Cleansing foods to ring in the new year

These recipes will help detoxify bodies that overindulged during the holidays

(Bob Fila / Chicago Tribune )
December 31, 2013|By John Houser III, For The Baltimore Sun

The season from Halloween to New Year's is the most wonderful time of the year for cooking and eating food. The problem with the holidays is that consuming desserts, starchy sides, fatty meats and gallons of various alcoholic beverages can wreak havoc on your overall health.

Besides feeling like your blood has been replaced by gravy, eating high-fat and high-sugar foods can be damaging to your metabolism — not to mention your waistline.

Susan Weis-Bohlen, owner of Breathe Bookstore Cafe in Hampden, explains some of the damage inflicted upon the body in the course of the holidays: "After consuming sugar and alcohol, the body tries to break down food for energy and has a hard time because the food isn't very nutritious." This is why so many people feel bad enough to attempt to cleanse their systems and detoxify after the first of the year.

Michael Lippy, owner of Liquid Earth restaurant in Fells Point, says that while there are many ways to start detoxifying, it's best to start simple. "In the era of the magic pill, there is actually a magic pill: water," he says. "People feel like they need to drink diet soda, but that makes it worse. Just drink water."

For those trying to get back on track with healthful eating, Susanna DeRocco, a certified health coach and nutritional counselor in Towson, advises against rushing into radical changes in diet. "It's better to get yourself back on track and slowly crowd out the bad foods and replace them with fruits and vegetables," she says.

We've rounded up recipes from experts that will help you get on the road to a healthier and less-polluted body. And who knows? Maybe starting off 2014 with these foods will be a stepping stone to a year of wellness that won't require detoxification the next time the New Year's Eve ball drops.

Detox kitchari

Weis-Bohlen, of Breathe Bookstore Cafe, believes that a detox of kitchari for a week can make a huge difference in one's health. "A lot of (animal-based) protein sources overtax the body because they metabolize at different rates," she says. "It's like putting too many logs on a fire." Kitchari can be eaten for a week straight with a revolving cast of veggies to keep the recipe from being monotonous. She also offers a recipe for green detox juice.

Makes about 4 servings

1 cup split yellow moong (mung) beans*

1 cup white basmati rice

Ghee (clarified butter)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin

turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

fenugreek seed

3 cloves

2 garlic cloves, minced

7-10 cups water

3 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt (rock salt is best) or Bragg Liquid Aminos

1 small handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

*Do not use whole moong dal beans, which are green, or yellow split peas

Wash split yellow moong beans (dal) and rice together until water runs clear. Heat a large pot on medium heat. Melt one tablespoon of ghee, add spices and saute until they are aromatic — about 1-2 minutes. You can also add 2-3 cloves of garlic at this time.

Add dal and rice and stir again. Mix together for 3-5 minutes to let the beans and rice pick up the flavor of the spices. Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.

Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until dal and rice becomes soft (about 30-40 minutes).The cilantro leaves can be added just before serving. Add salt or liquid aminos to taste.

Green detox juice

Makes about 2 servings

1 bunch parsley

1 bunch cilantro

4-6 stalks celery

2-3 cucumbers

6-8 pieces of kale or other leafy green

Put through a juicer and drink immediately. You can make larger batches and store in glass jars, but drink within 24 hours for full potential.

Easy raw hummus

Michael Lippy is a big proponent of raw foods, and his restaurant of 18 years, Liquid Earth, has pushed the limits of what a vegan meal can be. These hummus and coleslaw recipes highlight how easy it is to create a quick and healthy snack to stave off the doughnuts and cookies.

Makes about 8 servings

4 or 5 organic zucchini, chopped

12 ounces organic raw tahini (made from sprouted seed)

3 organic lemons

6 cloves fresh organic garlic

Bragg Liquid Aminos or organic wheat-free soy sauce


In a food processor, combine chopped zucchini, garlic, tahini, juice from 3 lemons and 1/2 cup of soy or liquid aminos. Add cumin to taste. Serve with sliced vegetables.

Antioxidant coleslaw

Makes about 10 servings

1 head white cabbage

1 head organic red cabbage

1 organic pineapple

3 large organic carrots

2 organic Granny Smith or other tart apples

2 cups Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise

1/4 cup organic apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

Shred white cabbage (set aside), red cabbage, carrot and 1 apple. Thinly julienne half of pineapple and other apple. Put all ingredients except white cabbage in a large bowl and mix well. Add shredded white cabbage and mix lightly.

Reboot green-fry

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