Author Archives: justsarahg

Being Pretty In A Patriarchy

I remember being very young and being told how pretty I was in my new dress or with my hair tied up in a bow. People say this to little girls. “Oh, how pretty you are!” I suppose it’s a nice thing to say. At least, the intent is well meaning. Little children know when you are giving them praise, even before they understand the meaning behind what you say. Their faces light up and you can see how proud they are when they hear you speak to them in this manner.

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Little Sarah, age four

It’s interesting to me that from the very beginning, my gender role was being played out with these attitudes from the world around me. People don’t tell little boys they’re pretty. I’m sure a lot of people would think it silly. They call boys “handsome” or “strong” but not “pretty.”

“Pretty” is for girls.

Being complimented this way taught me that being pretty was a good thing. After all, compliments are for pointing out positive attributes. I know that seems like a silly statement, but my point is, being pretty was one of the first things I learned about my worth to the world around me. It gets pretty heavy when you think about it that way.

Delving into it a bit farther, this is in part evolutionary for us as humans. In the animal kingdom, an attractive animal benefits in finding a potential mate. The more “attractive” to their counterparts, the more desireable this animal becomes to all potential mates. When looking at it from this aspect, humankind doesn’t appear to have strayed too far from our prehistoric predecessors. We are cognizant beings who are still, in large part, controlled by animalistic instincts rather than our intellect.

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Sexualizing women in advertisements

Our society doesn’t help much on that front, either. In a consumerist society, everybody wants to sell us something. They need it to be catching, and make us want to buy whatever they’re offering. It’s a simple fact that sex sells. But as a whole, marketing that utilizes this sexuality is pummeling us with subliminal messages from a young age (whether that’s the intent or not) which doesn’t simply utilize our animal instincts to sell us things: it manifests them.

Before We Go Any Further..

Remember this gross article for Cosmopolitan where the author bragged about how hot she thought she was, and pretended to complain about it? That’s not my intent here. So I am going to disclaimer this, ad nauseam, to avoid sounding like this has anything to do with bragging.

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Personally, think I’m a fairly cute girl. I think it’s okay for me to admit that. Like the rest of us, I know I wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea. There’s that old saying, “you could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there will always be somebody who hates peaches.” So I get that. I guess my point is-  I don’t have an inflated ego like the girl who wrote that article did.

I also have spent most of my time in makeup and clothes that, in my opinion, help me look prettier. A secret about that? I don’t know if I’m that pretty just in sweats at home, because I don’t get that publicly affirmed for me. So I don’t know how much of this is just genetic, or my own personal sweat, blood, and tears. Talk about self esteem… yikes. (My boyfriend tells me I look great either way, like all good boyfriends are supposed to.)

I do know that people do tell me I’m pretty. Not everyone in every second, but it’s enough to feel like I can explain what being “pretty in a patriarchy” has been like for me, and not get eaten alive by the internet for it. (I’m crossing my fingers on that one.)

Striving For Beauty

So not only was I taught that my looks were important- I was shown growing up that being pretty was a legitimate aspiration. I played with Barbies, and loved watching Disney movies with princesses. All thin, young, and beautiful with perfect hair and makeup. I didn’t need to be taught what made a woman pretty. I saw it and accepted it unquestioningly.

I also grew up in a pretty typical, traditional family. It was an environment where comments were made about women- especially fatter women- which taught me that this was certainly not desirable. It’s funny noticing, now that I’m older, that these comments were never made about men. Who can complain about this? This is how the media is, too. It’s just a representation of the society we’re in. That attitude is not abnormal by any means. Though, highly problematic, as it were.

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There’s me at age nine, in the red dress

I remember being eight years old and writing in a journal about what I would ask for if I was granted “three wishes.” Do you know what my number one wish was? To grow up to be beautiful. This was my ultimate wish for myself as a human being. I don’t even remember what my other wishes were.

I remember being scared of growing up and being fat. I didn’t know what kind of adult I’d be, and I was afraid that once I got older, I wouldn’t care about my weight anymore. I already heard womanly gossip about girlfriends who’d “let themselves go.” My childhood didn’t revolve around my weight since I was already a very skinny kid, but it was a concept that I was aware of. This helped manifest itself as an eating disorder in my teen years.

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High school- senior prom. I was a bottle-blonde for years until I discovered people didn’t treat me like such an idiot as a brunette

Another thing that happened in my teen years? I discovered a lot of things about developing. Wearing makeup, high heels, and attractive clothing. For a second time in my life, I got positive attention for my appearance. I was validated by the world around me that I was attractive. It felt great, because this is what I was striving for.

