Posted on: January 12, 2016
Support Your Body’s Natural Ability to Detox
By Amy Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CDN
Often thought of as the “quick, easy solution” to shed the pounds, detoxes or cleanses are all the rage in the world of dieting. Health claims range from improved health, energy, and digestion to decreased inflammation and weight loss, and while many people start cleanse diets to “jump-start” weight loss or “rid the body of toxins,” extreme diets are neither effective nor safe.
The theory behind detoxing is to give the gastrointestinal cells time to rest and become stronger. Instead, extreme cleanses are linked with lack of energy, headaches, irritability, constipation, nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar control issues, gastrointestinal bacterial imbalances, electrolyte imbalances, and even cardiac issues.
Specific diets vary, but extreme detoxes and cleanses often limit dieters to drinking fruit and vegetables juices and/or eating raw fruits and vegetables for an extended amount of time. The average cleanse is 800-1,000 calories per day, less than half the average 2,000 calorie intake most people need. Severe calorie restriction causes the body to break down glucose stored in our muscles causing water loss. After a longer period of time, the body breaks down muscle from limited protein intake. This water and muscle loss results in temporary weight loss that is regained once the diet is over.
Luckily, our bodies have a natural “detox” system – our kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and liver. If we feed ourselves natural, unprocessed, whole foods, our bodies will do the rest. Follow these steps to create your own cleansing diet and revive from within:
1) Drink plenty of water, at least eight 8oz glasses per day.
2) Eat a high-fiber diet, with unprocessed whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal), beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
3) Fill at least ½ your plate at every meal with fruits and vegetables. The more colorful, the grater the antioxidant intake.
4) Choose vegetarian, plant-based meals.
5) Limit alcohol. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. (1 drink = 12oz of beer, 1.5oz hard alcohol, 5oz of wine.)
6) Limit sugar to 150 calories per day. Check labels for any added sugars, especially those sneaky sources of sugar including yogurts!
Create a week of menus for yourself –by planning each meal and sticking to a routine you can break free from old habits and maximize the positive benefits of a truly cleansing diet.
Healthy “Detox” Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Beet Berry Smoothie
2 beets, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 c. strawberries
2 c. plain Greek Yogurt
2 c. water
Blend all ingredients until smooth!
148cal, 1g fat, 145mg sodium, 34.2g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 4.6g protein
Quinoa and Winter Fruit Salad
Courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine
1 1/3 c. quinoa (about 1/2 pound), rinsed
1 1/2 c. water
2 kumquats—halved, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 c pure olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large Bosc pear—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium cucumber—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 c. coarsely chopped stemmed watercress
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until just tender, about 12 minutes; the grains should be separate and intact. Drain the quinoa and let cool completely.
2. In a small bowl, combine the kumquats and cilantro with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt and let steep for 5 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, pear and cucumber. Add the dressing and toss well. Add the watercress and toss again. Serve at once.
210cal, 10.7g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 203mg sodium, 24g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 5.4g protein
Two Bean Soup with Kale
Courtesy of Cookinglight.com
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped carrot
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 tsp salt, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 c. organic vegetable broth (such as Emeril’s), divided
7 c. stemmed, chopped kale (about 1 bunch)
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat.
2. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté 6 minutes or until tender.
3. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook 1 minute.
4. Stir in 3 cups vegetable broth and kale. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until kale is crisp-tender.
5. Place half of cannellini beans and remaining 1 cup vegetable broth in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.
6. Add pureed bean mixture, remaining cannellini beans, black beans, and pepper to soup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.
7. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and rosemary.
250 cal, 10.4 g fat, 1.4 g saturated fat, 11.8 g protein, 9.2 g fiber, 393 mg sodium