Sunday, November 15, 2009

Detox Your Body During Holiday Foodfests

By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet

"A full belly makes a dull brain."
-- Benjamin Franklin

The Harvest may be waning, but these pantry staples can keep you on the road to detoxing your body before or post-Thanksgiving. Personally, I don't want to pack on five pounds (that's the norm) during Turkey Day time. So I might rebel and turn to a detox diet regime before, after--or maybe even during the big day and forego cooking altogether. You know, give my body a feel-good mini-vacation to feel rejuvenated just for me. No guilt from overindulging and it can make you feel good from head to toe... Not just for salad or a dash of flavor, items like nutrient-dense vinegars, olive oil, herbs and spices and autumn produce are rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and other healing properties. Check out these healthful, slim-down foods--including The Healing Powers of Chocolate--to heal your body, mind and spirit...

Apple Cider Vinegar: In the era of the Romans and Egyptians, there were many potent vinegars onmeal tables. Today, we know apple cider vinegar, especially the natural and organic kind, is high infiber and rich in potassium, which can help detoxify the body. Apple cider vinegar can balance sodium and potassium levels, which can also aid in weight loss. Pairing its total ingredients, including boron, calcium and enzymes, with nutritious fall fruits and vegetables may help prevent cancer, and heart disease.
Fruit Vinegars: In Japan, vinegar drinks not unlike apple cider vinegar, are made from vitamin-rich fruit. A Korean delight, persimmon vinegar, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are also good for bolstering the immune system to fight off colds and flu in the fall. While it isn’t easily found in the United States, it may be found at Korean supermarkets. For a delightful kick, splash one or two tablespoons per serving on top of grapefruit and oranges.
Olive Oil
Like ancient vinegar, olive oil goes way back in time. The olive tree was first cultivated in the Mediterranean countries 6,000 years ago. Since then, olive oil has played a therapeutic role in the diet and provides amazing healing powers, from preventing diabetes to keeping off unwanted pounds, especially when combined with vinegars. Olive oil, which is 74 percent heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, contains plenty of healthful nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, along with phytoestrogens and sterols. Olive oil (extra virgin is recommended) is good for the digestive system, helps regularity, lowers cholesterol levels and guards against cancer. Light or regular EVOO can help fill you up not out as I discuss in The Healing Powers of Olive Oil. And don't forget the powers of other earthy eats...
Chamomile: For more than 2,000 years, chamomile, a daisy-like plant, has been considered amedicinal miracle. It was known as “ground apple” by the Greeks because of its fragrant scent. Chamomile tea (spiked with apple cider vinegar and cinnamon) can be calming and stave off holiday stress-related eating. (Hold the sugar and reach for raw honey.)
Garlic: For at least 3,000 years, garlic, dubbed “the stinking rose,” has been used medicinally. Thetherapeutic uses of garlic have been noted in more than 1,000 scientific studies. Garlic has been found to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and may ward off infections and cancer via the antioxidant mineral selenium. It also contains allicin, which is a strong antimicrobial, so eating garlic may help protect against colds, flu and bronchitis--and it provides flavor to veggies without the calories and fat of butter.
Rose Hips: An important staple in the diets of Native American tribes because of their incredible health benefits, rose hips are a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins C, E and beta carotene, which can help boost immunity and provide relief for cold and cough symptoms common during the fall months. And sipping a cup or two of hot rose hips tea can soothe holiday frazzled nerves and help to keep you from overeating high calorie and unhealthy junk food.
These versatile foods mix well with vinegars, oils, warming herbs, spices and tasty teas for healthful fall detox recipes.
*Apples: This fruit is a rich source of pectin, a water-soluble fiber that may help lower the risk of heart disease. A bonus: One medium apple has no fat and a mere 81 calories.
*Dark Chocolate: This superfood like apples has countless health perks. If you choose to give your body a vacation, quality chocolate can help you to detoxify it. By eating a small piece of dark chocolate (70% cacao) it can help to uplift your mood, beat stress and anxiety (woes during seasonal changes with colder and shorter, darker days), provide energy, and do so much more for your body.
*Pumpkin: Welcome to another good source of beta-carotene, potassium, vitamins A, C, and dietary fiber. Think pudding and/or a hearty bowl of hot soup. Pumpkin is filling and a small amount is satisfying during the holiday season. Read: Good for detoxifying, too.
*Spinach: A single serving of cooked spinach provides beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies show that these carotenes protect the arteries from bad cholesterol and can heal your heart. It’s the perfect fall food for a filling salad with vinegar, olive oil, garlic and tomatoes.
*Tomatoes: Scoop up the end-of-season tomatoes while you can—these gems are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, and may lower the risk of developing cancers by preventing damage due to cancer-contributing molecules called free radicals. One cup of chopped tomatoes has just 35 calories.
So whether you choose to detox before, during (it can be tempting and a test of willpower whether you cook or not) or after the upcoming foodfest, vinegars, olive oil, and even chocolate can help you to pare unwanted pre-winter pounds and cleanse your body and spirit, too. One more thing: Savoring dark chocolate, drinking herbal tea, eating veggies and fruits doesn't seem like a serious fast but a healthful mini-fast that can be done without hunger pangs and feeling left out.


  1. Don't forget--exercise is part of keeping body fat at bay. Off to the pool/dog walk. What are you doing to get physical?

  2. Thx Tom. I actually posted it again with my confirmation that I will not be joining the flock of turkeys--not this yr. Been there, done that. Pros and cons. This time I feel it may be more rewarding to chill.