August: Letting Go of Summer Toxins By Rena Unger

Photo by: Rena Unger

“As I see it, every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself.” ~ Adelle Davis

When you think of summer, healthier days come to mind. Summer weather warmly welcomes an increase in outdoor activity. Fun in the sun = Vitamin D, the ultimate mood up-lifter. So why are many of us feeling a bit sluggish and run down? With an increase of activity, our bodies will naturally crave an increase in carbohydrates, the energy fuel macronutrient. Even though summer also brings an abundance of delicious fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs to enjoy, we moreover encounter summer pitfalls with an increase of outdoor drinking, barbecues and picnics that offer quick grabs at cocktails, beer, ice cream, chips, sodas, sugary sweets, and other foods that we know do not benefit our overall being.

Under the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, the liver and gallbladder govern our body’s purification. The liver and gallbladder work hand in hand to break down the “toxic” substances we consume including alcohol, chemicals, drugs, fried oils/food, processed food, sugar and poor quality animal proteins. TCM would suggest springtime as the most appropriate season for a detox/cleanse and the season of liver and gallbladder energy. I believe the human body itself is a detox machine. When there is an input be it air, water or food, the body naturally processes the input and discards the toxins through waste/elimination. When we overload the body with toxins stress is create and altering your input can help aid our own natural process.

Changing your everyday diet is the best place to start.  This will provide a strong foundation for healing the body inside out.  Even when food is not the primary cause of the issue, it can help reverse the damage.

Detox diets should include foods that are:

  • nutrient dense
  • naturally low in fat
  • high in fiber
  • high in water content
  • devoid of harmful chemicals, preservatives and additives

Boost Your Natural Detox Process:

  • Gradually transition on and off a detox plan

o   Rushed detoxing can promote withdrawal symptoms, colds, profuse sweating, headaches, loose bowels & rapid skin discharge – by creating a rapid release of built up toxins

  • Listen to your body, know when you are pushing it too hard

o   If you are light headed, fatigued, angry, irritable and unable to function “normally”, get off

  • Temporarily change your diet with fasting, cleansing, juicing or to raw foods
  • Eliminate  of outside/environmental toxins
  • Daily exercise – our liver is filled with blood and exercise keeps the blood moving throughout our body
  • Meditation/Yoga – detox for the mind!

Is “Detox” For Everyone?

No. Detox plans should not be administered by those with terminal illness, thyroid disease, eating disorders, pregnant/nursing women and children.  It is always a good idea to consult with your physician or holistic health practitioner before beginning any plan.

Eat well!

Rena Unger

Holistic Nutrition Chef ~ Culinary Educator ~ Yoga Teacher ~ Sacred Living Guide ~ Doula


Seven Day Liver Cleanse

I recommend the below Seven Day Liver Cleanse to many of my clients looking to support and cleanse their liver during the spring. This cleanse can be found in Chinese Medicine For Maximum Immunity by Jason Elias and Katherine Ketcham. It is a gentler adaptation of the Master Cleanse, which I have found to be harsh on the body.

Every day

  •  Drink at least 8 oz of Special Lemonade
  •  1 tsp of crushed psyllium husks or seeds with water or juice
  •  30 minutes of gentle activity

Days 1-7

  • Days 1 & 2: eat only raw, juiced or steamed fruits and vegetables, spiced to taste.  Eat all that you want and use cold pressed evoo and lemon juice for dressing
  • Day 3: Drink only fruit juice and water and at least 4X 8 oz servings of Special Lemonade
  • Day 4: Liver Cleanse Day: Drink a minimum of 4 glasses of Special Lemonade and water.  Before bed take 2 tbsp of evoo followed by a glass of Special Lemonade
  • Day 5: Same as day 3
  • Day 6 & 7: Same as days 1 & 2

Special Lemonade:

8 oz of Water

Juice of 1 Lemon or Lime

1/10 tsp cayenne powder

1-2 tbsp 100% Maple Syrup


If a seven day cleanse sounds daunting to you or doesn’t feel “right”, try guiding yourself to a simple introduction into your regular diet that will aid and support your body’s own detoxification. This is a drink I have daily:

Daily Detox Drink – in a 32 ounce bottle add (ingredients pictured):

8oz Distilled Aloe Vera

½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp maple syrup or honey

1 tbsp organic green powder

1 tsp chlorella powder

1 tsp spirulina powder

¼ tsp turmeric

Fill to the top with spring water


Photo by: Rena Unger

Daily Detox Drink

Shake and enjoy!