What do you think of when you hear the words detox and cleanse? Extreme Diet? Starvation? That really testy person at the office drinking something green? A healthy break from your favorite “bad” foods? The words detox and cleanse hold very different meanings depending on whom you ask. Today, they are typically associated with fads touted by those who are not qualified nutrition professionals, often celebrities. The popular notions tend to go hand in hand with extreme diets (remember The Master Cleanse?), the elimination of whole food groups (most juicing regimes), or significant and unhealthy calorie reduction, which is why most dietitians try to steer their clients away from “detoxing.” This isn’t because detoxification isn’t real—get this, it’s actually one of the processes our body does best! How else would we be able to handle the margaritas, hamburgers, and questionable dietary decisions after a long weekend?! Give a round of applause for your liver and kidneys!
While our bodies are performing detoxification functions on a daily basis, there is a lot we can do to support these processes, such as eating the right foods, proper portion control, hydrating, improving digestion and making better lifestyle choices (being active, practicing stress management). In some cases, aiding our bodies in detoxing can indicate dietary supplements but the theme here is balance, not extremes.
Detox In A Nutshell
This process depends on two main organs: your liver and the kidneys, but it’s really your liver that deserves most of the glory. Without going into too much detail, Phase 1 basically involves a family of enzymes breaking down and releasing toxins from your fat stores and metabolizing them further to water soluble molecules so that, in Phase 2 (also known as the “natural healing phase”) they can be excreted through urine, bile or stool. During detoxification, toxins are roaming in your blood stream, which can manifest as unpleasant symptoms like headaches, bad breath, skin outbreaks (acne, eczema, rashes), mucus buildup and changes in bowel movement or urinating patterns. All very attractive. But they proceed the “cleanse high”- when you actually feel the benefits of a good detox or cleanse program!
Detox vs. Cleanse
Although used interchangeably, they actually mean different things. Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins from the body or neutralizing them, i.e. ridding yourself of the excess “gunk.” Cleansing, on the other hand, involves eliminating culprits like trigger foods, additives and processed foods, while also introducing new and rejuvenating items to your diet, like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. As a Registered Dietitian, I encourage my clients to embrace the Detox+, a combination of ridding toxic substances while replenishing with healthy foods. Think of it as a whole-food based cleanse without the pesky hunger pangs or calorie counting that can lead to throwing a green juice at your boss’s head.
So Why Detox+?
Detoxing or cleansing allows us to look at old patterns with a new awareness. If you’ve been feeling groggy, fatigued, having digestive issues, restless sleep, problematic skin, food intolerances, uncontrollable cravings or feeling all around icky—a monitored, mindful and properly executed Detox+ can shed light on the root of these problems.
Detox+ Supportive Nutrients
To support the already efficient detoxification system your body has set up for you, consider trying the nutrients below.
- Eat up glutathione-rich foods, one ofthe most prevalent antioxidant enzymes in the body.
Sources: fruits (avocados, tomatoes, grapefruit, apples, oranges, bananas, melon), vegetables (peppers, carrots, onions, broccoli, squash, spinach, garlic), herbs (milk thistle), spices (such as cumin), selenium-rich foods (cereals, oats, Brazil nuts, walnuts, legumes, tuna, beef, poultry, cheese, eggs) and whey protein. If you can tolerate it, raw is better than cooked.
- Protein. Certain amino acids found in protein aid in the detoxification process. Many of these are found in animal products (meat, organ meat, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy). But remember to take into account your own individual relationship and tolerance with these foods, specifically dairy.
Alternate sources: Brazil nuts, sea algae (spirulina), beans, oats, and wheat germ.
- Boost fiber and fluid intake. This will help reduce the absorption of toxins and facilitate elimination while nourishing gut flora.
Sources: Foods rich in fiber are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Also promote foods that facilitate good bacteria growth, such as fermented and cultured foods like kombucha or yogurt.
