By Anni Dahms
Owner of the retail chain
ANNI’s VITAL SHOP.
Nurse- & Health specialist, Biopath and Nutritional Adviser.
After all the holiday loveliness, everyday life has returned. For most of us, it is probably a good, to give our liver a much-needed break, because alcohol and triglycerides, along with a damaged liver, appears to be a world-wide problem.
The inspiration for this months’ article came when I visited one of the many restaurants on the peninsula Yucatan in Mexico. We picked a restaurant in Chuburna, because the small village was the one we stayed in during our first visit, a couple of years back.
The restaurant looked like all the others in the area: Large, with a clay tamped floor, and plastic tables and chairs set in a delightful random mixture of red and white.
We chose this one because, unlike the other restaurants, it was surrounded by a luxuriantly sea of flowers and lush plants.
We were the only customers, because we arrived outside of normal serving times. The food was absolutely wonderful. In my opinion, it could easily compete with any 5-star restaurant, in terms of presentation, as well as quality. Added to that, there was plenty of it. My guacamole, and my friends’ fishplate struck us all with awe. I called on the waiter—if you can even call him that, considering he was a young friendly-faced boy, wearing a pair of worn-out jeans and T-shirt, which had seen better days as well. I asked him: “Who on God’s green earth has prepared this lovely meal?”
He answered with a smile, telling me it was his mother who absolutely loved to cook, after which I asked to speak with her, of course. She appeared, all modest, and I told her how I truly enjoyed her food and admired her plants. In turn, she told me that taking care of her plants, and conjuring up wonderful meals for her customers, gave her the greatest pleasure.
This led to a long, pleasant talk, in which she expressed her curiosity about where such a red-haired woman like me originated from, and what I did for a living.
I told her about my life in Spain; that I’m a trained naturopath and owner of a small chain of businesses.
Afterward, she returned to her work, but came back shortly with pencil and paper in hand. She sat down at the end of our table and asked if I could help her.
“If I can, off course!” was my answer.
The problem: she had very poor liver numbers and heightened triglycerides, but she rather not take the medicine her doctor prescribed.
I guessed that I should probably stick to one product. In part due to their economic limitations, and partly because I didn’t think she was ready for more at the time. I recommended that she should take milk thistle in liquid form. She carefully wrote down how and when to take the product I suggested, gave me big hug and left us thankful and full of hope.
Triglycerides and Alcohol
It seems that even small doses of alcohol can contribute to heightened triglycerides.
Triglycerides are fats in the blood. Almost all fats have triglycerides in them. If the number of triglycerides in our blood is too high, there is a higher chance of cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
Higher levels of triglycerides are often caused by a liver that isn’t working properly. It can also be a symptom of diabetes – which our Mexican cook denied having.
Besides recommending that she take milk thistle, we also talked about diet and lifestyle.
She wasn’t overweight, and even though she stands and walks a lot in the kitchen, I recommended that she take walks along the ocean—which was just around the corner—and dip her feet in the water every day. Also, to completely exclude alcohol for at least three months. Next I suggested that she steer clear of cola, which is an especially praised drink among the Mexicans.
Clinical trials on mice have shown liver damage, after consuming cola for just four weeks.
I think the exclusion of cola, seemed more troublesome to her than the exclusion of alcohol. Instead, I recommended that she drink 7 – 8 glasses of water a day, of the best quality available.
I’ve noticed that all the people that I’ve met in Mexico, consume enormous quantities of sugar. And personally, I have noticed that I started to get sugar cravings due to the immense heat.
Be that as it may, I still asked her to leave sugar, sweet drinks and sugary foods behind, and only got her sugar from fresh fruits…and even those in a moderate amount.
Lastly, I advised that she avoid all forms of bread, be it normal bread, tacos, or tortilla, which is a large part of the everyday foods in Mexico. It is impossible to enter a restaurant without being served a bowl of tortilla.
Her man is a fisherman, so I asked her to eat as much fresh fish as she could.
She listened with much interest, but whether she has the willpower to follow my advice, only time will tell.
A good friend of mine told me that in Mexico, in the area where we were, there are three important days in the week: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Friday is a social day, where the men get together and drink “kaquama”, which are large bottles of beer that are passed around. If you don’t wish to drink, then you can’t take part in the social life, even if you just pay for the beer and sit there for company.
Saturday is sex day. Many Mexican men take lovers and even have kids outside of marriage.
Sunday is family day. This is a very important day to everyone. The entire family gets together and eats, maybe watch football, and enjoy each other’s company. They really care about their family days, which my friend and I noticed on a Sunday, where we wanted to buy a trip onto the flat waters to see the flamingos. We offered double the price, but despite the high levels of poverty, the answer was still no.
My friend prodded the man, quite provocatively, if he wouldn’t like to bring some extra money home to his family. The man answered: “yes, I would, but my wife won’t let me” (There was an important football match on the television that day).
I think it was a wonderful and thought-provoking experience that proved that not everything is for sale.
Dietary supplements that rejuvenate your liver
Obviously, you shouldn’t take all these dietary supplements at once. Instead, this is a selection of suggestions, which can help strengthen your liver individually.
- Omega-3 fats, exists in many different forms both from fish, and now also in (vegetarian) seaweed. There is also plenty of omega-3 in linseed oil. Linseed oil can quickly turn rancid, so make sure to buy it in dark bottles, refrigerate it, and finish it reasonably fast. If the taste is harsh, then unfortunately, you must throw it out. Omega-3 oils are great for counteracting heightened triglycerides, and it also removes a lot of the cravings for sweets.
- Vitamin-E counteracts the forming of fat cells.
- Other noteworthy vitamins to treat the liver are all the vitamin-Bs including cholin. Cholin deficiency can result in the creation of fat deposits in the liver.
- Lecithin, must not be overlooked, as the product can contribute to the removal of fat deposits in the liver.
- It is good to take a daily dose of vitamin-C.
- When it comes to minerals, then it’s especially important to take zinc and selenium.
- Milk thistle takes the spotlight when we talk of herbal medicine and the liver. Silymarin is one of the components in milk thistle. It’s a heavily liver protecting compound, and can help reinvigorate a fatty liver.
- Artichokes contain some specific fat-active elements, which support the liver- and bile system, and stimulates fat digestion.
- Effective herbal medicine can also be dandelion. It is diuretic and holds a large amount of calcium, whilst also stimulating the liver- and bile system.
Alcoholism is one of our greatest problems all over the world, not just causing suffering for the alcoholics themselves, but also for their spouses, children, close relatives, families in general and even their friends.
I bought a newspaper in the nearby village of Chelem called “La Verdad”, which had an article about antidepressants, women and suicide. The article stated that 47% of women, which had been the victims of violence (often due to alcohol consumption), ended up buying antidepressants without a prescription, and that many of these women later committed suicide.
I discussed the article with my cleaning lady, who said it was true. She had a close friend who committed suicide after repeated abuse by her alcoholic husband. Said friend had also been taking antidepressants.
We hear the same sad tale when it comes to alcohol all over the world. Luckily, there are many great rehab clinics where you can get help.
Through the research I did concerning rehab possibilities, I found a beautiful prayer which is said to be used by many AA associations.
The prayer is called “The Serenity Prayer”.
Serenity means peace of mind, tranquility, and harmony.
As we are nearing the end of this article, I’d like to wish everyone a beautiful and merry new year, and recite this prayer, which I think we all, no matter age, gender, or challenges, can appreciate:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.