Spring Slimdown: Detox Diet Tips and Good-for-You Recipes

Oprah detoxes, Beyonce detoxes. But you don’t have to swear off solid food to rid your body of toxins. A Philly expert offers these tiny tweaks to look and feel your best by summer

Longer, warmer days call for everything from a new wardrobe to a change in your sleep schedule, but don’t forget to change the one area often overlooked: your diet. “The change of season is a great time to check in on what you’re eating,” says Maura Manzo, managing director and health counselor at Ryah Yoga and Health in Conshohocken. “From a holistic approach, as you look around in nature and you see things coming back to life, the same things are happening in our bodies. The days are longer and we need more energy to stay active than we did during the winter.” Which, Manzo says, means cutting back on the heavier foods you reached for during cooler months and ridding the body of toxins.

But just because the Master Cleanse and other detox diets have become buzz words among celebrities, don’t feel as though you need to take such drastic measures to drop weight and up your energy this spring. “You can get the same benefits by including more leafy greens and whole foods and upping your intake of water,” says Manzo. “Your liver and gallbladder help the body clear itself of fats and other toxins. Leafy greens work with your liver to create the bile that it needs to start to the detoxification process.” And there’s more than basic lettuce, although that counts, too. “Try incorporating everything from fresh herbs, like basil, parsley and cilantro, to arugula, romaine, mustard greens, bok choy, spinach, and dandelion greens. Juicing is also a great way to get your greens in at breakfast, or try tossing spinach in an omelet.”

Also, up your water intake and try to sweat at least twice a week. “The more water you drink, the faster you’ll clear the body of toxins, and breaking a sweat also helps the body detox,” says Manzo, who also notes that opting for whole foods rather than processed foods—aka, pretty much anything you’ll find in a box or a bag—will also give you a boost in energy. “Anything that’s processed takes more work to digest it and it just slows down the whole process,” says Manzo. “Even small changes, like switching from processed grains to whole grains, from white rice to brown, can help.”

To get started, try whipping up a few of the recipes below, and take advantage of the area’s farmer’s markets, fruit stands and CSAs (find a list of the best CSAs here), and watch how quickly your energy picks up and your pounds melt away.

For your own personalized detox program, schedule a one-on-one appointment with Manzo. Mention Healthy Life when you call for the discounted price of 75 minutes for only $65 (normally $100) or a package of 3 Sessions for $150 (normally $195).

RYAH Yoga and Health, 424 E Elm Street, Conshohocken, 610-834-1551

Cilantro Lime Hummus
Serves 16

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
14 oz canned chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes

Combine all ingredients into blender, except olive oil. Start to blend and add olive oil slowly. Add a little lime zest. That’s it! Enjoy! Serve with corn tortilla chips or pita wedges.

Per two tablespoons: 94 calories, 8 g. fat, 1 g. sat. fat, 6.7 g. carbs, 1.4 g. fiber, 1.7 g. sugar, 2 g. protein


Really Good Mustard Greens
Serves 2

1 bunch mustard green
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (or more, if desired)
1/4 yellow onion, finely minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

Wash mustard greens thoroughly. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and quickly blanch the greens for about 30 seconds. Drain. Remove leaves from stems, tear leaves in half and stack into piles 4 leaves thick. Roll the stack tightly, turn to the side and cut carefully into very thin strips. Repeat with all greens. The effect is that the leaves will be shredded. Chop stems into smaller pieces. In a skillet over medium heat, sautee onions in olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Add garlic once onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add greens. Add mustard. Heat for 1-2 minutes and serve.

Per serving: 120 calories, 7 g. fat, 1.1. g. sat. fat, 13 g. carbs, 5.3 g. fiber, 3.15 g. sugar, 3.7 g. protein.

Arugula Pesto
Serves 8

2 bunches arugula, stems removed, rinsed, minced
1 bunch chives, rinsed, minced
1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted, peeled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (if desired)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and quickly blanch the arugula for about 30 seconds (Save this water to cook pasta or rice). Combine arugula and chives in a food processor and pulse to puree. Add hazelnuts, evoo and garlic and puree until a smooth pesto forms. Use this sauce as desired: with pasta or rice (or any grain) or drizzle over chicken breast topped with fresh parmesan.

Per serving: 175.2 calories, 19.1 g. fat, 2.4. g. sat. fat, 1.7 g. carbs, 1 g. fiber, .5 g. sugar, 1.4 g. protein.