Healing the liver can be helped through the use of foods friendly to the organ and a diet that contributes to overall health.
by Kerri Buckley
“There are two ways to clean a dirty water glass,” my teacher observed, with the studied deliberation that told me he was going to say something simple but with vast implications. “The first is to turn it upside down and wash it out.” He paused for me to digest what he’d said. “The second is to let fresh water run into it, fill it, and overflow—continuously running in and out over a long period of time.” Then he asked, “Which do you think works best?” I hesitated, suspecting it was a setup.Before I could venture a reply, he volunteered, “You think it’s the first, the emptying and the washing, but it’s not. The gradual approach is more thorough in the long run.”
……………………………………………….~From Radical Healing by Rudolph Ballentine, M.D.
Facing a diagnosis or treatment plan for an illness like hepatitis C can be overwhelming because with that diagnosis or symptoms of this serious condition also comes a feeling of powerlessness over your body and ultimately over your life.Hepatitis C is a complicated and insidious virus involving much more than just the liver, and there are many things to educate yourself about.
You’ll have decisions to make about your treatment plan. Will you choose traditional therapy and interferon, alternative treatments, or a combination of both? As a certified chef who has been working with the special diet population for 20 years, I find that people truly heal best when they have hope and when they feel as if they themselves are most responsible for their own health. They adopt the attitude that their practitioners are partners in their healing journey, and they choose the therapies and healers that work best for them.
Clean Up Your Diet
One thing that is dramatic in both empowering people and bringing rapid, physical relief is a cleansing diet. A gentle and consistent cleanse with foods not only takes the load off the liver to process food, it improves digestion, cleans the lymphatic system, and energizes and strengthens the immune system. It can be used with both traditional and alternative medicine. A competent cleansing program will include enzyme therapy, alkalize the body with vegetables, cleanse all the toxins from the body, and help restructure the body’s defenses. The drastic improvement in well-being offers hope, and hope is the spark that ignites the process of healing.
There is an emerging group of doctors who are blazing a trail in a new methodology of healing. They are medical doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors, and biologists. There are centers around the country that deal with cleansing the body of toxins, such as the Hippocrates Institute in Florida, Bastyr University’s Hepatitis C Clinic north of Seattle, the Gonzalez clinic in New York, and the Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat.
These centers are producing miracles, and practitioners of all kinds are following the advice of this new breed of physician—physicians like research biologist Robert Young, naturopathic doctor Hulda Clark, Dr. Rudolph Ballentine, author of Radical Healing, and Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, known for his break with conventional medicine in treating cancer patients and others with chronic diseases with methods like coffee enemas and enzyme therapy.
The advice they share is not new—Hippocrates advocated a plant-based diet 2,500 years ago, along with pure water, sunshine, rest, and fresh air. He believed that the body would heal itself if nurtured with these conditions. What is new is the level of research. It takes physics and microbiology to a very new and exciting level—one that can help patients with chronic illnesses.
How Your Body Cleanses
To understand how a cleanse works, you should have a basic understanding of how the body cleanses itself. It is a miraculous process. Our bodies cleanse primarily through the colon, skin, lungs, and bladder. Assisting these four primary ways of elimination are the liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system.
The liver is responsible for most of the body’s detoxification. It processes and converts the body’s fuel supply from foods. It breaks down fats and detoxifies substances like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, pesticides on produce, drugs, antibiotics, unfiltered water, chemicals, and additives in processed foods. If the liver is overworked or not functioning properly, it can’t convert toxins into waste matter for elimination, and you can end up literally poisoning yourself—a process called autointoxication.
The liver is the organ with the most enzyme systems, and it is enzymes that enable it to do its job well. Factors that stress the liver are improper digestion (a result of eating cooked and processed foods), yeast overgrowth, parasites, fats in the diet, dehydration, and inadequate water intake. Clark, author of The Cure For All Diseases says, “One-hundred percent of all cancer patients have parasites in the liver.
Cleansing the liver is the most powerful procedure you can do to improve your body’s health.” She says you must also cleanse the body by getting rid of all toxins in the body, including amalgam and polluted water—that is, water with heavy metals or PCBs. After following her protocol at her clinic for two to three weeks, she says, “Patients simply don’t have the virus present in their bodies anymore.” Watching Your pH A program that cleanses the liver removes those substances from a diet that would normally require the liver to work harder.
This means adding live enzymes to the diet rather than depleting them from the liver and alkalizing the body. Both goals are accomplished with fresh, organic vegetables. Young says, “There is only one illness, one disease—and that disease is improper pH balance in the body due to an acidic environment. You cannot separate disease from acidity.”
He goes on to say, “Our health can be measured in only one way, whether our tissues are more acidic in pH or more alkaline. The body becomes acidic by our eating, drinking, and thinking.” According to his research, when the body utilizes food at the cellular level, it leaves an ash that is either acid or alkaline in nature. If the ash is alkaline, it is easily handled by the body and used for fuel-energy and repair. If it is acidic, it acts as a toxin, and the stress placed upon the body leads towards decline and eventual disease.
When the tissues in the body are alkaline, microbes within the body are inert or they regenerate and repair, but when tissues are acidic they take on the natural role of decomposing the body. The body becomes diseased. The average American diet is mostly acidic. Foods that are acidic are meats, soft drinks, yeasted breads, coffee, tea, cheeses, dairy products, sugars, most fruits, and all fried and junk food. Foods that are alkaline are vegetables and legumes.
