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Oct 1, 2007 03:24 PM

What are good "detox" foods?

I'm just finishing up a 3 month vacation and I've had a LOT of great food. The food I've eaten is a lot heavier than what I'm used to and I'm definitly feeling the drag. I'm not interested in a diet, but I feel like I need to clear out my system. Does anyone know of certain foods that I can eat for the next 2 weeks or so to help achieve this? If you have a nutritional reason why certain foods are good, I'd love to hear it. Thanks!

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  1. Are you looking to do a real detox or just "healthy up" your diet for a couple of weeks? We attempted a "detox" and made it through 3 days of basically drinking our meals before we caved and ate a salad. And then carnitas.

    The plan we followed involved 8-oz of a berry drink (powdered mix) for breakfast, 8-oz of a green drink (powdered, algae, veggie-loaded, etc) 2 hours later, vegetable juice for lunch, berry drink 2 hours later, green drink 2 hours after that, and then a bowl of pureed vegetable soup. No fats (butter, olive oil) or chicken/beef stock. Plus you do some herbal cleanse pills throughout the day and drink water all the time.

    If I was going to do it again (ha ha ha), I'd eat oatmeal in the morning, do a drink 2 hours after each meal, eat a salad for lunch (with oil and vinegar), and eat steamed veggies and maybe grilled non-marinated tofu. Seems pretty easy on the system.

    If I wanted to just lighten up my system, I'd simply stay away from red meat (more chicken and fish), cut out fats and really limit simple carbs, along with doing an herbal cleanse for a week. Lots of steamed veggies and high fiber foods. I don't see the harm in doing 1 antioxidant berry drink or the green drink, but it wasn't my favorite thing to drink.

    I wrote a short blurb on our total detox failure:

    1 Reply
    1. re: leanneabe

      That gives me some good ideas... thanks!

    2. These foods are slightly diuretic, which is supposed to help clear out your system. Really, though, they're light in calories and high in fibre:

      Sunflower sprouts
      Mustard greens (or any bitter greens)
      Lotus and burdock roots
      Bok choy

      I'd add broccoli and cabbage, but if you eat too many, you'll likely get gas (which is probably not your goal). Celery works too, but few people like to eat it on its own - I can give you a great recipe for a celery salad, though.

      12 Replies
      1. re: piccola

        I don't know what it is about burdock, but whenever I eat it, I feel very energized afterwards. It is definitely not my imagination. I tried to do a little sleuthing about why it might cause that effect, but didn't come up with anything.

        Lately, I've become addicted to the tumeric tea sold in cans from the new Dr. Weil line at At first, I thought it tasted like drinking nothing, but now I'm hooked. Very pricey though.

        1. re: omotosando

          If you shop in Indian grocery stores, you'll sometimes spot fresh turmeric root. You can use it to make your own tea, the same way you'd make ginger tea - grate and steep.

          1. re: piccola

            Thanks. Do you know how long tumeric root will keep and whether you can possibly freeze it?

            1. re: omotosando

              I treat it like ginger. Never tried to freeze it, though.

              1. re: piccola

                I tried keeping some in the freezer and it seemed to get a mushy texture after a while. It was much nicer fresh.

                1. re: Freida

                  Maybe grated, packed in oil? Maybe it's just easier to buy smaller quantities and eat it fresh.

            1. re: WCchopper

              In response to WCchopper, there is a local macrobiotic restaurant that makes burdock root in a way I have never seen before (most places shred it and stir fry it in a "kimpira" with carrots). The macrobiotic restaurant serves it in slices of just the right thickness (not too thin; not too thick) and it is not stir fried. I only tried to make burdock once at home and it didn't taste the same as at the macrobiotic restaurant. I keep meaning to buy some burdock, and experiment more at home as I would like to eat it more regularly because there is definitely some compound in it that energizes me. Maybe next time I got to the macrobiotic restaurant, I will see if they will give away their cooking secret.

              1. re: WCchopper

                I usually braise it, and I drink/slurp the braising liquid, too. Something like this, only I do small chunks rather than strips:

                1. re: WCchopper

                  Don't know if it's a Korean dish, but my family slices the root in diagonals and it's coated in spicy sauce. Very good with rice.

                  1. re: janethepain

                    Anyone want to try to describe the flavor?

                    1. re: WCchopper

                      Hmm. It tastes kinda rooty - like a medicinal root. Haha that's probably not very informative at all, but I don't know how else to describe it. Maybe a very slight bitterness too. Reminds me of the rootiness of ginseng.

