Q: I’ve heard a lot about detoxing. Where do I begin? Which foods should I include?
A: You can do a detox anytime you’re feeling drained or even if your digestive system seems to be slow. From a Western medical perspective, certain veggies rank high when it comes to serious detox, since they contain potent compounds that can stop cell damage. I consider cruciferous veggies my “detox avengers,” because they not only rank high in vitamins (like vitamin C) and minerals, but also contain special sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates that are also being studied for their anti-cancer effects. Cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and watercress.
Q: Is “souping” an alternative to juicing, especially as the weather gets cooler?
A: I personally like to do a soup detox on Monday or Tuesday after a weekend of splurging to cleanse and recharge. In terms of general health, souping can actually be a bit healthier for detox compared to juicing for one basic reason: soups retain fiber. Fiber is crucial for feeding your microbiome (the good gut bacteria) responsible for the strength of your immune system. Fiber also plays a key role in moving toxins out of your body, since it bulks up stool and literally cleans the walls of your intestinal tract. Fiber also helps to anchor your blood sugar, making you less hungry throughout the day while consuming fewer calories.
Another plus to making soups? It’s a lot cheaper to brew a big pot of soup with a few veggies than to buy all the fruits and veggies you need for one glass of juice. In the cooler months, soups can also help you to feel more full and satisfied, since they are warm and soothing. According to Ayurveda, warm purees and soups are also a boon for digestion, since they stoke the “agni” or fire of your digestive system, unlike cold drinks that can “extinguish” the potency of your digestion and even give you cramps.
Jennifer Iserloh, aka the “Skinny Chef,” is a leader in promoting healthy, vibrant lifestyles though a diet of delicious and nutritious easy-to-prepare meals. A classically trained chef, certified yoga teacher, and a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Iserloh is the best-selling author of 50 Shades of Kale and Healthy Cheats, among other books.