Chances are, you probably ended your Thanksgiving dinner with a full stomach and just a hint of regret—that is, if you’re looking to stay fit over the holidays. The festive season can easily derail holiday wellness goals, due to its influx of alcohol and delicious desserts—and you might just find yourself falling into a vicious cycle of binging and restricting.
But if your first instinct is to run straight to some kind of green juice cleanse, let us stop you right there: There’s a way to enjoy your apple pie without feeling guilty. We spoke to Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, founders of Sakara, a plant-based organic meal delivery service, in order to get the scoop on all things detox—and luckily, there was no restricting in sight.
“For many people, a detox is about restriction, starvation, or guilt,” say DuBoise and Tingle. “It can mean a crash diet, or a liquids-only cleanse. That’s not sustainable, and it can be stressful, eliciting the opposite effects for your body. For us, a detox shouldn’t be about sacrifice and restriction. It should be a focus on flooding your body with nutrients, releasing toxic buildup (either physical or mental), and resetting your system.”
Some ways to do that? By incorporating particular anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. At Sakara, the focus is all on the quality of the products that go into your body—which means anything processed is out. Here are some ingredients you should add to your recipes to get those incredible natural benefits.
An Ayurvedic staple for centuries, turmeric is one of the most potent inflammation busters out there. Curcumin is the primary active compound in turmeric, and it fights inflammation at its most molecular level by blocking a molecule named the NF-kB (which is responsible for turning on the genes of inflammation) from traveling into the nuclei of cells. Because turmeric is ingested best when paired with a source of healthy fat, DuBoise and Tingle recommend having it with a shot of almond milk, or mixed with avocado or hemp seeds in a salad.
Coconut butter comes from the coconut meat, and, like coconut oil, is a source of saturated fat that actually aids in weight loss. According to several studies, the medium-chain triglycerides that are so abundant in the coconut have been found to increase one’s metabolism, not to mention increase feelings of fullness and satisfaction. Serve over toast or in a smoothie for maximum impact.
Otherwise known as Indian ginseng, ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which is necessary for preventing the stress caused by the holidays. Adaptogens work by supporting your adrenal glands (the source of all your anxiety) and calming them down. Add a pinch of the superpowder to any of your daily beverages.
You’ve probably heard you should be drinking some warm lemon water every single day—but if that’s too hard to remember, try squeezing in some fresh lemon juice in your meals and salads. The lemon’s high levels of vitamin C help fight illnesses, while its acids promote digestion, which means you’re less likely to feel super bloated after an indulgent meal.
Another form of fat, olive oil boasts the monounsaturated kind, which helps to lower your LDL (aka “bad”) levels of cholesterol. It increases the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and can reduce your risk for heart disease. While its low smoke point prevents cooking with it (it releases harmful gases in the air when it hits that point), you can drizzle some over salad or use it in place of butter in traditional recipes. Mashed potatoes, anyone?
And of course, don’t forget your greens. “Greens contain chlorophyll and fiber, which act as scrub brushes to your insides and offer daily detox,” say DuBoise and Tingle. Their recommendation? Four to eight cups per day—stir in smoothies, salads, and even soups.
Below, check out two easy recipes, courtesy of the Sakara co-founders, that you can incorporate in your meals after (or even during) the holidays. They’ll help flood your body with the nutrients you’ll crave after that Thanksgiving feast.
Spring Pea Dip
- 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
- 2 cups chickpeas, strained
- 2 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 1/8 cup organic cold pressed olive oil
- 1 tsp of Himalayan sea salt (add more to taste if necessary)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Mince the garlic.
- In a blender or food processor, add garlic, peas, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and spinach, and puree until smooth.
- Drizzle in the olive oil and 1/2 a cup of cold, filtered water. Add the salt and black pepper.
- When ready to serve, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a crack of black pepper, and some micro greens or herbs. Accompany with crackers, crudité, pita, or your favorite dipping snack.
Inflammation Cooling Tonic
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp Prash
- 2 to 3 tsp tocos
- 1 tsp ashwagandha
- pinch of black peppercorn
- 1 tbsp organic coconut butter
- 1 cup just-before-boiling water
- sprinkle of stevia, if desired for sweetness
- Throw all ingredients into a blender.
- Blend up and pour into your favorite mug.