The second week of January is always a little tricky. Week one, people are full of enthusiasm and new yearís resolutions, but by week two, theyíre back at work and missing a comforting glass of wine at the end of the day.
Dry January or ďdranuaryĒ is a popular concept; we get wrapped up in guilt if we donít see it through. And really, is the concept of a detox a good one anyway?
The thing is, if you avoid all the bad stuff for two weeks and then just go back to eating the way you were before, you wonít achieve much.
Dramatic weight loss during quick detox programmes is usually down to water loss, which is why the weight piles back on afterwards.
In the background, no matter what you eat or drink, your body detoxes anyway as a routine part of metabolism, so implying that you can only detox by eating a certain way is misleading. And yet Ö
Hereís the thing. What you eat and drink through the day (and evening) will either make detoxing easier or harder.
You can assist your body in the process, or you can put every single obstacle you can in its way. The idea behind a good detox or cleanse is to assist your body and, in particular, to support phase two liver detox.
Most of us do phase one efficiently (alcohol, caffeine and pesticide exposure actually speed up phase one) and phase two becomes sluggish.
If thatís the case, then itís a little like putting all the trash in the trash can (phase one) and never taking it out of the house (phase two).
And the chemical intermediates (between phase one and phase two) can accelerate ageing and disease-causing free radical damage too. Yikes.
In my view, the best way to cleanse or detox is to take a long-term view. Start with a cleanse that focuses on phase two liver detox and use the time to reset your taste buds. But then donít go back to normal!
Keep following a healthy plan so that you can continue to support your bodyís innate detox mechanisms. The less sugar, salt and processed fat you eat, the more likely your taste buds will be to adjust.
Healthy food will taste better and more interesting, but you need to keep going to maintain that. If you have a binge on junk every weekend, you will struggle to recalibrate on Monday. And if healthy eating feels like a struggle, then itís not going to last.
Yesterday, we held the info session for our Natural Nutrition two-week cleanse. Thereís still time to join in if you like ó just let me know!
Youíll need the weekend to shop and prep and then we get going officially on Monday. However, if something organised isnít for you, try improving your diet on your own.
This week, Iíve got some great sides that will help you clean up your evening meals.
Cruciferous vegetables are amazing for both phase one and phase two liver detox, but especially phase two.
In case you need a refresher, cruciferous veg include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress and radishes.
Most of these are rich in folate (the food-based source of folic acid) which isnít just good for pregnant women, itís super liver and heart-healthy too! Dark green cruciferous veg are rich in vitamins A and C. They also all contain plenty of phytonutrients associated with cancer prevention and reduction in excessive inflammation.
So Iíve given you three recipes below: kickiní kale salad, garlic cauliflower mash and steamed sesame rainbow veg. The dressing for the kale salad is amazing, feel free to use this on other leaves too.
Sometimes it feels as if kale is trying to attack you, but this takes out the bite.
The cauliflower mash really helps to cut down your carb portions by diluting the potato and the rainbow veg is a super pretty way to get these veggies in.
By the way, if cruciferous veg give you a hard time from a digestive perspective, try the Beano digestive enzymes, available at most pharmacies and supplement stores.)
Kickiní Kale Salad
6-8 stems kale
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tsps honey, ideally local
2 tsp tahini
Salt/pepper to taste
1 tsp sesame seeds
Ĺ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1. Prepare the kale by rinsing well and patting dry. Remove the tough middle stem and then slice the leaves into thin ribbons. You can do this roughly, it doesnít take long. You can alternatively process into small pieces in a food processor. Set to one side.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, tahini and salt/pepper. Pour this over the kale and, with clean hands, literally massage it into the kale leaves. Rub it in really well until all the leaves are coated.
3. Add in the sesame seeds and pine nuts and toss into the salad. Keep a few aside to sprinkle on top just before serving. (You can serve it straight away but you can also leave it marinating in the fridge. Unlike regular salads, kale gets better and softer the longer the dressing soaks into the leaves!)
Garlic Cauliflower Mash
Ingredients (per person)
1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1-2 large handfuls of cauliflower florets
1 tbs grass-fed butter or Earth Balance organic vegan margarine
Sea salt and white pepper
Ĺ clove garlic, crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Sautť the garlic in 1 tbs olive oil, very gently while the vegetables cool. Donít let the garlic brown or the oil smoke.
2. Steam the cauliflower above the sweet potatoes as they cook.
3. When veg are tender, drain the potatoes keeping a little of the water, and add the cauliflower.
4. Add butter/Earth Balance, salt and white pepper to taste as you mash. For a rough mash, just use the masher. For a smooth mash, use a handheld stick blender.
5. Drizzle with the garlic oil before serving.
Steamed Sesame Rainbow Veg
Ingredients (per person):
1 really large handful kale (stalks removed and torn)
Ĺ yellow pepper, chopped into thin strips
1 handful shredded red cabbage
Unrefined sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds
1. Steam the veggies until tender but not soft.
2. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with seeds (so easy!!) The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda