Often we think of the Spring as a good time for detox, or January - purging ourselves of all the holiday excesses. However in my mind there is no better time than the Fall to detox. The perfect time to armor oneself against colds and flu's through a healthy, well-functioning immune system. I often marvel that each season with its particular bounty is replete with an abundance of what we need for that particular time of year. The autumnal season is rich with fruits, especially those that are high in vitamin C, vegetables, nuts, seasonal fish, fowl and game that are particularly high in immune protecting nutrients; gut protecting enzymes and detoxifying powerhouses.
Detoxifying is a highly individualized ritual, discipline, protocol - whatever you want to call it. It’s dependent upon your present, individual health, dietary habits, and willingness to perform it. You can detox with simple activities you do everyday, or it can be a more conscientious, focused program that has a beginning and an end.
Here are some basic detoxification activities you can do that are very powerful
• A Healthy Diet - this is a great foundational element to begin the detox journey. Remove processed foods such as boxed cereals, crackers, desserts, sugary drinks and industrial fats such as vegetable oils, fake butter and other artificial fats from your diet. Buy and eat grass-fed meats, organic omega-3 eggs and dairy from pasture-raised sources.
Eat lots of vegetables and fruits, mainly veggies and organic and sustainable as much as possible. Eat the rainbow and you'll always have a balanced amount of nutrients entering your body through each color and what that color represents.
YELLOW - vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids, lycopene, etc
WHITE - beta-glucans, which have powerful immune-boosting properties, EGCG, vitamin C, antioxidants, often high levels of potassium, etc
GREEN - chlorophyll, fiber lutein, calcium, folate, vitamin C, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, etc
ORANGE - Beta-carotene (vitamin A), flavonoids, vitamin C, zeaxanthin, lycopene
RED - Lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, hesperidin, etc
PURPLE/BLUE/BLACK - anthocyanin, zeaxanthin, lutein, resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber, flavonoids, ellagic acid and quercetin
Which colors do you not eat enough of?
• Lemon juice in hot water, first thing in the morning - I have known people in my life that swear by this; Italian women (from the old country) that have done this all their life and have beautiful, thin, petite bodies and are healthy as a horse. In any case, I have done this off and on for many years and know of its great benefits. What it does: it helps to bring minerals into the body and removes toxins from tissues. For an added boost - add turmeric, freshly ground black pepper (which switches on curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric), and freshly grated ginger. Ginger is a powerful detoxifier.
• Unsweetened organic cranberry juice, not from concentrate added to your daily water intake - you should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily. Add 8 ounces daily, splitting it up between 2 32-ounce containers. Cranberry juice cleanses your lymphatic system to help your body naturally eliminate toxins and bacteria and fight infection. It has the added benefit of cleansing the kidneys, preventing gall bladder infection and reducing plaque by cleaning out mouth bacteria.
• Probiotics and fermented (cultured) foods - I cannot stress enough how important the quality of your gut flora is! We need to populate our gut with healthy, friendly bacteria - it’s essential to maintaining health and is the foundation of wellness. You can buy probiotics as a supplement, but make sure it's a good quality. I personally love Pure Encapsulations probiotics. They have an impressive number of different probiotic products. You can access them in my dispensary here. Their PureBiOme line has had clinical trials run on these products and they are very powerful as formulated to reduce moisture and preserve probiotic potency when combined with other active ingredients. Fermented foods should have a huge place in your diet. I love to drink kefir - Lifeway is the brand I buy as it has many strains of bacteria. It's very easy to make and I know several people that make their own. Another great fermented beverage is kombucha. Again, very easy to make at home, all you need is the start 'mother'. Eat fermented veggies - pickles, kimchi, pickled veggies, sauerkraut, pickled beets, the possibilities are endless when you make them yourself!
• Omega-3, 6, 7 & 9 essential fatty acids, and important vitamins like A, D, E, & K from real food - these essential acids and vitamins are vital for health and detoxification alike. They are fundamental immune boosters and assist in prevention of disease and illness.
- Juicing - I will now sing the praises of juicing! I have been juicing for years, decades really. And it never ceases to amaze me how energetic and full of life I feel after I drink my glass of juice. I go between two juices just for regular daily health and vitality:
- Green Lemonade: 1 head romaine, 1 bunch kale, 4 apples, 1 lemon juiced whole and 1/2 inch piece ginger . After juicing and placing it in a container I squirt about a teaspoon of Flaxseed oil in as it enhances the bioavailability of the nutrients.
- Orange/Red Delight - a bunch of carrots, 4 apples, a 1/2 inch piece of ginger and several beets (if you bought them with the greens attached, either save the greens to do with the green juice or throw them in! More nutritional value - though it will turn the color more purplish and may impart a slight bitter flavor.
- Detox juices: Pineapple and Ginger Detox Drink - 1/2 cup pineapple, 2 large cucumbers, 1 bunch kale, 1 lemon, 1/4 inch ginger and 1 bunch mint. Pineapple, Lemon and Pomegranate Detox Drink - 3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice, juice from 1 lemon, 1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice and 3 cups water. Mix it all together and drink throughout the day.
- Bone Broths - making your own broths from the bones of organic, free-range turkeys, chicken, beef or sustainable fish and drinking it daily is an excellent way to facilitate detoxification and replace valuable minerals, amino acids and other nutrients lost in your body. Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to the water. It helps to leeches much of the minerals, nutrients and goodness out of the bones and marrow into the broth.
- Medicinal Broths: Mushroom Broth - this healing, rejuvenating medicinal mushroom stock is great to keep handy throughout the fall and winter to support your immune system. It can be used for soups, stews, cooking grains or simply drinking as is. The beta glucan and other unique compounds in mushrooms have been shown to help boost immunity, ward off infections, fight cancer, and even balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Mushroom broth Recipe
12 cups filtered or spring water
1/2 maitake mushroom
5 shiitake mushrooms
6 reishi mushrooms
(all these mushrooms can be either fresh or dried)*
Some chicken or turkey bones
3 celery stalks
Handful of dark, leafy green veggies (kale, mustard greens, collard greens, etc)
5 dried astragalus roots*
1/2 cup burdock root (optional)
1/2 cup dandelion root (optional)
Fill a large pot with the water, add all ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 2-4 hours. Remove from heat, let cool for about an hour. Fill mason jars 3/4 with strained stock and seal. As stock cools the steam will seal the jars.
* A great source for dried mushrooms and astragalus is Mountain Rose Herbs
What are some of your favorite ways to insure your immune system is robust? Do you have any tried-and-try home remedies you use? I'd love to hear!