5 Underrated Detoxing Foods

When I grew up in the 1970s, I remember my mom saying to me, “The whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead.”

At the time, I didn’t quite understand what she was talking about, but decades later, it’s clear to me. If we look at our current food supply, there are several foods that are “white” and unhealthy because they’ve been stripped of nutrients, like table sugar, flour, rice, pasta, bread, and crackers, to name a few.

There are, however, some nutritious, unprocessed white-colored foods that I incorporate into my Whole Detox program:

1. Cauliflower

It's one of the many cruciferous vegetables that can assist in healthy detoxification processes in the liver, more than half as potent as the “detox superstars” broccoli and kale. Eating cauliflower is a good way to add some variety to your cruciferous vegetable intake.

High intake of cruciferous vegetables — including broccoli and cauliflower — may be associated with reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Cauliflower also has a low glycemic index (or effect on blood sugar levels) of 15 to 30.

One of my favorite ways to prepare it is to briefly sauté the florets in extra-virgin olive oil and spices and serve warm.

2. Onions

These gorgeous white orbs are healing and helpful for blood sugar, heart health, and, of course, detoxing.

They contain different plant compounds called flavonoids; one of the most popular ones, known as quercetin, is a potent antioxidant.

Most of those phytonutrients are right below the skin, so do not peel your onions too much!

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3. Coconut milk & oil

I emphasize coconut oil and coconut milk primarily because of the short- and medium-chain fats that are helpful for healing the gut.

Coconut products also have a reputation for their antimicrobial and antiviral effects. A recent study showed that a diet rich in extra-virgin coconut oil decreased waist size and increased good cholesterol in people with coronary artery disease.

4. Garlic

Garlic is a detox heavy-hitter. It has many medicinal uses, from lowering cholesterol, to balancing blood sugar, to helping with heart health and blood pressure. When it comes to detox, its sulfur and selenium contents come in handy.

Let raw garlic sit for 15 minutes after cutting it to maximize the nutritional benefits.

5. Turnips & parsnips

Both are high in fiber and have a complex array of plant nutrients that protect the body from oxidative stress damage. Don't overcook them, though, as they'll become mushy and their glycemic impact will increase.

Both are great in stews and soups, or you can shred them into your salads for a tasty touch!

When I refer to colorful foods (yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, and red), I also include “white” in that list. Our human vision may not pick up all the colorless phytonutrients, but they are present and extremely valuable!

The recipe below (from my book Whole Detox) uses some of these foods.

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Creamy Spiced Cauliflower Soup (Vegan) With Lamb (Omnivore)

Serves 2


  • ½ pound organic, grass-fed, boneless lamb, cubed (omnivores only)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Pinch of ground coriander
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Dash of ground black pepper
  • ½ large head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon cashew nut butter


1. In a large soup pot set over medium heat, warm the coconut oil. For omnivores, add the lamb and sauté it for several minutes before adding the onion and garlic.

2. Both omnivores and vegans, sauté the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cardamom, salt, and black pepper, and stir the mixture well for about 1 minute.

3. Then add the cauliflower, coconut milk, broth, bay leaf, and cashew nut butter. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and, for omnivores, the lamb is cooked.

4. Ladle half the soup into a serving bowl and serve it warm.

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