If you’re familiar with any of my past posts, you will have seen that I wasn’t aware of the implications of these charges. I knew I could get boys’ attention (which I did want) but I didn’t know that wearing a crop top or a push up bra made them think about sex to the extent that they did. How could I know that? I didn’t know that it sent a message about my availability. I grew up watching women dress this way on tv and people on the shows reacted positively towards these women. If those sexual implications were there on all the shows I’d seen, I certainly hadn’t been aware of it yet.

But the strangest thing happened. Along with validation from males, I was heavily judged by adults and my parents, who knew these implications. They reprimanded my clothing choices (without explaining any of it) and treated me like it represented my character, or my morality. Which it certainly did not. I’ll be honest and say that these experiences still anger me, to some extent. I don’t think it was fair. But it was a precursor to the lesson I would learn: that when you’re pretty, your appearance is all most people pay attention to.

Judgements By Women

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Modeling for a comic con (photo credit Tom Nguyen (http://tomnguyenstudio.com) This is me in a sexualized ad, too!

If you haven’t reached this conclusion by now, I’ll explain to you that one clear premise of this article is that in our society, we are taught that beautiful women are superior to other women. I definitely don’t think it’s true, but it’s a belief that fuels women’s strife towards attractiveness. We want to be the one all the other girls want to be.

But the media affects women’s attitudes towards each other, too. Have you noticed that all the mean girls in cliques on tv are beautiful? And the main character, Susie Every Girl, isn’t as pretty, but she has a winning personality that shines through. “You can’t have both,” they seem to say.

Years back, I was at a bar once with a guy friend, and we were laughing and joking all night with a group who was sitting next to us. “Not to be an asshole or anything,” one of the girls later came over and said to me, “but you’re like, way too pretty to be this nice.” I laughed. It seemed as though she meant this to be a compliment.

I have had many girl friends and for all the negative experiences, there are positive ones, too. But my friendships have never been spurred by looks. I have, however, had a few friendships that formed in spite of it. Because to some people, it really matters.

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Mostly though (on the occasions when my appearance matters in the exchange at all) women have judged me more than men have. Actually, let’s put it this way- their judgements on me have been harsher and more hurtful. I think that when we, as humans, feel inferior to someone, it seems like a natural instinct to want to tear the other person down in some way. (Usually we just do this in our own heads. “She may be smart but she’s not as funny as me.” That sort of thing.) It makes you feel less bad about yourself, because it uses the belief that you have a strength where they have a weakness- so you’re not inferior anymore. Name calling and judgemental attitudes are the main weapon women like to use against the pretty girls. At least in my experience. And they love to whisper to each other when you do, say, or wear anything that isn’t perfect.

I spent a lot of my younger years being extra smiley and extra friendly in an effort to overcompensate for this treatment. I didn’t blame other women for their perspectives. I just wanted them to feel comfortable with me. I noticed that often any displayal of confidence or intelligence seemed to make other girls less comfortable. Because that seemed to make me “less likeable” I did not open this part of myself up to the world for many years. It affected my self esteem in the way that I had many friends and peers who saw me as a dumb, albeit nice, but nothing special otherwise. I have since ceased worrying about this and while I do make less friends, but I feel better about myself as a person.

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We, as females, all live in this oppressive world with each other. We’re on the same team, in my opinion. I was subject to the same insecurities and the same judgements as anyone else. The fact that I wear heels and you wear sneakers doesn’t mean I’m a bitch, or a ditz, or the enemy.

For that matter, pretty girls need to stop acting superior, too. You’re just acting out the stereotype that people have already pegged you with. No matter the cards you’ve been dealt in life, being unkind diminishes each and every one of your positive attributes, as far as I’m concerned.

Judgements By Men

Most men I’ve spoken to about this concept agree- they think women want to be beautiful for them. Whether they think it’s simply for sex or to land a husband, or whatever the end goal may be, that’s when the answers will start to vary. But one thing remains true- they think all the heels, the clothes, the makeup is to be attractive to men.

You can’t blame them for this, when you think back to the “animal instincts” part of the argument. Yes, it’s true, being pretty does help a girl find a guy. You also can’t blame them when you think back to our society. Movies, shows, and advertisements show beautiful, coquettish woman who are all about sex.

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Something I’ve been trying desperately to convey to guys I speak to about this is that it’s so much bigger than that. You think I spend 40 minutes getting ready before I go out just to be a treat for your dick? If you think that’s true, then you’ve been spending your life watching too much tv- and frankly- you don’t really know that much about women.

I was walking through Target one day in high school and two teenage boys walked by. “Too much makeup for me,” said one to the other. I wanted to turn around and say, “Don’t flatter yourself. I’m out of your league with or without the makeup,” but then… there’s that ego I told you I didn’t have.

