Day 23 – Detox with Dandelions

Posted April 21st, 2011 in Detoxification, Recipes, Salads by Rebecca Lane

Dandelions for Spring Detox

Our gardens are full of beneficial weeds and flowers. This fresh salad
will have you getting up early to pick dandelions!

Dandelion root and leaves are often used to support the liver, kidney and breasts. The leaves are high in potassium which makes it a good diuretic and cellular detoxifier. They are best eaten in spring and fall when the weather is cooler – the roots can be dug out and used for root tea in the fall.

Here’s a short list of the benefits of dandelion (from Sat Dharum Kaur’s Healthy Breast Program):

  1. protect, heal and tonify the liver
  2. decrease breast congestion
  3. discourage cancer
  4. improve digestion and appetite
  5. cleanse the kidneys
  6. stimulate weight loss by improving metabolism
  7. protect the immune system by increasing interferon production
  8. promote the flow of bile to relieve the liver of its toxins

Dandelions also contain vitamin A, calcium, and iron. Remember to avoid eating dandelions that have been sprayed with pesticides.

Dandelion, Pear & Walnut Salad

1 bunch dandelion leaves
3 pears, chopped
½ cup walnut halves
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Dressing:
½ cup olive oil
1/4 cup pear juice (or apple juice)
Juice of ½ lemon
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste

1. Blend dressing ingredients in a  jar. Cover with lid and shake well.
2. Pour over dandelion, greens, and  chopped pears (leave the skins  on for fibre).
3. Let sit for at least 10 minutes  to marinate (max. 2 hours).
4. Before serving toss with walnut halves and dried cranberries.
5. Top with blue cheese, sprouts, and seeds!

Day 18 – the final 3 detox pathways

Posted April 16th, 2011 in Detoxification, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Lymphatic System

Yesterday didn’t go so well. I’m blessed to have cleaning ladies here every two weeks and they turn my house from chaos into calm in 2 to 3 hours. It’s a minor miracle and I love them. However, when they were cleaning my office yesterday they accidentally tweaked a chord and my screen died. It took me the rest of the day to figure out what had happened and by the time I did, it was time for bed! I’ll know for next time.

Anyway, I didn’t get around to writing a blog post and several other things. However, I did experiment with a new recipe which you’ll see at the bottom of this post and I think you’ll be glad that I cooked instead of typed!

Today we’re going to look into the last three detoxification pathways of the body – the white blood cells, the lymphatic system and the spleen.

The white blood cells
White blood cells, or leukocytes, are cells of the immune system involved in defending the body against both infectious disease and foreign materials. Five different and diverse types of leukocytes exist, but they are all produced and derived from a stem cell in the bone marrow.

The function of white blood cells is to digest and break down all foreign elements including toxins, dead cells, cellular wastes, bacteria and impurities in the blood. In order to fulfill this role, they congregate in the lymphatic tissues (the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland) and in special clean-up sites in the liver and small intestine.

The number of WBCs in the blood is often an indicator of disease. There are normally between 4×109 and 1.1×1010 white blood cells in a litre of blood, making up approximately 1% of blood in a healthy adult. An increase in the number of leukocytes over the upper limits is called leukocytosis, and a decrease below the lower limit is called leukopenia. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_blood_cell)

Many vitamins, minerals and herbs can activate these white blood cells to serve us better:

