How to Detox with Real Food (and a Detox Salad Recipe!)

There is one unavoidable truth in life; one thing that will hold true regardless of what we do on a daily basis. We can eat exclusively organic foods, drink only the purest artisanal water and isolate ourselves in the woods away from the physical and emotional craziness of civilization, yet at some point in time we will be exposed to toxins that have the ability hinder the body’s ability to function at full capacity. Even if we were able to control for all these potentially harmful variables, we may induce a stress response so powerful in the process that creates even more biological damage than that which the toxins themselves could affect. Not to mention the fact that most of us enjoy the occasional indulgence in the company of good friends and family that may not totally align with our health and wellness goals.

Fortunately, the human body is well equipped to eliminate both the environmental toxins that we inadvertently take in while simultaneously minimizing the effect that certain lifestyle choices may have upon our health. However, we can boost our natural ability to process and eliminate potentially harmful substances by consuming the nutrients that facilitate the detoxification process. This is a detox with REAL food!

Detoxification Nutrients and Foods

In order to properly activate Phase I and Phase II detoxification, which is carried out by the liver and transforms toxins into substances that are easily eliminated, we need to consume phytonutrient rich foods like dark leafy greens (chard, mustard greens and spinach), citrus fruits (lemons, oranges and clementines), and the highest quality sources of protein, such as pastured, free-range, wild, grass fed, antibiotic and hormone-free animal foods. These foods are rich in vitamins A, C, D3, E and the entire B complex, as well as calcium, citrus bioflavonoids, glycine, glutamine, choline and inositol. Of particular importance in liver detoxification are sulfer-containing substances like taurine and cysteine, which are found in abundance in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale. Enzyme and antioxidant rich foods like garlic, onions and shallots also bolster the liver’s detox system and make a valuable addition into any healing diet.

Glutathione, the body’s most powerful antioxidant and first line of defense against the free radicals, aids the liver throughout the detox process and is found abundantly in fruits and vegetables.

{For more information on Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification, here is a link to an article that does a pretty good job and untangling the liver’s role in the fairly complex detoxification process.}

Healing Herbs

There are a ton of natural herbs that promote the cleansing process and I have found the list published on the Global Healing Center’s blog the most complete. It includes information on borotutu bark, milk thistle and dandelion root all of which aid liver detoxification and can be applied to the holistic treatment of liver dysfunction or disease.

I am also a huge fan of the cleansing herbs like parsley and cilantro. Parsley is highly capable of activating glutathione, which is particularly important in the elimination of free radicals and excessive inflammation that slow the healing process. Also, Parsley receives a lot of its healing power through its volatile oil content, specifically myristicin, which has been shown to inhibit tumor formation and activate the body’s antioxidant system.

Cilantro is helpful because it helps to remove heavy metals like mercury that can sometimes accumulate in our adipose, fat, tissue and brain; these herbs can also relieve GI distress, fight damage caused by free radicals and protect the body against harmful bacteria like Salmonella. Minimizing the impact of unavoidable environmental toxins while neutralizing the impact of our lifestyle choices is of paramount importance in maintaining health and there is no better way to get this done than by incorporating a ton of foundation foods like broccoli, cauliflower and fresh herbs.

How can we easily incorporate all these healing foods into one super-powered detox dish? Easy! This super delicious and super easy Raw Detox Salad has all quite of a few of the nutrients needed to aid liver detoxification. And, all that’s required is a sharp knife or a food processor if your keen on shortcuts like this guy.


Raw Detox Salad
Raw Detox Salad for all your healing!

Raw Detox Salad

1 large head broccoli
1 medium head cauliflower
2-3 cups shredded carrots
½ cup sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup currants or raisins
½ cup parsley
4-6 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Kelp, dulse or other sea veg granules, to taste (optional)
Maple syrup (optional)


  1. In a food processor, process broccoli until fine and transfer to large bowl.
  2. Repeat step 1 with cauliflower and then shredded carrots.
  3. Stir sunflower seeds, currants or raisins, parsley and lemon juice into processed veggies.
  4. Add salt, pepper and sea granules, if using, to taste.
  5. Lightly drizzle with maple syrup, if using.
  6. Enjoy!

Here is another amazing recipe from our Editor Andrea for a Vibrant Chickpea and Herb Salad, which is packed with the parsley, cilantro and lemon that aid detoxification. And here is another of my favorite Andrea recipes, Raw Broccoli Slaw, which contains sulforaphane rich broccoli, cabbage and kale. Enjoy!


Parsley image from Shutterstock; food image from Twelve Wellness

This post may contain some affiliate links. Currently I am affiliated with Avocado and Mountain Rose Herbs, and Amazon Affilaites to support my favorite supplements and superfoods. If you purchase something from these links I make a small commission that supports my work and keeps the site running. Thanks for supporting Vibrant Wellness Journal! 


About Matthew Lovitt 26 Articles
A holistic nutritionist in the making, Matthew spends the majority of his time trying to unravel the beautifully complex relationship between food, health and spiritual well-being. While this may sound like a somewhat glamorous pursuit, his daily journey towards enlightenment often begins and ends in front of a computer or textbook with the occasional retreat to the kitchen to rejuvenate his mind and body. When not enthralled in his quest to greater understanding, Matthew can be found attempting some insane test of physical endurance on the highways of Arizona, eating peanut butter and banana bagel sandwiches in his pajamas, or watching cartoons with his amazing fiance and puppy. If you're interested in joining Matthew on his journey to health and wellness, please feel free to follow him on Twitter (@veggiematthew), Facebook or at his blog.

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