September 26, 2013: Detoxification with Maureen Donohoe

We had a very nice gathering this past Thursday evening with co-chapter leader, Maureen Donohoe, talking about detoxing from an Oriental perspective.

Fall and spring times are prime seasons for cleansing according to Oriental traditions. It helps to correct imbalances and improve strength and vitality.

We are now in the earth element which is ideal for working on the spleen, pancreas and small and large intestine. Beneficial foods for this time are warm and warming foods, sweet and pungent foods and congees. Some examples are winter squashes, carrots, rutabagas, turnips, sweet potatoes and those with pungent flavors, such as onion, leek, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, fennel seed, garlic. Small amounts of fruits/sweeteners like cooked cherries or dates or fresh figs and molasses are beneficial. Recommended animal products this time of year are butter, mackerel, sardines, bone broths, beef liver and kidneys.

In about 3 weeks we are moving into the metal element which is ideal for working on the lungs and colon. The foods recommended for this time are pungent foods such as chili peppers, garlic, horseradish, ginger; mucilaginous foods, such as kombu, marshmallow root, flax seed, fenugreek; dark green and orange vegetables such as squashes, parsley, kale, nettles; figs are very healing for the intestines this time of year; and sour flavors, such as salt plums, rose hip tea, apple cider vinegar, sour apples and grapes, sauerkraut, olives and pickles.

Some tools Maureen suggested for cleansing practice are:

dry brushing ~ with a loufa or dry soft brush. Brush toward the heart all over the body before bathing

enemas ~ coffee, chamomile and yarrow

oil pulling ~ coconut or sesame oil. Swish then spit out in the garbage and rinse mouth well with water

dry saunas and/or alternating hot and cold showers on the spine

We had delicious food, too! Two yummy pates, two sauerkrauts, roasted delicata squash, raw cheese and crackers, a wonderful shrimp dish, and two wonderful soups.


Here is the pate I made. It’s adapted from the Nourished Kitchen recipe. One recommendation I would make is to not cook your livers as long as this recipe says. Overcooked liver gets bitter, so a little rosy on the inside is better, in my experience. I also added sauteed shiitake mushrooms to the onions and used moscato wine instead of sherry.

sage and chicken liver pâté

This recipe for sage and chicken liver pâté serves approximately 16 as an appetizer. It’s excellent served on sprouted grain or sourdough toast points, with apples and grapes or alongside naturally fermented cornichons. It also makes a good addition to the holiday table.


  • 1 lb Livers from Pasture-fed Chickens
  • 1 quart Fresh Milk (recommended, but optional)
  • 14 oz Ghee from Grass-fed Cows OR 8 oz Butter and 6 oz Ghee
  • 2 large shallots (Finely Chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp Rubbed Sage
  • 1/2 cup Sherry
  • Fresh Sage Leaves (to garnish)


  1. Rinse chicken livers gently, drain them and set them in a bowl.
  2. Pour 1 quart fresh milk over the chicken livers and allow them to marinate in the milk for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
  3. Drain the chicken livers and rinse them again.
  4. Heat 4 oz ghee in a skillet until melted.
  5. Add the sliced shallots and brown.
  6. Add the chicken livers to the onions and ghee. Note that they will release a significant amount of liquid.
  7. Simmer chicken livers until browned through and until the liquid has largely cooked away. Note that at this point many of the chicken livers will be falling apart on their own – a very good thing.
  8. Add the rubbed sage and deglaze the pan with sherry.
  9. Continue to cook until sherry is largely cooked away.
  10. Allow the mixture to cool.
  11. Add mixture and 8 oz of softened butter or ghee to your food processor and process until smooth.
  12. Melt remaining 2 oz of ghee until liquid.
  13. Spoon pâté into individual ramekins or dishes, garnish with fresh sage leaves and pour melted ghee gently over the pâté.
  14. Allow the sage and chicken liver pâté to set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, but bring to room temperature prior to serving.

By Karen Hamilton-Roth