A New Year’s Cleanse & Post-Holiday Detox Salad


Twas’ a few days after Christmas, and all through the kitchen


There were desserts and leftovers tempted to go missing…


But please don’t give in! You must be your best–


So you can look amazingggg in that NYE party dress!


I know, I know. It’s SO hard! After a day (days?) of  indulging in festive desserts and drinks, those holiday goodies are still calling your name (and that slice of Mom’s famous apple pie just looks so darn good!). But you won’t give in…right? (Riiiight??) No! Of course not!  And do you want to know why?


Because you have willpower!

You have strength!

You have a gift card to go buy those adorable skinny jeans!

You can say no! 

(And you can bring all of those treats to your office’s break room!)  


There. You see?

No excuses ;)


But in all seriousness, while it’s perfectly healthy to let yourself  indulge now and then, it’s equally important to get your body back on track after you let the whole healthy-eating thing slide for a few days. And what better time for a fresh start than heading into the new year?

Now, I’m not suggesting everyone start a crazy-pants diet or a liquids-only cleanse, like, tomorrow–I actually just finished up a fabulously easy, 6-day cleanse which I will be sharing soon (for those interested in a stricter detox program)– however, it is perfectly possible to give your body a break without purchasing an expensive program. By choosing to eat all-natural, healthy, organic, and nutritious foods, you can work towards detoxing your body naturally while revitalizing your insides, beautifying your outsides, and getting back that youthful, energetic glow.


And who doesn’t want that!?


To get you started, I thought I’d share one of my favorite detox salads that always gets me feeling light, refreshed, and on top of my game after too much food, too little sleep, and a lot of fun ;) .


But first, here are a few quick tips on how to gently detox your body the easy way:



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This may seem so simple, but it’s super important. If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t drink as much as you should. Water keeps your brain hydrated and fully functional, replenishes/carries oxygen to your cells, rids your body of toxins, gives skin a healthy glow, helps to maintain your body weight, and aids in digestion/absorption of food. The amount of water each individual needs may vary depending upon factors like  exercise and time of year it is, but experts suggest that 2 quarts is a healthy bet. Trade water or decaffeinated tea for your daily cup of coffee for the best detox results. It is important to stay away from caffeine during a detox due to its dehydrating properties.



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My general rule of thumb is simple: If I can’t pronounce it, I shouldn’t eat it! There are lots of nasty, processed foods out there that can wreak havoc on your body…and even if something is marketed as “healthy,” oftentimes it isn’t. Get into the habit of looking at the list of ingredients before you buy or eat something. If the list tends to have more than 6 ingredients, it most likely includes processed junk that won’t be doing your body any favors. By eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, your body is able to break them down easier and save its energy for more important things…like clearing up your skin, and exercising! Choose items that are all-natural, and free of hydrogenated fats, tran-fats, added sugars–including deceptively healthy (and natural) syrups, dehydrated cane juice, honey, and molasses. (Hint: Anything ending in “ose” or “ol” are probably code words for sugar.) I promise, once you cut these things out of your diet for a few days, you’ll feel (and look!)  like a million bucks!


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Organic Fruits, veggies, and whole grain options like brown-rice or quinoa, and beans, nuts, and seeds (in moderation) are essential to any detox regimen. Fiber acts like a scrub brush inside your body– clearing out your colon and intestines of icky, toxic, sludge and waste. Some of the best fiber-filled foods are dark, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, artichokes, beets, sea vegetables, carrots, apples, avocados, pears, oranges, kiwi, berries, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, lima beans and navy beans.



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Vitamin C is an essential, water-soluble vitamin and a powerful antioxidant that helps detoxify the body and rid the body of cell-destructive free radicals. Vitamin C also supports immunity/wound healing and aids in bone, skin, and collagen formation/tissue growth and repair. Since the human body cannot manufacture vitamin C on it own, it must be consumed through diet. Fruits and veggies are the best source of this vitamin, particularly citrus fruits, tropical fruits, melons, berries, leafy green vegetables, green peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli.



