January is for Detoxifying

January is an opportunity to “reset” for health and habits. December always brings excess sugar and flour, stress and craziness – happy crazy but crazy nonetheless. Smart eating, routines, and exercise go out the window. So how do I reset this first month of the year?

  • From the inside: Detoxify my body and my family through renewed menu planning and cooking.
  • On the outside: Detoxify my kitchen. Remove the candy, cookies, processed treats etc that crept into my pantry from Halloween to December. This “outside” detox, makes possible the inside detox and sets the playing field for healthy eating throughout the year

Detox sounds like a trend. But the human body has a miraculous capacity to detoxify and eliminate waste. The problem is the  explosion of processed and fast foods over the last century AND exposure to environmental pollutants humans never experienced before. “Detox” is a necessary conscious choice to support a natural process.

In a healthy body, the process of detoxification runs smoothly. But we’re exposed to a staggering amount of toxic chemicals in the air, water and our food (pesticides). Add to that, from Halloween in October through New Year’s Day we pile on excessive sugar, white flour (same inflammatory effect as sugar) and stress.

When excessive toxins build up,  our livers get overwhelmed;  toxins remain active longer than our systems can handle. This impedes normal metabolism, causes fluid retention, bloat, and puffiness. As waste builds up, we get fat and sick. Did you know that most environmental chemicals like pesticides and plastics are stored in our fat tissue?

“We are exposed to 6 million pounds of mercury and 2.5 billion pounds of other toxic chemicals each year. Very few have been tested for their long-term impact on human health.” Mark Hyman, 10 Day Sugar Solution

Why Detox?

Nearly every chronic disease is linked to toxicity, including food allergies, and digestive issues, dementia, heart disease, and autoimmune disease.

When our detoxification system becomes overloaded we start developing symptoms and get sick.  It may take years of accumulated toxins and stress to get to that point, but why take the chance of chronic, possibly fatal disease?

So January rings a bell in my head to recommit to a nourishing eating lifestyle. I know from experience that detoxifying makes me feel better, more vibrant, happy and full of energy. Adios fatigue, brain fog, headaches and lethargy!

Let’s reboot! Detox drinking water (half your body weight in ounces of water and with simple, delicious foods.

Foods that help detoxify

Focusing on plant-rich meals, quality protein and fats from nature. These are foods not only detoxify our body but can reignite our metabolism and reduce inflammation.

“70 to 80 percent of all major chronic diseases are lifestyle diseases, so the only way to treat them effectively, and even reverse them, is to change the lifestyles that led to them in the first place. Primarily that’s what we put in our mouth. The number one cause of death in the United States — and the number one cause of disability  — is our diet. Cigarettes now only kill about a half million Americans every year, whereas our diet kills hundreds of thousands more. Food — what we eat three times a day — is killing more Americans than cigarettes. Michael Greger, How to Not Die.

I’ve posted many times about the importance of phytonutrients (natural chemicals in plants to for survive against pests and infection). These phytonutrients can help detoxify our bodies, strengthen our immune system and help us function better. Eating organic food provides higher concentrations of these protective detoxifying, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory compounds.

So what to eat?

  • Organic green tea in the morning instead of coffee (green tea boosts liver detoxification)
  • Half your body weight  in filtered water a day (for example if you weight 140 lbs, aim for 70 oz of water); prepared herbal detoxification teas are a nice option
  • Avoid white sugar and white flour
  • Eat detoxifying food: 8 to 10 servings of dark leafy greens and colorful produce daily,  (kale, spinach, arugula, Swiss Chard etc), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower), garlic, berries, celery, cilantro and rosemary
  • Eat clean. Focus on organic produce and high-quality animal products to eliminate the toxins, hormones, and antibiotics in our food
  • Add lots of detoxifying and anti-inflammatory herbs and spice like turmeric, cayenne pepper, thyme, rosemary, chili powder, cumin, sage, oregano, onion powder, cinnamon, coriander, cilantro, paprika, and parsley – hello ethnic foods! …curry, chili, tagines…)
  • Fast at least 12 – 14 hours from dinner to the first meal the next day

Food choices help enable important normal detoxification mechanisms. Fasting signals our immune system to discard old cells and waste, shifting our body into a mode of maintenance and repair.

“The body has detoxification mechanisms that are working all the time, both healthful eating and intermittent fasting accelerates those processes. The body enhances the removal of toxins when not digesting food and burning fatter for its energy needs. Our fat supply stores toxins, and when we lose body fat we release more toxic waste simultaneously. The body also needs adequate phytochemical and antioxidants for the liver to most effectively process fat-soluble toxins so they can be excreted via the urine. Fasting stimulates autophagy, an important self-repair process. Autophagy removes damaged components from cells and tissues.” Joel Fuhrman, How To Live



3 Breakfast Smoothies: Antioxidant, Digestive Healer and Energizer

Golden Tumeric Chia Pudding

Overnight Oats for a Gentle Digestive Cleanse

Overnight Date Oats with Berries

Cozy Pumpkin Porridge


African Coconut Garbanzo Soup

Spicy Kale and Garbanzo Soup

Tumeric Broth Detox Soup

Oh She Glows Green Soup

Chili and Curry 

Red Lentil Curry

Golden Yellow Lentil Dahl


Baked Paleo Meatballs with Kale Pesto

Veggie Loaded Tikka Masala

Quinoa Kale Pesto Bowl


Kale, Apple Salad

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Probiotic Beet and Red Cabbage

Master Green Detox Salad


For More Empowerment

Dr. Hyman: The Truth about Detoxification

Includes 10 Simple Steps to Enhance Detoxification

Dr. Hyman: 7 Reasons to Detoxify

Dr. Hyman: Ultimate Detoxification Foods

Dr. Axe: Detox Diet

24-Hour Ginger Detox Cleanse Meal Plan

Eating Clean: The 21 Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation and Reset Your Body


Originally posted January 2019

4 Holiday Anti-Inflammatory Soups

‘Tis the season of overeating.  Delicious, nutrient-dense soups help flush out toxins from your body and reduce inflammation. The anti-inflammatory and immune-protective micronutrients in rainbow foods and spices support your body’s natural detoxifying and defensive abilities. These soups are also an effective great way to prevent:

  • constant cookie nibbling
  • waylaid dinner plans

Ahoy the marvelous combinations of GBOMB nutrient-density stars Greens, Beans and Onions!

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Joel Fuhrman, MD” source_title=”Super Immunity” full_quote=”GBOMBS – an acronym that you can use to remember the best anti-cancer, health-promoting foods on the planet. These are the foods that you should eat every day, making up a significant proportion of your diet. They are extremely effective at preventing chronic disease, including cancer and promoting health and longevity.” short_quote=”GBOMBS – an acronym that you can use to remember the best anti-cancer, health-promoting foods on the planet. These are the foods that you should eat every day, making up a significant proportion of your diet. “]

Yay for mighty spices! Ounce for ounce the flavor compounds in spices have more anti-inflammatories and antioxidants than any other food group. Make or buy spice blends to pack an extra power in each bite. Spice blends

  • increase your intake of essential micronutrients
  • enhance the anti-inflammatory benefits
  • provide a balance of flavors for great tasting food

Think global “flavorprints” – herbs and spices associated with cuisines from different parts of the world

  • Asian
  • Mediterranean
  • Middle Eastern
  • Moroccan

Double these recipes to enjoy throughout the week. Or after the first meal, freeze in mason jars for individual servings to defrost as needed.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Rebecca Katz” source_title=”The Healthy Mind Cook Book” full_quote=”When using dried herbs and spices add them at the beginning of the process. Heat, especially in combination with a bit of fat, like olive oil, breaks down the oils in the spices and releases them into the food. These oils carry much of the taste and with it the healing benefits of the spice. Fresh herbs like cilantro, mint and parsley are best added at the end to retain maximum flavor and color.” short_quote=”When using dried herbs and spices add them at the beginning “]

Winter Detox Moroccan Sweet Potato Lentil Soup –  Little Spice Jar

The Moroccan flavorprint (cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric) makes a powerful anti-inflammatory combination. And a sensory delight. Inhale the aromatic fragrance while it is cooking. Hold the warm bowl in your hands knowing it will warm you up from the inside out. Savor each bite for its texture, its flavor and its nourishment.

