There are some features of our modern diet (especially during a Holiday season) that probably aren't good for anyone, male or female, carnivore, omnivore or vegan. Some of those toxins enter the food supply chain and are hard to detect, like pesticides or additives. Some of those toxins are things that we choose for ourselves even though we know we shouldn't, like sugary, highly processed foods and beverages. And then there are allergens, new ones every day or at least newly discovered.
If you're ready for a healthier you, a week of clean eating can not only remove inflammatory substances from your system, it can also give you a chance to reeducate your taste buds as you try real food. Remember that stuff? Try these recipes as part of your week-long, plant food based detox diet.
Each of the highlighted foods below has properties that make it valuable as part of a detox program. You can learn more in The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook.
1. Ground Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds are excellent as part of a breakfast bowl or as part of a smoothie. They provide protein, fiber, bulk and essential nutrients in a plant-based diet. In a breakfast bowl, combine the seeds with walnuts, blueberries, a banana, another fresh fruit of some kind and a cup of no-sugar-added, non-dairy milk. Enjoy this mix daily for breakfast.
2. Kale is an excellent, high nutrient density vegetable. It is easier to digest when cooked (dropped into a veggie soup or stew) but can also be the basis of a delicious green smoothie. Use light-colored fruits like pineapple, apple, orange, and banana. Add about 8 ice cubes to a high-powered blender, and add cranberry or pomegranate or apple juice to the one cup mark. Add a couple of chunks of pineapple, a chunk of apple, half of a small orange, half of a banana and a lot of kale. Blend until thick, smooth and delicious. This smoothie makes a delightful evening meal for those who prefer something light late in the day.
Vary the smoothie on another evening by adding avocado or coconut (with or without coconut milk) for a creamy texture.
3. Legumes are a great, high fiber, high protein plant food with binding power. Lemon is an excellent addition to a detox diet, helps keep blood sugar stable and brightens the flavor of any dish. Use it freely to season bean soups or stews. It is an essential ingredient in hummus, which is good for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in between. Cook 1/2 lb. of dried chickpeas, drain and reserve the juice. Place the cooked chickpeas into a food processor with 1-2 large cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of tahini, 1/4 cup of squeezed lemon juice, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. hot paprika and about 1 cup of reserved bean juice diluted with water. Blend until smooth, and enjoy.
4. Cabbage steaks are delicious and easy to make. Cut 1-2" thick slices of cabbage, and set aside. Heat a cast iron skillet, add a little extra virgin olive oil to the pan, place the steaks on top and brown on either side. The steaks are great just like this with a little salt, or you can add a sauce, either veggie or fruit. Homemade tomato sauce is very easy as are many fruit sauces. Just place your ingredients into a covered pot and cook on low heat until stewed. Season to taste.
5. Beets are another great addition to a detox program, but many people don't like them. Here's a recipe for beets that you will almost certainly like, though: cook three beets in their peel, and flash cool them in their own water. When cool enough to handle, rub off the peels into the cooking water. Cut off the rough ends of the beets and cut beets into a thick Julienne. Place them in a bowl and add 1/8 red onion, cut into slices, the juice of 1 lemon, about 2 TB, about 3 TB extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. hot paprika and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Delicious.
6. Seaweed is an important part of a detox program, but it is an unfamiliar flavor and texture for many. One way to try it, though, is as a wrapper for veggie sushi. The seaweed wraps are widely available these days, but if you have difficulty finding them, check a Japanese specialty shop or online. Sticky rice is a good veggie sushi base with holding power. Add other veggies that you like and that you can Julienne, things like avocado, cucumber, carrots and green onion. Make long rolls, well-packed, and then cut across into 1-2" pieces. Serve with sauce, perhaps soy and crushed fresh Ginger Root.
7. Almonds, eaten in the Middle East after a meal, are also good as a snack or as part of your breakfast bowl. One easy (and delicious) way to make them is to toast them. Just heat up that cast iron skillet, add a little extra virgin olive oil, add the almonds and toast until lightly browned, gently shaking the pan from time to time. Sprinkle salt and cumin over the almonds and remove to a paper towel-lined plate to have available after meals or when you want to nibble.
Who knows, you might enjoy real food so much and feel so great at the end of a week that you'll want to continue always eating this way.
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