With motivation being renewed in January, many people decide to exercise, lose weight, or do a cleanse. For those suffering from PMS, PCOS, digestive issues, and other health concerns, it often seems like the perfect time.
While cleanses should be conducted in the spring and the fall, sometimes right away is better. After all the junk food that tends to be consumed over the holidays, it may feel nice to reset the system.
I’m not a big supporter of most boxed cleanses since many of them are too harsh. Others depend on strong laxatives to flush the bowels without supporting the body overall. I’m a fan of using whole foods, (i.e. unprocessed foods) to regain health. Read on to learn which foods to include in your cleanse.
7 foods to include in your new year cleanse
Beets contain phytonutrients that help support the liver. They help digestion, and support the gallbladder and the kidneys. When we think of detoxification, we often think of the liver. The kidneys are an extremely important piece of the puzzle, however.
The role of the liver is to turn fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins. Once the liver has done its job “modifying” a toxin, this toxin still needs to come out of the body. The kidneys then need to ensure that the toxin is escorted out of the body.
Try this recipe for grain-free beet hummus from Chocolate and Zucchini.
Parsley is a diuretic, which means that it helps you pee. As we mentioned, it’s important to pass toxins out of the body once they’ve gone through the liver. It is also a mild laxative – key word being “mild”. Strong laxatives are a bad idea because they teach your bowels to stop moving on their own.
An occasional mild laxative while cleansing, on the other hand, helps ensure that more toxins are being moved out of the body. When toxins sit in the digestive tract for too long, they can be reabsorbed into the body.
Try the classic Middle Eastern tabbouleh (recipe from David Lebovitz) to get more parsley. You may want to consider using quinoa instead of bulgur, or eliminating the grain altogether.
Turnips are so underrated when it comes to cleansing. They help reduce mucus in the body. Mucus tends to accumulate in the body as a protective mechanism. For instance, when something keeps hurting the intestinal lining over and over, mucus builds up to stop the injury. However, this gets in the way of proper nutrient absorption.
Turnips are also an awesome food for detoxifying excess estrogen in the body. This is especially important in the case of conditions like PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, and infertility.
Did you know you can make fries out of turnips? Turnips and rutabagas are practically interchangeable in this recipe for Baked & Spicy Oregano Rutabaga Fries on Be The Happy Soul.
4. Dandelion root
Dandelion root helps increase the flow of bile. When you eat fats, bile emulsifies them. Kind of like soap, it surrounds the fat molecules. This allows the body to better digest fats. It is also a mild laxative.
I consume my dandelion root in the form of tea. Traditional Medicinals makes a great tea using roasted dandelion root. This gives it a flavour similar to coffee.
There is a lot to be said about garlic, but I’ll keep it short and sweet. Garlic helps kill unwanted beasties in the gut, like bad bacteria, and excess yeast. The best part is that it does so without killing off the good stuff, unlike most antimicrobials.
Garlic is high in sulphur, which makes it a great heavy metal chelator. This means that it attaches to the heavy metals, which is a necessary step to remove them from the body.
Enjoy garlic in my Zucchini Con Aglio et Olio (zucchini with garlic and oil) recipe.
The Standard American Diet is very acidic to the body. The body has mechanisms to balance out occasional consumption of acid-forming foods. However, when it becomes a frequent thing, the body struggles to keep up, and chronic disease settles in more easily. Arugula is a powerful alkalizer, making it a helpful addition to a cleanse.
You can eat arugula in salads, or try it in this variation of pesto from Paleo Grubs.
Radishes also help support the liver and the gallbladder, while being a diuretic. Just like turnips, radishes help break down mucus. This makes it a cleanse goldmine! The fun thing about radishes is that they come in many varieties. This means that you can get the benefits from eating them straight, adding them to soups, salads, or even roasting them.
My 4-Ingredient Beet Radish Salad kills two birds with one stone (is there a less gruesome expression) by combining both beets and radishes.