With regard to any disease of the liver, including cancer and hepatitis, Young says, “In an alkaline environment, the liver is capable of regenerating itself—in six weeks you can have a brand new liver.” He compares our bodies to that of a fish in a fishbowl. “The fish is only as sick as the water it lives in,” Young says. “If you change the water in a fishbowl, the fish gets well. Since our bodies are 70 percent fluid, changing the fluid environment changes our health, and you do that with your foods, drinks, and thinking.”
The Internal Environment
Lloyd Katz, a chiropractic doctor in Amherst, Va., agrees. “Louis Pasteur was on his deathbed when he admitted that the terrain is more important than the bug. Our diet is essentially everything we take into our body—food, drink, air, our thoughts, even what we watch on television.” Dr. Katz says he has seen people who had to be carried in to treatment and had lost hair due to chemotherapy and were “as weak as kittens” regain their health in only weeks from raw foods and wheat grass enemas. “It is truly amazing what the body is able to do when cleansed and provided with the right environment.”
Proper digestion is essential for a healthy liver and begins in the mouth with the enzymes produced by the chewing process. As we age, our stomachs are less capable of producing the enzymes that help break down food. All enzymes in foods are destroyed above 117 degrees Fahrenheit. Without enzymes, proteins (amino acids) are difficult to digest. Keeping the colon clean is essential for a cleanse.
This is accomplished by adding fiber to your diet, drinking lots of water, chewing everything well, and taking at least a brisk walk every day. Some people might benefit by seeing a colon therapist. Jeremy Rodrock, a chiropractic doctor from Baldwin City, Kan., concentrates on digestion as a way to improve immunity with his patients who have HCV. “Mainstream treatments for hepatitis C suppress the immune system,” he says. “I usually recommend raw fruits and vegetables for the antioxidants and the fiber. I also tell my patients to avoid all ‘white’ foods—anything with white flour or any product that has been bleached. White foods tend to have chemicals because they are processed.”
Michael Taylor is a biologist and microscopist—he looks closely at blood samples of people to determine what kind of microbes are present in the body. He says there is a whole new vocabulary necessary with this new thought of “bio-ecology.” Taylor says the most important thing a person with HCV can do is “realize the body strives to heal itself daily. Remove the things supporting the microbes within the terrain, and replace it with whole foods as a supplement to rebalance.” He also stressed that you should recognize denial or resistance to change and eliminate it.
Foods For Health
A cleanse should consist of mostly raw foods, simple proteins, such as beans and legumes, whole grains, fish, and lots of pure water. Cleansing will starve the overgrowth of yeast present and balance the body’s pH through foods that alkalize. Raw foods are freshly harvested foods that are not cooked or processed in any way. These foods are packed with fully functioning enzymes that help your body with digestion. For disease prevention, five servings of vegetables a day are recommended by such organizations as the American Dietetic Association and American Cancer Society.
Through Dr. Young’s research, it is easy to understand why. He advocates an 80/20 ratio of raw foods to cooked foods. You can get four to five servings of vegetables in two cups of freshly juiced vegetables. Buying a juicer is the best investment you can make in your health, he says. Wheat grass juice is an excellent cleanser.
Don’t stop with the juice, however. Eat small and frequent meals to keep your calorie intake up and add more vegetables, raw or lightly steamed—like zucchini, braised cabbage, or fresh tomato and cucumber salad—along with green drinks, whole grains, and plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, chickpeas, soy, and nuts.
Use herbs and spices liberally. Avoid sugar and even most fruits when you cleanse, because the sugar causes a yeast overgrowth and makes you crave more sugar. Breads with yeast should be avoided, but sprouted breads are available at health food stores and flatbreads are easy to make. Stevia can be used in place of other sweeteners and does not contribute to the growth of yeast. Include essential fatty acids such as flaxseed oil or hemp oil.
Avoid caffeine. Grain coffee tastes similar and does not affect the body’s pH the way that coffee does. Herb teas are wonderful, especially mate and lapacho. Nut milks are delicious, easy to make, and great for cleansing. Include lots of fresh water—the rule is one ounce of purified water per pound of body weight. Green powders also are fabulous for the liver. Smoothies made from soy, rice milk or hemp; green powders, protein powder, and natural flavorings satisfy your cravings while keeping up your protein intake.
The green powders are easy to digest and are full of enzymes. Smoothies are fast and easy to make, and they go a long way in helping your body cleanse and rebuild. The Natural Way To Eat The Hippocrates Institute in Florida is known for its persistent and steadfast education on raw foods. General manager Reenie Brewer says, “I see miracles here every day.
People come in with walkers and canes, and they get well. It’s all accomplished through their efforts to stop putting into their bodies the things that don’t belong there and replace them with the things that do.”
If you are used to meat and potatoes or daily fast food, a cleansing diet will be very different. It is, in fact, a most natural way to eat.
It is time for us to learn to eat to live instead of living to eat. This is not really a diet, but a process. It is a choice to be proactive in improving your own health, immunity, and energy levels. People often ask how long they should eat this way.
It should be slow, gradual, and consistent—a lifelong journey. You don’t have to declare yourself a vegetarian to benefit from a diet that is 80 percent raw. If you find yourself feeling much better, you won’t mind getting creative with veggies, grains, and legumes. There are cookbooks on raw foods that contain recipes for raw, enzyme rich, dehydrated foods.
You can even make bread and pizza this way. As you cleanse the body and starve the yeast, you may find that you no longer crave sugar, hamburgers, and coffee. Below you’ll find some recipes that will help you cleanse, will alkalize your body, and are rich in enzymes.
To your health, to your liver, and to hope!
Kerri Buckley is a freelance writer and certified chef from Kansas City. She wrote this while living in Ocean Shores, Washington, and now lives in Oregon. Email her at email@example.com
This article came from HEPATITIS MAGAZINE© 2002
The pH Miracle Center