Now that the holidays are firmly behind us, I’ve started to notice a bit too much evidence of the holidays, er. . .behind me. And as the year begins in earnest, I’m right there with everyone looking to eat cleaner and detox all the excesses of the season. It’s only natural to look ahead with sparkly enthusiasm as a way to kick off the new year, no? And what better way than nourishing your body with clean, nutritious food?
First Up: Time for a Blast from the Past. . .
Since I follow a (slightly modified) version of the anti-candida diet (ACD) all year round, my daily menus are already what most people would consider “clean” (even to the point of “extreme”). But even those of us on yeast-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan, whole foods-based diets can benefit from the occasional detox. Why, you may ask? Well, because (a) despite said diet, I am still capable of scarfing down five cookies in one sitting (even though they happen to be made with my own gluten-free flour mix and stevia/coconut sugar); and (b) there are myriad other toxins in our everyday world besides just food (viz., the air we breathe, the electromagnetic fields in our environment, the water we drink, the clothes we wear, the cleaners and personal body-care products we use. . . et cetera).
Consequently, I’ve decided to start off the year with a bit of a flashback to 2009: I’ve vowed to revisit Stage One of the ACD. This means no sweeteners except stevia, and no sweet fruits for a while; in addition, I’ll be ditching all those flour-based products I’ve come to enjoy again over the past 2-3 years.
Are you about to start an anti-candida diet, too, or just interested in eating clean? Join the Candida Kick-Start and learn everything you need to start–and finish–strong against candida.
I mentioned it briefly in this post, but for those of you who may have missed it: I’m working on a new book! I’m terribly excited about this one, as it focuses on candida, as both a cookbook and guidebook for anyone on the diet or looking to reduce their overall sugar intake. It will contain the full gamut of recipes from appetizer to dessert, sweet AND savory. As you may know, this is a topic about which I’m fiercely passionate, and I am beyond thrilled to be able to help others who are dealing with this condition. [UPDATE, 2016: The book is done! You can learn more and get the book here.]
And now . . . . on to the food! These are my six favorite foods for detoxing. Obviously, they’re not the ONLY detox foods, but these are my go-to ingredients when I want something to cleanse while also providing super nutrition. They’re the foods that I’ll be increasing in my diet over the next few weeks.
Oh, and be sure to check back for the next post, when I share a humongous roundup of 45+ detox recipes–many using these very ingredients!
My love of beets is no secret! These garnet gems are filled with an array of B- and other vitamins, important minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc, and heart-healthy fiber. But beets are also a superstar when it comes to detoxification, providing plant compounds called betalains that help to support your liver as it runs through its detox phases. The high fiber content, besides helping to sweep away toxins, also contributes to bowel regularity, essential during any detox so that toxins don’t remain in the digestive tract where they can be re-absorbed into the body.
2. Dandelion Greens (and all greens)
Dark leafy greens are commonly cited as the most health-promoting of all vegetables, and while I’ve always loved them, ever since my osteopenia diagnosis a few years ago, I’ve tried to incorporate at least two servings of dark leafies each day.
But of all the greens, when it comes to detoxification, I think dandelion tops the list. Not only do they offer the usual detoxing properties courtesy of cholorophyll (what makes green veggies green, and helps to flush toxins through the liver), they also add further stimulation to the process because they’re slightly bitter, which prompts bile production to aid in the cleansing. In other words, dandelion supports the liver in two ways. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and brimming with antioxidants that can prevent cancer. And, as I mentioned, they’re a great food to eat to help rebuild bone density.
The humble lemon is likely already present in your refrigerator or on your kitchen counter. Who knew it was also such a potent detoxifier? Lemons are commonly prescribed by alternative practitioners to help improve digestion (important to any detox regimen) by stimulating stomach acids that work to break down food. In addition, lemons act as a gentle liver stimulant and support, promoting the release of enzymes that can convert toxins to a water-soluble form so that they can be removed from the body.
Garlic is just so, well, impressive, isn’t it? I mean, it not only tastes delicious, but it’s one of those few foods that can be used on its own as a medicine. In fact, garlic, a natural antibiotic, was used before the man-made prescription antibiotics made their appearance around 1935 , and it looks like it’s once again being studied for that purpose as we approach a world in which antibiotics are no longer viable to fight certain bacterial infections.
Because of its antimicrobial (anti-viral, anti-germ, antibacterial, anti-fungal) properties, garlic is a perfect detox food. It combats all these unhealthy organisms while supporting the body via allicins, compounds that help keep the bloodstream and heart working optimally. Because it also fights parasites, it clears the digestive tract and improves elimination. Fresh garlic is best, but cooked is good, too; apparently, letting it sit out after chopping it enhances its health-promoting properties.
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