I am so tired of hearing that men prefer the “natural look” I could pull my hair out. In that respect, I honestly don’t care what you prefer. I feel beautiful, and powerful, and fierce as hell with some good makeup. That’s my goal. I achieved my goal with my red lipstick. Middle finger in the air.

The thing is, most of us can get guys with or without the makeup. Don’t think we’re confused about that. You men are not all as picky as you pretend to me. Additionally, for any of the comments I’ve heard, I have never been turned down for wearing too much makeup yet. Not once in my entire life. And I am a girl who loves her makeup.

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Just adding this one because it was vixen-ish?

On top of that, I’ll let you in on something I’ve noticed in my life. Men view me a little more as a girl-next-door type without the makeup. But I’m viewed as more of a vixen when I wear it. And it doesn’t matter if I’m at a club or a grocery store- it never fails- men of all ages are extra friendly and helpful to the vixen.

Who Am I?

My quest for beauty and confidence in this world has really mixed me up about myself. This is my real, number one purpose for writing this post. To explain that for all beautiful women get glamorized, and idolized, and worshipped, I am worse off for it. Worse off as a human being.

I tell you truly that we are all victims of society, and I am part of that. Not because I’m judged. No, it’s much more unfortunate than even judgement and bullying.

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True happiness. That’s me on the bottom of the dog pile. I think this better shows who I am instead of just how I look.

I want to be really honest and acknowledge openly that even today, beauty is my number one aspiration. Isn’t that so fucked? As a feminist, I enjoy feeling beautiful, so I allow myself to feel empowered by my choices. On the other hand, I know that it’s superficial and oppressive, and I wish I could wake up one day and decide that being pretty no longer matters to me. But it’s so deeply ingrained, I’m not sure this is something I even know how to fight within myself. My internal beliefs about myself have mostly solidified in my 27 years of life.

The bleak, grave truth of it all is that all beauty fades. We all age. Of all the attributes that all of us possess, this is the only one thing that you cannot keep. Do you know what that means for a pretty girl in a patriarchy?

I won’t know who I am or what I’m worth when it all leaves me.

I Went Gluten-Free For One Whole Year, And This Is What Happened

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Like many people, I am interested in my health. This is particularly true when it comes to my nutrition, because that is a special interest of mine. So naturally, with the trending topic of gluten and its affects on our bodies, I was on board. I read Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis and The Beauty Detox by Kimberly Snyder (of whom I’d already been a long-time fan, and whose beliefs about gluten reinforced this decision for me).

A few facts about this. Gluten is a protein that is incredibly difficult for your body to digest. This is true whether you’re celiac, intolerant, or if you eat pasta twice a day. Doesn’t matter- the fact is, it’s harder on your system than some other food elements are. This part of the argument, no one denies. That’s actually what makes it inflammatory for your digestive system. To what degree it is inflammatory, and when that becomes a concern, is up for debate. Wheat is also one of the most pesticide-heavy crops that are out there. See “The Real Reason For Toxic Wheat (It’s Not Gluten).” (Some people believe this to be the real reason why people are so sensitive to it.)

It was difficult to go from my normal meals to gluten-free at first. There’s actually a LOT of gluten in the foods that we eat on a day-to-day basis. So the first step was to stock up on a lot of gluten-free alternatives in the form of chips, crackers, pizzas, and the like.

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The first thing I noticed was a lack of bloating. I was so impressed by my flat stomach in the first three days that I was really convinced I’d found the miracle cure. Alas, like all miracles, after the first few days the normal flux of food-babies returned. I’m still curious whether this was related to cutting out gluten or not, as I had not been doing anything else differently at the time, nor was I eating any less than usual (or so I felt).

During these first few days I was also accompanied with a headache. It wasn’t massive and it wasn’t anything an aspirin or two couldn’t take care of, but it was constant and lasted a few solid days. According to Wheat Belly, this is a bit of a hangover, because gluten has an opium-like effect on your brain. I won’t disagree with this fact, because it sure felt like it.

The months went by and it became second nature for me to know which food choices were permissible, and it wasn’t at all hard for me to stick to. I noticed, however, that I felt ravenously hungry quite often, and I was gaining weight. I have always stayed around the same size, so this was unusual, but for a person who has now recovered from an eating disorder, I decided not to let myself worry much about this part. Around the same time I went gluten-free I had started a new job that requires 8 hours of desk-sitting, and I felt it was entirely possible this was the main culprit anyway.

