The first days of January pass quickly, with only a few hours of sunlight and a lot of awareness for every new sound, light, person and little joy of this young year. A lazy sunrise is for meditation and setting up the digestive fire with turmeric tea, while sunset goes by slowly in glorious contemplation, with a ruby-shaded ginger elixir. A favorite this winter, and inspired by one of Heidi’s Near and Far recipes, this is a drink for rooting into the new year and for nurturing the body’s cells to incite their natural detoxifying function.
I remember my mother used to give me fresh juice made of beets, carrots, and apples to drink in the evening, and it felt so comforting. The earthy taste of beets was perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the other ingredients, and it gave me a sort of positive energy. Lately, I discovered this was one of the most powerful antioxidant combos, and I learned to experiment with ingredients for creating a different taste or more nourishing combination. The base remained the same with an addition of a purifying herbal tea blend, and this strong ginger-spiked ruby elixir became my favorite drink for invigorating the whole digestive system.
I can’t think of a better vegetable to use as a base for a detox drink than the beet root. Alongside the vitamin and mineral concentration, especially folate, the antioxidant manganese, vitamin C, and essential potassium and magnesium, this humble vegetable carries a unique combination of phytonutrients called betalains, providing us antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection. Betalains are also involved in Phase II of the natural detoxification of your body, the metabolic step related to the activation of glutathione-S-transferase enzymes, which carries the water-soluble metabolized toxins throughout the system and excretes them afterward in the urine. These phytonutrients give the red-violet or the yellow color of beet roots.
Although carrots and apples still remain my favorite combination for balancing the earthy taste of beets, when it comes to detox, I like to mix in some pungent ingredients for a good cleanse kick. I loved Heidi’s idea of spicing up this elixir with ginger, especially because of the anti-inflammatory and cancer-inhibiting properties of its active substance called gingerol. Grapefruit is also a favorite, giving its high concentration of the antioxidant vitamin C, polyphenols, and lycopene, and also for its tart and tangy taste and delicate flavor. Sometimes I add a bit of lime juice for a refreshing twist, and maybe to prove that a detox drink doesn’t have to feel overwhelmingly nauseous, but more like a treat for your body’s cells and taste buds.
- 1 medium beet, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and cut into slices
- 1 inch ginger knob, peeled
- ½ pomegranate, seeds only
- 2 cups brewed detox tea (I usually use a mix of horsetail and elderflower), warm
- Variation: add 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice, or the juice from half of a blood orange
- Juice all the ingredients and mix the liquid with the detox tea. Drink immediately to get the maximum benefits from the fresh nutrients.