I realise that some of you may be reclining on the sofa digesting a rather large meal. Feet up, hand on distended belly, telly at full volume (to drown out the clattering of a million dishes being cleaned in the kitchen). You may be kicking back waiting for a second wind; after all, Auntie Jean’s famous sweet potato meringue pie isn’t going to eat itself. *must find a clean plate*
It can only be Thanksgiving Day*. In other parts of the world people are going about their hum-drum working day, but in the USA – that workaholic nation with the Scrooge-like 2-week holiday allowance – most are either eating, thinking about eating, or clearing up from eating. Even healthy types – that will be you – have probably shunned the small plates and ‘no-seconds-please’ mantra in favour of a day of untrammelled and unrivalled yearly excess. Woo hoo. And even those healthy types (again, you) may need to redress the imbalance.
As we here at food to glow are celebrating quietly with just us three – and with Mr A and Miss R not home until after 7 – we don’t have much chance of stuffing ourselves silly. But if we did, something like this juice would help. I won’t call it a detox juice, but most of the ingredients will help counteract the effects of overeating rich foods and quaffing a few too many glasses of wine.
Take the kale, the sulfur in it helps support the poor, abused liver by supporting its ability to breakdown chemicals and fats taken in through excess calories and drinking alcohol. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, eating more than you should, especially of fatty and processed foods, will definitely be stressing the liver. Add on any prescription drugs you take and the liver is working overtime to keep up its natural detoxifying role. Eating any of the dark leafy greens will boost your liver’s ability to clear out waste, and breakdown fat and alcohol. But kale is still the king of nutritious vegetables in many peoples’ minds with its especially high levels of Vitamins C, A (as beta-carotene), K**, B-6, manganese and magnesium, as well as fibre. Its nutritional value goes well beyond ‘mere’ vitamins and minerals: See this article for an in-depth look. Spoiler alert: it has a staggering 45 flavonoids, which means a load of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory goodies crammed into a simple, humble leaf. And to think we here in Scotland used to only give it to cattle!
As for cranberries, we mainly see them sweetened to the max in prepared juices and as a health-halo ingredient added to festive baking in dried sweetened form. Its primary nutrients and phytochemicals- especially Vitamin C and the newly-discovered anti-cancer, salvestrol – are massively reduced by processing and being coated in glucose syrup and cheap oils. Far better to eat and drink the real, tangy deal. I will admit that eating a handful of cranberries like they are blueberries – to which they are related – is a big ask and not something I will do, but whacked in a juice or smoothie, and even slow-dried in the oven, are really healthy and quite acceptable ways to enjoy this seasonal, health-promoting berry. A daily serving of powerful berries like cranberries is a daily serving of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and – in the case of cranberries – bacteriostatic chemicals. Here’s where to learn more about the health benefits of cranberries.
Even if today is just another day for you, drinking ‘green’ juices like this can help supplement a less than stellar diet. With the official festive eating and drinking season nigh, not only will I be looking out my sparkly party frocks, I will also be downing more vegetable-based juices like this. Cheers!
What’s your secret weapon against festive excess?
Last year: Tunisian Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine
Two years ago: Old-fashioned Fresh Apple Cake
Bonus track of the week: Homeland by Natalie Merchant
A great ‘green’ juice to revive your liver and lift your spirits. Surprisingly delicious!
1-2 large kale leaves
½ beetroot, scrubbed
1 pear or apple, cut up if needs be for your juicer
1 ‘skinny thumb’ of turmeric OR 1 tsp ground turmeric (stir the latter in if using)
2 carrots, trimmed
100g cranberries (1 heaped cup)
Roll the kale leaves into a solid cylinder and push through with the juicer’s ‘pusher’ (what is that called??), followed by the remaining ingredients. Hint: Make sure the machine is off before adding the cranberries or else be prepared to be pelted by flying berries!
Drink immediately. Serves 1.