- Go crazy with antioxidant-rich foods, not supplements! Berries are a great antioxidant go-to, such as aronia black chokeberry, blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry, sweet cherry and blueberry. Did you know it’s National Blueberry Month?! Celebrate with the American Heart Association and have a handful for #hearthealth. https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/heart-healhty-snacks-and-eating-on-thego/health-benefits-of-blueberries/
Other sources: kidney and black beans, prunes, pecan, red delicious and granny smith apples, cinnamon, and artichoke hearts.
- Reduce/eliminate classic food allergens and intolerances. “The Big 8” encompasses 50-90% of all food allergies! These are casein (dairy), eggs, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Other intolerances include lactose (sugar in milk), sugar alcohols, fermentable fibers and other.These changes are best explored with the guidance of a dietitian.
Have you tried a detox or cleanse? What was your experience? Share with me @BushwickNutrition
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN
Edited by Tamara Cabrero and NYHRC Team
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr
Strawberries are the most cultivated berry in the country, and lucky for us in the Northeast, they are the first fruit to ripen in spring and early summer. These delicious heart-shaped fruits are naturally sweet and simply jam-packed with healthy nutrients such as fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C and phytochemicals. Here are a few of their benefits:
- Fiber helps us feel fuller, longer (increasing satiety)
- Folate lowers our homocysteine blood levels and therefore aids in heart health
- Vitamin C helps support a healthy immune system
- Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure
- Phytochemicals, specifically flavonoids, give strawberries their bright color and contain cancer-fighting properties
One cup of strawberries has only 45 calories, absolutely no fat, zero sodium, 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of natural sugars and 1 gram of protein. Strawberries also give any dish a punch of color and are generally considered people pleasers, satisfying even the pickiest of eaters—you know who you are!
How To Buy Strawberries
I don’t usually push for shopping organic, but in this case, I definitely recommend choosing local or organic strawberries if possible. Strawberries are #2 on the Dirty Dozen List for 2014, which means they are on the top tier of produce that has the highest amount of pesticides. Their skin is so thin that pesticides can easily slip in and are hard to clean out; research has even shown that conventionally grown strawberries are lower in cancer-fighting phytochemicals! Nothing beats fresh, local berries, but frozen works just as well in a pinch.
Outside the Box Strawberry Recipes
- Sweet and savory meets the strawberry. Give strawberry, balsamic vinegar and basil ice pops a shot! Balsamic Vinegar, a naturally acidic food, provides a great tartness that pairs beautifully against the natural sweetness of strawberries. See recipe below!
- Can’t go wrong with chocolate-covered strawberries. Make sure they’re made with dark chocolate—70% cocoa, of course! An easy alternative, sprinkle unsweetened cocoa powder on fresh strawberries.
- Grill them! Summer is the season for grilling, and this is a delicious and healthy addition to any menu. Place strawberries on wooden skewers, add a dash of powdered sugar and grill no more than 3 minutes on each side.
- Pump up your salad by adding strawberries to your favorite leafy greens, such as spinach, arugula or any bitter greens.
- Make a guilt-free sundae. Use strawberries as your base and add a small scoop (no more than ½ cup) of ice cream.
- Top it off with strawberries. Layer on top of whole-grain cereal, oatmeal or low-fat yogurt for breakfast or a sweet snack.
- Bring the fiesta with a fruit-based salsa made of strawberries, pineapple, lime and cilantro. Add the salsa to grilled chicken or fish!
- Make a strawberry smoothie. Yum!
Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil Popsicles
Makes 10 popsicles (A little more than 3 cups = 25 ounces). Each popsicle is 45 calories.
- 2 cups of strawberries- tightly packed, thawed if frozen
- ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup of brown sugar
- ½ lime
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- Water as needed
Mix strawberries, sugar, vinegar and lime in a blender. Add enough water to total 3 ¼ cups. Blend really well. Add basil and pulse blender, enough so that you can still see little pieces of basil. Add to pop maker and freeze. Trust me, they are delicious!
What is your favorite recipe showcasing the strawberry? Share with me at Bushwick Nutrition!
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD, CDN
Initially posted on NYHRC Tumblr
Since Bushwick Nutrition covered the pros and cons of juicing in the July 2013 Juicing Vs Blending 101 post, the juicing craze has only picked up momentum. Even those who notoriously avoided the kitchen have jumped on the juicing bandwagon, whipping up creative combinations that are bursting with flavor and nutritional value. Let’s squeeze out even more nutritional benefits from this juicing addiction. Did you know you can use the power packed pulp?