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via @ chelseapearl / chelseapearl.com

Soon it became so easy for me to pick up a pack of these quick, gluten-free snacks that I wasn’t eating my salads or drinking my green smoothies nearly as much. This isn’t a rut that everyone falls into, of course, but for me, I felt no guilt doing so since I was sticking to the plan.

I was around 6-8 months in when I started looking into the importance of blood-sugar on your food cravings and food choices. It was then that I realized, my gluten-free crackers were less friend and more foe. I thought I was doing myself a great service in munching on rice crackers all day (not that I imagined they were “healthy” by any means), when in actuality, they were not as satiating and they just made me hungrier later. This would be 100% true of glutenous snacks as well- it is just important for me to point out that when going gluten-free, the processed junk is still processed junk, and you’re still not doing your body any good with this.

Once I came to this revelation, I cut out the gluten-free alternatives completely. My healthy choices and weight started to return to normal, and I felt pretty great. I could have carried on my entire life this way, were it not for the weekend I spent at my boyfriend’s father’s house. Understanding the importance of eating while drinking alcohol and not having any other options available, (poor planning on my part) I half-heartedly ate my fill of baguettes and artisan bread-sandwiches, already fearing what my body would do to me next.

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Not being one for placebo effect, I like to be surprised by my body when I take supplements or try a new diet, so I brushed off the dilemma and carried on with my life that Monday, eating gluten-free as normal. To my surprise, the days went on and I started to think, “Wasn’t something supposed to have happened by now?” The fact was, nothing unusual happened at all.

From that point on, I trifled with gluten when I went out, or on dates with my boyfriend (a decision he was very happy about). Since then it has become apparent that there really is no difference; a fact that I am both pleased by, and also admittedly, slightly disappointed with.

In conclusion I do believe that gluten, in addition to ALL grains are somewhat irritating to the digestive system, so I think it would do a person good to do away with them altogether, rather than just going gluten-free. I would go so far as to say that people probably experience good results with a gluten-free diet simply because they are eating less grains in general. As you saw for me, it didn’t matter which grains I was eating- they were causing all sorts of cravings and weight gain. More on grain-free next time!

Basic Bitch- Bride Edition

Are you a basic bride?

1. You’ve written “I Said Yes!” on Facebook, or even better, it was part of your engagement photoshoot. Congratulations on your originality.

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2. You have said something about being or feeling “like a princess.” Extra basic points if you wear anything that resembles a tiara.

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3. You have posted “___ days until I marry my best friend!” on social media. (Are those posts required? How is it that EVERYONE must say this?)

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4. You have a wedding board on Pinterest. Because, of course you do.

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5. “I said yes to the dress!” is another super original post or quote of yours.

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6. Prepping for your wedding includes weight loss goals.

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7. You have said “I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together!” (As though somehow, that is not already happening.)

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8. Your ring is a diamond, because you like being the same as everyone else, and mass marketing works on you.

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Psst, here’s a video for you about that btw:

Why Engagement Rings Are A Scam


Why Girls Should Strip “Future Husband” From Their Vocabulary

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Using this term has always seemed bizarre to me. As others have put it, it’s a little like subscribing to bridal magazines in high school, simply because you want to get married someday. You’re kind of counting your eggs before they hatch.

I know it’s probably a comforting thought to think about the fact that you’ll have a “future husband” someday, but maybe you should think about why that is so comforting in the first place. Are you worried about ending up alone? Do you have a desire to be loved? Do you look forward to having a family? You’re using your own insecurities and desires to manifest a romanticized idea of a person and a non-existent relationship with them. All of these expectations which, if you do get into a serious relationship at some point, will get shoved on to a real human being. That’s not really okay, or healthy.

What about his expectations and desires?

What about his expectations and desires?

For one thing, relationships aren’t one sided. How can you fantasize about someone you don’t even know? You can’t. You’re fantasizing about what you want and you hope for. That’s pretty selfish, actually, unless you’re also fantasizing about compromising on what to watch on Netflix when you don’t want to, or getting along with bitchy relatives you don’t like, or the same stupid argument you two always have, and about all those little habits that are going to drive you crazy. You won’t feel fulfilled all the time, and in fact, you’ll feel lonely, too. Is that part of your fairy tale? Because that’s part of having a relationship.

Imaginary expectations for an imaginary relationship

Imaginary expectations for an imaginary relationship

Girls often think about a “future husband” instead of a “true love” because they think it’s the same thing. With the divorce and infidelity rates all around us, you’d think they would know better. Here’s the truth about husbands: they aren’t better dads than boyfriends. They aren’t more committed than boyfriends. They aren’t more faithful than boyfriends. They aren’t more in love with you than boyfriends. In fact, the boyfriend who turns into your husband is the exact same guy. Literally everything about him stays the same.

