Want to feel totally transformed in just three days? “All you have to do is speed-clean your liver,” insists Columbia University–trained women’s health guru Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D. “Your liver has over 500 different jobs, many crucial to making a woman look and feel her best.”
When you’re fatigued or gaining weight, it often means the organ is struggling. “I use ingredients that take a classic liver detox to a new level. It quickly rejuvenates liver function, so energy levels explode, immunity is turbocharged, nagging inflammation and pain go away.” Another impressive benefit: “It helps your liver eliminate excess hormones that cause irritability, so even your mood lifts.” Bloat loss and fat loss also surge.
The liver functions as a mini processing plant for virtually everything that comes into or goes out of our systems — including food, alcohol, medication, pollutants, old cells, “used” hormones, and more. If that sounds like a lot, it is.
In today’s world, there can be such an influx, the organ simply can’t keep up. “This is especially an issue for anyone who eats a lot of sugar and starch,” says Cleveland Clinic functional medicine expert Mark Hyman, M.D., a fan of Gittleman’s approach. “Both sugar and starch accelerate fat production in the liver, and if that fat can’t be moved out fast enough, it gets trapped.” As these fat deposits build up, the organ’s function slows and metabolism tanks, toxins and viruses linger inside us, blood sugar and cholesterol regulation falter, and vitamins and minerals go unabsorbed. “The impact usually leaves people too exhausted for a big lifestyle change,” notes Gittleman. “So I looked at the science and began experimenting with doable, real-world strategies that deliver big relief for the least effort.”
How it Works
The three-day plan Gittleman shares below is built around smoothies and juice, “because food in liquid form is not only easy to prepare, it’s easier for the liver to handle. So it gives your liver a nice rest,” she explains. “At the same time, these drinks are packed with compounds proven to enhance liver health and function.” Take coconut oil, for example. Research shows that, unlike other oils, it ignites while still in the liver, creating heat that helps melt fat deposits and boost metabolism up to 50 percent. Meanwhile, tomato, lemon, and cranberry juices contain acids that help eat away at liver fat; as a slimming bonus, they’re all rich in vitamin C, a nutrient proven to boost overall fat burning by 20 percent.
Then there’s Gittleman’s secret weapon: lecithin, a special fat found in foods like eggs and soy. “We need lecithin to maintain the structure of every cell in the body. It’s essential for healing head to toe,” she says. “Lecithin also acts like detergent, dissolving fat in the blood and fat clogging the liver.”
Gittleman says she first realized the power of this smoothie mix-in when she asked volunteers to test it. “Everyone was stunned,” she recalls. “They suddenly felt like a million bucks. And even lumpy cellulite, which is the hardest fat to lose, started disappearing.”
Research backs her up. In one university study, dieters given a lecithin-based supplement almost immediately doubled fat loss, leading scientists to conclude it can “rapidly reduce body mass without any side effects.” During a liquid detox, Gittleman says she sees best results from sunflower-based lecithin.
Bonus: You’ll drink plenty of cranberry juice, a trick that stimulates the lymph system. “As liver function improves and you begin eliminating more toxins, lymph carries them out of your body faster,” she says. “On an ordinary detox, the toxins are moving on along stagnant pathways, and it makes you tired. Cranberry opens those pathways, so toxins are whisked away, and you feel invigorated!” For more information, visit AnnLouise.com
3-Day Liver Detox Guide and Recipes
To speed-detox your liver, enjoy each of the drinks here twice a day for three days. Sip additional cran-water all day; nibble jicama, carrot or celery as desired. On day four, switch to three daily meals, each with eight ounces of cooked lean protein, 1 serving of seeds or healthy oil, unlimited veggies and a little fruit. Continue to drink cranwater often. As always, get a doctor’s okay to try a new plan.
Metabolizer Cocktail: Blitz 8 oz. low-sodium V8, ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup spinach, ¼ cup parsley, 1 tsp. garlic, 1⁄8 tsp. cayenne, 1⁄8 tsp. turmeric, 2 tsp. flax oil, 1 Tbs. chia and ice.
Skinny Smoothie: Blitz ½ cup kale, ½ cup berries, ¼ cup protein powder, 1 Tbs. lecithin, 1 Tbs. chia, 1 Tbs. coconut oil, 1 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice, 1 cup water and ice.
Cran-Water: Mix 28 oz. water and 4 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice (such as Knudsen or Trader Joe’s brands). Add optional berries to garnish.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.