit or excess of estrogen due and little no no progesterone in the body. These hormones are in a delicate balance, and when they are offset by the food we eat or environmental toxins, health issues can occur. Estrogen dominance is a very common problem for men, women, and children in modern life due to the excessive amounts of estrogen in our environments. False or xenoestrogens are found in our food and water, soil, and many of the items we use in our daily tasks – plastics, clothing, personal care products, materials used for buildings,  carpets and furniture, cleaning products, containers, and so on.

These substances have had a profound effect on our bodies and our health. Some research suggests that excess estrogen can effect sexual function to the extent that fertility, menstruation, puberty, menopause, and other sexual functions and development are noticeably altered.

Thyroid problems, iodine deficiency, and hormonal imbalance

Another contributor to these types of breast cysts and others in the body is iodine deficiency. Besides thyroid problems, iodine deficiency can cause hormonal and endocrine imbalances which lead to cancer and many other degenerative diseases. When the body lacks sufficient amounts of iodine, it becomes increasingly unable to eliminate toxins.

Dr. Brownstein, M.D. believes that this deficiency is responsible for many cases of thyroid disorder, breast, and other cancers people are being diagnosed with, and that these conditions are often connected to one another. He also believes that thyroid medications prescribed by doctors for these problems do not work because they fail to address the underlying problem, which is nutritional deficiency in the body.

It just so happens that I had a blood test last year to determine whether I was having thyroid issues, and the results revealed that I was hypothyroid – a condition where the thyroid is underactive in the body. The function of the thyroid gland is to convert iodine into two thyroid hormones, thyroxine T4 and triiodothyronine T3. Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. I had a lot of the symptoms of this syndrome – fatigue, dry skin, irritability, fatigue, depression, weakness, abnormal menstrual cycles, cold and intolerance. My physical appearance didn’t necessarily match the stereotypical image of a hypothyroid case – I had never had weight problems, and had actually experienced the opposite issue of having trouble gaining enough weight most of my life.

Dr. Robert J. Rowan, M.D. believes digestion is also a key to absorbing iodine and other nutrients: “Poor digestion – many organs need iodine, but can’t absorb it until the blood measurements reach very high levels. The stomach and salivary glands are two such organs, but they can’t uptake iodine in any significant amounts until the blood level reaches 100 times what the thyroid needs. Most people do not produce enough stomach acid as they grow older. I firmly believe low gastric acidity can be caused by iodine deficiency, as iodine promotes stomach acidity!”

As intrinsically connected as iodine and digestion are to one another, it’s easy to understand why digestion would be impaired if it could not adequately absorb the nutrients it needs to maintain good health. If stomach acid levels are low, digestion won’t function they way it should. Dr. Rowan stated that as people get older, stomach acid production goes down. It is also true that a processed diet filled with toxic, nutrient-depleted foods would cause that problem to become worse over time.

Insomnia

Another issue I’ve had for some years is the inability to sleep soundly if I consume too many carbohydrates. It was worse when I was eating processed foods. But even when I stopped eating those and started consuming real, whole foods, I’d still have problems. I’m sensitive to breads and grains – wheat, spelt, kamut, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, corn, rice (even organic, and soaked or sprouted), and most anything with sugar in it – so alcohol and desserts too – as infrequently as I consume them, and even though I normally consume the healthiest forms of these as possible.

Years ago when I was eating poorly, I used to have terrible episodes in the middle of the night with a string of symptoms – shaking, racing heart, sweating, a jittery, butterfly feeling in my stomach, and nausea. This sounds a lot like anxiety, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought it was for a long time, and so did all the doctors. So if I eat too many carbohydrates I can look forward to a jittery butterfly feeling in my stomach that can keep me awake for at least an hour or wake me up in the middle of the night.

My sleeping patterns have become much more regular and I have much less trouble sleeping than I used to, but my goal is to completely eliminate all my symptoms and be able to sleep soundly and to be able to fall asleep without any trouble.