…But you don’t dream about your future boyfriend. Why not?

That’s the other half of the problem. If you aren’t going to be satisfied with a relationship because there is never going to be a ring on it, you’re not interested in love. You’re interested in a relationship status.

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The term “Future Husband” is usually used while a demand is being made

When I was a pre-teen I tried to write a letter to my “future husband” and thought about how romantic he would think it was that I spent so much time “thinking about him” and “dreaming about him”. In retrospect, that’s not very romantic at all. It’s actually kind of weird. A poem or letter for someone you love is personalized and romantic because all those beautiful thoughts and words are inspired by them. If you give them a letter you wrote from before you knew them, it’s none of those things.

Pretending to love someone you haven't met or fallen in love with isn't cute.

Pretending to love someone you haven’t met or fallen in love with isn’t cute.

I think the main reason I dislike the term “future husband” is that it’s slightly delusional. Like I already said, you can’t be sending love to someone you don’t know and don’t love. This concept is a fake relationship with an imaginary friend, very similar to how lonely children need to have imaginary friends. How many girls with boyfriends think about their “future husband”? None, because they all want to end up with their boyfriends. So instead of their “future husband” being an imaginary person, these girls like to think they already know him, and he has a name. Of course, that’s not always any more realistic, but hey, at least it’s not a fake person.

Girls everywhere, you’re worth so much more than wasting your time dreaming about a relationship status. Being with someone isn’t what makes you worth something. A ring on your finger won’t make you happy. Stop the imaginary stuff and hope to develop a real love, without all the expectations.

Society Really Fucks Girls Up. I’m Just Saying.

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I wrote this on Facebook today and I realized it was kind of important. I especially think it is important from a parenting standpoint because it was my parents who were the harshest critics of my clothing choices. Especially my dad, who perceives the world from a standard male-in-a-patriarchal-society kind of way. I actually think he still doesn’t realize that women don’t see the world as overtly sexual as men do. He thought I knew exactly what dressing like that meant, which is why he probably thought it was perfectly acceptable to be angry with me.

I’m not sure whether my mom felt the response was acceptable or not, but I do know that she didn’t want anyone judging her parenting or our home by my “inappropriate” clothing. This sent me the message that what other people thought was more important than the truth. An equally damaging concept.

Body

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I have a body. It’s just a body, just like yours. It has many parts, with many functions. They are not sexual, unless I choose for them to be. You being able to see them does not make this choice. It does not indicate my sexual decisions of past, present, or future. You being able to see them means you can see that I have a body. It’s just a body, just like yours.

Hey Bro- Nice Car

Pop Quiz for MEN ONLY:

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Guys, if you wanted to borrow your buddy’s car, would you:

A) Joke about driving it, and if he laughs or doesn’t shoot it down, assume he is fine with you borrowing it (maybe even wants you to?).
B) Work your way into gauging his response about it. Stand near it, grab the keys sometimes. As long as he doesn’t say no, it’s fine. Just ease into it slowly!
C) Be really, really nice to him. Get him things. Do stuff for him. He’ll see that you’re a good guy and let you borrow his car. You deserve it!
D) If he likes your post about cars on Facebook, assume he’s thinking about letting you borrow his sometime.
E) Wait to talk to him about it until his state of mind is compromised- like if he’s drunk, and jump on the opportunity before he changes his mind (especially if it’s a really fast or expensive car- how often do opportunities like that come along?!). If he realizes he didn’t really mean it when he sobers up, that’s his fault for getting that drunk in the first place.
F) If you think he might, just straight up ask him. If he says no, you won’t waste your time and you can ask another friend who might borrow you their car.

Any option except “F” is ridiculous, right? Because you’re grown ass adults, and that car belongs to someone else, so it’d be weird to not respect that.

So, why is it that guys treat girls (and sex) like this? Every single one of these options on the list is something I’ve personally experienced. I hear so much about these behaviors from stories my girl friends tell that I had to bring it up: It’s common decency to be more respectful about a car than about a human female these days. Tell me something’s not seriously messed up there.

Poetry Hour

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We’re the same, you and I, in so many ways
We connect on that level
I saw you, and knew that from the start.
So I was confused when you held back;
when you slowed down and in so inhibited me, too
The pain and fury of being stuck in this place was more than I could bear
I stared back at you in disbelief-
do I even know you at all?
When, in a moment, a stranger makes themselves known
This stranger, the one who held YOU back
Relief and awe washed over me
I hadn’t misjudged you after all
I had been blind to your plight,
and unknowingly, unwittingly,
agonizing over my own blindness.
I found reverence in our connection once more.
We share a moment of deliverance as we race off together into the horizon.
We are the same, you and I.

