Whether you’re dealing with Hashimoto’s, the MTHR gene, or simply a sluggish liver, sometimes we all need a little reset. These easy detox recipes are the perfect way for your liver to detox naturally.
People tend to get really hung up on the concept of detox. They purchase expensive powders, supplements, juice cleanses and protocols. The reality though is that your liver doesn’t need anything from you to detox other than getting out of its way.
And the best way to avoid adding insult to injury, while at the same time supporting your body’s natural ways to detox, is through food.
What Makes the Best Detox Recipe?
Any detox diet should take three things into consideration: avoiding insult, adding nutrients, and making your food as easy to digest as possible.
Let’s explore each prong quickly, or if you’re impatient, you can skip straight to the detox recipes below.
1. Avoiding insult.
The three biggest vices for your liver (besides environmental chemicals) are sugar, caffeine and alcohol. This is why detox drinks are usually low sugar and caffeine free. If you need ideas, here is a list of caffeine-free coffee alternatives.
Unfortunately, switching to natural sweeteners doesn’t always help with liver detox, as the issue is fructose, which is found in high concentrations in agave and some types of honey. It is of course much worse in high fructose corn syrup, which is why the added sugar in fizzy drinks and packaged foods is really the liver’s cross to bear because it’s the only organ that metabolizes fructose.
Fructose is also naturally occurring in fruit, which is why we always want to eat whole fruit and not use juice cleanses as a way to detox. It is literally a fructose bomb for your liver! The detox smoothie recipes below focus on fruit alone with lots of added fiber.
Lastly, the rule of thumb is to avoid white and beige foods during periods of detox: bleached flours, refined grains, and dairy. Choose brown rice over white, sweet potatoes over regular spuds. Fill your plate with the most colorful plants you can find. Which brings me too…
2. Adding nutrients.
The best detox recipes focus on anti-inflammatory foods.
A great trick for recognizing an anti-inflammatory food is to simply eat for color, which is a great indication of a food’s antioxidant content. The more diverse the colors on your plate, the more different nutrients.
Some of your liver’s favorite foods are bitter, cruciferous vegetables and herbs: beets, cilantro, parsley, broccoli, kale, cabbage and dandelion root. This is why the majority of the detox recipes you’ll find below are plant-based and incorporate a lot of different plants.
For many people with IBS or SIBO, however, raw or woody vegetables can be hard to digest. This is also something that’s super important to consider when choosing a detox recipe.
3. Supporting digestion.
If half your food ends up in whole pieces in the toilet, it doesn’t matter how many nutrients were in your meal. Your body is not processing it properly or reaping the rewards.
This is why detox recipes need to find a happy medium between preventing glucose and fructose spikes for your liver to deal with, and making sure your digestive system doesn’t have to work overtime to process what you’re bringing into the plant.
Generally, the more fiber in a food or meal, the more work your body will have to do to break it down, and the less likely you’ll be to have a glucose spike. This is why people often recommend eating a whole apple versus blending that apple in a smoothie.
Breaking down plants into purees means the fructose and other nutrients will be absorbed faster. But it also means that if you have a troubled or stagnant digestive system, you will have an easier time assimilating those nutrients.
As you can see, it is a delicate tango.
But for the purpose of digestive ease, I am a big fan of detox smoothie recipes and detox soups that break down your vegetables for you. They are both still much better on the fiber front than juice, which removes the fiber all together.
Warm foods like soups and stews have the added benefit of being easier to digest, regardless of whether they are pureed. Cold foods slow down the digestive process, while warm foods tend to be easier on your GI tract.
Fresh ginger and spices like turmeric, coriander, fennel seed, and cumin can also be therapeutic digestive aids.
Lastly, some approaches, like this Ayruvedic kitchari recipe, focus on mononutrients so your digestive system only has to focus on one task rather than toggling between the enzymes required to deal with animal protein, starches and fats. Some people call this approach food combining.
The detox recipes below tend to be plant-based or paleo, not inclusive of both animal protein AND starch. Many are also low FODMAP for those with SIBO and IBS who are easily irritated by high FODMAP ingredients. Many would also make great candidates as elimination diet recipes (more on how to do an elimination diet here).
Now that we have clarified how I chose the detox recipes below, without further ado, let’s enjoy some delicious food, shall we?
THE BEST DETOX RECIPES (SOUPS, SMOOTHIES & MORE)
This has become one of your all-time favorite Feed Me Phoebe recipes. It’s easy to make, and just as easy to digest. A low FODMAP version exists in the SIBO Made Simple book.
As I mentioned before, beets are an all-star ingredient for liver detox – just look at the color! I’ve loved watching you guys make and share this one over the years.
I created this detox soup recipe as a summer alternative to the one above. It is also low FODMAP, just using zucchini, peppers and summer squash. It’s dairy-free and creamy thanks to the trick of pureeing some of the vegetables.
This is a version of my mother’s favorite detox soup which has a zucchini and cilantro base. This one uses basil and a Brazil nut topping that is great for Hashimoto’s and thyroid health.
This detox smoothie is very low in fruit and uses caffeine-free hibiscus tea to give it more flavor and nutrients. It’s tangy, spicy (thanks to the ginger) and is a great way to get your veggies in the morning.
This green detox smoothie goes down easy thanks to the banana, which is offset by lots of spinach and almond butter.
It doesn’t get simpler than these ginger-infused fish packets. I love using lean proteins with lots of healthy fats like salmon during a detox.
This is another favorite from the SIBO Made Simple book. So many Indian-inspired dishes make for wonderful detox recipes as they are so full of healing spices.
Another ginger-packed curry recipe with canned pumpkin and bok choy.
If you handle legumes, this is another wonderful mono-nutrient rich dish. Red lentils I find to be easier on the gut for most people and they create a lovely thick soup in this case.
If you don’t play well with alliums, you can easily skip the leeks in this detox soup that’s packed with turmeric and carrots.
This tomato soup is dairy-free but creamy thanks to roasted carrots, which help add more nutrients to the tomatoes and give it that lovely orange hue without any heavy cream. It’s vegan and paleo.
This detox drink recipe is a salad in a glass. It’s similar to a green juice but is made in a blender so retains some of the fiber.
This is a great comfort food recipe that is simply enough to double as a detox side. I love my carbs, and sometimes a little potato is better than no potato, especially when there are leafy greens also involved.
If you can’t tell, I love green detox soups with all kinds of bases. The parsnip here is super earthy and lots of medicinal herbs add to the vibrant color.
This low FODMAP take on a curry is super simple and uses jalapeno to create a mild from scratch chili paste. Of course, if hot peppers irritate your gut, this isn’t the detox recipe for you!
This is another salmon recipe with just a few ingredients and a lot of ginger. Sheet pan meals are always such a relief when you are doing an elimination diet and cooking more from scratch than usual.
Another paleo comfort food recipe that still hits all the detox notes. You can even substitute ground chicken or turkey to avoid red meat.
While I do recommend trying to avoid refined grains generally while detoxing naturally, this dish is so full of color and flavor you can get away with it. Just look at those beets!
This braised chicken is a wonderful healing recipe to have a batch of on hand to pair with other simple vegetables.
Though not everyone tolerates garlic, if you do it has great anti-inflammatory and anti-viral qualities. This soup uses a TON of it and cooks it for a long time so it’s easier to digest.
What are some of your favorites dishes and recipes for detox? I’d love to know more about the foods you use to support your liver and give your digestion a break in the comments!