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Boost your immunity with these unusual detox foods

There’s more to internal cleansing than just raw fruit and vegetable juices

brunch Updated: Jan 21, 2017 20:46 IST
Shonali Sabherwal  
Nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal suggests that  Kombucha, umeboshi plums, Rejuvelac and pressed salads might not be a part of   regular detox  plan, but they help achieve greater immunity
Nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal suggests that Kombucha, umeboshi plums, Rejuvelac and pressed salads might not be a part of regular detox plan, but they help achieve greater immunity

The prime reason to detox should be to give you plenty of good microorganisms (or good bugs, as we call them). It also helps your gut discharge toxins and bring your pH (acid-alkaline level) to balance, thereby lending to stronger immunity.

Most diet detoxes just focus on raw fruit and vegetable juices. But I take a macrobiotic approach, which is about supplying the body with a cocktail of good bacteria all the time, to rejuvenate intestinal flora and support the inner ecosystem.

Here are the top five foods you will never hear of in a regular detox plan.

1. The umeboshi plum

Pickled umeboshi plums are found mainly in Japan, but are now available in India.

The plum has a powerful alkalising effect on the body, neutralising the acidity in the blood. It gets rid of fatigue, stimulates digestion and promotes the elimination of toxins and the absorption of calcium. The citric acid in umeboshi plums eliminates lactic acid in the body.

(To get umeboshi plums, check out Wakaba Japanese food)

2. Rejuvelac

A simple drink made with any grain, such as wholewheat berries, sorghum (jowar), quinoa, or amaranth (rajgeera). The last three are gluten-free. Just sprout the grains, then add a litre of water and let it sit on a shelf, covered with a muslin cloth, for a day or two till the liquid is cloudy. Strain and keep the sprouted grain for the next batch (you can use it three-four times). Refrigerate the liquid, add lime and drink. Or flavour with a decaffeinated tea bag if you can’t handle its taste. This liquid supplies probiotics and enzymes, and breaks down undigested material in the intestines.

3. Kombucha

Referred to as the ‘immortal health elixir’, kombucha is a beverage made with a colony of bacterial SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) plus tea and sugar. It is also called the ‘mother.’ The ‘mother’ ferments a batch of tea and sugar, leading to carbonated vinegar. This supplies a huge amount of probiotics and enzymes, which benefit cleansing, detoxification, increased energy, weight loss and improved digestion.

4. Pressed salad

This is a simple preparation with any one vegetable that can be grated or julienned (such as radish, carrots, cabbage, green peppers and cucumber), and rock or sea salt. Here is the recipe:

1. Grate or julienne the vegetable.

2. Mix the vegetable with sea salt in a large bowl, and gently press and massage the vegetable until it wilts.

3. Place a plate on top of the vegetable and press down with a heavy weight. I usually keep a brick handy, wrapped in a clean cloth.

4. Allow to stand with pressure on top for 45 minutes and let water release from the vegetable.

5. Discard or drink the water. Then rinse the vegetable with fresh water (if it’s too salty for you) and eat as a side dish, usually two tablespoons at a time.

Pressed salad will help assimilate your entire meal and give you quick fermentation and good bacteria. You can even save some and have it the next day with another meal. I highly recommend this dish if you want to do a detox.

5. Kanji

Winter is the perfect time for kanji, as it is made with dark red carrots. Or you can use beetroots, which are available all year round. Often referred to as ‘desi wine’, kanji is fermented for three-four days, with water, mustard seeds, black salt and red chilli powder. It has a spicy sour taste, which is perfect for the Indian palate. Kanji will not only supply rich bacteria, but also help with smoother bowel movements. It’s a milder version of the kombucha with an Indian twist.

The author is a Mumbai-based macrobiotic nutritionist and chef. Her book, The Detox Diet, has just been released. She is also the author of The Beauty Diet.

From HT Brunch,January 22, 2017

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