In some traditional medicine systems, like India’s Ayurveda and traditional Chinese Medicine, detoxes and cleanses are practiced each spring to help shed toxins accumulated during the colder months. Think of it like spring cleaning for your body.
If spring had a theme, it would be transformation. Leaves and greenery slowly push through the ground to transform our landscape from a dull brown and grey into bright green and bursting with life. We can mirror this transformation on our plates, by adding spring tastes.
Spring on your tongue
Before microscopes and petri dishes, taste was a practical tool to teach us how to use food as medicine. If winter is all about mellow, rich tastes, spring is the opposite. Spring is full of electric sour and bitter flavours that wake up your taste buds, cleanse your body, and are even said to boost metabolism.
Bitter is the most metabolically active flavour. The very taste of something bitter on the tongue triggers the digestive cascade and can help to stimulate the liver and reduce bloating. Some bitter foods include lettuces, dandelion leaves and arugula. Sour tastes are used to boost digestive fire. Some sour foods include lemons, limes, grapefruits, yogurt and sauerkraut.
Juice cleanses are gaining popularity nowadays, but there's no need to liquefy your diet when you can give your body a great spring detox by simply adding these ingredients to the meals you already prepare.
Here are some great spring detox foods to put on your plate:
Peppery arugula, also known as rocket, is a member of the cabbage family. Arugula is very bitter and rich in liver-cleansing compounds that the body uses during the detoxification process.
Try this: Dress a big pile of arugula with lots of lemon, a little olive oil and a few shavings of parmigiano reggiano, salt and pepper. Or try our Italian Arugula Salad for a value of only 4 SmartPointsTM
Lemons became known for their detoxification benefits when Beyoncé Knowles famously went on the Master Cleanse diet. Rich in Vitamin C and enzymes, lemons do increase your body’s detoxification process and boost your metabolism, but you don’t need to go on a lemon juice fast to get their benefits! Try adding lemon juice and zest to boost flavour to whatever you’re cooking.
Try this: Juice half a lemon into a glass of water and drink first thing in the morning or add the juice and zest liberally to salad dressings.
Those pesky lawn weeds are actually a spring superfood that you can use in a variety of ways. Their bitter flavour is excellent for digestion and detoxification, and dandelion greens can even help to reduce bloating.
Try this: Tear your dandelion greens right into a salad, add to a smoothie, or stir-fry with plenty of garlic, chili flakes, soy sauce and a drizzle of maple syrup. You can also make tea from the dried leaves or you can try our Spring Greens Salad at a value of only 2 SmartPoints.
Did you know that radishes are also members of the cabbage family? In Ayurvedic medicine, radishes have long been held as a master liver and gallbladder detoxifier. Radishes have also been found to contain a special compound which acts as an antioxidant during the liver’s detoxification process.
Try this: Oven roast with a little drizzle of olive oil and sea salt, or serve sliced or grated raw into salads. Or try a quick pickle/pressed salad preparation by soaking thinly sliced radishes in apple cider vinegar with an added pinch of sea salt. Toss in your salads for extra oomph!
People seem to hate Brussels sprouts more than any other vegetable. But these tiny cabbages have incredible health benefits, and can be prepared in a variety of delicious ways. Brussels sprouts contain nutrients that support both phases of your liver’s detoxification by increasing an antioxidant that helps the body to detoxify environmental toxins. They also contain plant compounds that the body uses to assist during the detoxification process.
Try this: Sprinkle with a little cumin before oven-roasting, tear off individual leaves and massage with a light dressing or slice thinly to make a slaw. You can also make Brussels sprouts into chips – just tear off individual leaves, massage with a little olive oil and roast in the oven. Looking for another tasty way to enjoy them? Try our Roasted Spicy Brussels Sprouts, only 1 SmartPoints value!