As you may know, I have committed this year to completing a liver detoxification every season.
This allows me to reduce my toxic load and prevent the build-up of symptoms which can then lead to dis-ease of the body.
What is a liver detox?
It doesn't sound too exciting, I know!
Think of your liver as your air car filter. If we don't help clean it once in a while, it becomes all clogged up and doesn't do its job properly anymore.
That's exactly what happens with your liver. A detox will help to not only remove the main foods that contain toxins, create inflammation or are most susceptible to create food sensitivities but also to take supportive nutritional supplements that will boost liver functions.
This is the fastest way to get rid of toxins safely, with minimal side-effects.
What do you eat during a detox?
I think this is the number one barrier to people signing up for a detox. What the heck will I be eating?!!
Rest assured, it's not that complicated. In fact, the idea is to go back to a simpler way of eating: whole foods meals cooked from scratch like humans have always done!
Now I understand it can be overwhelming, especially if like me, you have to cook for your family at the same time.
You've been asking for help and inspiration with healthy recipes so here are some of my staples.
Disclaimer: I don't have a food photographer (yet!!) so these are my real meals - not always pretty but always yummy and nutritious!
Preparation is key.
If you want to feel better, you must also be committed to putting in the work.
The detox protocol I use is the easiest, most straightforward one I could find. It really takes all the guess work out of the detox process. That said, you still have to cook your meals (aside from the first 2 days which are fasted).
One vegetarian lunch + one paleo dinner.
Let's break it up.
Below is the list of approved foods on the detox.
As you can see, it should primarily revolve around organic vegetables of all colors.
I love the list below as it acts as your "build-your-own-meal" cheat sheet. It's a simple recipe and if you follow it, you'll be successful.
It's a good idea to visit your local health food store, farmer's market or grocery store to explore vegetable and protein options.
As a rule, I like to have these in my fridge at all times during the detox. They're easy to throw together and will save you in a pinch!
Feel free to steal this as your grocery list :)
- Romaine and any lettuce available
- Micro greens
- Fresh herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro)
- Chickpeas (dry, I like to sprout them first to make it easier to digest)
- Sprouted organic tofu (I do tofu once a week max)
- Sprouted mung beans
- Organic hemp hearts (pssst, Costco has the big bags!)
- Frozen wild Salmon (Costco has those too!)
- Wild Haddock or Cod
- Pasture-raised chicken (I like to roast a full chicken on day 4)
- Extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed)
You can't ever go wrong with a salad.
When it's time to re-introduce food for lunch on day 3 of the cleanse, you will be salivating at the thought of a big green salad.
I have rounded up my favorite to build a satiating salad here.
What if I'm not a salad fan?
How would that be possible? Kidding (not!).
Seriously though, some people may want to refrain from too much raw vegetables if they have pre-existing digestive issues such as bloating, gas and cramps.
Salad is one of the hardest things to digest and can take upwards of 3 hours.
In that case, you can opt for steamed or sautéed veggies or you can do a comforting soup that will fill you up in no time.
Catch one of my favorite healing soup recipe here.
By the time dinner comes, I'm so hungry that I make sur to have a well balanced nutritious meal with a clean source of animal protein.
I like to roast a pasture-raised chicken from a local farm on the 3rd day so I have some for the following 2 days.
During the detox, I have more fish than usual, probably most nights. I make sure it's wild and on the low mercury list below.
With dinner I tend to do lots of steamed or oven roasted vegetables as they're easier to digest before going to bed. If we're super hungry, we might also do a salad on the side (best to eat last).
There's nothing like oven roasted broccoli or brussel sprouts with a bit of crisp! Yum!
How to spice things up
Since sauces are generally not that healthy, it's no surprise that they're not on the list of approved foods.
Meals can become bland if you're used to sauces and lots of spices.
My recommendation is to use lots of fresh organic herbs. There's nothing like fresh basil in a salad. Yum!
PLUS, fresh herbs support with detoxification pathways too: think parsley, cilantro, mint, basil!
I also like to make myself a batch of fresh pesto with these organic ingredients:
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil
- 1 cup of arugula (I also like to use radish leaves for this!)
- 2 tbsp of hemp hearts (I sometimes use chia seeds to change it up)
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (you might need more as you mix in and depending on the consistency you want)
- Half a lemon
- Himalyan sea salt + pepper
Mix everything in your high-speed blender. You can add the olive oil in a drizzle as the ingredients are getting mixed. That way you will know when you've achieved the right texture.
If I want a quick dinner, I'll chop some of my chicken leftover (I rarely eat leftovers of more than a day because they will be higher in histamines) and mix it with a spoonful of pesto. You can throw that on a salad or with steamed vegetables and voilà!
You can use the pesto also as a dip with fresh cut raw veggies.
As an alternative, I also like to make my own hummus 1 day of the week.
- 1 cup of soaked, rinsed and cooked dry chickpeas (or you can use a can of chickpeas, Eden has the lowest lectin content)
- 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (like for the pesto, it's best to drizzle it in slowly to ensure your desired texture)
- 1 garlic clove (only if you're not suspecting any gut imbalances such as yeast or candida)
- Half a lemon squeezed
- Himalayan salt and pepper
Mix in your high-speed blender and enjoy that day!
What if you're in need of more consistency
I get it! At one point you might be craving more "crunch".
Here's a trick: try organic lentil or chickpea based pasta (choose a brand where that's the only ingredient, no gums added). Why not mix it with chicken and fresh pesto?
The caveat: if you're doing the detox to loose weight, you won't want to do a full bowl of these pasta - remember the chickpea (or lentil) acts as your protein in this case. You could put some in a salad to give it more consistency.
I also like to use seaweed in my salads or to eat as I prepare my meal.
What you need to cut out
Perhaps this is what most of us are intimated by. Removing our favorites foods.
As a rule, this detox is all about whole food nutrition. Going back to a more authentic and aligned way of eating.
If it comes in a box, it's likely not approved!
Here's an overview of the big NOs:
- Coffee (it's best to cut this a 3-5 days before the detox as you can experience withdrawal symptoms)
- All gluten
- All dairy
- All grains
- Sugars (all forms, including honey and maple syrup)
- Processed foods (that includes your cereals, crackers, bread etc)
- Any beverages aside from water and herbal tea
So here you have it! That's what I eat when doing a liver detox. I keep it simple: whole foods, organic and local and cook all meals from scratch. I don't do any fancy recipes.
Connect with me if you have any question!
Ready to detox but not ready to do it alone?
Join The DETOX Community for our next seasonal group detox. Details here.