This recipe is for a slow cooker, but you can make it in a pot on the stove. It’s ready in 45 minutes.


  • Use pre-diced butternut squash chunks in place of sweet potato
  • Use (organic) canned beans (garbanzo, cannellini or kidney beans) instead of brown lentils
  • Add ground beef or turkey at the beginning when cooking the onion.
  • Top with chopped nuts (pistachio for an extra treat!) and mint or parsley

Tumeric Broth Detox Soup – Feasting at Home

Did you know tumeric is used in Ayurveda to calm, soothe and aid the body in balancing and healing itself?

The Indian flavorprint (chilies, cumin, curry, garlic, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, anise seeds, cloves, mustard seeds) loads this soup with powerful inflammation fighters that give the liver (I see you holiday cocktails!) a little help.

This is an awesome base recipe that can be changed up many ways:

  • Add greens and legumes or basmati rice and lentils
  • Add leftover chicken, rice and spinach
  • Add shrimp and rice noodles

Green Goddess SoupGimme Some Oven

Ever since she was a toddler, my daughter would ask for sopa verde (green soup). To this day it’s still one of her favorites.

Bursting with a triple dose of mighty greens, onions and beans. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are in the greens category of GBOMBS. They are loaded with health enhancing enhancing power, including boosting our liver detox enzymes. The lemon really makes a difference both for flavor and detox assistance. Zest the lemon for an extra health boost.

Add toppings for contrast in texture and more nutrient density

  • chopped cilantro (or parsley)
  • sunflower seeds (pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts)
[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”full” source_site=”Well and Good” source_url=”” full_quote=”The lemon peel contains small amounts of calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. They’re good for your immune system and digestive system. ” short_quote=”The lemon peel contains small amounts of calcium, vitamin C, potassium”]

Ginger Garlicky Chicken SoupRebecca Katz

Chicken soup is my everlasting comfort soup. Variations roam from a simple pot with only a whole chicken, onions, garlic, carrots and celery to putting in an enthusiastic, robust range of rainbow vegetables, herbs and spices.

This recipes is an especially anti-inflammatory recipe. Rebecca Katz is one of my all-time food gurus. She truly is THE master at maximizing flavor, nutrient-density and health boosting properties in every bite. Her books The Healthy Mind Cookbook, and Cancer Fighting Kitchen are some of my go-to resources on global flavor prints and culinary pharmacy.

What are your favorite  soup recipes?

For More Empowerment

25 Foods for Detox: Eat This Not That

The Ultimate Detoxification Foods: Dr. Mark Hyman

Originally published December 2020 

5 Immune-Boosting Moroccan Tagines

These nutrient-dense Moroccan tagines are loaded with anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting herbs and spices. Tagine dishes are slow-cooked outrageously savory stew, typically made with meat, chicken or fish together with a variety of vegetables, spices, dried fruits and nuts. I love these dishes for their delightful harmony of flavors, color and textures.

You can make these dishes vegetarian, but make sure to get protein. Protein is critical for immune function.

[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”right” source_site=”Dr. Hyman” source_url=”” full_quote=”Protein is critical for immune function and protein malnutrition is a big risk factor for death from infections. Eat approximately 1 gram/kg or about half your body weight in grams of protein a day, or about two four-ounce servings of organic, clean animal protein. Plant-based proteins (legumes, nuts/seeds) are adequate if consumed in enough quantity. Try tofu and tempeh from non-GMO soy for the highest protein concentrations. ” short_quote=”Protein is critical for immune function “]

Here are the spices most often used in Moroccan cuisine.  Their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties together with other micronutrients can help improve immune function and prevent disease.

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamon
  • Cumin
  • Paprika

Moroccan Meatball Tagine – Epicurious

Chicken, Apricot and Almond Tagine– Color My Food

Not only do the apricots give this dish fabulous flavor, they are rich in vitamin C and A also that play important role in the immune system. Vitamin C helps your body’s natural defense mechanisms fight off bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A has an anti-inflammatory effect.

