What ‘Detoxing’ Your Body Means, and How to Do It
BY CARLYE WAXMAN RD, CDN | Spring is here — and with it, the fourth month of 2013. So…how are those New Year’s resolutions going? If you’ve kept them, congratulations. If you never made any to begin with, it’s not too late. I have three of them for you, all of which will help detoxify your body:
NUMBER ONE: Eat real food.
You do not need to fast and drink vegetables, grapefruit, cabbage, or Tabasco sauce to detoxify your body.
NUMBER TWO: Be smarter.
Do not buy anything that labels itself as a “detoxifier.” Not only will you feel smarter because you didn’t buy into a gimmick that doesn’t do anything, but you’ll save yourself some money.
NUMBER THREE: Everyday foods.
Eat the seven foods listed below, every day, for the next two months — and see how you feel. If you can’t hit all seven, do better tomorrow!
Before I get into the best foods, let me explain what “detoxing” your body means. Metabolic enzymes in the body help to eliminate toxins from chemicals, pollution and poor diet, in order to keep you cleaner and healthier. Certain foods help with this enzymatic process –– eating them more often and daily can help more than any other beverage or pill. Research suggests that instead of focusing on one “diet” (ex-cleanses that you partake in for a certain period of time), you should simply include foods into your daily diet that are known to clean out your system. Eating these foods will deliver the nutrients for your body to absorb more effectively.
This food is thought to fight harmful free radicals in your body (which you get from pollutio
n and cigarettes…I love New York). Since it also thins your blood, consult a physician before overdosing on this stuff.
How to fit garlic into your day: Cook a healthy stir-fry every night or a few times per week, and reheat leftovers as a side. Always use a clove or two of garlic with your olive oil before you throw in your veggies.
It’s a dark green leafy vegetable, which means it has more chlorophyll. Chlorophyll assists in detoxification and helps your liver take out the bad stuff!
How to fit spinach into your day: This one is easy. You can go to the corner store during lunch time and get yourself a big spinach salad. I’ll tell you what to throw into it later, but choose this one over the romaine and iceberg varieties.
This tea can help boost the production of the detox enzymes, specifically, Glutathione S Transferase (GST). GST is the enzyme that helps to eliminate toxins!
How to fit green tea into your day: Afternoon slump? You’re kind of hungry and need something small to make it to dinner? Try buying a box of green tea and bring it to work with your favorite microwavable mug or to go coffee cup. Need it sweet? Add a little sugar or a Splenda. Don’t add milk, as this may ruin the effect. Have this with a small piece of scone or a mini-muffin.
Since it’s so high in Vitamin C, it’s the best fruit for detox because it converts the toxins into digestible substances. It’s the flush on your toilet bowl, if you will.
How to fit oranges into your day: Well so far you have half a lunch, a midday snack and somewhat of a dinner prepared. Why not make this the first thing you eat in the morning? Buy a big case of clementines and keep in the fridge. Grab a couple of these babies before you head out the door and munch on them before you get to work with a bottle of water.
This big boy has anthocyanindin in the purple part (don’t skin it). Anthocyanindin is the little fighter in your body that beats up the bad guys that are lurking around.
How to fit eggplant into your day: Roast eggplant in half, face up and brushed with olive oil for about 45 minutes. Once it looks mushy, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Chop it like crazy and throw it into a marinara sauce in a pot on medium heat and let them get married for about 20 minutes. After, serve on top of whole wheat pasta or mixed vegetables, and sprinkle with goat cheese (I don’t know why these two go together, they just do). This dish can be reheated in so many ways, as marinara sauce tends to go on most things (chicken, spicy shrimp, garlic bread, ravioli). Keep a large batch of it in the fridge or freezer, and get creative all week long.
The isoflavones found in edamame are thought to help your body ward off cancer. There is some controversy about having too much of this antioxidant, so try to not overdose on edamame every day.
How to fit edamame into your day: Throw it in as part of your daily spinach salad. You can also add avocado, shrimp or chicken, carrots, broccoli and red peppers. Try the low fat ginger dressing or low fat honey mustard, as it works well with these components. Have I hit our allowed toppings before this becomes a $15 salad?
Love these vegetables! Not only are they delicious and basically go as a side with everything, but they fight cancer formation. Their antioxidant glucosinolates inhibit steroid-producing hormones that produce certain cancers. This, in turn, acts as a detoxifier.
How to fit Brussels sprouts into your day: After you cleaned, trimmed and quarter them, heat in a pan with that garlic in olive oil. Cook on medium high heat and make this a side dish to accompany a lean protein at dinner. Don’t like Brussels sprouts, or got lost when I told you to use your stove? Broccoli works as an excellent alternative. Buy a frozen “steamers” bag and heat in the microwave according to directions. You can use your garlic olive oil as a dresser and add parmesan cheese to finish off the dish.
Carlye Waxman is a Registered Dietitian living in NYC. Follow her on twitter @Sweet_Nutrition or visit her at SweetNutritionNYC.com for recipe tips and inspirational facts on nutrition.