Fall Detox Foods and Recipes

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If your summer was anything like mine—horizontal days at the beach and afternoons chowing down at backyard barbecues—then now is your time for redemption. Sure, autumn’s traditionally a time to try a new haircut, or splurge on a pair of boots, but it’s also the time you start spending more time inside, packing on the handful of pounds you’ll want off come January. “Fall is the beginning of sweater season, so everyone’s working on adding a layer to keep warm,” says dietician-nutritionist Joy Bauer, contributor to NBC’s Today show and founder of Nourish Snacks. “You get to hide a bit in the fall, so the focus isn’t so much on weight loss.”

Given the recent fashions, think crop top sweaters and ‘60s minis, there isn’t much fabric to hide behind. Celebrity nutritionist Haylie Pomroy, who also penned The Fast Metabolism Diet and counts Jennifer Lopez and Reese Witherspoon as clients, says it’s the perfect time to detox. “Following the natural cycles of nature, it’s when the trees shed their leaves, the winds blow the fields clear and the rebuilding cycles are at its height,” she says. “It is the most critical time of the year to speed up your metabolism so you can burn through the holiday foods fast.” If it’s good enough for J.Lo…

Related: Why I Don’t Believe in Juice Fasts

And don’t worry—detox doesn’t mean starving yourself. A few seasonal detox pointers from both Bauer and Pomroy, including real food from chili to smoothies, below. 

Forget Juice Cleanses, Detox with Actual Food
“I’m ecstatic to see detox programs moving away from the idea of fasting and instead focusing on nourishing,” says Pomroy. Bauer agrees. “Expensive detox programs that have you loading up on questionable supplements, drastically slashing calories or cutting out entire food groups for an extended period of time aren’t worth it,” Bauer says. Instead, Bauer suggests getting “rid of all the junk in your diet—excessive sugar and salt, artificial sweeteners and refined carbs,” while stocking up on “nutrient-rich foods like whole-grains, lean proteins, and of course, fruits and vegetables.”

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Take Advantage of the Season
You’ll get the “freshest, tastiest picks” from shopping in-season, Bauer says. A few nutritional powerhouses:

Pumpkin
This orange squash isn’t just for Halloween. According to Bauer, it’s packed with “filling fiber and beta-carotene, which is nature’s exfoliant.” It helps slough off old, dead skin cells and lay down new, glowing ones to give you a radiant complexion.

Asian Pears
Flush it out! Pomroy likes this sweet fruit because it acts as a natural diuretic.

Related: Why Cherries Are the Perfect Midnight Snack

Mustard Greens
A close relative to kale and collard greens, “this cruciferous vegetable contains vitamins C, E and A, which may help protect your skin from the effects of aging as well as environmental damage,” Bauer says. “Try sautéing them with sesame oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and topping with sliced almonds or adding chopped greens to your favorite pasta dish.”

Raw Pistachios
High in iron and vitamin B6, pistachios can sub for creamy dressings, Pomroy says. Simply blend with grape seed oil.

Brussels Sprouts
“Top chefs may be tired of the Brussels sprouts craze, but nutritionists aren’t,” Bauer says.  She points to the vegetable’s stats: “One cup is just 55 calories, provides 4 grams of filling fiber, and is packed with 160 percent of your daily requirement for Vitamin C, which is essential for skin-firming collagen production.” 

Get Cooking!
Load up the fridge with healthy choices and try your hand at these recipes.

Related: Meet the Chef Balancing Soul & Super Foods

Pomroy’s Pumpkin-Turkey Chili with White Beans and Kale
Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 25 minute, Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons plus 2 cups chicken broth or turkey stock, divided
1 yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper (red or green), diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
2 1/2 cups cubed or shredded cooked turkey breast
15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
15-ounce can pumpkin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
4 cups kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
Chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges
1 jalapeño, minced, for garnish (optional)

Instructions
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons of broth for 2 minutes.

Add the bell pepper and sauté until the onion is tender, about another 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the rest of the broth and the remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

Serve with chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and optional minced jalapeño. 

Bauer’s Pretty Potion
Prep time: 5 minutes, Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 banana, cut into chunks
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3-5 ice cubes 

Instructions
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Enjoy!