The United States history of iodine deficiency

In this country, evidence of iodine deficiency appeared in the 1920s as a result of processing foods and the depletion of trace elements from the food supply due to modern farming methods. Companies saw a need for iodine and began to add it to table salt. The campaign spread and incidences of goiter began to drop significantly.

Several decades ago, doctors began to believe that their patients were consuming too much salt because of the increase in high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. The American Medical Association began issuing recommendations to the majority of the population to lower their salt intake. Medical professionals completely disregarded the fact that trace minerals found in soil and in naturally-mined salt is essential to human health. Today we are once again experiencing a massive deficit in iodine and other trace minerals in our bodies – which contributes to high disease rates.

Real food is only part of the equation

With the type of eating habits people in developed and now in many other countries have, it’s no surprise so much damage is done. From my own experience and research, I believe that once you have gone beyond a certain point of abuse, more drastic measures have to be taken to regain health. Real food is extremely important, but by itself sometimes it’s not enough.  Detoxification and cleansing is really important because they seek to remove those foreign and harmful substances left behind from a poor diet and repeated abuse which cause health problems that the body and nourishment are simply incapable of eliminating on their own.

There are also a lot of  juice drinks, food bars, supplements and other products on the market which people invest a lot of money in because they believe these products will restore their health. From my own experience, I’ve observed that you can take all the supplements and products on the market you can possibly afford and your health won’t improve unless you restore the balance of your inner body and gut. It’s critical to first heal the environment in your digestive tract. The liver gallbladder miracle cleanse is an excellent way to accomplish this.

The importance of preparation

If you are a person who has not lived a healthy lifestyle most of your years, it is really important to take some small steps in the beginning to make certain you don’t overload your body with too much detoxification at once. Before doing a liver gallbladder cleanse, it is a good idea to get your dietary habits under control and begin with one or two activities at a time to prepare your body for release of toxins. Once you get going, you will notice results, but you must go slowly and deliberately, and have patience. Remember, it took many years for your body to get in the state it is currently in, and healing is no different.

Colon cleansing and detoxification

A good way to begin is to consider having colonics to get the foundations started in repairing your digestive tract – which the waste removal system in your body that absorbs everything you eat. Although your colon is responsible for managing the removal of waste, it is also an environment where many important nutrients are absorbed as well.

The colon’s job, then, is two-fold: remove waste and also redistribute important nutrients back into the body for support and health.

Donna Gates of Body Ecology explains the three major reasons why colon cleansing is so important:

  1. The average person has 7 – 10 pounds of fecal matter remaining in the colon – even with regular bowel movements daily.
  2. What accumulates on the colon wall from waste is a breeding ground for parasites, yeast, bad bacteria, and viruses.
  3. For many people, these elimination pathways are essentially blocked, and over time this promotes the build up of toxins. Estimates have shown that the average person is exposed to over 123 toxic chemicals from food, water, personal care products, air, and stress.

Colonics performed by a qualified practitioner are an effective method to aid the body in the removal of impacted fees and built up residual plaque formed in the lining of your colon due largely to the consumption of processed foods and beverages, stress, and poor lifestyle.

A colonic is done while you are reclined and a plastic tube inserted into the rectum to allow warm, filtered water to soak and wash out debris and toxins adhered to the colon. The procedure is not painful or unpleasant, but it does take anywhere from about 45 minutes to an hour. Afterward you eliminate one last time in the restroom. You can expect a sense of lightness, clearness, and well-being after a colonic that is difficult to describe – your body has just dumped harmful toxins and begun the healing process.

Intestines also become coated in toxins as well, and with repeated cleansing, detoxing, and colon and liver/gallbladder cleanses, these substances are removed and washed away. The result is improved health and sense of well-being – which is literally priceless.

I have spent the last five years of my life with a much improved diet and devoting time to various types of cleansing and detoxification. It may be the case that until now, I wasn’t ready for the liver gallbladder cleanse, and that my body needed that preparation time. That preparation time is different for everyone. Just realize that it does take time.  If you aren’t willing to invest some time and money in your health to eliminate toxins and prevent diseases from developing in the future, you must also realize that the expense, misery, and duration of illness and disease to come could be tenfold of what you are experiencing now.

