Our bodies have their own highly efficient detoxifying organs and processes, particularly the liver. The problem (outside of disease states) is…. well, it’s us! and what we are choosing to put in there and do or not do.
So this month I bring you three beautifully simple, nourishing, and detoxifying recipes. And a reminder to take some time away from this crazy world to review, renew and refresh your diet and practices and refocus on your health and optimise your nutrition intake through considered food consumption.
You can simply try these recipes, or you could add a green smoothie into your morning routine every day and start the day with a focus on optimised digestion, detoxification, and nutrient consumption. Or you could combine the recipes and complete a single or multiple day detox for a deeper reset.
The first recipe is my favourite green breakfast smoothie which I have every day. You can switch the ingredients around if you have a preference, but this is my go-to. It’s a gentle way to start your morning digestive and liver processes, is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and can be combined with a small breakfast dish or on its own as your meal if you’re not typically a breakfast person (tip: adding less liquid results in the perfect smoothie bowl recipe which you can top with your favourite fruits, coconut flakes, seeds etc for a delicious cooling and nourishing breakfast). The second recipe is not a common meal concept in Australia which is unusual given the climate but popular all over Europe – cold soup. It’s a beautiful and refreshing Beetroot Gazpacho, which is packed full of flavour. Beetroot also helps the detoxification process by stimulating glutathione production, one of the most important antioxidants in the body, as well as being high in nitrates which have cardiovascular benefits when converted by the body into nitric oxide. The final recipe is a Buddha bowl salad packed full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fibre. I love Buddha bowls because of their versatility, with slight changes in ingredients and dressings you can move the same base between Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian etc flavour profiles AND they’re so easy to make. Buddha bowls are a great example of the ‘Healthy Eating Plate’ model developed at Harvard where half the dish is made up of vegetables, a quarter carbohydrate, and a quarter protein with a healthy fats source, making it a healthy, balanced meal.
- 1 ½ Cups filtered Water
- ½ Avocado
- 1 Cucumber
- 1 Pear
- 1 Cup Spinach or kale
- 1/2 Lemon, juiced
- ½-1 teaspoon Ginger
- 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
- ¼ cup Mint or parsley
- (A tablespoon of collagen can also be added)
- Blend ingredients and enjoy
- 4 medium sized fresh beetroots, top and tail removed, one reserved for garnish
- 4 Cups filtered water (approximately)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
- ¼ Red onion, very diced
- 2 small Lebanese cucumbers
- 1/3 cup of fresh dill, chopped, plus more for garnish
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh pepper
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 reserved cooked beetroot – finely diced
- ¼ Red onion, very finely diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- Fresh dill, chopped
- Olive oil, to garnish
- Place beetroot in a medium heavy based pot and fill with water until they are just covered. Bring to the boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for 60 minutes. When cooked through leave to cool, then peel of skin.
- Add 3 of the cooled beetroot, 2 cups of cooled cooking liquid, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 cucumbers, 1/3 cup of dill, salt, pepper and vinegar to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Place in the fridge and allow to chill
- Before serving, garnish with diced beetroot, red onion, avocado, fresh dill and a drizzle of olive oil.
- 1 ½ cups fresh salad leaves
- ½ cup chickpeas, drained
- ½ avocado
- ½ cup red cabbage, shredded
- ½ cup cucumber, finely sliced
- ½ cup red capsicum, finely sliced
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- Prepare salad ingredients and place in bowl
- Blend lemon juice, olive oil and tahini and drizzle over salad
- Sprinkle with nigella seeds
For the ultimate spring cleanse and detox follow these simple steps. Start them all at once, or you can implement one at a time as you get comfortable with the last. Small steps that become your new normal add up quicky and when you look back you have covered quite some distance.
Step 1 – Spring clean your pantry and fridge
Over the course of the year foods not in our best interest can slowly creep into daily life. Take some time to spring clean your pantry and fridge, disposing of expired foods, and donating unopened foods you don’t plan to eat. Pay particular attention to processed and packaged foods, those with high added sugars, and foods with more numbers and unknown ingredients than whole foods. Once you’ve cleared out all the extras from your fridge and pantry, restock strategically.
Step 2 – Eat breakfast every day
Studies have shown the health benefits of eating breakfast. It is associated with better weight management, improves your energy levels and ability to concentrate in the short term, and can help to reduced risk of type II diabetes and heart disease in the long term. It doesn’t have to be complicated if your someone who naturally doesn’t start the day ravenous or you are short on time, it can be something simple like a smoothie, or the same thing every day that you can pre-prepare. Just ensure you have protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats included.
Step 3 – Add fruits or vegetables to every meal
These foods are loaded with vitamins and minerals we all need, plus fibre. Adding a small bowl to each meal helps to increase your nutrient and fibre intake which is beneficial to overall wellbeing and digestive function.
Step 4 – Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate !
Too many people are not meeting their daily water intake requirements. Water is vital for the function of every organ system, helping to circulate oxygen and supports detoxification and elimination. If you don’t like drinking plain water, jazz it up with a spritz of lemon or lime, add fresh or pureed fruits, or boil and then chill fruity herbal teas.
Step 5 – Improve the quality of your food sources
Shop locally where possible, investigate local farmers markets, farm fresh food delivery services, and farms who offer farm to home delivery services. Not only do these usually work out cheaper, but they are better for the environment. Buy pantry staples in bulk so you can purchase organic. And when shopping from the supermarket, shop mainly from the perimeter of the supermarket where the fruits, vegetables, lean meats are located, select Australian grown and owned foods, and organic where possible.
Step 6 – Read the labels
Read the labels of the manufactured products you purchase avoiding those that have lots of numbers and unknown ingredients focusing on those that are predominately whole foods. Gluten free pasta for example can be a whole group of junk ingredients, preservatives and additives, or just organic brown rice listed. I recommend the chemical maze app to check unknown ingredients and numbers.
Step 7 – Cook at home more often
Fast foods may be convenient but they’re not good for you. Enormous companies are focused on profit and the sacrifice to making meals affordable is the quality of the ingredients. There is nothing wrong with a treat or supporting local businesses by eating meals out. But give your diet the spring cleaning it deserves by staying in and cooking healthier, fresh meals more often. Not everyone enjoys cooking or has the luxury to spend hours coming up with gourmet dishes. So keep it simple, bulk cook and freeze for those nights when you are tired or don’t have time, and have plenty of tasty options at home to avoid temptation. And when you do eat out, support small local businesses that use fresh local foods.
Step 8 – Check your portion sizes
Sometimes it’s not what you eat, but how much of it you are eating.
Step 9 – Eat mindfully
Being mindful of not just the food you eat, but how and when you eat it, can promote better digestion, help you to notice you are full, and can help you free yourself from unhealthy habits around food and eating in the future. Chew thoroughly, eat slowly and don’t rush through meals, eliminate distractions by turning off the television and putting away your phone, focus on how the food you are eating makes you feel, stop eating when you feel full. And take a moment at each meal to express gratitude to the food that is nourishing your body, all the people who brought it to you, and the healthy body absorbing its nutrients.
Step 10 – Move your body, every day
While not necessarily diet related, I couldn’t do a complete spring clean list without reminding everyone to move their body daily. On the days you don’t feel up to it – do something you enjoy rather than forcing yourself into what you think you should do, and then it’s very easy to do. A brisk walk, yoga, soft sand walk at sunset, swim laps, a weights session, an online program, hit the gym with your friends, a bike ride with the kids, dance around to some of your favourite tunes in the loungeroom. Just move your body every day for 30 minutes. It is beneficial for digestion, mental health, cardiovascular health and energy creates more energy !