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Besides feeling like your blood has been replaced by gravy, eating high-fat and high-sugar foods can be damaging to your metabolism — not to mention your waistline.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.
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.
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
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.
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.
"Often I saute a bunch of different kinds of greens, along with some garlic, a few scrapes of fresh ginger and mushrooms," Susanna DeRocco says. "This is easy to do while making dinner — that way you can take it for lunch the next day on its own or with a half-cup of leftover brown rice or quinoa. Not only is this delicious, but it's satisfying and filling. I call it a green-fry instead of a stir-fry."
Makes about 4 servings
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 small shallot, chopped (optional)
6 cups (or more; they will wilt down to about half of the original size) various greens: baby spinach' kale (destemmed); Swiss chard; bok choy; mustard, collard, beet or turnip greens; napa/green/red cabbage
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce/tamari
a few scrapes of peeled, fresh ginger
a few shakes red pepper flakes (or sriracha as desired)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large saute pan (you can also use stock instead of oil here). Add garlic and shallot, saute for 1 minute on low to medium heat. Add greens and mushrooms and incorporate with garlic and shallots. Add stock, soy sauce and ginger until heated through. Top with red pepper flakes, sriracha, and toasted sesame seeds.
Raw kale salad with kombucha and kraut
Meaghan Carpenter of Hex Ferments in Baltimore — which is scheduled to open a store soon in Belvedere Square — has an inventive way to use her sauerkraut: putting it in a salad. "Combining fermented foods with raw vegetables enhances the nutrients and enzymes in the raw foods," she says. "The sauerkraut, which contains live bacteria, helps to break down the raw vegetables and make them easier for our body to digest."
Makes about 8 servings
For the dressing:
1/4 cup cold-pressed hemp oil
1 cup ginger kombucha
3/4 teaspoon high-quality sea salt
Pepper to taste
For the salad:
2 bunches organic kale, washed and chopped
16-ounce jar traditionally fermented vegetable kraut
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Suggested additions: Pomegranate seeds from a half of a pomegranate; avocado; blueberries; sunflower seeds; hemp seeds; ground flax; sauteed tempeh; baked tofu; hard-boiled egg; quinoa; brown rice
To make dressing: Combine the hemp oil, ginger kombucha, salt and pepper in a large liquid measuring cup. Whisk to emulsify and dissolve salt.
In a large bowl, add half of the kale and pour half of the recently whisked dressing over it. Add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and massage until the kale has broken down just a bit; add about a cup of vegetable kraut. Repeat with the second half of kale, dressing and remainder of the sea salt. Add another cup of sauerkraut. Massage until combined. Serve with any combination of the suggested additions or create your own combinations.
The salad can be stored in the refrigerator for about two days. The flavors will continue to meld and become more complex. Or prepare everything beforehand and store the dressing in the fridge. Make as needed.