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Oxygen is quite honestly one of the most important nutrients in the human body, yet it’s something we totally take for granted. Think about it–when was the last time you reallythought about your breathing? Chances are if you take a moment to notice how you breathe you’ll find that it’s short and shallow. However, deep breathing is much healthier and has amazing health benefits.  Through deep breathing,  the body is able to take in more oxygen–thus ridding the body of the blood’s waste–carbon dioxide. Deep breathing also helps with relaxation and aids in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. Short, constrained breathing can cause mental fog, fatigue, decreased tissue function and a sluggish lymphatic system while deep breathing acts as a pump for the lymphatic system (the system which carries away the body’s nasty toxins–think of it as the body’s natural sewer system). When the body is not taking in enough oxygen, the body’s lymph fluid is not flowing efficiently, and therefore the body cannot detoxify properly. This can lead to a variety of health issues, like fatigue, inflammation, muscle loss, weight gain, and high blood pressure. (I guess those yogis have it right after all!)



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Physical exercise is one of the best ways to detoxify your body and eliminate environmental toxins (through sweating). It improves your skin (by boosting circulation), gives you that healthy, post-exercise glow, and helps to keep the body’s internal organs running at peak efficiency. Physical exercise also helps to regulate blood sugar which can help reduce sugar cravings that may lead to unhealthy binge eating. Looking for another great way to feel clean and refreshed? Hit the sauna or steam room! While there isn’t any conclusive clinical evidence that saunas promote detoxification, I still love to sweat it out in there a few times a week. It’s relaxing, helps to loosen up my muscles, and makes me feel incredibly lean and refreshed afterwards.


I challenge you to incorporate these detox tips into your daily routine for a few days and assess how your body feels. I guarantee once you begin to see how wonderful your body responds to the healthy changes, you’ll be hooked! For a more comprehensive list of foods to incorporate into your diet, check out this link–it covers the top 50 detox foods (many of which are in my detox salad!) My detox salad recipe (below) is the perfect way to start off your clean-eating detox program. It can be eaten for lunch and dinner or even as an afternoon snack in between meals. It’s quick and easy and will have you feeling healthy, light and revitalized in no time at all!


Post-Holiday Detox Salad



Ingredients: (all organic)

  • 1.5-2 cups of kale (torn or shredded)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded carrots
  • 1/2  of an apple (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon on fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 of an avocado (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds
  • Fresh lemon juice (1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon worth)
  • Flax oil (for drizzling–you could use olive oil if you wanted, but flax oil has great cleansing benefits).
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Optional: fresh grated ginger and a dash or celtic sea salt






  • Mix all the first five ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Drizzle with flax oil and lemon juice and massage the dressing into the salad.
  • Add cayenne pepper, black pepper and any other spices (tot taste) and massage well again.
  • Top with raw sunflower seeds and avocado and ENJOY :) .



It’s important to keep in mind– those who are used to processed, salty, packaged foods may have a hard time at first with the taste of natural, fresh, real foods. But please, please PLEASE don’t give up too soon! I PROMISE you’re taste buds will change over time and you will become more accustomed to the taste of natural ingredients. Eventually, your body will actually crave these things!


The best detox advice I can give however is to just stick with it and take baby steps. If you try to overhaul you entire diet in a day you’re just setting yourself up to fail. Start by revamping one meal a day, then two, then try swapping that bag of M&Ms for a bag of grapes or munch on some carrot sticks and hummus instead of vending machine potato chips. As with any lifestyle change, it takes effort, and yes, time for your body to get used to the new habits–especially if you’ve been on an unhealthy path for a long time. Just keep in mind…the rewards are SO worth it! Whether you’re trying to fit into that teeny tiny bikini for your upcoming vacation, training to run a half marathon, or looking to have more energy to chase around your kids, remember…


What you put into your body determines what you get OUT of your body!


It’s your life. Don’t you deserve to be the best version of YOURSELF that you can be?


I sure think so :) .



Healthfully Yours,


Ashley Michelle





How to Eat Clean

What to Eat-Limiting Sugar

What is Clean Eating

Vitamin C to Detox the Body

Foods that Cleanse the Colon

Benefits of Alkaline Foods




Toasted Sesame Green Bean & Carrot Salad


Open Sesame!


That’s EXACTLY what your mouth will be saying after just one bite of this amazingggly tasty dish.


Last night I was doing the whole “I’m hungry but have nothing to eat” refrigerator routine.

You know the one I mean.

It goes something like this…


Open the refrigerator door.



