Yes, making a green drink is certainly the first choice for a detox and rejuvenation protocol. However, we also need options for a meal that includes not only tasting satisfying ingredients but also those that will contribute to our overall reduction of toxic burden while providing quality protein that converts to energy.
This new series provides not only healthy recipes but also the health benefits of each ingredient.Ingredients
- 1 cup red quinoa (washed and rinsed in a very fine sieve)
- 1 cup original quinoa (washed and rinsed in a very fine sieve)
NOTE: If you don't rinse quinoa VERY well, it will be bitter. I soak mine 2–4 hours and then place in sieve and use the faucet sprayer and rinse the heck out of it with cold water several times…that does the trick. Occasionally I can find a sprouted quinoa-wild rice-brown rice organic mix, that does not need rinsing or soaking and obviously has more health and digestion benefits because it's sprouted.
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (make sure it's all natural with no aliases for MSG)
- 1 bunch kale (cut into small strips)
- 2–3 TB coconut oil
- 6 cloves finely minced garlic
- 4–5 scallions (white and green parts) very thinly sliced
- 2 cups fresh organic small asparagus cut into small 1" pieces (you can substitute any vegetable you like)
- 1–2 ripe avocados (cut into small cubes)
- 2–3 TB lime juice or to taste (This really gives it a South American flavor)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- tsp dried rosemary (1 tsp if fresh and finely chopped)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Combine quinoa with broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a rapid simmer. Cover and lower heat to a slow simmer until all the broth is absorbed (about 20 minutes). If quinoa is not soft, add an additional 1/2 cup broth and continue to cook until absorbed. NOTE: Do NOT keep opening the lid to check it as it will take longer to cook and for quinoa to soften.
- Strip the kale leaves from their stems and discard stems. Cut kale leaves into very narrow short strips about the size of a green bean. Rinse well and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large skillet, wok or stir-fry pan. Once oil is hot, add garlic and sauté over low heat until golden but not dark brown or it will get bitter.
- To the garlic, now add the kale and scallions and cook until kale is just soft. Next add the small pieces of asparagus and cook until asparagus are soft but NOT overcooked or you lose a lot of nutrition. Now add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently as you would for a stir-fry.
- At the very end, add the cooked quinoa just enough to blend flavors and heat.
A. You can add chicken or beef sliced very thin and sautéed when you add the garlic. I also like to add ground natural bison; it's delicious and NO fat.
B. You can add any green veggie like spinach, chard, broccoli, etc.
C. I've also cut white onions in small pieces and sautéed along with the scallions and it gives it a bit more robust flavor.
D. If you like those Asian stir-fry dishes with egg, try scrambling a couple eggs and adding at the end when you add the cooked quinoa.
E. If you don't have on hand, or choose not to add both kinds of quinoa, you can use whatever you have. Blending the two kinds really gives this dish its unique flavor and I've even mixed in black or wild rice for a mouth-watering change.
F. I like adding white or orange sweet potato not only for the awesome flavor but also it's great comfort food that's low in glycemic and high in nutrition and fiber.
The Health Benefits of Each Ingredient…
Quinoa: Considered a "superfood," it's one of the most protein-rich foods AND is Gluten-FREE. It contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains as well as iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin (B2) and a high content of manganese. Contains powerful bioactive substances like quercetin and kaempferol—important molecules shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects.
Scallions: If you harvest onions before their bulbs form, you get scallions. Just like their full-grown relative, scallions are packed with vitamins and minerals.
The following are the most nutritional benefits of scallions (aka spring onions):
- They're very low in calories, usually about 31 calories in 100 grams of fresh scallions.
- They're rich in antioxidants that actually help the body repel toxins that enter your body. Antioxidants are necessary to help lower your risk of acquiring viruses, bacteria, etc., including those nasty infections considered fatal.
- They contain high levels of dietary fiber. Actually, they contain more fiber than shallots and ripe onions. To compare, 100 grams of scallions provides about 2.6 grams of fiber—equivalent to about 7 percent of the daily recommended amount.