The digestive tract – the beginning and end of health

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of death in the United States as reported by The American Cancer Society. They further report that rates have been dropping in the last 20 years, and attribute this occurrence to better screening and earlier detection. The most widely accepted and used treatment for cancer is chemotherapy and/or radiation, drugs, and surgery.

An investigation by the Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Australia, into the contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year survival in 22 major adult malignancies, showed startling results: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.” [Royal North Shore Hospital Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 2005 Jun;17(4):294.]

When you abuse your digestive tract, you are upsetting the entire balance of your health. If you digestive tract has been polluted with toxic and foreign substances, this activity gradually and continually breaks down its ability to absorb and impart nourishment to the entire body. On the extreme end, this is why cancer and many other chronically ill patients have a very diminished ability to digest and absorb food.

Many people experience digestive distress and other symptoms that might seem completely unrelated to digestive difficulty every day of their lives. They might have absolutely no idea that cancer or some other serious illness may be in their future if they don’t stop consuming artificial, toxic food-like substances or avoid real foods like meats and fats because they have been told by their friends, family, or health care provider that these foods are bad for their health.

If you have gallstones and liver stones in your body, here are just some of the symptoms and/or health issues you can expect to experience:

  • low appetite
  • food cravings
  • digestive disorders
  • sleep issues
  • hernia
  • difficulty breathing
  • infections
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • nausea or vomiting
  • depression and emotional disorders
  • impotence
  • menstrual and menopausal disorders (PMS)
  • skin problems
  • puffy eyes
  • vision problems
  • loss of muscle tone
  • weight gain
  • flatulence
  • abdominal cramping and bloating
  • prostate and urinary issues
  • hormonal imbalances
  • infertility
  • cancer
  • osteoporosis
  • chronic fatigue
  • kidney disease
  • cuts or wounds that don’t heal
  • nightmares
  • liver spots
  • numbness and sciatica
  • stiffness
  • yellowness of eyes and skin
  • tooth and gum problems
  • headaches and migraines
  • asthma
  • multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia
  • hot and cold flashes
  • muscle and joint pain

It’s quite a list, but when you understand the absolutely critical job your digestive system has of allowing your body to properly digest the food you eat to nourish your body for all the functions it maintains, it really shouldn’t be all that big of a surprise that this system’s condition can so profoundly affect your health.

Liver gallbladder miracle cleanse

For a few years my next-door neighbor, a nutritional therapist, has talked about the liver gallbladder miracle cleanse. I’ve also had discussions with various other health care practitioners about it – naturopaths, nutritional consultants, and colon hydrotherapists. It always seemed sort of mythical to me, and I couldn’t imagine going through this experience nor what sort of results might be achieved from doing it. It seemed like a lot of trouble – there is a preparation period and a lot of different schedules of activities that must be adhered to in order to achieve optimal results of the protocol.

The part that bothered me the most about it was the fact that the cleanse requires going without food for about a 20-hour period. This just seemed completely unnatural to me and frankly, I do very poorly when I go without food for long periods of time. For years I’ve had blood sugar trouble and have required high amounts of protein in order to function. Carbohydrates are for the most part, not agreeable to me and actually cause me sleep issues if I eat too many of them (which for me, isn’t a lot).  I thought that as more time went by and the fact that I was eating well, my sleep issues and the cyst in my breast would improve. After all, I had performed many detoxifications, cleanses, and abstinence from unhealthy substances. Surely this should have done the trick; but this was not the case.

This spring, my neighbor mentioned that she thought the key to my remaining health issues was the liver gallbladder cleanse. I knew she was right, but I was also apprehensive.  I worried endlessly about many different things: that it would be too hard to to do, too much trouble, that people would think I was insane, and that I couldn’t get through the no-food part of the cleanse. But I was also desperate to bring my health back up to the level at which I know it needed to be. I didn’t want to end up with breast cancer and become unable to take care of my family.

So I decided it was time to do it.

