Celebrating holidays with close friends and fabulous food is key to a happy lifestyle. With all the temptations from drinks, to rich dishes and desserts, it’s easy to overdo it.
But there’s no reason you have to slip into bad habits throughout the week or worry that you’ve wrecked your healthy eating routine for good. Try some of these easy and tasty detox tips to get yourself back on track, in a hurry.
Give Your Liver Some Love
When you splurge on cocktails and sweets, it’s bad news for your liver since it has to work extra hard to process both (think of your liver being at the office on a sunny Saturday afternoon, while you’re sunning at the beach). So if you’re feeling drained or fatigued you can bet your liver has some beef with you! Base your meals for the next three days on these core foods that your liver will love: kale, spinach, watercress, broccoli and asparagus while passing on sweets and booze.
By including these green superfoods, you’ll get the bonus of rebuilding your bank of revitalizing nutrients for your skin (like vitamin C, vitamin A, and copper). Kale is king when it comes to detox and liver health since kale contains a huge amount of special sulfur-based antioxidants that cleanse the liver.
It is particularly high in folate, and an important nutrient for your nervous system (and especially for pregnant women to protect their growing babies). If you’re a wine lover, be sure to get plenty of folate on your non-drinking days (drinking can block absorption) since the liver uses this vital B vitamin (B9) to process alcohol.
Kale also happens to be extremely high in copper, an important antioxidant that’s also crucial for manufacturing collagen and getting iron into your red blood cells. Try this delicious kale salad that you can top with seeds, nuts, or the healthy protein of your choice.
Asparagus is another important detox food, revered in ancient medicines systems like Ayurveda for its bitter astringent quality. High in folate and copper like kale, asparagus also has a special compound called inulin that feeds the good gut bacteria which play a crucial role in the strength of your immune system. Asparagus soup is low in calories and a creamy delicious meal that transports well. For an extra protein boost, or larger appetites, add 1 cup cooked shrimp, cubed chicken, or tofu.
Detox Spices and Flavoring
Turmeric is a panacea of healing, both in Eastern and Western medicine! Turmeric is a super spice that has been studied for its potency against a wide range of ailments, from Alzheimer’s to cancer. It’s especially good for your skin, and can literally be turned into a paste for the perfect zit zapper. The only caveat is its overly bitter taste and strong pigment that can stain your fingers and tongue temporarily. But turmeric is oh so easy to sneak into detox meals from salads, to iced summer drinks, smoothies and even into fresh salsas. Try this tasty morning smoothie that gives you a whole serving of spinach to boot:
Turmeric Mango Smoothie
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup cubed frozen or fresh mango
1/2 cup plain reduced fat yogurt or kefir
4 ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Place all ingredients in a blender along with 1/2 cup water and process until smooth. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Stats Per Serving (Serving size: 2 cups): 296 calories, 12g protein, 37g carbohydrates, 7g fat (1 g saturated), 4mg cholesterol, 3g fiber, 126mg sodium
Lemon – You all know to drink lots of water to help rebalance your body, but adding lemon to your diet can also have benefits beyond just taste. Lemon and other citrus fruits contain flavonoids, unique antioxidants that have been studied for their ability to halt cancer cells from reproducing. While there is no real evidence that lemon cleanses the liver or the gallbladder, citrus certainly works as a gentle, natural appetite suppressant to help you scale back on calories without feeling as hungry. If you like bubbly drinks or if you’re trying to kick the soda can habit, add refreshing lemon and a sprig of mint to chilled sparkling water. Or try this famous detox tea:
Traditional Agni Tea
1 quart water
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped ginger root
pinch of salt
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons natural sweetener, such as agave, maple syrup or honey
Bring water, pepper, ginger and salt to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain.
Add the lemon or lime juice and the sweetener. Do not boil the juice or sweetener.
Nutritional Stats Per Serving (8 ounces): 32 calories. 0 g protein, 8 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 5 mg sodium.
Thinking of skipping your morning cup of joe, as many detox gurus suggest? Well don’t unless you have high blood pressure or heart concerns, liver specialist say that regular coffee (not decaf) is amazingly protective for the liver, through many studies. New finding suggests that the antioxidants in coffee (not decaf!) may even help to reverse some liver damage caused by the regular wear and tear of drinking alcohol.
Do skip the added sugar since sugar (especially in large amounts) is making the liver work extra hard — so if you can, learn to drink it black or opt for stevia. Or try drinking it iced and add a little vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon for a hint of sweet aroma without sugar.
Hungry for more? Sign up for my easy and delicious Gentle Cleanse program that you can use before and after the holidays to stay fit, even after you’ve splurged.