(Chicken), Chickpeas and Mint – Color My Food

Orange and Fennel Tagine with Chicken – My Moroccan Food

Fennel has a mild licorice flavor and is rich in minerals including selenium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium.

[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”full” source_site=”Medical News Today” full_quote=”The selenium found in fennel appears to stimulate the production of killer T-cells and modulates the immune system in other ways. Studies have shown dietary intake of selenium can improve immune response, especially to viral agents” short_quote=”dietary intake of selenium can improve immune response, especially to viral agents”]

Lamb Tagine with Prunes – My Moroccan Food

Lamb is an excellent source of zinc. Your body needs zinc for your immune system to work properly.

Additional Moroccan Recipes

My Moroccan Food

A fabulous assortment of delicious, nutritious recipes.

Instapot Moroccan Recipes – Instapot Eats

Characterized by a tapestry of spices, Moroccan food is often a combination of a range of interlacing flavors.

One Pot of Black Beans for Four Meals

I usually anchor my weekly meals on one key Sunday meal: meatloaf, whole-roasted chicken or a pork tenderloin. But I had a big bag of black beans winking at me every time I opened the pantry and it didn’t want to wait any longer.

Beans you say? An odd departure from anchoring on sustainably-sourced animal protein. But oh so nutrient-dense!

Beans are rich source of:

  • Water-soluble vitamins, especially B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folacin.
  • Phytonutrients (plant chemicals essential for health)
  • Essential minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and zinc that strengthen our immune system and protect us from disease
  • Dietary fiber which lower cholesterol keeps blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal

Black beans

Here’s why we should Eat More Beans

So how do I turn a pot of beans into meals for the week?

[su_expanding_quote_without_link alignment=”right” source=”Joel Fuhrman, MD, Eat to Live” full_quote=”Beans and legumes are among the world’s most perfect foods. They stabilize blood sugar, and the blunt the desire for sweets. Beans and greens are the foods most closely linked in the scientific literature with protection against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and dementia.” short_quote=”Beans and legumes are among the world’s most perfect foods. They stabilize blood sugar, “]

Meatless Monday

Black Bean Quinoa Chili

Tuesday Dinner

Cajun Shrimp Sweet Potato Hash. This is a great versatile recipe. Add poblano pepper, red bell pepper, mix in spinach or chopped kale. Top with avocado or salsa or toasted pumpkin seeds or Greek yogurt and chopped jalapeños.

Make extra a lunch or two

  1. Toss with greens and a Dijon mustard vinaigrette, top with toasted pumpkin seeds
  2. Make a wrap with mashed avocado, a dollop of whole-milk Greek yogurt and chopped jalapenos

Wednesday Dinner

Zucchini “boats” with leftover Black Bean Quinoa Chili. Cut zucchini in half, scoop it out, mix the scooped-out-part into chili. Fill the “boats” top with cheese and back in oven preheated to 350 for 25 – 30 minutes.

You can also use baked sweet potatoes. Scoop out half mix in into the chili and stuff the sweet potatoe. Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese if desired and broil.


Black Bean Hummus – use this base recipe. Add black olives and fresh basil.

  1. For breakfast: Spread it on whole wheat toast with avocado slices. Optional, add a poached egg on top
  2. For lunch: Make a wrap with spinach, avocado, chopped veggies (tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, celery, carrots – whatever you have)
  3. Anytime: with celery, snap peas, carrots or crackers hummus-style; or on rice cakes with some salsa on top

And even Dessert!

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies (I reduce the sugar by half)



National Library of Medicine. (2022). Potential anti-inflammatory effects of legumes. Retrieved from

Medical News Today. (2018). Everything you need to know about black beans. Retrieved from

Medical News Today. (2020). What are the health benefits of black beans. Retrieved from

Improve Health by Reducing Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is part of  our body’s natural defense system; it can help protect our bodies and heal.

But chronic inflammation causes disease. When our bodies are constantly bombarded with processed food and sugar, too much animal products, stress and no exercise, our immune system shifts out of balance and an unseen inflammation rages in our cells and tissues.