The cleanse, as described by Andreas Moritz in his book The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse, effectively rids your body of substances that “clog up the body’s cleansing organs, creating a toxic environment incapable of maintaining good health”.  And I absolutely agree that these substances cause health issues and unless they are removed, they will continue to cause damage.

Here are the pros and cons of this cleanse: Andreas Moritz is a believer in vegetarian and vegan diets for health, and I don’t agree with this philosophy. I believe fats, and in particular – animal fats – are essential for health, provided they are from a healthy source such as grass-fed, no chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, etc. Since Moritz is a vegetarian, he recommends avoiding animal products in general and on the cleanse for best results.

However, he goes into very detailed explanations about the digestive system and the liver and gallbladder in general and how abuse of these important organs can lead to a variety of degenerative diseases – circulatory, lymphatic, nervous system, complexion, digestive, excretory, reproductive, bone, emotional, and many others. Great detail about how the different organ systems function is given, as well as how all the different disruptors in our health can cause disease – processed foods like refined carbohydrates, sugars, trans fats, poor sleeping schedule, stress, watching television (yes, really), dehydration, use of pharmaceutical drugs, and fluoride poisoning from municipal water systems and even food and beverage products.

The effect that gallstones and liver stones have on health is insidious and far-reaching, and the root causes of these substances developing in the body stem from poor diet and lifestyle choices – and these are all things people have complete and utter control over – even though, admittedly, it does take some effort to avoid many of the things that are blamed for gallbladder, liver, and digestive disease.

The players in the cleanse

Moritz’s book says to avoid animal fats and dairy products six days prior to the cleanse as well as sugar, refined foods, and alcohol. I attempted to avoid as much animal fats and dairy products as I could for the sake of the cleanse process, but still ended up eating a number of meals with those ingredients because I was just plain hungry.

The only reason I would recommend avoiding animal products during this preparation is because it helps to prepare your liver, gallbladder, and digestive system to be in purging mode – which is the ultimate purpose of this protocol – not because animal products are unhealthy to consume. The harder your digestive tract has to work on digesting foods, the less capable it will be of flushing out the unwanted substances; and it does take more effort to digest meat and meat products.

If you undertake this cleanse, I would recommend simply cutting back on some meat and dairy consumption as you are able. But don’t do it if it makes you feel ill or weak. Something that got me through my meals without meat and dairy is a supplement I bought from my employer who works with cancer patients who are on very serious cleansing and detoxification protocols – MAP – Master Amino Profile from International Nutrition Research Center, Inc. This is an outstanding product, and I took 5 of these on the actual day of the cleanse. I took MAP away from meals and either alone or with a piece of fruit for maximum effectiveness. I absolutely do not recommend using MAP as a replacement for food, and especially when you are not cleansing. I would only ever use it when you must do without protein and fats during detoxification.

Apple juice or malic acid You are also required to drink 32 ounces of apple juice daily (in addition to your normal 64 ounces or so of water) because apple juice contains malic acid which helps to soften the stones in the gallbladder and liver. If you cannot tolerate apple juice, you can purchase a container of powdered malic acid (used by wineries) and add it to your water daily (sources for this substance are noted in the back of the book).

Colonics It is also a good idea to have a colonic the day before you begin the actual cleanse from a qualified colon hydrotherapist. The colonic helps to clear out any debris from your colon so that stones are able to pass without incident. Having another colonic on the third day after the first day of your cleanse is also important to clear out any remaining loose stones that can get trapped and cause problems.

Eliminating fats on the day of the cleanse On the beginning day of the cleanse (day 6), you must omit all fats and animal proteins from your diet. It seems drastic, but it’s only for one day. This is to assist the liver and gallbladder in being able to put all its activity on purging of stones from the body. For breakfast you can eat oatmeal and some fruit.

Lunch should consist of vegetables, rice, and some salt for flavor. It is especially important not to cheat on this part as it can cause you to feel ill and negate the maximum benefit of the cleanse. You should not use any other spices, seasonings, or substances in your food. From 1:30 to 2 p.m. you should have no other food for the entire day.

