Diet

Four reasons to start spring with a food cleanse

Kick the new season off right with a food-based detox that will help you eliminate toxins and get your immune system going at full-speed. With five different vegetables, this kale salad is a great way to start.

salad, kale

Photo, Assaf Friedman

Starting spring with a cleanse is a natural and helpful way to get your body moving into the warmer months of the year. Cleansing is not about depriving your body of food or nutrients – instead, it’s a chance to retrain your palate to acquire a taste for whole foods in their natural state. A cleanse is about basing all of your meals on fresh, whole foods as well as eating more salads, drinking more smoothies, and downing lots of fresh water throughout the day. At the very least, start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon juice to get the process going – this is the easiest and best thing you can do to start your cleanse today!

Four reasons you need to cleanse:
1. To give your body a hand: A cleanse can help your body neutralize and eliminate toxins through major organs like the colon, liver, kidney, lungs, lymph nodes, and skin, which our bodies already do every day! But if our self-cleansing system is overloaded by our unhealthy lifestyles and exposure to environmental toxins, then it becomes difficult for our body to do all this on its own.

Read more: How to cleanse the body’s channels of elimination

2. To give yourself a break: There are many factors that contribute to toxicity in the body, such as processed and packaged foods, environmental pollution, and chemicals in the home (shampoo, makeup, kitchen and bathroom cleaners, and detergents). Give your body a little break from these toxins and you will feel much better as a result.

Read more: Want to detox? Start with your home

3. To take charge of your health: We have limited control over the environment to which we’re exposed, but we have total control over the food we eat and the products we use on our body and in our homes. So make new, fresh, and healthy choices, starting with what you eat!

4. To prevent illness: We’re overexposed to chemicals through dietary ingredients like animal protein, saturated fat, caffeine, alcohol and sugar, as well as through the environment. Even if you already have a good diet, a cleanse can restore your immune system, protect against environmental toxins, and help you resist disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

How to get maximum results from your cleanse:

  • Eliminate bleached and refined flours, choosing whole or gluten-free grains instead
  • Use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup instead of refined sugars like high-fructose corn syrup
  • Eliminate table salt and choose sea salt instead
  • Eliminate trans fats and refined oils (processed corn, canola, sunflower) and use healthy essential fats like olive oil, flax oil, hemp oil, and coconut oil
  • Minimize meat intake, eliminating or reducing meats treated with hormones or antibiotics, and farmed fish and adding wild and organic choices
  • Eliminate foods sprayed with pesticides and herbicides and choose local and organic varieties
  • Eliminate conventional dairy products, instead choosing organic varieties, goat’s and sheep’s milks, or dairy alternatives like hemp, rice, and almond milk
  • Avoid food and oils made from genetically modified (GMO) organisms, looking for non-GMO labels
  • Avoid additives and preservatives (nitrates, sulfites, flavourings and colourings) by reading your food labels
  • Avoid fast food and fried foods
  • Avoid sodas and juices with added sugar
  • Avoid coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol

The bottom line is to eat whole foods, fresh foods, and lots of green leafy vegetables, salads, smoothies, whole and sprouted grains, nuts, seeds and other healthy oils. These foods should make up the bulk of your diet. Fill in the gaps with herbal tea and fresh lemon water and you are on your way to superior health!

Kale slaw salad recipe
This salad, including veggies in season for spring, is full of healthy ingredients that will support your cleanse but still satisfy your hunger.

Ingredients:
1 bunch of kale (any variety), chopped into bite-sized pieces with ribs removed
1 fennel
1 head red cabbage
2 carrots, shredded
1 beet, shredded
2 tbsp hemp seeds
½ cup olive oil or hemp oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2-4 tablespoons raw or unpasteurized honey
1 tsp sea salt

Directions:
1. Shred the cabbage, carrots, beets, and fennel in a food processor with a shredding blade, or use a mandolin or hand slice into thin strips.
2. In a mixing bowl, toss in all the raw vegetable ingredients (except the hemp seeds).
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the vinaigrette: oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, honey and sea salt.
4. Combine vinaigrette with raw veggies and toss together until the cabbage and kale are well coated.
5. Allow salad to marinate in the fridge for a few minutes up to an hour, mixing in the hemp seeds just before serving.

Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy is stemmed around whole foods. She is dedicated to providing balanced lifestyle choices through natural foods. Using passion and experience, she strives to educate individuals on how everyday eating can be simple and delicious.