Forget Dieting – Try This Easy, Every-Day Detox
Certified Nutritionist, Institute of Integrative Nutrition and Natural Healing Institute, a premier holisitic health college of naturophy
Author, her latest cookbook, No Excuses Detox, Ten Speed Press, 2017
Consultant and Health Coach
University of Kansas, Illustration
Married, 2 children
Megan grew up as a military brat. Her father was in the Air Force and the family moved every year. Her mom was frustrated with fixing meals so she relied on fast-food drive thrus to feed her family. “Back in ther 80s, people didn’t know any better and my mom has since apologized!” says Megan who was an active child. She didn’t gain weight but she had acne. In college, Megan’s activity level went down and she became sluggish. As a result, she gained 30 pounds. All of her girlfriends were on diets. “I was never able to stick to anything for more than a couple of weeks,” says Megan who began to binge diet.
After graduating from college, Megan started illustrating greeting cards. At the time, she was introduced to the raw food detox diet. “It was my first introduction on how the quality of food matters,” she says. Megan also learned about the concept of food combining, a method of mindfully eating and keeping certain food groups separate to aid in digestion. In 2009, Megan got married and move to Los Angeles. She worked from home illustrating greeting cards and started a nutrition course online as a hobby. Since then, Megan has become a certified nutritionist and graduated from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and the Natural Healing Institute.
DETOX EVERY MEAL
Megan’s concept of detox is not the popular short-term cleanses. While juice fasts and other cleanses have their benefits, Megan believes it is far more important to learn how to feed yourself well on a regular basis. “There’s no need to wait for the perfect time to cleanse,” says Megan. “No matter what your schedule or excuse, you can always find a way to eat healthful food in real-life situations.” Our bodies come equipped with detox organs: the skin, the liver and the kidneys. “My approach is to reduce the load for these organs,” she says. Artificial colors and flavors are more things the body has to detox out.
To aid in digestion, Megan says to practice food combining. “Our bodies digest foods differently,” says Megan. To break down proteins, our bodies emit a highly acidic enzyme. In order to digest carbohydrates our bodies utilize alkaline. “If you eat them together, they offset each other,” says Megan. Simplify meals to streamline digestion which increases energy levels. At each meal, eat from one of the following categories: starches (beans, cereals, potatoes, etc.), animal protein (cheese, eggs, fish, pork, poultry, etc.), fresh fruit (apples, melons, pineapple, etc.) or nuts/dried fruit. Any of these can be combined with neutral leafy greens or non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, zucchini, etc. Wait three to four hours before switching categories but feel free to snack on neutral vegetables all day. Exceptions to this are bananas (digest well with fruit and nuts), avocados (digest well with fresh or dried fruit and starches), spaghetti squash is hudrating enough to be a neutral vegetable, and peanuts and soynuts which are not recommended due to their potential exposure to pesticides.
Megan will show us Cashew Butter Spiced Muffins (page 43), Lo Mein (page 147), Party Mix (page 103), and Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats (page 138).
Cashew Butter Spice Muffins
MAKES 12 MUFFINS | $0.66 PER MUFFIN
These gluten- free muffins are so unbelievably light and fluffy that no one will
believe they are made without the use of flour or refined sugar. Don’t be deceived
by their light texture, though— these nutrient- dense muffins are still very filling,
thanks to the healthful fat found in cashews and protein- rich eggs. Topped with
a buttery crumble, they are hard to resist.
1 cup creamy cashew butter
½ cup coconut sugar
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard muffin tin with 12 baking cups.
2 To prepare the batter: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cashew butter, coconut sugar, applesauce, eggs, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and stir well to create a smooth, runny batter. Divide the batter among the prepared baking cups.
3 To prepare the crumble: In a small food processor, combine the cashews, shredded coconut, coconut sugar, and salt and process until coarsely ground. Add the coconut oil and process again until the mixture starts to stick together.
4 Sprinkle the crumble over the top of the batter in each baking cup and press lightly on the top to make sure the crumble will stick to the baked muffin.
5 Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes, until the tops are firm and lightly golden. Allow to cool completely before serving. Store leftover muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw at room temperature, which can take up to 4 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight.
NOTE: While many nuts and seeds are susceptible to acrylamide formation when exposed to high temperatures (see page 103), cashews seem to be an exception to the rule, with no acrylamide detected when they are roasted. That is the reason these muffins are not baked at a lower temperature the way the rest of my nut- based recipes are. There’s no need to wait any longer than you have to for these delicious baked goods to be ready.