  • Vitamin C helps your body create white blood cells. Consume 250 mg  daily from citrus, strawberries, melon, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, papaya, mangoes, broccoli, potatoes, cabbage, green and red peppers, rose hips and the herb amla.
  • Zinc contributes to the formation of white blood cells and is part of the enzymes that repair your skin and allow your wounds to heal. Consume 20 mg of zinc daily from pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, garlic, turnip, split peas, potatoes, lima beans, seafood, mushrooms, eggs, wheat germ.
  • Vitamin A aids in the synthesis of a specific white blood cell called a lymphocyte. Lymphocytes directly attack foreign invaders and help your immune system produce antibodies, which attack potentially harmful substances and protect your body from infection. Adults should consume 5000 IU daily. The best sources of vitamin A include butter, cream, egg yolks, fish liver oil from cod, salmon, halibut.
  • Vitamin D decreases the rate at which white blood cells are destroyed and removed from your body. This decreased rate of destruction does not affect the rate at which white blood cells are created, however. Instead, the decreased destruction rate allows your body to increase its white blood cell count, increasing your immune system’s ability to fight off infections. Adults require 800 IU of dietary vitamin D every day, depending on their age and sunlight exposure. Dietary sources of vitamin D include fortified milks (dairy, soy, rice, almond) and fish oils. (Source: http://www.lef.org/)
The lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is the part of the immune system comprising a network of conduits called lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph unidirectionally toward the heart.
This is the body’s sewage system, draining toxins from every corner of the body and because of its physical proximity to many tissues of the body, it is the system responsible for carrying cancerous cells between the various parts of the body. The intervening lymph nodes (full of filters and lymphocytes) can trap the cancer cells. If they are not successful in destroying the cancer cells the nodes can become inflamed and may become sites of secondary tumors.
A healthy immune system requires that the lymphatic system is draining freely and not overloaded with toxins. The vitamins and minerals outlined above to support the leukocytes are critical for the immune system. Other techniques that assist lymphatic circulation include:
  • lymphatic drainage massage techniques can be practiced (there are specially trained RMT in your area),
  • exercise is critical because it keeps all of the bodily fluids circulating optimally – rebounding on a small trampoline is especially beneficial – focus on movement of the arms, armpits and chest
  • dry brush massage (using a long-handled, natural bristle brush, brush in a circular motion towards your heart over every part of your body starting with the soles of your feet) in the morning when you arise,
  • alternating hot and cold showers,
  • going braless (see blog post on my experiment).

The spleen
Located behind and slightly below the stomach, the spleen is a fist-sized organ filled with macrophages which are white blood cells whose function is to digest bacteria, foreign particles and old red blood cells.

The spleen is a powerful filter of blood poisons (it is the largest mass of lymphatic tissue in the body) and can store blood for us to be released as we need it. Blood purifying herbs activate the macrophages and help them to do their job of devouring toxins. These include burdock root, goldenseal and echinacea.

The white blood cells in the spleen can be compromised by stress and periods of relaxation are essential. Sugar and excessive sweets are recognized as harming the spleen. Limit the use of ALL sugars.

I hope that you have found the information this week on the detoxification pathways to be very interesting and helpful in your understanding of the healing powers within our bodies. Now on to the delicious part of the blog – supper!

Pumpkin Gnocchi (from Canadian Living, Comfort Foods 2011)

This takes 1/2 an hour to prepare, so Saturday is the perfect day to prepare this dish that everyone can help with.

2 cups roasted pumpkin puree (I used a can of pumpkin puree this time – but have made using a roasted butternut squash)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups spelt flour (next time I’ll try making this gluten-free with some chick pea flour)

In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin, cheese, egg, salt and nutmeg. Using wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups of flour, Stir in enough of the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to make soft, sticky dough that pulls away from bowl but still sticks to spoon and fingers.

On well-floured surface and with floured hands, roll dough into a log – divide into quarters. Gently roll and shape each quarter into 3/4 inch diameter rope. With sharp, floured knife, cut each rope diagonally into 3/4 inch pieces.

In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook gnocchi in 2 batches. Stir gently until they start to float (they literally pop up to the surface) – takes about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, scoop onto large serving platter.

Meanwhile, make the spinach basil pesto – this is a standard in my house. I make up a big batch and freeze it in ice-cube trays. Then its an easy pasta topping after school or on the run.

Spinach Basil Pesto (Refresh, p. 105)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch fresh basil, stems removed
2 cups chopped baby spinach

Blend the garlic, salt, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and olive oil in a blender until smooth. Mix in the fresh basil and spinach and pulse until smooth.
To serve, you can either put a dollop on top of the gnocchi – but it’s room temperature, so I usually toss the gnocchi in the pesto sauce and serve with a sprig of basil on top and some grated Parmesan cheese and pepper.

 

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Day 16 – Three more Detox Pathways

Posted April 14th, 2011 in Detoxification, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Eggs for dinner

Are you starting to see how our bodies naturally have a variety of ways to clear and cleanse themselves? Unfortunately, with all of the toxins we keep feeding ourselves, and those proliferating in our environment, its hard for the body to keep up. Even 20 years ago, there wasn’t the toxic load on the earth that there is today. Manufacturers continue creating foods that just do not serve our body’s health. And we keep buying them – blissfully unaware of the damage they create.

