This is part two of my summer detox series, last week I introduced my favourite breakfast – a green juice I drink very often first thing in the morning, to get my minerals and vitamins boost. If you haven’t read that post it’s – the reset refresh breakfast green cleanser. This week I will be tackling lunch, which for many of us is the hardest meal to gain control over, especially if you don’t lunch alone, or are at work? Why? Because most of the time, a good for you satisfying lunch isn’t within easy reach – therefore, one of the keys to successfully sticking with a detox plan is to preplan, review/revise and then plan again, just in case you can’t stick with the original plan.
Well, I’ve done the planning and thinking on your behalf – so you just need to give this a shot and try it out! Simply put, let’s just do it!
Why are we so focused on liver detoxification? The liver is our body’s only organ that functions as a filter. Imagine, how much work that is given the amount of foods (and other rubbish) we consume a day. It has a really hard job of deciding what is good for us and what is waste that should be passed out of our system. Therefore, helping out our liver now and then with foods that promote detoxification will result in a healthier more well functioning system in general.
These are ingredients that will be used in the salad and I’ve picked these out, because they are really good for liver detoxification.
Apples – quercetin in apples can boost and fortify your immune system. Apples can help with liver detoxification, weight control, protect against brain related diseases such as alzheimers and parkinsons. There is good reason why the old saying still stands, “one apple a day keeps the doctor away”.
Argula/rocket – the fibre from argula, promotes digestive regularity, helps lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar and reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Roasted Beets – cooked or raw, beets are a powerhouse full of nutrients that are cleansing and detoxifying. Betaine in beets, helps liver cells eliminate toxins and pectin also present in apples, is a fiber that makes sure those toxins aren’t reabsorbed by the body by binding toxins to it, and betalains pigments with high anti-inflammatory properties help encourage the detoxification process.
Tangerine Zest – Given my reset refresh breakfast juice, uses the segments of the tangerine, I thought we should also keep aside the zest to add flavour to the salad. Tangerine peels have been known to help with digestion, obesity, insulin regulation, lowering cholesterol, and have anti-fungal and antibacterial benefits when ingested.
Pumpkin seeds – one of the richest sources of magnesium (magnesium is also an energy producing mineral), important for a detox given that your energy levels may dip initially. In fact, many people suffer from health issues such as headaches, low blood sugar, constipation, lack of energy, and a foul mood because of magnesium deficiencies.
Spring onions/scallions – full of antioxidants that repel toxins and fight disease, thiosulfinates present in this vegetable – which are converted into allicin after digestion helps with cholesterol reduction in the liver. Allicin also decreases stiffness in the blood vessels performed by releasing nitric oxide in your blood to lower blood pressure. Finally, allicin can help in platelet clotting, which can cut down the risks of heart failure and other vascular diseases.
Quinoa – protects the liver as it’s high in the mineral zinc, which is crucial for cell growth, development and differentiation. In fact, zinc deficiencies have commonly been observed in patients with liver disease.
The list above of ingredients can be bought at most supermarkets and easily prepped the night before you go to work, so if you are eating this over 2 days, the roasted beets can be stored easily in the fridge over that time period.
If you are worried about the apples oxidising, you may either leave it out of your salad completely, cut it in the morning, or soak the cut pieces in the water with a sprinkle of salt the night before, drain after, and then store in an airtight container for the next day.
The cooked quinoa can also be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days – use it for other things like a warm breakfast with quick oats, quinoa and rice milk.
Super detox lunch – beets quinoa salad
Serves 4 (lunch for 2 persons over a 2 day detox)
2 small apples
2 cups arugula/rocket
2 medium sized beets
4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
½ cup finely chopped spring onions/scallions
1 cup uncooked white quinoa
1.75 cup of water with a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tangerines zest
5.5 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
Fresh ground pepper
Salt to taste (I used himalayan salt, any sea salt will do)
Cooking the quinoa (adapted from gwyneth paltrow’s second cookbook, it’s all good)
Measure out 1 cup of quinoa, and then rinse under water in sieve till throughly washed. I like to give it a quick massage, (tip learnt from cooking japanese rice) for fluffy perfectly cooked quinoa.
In a small pot with 1.75 cups of water add in the quinoa and once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a medium simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stir through, place a paper towel on top of the pot, cover with your pot lid and then wait another 5 mins before checking on it. Set aside to cool.
Zest your tangerines, combine them with your extra virgin olive oil, brown rice vinegar, a pinch of salt to taste. Add fresh ground pepper too if you like at this stage.
Cook your peeled and diced beets at 180C for 35 mins. Set aside.
Dice your apples, soak in water with a sprinkle of salt to prevent oxidation if not eating apples immediately.
Finely chop your spring onions and take your argula out of the bag.
Set aside your pumpkin seeds.
When quinoa has completely cooled, assemble salad as pictured. Add a little more salt and fresh ground pepper.
Recipe makes 4 servings, you may half the quantity of ingredients and marinade if only 1 person is eating this lunch detox salad over 2 days.
Store any leftover quinoa in the fridge, it can be eaten within 5 days from the date it’s made.