Pulp Facts, Not Fiction
In case you have yet to tango with a juicer yourself, let me explain the basics.When you juice fruits, veggies, or other, your juicer separates the juice (extract) into one container and the fiber (or pulp) into another. Most people who juice tend to throw away this pulp. It’s true that much of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are in the juice, but there are actually nutrients left in the pulp, not to mention all the great fiber. As a Registered Dietitian,I am extremely pro-fiber and hate to see such rich pulp go to waste when there are so many exciting ways to use this secret source of nutritional power. Throwing the pulp away is an even more perplexing phenomenon because most people only get 50% of their recommended daily allowance of fiber!
For people who have difficulty digesting fiber, juicing may be their only option. But for most people, fiber is essential. Research suggests that fiber reduces the risk of CVD, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and certain gastrointestinal disorders (constipation, reflux, ulcers,). In addition, it improves cholesterol levels, such as total cholesterol and LDL (Lethal) cholesterol. Fiber is also imperative in the management of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, making it a great nutrient for people with diabetes or those who are at risk for developing diabetes. And of course, fiber helps us feel full for a longer period of time, contributing to a healthy body weight.
So in order to take advantage of this excess fiber, while reducing waste and getting our green on, here are ways to use the pulp. Let’s pulp it up!
Consider that fruit-based pulp lends itself to sweet recipes while vegetable-based pulp makes for better savory dishes. Adding pulp to any of the recipe ideas below adds quick nutritional properties, taste and texture to any meal or snack.
Fruit-Based Recipe Ideas
Veggie-Based Recipe Ideas
- Pasta Sauce
- Savory Bread
- Mac & Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Veggie Burgers
- Rice Pilaf
It is incredible how many recipes are available online with pulp as a primary ingredient. And it makes sense! You get twice the value for your buck, twice the nutrition and fiber and the satisfaction of minimizing unnecessary waste. Try out the simple recipe below and embrace the power of pulp!
Juice Pulp Bread Adapted from The Fresh Beet
- 2 cups pulp (in this case, carrots, beets, and ginger)
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- ½ cup of canola or coconut oil
- ½ cup honey or Agave nectar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup nuts, chopped
- ½ cup raisins or cranberries, no added sugars (optional)
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg or clove
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
1. Beat together oil and honey, then add eggs, vanilla and pulp.
2. Sift dry ingredients and add to pulp mixture.
3. Add nuts last.
4. Bake in a greased 9″loaf pan at 350 F for 50 to 60 minutes.
There are endless opportunities to use pulp in recipes. Have you tried using pulp?
Written and photographed by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD
Originally posted at NYHRC Tumblr
Edited by Tamara Cabrero & NYHRC Team
Flaxseeds have been part of the human diet since 4000BC. There are two varieties, brown and golden, and they share similar nutritional characteristics. Flaxseeds owe their high nutritional profile to three main components: lignans, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber.
- Flaxseeds have 800 times more phytochemicals – known as lignans - than other oil seeds. Lignans act as phytoestrogens and have proven to reduce hormone-dependent cancers (specifically prostate and breast cancers) and cardiovascular risk.
- A type of omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is found in flaxseeds. Two tablespoons have 3.5 grams of ALA, which is higher than the NIH recommendation! Omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
- Flaxseeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, roughly 2 grams per tablespoon (0.5 grams soluble). Fiber is healthful for digestion (constipation), cardiovascular health (lowering total and LDL cholesterol) and diabetes (controlling blood glucose and lowering HgA1c).
So which incarnation is better: whole flaxseeds, flaxseed meal (ground/milled) or flaxseed oil? Like most things, it depends.
For the full benefit: I usually recommend ground flaxseeds because the nutrients are more bioavailable and easier for our bodies to digest.
To aid constipation: Whole flaxseeds tend to pass through our intestine undigested, which means that we don’t absorb all of the nutrients. They can have a laxative effect (if taken with enough fluid) and can relieve constipation.