The intestines
After leaving the stomach where food mixes with stomach acid and enzymes, the acid is neutralized and more enzymes and bile are added into the mix. In the small intestine valuable nutrients are removed from the food and what cannot be used to feed the body is driven through into the large intestine with its muscular movements.

In the large intestine, water and remaining minerals are removed from the food and the rest is eliminated through bowel movements. One bowel movement for each meal consumed is the ideal for keeping the large intestine moving without backed up waste.

Unfortunately, it is rare for us to have the ideal in terms of bowel movements. The combined effects of stress, low fibre diet, insufficient hydration and lack of exercise can cause waste to build up on the large intestine’s walls, forming crusts and pockets where bacteria, yeast and other microorganisms proliferate and infection can follow.

We can support the elimination process through the intestines by consuming a diet high in fibre (about 30 grams of fibre per day is a good starting point), 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day, add probiotics to keep our gut ecology (or the “good bacteria”) healthy, regular exercise to stimulate the movement of muscles and avoid antibiotics which disrupt the balance of our body.

The kidneys
The kidneys take care of the elimination of water-soluble toxins and excess minerals. They are filled with about one million tiny filtration units called nephrons, which collectively cleanse 180 litres of blood each day.

Water, and lots of it, is the best way to support our kidneys in their elimination role. Drink water (1 ½ to 2 litres) free of chemicals and pesticides. There are many water purification systems available to fit any budget. My family uses a counter-top Santevia filtration system that was in the $160 range and we change the filters per the instructions – which cost about the start-up price annually.

Another way to support the kidneys is to maintain a low sodium/high potassium diet to increase the efficiency of cellular detoxification and elimination via the kidneys. Sodium is present in the fluid outside each cell, potassium inside each cell. When one is low, the other will be high. If sodium levels are high, the body’s cells may swell and trap toxins inside. Restricting sodium consumption allows less fluid retention. Potassium preserves alkalinity of the body fluids and encourages the kidneys to eliminate toxic waste products.

Foods with the best low sodium/high potassium ratios are navy beans, caraway seeds (also good for increasing Phase 1 liver detox), dark cherries, dried apricots, lentils, walnuts, oranges, almonds, apples, avocado, peaches, banana, grapefruit, pineapple, squash, sage, mint and apple cider vinegar.

The thymus gland
The thymus gland, which lies just beneath the breast bone, is the main immune organ of the body. It is large in infants, and shrinks as we age. Its function is to program white blood cells, the body’s immune army, in their various tasks and then sends them into the blood to recognize and destroy pathogens.

The thymus develops our resistance to bacteria, cancer, viruses, toxins and allergens and stimulates the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow. It controls the lymphatic system of glands and ducts by turning up the volume on the elimination of wastes.

This gland is highly responsive to our emotions and shuts down when we are feeling stressed, unfulfilled, and without purpose. As a result, the white blood cells become fewer in number and less aggressive.

Support for the thymus gland can be achieved through a healthy diet, healthy sleep patterns so that the body produces melatonin and receives adequate rest, water and exercise, and responds best to our learning to manage stress effectively.

Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, beta carotene and selenium are critical to protect the thymus from free radical damage. Other nutrients such as zinc and vitamin B6 are important because they are required for the production of thymic hormones.

Eggs can be eaten during a detoxification program because the protein is more easily absorbed than any other protein, except for whey. To enrich more anti-oxidant power, add fresh herbs from your garden, such as basil or parsley.

Zucchini, Pepper and Goat Cheese Frittata

 2 tsp.  olive oil
2 cups mixed diced vegetables (choose from zucchini, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, and/or onions
1/2  red pepper, diced
1/2 tsp. salt with trace minerals
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8  large eggs
6 green onions, chopped
½ cup  minced parsley or mixture of fresh green herbs
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
Dulse to sprinkle on the top

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Chop the green vegetables, onions, and red pepper and green onions. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Heat olive oil and sauté vegetables, stirring occasionally for five minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cayenne pepper and salt and pour over the vegetables. Add green onions, herbs, and basil. Crumble the goat cheese on top.

Let it cook undisturbed over moderate heat for three to four minutes, until eggs are set on the bottom and edges. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until eggs are cooked in the centre and the goat cheese is slightly brown.

