The word “detox” might make you think of raw food cleanses or juice fasts, but the truth is you don’t have to do anything drastic to support your body’s natural detoxification system.
The approach in my new cookbook, Everyday Detox, shows you how you can gently detox on a daily basis, while creating healthy habits that won’t compromise family dinners or your social schedule. Making several small changes each day can add up to amazing results, such as reaching and maintaining your ideal weight, streamlining your digestion, getting better sleep, and improving your complexion.
Here are five simple swaps that can help you get started:
1. Swap your noodles. You can turn vegetables like zucchini, beets, and sweet potatoes into “noodles” using a spiral slicer or a regular vegetable peeler. This naturally gluten-free alternative is an easy way to increase your vegetable intake while enjoying abundant portion sizes, too. For an even easier solution that requires no special equipment, pour your favorite pasta toppings like marinara sauce and a sprinkle of cheese over a bed of steamed vegetables to create a warm and comforting dish.
2. Swap your milk. Up to 75 percent of the human population has difficulty digesting lactose, so non-dairy milks, such as almond milk, make an excellent alternative for pouring over your morning cereal or using in your smoothies, tea, and coffee. Try making your own milk at home to avoid added fillers and preservatives. This recipe requires only two ingredients and tastes much better than the boxed variety!
3. Swap your sweeteners. There’s no need to avoid sweets all together, but refined sugars are stripped of their mineral content, leaving you with empty and unsatisfying calories. Instead, try using raw honey, pure maple syrup, or fresh dates to naturally satisfy your sweet tooth! These natural sweeteners contain important minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper, and they tend to be less addictive than their refined counterparts. Stevia is also a natural sugar alternative, but be sure to use it with caution as it can be up to 200 times sweeter than sugar and can leave you craving sweets more often than you already do. Try these healthy cookies made with fiber-rich dates for a naturally sweetened treat.
4. Swap your rice. Pulse raw cauliflower florets in a food processor fitted with an S blade to create a rice-like texture, then sauté it with your favorite ingredients to make lighter vegetable fried rice. This simple alternative is loaded with nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B-6.
5. Swap your salad dressing. One of the keys to enjoying meal-sized salads on a regular basis is smothering them with a delicious salad dressing. Store-bought dressings are not only expensive, but they can also contain low-quality oils, added sugar, and chemical preservatives. When you make your own dressing, you control the quality of the ingredients, and most importantly, you control the flavor—so it will always taste exactly the way you want it to. Try this delicious Apple Cider Vinaigrette to get started.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to enjoy an abundance of healthy and delicious foods while reaching your health goals!
Megan Gilmore is the creator and recipe developer behind Detoxinista.com, a website dedicated to sharing recipes and tips to make healthy living more accessible. Megan is a certified nutritionist consultant and her recipes have been featured in The Guardian, as well as Shape and Clean Eating magazines. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For more recipes, check out her new cookbook, Everyday Detox, which includes 100 easy whole food recipes, along with a meal plan, shopping list, entertaining menus, and healthy eating guide.