Close the refrigerator door.

Walk away.

Return five minutes later hoping the refrigerator fairy paid a visit and snuck something spectacular in there while you weren’t looking.


(Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.)


After the third try, I realized that the refrigerator fairy was probably not going to answer my wishes (much to my dismay). So there I was, once again, left to rummage around in an attempt to gather some ingredients remotely meal-worthy.


And well, I did just that.

Rummage away.


During my rummaging, however, I happened upon a vibrant bunch of carrots and a crispy bag of french style green beans.


Hold on.

Green beans?

How did those get in there?


You see, I’ve been in a little bit of a vegetable rut lately. Do you ever get like that?  Same old salads for lunch, same old chopped veggies for a snack…yada, yada, yada) And frankly…I’ve been pretty darn bored with my typical routine. See, while I pretty much adore every kind of veggie out there, I’ve never really been a green-bean-loving gal. And it doesn’t help that I’ve yet to discover how to prepare them in a way that I actually enjoy. Ironically, I bought a bag of green beans from Trader Joe’s this past weekend as a form of  personal protest. As I held the bag of beans in my hands and tossed them into my shopping basket, my mind unwittingly decided “I WILL enjoy green beans!”  I suppose I was trying to convince myself that I could grow to love these healthy little veggies if I just forced myself to eat them enough.


Can you guess what happened next?

Days later, they still sat untouched.




But desperate times call for desperate measures…

And my tummy was desperately hungry!



If you didn’t like green beans before reading the recipe…




You will now!



Toasted Sesame Green Bean & Carrot Salad



  • 1 small bag of organic carrots (or 1 lb. worth)
  • 1 bag of organic french green beans (or 1 lb. worth)
  • Rice vinegar (for drizzling)
  • Sesame oil (for drizzling)
  • 3-4 tablespoons of sesame seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil (for toasting)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Optional: Sliced avocado and/or edamame



  • Chop and slice your carrots into strips.
  • Boil your carrots and green beans for 5 minutes or so (I like my veggies slightly crunchy).
  • Drain your veggies and set aside.
  • In a small pan, heat your coconut oil on medium high heat (until melted and swirled around the entire pan).
  • Add in the sesame seeds and turn heat to high.
  • Quickly stir the sesame seeds around the pan with a wooden spoon until toasted and browned (make sure you keep stirring or you will risk burning your seeds!)
  • Toss your veggies and sesame seeds together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Plate your veggies and generously drizzle with rice vinegar and sesame oil.
  • Optional: Top with sliced avocado or mix in some shelled edamame.



The best part about this dish other than the fact that it tastes amazing???

It’s low-fat, low-calorie, and good for you!


Health Benefits of Green Beans:


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  • High in fiber (improves digestion and colon health).
  • Low calorie (1/2 cup has just 15 calories).
  • High in antioxidants (Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals that can damage cells and cause cancer).
  • High in vitamin A, C and folic acid–an essential B vitamin (Vitamin A and C strengthen your immune system and vitamin C and folic acid help the body metabolize protein).
  • High in calcium (1/2 cup of green beans has 31.5 mg of calcium).
  • Higher in protein than other vegetables (1/2 cup has 1 gram of protein).
  • Contains trace minerals of potassium and iron.


Health Benefits of Sesame Oil:


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  • High in antioxidants.
  • Good source of vitamin E and vitamin K (Vitamin E lowers cholesterol and vitamin K makes proteins necessary for blood clotting and healthy tissues and bones).
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Lowers glucose and blood sugar levels.
  • Acts as a diuretic (by lowering sodium content).
  • Contains omega-fatty acids (Fatty acids are essential for brain growth and development. They also help reduce inflammation and reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease and arthritis).
  • Improves skin health (On an internal level, sesame oil enhances the effects of vitamin E and antioxidants. Externally, sesame oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties).
  • Contains important minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and copper.

Carrots are crazy healthy too! Read all about the health benefits of these orange veggies in my “Call Me Crazy Carrot Smoothie” post! 




All I can say is thank goodness for an empty fridge….


Or I wouldn’t have discovered the TASTIEST way to eat green beans!



Healthfully Yours,

Ashley Michelle



Health Benefits of Sesame Oil 

Is Sesame Oil Good for the Body?

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