Epsom salts At 6:00 p.m. you intake one of four servings of epsom salts in water (six ounces of water). You can mix the epsom salts – 4 tablespoons – ahead of time in 24 ounces of water for the four servings. The epsom salts act as both a laxative and to widen the bile ducts for ease of passage of stones through the body.  At 8:00 p.m. you intake your second serving of epsom salts. Epsom salts do not taste salty, rather they possess more of a bitter flavor with a curious sweet aftertaste. It’s not intolerable, but not delicious. Fortunately, it’s only 6 ounces (3/4 of a cup of 8 ounces of liquid). I drank mine through a straw to get it down quickly.

Enemas At about 9:30 p.m. if you have not yet had a bowel movement or have not had a colonic in the last 24 hours, you should do a water enema. Enemas are easy to do and are very beneficial to the colon and digestive tract. I actually used a coffee enema for my first round (I did two of these during my cleanse).

For optimal results, the best quality coffee to use is Wilson’s. The caffeine in organic coffee helps to trigger the liver to dump toxins and stones. This method is used widely by practitioners and health care professionals on cancer patients to assist the body in removal of toxic and harmful material that contributes to disease. If it’s good for cancer patients, you can bet it’s great for those of us trying to avoid cancer and other disease.

Organic, extra virgin olive oil This oil is one of the main components of the cleanse and is mixed together with citrus fruits, freshly squeezed, just before bed for the night. I used a sweet and mild variety of olive oil for taste purposes, and the mixture I made was absolutely delicious. Some olive oils are more pungent in flavor, especially when eaten or tasted alone. But it may not matter when it’s all mixed together with the juice. You will take this oil with a juice mixture (see grapefruits, lemons, and orange juice below) at around 10:00 p.m. directly before going to bed.

Grapefruits or lemons and oranges for juicing I juiced lemons and oranges (with a hand juicer) as I thought the taste would be better with these as opposed to grapefruits. I used about 4 oranges and 2 lemons. The book describes the concoction as being difficult for some people to get down all at once. I found the lemon/orange combination with the olive oil really tasty. It depends on what type of fruits you like and use, and the olive oil as well.  Your total liquid volume for intake with the oil and juice is about 10 ounces. I drank mine through a straw to make it easier to drink quickly.

Time to rest It’s absolutely imperative that you give yourself time to rest and relax during this process. Our natural inclination in a first-world society is to load up on activities and task ourselves with obligations. But one of the things that contributes to disease along with environmental exposure to toxins, poor lifestyle, and eating habits is constant and unending stress. During the cleanse, you should plan to be home and free yourself of obligations to conserve energy and provide your body with all the necessary faculties to focus on the purpose of the cleanse.

Infrared light sauna This is an optional detoxification activity, but I highly recommend it. My colon hydrotherapist offers an infrared sauna service at her office, and it is far superior to steam saunas because it encourages purging of internal toxins without the danger of breathing in dangerous chlorine and other chemical fumes of steam saunas.

Dr. Lawrence Wilson, well-known medical doctor who treats patients with cancer and other degenerative disease, believes that infrared light saunas are “the finest single modality for toxic metal removal”:

“In essence, sauna therapy helps rejuvenate the skin, the largest eliminative organ in the body.  It helps decongest the internal organs by shunting blood to the body surface.  It helps to spare and protect the kidneys, as most all toxins eliminated by the kidneys can be eliminated in the sweat.

Heating the body assists it to kill pathogenic microorganisms, and helps destroy weaker, toxic metal-laden cells.  Saunas also drastically increase circulation, assisting to dislodge stored toxins and assisting nutrients to reach all the cells to improve energy output.

The sauna is also a powerful inhibitor of the sympathetic nervous system.  According to Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology, when heat is supplied from outside, normal heat production, a sympathetic activity, shuts down.  Also, shunting blood to the body surface to remove heat requires and causes inhibition of the sympathetic system.

