It’s Friday and just like most people I’m about to meet up with some friends for a drink or many. Before I go though, I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on this gorgeous Earth day as I sit in the park, grateful for the trees that shelter my big old dog from the April heat.
Despite knowing what I know about the effects of more-than-moderate amounts of booze on my system, it still takes a lot for me to turn down a drink. For research purposes only of course, I’ve taken the time over the past several years to test what really works to combat hangovers. Scroll to the bottom to get the low down.
You’ll see how my drinking habits relate to the state of our planet by the end of the article, but first I want to talk about a bunch things that seem disconnected but are intimately intertwined and extremely important if you have an interest in health and being healthy.
No one sets out determined to become addicted, usually we find our way there as a result of a series of decisions often made when our sense of purpose becomes clouded. Whether we stay in that addicted state or not and for how long depends on our individual tolerability for the discomfort and frustration that change brings up. Change, in life, is inevitable.
In Chinese medicine, this aspect of the spirit, called Hun or the Ethereal (aka Divine) Soul, is governed by the liver and is represented by the wood element in nature. This makes perfect sense when you recall the main characteristics of our forest friends: abundant, wise (been around a long time), resourceful, big picture view, always growing, always adapting, rooted deeply in their foundation, strong, provide shelter, require water and minerals, filter the air and the earth for us. The liver behaves just like trees do, but for our ecosystem, not the planets (well, also the planet’s, but we’ll get there).
Of course when we talk about the liver, we are talking about our 2nd biggest gland and the organ that filters nearly every sliver of matter and energy that we come into contact with. When it is unhappy, you know and although our mini tree organ is able to regenerate and take a lot of poundings, there will come a point of no return and trust me, you don’t want to go out like that.
Physical signs of a distressed detoxification system:
Headaches, joint pain, brittle or weak nails, vision issues (discomfort or blurring), painful periods and constipation. More serious signs include: itchiness, yellowing of the whites of the eye or skin, loss of appetite, severe nausea, vomiting or stomach bloating. If you have even an inkling of any of these last ones, get your liver enzymes checked by your family doctor or naturopath right away.
Emotional clues that signal the need for change:
Anger, irritability, mood swings, addiction, indecision, inability to plan ahead, clouded sense of direction, feeling like you are stuck and aren’t going anywhere, difficulty getting inspired, perfectionism. These can definitely be circumstantial and healthy to experience, so long as they don’t become an ongoing or recurrent issue. You’ll know and if you don’t ask a loved one.
What causes this facet to flip out?
1. Lack of Movement: The detox system thrives with movement. The strongest trees weather the greatest storms that shake them up and break ‘em down but inevitably it is the wind and the hectic surroundings that stimulate the tree’s development, or hinders it. Same goes for the human species. Sedentariness and resistance to change block our chance to expand – the opposite of death isn’t birth, it’s growth.
2. Non-Organic Chemicals: Ban plastic already, WTF. And how do people litter? It’s lazy and obnoxious and downright unnecessary. Tobacco smoke, fake sugars (ie. everything, everything diet), processed foods, cleaning products, aesthetic products. The liver has to break it all down. That is not easy when bombarded with smart marketing, drugs, alcohol and pharmaceuticals. WE ALL NEED TO CARE ABOUT THIS. Go chemical-free, it’s easier than you think and every little bit helps. **I have a one-pager that pretty much sums it up, give me your email if you want it sent to you.
3. Repressed emotions: Especially anger and ignoring your heart’s desire can greatly affect how energy moves through your system and cause the symptoms listed above. A lot of this comes from not spending enough (or any) time in nature. Too much screen time, not enough green time.
Nature is the treatment. For most conditions. We focus so much on our physical capabilities, it’s no wonder our ignored psyche shows up like an angry spouse who isn’t getting enough attention. We get mentally and emotionally ill and let our behaviours influence our habits, instead of mindfully choosing the option that is best for the whole self.
So, celebrate this magical Earth and get outside, inhale some deep breaths away from your electronics and listen to the sounds around you. Oh, and follow these drinking rules when you’re planning to play drinking games:
- drink water, all night (at the bar: bring your empty with you to the bathroom and down a few glasses when you’re in there; at home: place a full cup at your bedside table before you pass out)
- mix hard alcohol with water and lemons/limes instead of sugary mix
- take a B complex with dinner
- have dinner! ideally something with lots of veggies, greens
- if you get super nauseous when you’re hung, try taking Nux Vomica day of and night before
- stick to one vice if you don’t know how they affect you individually
- wake up, drink more water then have sex or masturbate and shower
- drink a green smoothie: celery stalk, cuke, lemon, ginger, parsley, spinach, green apple, water
- take an advil and go out for brunch and laugh about the events that transpired
Next week, we’ll take it one step further with more suggestions on how to keep everything flowing smoothly in this department. After that, we’ll have a look at the heart and all it’s multi-faceted requirements.