Serve it in the hot skillet, or later at room temperature. Cut into wedges. Sprinkle with dulse. Serve with a spinach salad.

Day 15 – the Liver’s Detoxification Role

Posted April 13th, 2011 in Detoxification, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane
Rapini Rice Bowl

The liver acts as the body’s main factory for breaking down, neutralizing, detoxifying and removing chemicals, poisons, body wastes and unused and undigested food surpluses. It handles about 40% of all of the body’s detoxification work.

It has three main functions:

  1. Filtration – the liver contains cells called Kupffer cells which are phagocytes (white blood cells that protect the body by ingesting (phagocytosing) harmful foreign particles, bacteria, and dead or dying cells). These Kupffer cells filter the blood and eradicate large molecules and pathogenic bacteria and toxins. In a healthy liver, these cells eradicate 99% of bacteria.
  2. Bile Secretion – the liver produces bile which binds with toxins, harmful poisons and wastes (including those removed via step 1 filtration and step 3 enzymatic pathways) and removes them from the body via the intestines in feces. Inadequate fibre causes the process to slow down causing many toxins to be reabsorbed in the intestines.
  3. Enzymatic Pathways – the liver disassembles toxins via a two-step process known as Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification.
    1. Phase 1 – a group of enzymes called cytochrome P450 either directly disassemble toxins, convert toxins to water-soluble substances which can be eliminated via urine, convert toxins to less toxic chemicals for removal, or convert toxins to activated intermediaries for Phase 2 conjugation.
    2. Phase 2 – these are called Conjugation Pathways because one molecule is bound to a toxin thereby converting it into a water-soluble substance that can be evacuated via urine. There are 7 different molecules chosen by the body depending on the toxin to be disassembled (eg. Amino acids, sulfation, methylation, glutathione, glucuronidation)

There are many ways to support the liver in its detox role.

  1. Keep the blood and organs well hydrated with lots of water.
  2. Avoid harmful substances, sugars, alcohol, high protein diets, coffee, saturated fat, and smoking.
  3. Support the Phase 1 detoxification pathways with lots of brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, Bussels sprouts, kale, rapini, collards), oranges, and tangerines.
  4. Support the Phase 2 detoxification pathways with brassicas, legumes, oatmeal, oranges, lemons, tangerines, whole grains, green tea, red peppers, fresh berries, and omega 3 fish oils.
  5. Supplement with milk thistle, magnesium, B complex vitamins, selenium, and zinc.

I realize I’ve given a lot of information. These Phase 1 and 2 pathways need to work together, if the Phase 1 works faster than Phase 2, then a backlog of activated intermediaries can occur. These can cause symptoms of fatigue and nausea among others. If you have underactive Phase 1 enzymes, you may be more sensitive to medications than the average person and require smaller dosages, may be hypersensitive to perfumes, paint fumes, easily affected by caffeine and alcohol. Just another indication of the importance of maintaining balance within the body.

One of my favourite dinners includes several of the foods suggested above. Remember that you can add Flax seed oil (an omega-3 oil) to replace part of the olive oil in a salad dressing recipe. But never heat it – omega 3 oils cannot take any heat.

Rapini Rice Bowl

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. vegetable stock
1 head rapini, chopped
1 head bok choy, chopped
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp. tahini
1 large handful, chopped mushrooms
4 cups cooked brown basmati rice
2 sheets nori, torn (seaweed)
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 batch simple sauce (from ReFresh – copied below)

Heat the olive oil and vegetable stock at medium heat in medium saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms until fragrant – 5 minutes. Add the greens and steam until tender and bright green.

Put 1 cup of the cooked brown basmati rice in each bowl. Stir in 1 Tbsp of tahini and ½ sheet of crumbled nori. Arrange the steamed vegetables on top, sprinkle with slivered almonds, then drizzle with simple sauce over the vegetables and rice.

Simple Sauce (p. 92 of ReFresh – a Vegan cookbook I just LOVE and use for inspiration often)

½ cup tamari
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 ½ inch ginger root, peeled and minced
4 Tbsp lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve over the rice.