SERVES 2 (AS A MEAL) | $3.32 PER SERVING
While some people might find it easy to replace regular pasta with zucchini “noodles,” that’s not always the case for everyone—even for my own family members. This lo mein dish is my solution, since it takes a fifty-fifty approach, using half pasta and half zucchini noodles for a more vegetable-centric dish that is still as satisfying as the traditional version. Feel free to add any vegetables you have on hand to make this recipe your own.
4 ounces brown rice spaghetti noodles
¼ cup tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 (8-ounce) zucchini
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, julienned
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Prepare the spaghetti according to the package directions.
To prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, honey, ginger, Sriracha, and sesame oil and set aside.
Use a spiralizer to turn the zucchini into spaghetti-like noodles or use a vegetable peeler to create long, thin zucchini ribbons, then set them aside.
While the spaghetti is cooking, in a large Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and bell pepper until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms, along with the reserved sauce, and sauté until tender, another 5 to 8 minutes.
Add the pasta and toss well to coat in the sauce. Adjust any seasonings, adding an extra splash of tamari or Sriracha, if desired. Once everything is tender and heated through, the dish is ready to serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
MAKE IT GRAIN-FREE: If you’d prefer to skip the pasta altogether, simply replace the spaghetti with two additional spiralized zucchini for a completely vegetable-based dish. In this case, you can add meat to it for a properly combined meal.
MAKE IT AHEAD: This dish is delicious served hot or cold, so feel free to make it up to 3 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve cold, or reheat in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring until piping hot, 5 to 8 minutes. (Add a splash of water to prevent sticking, if needed.)
Easy Party Mix
MAKES 2 CUPS | $0.44 PER SERVING
If you tend to crave that popular party mix, you are going to love this grain-free version. It tastes surprisingly similar to the kind made with rice cereal and is incredibly easy to prepare using any nuts or seeds you have on hand. Because this crispy mix can be stored at room temperature, it also makes a great snack on the go! Feel free to double the recipe because it will go fast.
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup raw pecans
1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 250°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, maple syrup, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet in a flat, single layer without too many clumps.
Bake for 35 minutes, then cool completely (the nuts will be crunchy once completely cool). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Enchilada-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
SERVES 4 | $2.69 PER SERVING
These zucchini boats are an easier and healthier way to enjoy your favorite
enchilada flavors more often. Instead of making a complicated mock tortilla,
this flavorful filling is stuffed into juicy zucchini halves and roasted with a topping of melted cheese for an enchilada- like experience, without any extra effort. I think you’ll find that this version is just as satisfying, even without the greasy meat or starchy tortillas!
1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 large zucchini
3 ounces goat cheddar, shredded
1 Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2 To prepare the filling: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt, cumin, and chili powder and sauté until the tomatoes are tender and much of their moisture has been released, another 8 to 10 minutes.
3 While the filling is cooking, slice the zucchini in half lengthwise (cut off the hard top) and use a teaspoon to scoop out the soft centers. (Add the zucchini flesh to the cooked vegetables if you like, too!) Be sure to leave enough of the zucchini flesh so that the bottoms of the zucchini boats are sturdy enough to hold the filling— you don’t want to scrape them too thin. Arrange the zucchini shells cut- side up on the prepared baking sheet and fill each one with the cooked tomato mixture. Top each “boat” with the cheese.
4 Bake the boats until the zucchini is tender and the cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
MAKE IT AHEAD:
Refrigerate the uncooked, filled zucchini, covered, for up to 3 days. To heat, place the dish in a cold oven. Turn on the oven to 350°F and bake until the cheese is golden and the zucchini are fork- tender, about 40 minutes. As an alternative, the filling also freezes well, so you can make it ahead of time, freeze for up to 3 months, and then thaw it overnight in the refrigerator the day before you plan on serving it. Simply add the thawed filling to the zucchini halves and bake as directed.
Cut Your Cancer Risk
The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers acrylamide to be a “probable human carcinogen,” since it has been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals. This chemical is not added to food but is created naturally when certain foods are roasted, fried, or baked, particularly fries, potato chips, coffee, almonds, crackers, and bread. It is nearly impossible to avoid this chemical altogether, since it occurs naturally in a wide range of plant foods and animal products, but you can limit your exposure by using safer cooking methods, such as steaming and boiling, cooking susceptible foods at lower temperatures, and avoiding meats, vegetables, and starches that are darkly browned or charred. You’ll notice that all of the recipes in this book that call for heating raw nuts are kept to temperatures of 250°F or lower to avoid browning and to reduce the potential formation of acrylamide.