- Contain thiosulfinates, although in smaller amounts than garlic but still important. In addition, they contain diallyl disulfide, propyl disulfide, and allyl disulfide—which, along with other thiosulfinates convert into allicin through their enzymatic reaction. When this occurs, cholesterol production is significantly reduced, especially within the liver cells. Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by releasing nitric oxide in the blood to lower your blood pressure. Allicin also helps in blocking platelet clotting—cutting your risk of having coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular diseases.
- Contain compounds known to prevent certain cancers. They contain vitamin A, C and K. Researchers believe scallions are among the richest in vitamin K content—172 percent of RDA in 100 grams. Vitamin K is essential to bone health as it promotes bone strength, repair and formation. Adequate vitamin K shows promise in helping to prevent Alzheimer's disease.
NOTE: Scallions are not only healthy and delicious; each part is almost entirely edible except the roots.
Kale: This is considered to be the "king" of vegetables with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory. It is high in beta-carotene, vitamins K, C, lutein, zeaxanthin and rich in calcium.
Lime: This fruit deserves to be more in the limelight than lemon, in my opinion. The potential uses of lime go far beyond cocktails and fish dishes. The following are the top health benefits:
- As natural health approaches become more and more popular in today's culture, lime will likely play an increasing role in the treatment that doctors recommend—scientists are researching ways to incorporate lime into medicines and herbal formulas because of their extraordinary health benefits.
- Sickle cell anemia is a condition that causes the bone marrow to produce misshapen, sickle-shaped red blood cells. It can cause chronic fatigue as well as painful episodes, called crises. Crises cause severe pain in areas such as the chest, joints, or lower back. A study found that consuming lime juice reduced the severity of crises in children with sickle cell anemia.
- Antioxidants keep your arteries healthy, and healthy arteries are essential for carrying blood from your heart to the organs of your body. A new study conducted on rabbits reveals some interesting results and human studies are scheduled to begin soon.
- Lime peel and lime juice contain antioxidants that slow down the process of atherogenesis, the buildup of plaque on artery walls. Try getting more lime juice in your diet. When juicing, leave the peel on so you don't discard some of most beneficial part of the lime.
- A recent study found that the kaffir lime, a bumpy-skinned lime grown in India and other regions of Southeast Asia, fights bacteria. One specific type of well-known bacteria this lime fights is E. coli, which causes food poisoning.
- The antibacterial properties of kaffir lime extend to the skin, too. In a 2014 study, researchers found that essential oil from the kaffir lime could stop acne-causing bacteria. The oil also reduced scarring from acne and assisted in healing acne blemishes. This natural remedy is an option worth trying to improve your skin.
- Lime's bacteria-fighting abilities also enable the fruit to fight cholera, according to one study. Bacteria that cause cholera often travel in food. In West Africa, where cholera outbreaks have happened in recent history, researchers found that feeding affected people lime juice with rice killed the dangerous bacteria.
- The peel left behind after a few good squeezes can be used to create a powerful, pure oil. This oil is used in a number of ways, most popularly in flavoring food and adding a fresh fragrance to a variety of products. Try this recipe for an amazing lime-filled twist on hummus by placing the already squeezed lime peel into the hummus or even your guacamole.
- Similar to other citrus fruits, lime offers a plethora of vitamins and minerals, including potassium. Potassium is important for maintaining nerve function and healthy blood pressure levels. The fruit is also linked to antioxidants and bioflavonoids that researchers believe could lower the likelihood of cancer.
- The simplest way to use lime is to add it to your cooking.
Rosemary: Credited for its ability to boost memory, improve mood, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, protect immune functions, stimulate circulation, detoxify, protect from bacterial infections, prevent premature aging, and heal skin conditions.
Coconut Oil: Its health benefits too numerous to list but here are the ones helpful in detoxification:
Improves blood cholesterol, loaded with saturated fats (raises HDL–good—cholesterol), increases energy, helps lower blood sugar, contains lauric acid known to kill bacteria-viruses- fungi, is a natural appetite suppressant, its fatty acids can boost brain function especially in those with dementia and Alzheimer's by providing the needed ketones (energy source for malfunctioning cells).