Day 14 – How we Detoxify

Posted April 12th, 2011 in Detoxification, Meatless, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Exercise is a great detoxifying tool

Our body has 11 ways that it cleans itself constantly. These detox pathways are going on all of the time, while we eat, as we sleep – we don’t consciously know that they are working away, but they are. Their efficiency depends on many factors and I’ll describe them in some detail as we learn about them. If you want more detailed information, please let me know and I can help you to find what you need.

The blood
As we all learned in high school, our blood carries nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body and carries away cellular waste products. These waste products are delivered to the liver for detoxification and elimination.

If the blood becomes ‘sticky’, meaning it has an increased viscosity; it is less able to circulate freely through the small capillaries of the body. This stickiness can lead to the development of disease states because the blood can’t be efficient in either picking up waste, or dropping off food and oxygen.

Blood becomes sticky for several reasons: dehydration; the presence of pathogens like fungi, viruses, bacteria, and parasites which cause the blood to become thick through the body’s immune response to them; food sensitivities also cause immune response; heavy metal toxicity and exposure to environmental toxins; stress and trauma can also cause the blood to become thick.

Exercise is one way we can keep the heart muscle pumping strongly and blood flowing smoothly. Also make sure to drink lots of water to keep the blood hydrated and thin.

The lungs
With each exhalation, we release toxic gases and end products of cell metabolism. When we breathe slowly and deeply, we aerate a greater volume of the lungs and enhance their cleansing ability.

That’s why so many meditation practices include breathing as part of the practice. Often when we feel stressed, our breathing becomes quite shallow using only a small portion of the actual lung capacity. It can be very cleansing and refreshing to actually take ‘breathing breaks’ throughout the day when we consciously take several deep breaths in, hold and then exhale completely.

The skin
The skin opens its pores and releases water-soluble toxins through perspiration. Sweating is one of the ways that we can eliminate toxins that reside in our fat cells.

Exercise is critical for healthy skin – but the body must be allowed to perspire. Anti-perspirants block the body’s natural cleansing process and as a result should be avoided. Another method to induce sweating is through using saunas – especially when followed by a cold plunge or shower.

It is important to sweat during every season in order to get rid of those toxins. However, it is also important to use a proper cleanser and body wash following any strenuous workout. It doesn’t make any sense to sweat, eliminate toxins, and then use a chemically produced cleanser. Instead, choose all-natural skincare products for use after you sweat.

The digestive organs
Saliva in your mouth, stomach acid and digestive enzymes in the stomach and pancreas all are responsible for breaking down harmful toxins and pathogens in the same way as they digest food. These digestive organs are the first line of defences for the rest of the body, killing harmful bacteria, fungi, yeast and viruses before they can gain a foothold in our intestinal tracts.

Often as we age, or if we are living in a highly stressed environment, we don’t produce enough stomach acid and enzymes to be able to protect our bodies from these pathogens. Another thing that decreases the acidity of our stomachs is taking antacids.
Signs and symptoms of low stomach acid include bloating, belching, and flatulence immediately after meals; heartburn (often thought to be caused by too much stomach acid); indigestion, diarrhea, or constipation; undigested food in stools; acne; chronic candida; multiple food allergies; weak, peeling, or cracked fingernails; chronic fatigue – and that’s not all of the signs!

You can increase your stomach acidity by eliminating mineral-depleting sugar and sweeteners, eliminating processed foods (white flours and grains – eat whole foods rather than food in boxes), and adding fermented foods and drinks to your diet. Another way to increase your digestive juices is to start your day with lemon juice in water – if you’re sensitive to citrus try bitters 15 to 20 minutes before each meal.

That’s four of the 11 – we’ll talk about the liver tomorrow. Bet you can’t wait!

Coconut Beans and Rice

This recipe came from Sherri Doak who made it last night and raved about it enough that now I have to make it tonight to see if it’s really as good as she says!

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp curry powder (Arvinda’s Curry Masala – use less – or Lala’s)
1 14-oz can Adzuki beans (or use 1 ½ cups of sprouted, cooked Adzuki beans for extra digestibility)
3 cups finely chopped, mixed greens (bok choy, kale, spinach, broccoli, collards – 3 cups fresh or 1 ½ cups frozen)
1 can coconut milk
1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups filtered water (or 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable stock)
1 tsp salt

Cook the rice in the water and salt per package instructions and set aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat – add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant 2-3 minutes. Add in the curry powder and swirl around in the oil another minute. Add the beans and greens and cook until heated through – about 5 minutes. Add in the coconut milk to make a creamy sauce – and just heat through again.

