Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tom Heals Mom?

My Mom is in the hospital with elevated ammonia levels caused by liver malfunction. I asked the ICU nurse today how we were supposed to know what appropriate food for her would be, upon her return home. His answer was that it wasn't too important to worry about, since the cause of this particular ammonia issue was internal bleeding, caused by an impaired liver digesting blood. Her diet is always important as a diabetic and more so now, with limited liver function. The doctor even mentioned the idea of getting a liver transplant.

According to Livestrong.com, "Since the liver plays such a large role in our body's functions, eating food to support it is critical."

That's for a normal health maintenance type of situation. Proactive healing of the liver will take at least 2 years to complete, according to this blog.

Cirrhosis of the liver is also a term being thrown around in regards to dear old mum. "To overcome these problems, drugs can only play a limited role that is mostly concerned with the control of symptoms. To treat the underlying causes we need to turn to the power of nutritional medicine."

Several sites have mentioned the harmfulness of artificial sweeteners to the liver as well as fatty meats. Both are regulars in mom's diet. Seems we need to boost her intake of fresh raw fruits and veggies for cleansing and easily assimilated, bioavailable, simple proteins. Bleeding Esophageal Varices, a symptom of advanced liver disease, caused the ammonia problem in the first place; increased roughage would probably irritate that problem. Which brings me to juice...because I'm kinda juice obsessed at the moment.

With fresh veggie juice, higher doses of diverse micronutrients can be absorbed quicker. A juice fast with limited fruits would be optimal to keep blood sugar under control. Kale has relatively high protein, which also helps stabilize blood sugar, and is an excellent cleanser. Thankfully it is the perfect season to go into a juice fast and I can use all my first hand experience to help.

For example, we stopped by the Land o Lakes Produce Market again today and grabbed a huge pile of veggies for about $30. I've been behind on my juicing and my craving was re-inspired by Mom's situation. These juicing pics show about one tenth of the produce we bought. If you take out the fruit, I estimate $30 would pay for about a week's worth of veg easily, or $4ish per day.

Beets, Lemon, Celery, and Cabbage were on several Liver Detox lists.
4 stalks celery, 1 whole beet, 2 peppers, half a small cabbage, 1 whole lemon, and bunch of cilantro.

All those veggies in about 3 glasses worth- took me about 30 minutes to drink casually.

Aside from raw veg, onions, garlic and red peppers are all highly beneficial to the liver and retain a lot of those properties when cooked (sulfur, for example). Cooked garlic and onions can make almost any veggie taste better and add a bunch of dimension. I'm tempted to go on the diet along with her for moral support...IF she would even consider drinking some beet juice every day.


  1. Juicing is horribly time consuming & expensive. The right amount of fruits & vegetables is what we lack most in our diets. It affects ALL functions in our bodies because over time, the lack of nutrition breaks those systems down. Diabetes is one of the most common problems.

    Everything you are referring to is what I've learned from "Juice Plus", which contains the most concentrated nutritious fruits, vegetables & grains, some of which some are difficult to find in the stores. They've already figured out the balance of what our bodies need. More & more doctors are getting behind it, including local doctors here in Brevard County. Here's a link to the published scientific research:

    You are on the right path for sure...nutrition is the key!

    1. First off, thanks for being my first feedbacker ever on my blog :)

      I am really interested in learning more about Juice Plus- the two shakes I've tried have tasted great, but I haven't consistently added Juice Plus to my routine enough to notice any effects. Veg juice does give a noticeable boost in my mood, energy, and ability to focus my thoughts when I drink it daily. Juice Plus may have similar effects at a lower cost and easier application- I just haven't done it yet.

      Juicing so far has not been hard at all and not especially expensive. Yesterday at the produce market we arrived right before closing and the guy kept dumping free stuff in our bag to get it out of his way! (at least 2 extra pints of strawberries and some herbs) It's been exciting to experiment and cleanup is very easy with my juicer. I've seen juicers with hydraulic pulp presses to yield more, which would obviously save money over time, but my pulp comes out pretty dry and I'm going to start composting it for my herb garden- that's a story for another blog.

      The only benefit I see to juicing over Juice Plus would be fine tuning specific nutrients. Beet juice, for example, has excellent ratios of nutrients to cleanse the liver and increase blood quality. Someone with a specific liver issue and low hemoglobin count, like my Mom right now, might benefit from beet juice in addition to a baseline regimen of Juice Plus, to account for a greater nutritional deficit in some areas.

      Just thinking out loud...