Natural Sea Salt: Salt is essential for life and an important component in the human diet. Sodium is a nutrient that the body cannot manufacture but which is required for life itself. Sodium is easily absorbed and is active in the absorption of other nutrients in the small intestine. It helps regulate water balance, pH, and is important in nerve conduction.
Black Pepper: Black pepper stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body's production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn, indigestion and a slow bowel transit time. Black pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects–yet another way in which this wonderful seasoning promotes the health of the digestive tract. And not only does black pepper help you derive the most benefit from your food, the outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn.
Garlic: The allicin in raw, crushed garlic has been shown to kill 23 types of bacteria, including salmonella and staphylococcus. Heated garlic gives off another compound, diallyldisulphideoxide, which has been shown to lower serum cholesterol by preventing clotting in the arteries. Vitamins in garlic, such as A, B, and C, stimulate the body to fight carcinogens and get rid of toxins, and may even aid in preventing certain types of cancer, such as stomach cancer. Garlic's sulfur compounds can regulate blood sugar metabolism, stimulate and detoxify the liver, and stimulate the blood circulation and the nervous system.
Cumin: Cumin, a spice that originated in Egypt, has been a part of the cuisines of the Middle East and India for thousands of years. This little seed, a standard flavor in curries, is touted for its many medicinal properties, including:
- Controls Diabetes—A study by researchers at Mysore University in India explored the potential anti-diabetic properties of cumin. In this study, published in 1998 in the journal Nutrition Research, the research team fed diabetes-induced rats a diet of 1.25 percent ground cumin for eight weeks with positive results. The rats experienced a reduction in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar—a condition common in diabetics—and glucosuria or glycosuria, in which the urine contains too much glucose. A review of scientific studies published in 2005 in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition confirmed that a number of spices, including cumin, might aid hypoglycemia. Consider using cumin for blood sugar control, I do.
- Aids Digestion—although this flavorful spice has a long history as a treatment for indigestion in Indian households, medical research has just begun to suggest the benefits of cumin to the digestive system. A study on rats by researchers at Mysore University, published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research in 2004, found cumin useful for both dyspepsia and diarrhea. The spice appears to stimulate the liver to secrete more bile, which aids in the breakdown of fats and the absorption of nutrients, leading to healthier digestion. In the study, cumin increased bile secretion in the rats by 71 percent.
- Contains Essential Minerals—cumin seed is a source of the essential mineral magnesium, which the body cannot produce, and therefore must get through diet. A tablespoon of cumin will give you six percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium for adults. Magnesium serves a host of functions, including promoting heart health, controlling blood pressure and aiding the absorption of calcium. Cumin is also an excellent source of the essential mineral iron, with just one tablespoon supplying 20 percent of the daily value. Your body needs iron to carry oxygen to all its cells.
NOTE: I prefer, and suggest, you purchase organic cumin, as most spices are irradiated (treated with radioactive materials to extend shelf life). I also suggest purchasing cumin seeds instead of buying this spice already ground, since ground cumin loses its flavor more quickly than do whole seeds. Store your ground or whole-seed cumin in a cool, dry place to help it retain its nutrients. I grind my cumin and it stays fresh for about six months, while cumin seeds last about a year. Before you grind your cumin seeds, lightly roast them for a few minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit or in a hot skillet to release their aromatic oils.
Carrots: Carrots are actually considered a vessel for Vitamin A— they contain a large amount of Vitamin A. Additionally, they're rich with Vitamin C, E, B6, K and many more.
Asparagus: Its javelin-shape says a lot! I view this green as symbolism for your nutritional "weapon" for its age- and disease-fighting abilities. It's packed with health benefits including loaded with nutrients. It's a great source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as a good dose of chromium—a trace mineral known to enhance the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. Some of the most nutrient-rich benefits include:
- This herbaceous plant—along with avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts—is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free-radicals. Eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers.
- Asparagus, packed with antioxidants, ranks among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This, according to preliminary research, shows promise in its ability to slow the aging processes.
NOTE: The most common type of asparagus is green, but you might see two others in supermarkets and restaurants: white, which is more delicate and difficult to harvest, and purple, which is smaller and fruitier in flavor. No matter the type you choose, asparagus is a tasty, versatile vegetable that can be cooked in myriad ways or enjoyed raw in salads.