The liver proves that even the most shiftless among us has at least one hardworking part.
This nondescript brownish body part is almost always doing something: detoxifying, protein synthesizing and producing chemicals necessary for digestion.
On April 25, certified nutritional practitioner Tamara Dunn held a cooking class at Infinitea T-Bar where participants learned recipes that detoxify your body and this all-important organ.
“When we talk about toxins, we’re talking about environmental pollution, pesticides from the foods we eat and toxins that are made inside the body as a metabolic byproduct,” explained the 31-year old.
“We accumulate those over time and the liver actually does a good job of keeping the body toxin- free, but it’s good to take a break for a while to let your liver replenish the nutrients it needs to function.”
The first recipe she shared was a nutty cauliflower pilaf.
Cauliflower is in the family of cruciferous vegetables, which includes broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. They’re high in soluble fiber, which is important when you’re detoxifying. The recipe also contains cleansing spices such as cumin and turmeric.
Nutty Cauliflower Pilaf
Serves eight-10 as a side dish
8 garlic cloves
1 head of cauliflower
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 large onions, diced
4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground ginger OR 4 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. turmeric
2 cups pecans, chopped
½ cup hemp seeds
1 cup raisins
¾ cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
8-10 lemon wedges
1. Mince garlic and set aside.
2. Break up cauliflower into smaller pieces and add to food processor. Pulse until cauliflower is the texture of rice. You may need to do this in batches. Alternatively, use a box grater to shred the cauliflower.
3. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt coconut oil. Add onions and sauté for about eight minutes, stirring, until onions are translucent.
4. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, and ginger, and sauté until fragrant. About 1 minute.
5. Add cauliflower and cook for eight to 10 minutes, until cauliflower is warmed throughout.
6. Transfer to a large bowl. Add pecans, raisins, and parsley/cilantro. Mix until combined.
7. Serve with lemon wedges.
Dunn studied at the Institute Of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto. The longtime Fernie resident provides specialized meal plans for clients who want to lose weight or feel healthier.
She does consultations and works with the client throughout the process. She also teaches seminars and classes.
Dunn said the spring is a popular time to detoxify.
“Especially in a town like Fernie, there’s a lot of partying that goes on,” she said. “Also people tend to eat heavier foods in the winter and it seems like people want to eat a little bit lighter and cleaner when the weather gets nice.”
The second recipe she shared was a beet berry mousse. Dunn said beets are an excellent detoxifying food as they promote cell repair and regeneration, especially in the liver. Beets are full of betalains, which are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying agents.
The chia seeds are a great source of soluble fiber to eliminate everything from your body.
Beet Berry Mousee
3 medjool dates (optional), soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
1 beet, peeled and grated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup fresh berries for garnish, sliced
1. In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients except the chia seeds. Blend until smooth, three to four minutes.
2. Add chia seeds and pulse to combine.
3. Pour into a glass dish with a lid and store in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Garnish with fresh berries.
Another important part of detoxifying is not about what you’re eating but what you’re not eating, said Dunn, so cutting out refined sugar, alcohol, dairy and processed foods is a good place to start.
A detox diet means eating mostly vegetables, grass-fed meat, wild caught fish and fruits nuts and seeds for a while to give your liver a bit of a break.
In terms of everyday tips for eating healthier, Dunn offered few secret insights but a lot of common sense.
“Eat more vegetables and drink more water,” were her main suggestions.
“Maybe cut back on the alcohol but that one’s no fun,” she added.
Dunn said you might not feel the immediate effects of a change in your diet but over time you will feel a greater sense of wellbeing.
As your body will need extra protein while it detoxifies, Dunn’s last recipe is for lemony wild salmon burgers with tahini sauce.
Lemony Wild Salmon Burgers with Tahini Sauce
Makes eight burgers
Ingredients for burgers
400g fresh or previously frozen wild-caught salmon
1/3 cup quinoa*
2/3 cups water
Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
3 tbsp. fresh herbs, chopped (basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, etc.)
½ small red onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp. ground flax seeds
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. coconut oil
Ingredients for sauce
¼ cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. water
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Bake salmon for about 20 minutes, until it is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.
2. In a small pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and let simmer for 12 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Set aside for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
3. In a large bowl, combine flaked salmon, cooked quinoa, and the remaining ingredients, except the coconut oil. Mix well and let sit for a few minutes.
4. In a large pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Form the salmon mixture into eight patties and add to pan.
5. Cook for about five minutes on each side.
6. While the burgers are cooking, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and water in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over burgers when done.