April showers bring May flowers and also your spring detox!
Don’t you love the spring season? Fresh produce is making its return, and it won’t be long before you can get delicious food straight out of the garden or fresh from a farmers’ market.
Depending on your location, there are great garden and farm foods available as soon as the frost lifts, many of which give a boost to your body after a long snowy winter.
When it comes to cleansing your body of harmful toxins, food really is the best medicine. Many of your favorite foods also cleanse the liver, kidneys, skin, intestines, and other detoxification systems.
Here are my top five picks for seasonal spring detox foods, accompanied with recipes for you to try today!!
Artichokes – Artichokes are a highly underrated vegetable. They are high in vitamin C and fiber and help to increase bile production in the body, which helps the intestines eliminate toxins from the body. Artichokes also contain a substance that helps the liver break down fatty acids. This is good news because the average diet and lifestyle creates tremendous strain on the liver’s ability to filter out toxins.
2 Large globe artichokes
1/2 Cup dried whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
10 Fresh oregano leaves
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup olive oil
Oven Temperature: 350 Degrees.
1. Remove stems from artichokes with a serrated knife. Lay on their sides, and cut one inch off the tops. Pry open leaves of artichokes with your fingers until you reach the choke. Remove and discard choke with a spoon. Transfer to a square baking pan.
2. In a small bowl, stir to combine breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic and salt. Stuff between the leaves of the artichokes with the breadcrumb mixture with your fingers. Drizzle some olive oil over the stuffed artichokes. Pour about 1 cup over water in the baking pan.
3. Do not cover. Roast for about 50 minutes, until just tender.
Asparagus – It is hard to beat asparagus when it is coated in olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and lightly grilled on the barbecue. This flowering perennial is an excellent source of vitamin K and folate, the latter of which is particularly necessary for pregnant women. Asparagus also contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, manganese, potassium, magnesium and selenium.
Perfect Grilled Asparagus
1 Pound asparagus, rinsed and tough ends discarded
2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
Sea-salt and freshly-ground pepper
1. In a large baking pan, arrange asparagus in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle salt, pepper and toss gently to coat. Grill until asparagus is tender and lightly browned, about seven to ten minutes.
Garlic – Forget worrying about your breath and enjoy the potent healing properties of fresh garlic. Garlic is a relative of onion and shares many of its same health benefits. It can destroy harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses in the body, helps cleanse buildup from the arteries and lowers blood pressure. Garlic is well known for its anti-cancer and antioxidant properties and also helps cleanse the respiratory tract by expelling mucous buildup in the lungs and sinuses.
Keep in mind that store-bought garlic powder offers none of these benefits found in fresh, easy-to-grow garlic.
Roasted Garlic Soup
1 Head garlic, cloves separated and still in their peels
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 Yellow onion, diced
3 Sprigs fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2+ Cup Vegetable broth
Creme fraiche for garnish
Minced fresh parsley for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, toss garlic with oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 1 hour. Let cool. Peel off skins. Set garlic aside for later.
2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat butter. Stir in onion and thyme and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add a pinch or two of both salt and pepper and some vinegar. With your spoon, scrape up any remaining bits of onion. Stir in roasted garlic, about 1/2 cup of broth (more or less as desired), and 3/4 cup water. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
3. Let cool. Transfer soup to blender and puree to your desired consistency. Heat up on the stove until the soup is hot before transferring to serving bowls. Garnish with a dollop of cream fraiche and fresh parsley.
Onions – Onions are as versatile as they are health promoting. Research on these members of the allium family has uncovered powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer capabilities. Onions also thin and cleanse the blood and lower LDL cholesterol without lessening HDL cholesterol. Rich in biotin (which aids sugar and fat metabolism) and phytonutrients like polyphenols, onions also help detoxify the respiratory tract and fight asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, and diabetes.
Onions, like garlic, help cleanse the body of viruses and the intestines of harmful bacteria.
Strawberries – Still not a fan of vegetables? Late spring is the season of nutrient- and enzyme-rich strawberries. Eating eight strawberries (who can stop at eight?) will give you more vitamin C than an orange. Like most delicious berries, they are among the highest foods measured for antioxidant capacity. Fresh or frozen, on a salad or in a smoothie, strawberries offer a delicious treat and protect you from heart disease, arthritis, memory loss, cancer and a host of other health problems. Detox never tasted so good!
Wheat Berry, Spinach, and Strawberry Salad
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cups wheat berry mixture*
1.5 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 1/3 cup)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups fresh baby spinach
3/4 cup herb mixture*
1/4 cup halved strawberries
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat; stir in wheat berry mixture and feta cheese. Combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in spinach and herb mixture. Divide spinach mixture evenly among 4 plates; top evenly with wheat berry mixture and strawberries.