Health and wellness

Year of Wellness, phase one

December 27, 2017

It’s almost here! January 1 is less than a week away, and as I start reflecting on this past year and looking towards the new one, I’ve polished up phase one of Year of Wellness. I’m sharing it here for anyone who wants to join me. In case you missed my last post, I’m breaking down the year into six phases, each one focused on a different wellness topic, in order to find my personal wellness threshold. That will be different for everyone, so I’m trying to create a framework for you to find your own, if you so choose.

So here it is, phase one of my Year of Wellness.

January/February – Liver Love

Goal: Lessen the stress we put on our liver so it can effectively do its job of cleaning our blood every night.

Why? Our livers are unsung heroes. They are absolute powerhouse organs. It is the only organ in our body that can regrow itself, and the only other organ besides the heart that receives all of our blood (because it cleans it). The liver is essentially a cleaning crew for our blood. Every single day, it removes the toxins that build up in our blood and recycles our clean blood back to us. If we lessen our intake of toxins, we can give our liver a bit of a break.

Our Work: For one month, cut out all alcohol and added sugar.


Physically, there are very serious consequences of over indulging in alcohol. If you regularly drink more than your liver can process (more than the recommended amount of one unit of alcohol per hour, no more than 21 per week), your liver is inhibited from effectively cleaning the fluids in your body.

Mentally, there are many reasons why people drink. During this challenge, try to assess what you’re feeling when you want a drink. Is it stress relief? A social event you don’t want to miss out on? Or do you really enjoy a glass of red wine with your dinner?

In the morning, drink a mug of warm water with lemon to give your liver a boost to help excrete all the toxins it processed overnight (read this research article to learn more about lemon juice and its effects on the liver in regards to alcohol:


The focus this month is on cutting out added sugars. There is a difference between added and natural sugars (see the link in the resources for more information on the two). Essentially, natural sugars are found in whole foods, like fruits, whereas added sugar is added in later (think cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup) and is found in everything from bread to pasta sauce.

As you work through the month, you’ll become adept at reading labels. You’ll learn to find hidden sources of sugars (like corn syrup, glucose, and maltose). You’ll probably end up cooking at home more. Be aware of added sugars in sauces and condiments, along with breads and pastas. Sugar hangovers are real, and you may feel headachy for a while.

Helpful tips

  • Take time during the month to journal your process.
  • Give yourself permission to fail, but then get back up and keep going.
  • If you know you won’t be able to quit both at once, start slowly. January 1, cut out alcohol. January 8, cut out sugar. Give yourself at least three full weeks without any of these, and then begin your reintegration one at a time.
  • Each subject gets two months because we are human and we need balance, not all or nothing.


Reintegration tips:

Month two – Reintegration

You may feel like going hog wild after you complete your month of liver love, but go easy on yourself. Reintroduce one item a week. Say you start with sugar. Rather than jumping back into old habits, be mindful about creating new ones. Try eliminating all processed or packaged food during the first month, and keeping that goal as your norm during month two. When you add in alcohol, try not drinking on weeknights and choosing only one night on the weekend to indulge.

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