Fresh antioxidant ingredients like salmon, almonds and fennelLike many of my fellow foodies, I start the New Year with a list of resolutions, including health and fitness goals. This year, even my January horoscope suggested I start a cleanse to ensure a good health-work balance. (Apparently, I’m going to need extra energy this month). So, I took note and decided to do some research.

Even though I tend to resist anything that gets in the way of my cooking, eating, and entertaining adventures, I thought I should consider some new ways of eating. Maybe even try a cleanse. But the more I read and researched, the more I become convinced to simply incorporate more antioxidant and “cleansing” ingredients into my daily meals, and dinner party menus.

So, I reset my research on identifying the highest “return on consumption” ingredients. Each health magazine and nutrition website I consulted confirmed that the top antioxidant food categories include: berries, beans, fruits, veggies, nuts, herbs, spices, grains, and even some of my favorite beverages and treats, like red wine and dark chocolate! Armed with the satisfaction that I could eat my way to detoxification, I decided to learn more.

According to Donald Hensrud, M.D., Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.,“Our bodies naturally produce antioxidants and are quite effective at neutralizing free radicals. But this process isn’t 100 percent effective, and its effectiveness declines with age. (I didn’t want to learn that!)  Foods appear to be a better choice than supplements because foods contain an unmatchable array of antioxidant substances. In fact, researchers theorize that antioxidants in food, form chemical networks that then interact with our own cellular and genetic intricacies. It’s best to include a wide variety of foods as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. As a bonus, foods high in antioxidants typically offer many other health benefits, such as being high in fiber, protein, and other vitamins and minerals and low in saturated fat and cholesterol.”

Natural reports, “The fact that we live in a toxic environment requires more antioxidants now than over a century ago. If you exercise regularly, you further increase the potential for oxidative stress, making consumption of antioxidants even more important.”

Luckily, some of my favorite menu items from are already full of antioxidants and cleansing ingredients like cinnamon, cumin, chiles, garlic, green leafy veggies, berries, nuts, and dark chocolate.

Try some of these menu items, and eat your way to be being “toxin-free.” Don’t forget to go organic whenever you can!

Free Radical Fighting ArtichokesAppetizers

Seasoned Artichokes

Eggplant Caponata

Wild Mushroom Topped Rustic Toasts

Zucchini Tart with Goat Cheese

Saucy Salsa & Guacamole


Cinnamon, Cumin, Peppers, Oregano, Cloves, TomatoesMain Dishes

Handmade Pork and Chile Tamales

Salmon with Almond Vinaigrette

Curry Ginger Lamb w/Apricot Lime Sauce

Seared Scallops with Leeks & Spinach

Butternut Squash & Sage on Orecchiette Pasta



Lentils, Kale, Nuts, CurrantsSalads and Sides

Swiss Chard with Lentils

Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts and Currants

Cranberry Chutney

Arugula, Beet, and Walnut Salad



Antioxidant BerriesDesserts

Triple Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Pear Hazelnut Tart

French Crêpes with Fresh Berries