Infrared energy supplied by far infrared and infrared light saunas adds other benefits such as deep tissue heating, decoupling of toxins from water molecules, production of heat shock proteins that help regenerate cellular structures, and more.  Saunas also have a long history of safety that extends over literally thousands of years.”

As added benefits, they are also the best methods I have found to remove toxic chemicals, another serious health hazard.  They are also powerful infection-fighters, and able to dig out old chronic infections that deplete one’s energy and secrete biological toxins that are hidden causes of systemic disease.”

Our skin is the largest organ on our bodies, and it is the means by which many of our toxins are excreted. I believe that sweating, which we do when we are exercising, is the actual thing that causes weight loss, not the exercise itself. When we store toxins in our bodies, they cause weight gain and myriad health problems. It’s only through shedding of these toxins that we can realize health improvement.

A side benefit of elimination of toxins is weight loss, lymphatic drainage, and general cleansing. No one should ever undertake a detoxification protocol with a primary goal to lose weight. The goal should always be focused on regaining health and as a result of losing those toxins, the weight comes off naturally. During a major cleanse such as this, a sauna is simply one of the most effective and safe methods of providing your body with more support and boost for total detoxification. Talk with your health practitioner about whether an infrared sauna would be useful for your individual needs.

My results

Many times along the way during the preparation of 6 days before the cleanse, I told myself if I couldn’t do it, it wasn’t the end of the world. If things got too difficult, I would just bail. But I kept going anyway, despite my doubt because I had various people pushing me along and telling me my results would be great and to keep focus on that ideal. And they were right. During the cleanse, the only discomfort I experienced was that I was hungry, but I never felt sick, nauseated, light-headed, or otherwise ill. I felt some abdominal movement and gurgling when the stones and fluid was moving though my body. But otherwise I had a good night of sleep directly after I started the cleanse.

It has been several days since I started eating again and I feel fantastic. I was tired and fatigued the first day or so, but it was nothing nothing that sleep and good food didn’t cure, and it’s definitely not the worst or most unpleasant tired I’ve ever felt in my life.

The most exciting part about this process though, is that so far I have passed probably over 100 stones, and I have felt no pain whatsoever. The natural substances you intake during the preparation and during period cause the stones to soften which enables them to pass painlessly.

Although I felt fatigued, I cannot describe the wonderful feeling of well-being I have. I am glad to report that my two problems – the cyst and my sleep issues have improved noticeably over the last two weeks since I started my cleansing.  I’m also taking a food supplement as recommended by my employer – a nutritional consultant – for breast health called Breast Protect Option. This product is highly concentrated in red wine extract, medium chain triglycerides, and calcium.

The book says you will have varying degrees of results depending on your individual body and how closely you follow the recommendations. Some people go back to feeling tired or sick (if they were in the first place) some days or weeks after the cleanse.  This is usually an indication that you have more stones which have moved forward and need to come out. As long as those stones remain, you’ll continue to have one or more types of chronic health problems. It may be mild or noticeable, but nevertheless you will benefit greatly from continuing to perform cleanses until you see no more stones.

I have personally felt great since completing the cleanse, have continued to see stones come out and other material that my colon hydrotherapist tells me is definitely mucoid plaque from the intestines (a by-product of toxins and residue from processed foods that were not passed through the excretory system and remain in the digestive tract). All of these things are unwanted substances that were in my body for years and are finally gone. I’m looking forward to great improvements with each successive cleanse I will perform in the future. Although I am unsure just how many that number will be, I am willing to commit to a schedule of cleansing over the next year and more to achieve the results I’m seeking.

What’s in it for you?

Cleansing can only improve your health. Digestion is essential to health, and beneficial gut flora which is also crucial to immune system function and overall health, can also be compromised when we eat processed foods and live an unhealthy lifestyle. When we eat foods that don’t contain nutrients and lack the qualities which cause our bodies to allow the production of good bacteria, our immune systems suffer as well as our digestion. Eating a healthy diet to include real, whole foods is important – and that includes foods rich in probiotics (friendly bacteria) to populate your digestive tract with the necessary, diverse colonies to support health.

