Some of you may have heard of the Master Cleanse in which you spend a few days up to a few weeks drinking a concoction of water with lemon juice, Grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Now, I’m not going to go into my thoughts and opinions on cleanses as I feel the validity of any type of “cleanse” is based on too many other factors to make a blanket statement about them. However, this particular flavor combination is actually tasty, so I prefer to use it in a super liver-loving friendly salad instead.
The base of this salad is dandelion greens. Yes, the weeds you detest in your yard. You can find dandelion greens at most grocery stores, especially health food stores, throughout the spring and early summer. Or you can eat the ones in the yard if they haven’t been sprayed with chemicals or peed on by furry critters. They are bitter, and your liver loves bitter greens! Dandelion greens are full of vitamins K, C, E, A and hit you with a great dose of super helpful minerals, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and calcium.
Now, if these are just too bitter for you, I suggest mixing it half and half with chopped romaine leaves. But remember, if you let any bitter green sit in your fridge for more than a couple days, the bitter flavor increases with age, so eat them as soon as possible!
For the dressing, mix real* olive oil with the juice of one lemon, and a tablespoon of real maple syrup, Grade B if you want the extra minerals that come along with it. The ratios are to taste, but a general rule for dressing is 3 parts oil to one part acid, and just try not to go overboard with the syrup for sugary reasons! The fruit in the salad also helps make the bitter flavor the greens more palatable. Don’t forget to add a dash or two of cayenne pepper for some extra kick. It also has a list of medicinal functions of its own.
If you can handle just the greens and the dressing, that’s great, but I find the addition of some sweet fruit helps, so I usually like to put chopped prunes or dates in this salad, and in this recent edition, I added a handful of organic red grapes. As basic fruits go, grapes (the darker the better) are some of the most nutritious and medicinal ones to choose. They are rich in B vitamins, vitamins C, A, and bioflavonoids as well as minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium, boron and iron.
I also like to add a nut for crunch and additional nutrition, and in this case, chose raw Brazil nuts for their high selenium content that works with vitamin E to kick out free radicals. There has been a steady decline of selenium in the diet over time, most likely due to poorer soil conditions that food is grown in, so I try to eat a couple Brazil nuts a day (2 nuts is enough selenium for the day!). There are several health conditions linked to low selenium, notably low thyroid and an increased risk of prostate cancer, so these are a nut I recommend keeping around for a quick crunch. (Raw for better nutrition, and refrigerate or freeze to prevent them going rancid.)
So, if you’ve always been curious about trying the Master Cleanse, I’d suggest filling your belly up with this salad once a day for a week and see how you feel after that, first!
Hope you enjoy!
* I say REAL olive oil, because most olive oil sold in stores is fake. Most brands, especially your favorite grocery store brands like Bertolli are cut with cheap oils and are likely already rancid. None of these oils have the nutritional value you think you’re getting, and in fact are more detrimental than beneficial. Choose a brand that is rich in color, sold in dark or foil covered bottles, that solidifies when chilled. “Estate grown” brands tend to be safer, from single source groves, like those brands that are 100% California grown. It may seem counter-intuitive, but Italian and Greek sourced oils are some that should be the least trusted.