Spring is upon us; and much like you reset your household clocks for the recent time-change, it is also important to reset your own body clock as well. Time to drag yourself out of your winter cocoon, and get active again! And it is also a good time to detox and re-energize your body, just in time to start enjoying more outdoor activities (and dare I say, start preparing for swimsuit weather!).
I thought it would be a good time to re-share my 5 favorite natural cleansing foods, all perfect anytime of the year, but especially good to literally do some much-needed “spring cleaning” in your body!
All 5 foods are powerful detoxifiers. You’ll get rid of all those nasty environmental toxins you’ve built up during indoor winter months. Clearing out the toxins will make you feel more mentally sharp as well as provide you maximum energy.
And as a side-benefit, eating them will help with your digestion and likely help you gain a flatter belly as well!
So what are my 5 favorite natural cleansing foods?
Hmmm….you’ll have to stay tuned to the next few blogs to hear about each of the 5 (and get a delicious recipe for each of them as well!)…but today we’ll start with one of my favorites, Cruciferous Vegetables and Leafy Greens. There are so many varieties available and it is so incredibly easy to incorporate them into your daily diet.
Cruciferous Vegetables and Leafy Greens
Spring brings so many goodies back to my local farmer’s market, including the powerful detoxifying cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens. Foods in this detox category include kale, collard greens, dandelion, arugula, spinach, chard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts and Brussels sprouts and many more.
Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with phytochemicals, including sulforaphane, which lab studies have found can actually stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they damage cells. On top of that, cruciferous veggies are incredibly powerful in cleansing your liver of everyday toxins!
Why is that so important? Does your liver really get overloaded with environmental toxins? Yes!
Your body is exposed to daily toxins in your water, food and environment (even in your skincare and everyday personal care products, by the way…check out the Environmental Working Group’s site on everyday products your family is routinely exposed to). And then you eat processed foods on top of that, and your liver gets overworked.
So loading up on greens stimulates the body’s own natural ability to clear out that toxic junk. Green foods contain minerals, antioxidants and cofactors that support liver detox pathways. They are also abundant in chlorophyll which has the ability to suck up environmental toxins from your blood, as well as the ability to neutralize chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals.
Bitter greens like arugula, dandelion greens, mustard greens and chicory help increase the creation and flow of bile and aid in the removal of waste from your organs and blood.
Cruciferous veggies and leafy greens also have high fiber content, eating them literally scrubs your digestive tract clean, cleansing your colon, too. Their high fiber content also helps fill you up, so you are likely to feel full faster (and eat less). Fiber can also help temper blood sugar by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after meals.
It is easy to incorporate greens into your diet! Cruciferous veggies and leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. They can be blended to make smoothies, soups and salad dressings, marinated, processed with nuts and seeds to make crackers and bread, and eaten whole, of course.
As weather warms and outdoor entertainment beckons, I love using greens to make tasty wraps, a cleansing alternative to tortillas, pita bread, sandwich bread and other popular grain based processed wraps and tortilla shells. I also love serving cruciferous veggies with guacamole or a healthy dip. And of course, there are so many delicious salad options.
Here’s a great springtime recipe for you to try:
Green Slaw with Thai Dressing
- 4 cups shredded raw greens: cabbage, kale, chard, collard greens, baby bok choy, any combination
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 – 2 large carrots, shredded (substitute daikon radish if your blood sugars are sensitive to carrots)
- 2-inch piece of lemongrass
- 2 – 3 limes, juiced
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 1/2 – 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- Put greens in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Massage greens until they are wilted.
- Put lemongrass in blender with 1/2 cup water and blend until liquefied.
- Strain through cheese cloth, a fine mesh strainer, or a nut milk bag.
- Combine liquid from lemongrass with lime juice and coconut butter in the blender and blend until smooth. Add water if needed.
- Pulse in jalapeño and cilantro.
- Shred carrots or daikon, and thinly slice the red onion. Add to bowl with greens.
- Pour dressing over the vegetables and massage in well. The greens should be wilted.
- If possible, allow to sit for an hour before serving. Place a second bowl over the salad and put something heavy in it to press the dressing into the salad and allow the vegetables to fully absorb the flavors
Try it and see how you like it. And stay tuned for my next blog-post featuring another favorite natural cleansing food...can you guess what it might be?
With love and appreciation,
Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo
I’d love to know what your favorite springtime recipe is for cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens! Please share them below.
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I grow my own broccoli sprouts. I think they have to be one of the champions and they are soooo good.
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[…] my favorite natural cleansing foods into your diet. In my previous two blogs, I have discussed how adding cruciferous veggies and leafy greens, as well as adding dandelion greens, to your daily diet can help you naturally detox your […]
[…] my other previous blogs in this series, I have discussed how adding cruciferous veggies and leafy greens, as well as adding dandelion greens, to your daily diet can also help you naturally detox your […]