Spring Clean Your Diet With These Expert Tips (And Yummy Recipes!)

Dr. Frank Lipman is an integrative and functional medicine physician and the founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness in NYC. In his monthly column for R29, he talks about the latest health and wellness news; his favorite stay-healthy tips and tricks; plus answers your questions on how to be your healthiest, best self, every day.
With the warmer months approaching and spring cleaning on the brain, now is the perfect time to tidy up your eating habits. The transition into spring often sparks a desire to feel lighter, less cluttered, and to make space for fresh, new energy. Removing the foods that are a burden on your body is the ultimate way to feel more energetic. Although each individual person’s dietary needs vary based on age, activity levels, health concerns, and other factors, there are a few things that are helpful for everybody when it comes to cleaning up their diet.
Eat Food That Your Body Recognizes As Food
In order for every system in your body to function efficiently, you need to be adding nourishment that your body understands and can use. When your body doesn’t recognize something as food, that’s when inflammation (often the root cause of disease and weight gain) begins. Kicking processed foods to the curb is an important part of cleaning up your body, and this means eating foods close to nature with as few ingredients as possible. Processed foods are often high in refined sugars, artificial flavorings, chemicals, and other things that your body won’t recognize as food. Can you picture the food or ingredients you’re eating in nature? If you can’t pronounce it or it has a long ingredient list, skip it.
Eat Fresh Foods That Are In Season
Eating seasonally is a way to naturally support your body’s detoxification process. The foods that naturally grow in the springtime are designed to help our bodies get rid of excess. Eating fresh, leafy greens and the crisp vegetables you find at your farmer’s market will help transition you from a winter of heavy foods. Your body’s natural healing process will be promoted through this way of eating, so do a little digging and find out what’s in season near you.
Avoid Foods That Commonly Cause Inflammation
Decreasing inflammation in the body and restoring balance is essential for health and vitality. Inflammation can lead to digestive issues, a suppressed immune system, fatigue, and a host of other health problems. Foods that commonly cause inflammation include gluten, cow’s dairy, processed soy products, fat-free products, alcohol, sugar, and artificial sweeteners, to name a few. By sticking to fresh fruits and vegetables, good quality proteins, healthy fats, and gluten-free grains, you’ll be making a big difference in your health.
Since making over your diet can be a bit overwhelming at first, click through for sample meal plans, plus delicious recipes for some of my favorite healthy foods.
Photo: Via PACHD
Sample Meal Plan
Day 1:
Breakfast: Smoothie with mango, Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman Sustain Protein packet, coconut milk, and chia seeds
Lunch: Spring minestrone with white beans and greens
Dinner: Wild salmon with arugula salad and lemon asparagus
Snacks: One sliced green apple dipped in raw almond butter; one cup of kale chips
Day 2:
Breakfast: Two scrambled eggs with sliced avocado and tomato drizzled in olive oil and sea salt.
Lunch: Spinach salad with veggies, hummus, organic chicken, and olive oil and lemon juice dressing
Dinner: Quinoa-stuffed red bell pepper
Snacks: Seaweed roll with sliced cucumber, avocado, and carrot; raw coconut macaron
Day 3:
Breakfast: Black Forest Smoothie with frozen mixed berries, raw cacao, almond milk, and a packet of Sustain.
Lunch: Buckwheat soba noodles with almond butter sauce and stir-fried vegetables
Dinner: Massaged kale salad with avocado
Snacks: Flax crackers; a bowl of fresh berries with almond milk and stevia
Day 4:
Breakfast: Burrito with scrambled eggs and fresh herbs served in romaine lettuce wraps
Lunch: Millet with steamed spring greens and tahini sauce
Dinner: Roasted organic chicken with sautéed collard greens
Snacks: Green smoothie with mango, spinach, and cilantro; a piece of dark (85%) chocolate
Photo: Via PACHD
Here are some great recipes that will kick-start your spring cleaning:
Greeno Mojito Smoothie
1 Sustain packet
1/4 avocado
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
Juice of one lime
3/4 cup filtered water
3-4 ice cubes
Blend in a blender until smooth and creamy. Sweeten to taste with raw honey or stevia if you need it.
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
1 pint strawberries, washed and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 ounces goat cheese
Combine all ingredients and drizzle with lemon vinaigrette dressing.
Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well till thoroughly blended.
Oven Baked Fish Fillets with Roasted Tomatoes and Onions
4 firm white fish fillets, about 4 – 6 oz. each
1 onion peeled and sliced thinly
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, about 2 cups
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of lemon zest (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large baking dish, toss together the tomatoes, onion slices, and garlic with enough extra virgin olive to coat evenly. Sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast in oven for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the onions and tomatoes are soft. Remove from oven and place fish fillets on top of the tomato, onion, and garlic mix. Drizzle lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil over the fish. Sprinkle with dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake until the fish is opaque throughout — about 10-15 minutes or more, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Guacamole with Raw Vegetables
1 avocado
1 small ripe tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp raw onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt to taste
With a fork, mash the avocado, keeping some chunks for texture. Stir in the chopped onion, tomato, and cilantro. Add the lemon juice and sea salt to taste. Enjoy with raw celery, cucumber, and carrots.
Green Juice
1/2 cucumber
2 stalks of celery
2 leaves of kale
1 green apple
1/2 lemon or lime
handful cilantro or parsley
1 inch of fresh ginger
Put all the ingredients through a juicer and sip it down slowly.
Photo: Via PACHD

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