“Poem for the Prius in the Left Lane This Morning”

Dear Daughter

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FORWARD: To my daughter, and the daughters of the world, and to people everywhere, who have forgotten this important message. We live in a world with Pinterest wedding boards and romantic comedies, How I Met Your Mother “wife quests” and songs like Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband”. I’m getting sick of the idea that we’re all waiting around for a partner to come along and make us feel significant. I’m sick of parents who think their daughters should be “treated like a princess” and tell them to accept nothing less from a suitor. (Ditto for sons). This gives them a selfish view of love, and an unrealistic ideal about what a relationship is. To me, this is very wrong. They will either feel inadequate because of their partner’s inability to give them perfect love, or they will feel that their partner is inadequate. Both are incorrect! I’m not going to teach you, baby girl, that you need love from someone else to feel special or to be worth something. You already ARE. So I’m going to teach you how to make others feel this way. 

If you’re ready for love, it’s not because you’re ready for someone to come into your life to make you feel special. It’s because you have ceased to need such a person, and instead, you are ready to be such a person to someone else. Love is not what you get, it’s what you give. Because love, by its very definition, is not about you.

If you’re ready for love, you’re ready to accept a flawed person into your life. You’re ready to face a broken, insecure human being who might never feel adequate, and you’re ready to be there so you can always remind them that they are.

If you’re ready for love, you’re ready to be let down. You’re ready to accept the imperfect love of an imperfect human being, who cannot perfectly love you, even if they completely love you. And you’ll understand that difference, because you’ll imperfectly love them too… and you’ll always remember that, before you start pointing your finger.

If you’re ready for love, it’s because you realize that we grow up in a world which does nothing but judge a person. It’s because you realize that underneath those judgments is a beautiful soul waiting to be seen, and you are ready to see that beauty, embrace it, and nurture it- the way life has not. Because there are no flaws. And you know that.

If you’re ready for love, it’s when you are no longer looking for it, or waiting for it. It’s when you realize you’ve got it. When all you have left to do is give it. Then you’re ready for love.

Detox Series: Liver Flush

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Of all the detoxes and cleanses I’ve ever done, this one is by far my favorite. It has produced the best physical and emotional results, and really made a huge difference in my health.

Liver flushes have given me brighter eyes, clearer skin, better sleep, a positive (“euphoric”) mood, smaller waist, improved digestion, and a top-notch immune system, to name a few.

(If you find yourself skeptical about our bodies’ need to “detox” in the first place, check out my explanation here in my part one of the detox series.)

Why Cleanse My Liver?

A clean and well-functioning liver cannot be underrated. The liver is responsible for-

  • blood detoxification and purification
  • digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
  • enzyme activation
  • glutathione production (check the link for more info)
  • building proteins
  • processing nutrients from food

One of the most vital things that the liver does is produce bile. Bile is a very bitter, very alkaline fluid that helps break down foods in your small intestine. It also helps to restore the pH of your body. When your body is the proper pH of 7.35, it functions at its best. Research shows that you are unlikely to get ill as often, and some even suggest that this optimal pH naturally fights cancer. For most of human history, it was not as difficult as it is now to keep the body’s pH within a healthy range.

Aciditiy is a common by-product of most foods in the American diet (all processed food, even “light” and “natural” versions; fried food; meat; dairy; coffee; sodas; sugary juices, desserts and candy; cigarettes; medications). This acidity completely throws off the pH of the human body, which makes your body age much faster and prone to all kinds of diseases.

Let’s break that down into a tidbit that might interest you: proper bile flow helps slow down the aging process. That’s right.

A healthy liver is supposed to be producing 1 1/2 quarts of bile a day- and by adulthood most people’s livers are making as little as 1/2 cup. That might surprise you, and the reason why is even more surprising. Your liver is clogged with gallstones.

No, this is not a natural part of aging, and no, this is not something your body can fix on its own. The good news is, you don’t need surgery or extensive procedures to get them out. You just need a free weekend.

A little known fact is that gallstones actually originate in the liver. I’ll spare you the lengthy explanation about how this happens, but if you are interested, Andreas Moritz can explain it to you here. Cholesterol and bile make the stones lighter and flesh-colored or green, respectively, though stones can also be black (very toxic) or greyish-white (calcified).

Stones that came out from a liver flush... better out than in!

Stones that came out from a liver flush… better out than in!

The reason that you don’t know you have stones clogging up you liver and gallbladder is because it’s only the calcified ones that show up in ultrasounds. By the time gallstones calcify and show up in an ultrasound, you’ve been suffering with a congested liver for years too long.