The liver and gallbladder cleanse is important because if your gallbladder and liver are full of stones – and statistics show that upon autopsy, most people (over 80 percent) do have them in their organs – your digestive system is not functioning properly and you cannot properly absorb nutrients from the food you are eating. So even if you are eating healthy but previously had an unhealthy diet, your digestive tract can be damaged from poor diet to the extent that you are not gaining the maximum nutritional benefit from the foods you eat now. If you are not gaining maximum nutritional benefit, other facets of your health can suffer as well.

Individual results will vary, but some people pass thousands of stones during one cleanse. Initially I wasn’t sure whether what I was seeing was stones or not, but the book says stones vary in size between rice-sized to pea-sized, to as large as grapes or some small rocks. They can be whitish to tan or yellow to pea green in color. The lighter the color, the shorter span of time they have remained in your body. I’ve definitely seen some larger, pea green stones as well as the smaller variety.

Once you have started cleansing, it is important to keep performing more cleanses every few weeks to a couple of months until you have two consecutive sessions that bring no more stones. If you perform a cleansing session and then don’t continue, you can risk more health issues due to stones that become lodged or displaced from movement of the stones during the cleanse.

Stones that are in the back and middle of the liver will move forward once those in the front move out, and will remain there until additional cleanses are performed. As with many natural treatments, this procedure is not a quick fix or cure-all, it should be followed carefully and faithfully until you see no more stones.

In addition, if you perform these cleanses but continue to maintain a poor lifestyle and diet, you will not reap the benefits of this protocol. Adherence to a healthy diet is critical to the success of these cleanses and your improved health in the future. Once you have done all necessary cleanses to completely eliminate stones, it is a good idea to repeat this cleanse again once or twice a year.

Maintaining a healthy diet that includes plenty of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates is critical to the success of your health and to keep from generating stones and mucoid plaque in your digestive tract.

Organic and sustainable foods are important, but if you are on a budget it’s best to try to get all your animal products and fats as from the most clean source as possible (such as sustainable-raised or grass-fed) and perhaps compromise by purchasing conventional fruits and vegetables. Fats are stored in our cells and are the most nutrient-dense foods that provide our bodies with the maximum amount of energy any food can deliver. That’s why eating those foods from the right sources is so important.

If  you have eaten poorly a majority of your life, you may need a boost for a period of time to get your body back to where you need to be with high-quality, whole food-sourced supplements. I can attest to this, because for several years I have used whole, traditional foods and high quality supplements sourced from real food. It has made a tremendous difference in the health of my family and myself.

Remember that as long as stones remain in your digestive and eliminatory organs, the food you eat will only go so far towards nourishing your body. Toxins, stones, and poor gut flora are all inhibitors to absorbing the nutrition from healthy foods you consume.

Here are some general ways to rebuild your digestion function and health, whether you are cleansing or not:

  1. Avoid processed foods and sugar, white flour products, and refined carbohydrates.
  2. Find a good probiotic and eat naturally fermented foods like yogurt or kefir from whole, raw milk, sauerkraut, kimchee, and other cultured vegetables.
  3. Eat whole foods, organic foods, and unprocessed foods.
  4. Make rest, stress relief, and moderate, enjoyable exercise a priority. Rest helps your body replenish itself and exercise enables muscles and joints to become strong. Exercise should be viewed not as a mechanism for weight loss but as a tool to get your lymphatic and circulatory systems moving as another method of removing toxins from your body, which will naturally encourage weight to stay at normal levels.
  5. Eliminate plastics, pesticides, chemicals, harsh cleaners and detergents, and other toxins from your environment. Discard dangerous cleaners and personal care products from your home and opt for home-made cleaners or natural brands that are good to you and the environment.

Want more information on gallbladder, digestive, and appendix issues?

Gallbladder disease and the standard American Diet – my personal account

Testimonies of people who have achieved healing and health through real food:

Guest Post: Kathryne Pirtle

Real People, Real Food: Two interviews

This post is part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival. Please visit her site and read the other great real food posts there.