In autumn, the liver element in Chinese medicine becomes active. The liver holds the element of wood, and it relates to anger (among other things) in our personality. As the seasons change and the pressure and temperature fluctuate, our liver can be taxed, resulting in irritation and anger…short tempers and stressed immune systems as we head into winter.

Aside from it being “liver time” why should we detox?

The organs of the body are constantly working to separate nutrients from waste, and the ingestion of our normal diets rarely gives the body a break in this arduous task.  When we clean up the food, our bodies naturally work less hard on separating out the junk.  We therefore have more energy for healing and replenishing our tissues and our energy stores. Cleansing or detoxing periodically prevents our bodies from getting run-down, and from toxins building up in the system and causing health problems down the line.

This soup can be made and enjoyed throughout the autumn days, and is delicious as well as incredibly healing. It is recommended that we enjoy this soup for lunch or dinner, and the other meal be a warm salad of gently cooked greens, some brown rice and other vegetables sprinkled with olive oil and salt and pepper. At the end of the post are some other ideas to help support a gentle and easy cleanse.

The Soup:

In large soup pot, heat 2 T butter and 1 T olive oil

Cut up: 1 large onion, 3 large carrots and 3 stalks of celery and place into pot, letting cook for at least 5 minutes over medium heat, until onions sweat.

Add 3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely diced, 1 t salt, 1/2 t pepper, as well as 1 T ground turmeric; continue to cook another 5 minutes

Add 2 cups of chopped orange vegetables: Sweet potato, butternut squash, acorn squash, etc (any combination may be used)

Add 1/2 cup of quinoa

Add 3 cups of water or vegetable broth.

Let simmer for at least an hour, letting vegetables cook and flavors mellow. 10 Minutes before serving, add 3 cups of chopped kale or other tough, leafy green (chard is also great, and spinach…or any combination).  Stir in the greens and allow to cook down a bit.

Serve in large bowls with an extra drizzle of olive oil on the top.

Other Liver Detox Tips:

Start the morning and finish the evening with a cup of warm water, lemon and cinnamon.  I actually suggest making a large batch in a big mason jar, and letting it steep overnight. Leave it on the counter and then pour off 4-6 oz at a time, combine with 2 oz boiling water for a warm treat.  This drink gentle supports  the liver function and cleans the blood as well as flushes the organs of waste.

To support your cleanse:

Drink water throughout the day.

Fast until lunch (and lunch is either the soup or a warm salad including some brown rice or quinoa)

Snack on fresh fruit, almonds and other nuts and seeds.

Dinner: finish eating at least 2 hours before you are sleeping.  Eat a warm, moderate meal.  I love to gently steam or stir fry broccoli, cauliflower, red or green bell pepper and leafy greens for a few moments and eat it over a bed of brown rice.  I season with tamari, some hot sauce or chili  flakes, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Whatever feels right that has no sugar and is not processed. You can also cook an egg sunny-side up and place it on top of the whole dish, Korean-style.

You should eat until you are pleasantly full, but not stuffed. This requires some paying attention! Make meals just about eating, as much as you can. Put away phones, sit at the table, and enjoy your food! In America, we have cultivated a culture that is NOT content with sitting and enjoying the pleasure of a good meal.  If we can start cultivating mindfulness and focus in our food habits and HOW we eat, cultivating it in the rest of our lives becomes possible and maybe even enjoyable! You will notice you don’t need as much food to satisfy you. You will notice what your body needs, and what food actually tastes GOOD.  Things change when we begin to pay attention, and that makes balancing the system easy and enjoyable, rather than a chore.

Try this pattern, or a version of it, for 3 weeks!  The idea is: no caffeine, alcohol, or sugar.  Limit dairy and grains. Rest well, move often, and enjoy your body re-setting itself.

Blessings and ease,


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