The art of the detox

Juice is only the beginning. Learn more in the latest installment of our nutrition philosophy: Employ a Seasonal Detox to Help Achieve Optimal Results.

The Equinox nutrition philosophy is comprised of 12 fundamental nutritional pillars, all of which support the health of your cells, and thus increase your body’s overall energy capabilities while decreasing acidity and inflammation. The result: A younger, healthier (and we bet, happier) you with a metabolic system that hums. Here, pillar 4:

Those neon-colored chips you’ve had more times than you care to admit. The hours you spend navigating smoggy traffic. Your dish soap. Your shower gel. Your skincare cream. Ever think about the onslaught of all you ingest, inhale and absorb? Your body has to metabolize and excrete your chemical intake and the higher the toxin load, the more stress the process puts on your body. Time to detox? We think so. In fact, we whole-heartedly recommend the practice twice a year, come Spring and come Fall.

“Processed foods, pollution, and the chemicals in our everyday environment wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to inflammation and lowered immunity,” says Maria Pagano, a registered dietician and Tier 4 coach. “The concept of detoxification, whether it’s done with foods or juices, is that you’re allowing your digestive system time to rest and repair while flushing out toxins through the liver, kidneys, lungs and skin.”

Think detoxing isn’t necessary? You might want to reconsider. Sure, it’s easier to stick with the status quo. And yes, your body does have its own natural detoxifying process, but consider how many chemicals we’re up against these days. A seasonal detox is like giving your body a dietary time-out, a respite that offers a bevvy of rewards. “The process creates an environment in which metabolism on all levels works at best capacity,” says Pagano. “From a health standpoint, it can lessen inflammation and potential cellular damage and from an athletic standpoint, it can ultimately optimize performance.”

We think that’s a win-win. So here’s the game plan: Give it 10 days and cut out acid-forming foods like meat, corn, dairy and gluten. (These can alter the acid-base balance in the body, creating the inflammation you’re trying to avoid). For now, skip the nightshade vegetables — tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and potatoes. They can be inflammatory, too. Focus instead on seasonal fruits and veggies in both whole food form and juice. You heard that right: We advocate using food to detox, not just juice. Notes Pagano: Juice is great as an adjunct, but it lacks fiber and toxins bind to fiber, aiding elimination.

These detoxifiers should be front and center on your shopping list: Broccoli and broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, onions, garlic, ginger, artichokes, beets, parsley, and dark leafy greens like kale, collards and swiss chard. Include some protein-rich quinoa, raw walnuts and almonds (sprinkle them in salads and stir fries), and thyroid-stimulating sea vegetables like kelp, nori, and wakame. Add a good dose of healthy fat and creamy texture with avocado, and incorporate alkalizing lemon and cayenne plus anti-inflammatory turmeric whenever you can. Want more protein? Blend up a shake made from pea or artichoke protein, rather than whey.

It may sound Spartan, but think of it as spa-like. Spring is all about renewal — the perfect time to kick off a cleanse. Why not start with a detox juice or salad from Tasting Table:

Turmeric Juice

Kale Salad with Roasted Parsnips and Cailiflower

If you're just tuning into our 12-month eating overhaul, read our nutrition philosophy.