Why and How to Detox using Greens

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If you’re like most people, December ends up being a little heavier on the booze, sugar, and calories than you’d like. Have you started to feel sluggish and low energy? Are your cravings for junk food and sweets stronger than usual? Have you been overdoing it and binging on holiday treats? If so, you might be overloading your liver!

Your liver is your body’s own detoxifying system and works hard to keep your body running at its optimal level. It doesn’t just filter unwanted substances (like drugs and alcohol) from your blood, it does much more! Your liver is responsible for creating bile which helps your body metabolize and absorb fats and some fat soluble vitamins like vitamin K. Without vitamin K your body cannot create clotting factors for healthy blood and healing. Your liver is also responsible for storing carbohydrates to use when your energy is low or you have been without food for a long period of time. It is one of the most important organs for maintaining a normal blood sugar which is essential for feeling energized and free of cravings throughout the day. The liver also stores vitamins and minerals such as A, D, E, K, B12, iron, and copper for when your body needs them, again nutrients that are important for feeling your best. Your Liver does a lot of other important things like support healthy blood pressure, immune cell function, and protein production and metabolism. Is it any wonder we feel horrible when we abuse our livers?

There’s one food that is often overlooked and under-consumed, but crucial for a healthy liver!  Green leafy vegetables (or GLVs as we lovingly refer to them in the nutrition world) are by far the best thing you can eat to help your body in its natural detoxification. GLVs support your liver by supplying powerful plant compounds and enzymes needed for your body’s detoxing processes. Green vegetables not only contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, but also the pigment: chlorophyll, necessary for photosynthesis. Chlorophyll aids the liver by neutralizing heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides. GLVs also stimulate the creation and flow of bile, enabling the liver to perform all its digestion-enhancing processes.

Don’t miss out on these amazing nutrients, eat more greens! And not just kale, try eating more spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens, even romaine lettuce is very nutrient dense without being overly strong or bitter in flavor. Arugula, red leaf, dandelion greens, and mustard greens are a little more bitter, but are delicious when dressed the right way or mixed with milder greens. Eat more cruciferous veggies like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli which are also high in vitamin C! Even herbs like parsley, cilantro, and mint have beneficial nutrients for the liver, eat plenty of them as well.

GLVs are most nutritious when eaten raw, or lightly steamed and since they contain many fat soluble nutrients (including powerful chlorophyll) its best to eat them with a source of fat! Avoid boiling your greens, as this tends to create the most nutrient losses. Winter is the perfect season to try steamed greens or adding them to everything from soups to pizza! Here is a great recipe to get you started, your liver will thank you!

Kale Winter Salad:

Serves 4

Total Prep time 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Kale
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • ½ cup radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 persimmon, chopped
  • 1 shredded or spiraled carrot
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • ½ cup toasted coconut
  • ½ cup pine nuts

Dressing:

  • 1 orange
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

Tear the kale leaves from the stem, wash and spend about 2-3 minutes massaging the leaves with the oil and lemon juice. The leaves will get more tender and turn a vibrant green. Add other ingredients and toss with the dressing. To prepare dressing simply blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth. Enjoy!

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