Cristi DeMarco’s Wellness Weblog

Health Info You Should Know.

Simple Spring Cleanse

Spring is going into summer, I promise it really is, and as allergies and other issues bloom along with the trees and flowers there is no better time than now to add and subtract some foods to detox and refresh the liver.  Many acupuncture patients ask me in an already over-whelmed and defeated way about cleanses and detoxification and while there are certainly time-consuming, costly, and involved programs I always prefer the easiest, least expensive with the least prep time and time running to the bathroom.  Going to the bathroom is good, having to run there urgently not so much.

Also, in the realm of moderation, a successful cleanse needs to be tailored to an individual’s lifestyle habits.  I have honestly never done what might be considered a “real” cleanse but I have back-up from some sources that what I do a few times a year is considered a cleanse.

Step 1: I cut out caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. This might actually be enough for some people to start.  You may want to check out an older post called “My Love/Hate Relationship With Coffee”.  When cutting the caffeine, if you drink more than 10-12oz per day (1-2 small cups of coffee), you may want to wean for a couple of days while drinking lots of water and substituting some green tea for your usual cups of coffee.  Again, slow and steady now, so cutting caffeine for two weeks or so may be enough of a cleanse for some people on a first try.

Cutting sugar and alcohol can also be difficult if you are a daily consumer/imbiber. If you are a daily chocolate, baked good, packaged food eater plan on substituting fruit and nut combos for snacks – carb and protein combos – to keep your sugar levels stable.  Plain yogurt with both fruit and nuts is a very satisfying breakfast or snack as well.  If you consume alcohol daily you may have withdrawals that are similar to sugar withdrawals so following the tips here may help.  If it’s worse than that, you’ll need to delve a little deeper and contact a healthcare provider for help.

Choose another sweetener to use in small amounts for herbal tea or on hot cereal such as agave, brown rice syrup or stevia.  You can be as addicted to sugar as anything else so it would be wise to clear your cabinets temporarily or permanently of anything that might be a temptation.  I do prefer a permanent “spring cleaning” of your cabinets.  We try to keep our cabinets clear all of the time but people visit and bring things, you buy stuff for a party or for being pre-menstrual or just because you want it, and the crap just accumulates.

Also, the purpose of doing things the moderate way is that it is not a quick, short-term thing where you ravage your body for a few days or weeks with some crazy cleanse and then go back to the usual habits.  Small steps are the simplest path to permanent change.   So, following the trail of moderation, you may wish to stop here while you try cutting caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, and if these steps are easy for you please go on.

Step 2:  I go for mostly organic fruits and vegetables, emphasis on the vegetables, little to no meat, little dairy, fill the rest in with beans and grains.  Green smoothies are a great and tasty way to help fill your belly.  The main source of dairy would be plain organic yogurt with all the wonderful digestion enhancing bacterium, try to cut out milk and cheese.  Black beans, kidney beans, lentils are easy to find and grains would be mainly my faves, brown rice, millet, quinoa.

Step 3:  Practice yoga and meditation for relaxation, and treat yourself to some systemic body work-massage, acupuncture, reflexology-to aid in the detox process.  A little TLC can do wonders for the motivation.

Whether you are sticking with Step 1 or also going for Step 2, you can use the recipes for green smoothies and basic cooking of grains can be found on this blog to assist your efforts.  The Simple Spring Cleanse  soup and lemon drink recipes are also great for cleaning out the liver, yummy, and easy to make.

Now for the final pep talk topic: Sticking with it for two weeks or more.  If your neighbor brings you some beautiful cupcakes made with love, eat ‘em!  Your grandmother’s lasagna at a family gathering is calling your name, answer the call.  If you fall off the wagon as they say, DO NOT let the dalliance be an excuse to give up.  This is the moderate way, not the easy way so be brave and hop back on.  You will have to make choices as to not completely unravel but there are no rules here.  You are just trying to be a little healthier while enjoying life so keep trying.  Making excuses  is the primary habit we ALL have to break when it comes to taking responsibility for our own health.


May 11, 2010 Posted by | acupuncture, health info you should know, nutrition, recipes, self-care | , , , | 1 Comment

Simple Spring Cleanse Recipes

Seaweed and Mushroom Soup

Seaweed is great for cleansing the blood, cleaning the water is their job in the ocean!  And mushrooms are also cleansing to the body in terms of excess mucus, fat and cholesterol.

2 large carrots

2 celery stalks

1 small onion

3 cloves garlic

2 pieces kombu seaweed.

2 cups sliced mushrooms, common button or shiitake

4-6 cups water

Sea salt

Black pepper

This one is mine and I cook mostly to taste so please bear with my directions. Chop up your veggies carrots, celery, onion, press or finely slice your garlic, slice mushrooms, use kitchen scissors to cut up your kombu into 1” pieces.  Put them into a large pot with a half cup of water and bring to a simmer on medium heat to make a stock.  Cook until the carrots are bright orange and veggies begin to soften.  Add 3 more cups of water, couple shakes of sea salt and black pepper and cook for about an hour.  At that point you can taste it, decide to add more water, and then salt and pepper to taste – easy on the salt!  Eat as is or add a left-over portion of your favorite grain.

Lemon Drink

This lemon drink is what is used in a well-known and commonly used cleanse where you abstain from food and drink only this concoction. For our purposes, you can have it warm or iced as a substitute for coffee, or in between meals to help satisfy your sweet tooth.

½ organic lemon

1 T grade B maple syrup or highest quality you can obtain

12 oz hot water

1-2 pinches cayenne pepper

Squeeze lemon juice into hot water, stir in maple syrup, and add cayenne pepper if you wish to taste.  Make it fresh and hot as needed or make a larger batch to enjoy iced.

May 11, 2010 Posted by | health info you should know, nutrition, recipes, self-care | , , | Leave a comment

Go Grain Recipes

Brown Rice

1 cup brown rice

2 cups water

Rinse the rice in a mesh strainer.  Put rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil for one minute.  Turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes.  The cooking time and exact heat will vary with your pot, electric or gas stove, so if the water is cooking away before 45 minutes or if your rice is still crunchy after 45-60 minutes you need to cook it on a lower heat.  To save the current batch, just add small amounts of water and cook until it’s soft.  Once you figure it out, this is something you can start first with food prep and not worry about until everything else is done and you are ready to eat!


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water, vegetable or chicken stock for added flavor

Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer.  I am lazy with rinsing the brown rice at times but quinoa will have a more bitter taste if you skip this step.  Boil the liquid first and then add the quinoa, turn heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the quinoa looks translucent.  You can dry roast it in skillet for a few minutes first to bring out a nutty flavor and again reduce bitterness.  Doing this with some onion, garlic, and herbs tastes great too.


1 cup millet

3 cups water or some mixture of water and veggie/chicken stock

Rinse millet in a mesh strainer.  Boil the liquid first and then add the millet, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  This is another one that you can dry roast in a skillet for a nutty flavor and get creative with seasoning.  Have fun experimenting!

May 11, 2010 Posted by | health info you should know, nutrition, recipes, self-care | , , | Leave a comment