Many people go their entire lives with a congested liver and gallbladder, not realizing that many of their health complaints are related to this. These complaints include disorders of the digestive system (mouth, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, intestines), disorders of the circulatory system (heart, spleen, cholesterol, lymph, veins, hormones), disorders of respiratory system, disorders of the urinary system, disorders of the nervous systems, joint problems, skin problems, reproductive problems, and many more. Congestion of this vital organ affects your whole body, and the longer it goes on, the worse things get. Liver flushes are a wonderful way to start healing these ailments in your body.

A New Age Perspective

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In Eastern medicines it is believed that the liver is the seat of anger, frustration, and repressed emotions. A Greek medicine site had this to say:

Liver, Gall Bladder:  Bile is produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder, which makes these two organs vulnerable to negative Choleric emotions like anger, irritability, frustration, resentment, jealousy and envy.  These negative Choleric emotions are stored in these organs, and can slowly eat away at them if allowed to fester.  Anger and rage can explode upwards from the liver into the head, causing a lot of havoc in their wake: headaches, migraines; red, sore, bloodshot eyes; and muscular tension in the neck and shoulders.  Nervous and emotional tension and stress, as well as Melancholic emotions like pensiveness and worry, will stagnate the flow of the Natural Force in the liver, which in turn causes nervous, colicky, Melancholic disturbances of the digestive functions.  This excess melancholy often accumulates under the lower ribs, giving a stuffy, distended, congested feeling in the whole chest and diaphragm area.  This is the origin of the term hypochondriac.

It is not uncommon for those cleansing the liver to feel an incredible release of these emotions. This is especially true when one experiences a flush of deeper set-in stones which have been stuck in the liver for many years.

Emotional situations or feelings that are brought back up are your opportunity to work through them and move past them, once and for all. This is a time of very powerful emotional cleansing and healing, too.

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Feelings of bliss and euphoria are favorite side-effects from stone release of flushers everywhere. This effect becomes more pronounced with every flush, because the first flush releases newer, smaller stones, and with each consecutive flush, the older (which are often also larger and more stuck) ones are rooted out. These correspond to more “stuck” feelings, older issues, and deeper-rooted problems. It feels wonderful to get them out of you!

Other Benefits

If all that mumbo jumbo is not for you, you can still focus on the cold, hard facts of the matter. Getting these blockages out of your liver improves the detoxification and functioning of your entire body. The older, larger stones clog up more of the bile ducts than any of the smaller, newer ones. Getting these out makes you feel better because of the surge of energy from better functioning of all your organs overall. It’s a great feeling!

Liver flushes give you great skin!

Liver flushes give you great skin!

It is important to note that sometimes you will feel initially drained after the flush, with the energy and positivity coming afterwards (it always does come, though!). Your body has really done quite a bit of work through this process, and sometimes it takes a little bit to recover.

Another positive side-effect which cannot be understated is the lessening of pressure from your liver. All these stones really bulk up your liver, making it larger and harder. This can lead to a lack of flexibility in your midsection, pain in your shoulders, back, and spine, and a thicker waist. You will notice all of these problems seem to dissolve away a little more after each flush.

What would you do for a naturally smaller waistline?

What would you do for a naturally smaller waistline?

Prepping For The Flush

While I don’t fast prior to the liver flush (you’ll get better results if you do), it is recommended that for the five days prior to the actual flush, you take something to help soften the stones. Andreas (who prefers whole foods) recommends fresh apple juice, which has malic acid, to soften the stones. You will need to have 1 liter (32 oz.) of apple juice per day (space it out throughout the day, don’t just chug it). It is fine to drink packaged apple juice (although for your body’s sake, I would recommend getting a higher quality organic one!) as this will still work. Freshly pressed radish juice and carrot juices are also good.

Other things you can take to soften the stones- powdered malic acid, Gold Coin Grass supplement (you should take this for 2-3 weeks prior, as 5 days will not do as much), daily coffee enemas, and also asorbic acid (vitamin C) capsules (which you should also take for 2-3 weeks prior). If you are really intense, you can take any combination of these methods.

Another important thing to do is COLON CLEANSE both before and after the flush, so that no stones get stuck on their way out of your body, leaving you ill with headaches, bloating, infections, etc. from the toxins in any stones. See how to do this in my first post of the detox series here.

How To Liver Flush

The ingredients you’ll need for the liver flush are-olive oil

  • Epsom salts
  • 1 large grapefruit or 2 small grapefruits (can be substituted with a few lemons or limes)
  • Extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil (preferably organic)

DAY ONE

AM- Do not eat any fat or protein, if you can help it. It is a good idea to skip caffeine as well, but if you will get a headache without it, it’s okay to have a little. The idea today is to store up the bile in your liver so it will all “flush” out later tonight.

