This week I am so happy to welcome Nutritional Chef Carley Jane. She is the owner and founder of Carley’s Kitchen, where she helps people cook and eat wholesome food so they can be healthy and happy. Chef Carley has a Masters of Science in Nutrition for Wellness and uses whole food recipes as her primary vehicle for health promotion. Chef Carley believes that eating well is the first step to better health and strives to bring the joy of plant-based cooking into every home kitchen. – Chef V, Veronica Wheat
Ready for a full-body detox but not sure how to do it? We’ve made it easy for you. Here is a breakdown of three simple objectives to help promote detoxification, each paired with an easy and delicious recipe to help get you started!
Between holidays, birthday parties, and the stress of everyday life, the food we eat can often leave us feeling desperate for detox. But fear not! Did you know your body has an entire organ devoted to cleansing? Meet your liver: your slimy, fleshy friend on a mission to keep you clean! This incredible piece of metabolic machinery filters all of the substances that enter your body. In addition to converting the food we eat into useful compounds, your liver also absorbs the toxins we are exposed to and converts them into a harmless byproduct, or makes sure they are excreted from the body.
However, the mere existence of the human liver is not an excuse to completely abandon our efforts to eat well! Constantly barraging your liver with foods that are high in refined fats and sugars not only creates a lot of hard work for the poor little guy, but can also potentially cause irreversible damage.
image below courtesy of Herbs Info
Hey, nobody is perfect. The occasional cupcake is gonna (and should!) happen. The good news is that regularly consuming certain foods will help promote your body’s natural cleansing process and give your lovely liver a well-deserved break. Following a few simple nutritional guidelines will help promote natural detoxification. But the most important piece of the puzzle is not just knowing what you need from your food, it’s getting it! In other words, we all know what we SHOULD eat, but often fall short of getting those tasty toxin-obliterators into our regular routine. Here is a list of three of the best ways to promote detox, each with a delicious ChefV original recipe suggestion that will give you get a delicious daily dose of powerhouse nutrients to promote cleansing and keep you feeling great!
What your FOOD can do for YOU: Fight Free Radicals
Free Radicals are compounds with a certain chemical structure that can cause damage to our cells upon exposure. These fierce molecules not only come from outside sources like pollution and household chemicals, but are also made naturally inside of our body. Don’t panic! You can help keep your cells safe and sound by eating a diet that is rich in foods that contain antioxidants. Think of antioxidants like the antidote to free radicals. Compounds like Vitamin C and other nutrients change the structure of free radicals so that they can no longer threaten our healthy cells. All fresh fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and other phytochemicals that help keep our bodies healthy. Getting as much variety as possible will help, and the fresher the better! Antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds will start to break down the moment that produce is picked. Choose fresh, local, and organic sources whenever possible.
What your FOOD can do for YOU: Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural phenomenon. Our immune system actually causes inflammation in order to fight illness, heal from an injury, or prevent infection. However, too much inflammation can be a bad thing. The more inflamed we are, the harder it is for our organs to function properly, impairing their ability to processes nutrients and clear toxins from the body. This is why chronic inflammation can lead to disease. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce inflammation by choosing the right foods. Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in decreasing inflammation within the body by balancing the effect of another fatty acid: Omega-6. How does this all happen? Processed foods, refined grains, and sugar all contain high amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids: the compounds that promote inflammation. Thus, when cleansing, eating foods that are rich in anti-inflammatory Omega-3s will help maintain a balanced ratio of 3s:6s, allowing your body’s immune system to function properly and avoid becoming overactive. Vitamin D also plays a big role in decreasing inflammation. Vitamin D can bind to receptors inside your cells and directly reduce the immune system’s production of inflammatory compounds.
below, Omega-3 rich foods
What your FOOD can do for YOU: Feed Your Gut!
Did you know that our bodies are composed of more bacterial cells than actual human cells? We are a host to a whole suite of living organisms, collectively referred to as the microbiome. We hear a lot about how probiotic-containing foods like yogurt and kombucha may help our gut bacteria flourish, or keep pathogenic bacteria at bay. These friendly bugs help regulate a variety of metabolic processes and play an important role in detoxification. Research shows that probiotic cultures can help regulate our immune system and promote a healthy gut, however, not a lot is currently known about what kind of probiotics are particularly helpful, or how much we need to consume in order to stay healthy. But, what we do know is that we have trillions of bacteria that already live in our gut! These are probiotics, just like what you might get if you pop a pill or chug a kombucha. All we have to do is feed them the right stuff so that they can grow, thrive, and help keep you healthy. Guess what they eat? Fiber! That’s right, all that “indigestible” stuff from your fruits and veggies, your probiotic colonies munch on that and produce all kinds of byproducts that keep you looking and feeling incredible. You often hear these referred to as “prebiotics”. So, the simple solution to keeping your gut clean: fruits and veggies… the more the better!
Certain foods are particularly high in prebiotics, including garlic, leeks, and onions. This delicious soup packs them all, and also provides a mega dose of amazing greens and citrus to keep your good gut bugs happy.
About the Author: Nutritional Chef Carley Jane is the owner and founder of Carley’s Kitchen, where she helps people cook and eat wholesome food so they can be healthy and happy. Chef Carley has a Masters of Science in Nutrition for Wellness and uses whole food recipes as her primary vehicle for health promotion. Chef Carley believes that eating well is the first step to better health and strives to bring the joy of plant-based cooking into every home kitchen. For more information, visit carleyskitchen.org.