For healthy fats: All forms of flax are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, however flaxseed oil does not have fiber or lignans, since both are found in the fibrous part of the plant.
Where to buy? Flaxseeds have gone mainstream and can be purchased in health food stores and most grocery stores.
How to store? Ground flaxseed and flaxseed oil have a shorter shelf-life than flaxseeds. I suggest refrigerating for higher retention of nutrients.
How to cook? Omega-3s found in whole and crushed flaxseeds remain stable and intact while cooking in high heat; on the other hand, the omega-3s in flaxseed oil do not.
How to use? Flaxseeds can be a part of every meal.
- Add to hot or cold cereals
- Combine in sauces/condiments like mustard or light mayo
- Sprinkle on yogurt, toasted bread or whole-grain waffles
- Blend into homemade smoothies
- Cook in casseroles
- Bake in cookies, muffins, or breads
- Add flaxseed oil to salads or smoothies
- Use crushed flaxseed as breading for chicken or fish
Best brand? The one that only has 1 ingredient! For products containing flaxseeds, Nature’s Path, Bob’s Red Mill, Kashi, KIND, and Simply Beyond are some companies that consistently use them.
Recommendation: Make flaxseeds a part of your daily diet. Start with 1 tablespoon and slowly (and as tolerated) add up to 2 tablespoons a day.
NOTE on ALA: We do not benefit equally from the omega-3s found in flaxseeds (ALA) as we do from those found in fatty fish – (EPA and DHA, or EicosaPentaenoic Acid and DocosaHexaenoic Acid). Our bodies have to convert ALA to EPA and DHA in order to use it, making the process relatively inefficient.
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr
- What’s new in flax? We’re glad you asked. Today’s Dietitian.
- Flaxseed Oil. University of Maryland Medical Center.
- The World’s Healthiest Foods.
Edited and photographed by TCabrarr
Super Food 1
Flaxseeds are an old food, dating back to 4000BC. There are two varieties- brown and golden, which have similar nutritional characteristics. But the question is, which is better?- flaxseed, meal or oil. The answer is… it depends. Yet, I kind of have a soft spot for flaxmeal.
* FOR THE FULL BENEFIT: Flaxseed meal is a fancy way of saying crushed/ground flaxseeds. Our bodies are able to digest it better than whole flaxseeds. They are the highest in fiber (therefore aid in digestion), omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory), and phytochemicals called lignans.
* TO AID CONSTIPATION: Whole flaxseeds, on the other hand, tend to pass through our intestine undigested, which means that we don’t absorb all of the nutrients. They can have a laxative effect (if taken with enough fluid) and can relieve constipation.
* FOR HEALTHY FATS: Flaxseed oil does not have fiber or healthy lignans, since they are both found in the fibrous part of the plant. Yet, it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Seed, meal and oil have been used to help reduce total blood cholesterol and the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels, lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels, and have even shown to be protective against hormone-dependent cancer.
Buy it… in grocery store or health food store.
Store it… in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, flaxmeal has a shorter shelf-life than flaxseeds, 2-4 and 6-12 months respectively.
Use it… in hot or cold cereals, sauces/condiments like mustard or light mayo, yogurt, homemade smoothies, casseroles, baked into cookies, muffins, or breads, or sprinkle some on whole-wheat waffles! Flaxseed oil has a nice nutty taste that can be added to salads or eaten with almond butter on toast.
Best brand… the one that only has 1 ingredient.
Cooking tips: the omega-3 content found in flaxseed/meal remains stable and intact while cooking in high heat. On the other hand, flax oil does not.
Bottom line: Adding flax to your diet is an easy way to increase your daily dose of omega-3, fiber, protein, and micronutrients. Start with 1 tablespoon and slowly (and as tolerated) add up to 3 tablespoons a day.
Note: the omega-3 fatty acids found in flax is Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). Unfortunately, the body has to convert ALA to EPA and DHA (EicosaPentaenoic Acid and DocosaHexaenoic Acid), the fatty acid found in fish oil, so ALA isn’t as efficient. Therefore, you have to eat more flax to benefit from the same amount of fish oil.