Detox has become a cliché buzzword these days with promises of health and vitality right around the corner.
We’ve all heard about the 3-day cleanses, rigid workout regimens, and lifestyle overhauls that promise weight loss and clear skin.
But what exactly is going on with our bodies that offers these results?
If we understand a few basic systems that support our body’s natural detoxification system we can say goodbye to short-term intense detox regimens and say hello to healthy lifestyles that promote balance and crave-able food to support our body’s naturally detoxification system.
Step 1: Understand Your Body's Detoxification Pathways
There is certainly truth to the idea that getting rid of built-up toxins supports a healthier mind and body (1) but does it have to be so cumbersome and intense?
Not on my watch!
Our body is naturally designed to get rid of toxins on its own but if it is inundated with toxins, it stores the overload in our fat cells to be excreted later.
The more toxins stored in our fat cells, the larger the fat cells grow. If we have an overload of toxins at a high rate, our skin’s elasticity can’t catch up to the expansion and eventually we start to see the lovely little cushions of fat form on our bodies we all know as cellulite.
By releasing the stored-up toxins in our fat we begin to see our cellulite disappear at a higher rate and fat itself begins to melt away faster (2).
So how do we get a more efficient detoxification system?
The liver, kidneys, and skin are the major players to excreting unwanted organisms and cells but the major player, the first line of defense and root of all of the efficiency of our body’s ability to detox, lies in the health of our gut (3).
Taking supplements may be necessary for certain individuals tackling a specific issues but if you’re generally in good health, consuming a healthful plant-based diet full of vegetables, fruit, and beans will offer you all the gut-friendly compounds needed to feel de-toxed and vibrant (4).
Step 2: Incorporate Pre and Pro Biotics
Achieving and maintaining a healthy gut is dependent on your consumption of probiotics and prebiotics.
So what’s the difference?
Probiotics replenish. They introduce new and good bacteria to your gut which is vital for not only disease protection and prevention but also improving overall gut health and stimulating immune function (5).
You can find probiotics in pill form but they’re also abundant in fermented foods like kombucha, fermented veggies like sauerkraut and pickles (from the fridge, not the shelf), coconut kefir, and miso paste.
To ensure ultimate gut-health consume probiotic-rich foods every day and be sure to get a variety (to offer a variety of cultured strains) throughout week.
I add fermented veggies to my buddha bowls, kombucha as part of my afternoon routine when I need an energy kick, and comforting miso soup as a delicious lunch or nourishing dinner.
This is the Probiotic supplement I have on hand
Prebiotics nourish. They feed the existing healthy bacteria. When you have a plethora of healthy bacteria in your gut lining, it’s important to ensure that army is strong and healthy.
Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and /or activity of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract (6).
You can easily find prebiotics in the form of Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) (7) which are abundant in a plethora of foods such as alliums (onions, leeks, garlic), asparagus, artichokes, oats, bananas, and my favorite, avocado (8).
I eat an avocado every morning and also enjoy frozen bananas as the main sweetener in my smoothies.
Adding pre- and pro-biotic rich foods into your diet can be really easy with a little intentional planning and delicious recipes on-hand.
Step 3: Superfood Detox Miso Soup
Because I love getting as many nutrients from food as possible I’ve created a Superfood Detox Miso Soup.
The chickpea miso and nama shoyu provide the living probiotics, the green onions and leeks offer the essential prebiotics to feed those yummy microorganisms and to top it off, I’ve added homemade bone broth rich in a plethora of gut-loving amino acids like L-Glutamine which help promote rapid cell division of friendly bacteria (9).
There are a few steps to prepping but once completed the recipe is just a matter of assembly.
Try out this delectable soup to get started on your way to ultimate gut-health and easy detoxification!
