The Do’s and Don’ts of Detox, Part Three
Phase 2: Packing Up and Shipping out AKA Conjugation
The second step in the process involves scooping up partially processed toxins and adding chemical groups, such as an amino acid or sulfur group, to the substance so that it is rendered harmless and ready to be properly disposed. This is called conjugation and makes the toxin more water soluble, which is much easier for the body to excrete. Imagine taking your Christmas package to the post office, wrapping it in brown paper, handing it off to the postman, and allowing it to be shipped to its final destination. This is similar to what happens during Phase 2 of liver detoxification.
Imagine taking your Christmas package to the post office, wrapping it in brown paper, handing it off to the postman, and allowing it to be shipped to its final destination. This is similar to what happens during Phase 2 of liver detoxification.
Within Phase 2 are several types of conjugation categories, which is similar to different conveyor belts within a post office. Each different toxin requires a different conveyor belt (conjugation pathway) to arrive at its final destination. Once the substance is conjugated, or attached to amino acid, it is rendered harmless and is excreted through the sweat, urine, or bile as a component of feces.
The different pathway of conjugating toxins (methylation, sulfation, acetylation, and glucuronidation) requires sulfur containing amino acids, such as taurine and cysteine as well as glycine, glutamine, choline, and inositol. Amino acids are found in many foods, but are most bioavailable from protein rich animal products. Therefore, a diet too low in protein will not support Phase 2 liver detoxification and leaves one in the limbo between Phase 1 and Phase 2, which is when most symptoms and damage from a “bad detox” occur. Sulfur containing foods are also required to boost Phase 2 detoxification and include eggs, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, etc.), onions, garlic, leeks and other foods that have a “stinky, rotten egg” smell.
Finally, dietary fat helps to better use fat-mobilizing nutrients such a choline, methionine, betaine, folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. A diet void of fat will impair the body from absorbing and utilizing fat soluble vitamins which are required to get fat cells moving and dumping their stored toxins, a hallmark reason someone embarks on a “detox” in the first place.
Detoxification is a complex, difficult to understand phenomenon. (Thank goodness it happens whether we like it or not!). And while the body will perform detoxification regardless of situation, one can always make efforts to boost the efficacy of the phases and prime metabolic pathways to ensure proper functioning. A true medical detox supervised by a practitioner and adopting healthy eating habits with a focus on detoxification supporting foods can help to better prime your pathways to ensure optimal functioning. Conversely, a quick-fix, fad diet, or juice cleanse will not only leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied, but fails to acknowledge both phases of detoxification.
- Requires more than just juices, fruits, and vegetables. Even though fruits and vegetables are highly encouraged for their antioxidant properties, only focusing on Phase 1 boosting foods disregards the important second phase of liver detoxification.
- A well-rounded detoxification program needs protein. You can actually do more harm than good by not eating enough protein if your goal is to detox.
- Fat intake helps too, so don’t go low fat. Make sure that your fat sources are of good quality. After all, just as in humans, toxins are stored in fat cells of plants and animals
Lamb Meatballs with Mint Yogurt Sauce and Cauliflower “Couscous” Tabbouleh
(as featured by Maple Hill Creamery Cattle Call Contest)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
- 1 egg
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp almond flour
Mint Yogurt Sauce:
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 handful of each: basil, mint, cilantro
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- 1 garlic clove
- salt to taste
Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine lamb, egg, parsley, oregano, salt and flour into a bowl. Mix until evenly combined and roll into 10-12 small meatballs. If meatballs appear to fall apart, you may need to add an additional egg. Place meatballs onto lightly oiled baking sheet or parchment paper. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the outside and pink on the inside.
While meatballs are cooking, make the Mint Yogurt Sauce. Place yogurt, herbs, lemon, garlic and salt into blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve meatballs with yogurt sauce drizzled on top or on the side for dipping.
Cauliflower “Couscous” Tabbouleh
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 head cauliflower; sectioned (or 1 package “riced” cauliflower)
- ½ large cucumber, diced
- 1 bell pepper (color of your choice); diced
- ½ red onion; diced
- ½ bundle green onion; diced
- ½ bunch parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2-3 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2-3 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce/Tamari
- A couple tablespoons organic butter or coconut oil (for cooking)
To make the “couscous”:
- Put cauliflower into food processor and pulse it until it becomes sort of a “snow” consistency
- Over medium heat, heat up butter/oil and toast the cauliflower in it until it becomes a little browned and sort of firm
- (Be very careful how much you mess with the cauliflower because it has a tendency to turn into mashed potatoes and we don’t want that!)
To make the dressing:
- Mix together the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp. maple syrup, 2 tbsp. rice vinegar, 2 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce/tamari. Mix in the chopped parsley.
To assemble tabbouleh:
- In a big bowl, mix together the diced vegetables, cauliflower “couscous”, and the dressing. (Again, be gentle with the cauliflower!)