Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Food is Extraordinary
Recipes to help your body repair and recover
Food is extraordinary. It can be your worst enemy and trigger nasty responses from your body chemistry, induce and fuel disease and, in short, make your life miserable. However, in the same breath, food can also heal your past shortcomings, modify your personal circuitry and give you energy, stamina and access to a personal dispensary that rivals the big pharmaceutical industry.
Food is undeniably one of the major players in our recovery process and I mean recovery from anything, illness, addiction, grief, emotion, and the various stages that life finds us in.
Food can make us thin or fat, can give us energy or bring us down, can put us to sleep or give us the jitters, food can supply vitamins or toxins and make us feel marvelous or just plain lousy.
At no other time is this more obvious than during the holidays when have a tendency to overindulge under the comfortable awareness that the New Year will bring us a better perspective on what our body really needs.
To that purpose, I would like to converse with you on the value of food as a detoxing aid: if we know the benefits of certain foods and make it a point to consume them on a regular basis, the earlier the better, then we can get a real head-start on our resolutions to lead a healthier life.
Today, we can look at a group of health foods that bring instant health benefits to one of your most hardworking organs and are readily accessible to incorporate in our Holiday celebrations:
Foods that detox your liver:
- Garlic contains numerous sulfur-containing compounds that activate the liver enzymes responsible for flushing out toxins from the body.
- Grapefruit is rich in natural vitamin C and antioxidants, two powerful liver cleansers. It also contains a compound known as naringenin that causes the liver to burn fat rather than store it.
- Green Tea protects the liver against toxins that would otherwise accumulate and cause serious damage.
- Green Vegetables such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens and chicory also contain numerous cleansing compounds that neutralize heavy metals, which can bear heavily on the liver. Leafy greens also eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body and spur the creation and flow of cleansing bile.
- Avocados actively promote liver health by protecting it against toxic overload and boosting its cleansing power. Some research has shown that eating one or two avocados a week for as little as 30 days can repair a damaged liver.
- Walnuts help detoxify the liver of disease-causing ammonia. Walnuts also help oxygenate the blood.
- Turmeric one of the most powerful foods for maintaining a healthy liver, has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage and even regenerate damaged liver cells. Turmeric also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts and improves overall function of the gallbladder, another body-purifying organ.
Knowledge is power and I thought that we could discover together, section by section, what foods can enrich our life and help us in our path to recovery.
Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
2 medium ruby grapefruits
1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
1 medium shallot, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 medium Hass avocados, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Grate the grapefruit zest before cutting the grapefruit to extract the sections. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin and all of the bitter white pith off of the grapefruits. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl.
Transfer 2 tablespoons of the juice to another bowl. Add the zest, shallot and vinegar; let the dressing stand for 10 minutes.
Season the avocado with salt and arrange on plates with the grapefruit sections. Stir the oil into the dressing; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle onto the grapefruit and avocado, garnish with the cilantro and serve.
Farro and Green Olive Salad with Walnuts
Serves 6 to 8
1 1/4 cups farro (1/2 pound)
Fine sea salt
1 cup walnuts (3 1/2 ounces)
2 1/2 cups pitted green olives, chopped (11 ounces)
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1/3 cup snipped chives
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp agave syrup
Shaved Pecorino cheese, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium saucepan, combine the farro with 4 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, until the farro is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the farro and spread it on a baking sheet to cool.
Meanwhile, place the walnuts on a sheet pan and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. Let cool and then coarsely chop.
In a large bowl, combine the farro, walnuts, olives, scallions, chives, crushed red pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and agave and season with salt. Toss well. Transfer the salad to a platter, garnish with the cheese and serve.
The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring the salad to room temperature before serving.
Tuscan Kale Gratin
Serves 6 to 8, as a side
This is going to be the easiest vegetable gratin you will ever make and it retains all the great health benefits kale has to offer.
3 medium (or 2 large) bunches Tuscan kale, ribs removed, torn into roughly 3-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
3 cups heavy cream
8 ounces great quality sharp cheddar cheese
One loaf of French country whole-wheat bread (like Pain Pauline from Trader Joe’s)
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Pile the kale in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or something a bit larger). It will seem like an overabundance of kale, towering above the pan’s edge, but this is how you want to have it. Season the kale with the nutmeg and salt and pepper (to taste), then carefully drizzle the cream over it. Spread out the cheese slices over the kale.
Place the gratin dish on a baking sheet to catch any cream that drips out as the gratin cooks. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour; you want the cream to thicken and the cheese to brown nicely. The outer shell of kale will crisp up, like kale chips.
Let the gratin cool for a few minutes, then serve with a slice of toasted country bread.