Whether it was during your January resolutions or bikini season or a health-conscious lightbulb moment, you’ve probably considered a detox at some point. In fact, we even have a 7-day detox outlined in Cooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook: SKINNY DISH! But what does a Detox actually do? Does it just dissolve the champagne and gingerbread from the holidays? Yes, and more. Taken from SKINNY DISH, here are the reasons why to do a detox followed by TJ’s recipes that fit right in to a mild detox plan. Green drink cheers!
Day after day we take in unwanted and unhealthy toxins in our food, water, and air supply. They get stored in our fat cells, and it’s next to impossible to avoid them completely. They’re pesticides, mold byproducts on otherwise health-promoting grains and legumes, antibiotics, hormones, food additives and preservatives, chemicals in food packaging, household cleaners, heavy metals, car exhaust and other air pollutants, and cigarette smoke. Our body’s natural detoxification system does a decent job of eliminating some of these, but can’t deal with all the toxins present in our modern world. Moreover, a shabby diet lacks certain vital nutrients to naturally detox, leading to further build-up in the body.
Such build-up is responsible for a crummy immune system (do you get every sickness that enters the room?), nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and a poorly oiled metabolic machine. Real life signs of this build-up include indigestion, poor attention span, fatigue, stinky breath, acne and other skin problems, low sex drive, headaches, food cravings, muscle pain, and weight changes.
Following a mild detox 1 day a week, 3 days every other week, or 7 days a month can help improve your digestion, skin clarity, energy levels, and ability to concentrate, while also promoting more restful sleep, regular bowel movements, fewer unhealthy food cravings, and a speedier metabolism.
Note: Pregnant and nursing women, children, and folks with chronic diseases can certainly include the foods indicated in a mild detox in their every day, but should only do frequent or regular detoxes with blessings from their doc.
What’s in a mild detox? Basically, it’s a vegan plan which avoids caffeine, alcohol, gluten, and sugar, and includes 60-80% of its foods in their raw form (veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains). Not too bad, right? Here are some recipes from SKINNY DISH! which fit the bill:
- 5 oz (½ bag) Wild Rocket Arugula, or other arugula
- 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks*
- 1 cucumber, peeled if not organic, and cut into small chunks
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 ear of white corn, cut off the cob (uncooked), or 1 cup frozen Cut White Corn, thawed
- 1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Raw Blanched Slivered Almonds
- In a large salad bowl, toss all ingredients, and serve.
- Because there isn’t any oil in this recipe, leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days (oil wilts the lettuce immediately).
NUTRITION SNAPSHOT Per serving (¼ of recipe): 206 calories, 3.5 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 369 mg sodium, 39.5 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 15.5 g sugar, 9 g protein, 56% vitamin A, 39.5% vitamin C, 5% calcium, 9% iron;
*The porcupine method for cutting a mango: Using a sharp knife, carefully slice all the way down alongside the seed on the narrower side of the mango. Repeat along the other side of the seed. Score cross-hatch lines in each fruit half, almost all the way to the skin, but without piercing it. Turn the skin inside-out to eat on its own, or slice off each chunk with a small paring knife. Slice remaining flesh off from around the seed.
Carrot Orange Cucumber Shake
- 3 carrots, scrubbed, unpeeled, and cut into large chunks
- ½ organic cucumber, unpeeled
- 2 oranges, peeled
- ½-inch round piece ginger, peeled*
- 1 cup chilled filtered water
- 10 ice cubes
- Blend ingredients together until smooth. For a thicker smoothie, add more ice cubes, a handful at a time. For a thinner smoothie, add more chilled filtered water, ¼ cup at a time.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Or, pour leftovers into popsicle molds for a delicious frozen treat.
NUTRITION SNAPSHOT Per serving: 47 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 32 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber, 6.5 g sugar, 1 g protein, 113.5% vitamin A, 50.5% vitamin C, 4% calcium, 1.5% iron;
*Fresh ginger root can easily and safely be peeled by using the edge of a metal teaspoon. You’ll get over the root’s bumps and lumps without wasting any prime ginger.
- 1 banana
- 1 cup frozen Pineapple Tidbits
- 1 cup frozen Mango Chunks (about 14 pieces)
- ½ cup green grapes (preferably organic)
- 2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate (not reconstituted)
- 1 Tbsp Very Green Dietary Supplement, or other green superfood powder (optional)
- 1 large handful (about 1 cup) raw baby spinach or kale (preferably organic)
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Cheers!
- Leftovers will not keep very well in the fridge. Pour leftovers into popsicle molds for a delicious frozen treat.
NUTRITION SNAPSHOT Per serving: 114 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 101 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 15 g sugar, 2 g protein, 27% vitamin A, 44% vitamin C, 13% calcium, 7% iron
- 2 tsp grapeseed oil
- ½ (15-oz) block organic firm tofu, drained and pressed for 10 minutes
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp dill weed
- 1 (6-oz) bag baby spinach (preferably organic)
- 1 (10-oz) bag shredded green cabbage
- 1 (8-oz) pkg Steamed & Peeled Baby Beets, drained and cut into strips, or 6 small beets, peeled, boiled, and cut into strips
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup whole walnuts
- In a medium-sized skillet over high heat, heat oil, tofu, salt, and dill, crushing tofu into crumbles and stirring until tofu begins to brown, about 7 minutes.
- On each of 4 plates, place ¼ of the spinach, followed by ¼ of the cabbage, ¼ of the beets, ¼ of the tofu mixture, 1 Tbsp balsamic, and 1 Tbsp walnuts. Serve immediately.
- Leftovers don’t keep well, but the tofu mixture and other ingredients can be stored in the fridge and kept on hand for up to 5 days for easy salad making.
NUTRITION SNAPSHOT Per serving: 176 calories, 9.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium, 13.5 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber, 8.5 g sugar, 9.5 g protein, 46% vitamin A, 59.5% vitamin C, 13.5% calcium, 18% iron
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
- 5 small sweet potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into chunks
- 5 cups filtered water
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
- In a large soup pot over high heat, bring all ingredients except cilantro to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until sweet potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.
- Transfer in batches to a blender and blend until smooth, placing blended portions in a large bowl until all soup in blended.
- Return blended soup to pot and serve immediately, or cook further if needed.
- Top each serving with cilantro if desired.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 2 months.
NUTRITION SNAPSHOT Per cup: 64 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 169 mg sodium, 14.5 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber, 5.5 g sugar, 1.5 g protein, 77% vitamin A, 17% vitamin C, 2.5% calcium, 5% iron