[su_expanding_quote_book source_author=”Mark Hyman, MD” source_title=”The Blood Sugar Solution” full_quote=”We are seeing an epidemic of inflammatory diseases.  In fact nearly every modern disease — everything from autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and cancer to obesity, diabetes, and dementia — is caused by inflammation! These chronic diseases affect 125 million Americans. That means in the average family of three, at least one person has a chronic disease caused by inflammation.” short_quote=”Nearly every modern disease — from autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and cancer to obesity, diabetes, and dementia — is caused by inflammation.”]

The Standard American Diet – processed foods, trans fats, sugar, minimal fresh produce – creates inflammation. Too many sugary foods and white flour.

Changing what we eat can reduce inflammation in our bodies which reduces disease risks. Add exercise and stress management, and we can feel and even look better.

[su_expanding_quote_book source_author=”Mark Hyman, MD” source_title=”Blood Sugar Solution” full_quote=”Sugar causes pre-diabetes and diabetes, which often lead to significant memory loss. In fact, Alzheimer’s is now being called type 3 diabetes. So, get rid of sugar and flour products.” short_quote=”Sugar causes pre-diabetes and diabetes, which often lead to significant “]

So what to do?

Eliminating, or reducing to a minimum, processed sugar and white flour can improve memory and reduce risk of diabetes and other diseases.

I choose to eat a plant-based whole foods diet, not a vegetarian diet but one high in plant foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts) supplemented by animal products as nature intended (grass-fed, hormone free, humanely raised). My guidelines are:

  1. Reduce processed and fast food as much as possible. There are times for indulgence, birthday parties certainly or occasional treats. But these are exceptions not the norm. The key to success here is planning ahead to avoid that I’m-too-hungry-to-eat-healthy drive through the fast food lane.
  1. Replace those processed foods with real food. Fruits and vegetables with the highest antioxidant levels seem to reduce inflammation the most.
[su_expanding_quote_web alignment=”right” source_site=”Nutrition Facts” source_url=”” full_quote=”Specific plant foods identified as being anti-inflammatory include apples; black pepper; broccoli; broccoli sprouts; Ceylon cinnamon; cilantro; citrus fruits; ginger; cloves; rosemary; chamomile; dragon’s blood; dried apples and dried plums; berries; crimini, oyster, maitake, and white button mushrooms; nutritional yeast,  flaxseed oil or flaxseed; green leafy vegetables; turmeric, which may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, treat knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and reduce post-surgical pain; tomato juice, legumes, purple potatoes, nuts in general.” short_quote=”Specific plant foods identified as being anti-inflammatory include apples; black pepper; broccoli”]
  1. Reduce consumption of animal products. And pay attention to their origin. I opt for grass-fed, hormone-free meats, dairy and eggs. These are more expensive but become affordable by consuming less of them. I alternate “normal” days and vegetarian days. And rather than a full portion of steak, chicken breast or pork tenderloin, I use meat as an additional ingredient along vegetables and whole grains.
  1. Change of oils; “vegetable” oils are highly processed and even carcinogenic. I rely mostly on extra-virgin olive oil and when I can find it, I use avocado oil for cooking. Trusting Dr. Andrew Weil, I sometimes use expeller-pressed canola oil. Yes, I use butter but it is in moderation, and sometimes I use unrefined virgin coconut oil for pancakes, waffles and baking.
  1. Bring in the spices. Ginger, tumeric, cloves, cinnamon and rosemary have anti-inflammatory properties. I add them liberally into most of the food I make.

Meal planning and regularly making real food choices can decrease inflammation and improve our health. By incorporating regular exercise and reducing stress (through prayer, meditations, reading… whatever works best for each of us)  on a consistent basis we can eliminate chronic inflammation from our bodies to feel and look better!


For more empowerment

Nutrition Facts: Inflammation

Inflammation: How to Cool the Fire Inside You That’s Making You Fat and Diseased

Mind Body Green: 8 Strategies to Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Dr. Mark Hyman: We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore

Nutrition Facts: The Top Four Anti- Inflammatory Spices