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Karen Schuppert

To some, spring cleaning means shifting items in the garage to make room for the car or removing clothes collecting moths in the closet. I see the change in weather as time to lighten the load in my kitchen.

By consuming what’s in season our bodies seem to require less as temperatures warm and springtime fare is on the menu.

Here are a few suggestions on ways to incorporate foods which will put back that “spring” in your step:

— Smoothies: Start your day on a healthy note by blending together a cup of greens like spinach, kale and celery with a handful of berries to make a delicious smoothie. These leafy greens contain chlorophyll, a molecule that helps eliminate harmful environmental toxins that can contribute to illness and liver damage. The berries’ bounty of antioxidants and enzymes help fight free-radical damage that may lead to disease, and their sweetness takes over the subtle taste of the greens — you won’t even notice they’re in there!

— Turmeric: The trendy spice at the moment, which has been around for centuries, turmeric is the main spice in curry powder and gets it beautiful yellow color from a compound called curcumin. In holistic medicine, curcumin is used to help aid with digestive disorders and liver issues. Curry powder is also an anti-inflammatory and contributes to the production of glutathione, a powerful liver-protecting antioxidant. Next time you’re in the kitchen, reap the benefits by sprinkling curry powder on eggs, roasted veggies, lentils or chicken masala.

— Cabbage: Made up of approximately 92 percent water, cabbage is a natural diuretic that can help expel excess fluids from the body, so you can’t go wrong by filling up on this water-based food. It’s packed with organic compounds that contain nitrogen and sulfur which help flush out unwanted toxins. Plus, cabbage delivers a good dose of many essential vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and folic acid.

— Lemon: Those who follow me, know I’m a devotee of lemon’s health benefits. Drinking a glass of water infused with lemon (or adding lemon to a mug of warm water) is a proven strategy to help cleanse your body. Lemons contain antibacterial properties that help purify the blood and balance the pH level of your colon. The citrus fruit’s vitamin C will also help boost your immunity and is actually alkalizing to the body, even though it may seem acidic. Lemon juice and its peel are so versatile in cooking — you can add it to salad dressings, marinades, smoothies and juices, or finish off a pasta, fish, or chicken dish with a squeeze or zest of fresh lemon. It makes everything “pop.”

Speaking of water, it’s really the ultimate cleansing agent. Drinking water before a meal can help take the edge off hunger, and is important to consume before and after a workout. Aim for nine cups a day, as recommended by Mayo Clinic, to help flush out toxins through your liver and kidneys.

Curry Cabbage

Serves 8 (gluten-free and vegan when using coconut oil)

This side dish contains the trifecta for anti-inflammation: cabbage, turmeric and apple cider vinegar. Like lemon juice, ACV is alkalizing and aids in digestion. Serve over rice or quinoa with roast pork or lamb.

1 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil

1/2 cup minced shallots

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard

2 tsp. curry powder (Whole Spice at Oxbow has a multitude of flavors)

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1 tsp. ground turmeric

12 cups thinly sliced green cabbage (about 3 pounds)

1/4 cup low-sodium organic chicken broth

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add mustard, curry, and turmeric; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in cabbage and remaining ingredients; cook 15 minutes or until very tender, stirring frequently.

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Karen Schuppert is working on cleaning her refrigerator, too. She loves to help others in their kitchens, from the stove to the pantry, and can be reached at