            2. "green" soup works for me. Take a bunch or two of spinach and same amount of watercress. Plop in pot with some water and salt. Let cook enough to be really tender adding water as needed to keep soupy versus just cooked down greens. Add chopped green onion or chives. Blend with immersion blender. Taste & season. Whenever you are hungry - have a cup. (microwave to warm) That along with lots of tea (hot or iced) will get your bloat out, give you tons of good vitamins and minerals and keep you satisfied. A day or two. Eat regular food also if you are hungry, but this before a meal will definately help on the clean out aspect.

              4 Replies
              1. re: torty

                This whole "detox" thing is the latest in quackery to come down the pike.
                Precisely what and where are these so-called "toxins" situated?
                Please supply us the proper chemical symbols and describe the process through which they are removed from the body.
                Do I eat lots of fibre? Of course. But I always have and always will, long after this fad is played out.
                By the way: the colon is technically not even within the body proper.

                1. re: Leonardo

                  Leonardo, the reason I put quotes around "detox" is because I'm using that word for its layman's meaning. I'm not interested in fad diets either. That being said and toxins aside, there IS a feeling you get after you eat. Sometimes you are sluggish, sleepy and bloated, sometimes you feel light and energized. After three months of feeling the first, I would like to finally feel the latter, sooner than later. So, while I may not be flushing any toxins out of my body by following some of this advice, I am flushing away that sluggish bodily feeling so that I can get back to square one. Thats all I'm going for. I hope that clears things up.

                  1. re: thunderbug84

                    I started putting quotes around "detox" too. I felt much better after eight days of a diet on vegetables, fruit, and legumes. My allergy symptoms even went away because there is so much mucus in dairy and animal products, I suppose.


                    I second all the recs for green, leafy vegetables like chard and kale and broccoli. Mung beans are supposed to be really good for flushing out your system, lentils, cooked cabbage, watermelon, teas like ginger and dandelion, warm water w/lemon, real cranberry juice.

                  2. re: Leonardo

                    In response to Leonardo, sure detoxing, as the proccess of expelling toxins from the body probably has become a fad in the world of popular American life, but it is entirely legitimate and has been since long before any health powder drinks were ever used for such purposes. A toxin is any foreign chemical or organism that might be damaging, that can be absorbed into bodily tissue or live parasitically on your hosting innards. For example metallic elements, radical environmental molecules, drug residues, worms, most anything taken in excess can be stored and considered to be a toxin. And there are legitimate ways of getting rid of them, a good way, if done properly is a short fast...if done properly, if done properly. Most bitter foods work well, as do figs, aduki and mung beans, garlic, seaweed, salt, vinegar and lots of other things that have already been mentioned.
                    Just because something has been popularized in the modern media, doesn't mean it didn't already exist and have its own history.

                2. Asparagus, greens, cucumbers are all cleansing...

                  Green Miso Soup
                  Boil miso broth w/ garlic crushed, adding in greens (mustard, kale, bok choy, collards), asparagus, wild mushrooms, and cook til veggies are tender. Beat egg whites with garlic salt or seasoning, then bring soup to a rolling simmer and stream in egg whites.

                  Shirtaki Stir-Fry
                  Grill veggies (eggplant, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, tomatoes) tossed w/ garlic salt, then toss in a pan with shiratakis (drained and rinsed), a little soy sauce or Braggs, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mustard. Add egg whites, chicken, tofu, or protein of choice.

                  Egg White Omelettes in general

                  Broiled or Grilled Blackened Fish (halibut, mahi mahi, sole, shrimp, scallops, crab) w/ garlic steamed spinach

                  Celery--raw or roasted

                  Cauli-flied rice... Fried "rice" made with shredded cauliflower and egg whites, subbing broccoli for the peas

                  Baked potato skins filled with salsa and veggies

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Emme

                    "Detox?" Just a trendy term for eating less and eating healthier.

                    1. re: beevod

                      Oh OK. I thought it had something to do with colonics or some foolish thing.

                      1. re: beevod

                        beevod, I think its a shame to generalize such a term. Look at my response to Leonardo above and you will see how I view my personal "detox." Trust me, I have no interest in starving myself.

                      2. re: Emme

                        Try not to boil miso as you lose alot of the good stuff. Just bring it to just under a simmer.

                      3. Peter mayle talks about this situation in his "Provence" books. He observed his neighbors taking a food vacation in the summer for the good of their livers. The essence of the "diet" seemed to be more light fruit and veg dishes (more fiber), less richly sauces dishes (I'm thinking less butter), and mineral water instead of wine. Lightening up like the French do seems to be the way to go to prevent falling of the wagon face- first into a plate of carnitas!