Serve over the rice with a mango salad. I’m looking forward to tasting this!

Day 13 – Why consider a Spring Detox?

Posted April 11th, 2011 in Detoxification, Recipes, Salads by Rebecca Lane

Kale Salad

I met a really interesting couple at The Crow’s Nest last night (yes, I’m predictable – on Sundays we have supper out so that’s why there’s no Day 12) who had lots of questions about the importance of detoxing, so I thought I’d do my blog today on why a spring detox is a healthful practice.

What are toxins?
Toxins are substances that are harmful to our health. There are two main categories: Exotoxins – toxins which enter into our bodies from our external environments; and Endotoxins – toxic by-products of internal bodily functions.

Exotoxins include such things as xenobiotics (insecticides, herbicides, pesticides, food additives, plastics, drugs, chemicals from cleaning supplies, etc.), toxic metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, aluminum, arsenic in our water, fish, lead pipes, paint, pots and other sources), organic toxins (aflatoxin, penicillium toxins on our food), vitamin and mineral excesses, infections, lifestyle toxins (caffeine, sugar, alcohol, smoking), inhalents (mold, algae, pollens), food sensitivities (gluten, dairy, nightshades), and energetic toxins (electromagnetic fields, ionizing radiation, geopathic stress).

Endotoxins are things like by-products/waste products of intestinal bacteria and fungi, intermediary metabolites (lactic acid, urea), hormonal overload (estrogen, progesterone, insulin, cortisol, prolactin), increased free radicals, toxic emotions (excess worry, regret, grief, fear, anger) and toxic memories (loss, embarrassment, shame, violence, abandonment).

What happens when we are toxic?
When the body is unable to keep up with the break down and elimination of toxic wastes, symptoms of illness can begin to show up. These symptoms may include headaches, joint pain, fatigue, irritability, depression, mental confusion, digestive disturbances, cardiovascular irregulatiries, flu-like symptoms like hives, runny nose, sneezing and coughing.

Why detox in the spring?
Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal and the perfect time for an annual removal of these toxins from the system. There are many kinds of detoxification strategies that are available.

The simplest is for 2-weeks to concentrate on feeding your body with lots of fresh, raw vegetables and fruit (take a break from eating potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika, cayenne, and Tabasco sauce which are classified as nightshade foods and can be inflammatory for some individuals – as well as citrus fruits including lemon, lime, oranges, mandarin, grapefruit, as they can be a source of food sensitivities).

While you’re enjoying lots of fresh, raw vegetables and fruits, take a break from eating sugars (white, brown, honey, maple syrup, you name it, leave it alone for 2 weeks), gluten-containing grains (white flour, whole wheat flour, spelt, kamut, barley, rye), dairy products (especially milk, and cheese) and all lifestyle toxins (food additives and colourings, caffeine, alcohol, smoking).

Do include small amounts of protein each day as the function of proteins in our body is to repair, renew, and improve immune function. However, protein containing foods are generally higher in fat, require cooking, and are harder for the body to digest. Foods that draw energy for digestion interfere with the use of energy for cleansing and rejuvenation, and should be avoided during detoxing.

Include in your 2-week detoxification a trip to a spa where you can relax and feel pampered and refreshed. You also might want to consider keeping a journal during this time to keep track of how you feel as your body is given the chance to clean and clear itself.

Kale Salad

When kale is cut into thin strips, rubbed, and then marinated overnight in a dressing, it has a wonderfully soft and juicy texture that makes it delightful for a salad. This nutritious salad is visually beautiful, and sure to become a staple recipe for your family and friends. When I’m not on a detox, I add 1 tbsp of maple syrup to the dressing.

1 head of kale, washed and cut into thin strips
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cucumber
1/3 cup raw whole almonds, chopped
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 small red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red cabbage

Combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl. Feel free to add some fresh berries to increase the antioxidant properties of the salad.

Dressing:
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flax oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon
1 tsp tamari
½ tsp coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a jar, shake and pour over salad. Massage dressing into salad and let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to let flavors meld and allow the kale to soften. This salad will keep for a couple of days as the kale just softens in the dressing and becomes juicier.

Thanks to Caroline Dupont’s Enlightened Eating for starting me on my love affair with kale.