Cleansing & Detox
By Christine Boutross
You've probably heard the words "detox" and "cleanse" a lot recently. They're pretty big buzzwords in the nutrition field. But what do they actually mean? The words themselves are pretty interchangeable. Let's start with dictionary definitions from Merriam-Webster.
Cleanse: to rid of impurities by or as if by washing
Detox: to free from an intoxicating or an addictive substance, or dependence on such a substance
Pretty much the same thing, right? So “cleansing” and “detox” mean taking out toxins and addictive stuff, like sugar, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and chemicals (coined “SNACCs” by detox doctor Elson Haas). But removing toxins is only one side of the cleansing equation. The other side, which is just as crucial, is adding in nutrient dense whole foods. So the formula is simple – reduce SNACCs, increase whole foods.
Now, keeping our formula in mind, there are different degrees of cleansing. You can go out in the desert and live on water for 40 days to cleanse, or you can simply eliminate one food that you rely on every day. It could be your morning bagel, your 3pm mocha latte or the fast-food drive through lane you find yourself in on the way home from work.
Remember, eliminating toxins is only one side of the equation. So you’ve decided which SNACC you are getting rid of. Great! Now what do you add to your daily diet? We suggest green vegetables, and lots of them! Some examples of green vegetables are kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, and arugula. They are the foods most missing in modern diets, and are loaded with beneficial phytochemicals and cleansing fiber. You may be thinking “But I don’t have time to cook green vegetables.” Not to worry! This month’s Food Focus – wheatgrass – shows you a great shortcut to getting more green veggie power into your diet everyday.”
Food Focus: Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass first became widely known in the West in the 1930s, when a man named Charles Schnabel began touting its benefits. Schnabel claimed “15 pounds of wheatgrass is equivalent to 350 pounds of the choicest vegetables.” Although science hasn’t proven that claim, it has proven that wheatgrass has one of the highest concentrations of nutrients and is the fastest and easiest grass to grow. The best to way to absorb its goodness is by extracting the juice.
Wheatgrass works by filling nutritional gaps in the diet and cleansing the blood. It is high in vitamins A, C and E, containing the same amount of vitamin C as an orange. It is also an excellent source of essential B vitamins, which are necessary for normal brain and body development. Wheatgrass juice also contains many essential minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, sodium) that are necessary for healthy bones, teeth, hair and skin.
Wheatgrass juice contains natural enzymes, which help the body’s defense mechanism by strengthening cells and removing poisons from the blood stream. It helps eliminate toxins accumulated from eating processed food, breathing polluted air and drinking impure water. Wheatgrass is approximately 70% crude chlorophyll, which can alkalize the body and have a highly energizing effect.
Wheatgrass also has a dilating effect on the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily. This improved circulation means valuable nutrients can be distributed more efficiently throughout the body. It also has an effect on red blood cells, increasing the iron content in the blood.
Where To Get Wheatgrass
- Juice bars (Jamba Juice, Robek’s Juice) sell shots of wheatgrass
- Whole Foods Markets carry frozen wheatgrass juices in individual containers
- Grow your own wheatgrass at home (http://www.growwheatgrass.com/)
How to Take Wheatgrass
- Take on an empty stomach
- Start with a quarter of a shot and build up to a full shot, gradually
- Follow with a glass of water
- Mix with other vegetable juices, such as celery, parsley and spinach
Recipe: Simply Green Juice
Stalk of celery
4 large spinach leaves
Half cup parsley 2-3 inch round of wheatgrass
1/4 cup water (optional)
- Wash greens thoroughly, cut up celery and juice
- Dilute with water if desired