C17: Cleansing Foods

First let me clarify that this will not be a discussion of the ubiquitous ‘cleansing diet’ so popular with many. I will not be including fasting, juicing, colonics or supplements in this brief post. In fact, I can’t get behind those methods. No, I simply became intrigued with my discovery this week with carrots being cleansing. This is not anything more than the causual google giggles with plant based whole food. You won’t find nutritional citations or any sort of science. It’s just us people trying to get better at eating good local, seasonal things.

It occurred to me that given what I have to choose from each week at the farmer’s market or with bulk foods or at the grocery store, my challenge has always been to find the least expensive. But, eating locally and seasonally also brings the choices of best for my individual body needs and tastes. I have had months of eating chips, dip, sausage and cookies. And, now that I am on this theme of cleansing foods. . I have listed the best cleansing vegetables according to Urban Wellness.

The top 10 cleansing foods:
1. Lemon, with its astringent and antiseptic qualities, is great for detoxifying the liver. It also contains potassium and vitamin C, and is possibly the best fruit remedy for people who have had a high fat/high protein diet. Lemon helps to increase the formation of fluids in the body, and this helps to flush out impurities. Start your day with a tall refreshing glass of water with the juice of 1/2 fresh lemon. Yea! Lots of free lemons from the neighbors tree right now. I am coming off a high fat, high protein stint.

2. Watermelon is a cool and refreshing diuretic which greatly benefits the intestines by keeping them moist. The seeds of the watermelon help with constipation, and contain a compound called cucurbocitrin, which dilates the capillaries. This in turn helps to decrease high blood pressure. Freeze watermelon chunks for a cooling summer treat. Wrong season, good to remember.

3. Radishes are very useful for getting rid of excess mucus, and old residual waste in the body. They also clear the sinuses and helps indigestion. Regular use can help prevent viral conditions like colds and flu. Slice some radishes and add to soup, salad, sandwiches…..or slice in half and dip into hummus for a crunchy snack. I consider radishes a staple, like lettuce. I promise myself that one day I will grow these year round in my own garden. Delicious peppery delight that goes in every salad.

4. Cabbage is great for the stomach and intestines, is used to treat constipation, and has a high sulfur content which destroys parasties and purifies the blood. It promotes circulation within the lungs and the elimination of waste. Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is wonderful for cleansing the digestive tract, improving the good bacteria necessary for digestion in the intestines, and treating constipation. Look for fresh, raw sauerkraut as opposed to canned. Add sauerkraut as a regular side dish to your meals for a savory flavor! Red cabbage is another regular year round for the salad. I should make saurerkraut, never have.

5. Asparagus contains a diuretic called asparagine, which helps the body to eliminate water through the kidneys. Also helps to cleanse the arteries of cholesterol and stimulates metabolism. Add asparagus to soups, stir-frys, pasta, even fruit salad! Season is several months away. I will go crazy when it comes. I simply adore asparagus.

6. Watercress promotes circulation in the lungs and is beneficial for the skin, as it helps to clear facial blemishes. It helps to remove stagnant blood and increase the flow of energy in the body, and is used as a remedy for intestinal gas and bad breath. Toss some watercress into your salad or include in your favorite fresh vegetable juice. CSA boxes used to provide this in the winter. I never remember to look for it.

7. Fennel is a good digestive aid which helps to rid the body of excess gas. It also stimulates liver and kidney function. It has a sweet flavor and a crunchy texture. Roast some sliced fennel with a little olive oil for an interesting addition to your meal. This beautiful, feathery plant is a must in my next garden. How cool if it aids the gas and stimulates the liver. I eat a lot of beans and want to keep my liver happy. Lots of cheap light beer over many years took a toll on my poor liver.

8. Leeks help to promote good digestion, and they also help to clean out the intestines. They also stimulate the liver, gall bladder and kidneys. Leeks promote warmth and move stagnant energy through the body. They clean out the arteries and slow the growth of viruses, yeasts and other organisms that often show up with an unbalanced diet. Add finely chopped leeks to salads, omelets, soups or stews for extra flavoring! Besides its miraculous healing qualities, leek ends parboiled several moments make beautiful dark green ties for bundles of steamed julienned vegetables!

9. Ginger is known for its circulation-promoting properties. It helps to prevent the blood from sludging, which is one of the causes for heart attacks and strokes. It is also an anti-inflammatory, a digestive aid and improves appetite. Treat yourself to a cup of ginger tea after a meal or sprinkle some grated ginger over vegetables as a garnish. I love ginger raw. This is another vow to make it a part of my garden, my staples.

10. Figs are one of the most alkalizing foods, which is great for cleansing because this balances the harmful acidic conditions that result from a diet rich in animal protein and most refined, artificial foods. Figs are a wonderful, soothing laxative and they clean the intestines as well as treat hemorroids. Enjoy the sweet flavor of figs as a delicious dessert! I just need to say how delicious I think figs are regardless of their goodness for the intestines. My son, who is half Lebanese and should know better, doesn’t like figs or dates. Go figure.

An Afterword . . .

In a perfect world, we could buy all of our food from organic sources. However, sometimes that is just not realistic.

If you would like to start moving into buying organic food slowly, the Environmental Working Group has come up with a list of fruits and vegetables that are best to buy from organic sources if possible. They call them The Dirty Dozen, because the group found that their counterparts tended to have the highest pesticide residues:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes, imported (Chili)
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach

There is so fucking much disinformation out there it make me ill to think I could be posting even more. We are bombarded by such nonsense every single day. I started to list these and it futile to name a couple in a veritable 24/7 onslaught of food related lies – pure corporate fantasy. Having said that, I don’t believe there is anything in this post that will do harm. At best it will encourage a reader to try some different foods and at worst it will deny some taste buds. No biggy . . .

flickr green vegetables