Superfood Detox Miso Soup
Author: Julie Magnussen aka Healthy Julie
3 cups water
1 cup Bone Broth (or water if you don’t have bone broth on hand)
2 Tbl chickpea miso paste (easy to find in many natural grocery stores. You can also use a regular miso paste like this one, made from soy and/or rice, just make sure it is organic and look for a non-GMO label if it is soy-based)
1 Tbl Nama Shoyu (sauce)
1 tsp Lime juice (the juice of 1/2 lime)
1 tsp Raw honey
2-3 drop Lemongrass essential oil (therapeutic grade)
1/2 fresh Jalapeño or red chili, finely sliced crosswise (remove seeds if sensitive to heat)
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
2 inches fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
1 Green onion stalk, sliced crosswise
1/2 leek (the white part), thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced with vegetable peeler or mandolin
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked 5 minutes in hot water to reconstitute
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 T chopped mint
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Bring water/broth to a boil and remove from heat.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the miso paste, nama shoyu, lime juice, lemongrass oil, and raw honey. Set aside.
- In a serving bowl, add the ginger, garlic, carrot strips, leek strips, sliced green onion, mushrooms, cilantro, mint, jalapeño slices, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- Place hot water and miso mixture into a blender and blend on high until well-combined. Pour the miso mixture in the serving bowl covering raw veggies and aromatics. Allow to marinate for 3-5 minutes and garnish with more sesame seeds and cilantro/mint.
How to Use this Plan
In the 3 steps above, we've given you the information that you need to incorporate naturally supporting your body's own detoxification pathways into your lifestyle.
In the coming days and weeks, Julie and I encourage you to include more gut-friendly pro-biotic foods like:
- fermented veggies
- miso paste
- sauerkraut (refrigerated, not shelf)
And and pre-biotic foods like:
....and the other examples mentioned above in the post.
This delicious soup can be made weekly. If you want to make a bigger batch to have daily, double the recipe. When reheating, be sure not to boil the liquid, as this will kill the probiotics.
If you have trouble finding all the ingredients, vary the recipe - you could include chopped asparagus in place of the mushrooms or try different herbs for flavor variations.
If you're looking for a good pro-biotic supplement, I use the Biotic Balance that is featured above. I take it when I haven't had access to as much fresh, healthy food, have been traveling or dining out, or feel like I need some gut support.
If you are not able to cook as often or incorporate many of the recommended foods into your diet daily I recommend supplementing.
Our Featured Nutritional Chef: Julie Magnussen
Today's recipe was created just for us by Team Betty Rocker Resident Nutritionist, Julie Magnussen who is a Nutritional Chef and certified Health Coach.
Julie and I met in 2012, when she was the Healthy Eating Specialist for Whole Foods Market, and I was there teaching cooking classes. Over the past 4 years, we have both grown our own businesses, supporting and learning from each other along the way.
We share the same philosophies about balanced eating, and she adds such a depth of knowledge to our platform. I am simply delighted to be able to bring you exclusive content and unique recipes she is creating just for us!
- Food Navigator. Food addiction: Fat may rewire brain like hard drugs. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Food-addiction-Fat-may-rewire-brain-like-hard-drugs/.
- Shen J, Obin MS, Zhao L. The gut microbiota, obesity and insulin resistance. Mol Aspects Med 2013, 34:39-58.
- Kukkonen K. Savilahti E. Haahtela T. et al. Probiotics and prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides in the prevention of allergic diseases: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trail. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007. 119(1):192-8. Elazab N. Mendy A. Gasana J. Probiotic administration in early life, atopy and asthma: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. Pediatics. 2013; 132(3):e666-76.
- MacFarlane S. Macfarlane GT. Cummings JH. Review Article: prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2006. 1;242(5):701-14 19. Blaut M. Relationship of prebiotics and food to intestinal microflora. Eur J Nutr. 2002; 41(1)11-6 20 Slavin Joanne.
- Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits Nutrients 2013; 5(4) 1417-1435.
- WGO Guideline. World Gastroenterology Organization Global Guidelines: Probiotcs and Prebiotics-A Global Perspective. J Clin Gastroenterol 2012; 46: 468-481. Ritchie M. Romanuk T. A Meta-Analysis of Probiotic Efficacy for Garstrointestinal Diseases. Plos one.7, 2012.
- Slavin Joanne. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits Nutrients 2013; 5(4) 1417-1435.
- Blaut M. Relationship of prebiotics and food to intestinal microflora. Eur J Nutr. 2002; 41(1)11-6.
- van der Hulst RR, von Meyenfeldt MF, Soeters PB. Glutamine: an essential amino acid for the gut. Nutrition. 1996;12(11-12 Suppl):S78-81