for stimulating bile flow and flushing the liver and gallbladder
I created this recipe for a friend who came to me crying, “Everything feels stuck in my stomach; I’m in pain and nauseous. I react to almost everything I eat. I don’t know what to eat!” Her pulse indicated that her digestive fire was very low, and her gallbladder and liver were sluggish, so I made this smoothie for her and gave her the recipe. Within an hour, her pain had subsided and things started moving. After 3 days of drinking it first thing in the morning, she felt “infinitely better.” My smoothie hit the spot!
A lot of the common digestive problems and food allergies we experience today are due to congested bile. It is very important to take care of our liver and gallbladder to ensure healthy bile production.
Ayurveda offers many solutions to keep our bile thin and moving (see Recommended Reading below). Ayurveda also warns us against the foods and eating habits that tend to make our liver/gallbladder sluggish and congest our bile.
This ruby-colored smoothie is fantastic for flushing out bile sludge and for thinning congested bile to improve digestion. It is also a delicious blood builder. Click on the hyperlinked ingredients to learn more about their healing benefits. There are a couple of contraindications for using this recipe—see Notes.
Enjoy a cup of this smoothie first thing in the morning, as a pre-breakfast, or as an afternoon snack. Keep in mind that you might get hungry within 30 minutes of drinking it, so make sure that you eat then!
Serves 1 to 2 Vegan, gluten free
Prep: 5 to 10 minutes Cook: 5 to 7 minutes Cool and blend: 5 minutes
1 small red beet, peeled and thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
1 tablespoon raisins
1-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (omit for Fiery/Pitta digestion)
½ teaspoon fennel seeds* (see Notes)
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 medium Granny Smith Apple
- In a small saucepan, add 1 ½ cups water, the sliced beet, raisins, cinnamon stick, minced ginger, fennel seeds, and fenugreek seeds, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, until the beet slices are half cooked.
- While the beet mixture simmers, peel, core, and chop the apple.
- Add the apple to the beet mixture and continue to simmer, covered, until the apple and beet are fully cooked, about 3 minutes.
- Set aside uncovered to let the mix cool down until warm. Remove the cinnamon stick.
- Use a blender to make the smoothie. Add more water if you like a thinner consistency. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
- For a more detoxing effect on both the liver and gallbladder, add 1 tablespoon Detox Kulthi Powder in Step 5. Add more water to adjust the consistency.
- For variety, add 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice in Step 5.
- If you have been diagnosed with gallstones, drink this smoothie only under the supervision of a medical doctor or Ayurvedic practitioner, as your thinner and moving bile may push some gallstones into a bile duct, obstruct it, and cause serious problems.
- Fennel seeds are highly estrogenic. Omit them if you are a woman experiencing the symptoms of a high estrogen/low progesterone ratio: long menstrual cycles, fibroids, ovarian or breast cysts, or uterine polyps.
- Do not drink this smoothie if you have diarrhea.
Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum, Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda, Chapter 6: Gallbladder Function and the Thyroid Gland (Healing Arts Press, March 19, 2019).
Dr. John Douillard, Eat Wheat, (Morgan James Publishing, 2017)