Detox Foods

Detox Foods

I keep hearing a tremendous amount of discussion about ‘detoxing’ and ‘cleansing’ over the past few weeks.  I suppose the start of a new year gets people in the mood to start fresh and make some self improvements. I know I certainly could use a little re-boot to my system.  However, I find it challenging to find the time and commitment level that it appears to take. I also can’t help but question the validity and true benefit of some of the detoxes and cleanses I hear about. That’s why I was really pleased to stumble upon the following article about easy ingredients that may contribute to cleaning things up a bit (digestively speaking).  I was even more pleased to discover that most of the foods are ones that I really enjoy. Consequently, I welcomed the suggestion to make a conscious effort to use these a little more often.  I decided to look for a recipe that would incorporate some of these, not be too labor intensive, and be delicious on a rainy Portland night.

Top Detox Foods

Clean up your diet tastily and painlessly with these health-supporting kitchen staples.

By Alex Jamieson

If you’re still recovering from the overindulgences of the holiday season, there’s no better time than right now to revamp your diet and give your body a well-deserved break. Many healing, cleansing foods known for their disease-prevention properties are probably ones you already eat; those included here that you’re not consuming on a regular basis might offer inspiration the next time you’re stuck in the kitchen. Consider a warming bowl of miso soup with slivers of ginger and garlic, or roasted cauliflower atop a bed of turmeric-and-cayenne spiced quinoa. Nourishing, healing, and delicious, these culinary offerings can be mixed and matched in myriad ways, and incorporated into meals year-round for optimal health and nutrition.

Cauliflower: Members of the cruciferous family, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are all known for their cancer-fighting properties.

Cayenne: Enhances blood circulation, stimulates the digestive system, and protects the body with its antioxidants from the effects of harmful chemicals.

Cinnamon: Helpful for reducing intestinal gas and aids in increasing blood circulation. This spice is also known to treat diarrhea, nausea, arthritis, menstrual cramps, and Candida.

Garlic: Antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, and antifungal, garlic is used to treat ear infections, influenza, blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It eliminates toxins from the body and is antiparasitic.

Ginger: Used to improve circulation, aid detoxification, and improve the cleansing of the kidneys and bowels. Also used to treat colds, motion sickness, nausea, and morning sickness.

Miso: Helps to protect the body from radiation, cancer, air pollution, and environmental toxins. A wonderful digestive aid and protein source.

Nori: This sea veggie is great paired with fried foods since it emulsifies fat and aids in its digestion. Rich in vitamin A, protein, B vitamins, calcium, and iron.

Quinoa: This simple seed is a complete protein, and also boasts high calcium and lysine contents.

Turmeric: Found in most curry powders, this mustard-colored spice is high in beta carotene, strengthens the immune system, and helps to dissolve cysts and tumors.

Winter Squash: A warming food, these sweet squashes are a good source of vitamins A, C, and potassium.

This recipe was created by New York City chef Dan Barber, who was this year named to the James Beard Foundation’s who’s who list, and is featured in the cookbook Great Chefs Cook Vegan (Gibbs Smith 2008)

Cauliflower steak with quinoa

2 large heads cauliflower, cut into 1-inch-thick “steaks”
Olive oil for coating and sauting
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, divided
2 shallots, sliced
1 leek, rinsed and sliced (white part only)
1 small apple, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup zucchini in 1/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

For basil oil
2 cups well-washed basil leaves
1 cup grapeseed oil, chilled

To make the basil oil, blanche basil and then shock in ice water; dry leaves well. In a blender, purée basil and grapeseed oil; strain and set aside.

At the largest part of each cauliflower head, cut two 1-inch-thick slices, or “steaks.” Reserve remaining cauliflower. In a large sauté pan coated with olive oil, brown the cauliflower steaks until golden brown on each side. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Over medium-low heat, sweat quinoa in 1 tablespoon olive oil until a nutty aroma is achieved. Turn down heat and add 1 cup stock; simmer until almost dry. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Cut remaining cauliflower into small florets and blanch in salted water until tender. Drain and spread florets on a baking sheet and place in a 300-degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until florets have dried.

In a sauté pan, gently sweat the shallots, leek, apple and garlic. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, place in blender, and pure. (You will only need a few teaspoons for this recipe. The remaining puree can be frozen or thinned with stock for a cauliflower soup.) In a large sauté pan coated with oil, sauté zucchini until slightly golden brown. Add quinoa and remaining vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 teaspoons cauliflower pure to thicken, add thyme and chives, and drizzle with basil oil.

Plate by placing the cauliflower steak on bed of quinoa-and-zucchini mixture and drizzle the basil oil around the plate.


– Dominee, Spa Director at PDX

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