2 PM- Stop eating for the day. Do not eat after 2 PM. If you think of it, mix up your 6 PM drink now.

6 PM- Drink 1 T of Epsom salts dissolved into 1 C water. It’s a good idea to mix this up ahead of time, to make sure it gets dissolved. Having to swallow granules at the bottom is really yucky otherwise! Some people like to put this drink in the fridge because it tastes a little better when it is cold. I always drink it with a straw, I find this easiest.

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(The Epsom salts will do two things. First, they will completely flush out the colon, which is good because this will ensure the stones don’t get stuck on their way out. These stones are very toxic and you don’t want them staying inside the colon to re-infect your body at all. Secondly and most importantly, they will dilate the bile ducts, which open them up so that the stones can pop out.)

8 PM- Drink a second dose of  the Epsom salt mixture. (1 T ES and 1 C water). If you haven’t already, be prepared to be running to the toilet as the salts begin to flush out your colon!

9:40 PM- Prepare the 10 PM flush concoction. You want 3/4 C of citrus juice (whichever type you ended up choosing) and 3/4 C olive oil. You can squeeze the juice of the fruits by hand into a bowl or measuring cup if you don’t have a juicer. You’ll probably want to mix the ingredients until they are blended together. You can do this by blending them, shaking them in a jar with a lid, or by hand. You CAN keep them separated (oil on top, juice on the bottom) but this will be MUCH less pleasant to drink (I don’t recommend it).

Try to empty your bowel as much as possible before 10, when you will go to bed (so you don’t have to get up again and interfere with the flush).

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10 PM (Bedtime)- You should be hungry or thirsty (or both) by now. That is a good sign! I recommend a straw for this concoction especially. Drink the oil/juice concoction standing up, and lie down immediately afterwards. For best results, lie on your right side. Do not move for the first 20 minutes if you can help it. You can read or watch tv or surf the internet for a while, but I recommend going to sleep early.  If you MUST get up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, you may. Some people get sick from poor quality oil- if that happens to you, don’t worry, the flush will likely still work for you, depending on how long you were able to keep the concoction down!

DAY TWO

8 AM- Have your third Epsom salt drink (1 T ES and 1 C water). You’ll soon start to see stones showing up in your toilet!

10 AM- Have your fourth and final Epsom salt drink (1 T ES and 1 C water). This will flush out the last of the stones!

crepes

11 AM- you can start eating again. I recommend light foods and things that won’t be too heavy or hard on your liver today, and for the next couple days. You flushed a lot of bile and bile salts out of the liver, and that takes about 3-4 weeks to fully build up again (although your digestion should feel normal within a day).

A Few Extra Things

Andreas Moritz and other liver flush experts say that it takes around 20 flushes (for some it’s less, and others more) to get out all of the stones completely. The standard test is three consecutive flushes without any stones. Flushers and experts alike say that by this point people experience a cure from allergies and countless other ailments (even ones you didn’t know were related to the liver!). After this point, a maintenance flush once or twice a year is recommended.

Because it takes 3-4 weeks for your body to replenish the bile salts lost in a flush, it is not recommended that you do the flush more often than this. I, myself, flush once every 4-5 weeks.

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Some people claim that what you are releasing is not actually liver stones but rather a formation of the oil and citrus juice inside your digestive system, and that the green-ish yellow-ish olive oil is what turns the stones these colors. This claim is false because people have gotten stones out with many other types of oils (although olive oil is recommended because it is high in mono-unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat- this ensures a high emulsification of the oil/acid potion, minimum time in the stomach, and easy absorption in the body) and also from coffee enemas and other types of liver detoxes.

Other Ways I Like To Cleanse The Liver

Castor oil packs- On the nightly regimen of Viva Mayr, the top detox clinic in the world, this deep healing oil, with the addition of heat, penetrates into congested tissue, detoxifying your digestive system, liver, lymph nodes, and pretty much whatever organs you place it over. More info from The Tao of Dana,  The Beauty Gypsy, and celeb nutritionist/detox specialist Kimberly Snyder.

Coffee enemas- I wish I could devote an entire post to the coffee enema. As bizarre as it may sound to some of you, it has been one of my favorite and most enjoyable (seriously) forms of detox. In fact, most who try it are hooked like I am. The incredible benefits on the inside and outside are enough to speak for themselves. Read what Dr. Wilson has to say about it.

Try it and let me know how a happy liver works out for you! 🙂